Lamarsh Church

The Friends of Holy Innocents Church, Lamarsh
Registered charity No 1088711

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Holy Innocents


This is a transcript from "Holy Innocents Lamarsh, Church and Rector" by Montgomery Burnett
It is also available as a Word document

Table of Contents


The Coat of Arms,
either Beauchamp or Basset,
as described by Homan


The origin of this name is Anglo-Saxon. In the Domesday Survey the manor is named "Lamers" and in other early records the spellings vary between Lamers and Lamersch sometimes with a double m. Reaney, in his place names of Essex, gives the derivation: Lam=loam, erse=stubble-land and this is a good description of the light arable land which from early times predominated in the manor.

An alternative meaning the marsh which is sometimes given, is based on the low lying meadows beside the river but this is not borne out by the early spellings of the name. This can be compared to nearby Pebmarsh, (on high ground) which means Pibba's stubble-land , and was originally written as Pebeners there is also Cornard, across the river which used to be known as Cornerth.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, there is no mention of a church standing in Lamarsh, or for that matter in Alphamstone or Henny. The inference is that in this sparsely populated area Mass would have be heard in an existing secular building and administered by a priest from Bures or Sudbury.

The Normans brought an increased prosperity to the Manors and handed them to wealthy men of their own race who were able to build churches or chapels adjoining their own demesnes. But it was not until the Normans had been in England for nearly 80 years that the Manor of Lamarsh came into the hands of such a family: the Beauchamps of Bedford.

It was in the reign of King Stephen that this family, loyal to the King, was rewarded by territorial gifts in North Essex when they acquired, amongst others, the manorial lands of Belchamp Walter, Twinstead, Lamarsh and Henny.

The Church

Architects have put a date of around 1140 for the building of the Nave and Round Tower and this ties in exactly with the date when Stephen granted the demesne lands to Simon de Beauchamp, and his Steward, who became the 5th Baron Bedford. Thus it may be reasonably assumed that this Simon was the builder of the church, close to his new Hall and Court, and the provider of one of the only three Norman Round Towers in Essex.

The dedication to ‘Holy Innocents’ by whomever it was named, is interesting because there are only 5 old churches in all England with this dedication.

The church is built of familiar flint and tile rubble mixture, usually founding North Essex, but the whole has been rendered over to make it more waterproof. The windows on the South Side of the nave, on the exterior, have some interesting finials above them, possibly representing the benefactors who inserted the altar windows into the Norman walls.

The Round Tower is the feature of the church which is immediately noticed as one approaches it from the lane. Why did the Beauchamps provide their church with a round tower? The building of these towers in large quantity in Norfolk, to a lesser degree in Suffolk and scarcely at all in Essex, must surely have a geographical bearing on the subject. There are four main theories given: (1) acute lack of good building materials (2) for the purposes of strength, (3) as protection for a well in land where water was scarce and (4) for military defence by the Anglo-Saxons against Danish invasions. Geographically this fits since Lamarsh is close to the River Stour, but there is no evidence that a Saxon tower preceded the Norman one.

To these ideas one can add a simple one: Norman architects liked building them and well knew that a round tower made a good military defence. One has only to look at the slits in the wall of Lamarsh tower to see how easy it would have been for one or two archers to command the approach to the church.

The Beauchamps of Bedford Castle were well versed in defence and their North Essex manors were set amongst the many manors of de Vere, with a newly built castle at Castle Hedingham where Matilda, the enemy of Stephen, had been welcomed.

The church would have served as a rallying ground for the villagers of the three parishes, if need be, and the tower would have been a military defence post. Every Lord could not afford a castle, even if he were allowed to build one, but a church tower was a feasible proposition.

The Porch

The brick porch was erected in Elizabethan times, during the incumbency of John Woodthorpe and when the 16th Earl of Oxford was Lord of the Manor. The fine, studded south door is considered to be of the same period. Over the door is a painted text and to the right of it is a Holy Water Stoup in a round headed, plastered recess. In the south east and south west angles of the porch are two recesses with pointed heads.

The Interior

The Nave:

This has remained very much as it has always been and it seems likely that a chancel was built at the same time, since nave and chancel are of the same width. However if this were the case then there must have been some re-construction since the present chancel shows signs of 14th century work.

The Tower

In the 19th century the tower was capped by a typical Essex Spire and the date 1865 has been found within. This spire was repaired in 1948 and again in 1974 when much of the timber structure needed renewal. A watercolour sketch of the church, dated 1908, and recently discovered in an auction room, shows that in that year the spire was topped by a weather vane and the cross, which is now at that point, stood at the east gable end.

In the latter part of the 17th century the church was in serious disrepair: The roof and part of the wall of the tower had fallen in and the three bells had been removed.

Some Middlesex Visitations of the period say:

‘The Church is full of holes.

