History

STOCK STORIES COURTESY OF CHARLES PHILLIPS

PEASANTS REVOLT

Stock got involved in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. The causes were about dignity and respect for basic freedoms. It was about tenant farmers resenting servile dues from the lords of the manors. In some instances the tenants were required to work a certain number of days in the lord’s fields and there were dues such as a fine paid for marriage, the seizure of the best beast of the family on the death of a tenant and the compulsory use of the lord’s mill for the grinding of corn at a monopoly price. There was also a matter of a Poll Tax imposed by the government to raise money for the war against France then in progress. The Revolt started on 30th May 1381 when the villagers of Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope attacked the King’s Commissioner when he went to Brentwood to investigate and revise tax returns. The Revolt spread and Manor houses and religious houses were attacked, the houses of unpopular lords of the manor and justices were pillaged, Court rolls were burnt. The Rebels invaded London and killed, amongst others, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The young Richard II, who the rebels thought to be on their side, met them at Mile End and granted commutation of all servile dues for a rent of 4 pence per acre plus a free pardon for all rebels. What is more, this was written down on paper, which satisfied most of the rebels although the more recalcitrant were dealt with more sternly – i.e. execution in the presence of the rebels there. Very shortly after, the king called out his soldiers and put down the rebellion and punished it with cruel severity. The charters of liberation were repealed by Parliament as having been extorted under pressure. Far from being on the rebels’ side, the king was against the poor devils.

Where does Stock come into this? Well besides the villagers of Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope who attacked the King’s Commissioner when he went to Brentwood there were also amongst other villagers from Stock. The last place where the rebels made a stand against the king’s men was Norsey Woods, between Stock and Billericay. Over 500 were killed and it is quite probable that there were Stock and Buttsbury men at that last stand. Donald Jarvis in Stock, Essex and Wynford Grant in A Short History of Stock quote the transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society which mentions an inquisition at Chelmsford in which men of Stock from amongst other places had attacked a couple of Justices of the Peace at Brentwood and had then gone to Cressing where they had gone to the Prior’s house, (apparently) destroyed it and taken away his goods. After this they went to Coggeshall and broke into the house of the Sheriff of Essex took away £1,000 and afterwards rode off marauding around the county.

THE NAUGHTY WAYS OF 16TH CENTURY STOCK

Stock was quite a lawless place. For example, in 1539 the Bailiff of the manor was ordered to put a proclamation in the church that people weren’t to put their cattle on the road at night `to the damage of the people of the king’. The fine for this was 12d or in modem terms 5p. 12d was quite a lot of money in those days. Obviously cattle had been impeding progress of travellers along the road.

And that wasn’t all. Nowadays you go to the lavatory do your business and flush it away. In 1539 this wasn’t the case. People put their excreta outside their houses in the village and didn’t even dig a hole in the garden to bury it, as was done before cesspools and septic tanks and main drains. Stock must have stunk. The inhabitants were asked to remove this. The fine was 12d

And there were problems with pigs. It seems that pigs were wandering around loose, as an order was made in 1544 for people to ring and yoke their pigs (‘according to ancient custom’). One man got in real trouble, as he was ordered to remove his pigs’ troughs and heaps and logs lying on the church green and not to pasture his cows there – penalty 5s [or 25p today]. But that wasn’t all, he was ordered to remove his dung heaps outside the village and not to put them back – penalty 10s [50p.]. In 1547 Henry Watkyn was forbidden to walk round at night with a bow and arrows so as to deprive hens and geese from roosting – penalty 12d. The Stock miller seems to have been a bit unscrupulous and in both 1548 and 1551 a fine was levied for taking his excessive tolls for grinding corn.

There was trouble with branches being removed from hedges in Park Lane to the detriment of the King’s leige going that way. In 1549 those who broke their neighbours’ hedge branches could be fined 3s.4d..

In 1548 a couple of Stock bakers were fined 8d each by the assize court for baking small loaves: apparently this wasn’t their first offence. They were threatened with pillory or the tumbrel if they did it again. In the previous year William Saueryng was fined for not scouring a ditch and Simon Whyte was fined 3s.4d for erecting stakes in a pond.

