Our Church and Parish

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This is a brief history of The Parish Church of All Saints with St Peter 

You will find there is a lot here to whet your appetite and we hope you will pay us a

visit and see for yourself.  
 

Bring your camera - we have no objection to photographs being taken  (other than

during services, of course).
 

Read on - 
 

 For many people the church in any town is an important place even if they never actually use it for its intended purpose, for it speaks of community and continuity.   If you question that, see the public reaction to many places if someone has the temerity to suggest that 'their' church should be made redundant.

Why should this be?   Often it has to do with the age, for the church is frequently the oldest building in the neighbourhood.   It was the major meeting place for all sort of different purposes, a place of sanctuary and early warning of invasions, a market place and community hall as well as a place of worship.   So often the church was the only imposing stone edifice in a locality when even the Lord of the Manor lived in a wattle and daub construction.   So even if the present building on the site does not owe a great deal to the original, because all churches have evolved throughout their history, it still remains a "special place."

Historically it is a special place, but it will also have personal associations as generations have marked the significant events in their family lives here.   There is seldom a time in any week, winter or summer, when someone is not seen wandering around.   This church very much belongs to Maldon - her citizens in home-spun leather doublet, crinolines and tweeds, top hats and feather boas, double breasted suits and donkey jackets have knelt before its altars, slept through sermons, moaned at the choice of hymns and hymn tunes as well as beautified its fabric.   Happiness, thanksgiving, sadness and tragedy have been shared here and you may wish to think about that as you wander around and consider some of the events behind the memorials.

You will see here some fine art and architecture, but above all we welcome you to a place of worship and the gathering place of God's people.   It is a place of witness to the Christian Faith and all that it stands for.   You will find this presented in many different ways as many generations have added to, taken away from it, repositioned or redeployed parts of its structure as the needs or tastes of the day demanded.   It was their place in their time and the church has always been more about people than buildings;  it is a place of refurbishment, where spiritual batteries may be recharged.   It is a place of peace in the midst of many conflicts.   It is the home of the people of God - as well as God' house.

So welcome to this place, let it speak to you and the particular needs you have at this time.   Come again - for it may be that your needs then will be different from what they are now.

In 1215 the Lateran Council decreet that Monastic Foundations which had "appropriated" benefices, should provide resident, perpetual Vicars and assign adequate provision for their maintenance.   It was soon evident that the endowments of the two parishes (All Saints and St. Peter's) were insufficient to make this provision and in 1244 the parishes were united and have remained so ever since despite all the dramatic changes in ecclesiastical structure that the following centuries were to bring.   And we think that the uniting of parishes undeer one Vicar is a modern thing!   Under the terms of the union All Saints was decreed to be the "mother church".

Until the 17th century services were held in both churches, when the nave and chancel of St. Peter's fell down and All Saints then provided for the needs of both parishes.   St. Peter's Tower survived and remained the responsibility of All Saints Church Council until quite recently;  what seems to be the church attached to it is in fact a building commissioned by Archdeacon Plume of Rochester in 1704 to provide accommodation for his library, which he had bequeathed to the town of his birth, on the upper floor and Maldon Grammar School below.   The collection of books is one of the finest of its period and the Vicar of All Saints along with the Rector St. Mary's and the Head Teacher of the Grammar School (now the Plume School) continue to serve on the Library's Board of Trustees.

The Registers of both Parishes, St. Peter's dating from 1556 and All Saints from 1558 are in the custody of the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford.   The Parishes were part of the Diocese of London until 1846, then Rochester until 1877, then St. Albans until 1914 and currently in the Diocese of Chelmsford.   Having been in the gift of the Bishop of London, the Abbot of Beeleigh and a host of private individuals, the living has been in the gift of the Diocesan Bishop since 1903.

  

THE WASHINGTON WINDOW

Special mention must be made of the Washington Window which is located in the D'Arcy Chapel.   Full descriptive leaflets are available at the church.   The Washington Window was given to All Saints' Church by the citizens of Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in memory of the life of the Revd. Laurence Washington, formerly Rector of Purleigh, Essex, and great-great-grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.   Laurence Washington was a loyalist clergyman, ejected from his living and buried somewhere in our churchyard in 1652 (a time when graves were not marked so we do not know where his is situated).   A record of his entry in the burial register may be found on the adjacent wall.   A book listing the donors is on the window ledge.

