Our walk this Sunday was a nice fusion of exercise and history and culture. Who said there was no culture in Essex? Importantly, we also had a very nice mix of participants. Our walk of nine to ten miles was unhurried and not unduly taxing on the constitution. The undulating landscape was characterized by woods and open spaces, giving us some nice variation. The walk was capably led by Paul, who had successfully reconnoitred the route a few days earlier.
Tea at Ingatestone Hall was a nice way to end our walk.
Our circular route was based on Ingatestone with its interesting parish church. Fryerning was next on our agenda, followed by a lunch stop at the - apparently - uniquely named "Viper" pub. We soaked up more history, visiting the time-honoured churches at Margaretting, and at Buttsbury. Then it was time for tea in the refined setting of Ingatestone Hall; this was a nice finale to a successful walk.
So here is what these pages have in store for you. Even if you were not able to join us, here's your chance to find out how we enjoyed our nice mid-August Sunday IVC walk.
Enjoy your browse!
The centre of Ingatestone was very close to the station. The church of St Edmund and St Mary, with its historical connection with local land-owning Petre family, attracted our attention, before we set off on our actual walk. Close by was the interesting High Street, which we crossed to get out of town and make our way to Fryerning.
Here is the church, with its Tudor tower, as seen from Ingatestone's adjacent communal "Fair Field".
This church is very interesting, as we found on our visit.
Just click on the picture
to immerse yourself in a good helping of local and national history.
A war memorial stands between the church and Ingatestone's High Street.
We cross over the High Street, ...
... which has some interesting buildings, including this elegant house ...
... and the "Bell" hostelry, which must have seen very busy times indeed, when Ingatestone was on the main highway to Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and East Anglia.
We have our walk on the day's schedule, and, so after one last look along the High Street,
we head out of town towards Fryerning.
The village of Fryerning is slightly uphill from Ingatestone, and was next on our route. It has some interesting buildings, including the church, through whose churchyard our path led. The old pub at Fyerning alas closed down a while ago, taking with it a bit of rural history.
This house, with its Regency style balcony, greets us as we come into the village.
The oldest part of Fryerning's church of St Mary the Virgin goes back to the 11th century. Apparently, the church exudes history "at every pore", but it is unfortunately only open on Saturday afternoons (13:30-16:30). So, onwards we go.
On leaving Fryerning, we then pass some houses which look like "rural retreats", ...
... including this weather-boarded specimen, ...
... and this one, nestling in rural tranquillity.
This "watering hole" is apparently the only pub in the country (not county) called "The Viper". Perhaps examples of the said reptile frequented the area which is quite wooded. The history and hygiene rating of the pub were not available. However, the building looks as if it might have been concatenated from two time-honoured semi-detached cottages. The food seemed quite respectable. We tarried for about an hour. Paul had a pickled egg.
On the way we passed someone's large and nice garden.
Ah, here we are. The reptile looks a tad uncomfortable on the dilapidated pub sign.
Poor sign. Poor reptile.
The pub looks well frequented, ...
... and, if you missed the first pub sign, perhaps because of its dilapidation, here is a nice large and clear sign on the house, to make sure you know it's "The Viper". So no mistakes.
We are in a happy post-prandial frame of mind and are contemplating our next move.
Suitably fortified at "The Viper" we then traverse some more woods and strike (and stride) across the undulating open country to Margaretting. Our path takes us along a modest part of St Peter's Way which itself links Ongar to Bradwell on the Essex coast. Some horses make sure they try our apples. Margaretting church is a historical gem, to which we managed to get a key from one of the nearby cottages.
We traverse a modest part of St Peter's Way, which goes from Ongar to the reputedly oldest English church on the Essex coast near Bradwell.
(The Essex Way goes from Epping to Harwich and meets St Peter's Way at Ongar.)
As we head towards Margaretting Church, some horses show a great interest in our apples.
Here is Margaretting church, mainly 15th Century, but with a part going back to 1130.