Even the Rector wasn’t immune! For example, in 1557, the Rector of Stock, Oliver Clayton, was fined 12d for allowing his pigs, geese and other animals to wander on the common, contrary to the custom in use there. In 1558 he was fined 25s for having placed his animals on the high road to the detriment of his neighbours and was fined a further 2s for them making common with his neighbours animals and admonished not to let it happen again under a penalty of 3s.4d. In 1559 he was ordered not to keep his geese or chickens on any land but his own under a penalty of 3s.4d. In 1560 he was fined 3s.4d for again putting his sheep and geese on the common, plus the addition of diseased boar. He was ordered not to do this again under a penalty of 10s. In 1564 he was admonished not give hospitality or to permit any vagabond or unlicensed beggar to pass the night in his houses under a penalty of 3s.4d. In 1567 he was ordered not to keep his chickens on the common or in the streets under a penalty of 40s. In 1548 John Sparke, a husbandman of Stock, aided by Richard Clarke broke down the door of Buttsbury church, entered in and stole two pieces of linen, viz – a rocket and an altar cloth. In the same year Edward Pratte entered Stock church and damaged the register.

In 1559 the miller was again in trouble, as on 5`” October he was ordered in future to grind the corn of the residents of Stock before handling that from outside the parish. Even the church had a bit of trouble, as in March 1592 two churchwardens of Stock, Richard Starkis and Robert Tavener, appeared before the Archdeacon of Essex under the charge of removing the lead from the church steeple. Their answer was that the lead was blown about the previous November and carried away by some unknown persons. Apparently things seemed to have worked out all right as it was recorded in June 1592 that the church and the belfry were being repaired.

Meanwhile on Stock Common, two tilers, Thomas Byrde and Walter Dawdrey, were digging pits to nuisance of their neighbours. This shows that there was then a tile making industry in Stock and it is worth noting that Stock Common was lot bigger than now.

They weren’t the only people to be about on the Common. In an article in Stock Press, Donald Jarvis tells of a terrible affray occurring on Stock Common at South Hanningfield in April 1580. A group of men from Stock, South Hanningfield, Ramsden Bellhouse, Buttsbury and the Middle Temple in London (sic) were charged at the Quarter Sessions with making an unlawful and armed assembly on the Common which was described as `a parcel of waste soil and free tenement’ of the Earl of Oxford of his Manor of Downham Hall and for assaulting

various tenants of the Earl. The group was a mixed bunch – the man from London was described as a `gent’ and there were also yeomen, husbandmen and labourers involved.

There’s a mention of handguns in the Sessions Rolls of this period. It was forbidden to shoot any missile called ‘hayleshotte’ or more than one pellet at a time. In July 1572 Edward Taverner and John Crosseley from Stock were up before the courts for using these. The penalty was £10.0s.0d and three months’ imprisonment. Note that in those days guns used lead balls or buck shot and not bullets.

Of course people’s tastes were improving: where they once stole cattle, they were now stealing deer. In 1578 five inhabitants of Stock were charged with stealing deer from Lady Petre’s Crondon Park. Cows did still attract some people, as in 1587 William Sympson was up before the courts for breaking in to and taking away three cows from the Lord of the Manor’s pound at Fristling Hall. The Lord of the Manor was Sir John Petre, the son of Sir William.

Some people preferred smaller creatures – in 1587 Francis Monk was before the courts for rabbit killing and stealing, the bunnies in question being in Sir John Petre’s rabbit warren at Ingatestone.

And there was even a witch trial. Agnes Sawen was a spinster, who was alleged to be a common enchantress of men and beasts and other things and exercised the diabolical art of the witch. She was brought before the quarter sessions in 1576 for having on the instigation of the devil seduced a certain Christopher Veele of Stock and causing him to become mutilated in both feet so that they remained curved and that one was so wasting that that he couldn’t use it. For this Agnes was imprisoned in Colchester gaol for a year and pilloried. Of course, another explanation is that Agnes was not a witch. Christopher, the son of Roger Veele, was aged three at the time of the incident. As diseases were not exactly uncommon in those days, despite people being more immune to them than they are now, Christopher had probably caught something which caused the affliction. The Veele family were neighbours of Agnes Sawen. Agnes wasn’t the only alleged witch in Stock – in 1579 there is mention in the books of the Archdeaconry of Essex of Elizabeth Boxworth of Stock being a suspected witch.

There were severe penalties for being a vagrant or vagabond. In 1572 Robert Ansell, Maria Barnes, George Foster and John Waters were up before the courts for this. The first two were found guilty and the last two not guilty. Any person over 14 who was a vagrant was to be severely whipped and burnt through the gristle of the right ear with a one inch diameter hot iron, unless they were taken into service for one year. Anyone over 18 who again became a vagrant was to suffer death unless they were taken into service for two years. If they became a vagrant for the third time they were to be judged to be a criminal.