The window was dedicated in All Saints on 5th July 1928 in the presence of the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Bishop of New Jersey, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex and the American Ambassador.

After 77 years the ravages of time had taken their toll on the window and it was completely refurbished in 2005 and re-dedicated on 31st July of that year, looking much as it did when originally installed.   It is interesting to note that, at that re-dedication, there was present two members of our congregation who attended the original dedication all those years previously.

The commemorative programme of dedication and the story of how the window came to Maldon has recently been reproduced in a way which reflects, as accurately as possible, the original programme.  Copies of this are available, post free, at a cost of £2. 

 

THE VICARAGE

The vicarage must merit a mention as it is, after the three churches, the oldest building in Maldon.   It was built as a vicarage in about 1350 and it has always been the vicarage of the parish except for a short period in the 18th Century when the then vicar thought it was not grand enough and moved himself into Friary House (at the bottom end of the public car park across the High Street) and housed his curate in the vicarage.   The original house was raised to a second story in 1450 when Mr D'Arcy's bequest installed two chantry priests with a house and an acre of ground adjacent to the church.   The substantial walled garden still exists within 50 metres of Maldon High Street.   The most recent addition, the east wing, was added in 1670.   For 200 years the half timbered fascia was covered with rendering until in 1902 it was stripped away and the porch restored to reveal the frontage in its full glory.   From the rear it is much easier to see just how this house evolved.   Inside there are some walled paintings dating from the 15th century and timbers reputed to have been trees at the time of the Norman Conquest.

 

PAST VICARS

Andrew de Feroby

1244

Marcus Wiersdale

1584

Ralph de Luffenham

1294

Rob Palmer

1587

Tho Nichole

1361

Rad Hawdon

1600

John Arrowsmith

1367

Israel Hewitt

1620

Will de Enderby

1369

Tho Horrocks

1650

John de Felmersham 

 

Joh Head

1662

Richard Lovelick

1374

Joh Wigmore

1672

Robert Fyn

 

Joh Martin

1689

Alanus de Thame

1395

Samuel Palmer

1710

David Uske alias Fox 

1398

Robert Symonds

1724

John Weston

1399

Thomas Knipe

1725

John Hamewode

 

William Benson

1749

Will Reder

1446

William Williams

 

Nic Saxton

1458

Charles Matthew

1809

Tho Wellys

1461

James Williams

1844

Will Chaloner

 

 John Laurence Prior 

1846

John Ward

1482 

 Edward R. Horwood 

1850

John Wode

1485

Alfred Wilson

1901

John Jackson

 

Leonard Hughes

1903

Will Walton

1524

Isaac Seymour

1917 

John Clerke

1541

John Lewis

1947

Will Dawes

1551

Derek Iorns

1953 

William Woodall

1561

Arthur Dunlop 

1972 

Nic Johnson

1562

Peter Mason 

1993 

Rob Williams

1566

David Atkins 

2001 

Fab Withers

1575

Stephen Carter

2009 

Geo Gifford

1582

 

 

 

So often the question is asked, "What is the difference between a Rector and a Vicar?"  

St. Mary's in Maldon has a Rector and so does St. Andrew's in nearby Heybridge, so why does All Saints have a Vicar?   As it is so often, the answer lies in history for in the present day there is no difference.   The Rector is the person who received all the endowments, tithes and gifts of a parish - it was truly a "living".   Some had more than one living, indeed some had many.   In order to maintain the services in the parishes providing the revenue, a priest was installed to act on behalf of the Rector.   The Latin word to describe such a person was a Vicarius - one who stands in place of - and that's just what the Vicar did.   At All Saints the Rector was the Abbot of Beeleigh Abbey for nearly 300 years and the canons came as Vicarius.   Details of Vicars of All Saints with St. Peter's as far as we know are shown below.   Inevitably there are gaps, uncertainties and, perhaps, some inaccuracies but such as we have may be of passing interest.   Prior to 1244 one name only has as yet been traced - that of Geoffrey, a Chaplain or Capellanus apparently of All Saints only, who seems to have been deputed by Beeleigh Abbey to conduct services in the church.