It was well worth asking at the nearby cottage for the key.Click on picture
to enjoy our visit to the church.
As we leave, we pass what was (is?) probably the rectory or vicarage.
We head for Buttsbury, the village that was, and the local government administrative area that is. Church and Hall remain, but the village seems to have disappeared without trace or historical record. A sort of "Marie Celeste" phenomenon. On the way, we enjoy the open country and the cloud patterns. The church itself is ancient and plain, but not without interest.
The open countryside ...
... and the cloudscapes ...
... accompany us on the way to the village that disappeared.
Buttsbury Church has grown from accretions of the 12th, 13th and 14th Centuries.
Click on the Picture
for a quick look around the church.
As we leave for Ingatestone Hall, we can see Buttsbury church, presiding, as it has done for centuries, over the local undulating landscape.
We head for our final stop - tea at nearby Ingatestone Hall.
Since the 16th Century, Ingatestone Hall has been the home of the illustrious Petre family, whose descendants still live in part of the house. Ingatestone Hall is designated a "Grade I listed 16th-century manor house". The Hall, as you can imagine, is steeped in local and national history. So, to have tea here made a splendid and fitting finale to our walk.
We approach Ingatestone Hall, like most visitors before us, along the tree-lined avenue and under the famous clock which declares: "Sans Dieu Rien". This inscription will immediately be recognized by the linguists amongst you as "Without God Nothing".
And so we get to the courtyard with the main entrance to the Hall, straight ahead,
and our Tea Room to the left.
We have found a table in the refined surroundings of the Tea Room.
Some tea has already been served.
We are watched over by this gentleman, who might be one of the ancestors of the Petre family from Cornwall.
Anyway, his picture provides some colour to the affluent surroundings.
I gave the coat of arms on his picture the "GIMP" treatment, and this is the colourful result.
I wonder if the birds are Cornish choughs?
Here are the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.
Here is a widow, perhaps seeking a new partner.
Here we are again. The ladies have tea AND cake.
Travel by Stage Coach
In a side passage there are a number of old prints, or perhaps good reproductions thereof!
This hand-coloured print looks like a rural scene before the advent of the railways.
The date could thus be late 18th century or early 19th century.
By the way, the frame and mount are my embellishments, courtesy of HTML5.
New Thorndon Hall
New Thorndon Hall, in Brentwood, is sometimes regarded as the ancestral seat of the Petre family.
Click on picture to get the modern day version as well as the full story!
Outside the tea room, against the brickwork, is this pear tree mounted in espalier fashion.
The owners of the Hall seem to trust that tree does not treat the brickwork too harshly. However,
we can see "S"-shaped reinforcing irons which ensure that the wall doesn't bulge out!
Ingatestone Hall and its gardens are certainly worth a visit if time permits. I think that entry to the gardens used to be free. Here is Ingatestone Hall seen from the gardens. I put this picture here as a possible suggestion for another visit concentrating on the Hall itself.
We leave Ingatestone Hall by the way we came in, along the famous tree lined avenue ...
... passing beneath the equally famous "Sans Dieu Rien" (Without God there is Nothing) clock.
One last look, and then we head for home.
There's still some time before the next train. We didn't want to rush to catch an earlier one, not after such a nice day. So we make a detour via Ingatestone's Fair Field, which is presided over by Ingatestone's parish church, where we started off in the morning. The station has, as you might imagine, a "Great Eastern" pedigree. However, its connection with the Petre family is also interesting. Well, that's another story.
We head for the Station, but we have some time to spare, so we make a detour via Ingatestone's
Fair Field presided over by Ingatestone's parish church, where we started off in the morning.
The history of Ingatestone Station is inextricably bound up with
the Petre family and the Great Eastern Railway ...
... as indicated by the architecture and the Victorian iron work.
And now it's time to say:
"Thank you Paul for suggesting, reconnoitring and leading this walk. Thank you everyone for your company. Thank you to the weather gods for bringing good walking weather, dry, sunny and not too hot". So, another successful IVC day out!