Sometimes the law was too harsh. A 1580 byelaw made it illegal to play football on Sundays and also during prayer time on Sundays to play bowling alleys and painted cards – fine 3 shillings and 4 pence for each. This incidentally proves a couple of things – that people were already playing football and bowling and the existence of card games. Certain sports were reserved for the rich: in 1567 Thomas Ffekeman was fined Is. for keeping hunting dogs (beagles) and hunting with them despite not having any free tenement (that is, owning or leasing property).

In 1570 an Act was by which everyone over the age of seven, except those possessing land over the (rateable) value of 20 marks [a mark was then worth 13s.4d] a year and certain others had on Sundays and Holy days, unless on a journey to wear a thick woollen cap made of English wool. Fine 3 shillings and 4 pence. In 1582 some people were fined for not having used their caps on Sundays and feast days ‘according to the statue in that respect’.

Another thing was that in 1599 it became illegal in Stock and Buttsbury for any inhabitant to take anyone into their house (lodgers?) without the consent of the Churchwardens and the overseers. You could be fined for not going to church, as happened to a couple of people in 1579. And of course the old law about not practising with their bows and arrows. It seems Stock and Buttsbury were very keen on using them, as in March 1602 the Manor Rolls recorded that the inhabitants of the two villages hadn’t been using them according to the law.

Where was law and order in this? Well, it is easier to say what the punishments were. In general there were throughout England five sorts. The ducking stool by the pond where you got ducked. The stocks, which were a wooden framework with holes for the feet, where you’d be confined for public punishment, such as having rotten vegetables chucked at you. The whipping post where you’d be whipped and the cage where you’d get locked up. The tumbrel, you were stood up in and paraded round the village, so that people could chuck stuff at you or spit at you. It is known that Stock had a cage, near the Weir Pond which survived until about 1864. There were also stocks in Stock, a ducking stool, a tumbrel and a whipping post. The law officers were the parish constables who had responsibility for dealing with petty offences, and seemingly to arrange apprehension in more major offences; underneath these were the parish watchmen, whose job it was to patrol the village.

THE REV  WILLIAM UNWIN AND WILLIAM WILBERFORCE

In July 1769 the Rev William Cawthome Unwin, who was born in 1745, was appointed Rector of Stock and Ramsden Bellhouse. He married Ann Shuttleworth and they had three children, all born in Stock – John (1775), Mary Ann (1779) and William (1781). In 1781 he was presented to the living of Ramsden Crays, which he held at the same time as Stock and Ramsden Bellhouse. William Unwin visited the prisoners in Chelmsford prison and harangued the magistrates into giving them warmer clothes and also fires. He became a friend of Lord Petre, which, as Lord Petre was a Catholic, was rather daring for an Anglican clergyman. His main claim to fame is that he was friend of the poet William Cowper (1731-1800). Unwin first met Cowper in 1765 and they struck up a friendship, which lasted for the rest of Unwin’s life. At one time Cowper became engaged to Unwin’s widowed mother, Mary.

Unwin found the annual tithe audit very embarrassing, so Cowper wrote a poem for him called `The Yearly Distress or Tithing Time at Stock’. This has been reproduced in two histories of Stock and a limited edition of the poem was printed by the Rev Barry Hall, the Rector of West Hanningfield in 2000. Cowper also wrote a poem of friendship to the Rev

Unwin. Surprisingly, as far as is known, Cowper never visited Stock. However, another acquaintance of Unwin’s did – the slavery reformer William Wilberforce, whom Unwin met in January 1786 and who visited the Unwins in Stock that Easter. In November 1786, whilst visiting Winchester he caught fever and died and is buried in the nave of the Cathedral.

THE ZEPPELIN CRASH

On a Saturday night at the end of September 1916 a German airship was brought down at South Green near Billericay by a combination of anti-aircraft guns and aircraft. As it burnt, the whole sky was lit up. Great excitement prevailed in the village and the next day people from the village and beyond went to look at the wreckage

Young Lewis Donald Jarvis wrote in his diary ‘I watched the Zeppelin being hit by a shot from one of our aeroplanes, and drifting in flames low over the village towards Billericay. The whole village was lit up (and the amount of traffic through the village all the day following was enormous). Charlie Cottee wrote many years after the event ‘Early in War 1. Zeppelin brought down Billericay Saturday night. Set on fire. Everyone in it died. Next Sunday morning in chapel not very interested in the service. Soldiers marching past – attracted us youngsters. Home to diner. Then off to see the Zep. We went nearly to South Green. Fragments of the Zep were strewn for quite long distances. Aluminium chips, burnt silk cord, and cloth. Quite a time it took, before getting home to a late tea. One incident. Mr J Madle from Stock, brought his sister Emma to see the Zep in his horse and cart. When Jimmy got to a corner of the road a lorry came along with the rudder of the Zep. This piece was longer than the motor carrying it, and on the corner as the motor turned the rudder swung round over the top of Madles cart. Emma ducked in time to save her head being knocked off. A memorable day. Stock boys sold pieces of the Zep and made quite a bit of cash. They were not the only ones. Quite a few people picked up souvenirs. Not everyone was as lucky as the boys of Stock. It was said when L32 was burning that a newspaper could be read from the glow within a distance of twenty miles and that the sky was lit up for sixty miles.