What is a Canon?
Many people ask why some parish priests are titled 'Canon'.   This title is still given in many dioceses to senior parish priests as a largely honorary one.   It is usually awarded in recognition of long and dedicated service to the diocese.   Canons receive no additional emolument and can have a role in the administration of the cathedral.

 

THE PARISH

The name Maldon is believed to come from the Saxon word Mealdun "dun" meaning the "cross on the hill" and the word "mael" meaning a "place of meeting".   So it seems likely that although the oldest part of the present church (the tower) is 13th century, this probably replaced a place of worship from earlier times.  

But from speculation to reality!   We know that in 1189, by a charter of Richard 1, both the churches of All Saints and St. Peter's were conveyed by Robert Mantell to the Abbot and Canons of Beeleigh Abbey, a monastic foundation he had established a few years earlier, a mile to the the west of Maldon.   

The two parishes were very different in nature. All Saints was small in area and cared for the centre of the town, providing for the merchants and guilds with chantry priests for the chantry chapels, while St. Peter's covered the edge of the town and large areas of the surrounding countryside.

The Reverend Edward Russell Horwood, M.A. (above) was, as far as we know, the longest serving incumbent of All Saints (1850 - 1901) and the Reverend Isaac Lothian Seymour, M.A was another long server from 1917 to his death in 1947.   Records show that both men were very much loved and respected by their parishioners.

(For more about Rev Edward Russell Horwood see paragraphs below

 

THE PARISH LOGO

What can you see in it ?

The cross is supreme over everything, reminding us of the sovereignty of Christ and that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has saved us all by his death on the cross and all people must look to him to be saved. We are reminded of our enormous task to share His good news with others and never to rest until those around us know and love Him.

The circle reminds us of this world-wide task we have. It is the round world the Church must win for Christ. Every Christian must take their part in loving and serving others through their daily work and their free time. The world will accept only a Church that serves. We have no rights, only duties.

The circle stands for a halo as well, reminding us that we are to be 'saints'. Not the plaster, fragile sort but ordinary folk dedicated to God's service in today's world. We are very conscious of our limitations and so we strive to be better Christians by worshipping more regularly, praying and studying our faith. This is all part of practical holiness which the halo suggests.

Hidden away within the circle is a fish. The fish was a symbol of the early Church in days of persecution when the cross was a dangerous sign to show. The Greek initials of "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour" make up the Greek word "fish". We use it to show that we are not alone in being 'saints' but part of God's great family - the Christian Church - here in Maldon and in the world.

 

SOME NOTEABLE CITIZENS OF THE PARISH

 

THOMAS CAMMOCK

A man with "a touch of swagger"

by Stephen P. Nunn

The other day I came face to face with a Tudor Maldonian.   Over the years I had seen him from a distance (ever since my boyhood Sunday school days in fact) but I had never been quite that close before.   Before you start worrying about me, I can tell you that the face belongs to an image on a monument in All Saints church.   It's not just any old monument, but an impressive representation of an equally remarkable man - one Thomas Cammock.

Recent work in the church has seen the insertion of a new mezzanine floor in the north (St. Katherine's) gild chapel.   That new floor now allows us unprecedented access to Cammock's wall memorial above the priest's door and suddenly we can get up close to one of the most controversial characters in the long story of our town.   Back in the late 1500s he was at the centre of a scandal and everyone in the neighbourhood was talking about him.   To understand his story and the circumstances surrounding that event we must travel back to the 16th century.   Born in 1540, the son of Robert Cammock of Layer Marney (d. 1585), Thomas was a minor country landowner of "gentle birth" but "barely cleared the rank of the yeomanry".   He made his home in Maldon and he married well.   His wife, Ursula Wyrley was the daughter of John Wyrley of Didford, in the county of Northamptonshire.   The marriage was a successful one and she bore him no less than 4 sons and 5 daughters.   Tragically, Ursula went to an early grave, leaving Thomas a grieving widower who found solace and diversion in his work.   He was part of the retinue of Sir Robert, the second Lord Rich, who was the head of a powerful dynasty that acceded to the title of the Earls of Warwick.

Thomas must have made a positive impression on his master and he became very close to the Lord and his family.   However, it proved to be too cosy a relationship for he fell in love with Robert Rich's only daughter, Frances.   Needless to say Lord Rich did not approve of the approaches of a widower and an employee, particularly one of little wealth and no title!   But it didn't put the couple off and one stormy night whilst travelling between two of the Rich properties - Leez Priory (Little Leighs) and Rochford Hall, the couple made off and eloped.   When the news reached Lord Rich he was less than pleased and instructed his son and his soldiers to go in pursuit.   They eventually caught up with the couple at South Fambridge where the lovers were attempting to cross the Crouch and head on into Thomas's home town of Maldon.   The trouble was that the ferry boat was moored on the other side of the river at North Fambridge.   Thomas decided that there was nothing for it but to swim across to recover the craft.   Frances, however, had other ideas and thanks to a remarkable surviving account (recorded by the antiquary, William Holman) we even know what she said.   This determined young woman instructed Thomas to mount her horse with her so that they could combat the strong current together.   She would, she said, "live or die with him".

Lord Rich's soldiers reached the south bank as the couple were about half way across the river.   At that moment the horse had second thoughts, turned round and swam back, depositing the couple in the hands of their pursuers!   Nevertheless they somehow escaped, eventually crossed the river and rode on into Maldon where they "wedded and bedded" and went on to make their home throughout the 1580s and 90s.   When Lord Rich heard the full story and how his daughter had "ventured her life" for Thomas, he changed his attitude and gave them his love and full support.   Their union proved to be a most successful and happy one, leading to 2 more sons and 11 more daughters for Thomas!   What must the locals have thought at the time?   "Local widower runs off with Lord's daughter...Shocking incident at the Fambridge Ferry"!   In some ways I suppose it gave them plenty of Tudor 'street-cred'!

Thomas has subsequently been described in many different ways - an 'adventurer', a man with "a touch of swagger", even a 'pirate'.   What we do know is that he wanted to do his bit for the local community, for in 1587 he paid for Maldon's very first convenient water supply - piped in a 600 yards lead conduit from his well in Beeleigh Road (the 'Crom' or 'St. Helen's Well') to a pump on St. Helen's Lane (now Cromwell Hill).   He died a contented man at the end of March 1602.   But he hasn't left us entirely and neither have his two kneeling wives, depicted in profile and staring at their shared husband and his 22 children of all ages and sizes in the 'predella' below - enough, one wit has said to play their own family game of cricket had it been invented by then!   (They would have known a similar game called 'stoolball').   We can still meet them today and thanks to some church works in our own lifetime we can now become very intimate with them indeed.

This information is provided by Stephen P. Nunn, a local historian, and is reproduced here with his kind permission.


 

EDWARD BRIGHT

The Fat Man at Maldon

The Tombstone of Edward Bright and his family, who are interred at All Saints' Church.   Various sources state that Edward Bright, the famed 'Fat Man of Maldon' died in 1756 but he did, without a question of doubt, pass on to greater things in 1750 as evidenced by parish records and clearly marked on the tombstone.

Entry from parish records detailing his burial on November 12th, two days after his death.   It reads as follows:

Edward, a Tallow Chandler and Grocer of this Town was buried the 12th of November in the parish Church of All Saints near the Belfry door.   He weighed upwards of forty two stone, Horseman's Weight, his coffin was three feet six inches over the shoulders, six feet seven inches long and three feet deep.   A way was cut through the wall and stair case to let it down into the shop;  it was drawn upon a carriage to the church, slid upon rollers to the vault made of brickwork and interred by the help of a Triangle and Pulleys.   He was 29 years of age the first of March last;  has left a widow now big with her sixth child.   He was a very honest Tradesman, a facetious companion, comely in his person, affable in his temper, a kind husband, a tender Father and valuable Friend.   William Benson, Vicar.