In another incident a Zeppelin was damaged in one of its petrol tanks and dropped the tank, which fell about a mile south of the village.

STOCK AND BUTTSBURY 1826 – 1827

STOCK is a parish situated on an eminence between Chelmsford and Billericay, distant six miles from the former, three from the latter place and Ingatestone, and eleven from Rayleigh. It is conjectured that this parish was originally no more than an hamlet to Buttsbury, being entirely surounded by it, except to the east ; where it abuts upon the parishes of South and West Hanningfields In some parts of this parish the soil is gravelly, but towards the common it produces good crops of corn. The church of All Saints, is a neat old building with a steeple of wood, in which are, three bells and a clock.There are besides a dissenters’ chapel and a poor-house. The number of inhabitants in 1821 was 610..

BUTTSBURY adjoins the parishes of Stock; and Margaretting. Part of the parish lies a considerable distance from any high road, as does the the church which is small without a single monument in it. The population is about 500.

GENTRY AND CLERGY

Edison Rev. Geo. Thos.

Stock

Eldridge Thos. esq.

Stock Huse

Lewis Rev. John

Buttsbury

Vachell Horace esq.

Stock Lodge

TAVERNS AND PUBLIC HOUSES

Bear, Wm. Mumford,

Buttsbury

Cock, Henry Gusterson,

Stock

King’s Head, Wm Jordan,

Stock

TRADERS & SHOPKEEPERS

Adams Robt, tailor,

Stock

Brown Sam, bt and shoe mkr,

Buttsbury

Calloway Ann, grocer & draper,

Stock

Davey Robt, turner,

Stock

Hardy Mary, baker,

Stock

Hewett Js, plumb & glazier

Stock

Jarvis Sarah, bricklayer

Stock

Knightsbridge Harry, butcher

Stock

Mathams Gregory, baker

Stock

Moss Wm miller,

Stock

Oddy Jas boot & c mkr,

Buttsbury

Phillipson John farrier &c,

Buttsbury

Plumb Wm carpenter &c,

Stock

Shepeard J wheelwright,

Buttsbury

Threadgold Geo miller,

Buttsbury

TRADERS & SHOPKEEPERS

Atherton Jas, wheelwright,

Buttsbury

Brown Ts, blacksmith

Buttsbury

Clark John, maltster,

Buttsbury

Goody Harvey, grocer & draper,

Buttsbury

Goslett Alfred, grocer & draper,

Buttsbury

Jarvis Jas, bricklayer,

Buttsbury

Jarvis Sarah, bricklayer

Stock

Low Wm, baker

Stock

Meekings W blacksmith,

Buttsbury

Mumford Jas collar mkr,

Stock

Parnell Thos butcher,

Stock

Phillipson Wm butcher,

Buttsbury

Pullen Ts carpenter &c,

Buttsbury

Tabrum John corn dealer,

Buttsbury

Palmer Mrs ladies’
boarding & day academy,

Stock

COACH

To CHELMSFORD,
from Stock, the Billericay Coach every Friday at 11 and returns at five in the evening

BUSES

It has been said that buses first reached Stock in 1913, however recent research proves that this is incorrect. Whilst researching the history of the railway from Shenfield to Southend and its associated branch lines I discovered that buses did not reach Stock until some time between April and the beginning of July 1914.  Here is a transcription of the earliest known timetable.  It is taken from the Great Eastern Railway’s public timetable for July 1914.

Daily

Tu, F, Sa

M W Th

Daily

Daily

Tu, F, Sa

W, F, Sa

Morning

Morning

Morning

Even

Even

Even

Even

Chelmsford

8.20

9.45

9.58

1.30

4.18

4.18

7.25

Galleywood

8.50

10.15

10.28

2.0

4.50

4.50

7.55

Stock

10.40

5.15

Daily

M W Th

Tu, F, Sa

Daily

M, W, Th

Tu, F, Sa

W, F, Sa

Morning

Morning

Morning

Even

Even

Even

Even

Stock

10.45

5.20

Galleywood

9.0

10.35

11.10

2.5

4.55

5.45

8.0

Chelmsford

9.30

10.58

11.40

2.35

5.15

6.15

8.22