It will be seen that the above says 'he weighed upwards of forty two stone' (588 pounds) but the more popular belief is that his weight exceeded 44 stones (616 pounds).

Edward died of typhoid and Mary, his wife, outlived him by 36 years.

The story is told of a joker in a local pub who tempted an inveterate gambler with a bet that seven hundred men would fit into Edward Bright's waistcoat ('vest' in the USA).   The bet was accepted but the gambler lost because seven men from the Dengie Hundred (a local area) fitted into the waistcoat.


 

EDWARD RUSSELL HORWOOD

Updated transcript of talk delivered by John Clifford to ‘Saints Alive’ in 2007

Whilst this discourse purports to deal with the life and times of Edward Russell Horwood, it in fact ventures into the Horwood family history generally.   Quite surprisingly, for a man who had such an active and involved life, there is a lot we don’t know about him so to confine this discourse to the one man would, I fear, make for a very short talk.   I shall, however, do my best to give you some insight into his life.

For those who may not know, Edward was the vicar of All Saints’ Maldon for an incredible 51 years from 1850 to 1901 and Rural Dean from 1872 to 1898.   He is, in the past 650 years, the longest serving incumbent of All Saints’ and, whilst not wishing to presume anything, I think it is unlikely that any of us will ever see a vicar serving us for longer at our church.   His golden jubilee was on Friday 5thOctober 1900, just a few months before he died.   We cannot claim that he is the longest serving vicar of this church as such records as exist show that Ralph de Luffenham was incumbent from 1294 to 1361 – 67 years – although there is, of course, no way of substantiating this.

If anybody had mentioned Horwood’s name to me three or four years ago, I should probably have just looked blankly at them whilst desperately trying to think who he might be so it would not be appropriate for me to criticize anybody here today who may have looked at me equally blankly.   Had I been more observant at that time, I might have noticed the plaque to the left of the choir vestry which mentions his name and this would have drawn me to the East Window which is dedicated to Edward.   On my way back, if I looked on the left of the entrance to the D’Arcy chapel I would probably have seen the list of incumbents over the years with his name on it.

So what led me along a path which has kept me busy for these many months?   Round about 2006 an email popped up on my computer monitor and it was from a lady named Elizabeth Buchanan who lives in Orange on the east coast of Australia not far from Sydney.   She had spotted my name on the church website and made contact to ask if I could provide any further information on the reverend gentleman who is the elder brother of Captain William Spry Horwood, great great grandfather of her husband, Brian.   Further mention will be made of William later.

I was able to provide her with a few snippets which she did not already have and, sensing my interest, she sent me volumes of information which she had already gleaned including a fascinating family tree which tells us much about the extensive Horwood family – a name which, sadly, seems to have all but disappeared.   Since that time Elizabeth and I have become keyboard friends which is something akin to pen friends except that communication is carried out via computers.   Fortunately I have a plan which allows me free international calls so we often speak by telephone too.   Being a keen cricket fan, however, I have learnt that it is not the best idea to telephone Australians at a time when England are being soundly thrashed in a test match series!

So, on to the point of my talk here today.   Edward Russell Horwood was the second of ten children born to Edward senior and Harriett who lived in the Buckinghamshire village of Aston Clinton.   Edward senior was a very wealthy man who started the business of Horwood and James, Land Agents, who at that time worked closely with the Duke of Buckingham.   The company still exists but are now Horwood and James, Solicitors.   Records show that the Horwoods occupied The Manor House, a magnificent mansion in Aston Clinton, for some ten years but it would appear that residency was only taken up in 1853, the year before Edward Senior died, so it is assumed that the family continued to reside there after his death.   The property is referred to as far back as 1333 when it was owned by Sir William de Molyns and it was subsequently owned by many members of the nobility and even, in recent years, Noel Edmonds and then a yuppie city financier who wanted it as a holiday home.   At the time Horwood occupied it, it was owned by Sir Anthony de Rothschild whose influence in the area is considerable. 

Some of Edward junior’s siblings will be mentioned today but I have also produced a family tree, based on information provided by my Australian friends, which may help give a better understanding of the family structure.   Sizeable as this tree may appear, it only scratches the surface of the family.

As I have already suggested, Edward’s family were wealthy and this wealth is illustrated by a codicil to Edward senior’s will in 1849.   It made provision for an advowson in the name of Edward Russell.   My understanding of an advowson is that it is in effect a sum of money paid or promised to purchase an incumbency – perhaps in a manner similar to the purchase of a commission in the army or navy at that time.   This could be refused by the Bishop of the time but seldom was and the money paid was used to assist with the upkeep of the church.   The advowson that Edward made was in the sum of £3,965 which may not seem excessive but remember that we are talking about 158 years ago.   In today’s money this equates to about £375,000.

Appointed to the living at the age of 29, Edward was extremely popular with just about everybody in Maldon, worshippers and non-worshippers alike and it would be a gross understatement to say that he led a rather active life.   He was a Justice of the Peace, school manager, member of the Maldon Board of Guardians, Governor of the grammar school, Librarian of the Plume Library and an all round sportsman.   He participated in rowing, cricket, golf, lawn tennis, swimming, hunting, shooting and he was described as being a capital horseman and the fastest runner and best jumper at his college.   He was a Founder President of  Maldon Golf Club and served as President of Maldon Rowing, Cricket and Lawn Tennis clubs, as well as the amateur dramatic and philharmonic societies.   I was grateful to Robert Shanks who recently pointed out to me that, at Maldon Golf Club’s centenary celebrations in 1991, he was privileged to play the part of Edward Russell Horwood in a re-enactment of the club’s founding ceremony.  

Edward was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford where he gained an M.A. degree in 1846.   He was also a very prominent Freemason and one of the first members of the Lodge of St. Peter who meet at Cromwell Hill.   This lodge has been, over the years, and still is very generous to All Saints.   If you look at the lectern in our church you will see that there is a plaque on the base which commemorates the fact that it was presented by the masons in gratitude for being allowed to hold their meetings in the tower of St. Peter’s church when they had nowhere else to go.

Having once got the bug of interest and curious to see what else I could find out, I undertook to locate Edward’s grave.   At the time I was not sure if he was even buried in Maldon although it seemed a fairly safe bet that he was.   The one certain thing is that his body was not in All Saints’ graveyard as interment there had ceased many years previously.

In the event and with the help of Maldon Council, his grave has been located at London Road Cemetery.   The grave also contains the remains of Edward’s year old son, Edward Dudley Horwood who died at the vicarage in 1860.   Regrettably it has been badly neglected over the years and is grossly overgrown with brambles.  It was at one time my intention to try to get the grave cleared so that we could go at least part way to restoring it to its former glory and then hold a short service there.   It would have been nice to do this in memory of a great servant to All Saints.   Regrettably a lack of sufficient bodily mobility on my part and the reluctance of others to come forward to help means that this will now probably never be achieved, which I find to be very sad.   The local council have pointed out that they have no responsibility for this.  

One other thought came to mind and that was to carry out some more research with a view to finding out where Edward’s wife Caroline is buried.   As she died 15 years after him, however, it is highly likely that she moved elsewhere in the country so this a difficult task.   There is no evidence at present that she is buried on the same site as her husband.

I have also been able, with the help of the Plume Library, to locate three ERH sermons.   These make for very interesting reading.   I shall hopefully be reproducing these on this website in the near future.

On Sunday 22ndOctober 1865, in a sermon dedicated almost totally to the death of Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, his words were ones which I only wish it would be possible to echo today:  “Our country is in possession of a wealth and prosperity unprecedented in her annals;  she is at peace with the world, and, what is a singular coincidence with the death of our great statesman, all the nations of the earth are at peace with one another.”   Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say that now.   Poor Edward must be turning in his grave to see the world in 2011.

Another sermon preached in the Chapel of the Maldon Union on Friday 5thJune 1874 did, I admit, bring a smile to my face.   Having addressed his younger listeners and done his best to inspire them to great and Godly things in their lives, he then went on to say:

“It is necessary, above all, to you, my aged and venerable hearers, who are bending under infirmities and tottering on the staff of age.   You have one foot already in the grave;  the taper but faintly glimmers;  the sand is nearly run out.   A few more suns may rise, a few more evenings close upon you – they cannot be many – and then the slender thread of your existence will be cut by that hand of dissolution which spareth none.”

Not too encouraging, I think you will agree and, as an aged and venerable hearer myself, I think I would prefer not to develop that theme any further.   One thing is certain and you will have gathered from the foregoing that Edward did not believe in mincing his words.   At the same time, however, we have to accept that it is part and parcel of the job description of a parish priest to prepare us for what lies ahead.

He also appeared to enjoy being controversial.   He was firmly of the opinion that Maldon, not Colchester, was the Roman town of Camulodunum.   He felt that his reasoning was obvious.   The Romans were said to have built a hill-top temple on a site of more ancient worship which was a perfect description of All Saints’.   “Where”, he argued, “but on the crest of a hill, under some wide-spreading oak would the druidal temple stand?”

Inside the temple, the Romans had perished.   It was said that their blood, aided by the natural drainage of the location, flowed straight into the river below, turning its waters black.   The Romans called it “Aestuarium Idumanum” – the Blackwater.

Although many claim that the large finds of Roman coins discovered at Colchester proved it to be Camulodunum, Horwood was not impressed.   He reasoned, with faultless logic, that if a town had been sacked and pillaged then, surely, the riches would have been taken away.   Very few of such coins have ever been discovered in Maldon and therefore, he argued, it proved that Maldon was Camulodunum.

He wanted the row of shops on the High Street in front of All Saints’ to be knocked down and argued that this would reveal archaeological proof that the massacre of the Romans by Boudica took place in the graveyard of his church.

Horwood also, however, had a keen sense of humour and this is evidenced in a speech he gave on 19th February 1878 on the occasion of the opening of the rebuilt Maldon bridge which was, in the opinion of most Maldonians, the ugliest thing they had ever seen.   In voicing this view publicly, he went on to say that he “thought the old bridge was good enough to carry us all over for many years to come unless we have banquets continually spread before us such as we have had today, or our borough funds become suddenly enriched and our Mayor and corporation had a larger supply of venison, turtle and other traditional fare than we can at present afford them.”

He was also not afraid to get his hands dirty when there was a need.   In 1873 there was a massive fire at Sadd’s Warehouses and timber yard.   It was necessary to throw burning timbers into the river and, true to form, one of the first people into the fray pulling the burning debris clear was Edward Horwood.   He was similarly seen in action on Sunday, 17th January 1892 when a large part of Maldon High Street was burned down – truly a man of action.

In the spring of 1901, Edward, now in his eighties, had been ill for some time.   On a wet day he was caught without an umbrella and was lent one to get home.   An hour or two later, with the rain still falling, he took it back to its owner and returned home unprotected.   He died at three a.m. on Sunday, 30th June 1901.

Edward’s funeral is well documented.   Suffice to say at this time that virtually all business in Maldon closed down and the streets were packed with mourners – such was the respect in which he was held.   I have copies from the Essex County Chronicle and Essex County Standard of 5th July 1901 of articles giving greater details and it is the intention to reproduce these on this website in the near future.

In 1902 the present East Window was installed and, in the bottom right hand corner, it is inscribed:  “To God’s eternal glory and the beloved memory of His faithful servant E.R. Horwood, vicar of this parish from 1850 to 1901, this window is dedicated by his parishioners and family 1902.”

It was stated at the time of his death that one of the objects nearest to Horwood’s heart was the restoration of the interior of All Saints.   I have to say that I suspect not a lot has changed there even after more than a hundred years.

As I said in my opening comments, the researches carried out in this exercise reached out into the extended Horwood family.   For example, I am in regular contact with a young man named Jonathan Spurrell, an Englishman who works in Paris as an interpreter.   He is another descendant of the Horwoods, something like the great great grandson of Caroline Horwood, Edward Russell’s youngest sister who married the Rev. William Stuart a direct descendant of King Charles II.   Jonathan came over to England for a few days in 2006, during which time Canon David Atkins and I met with him to show him round the church and I later took him to the cemetery and the Plume Library.

This research has taken me to some very interesting places and some fascinating facts have been uncovered.  

I have learned that amongst the Horwoods and their descendants feature royalty (as just mentioned), generals and other high ranking army officers, many Italian Counts and priests galore.   We find a Horwood descendant married into the Borgia family – more specifically Alberto Borgia who was the fascist chief of Florence in the 1920s.   It has been a problem sometimes to avoid getting confused by the many surnames which have cropped up.   To name but a few we have Spurrell, Stuart, Spry, Fothergill, Aldridge, Tingey, Cooke, Logie, Ormond, Learmonth, Prendergast, Gotto, Hooper, Hall, Bruno, Scarrone, Hughes, Dickson, Ferrins, Melita, Cooke, Scroffa, Congreve – and the list could go on.

I find that there was a Charles Horwood who played cricket for Sussex but died in 1870 at the age of 30.   We believe him to have been a family member but cannot yet substantiate this.

Of particular interest have been the letters from India to family members from Edward Russell’s younger brother, Captain William Spry Horwood – all 97 pages of them - in which he tells of his experiences in the Indian Army at that time.   You will recall that I mentioned him earlier as the great great grandfather of my Australian contact.   His is a sad story.   He went to India in 1840 as a 17 year old Ensign and served there for the next nine years.   He married Jane Hall in 1846 when he was just 23 and they had a son, Charles in 1847.   William died of tuberculosis in 1849 at the age of 26.   His son grew up and joined the army and, on leaving, he gambled away his inheritance then went to work as a miner in New South Wales, Australia before he died in 1911 of pneumonia and influenza at the age of 64.

It has also interesting to read reports of the murder in Russia in 1906 of diplomat William Horwood Stuart, nephew of Edward Russell Horwood and son of Rev. William Stuart (Edward’s brother in law) who was Vicar of Mundon from 1862 to 1889.   The murder was shrouded in much mystery although suffice to say that it occurred at a time when Joseph Stalin was growing in power and influence.

Where do we go from here?   Well, Maureen and I have been to Aldermaston where we visited St. Mary’s church where the Rev. Faulknor Russell Horwood, son of our former Vicar, was incumbent for 38 years.   We then went to All Saints’ church, Buckland in Buckinghamshire to see a stained glass window dedicated to Edward Senior, his wife and daughter and from there to Aston Clinton, the family seat of the Horwoods and St. Michael and All Angels Church.   We found no less than eighteen graves of assorted Horwoods, most pre-dating the period of my investigation, as well as various other memorials in the churches and a variety of written references to more Horwoods than I could have imagined.   I have taken pictures of all these graves and memorials as well as the churches in which they are situated and would be happy to show them to anybody on request.   As many of the older gravestones are barely legible I also have available a complete transcript of what is written on each.

I should like to finish on a lighter note concerning Faulknor Russell Horwood, taken from a local Aston Clinton book:  “It is recalled, with some half remembered pain, how the moustached fox hunting vicar had a mannerism whilst preaching that amused the generally bored choir boys.   He had the habit of bending right down in the pulpit and bobbing his head as he did so as he emphasised ‘yes, yes, yes’.   The boys’ game was to count the number of occasions that he performed his elaborate affirmation during the sermon – accompanied no doubt by knowing smirks and nudges as the tally rose.   Unfortunately (for them), schoolmaster Mr. Randall was the organist and with professional insight he noted this behaviour and drew his own conclusions.   On Monday morning with due regard to the moral welfare of the boys in his charge – ‘they got a clip round the ear hole’.”

The research continues, albeit in a very quiet way, in the hope that at some point we shall discover something new which will set off a desirable chain reaction.

 


 

 

 

A copy of our short, illustrated guide to this fascinating and beautiful building, can be found at the back of the church price (£1).
Or a copy can be posted to you for (£1) plus postage.  

There is also a more comprehensive history available at the bargain price of £5 plus postage.  (These are usually printed to order.)   

Thomas Plume's Library, this interesting library contains over 8000 historic books. Visit their website for more information.   http://www.thomasplumeslibrary.co.uk/ 

 


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