The roof is fallen down, half of it split from top to bottom. To be taken down, not able to repair it.

To make place for the bells and to beautify the church.

No Church Plate: wants a new tablecloth.

William Hoy sold out of the bells about 5 years ago.

John Moresby took away the Communion Tabernacle and lives now in Lamarsh and was asked for it.’

These sad events had been allowed to happen when John Siday was Rector. Somehow the Church wardens got over most of their problems for by the time John Lillie came to the Parish in 1690 the requirements were relatively modest.

"John Lillie, rector, to provide a flagon, a fine linen cloth and a napkin for the Communion.

To provide a basin for the font.

The ivy and elder about the church to be cut down.

The pavement of the Church to be mended.

The Chancel and the Church to be tiled where needed.”

Lillie was helped out by some donations. John Andrews gave a chalice and patten in 1691 which bears the name of the maker, John Jackson, 1684: These are no longer kept in the Church. Someone also provided a new single bell, cast in 1695.

The Commonwealth vandals did much destruction. Many people, locally notable, must have been buried in the Church and have had some kind of stone erected in their memory. Holman, who visited the Church in about 1718 said that there was a large marble gravestone at the foot of the Chancel Steps, which had on it two effigies, a plate of brass beneath the feet, and under that two effigies more, all gone. There was also another marble gravestone which had a brass plate. Whom did these brasses commemorate? Sir John de Wascoyl of 1320, John Clee, of Clee’s Hall, Alphamstone, died in Lamarsh and expressly asked to be buried in Lamarsh Church. Then there were the Turners who bought the Manor from the 18th Earl of Oxford and the early Smyths who died before the Commonwealth supremacy. There was also John Clark, the farmer who gave a Charity to the Parish in 1575 and asked to be buried at his pew end.

The delicate oak screen of 10 bays, erected in the 15th century, was a beautiful embellishment installed when Margaret Beaufort was Lady of the Manor. This lady, mother of Henry VII, was known for her generosity towards the people of her manors and also for her building of Christ’s College, Cambridge. As the Manor lands seem to have been leasehold at that time it may well be that the Lady Margaret herself gave the screen to Lamarsh Church.

The remains of some steps to a rood loft are built into the north wall, beside the pulpit. The entrance and exit are still visible.

Stained Glass

Holman noted the remains of some medieval stained glass in the upper end of the south window of the chancel. This was an heraldic escutcheon which he described as Barry of six pieces wavy or and gules. In unheraldic language this means that there were six lateral strips, with a wavy line division between each and that the colours were alternately gold and red.

The description corresponds to a coat of arms of Basset given by Burke, and Philip Basset was Lord of the Manor of Lamarsh from 1259 to 1271, but it is also a coat which the Beauchamps used in early times.

The present stained glass windows in the East end of the chancel were designed by Miss Lowndes in 1895 and were placed in the church in memory of Rev. C.B. Teesdale, by his widow and daughters. C.B. Teesdale was for 42 years Rector of the parish and held two thirds of the Lordship of the Manor. He did much restoration work in the church, built up the village school, now the village hall, and greatly enlarged the old rectory up at Alphamstone.

The Organ

Teesdale’s principal gift to the Church was the Chamber Organ, which we are told he used privately in the Rectory before it was installed in the Church. This little organ is a gem of its kind. It was built by George Pike England who was building organs from 1750 to 1816 and an expert opinion is that it is possibly one of his early constructions. Charles Spink gave a B.B.C. Concert on it in 1965.


A reference has already been made to the monuments of early parishioners, which have been removed. The earliest remaining to us Is the monument on the north wall of the Chancel, which does not relate to a local resident at all. This monument, in alabaster and speckled marble. Was placed in position in 1654 in memory of Thomas Stephens of Colchester, son of Sir John Stephens and the long Latin inscription records the manner of his death. Holman gave a resume of this which reads as follows:

"This pious gent, coming to see Mrs. Grisagona Smyth, that then lived at The Hill in Lamarsh, received his death by a wagon thrusting against his thigh. He was buried at this church in the Chancel 3 July 1654."

A definite location of The Hill as not been found but family associations and map readings of field names suggest that it may have been a large farmhouse previously known as Hulke’s, and occupying the site of the present Hill Farm, Lamarsh.

There are three tablets to members of the Parmenter family who owned Daw’s Hall, (which they call Lamarsh Lodge) from 1792 to 1934 but there is nothing at all within the Church to members of the Smyth family who were Lords of the Manor throughout the 17th century and farmed the land. Nor is there anything of the Fiskes, who followed the Smyths as principal landowners in the 18th century, and this despite the fact that the last Fiske lady, who died in 1792, asked in her will that she should be buried in the Chancel.

Outside, in the old churchyard, there are some simple tombs, some quite pleasant in character, which do represent some of the Smyths as well as Downes, who held the Lordship in the early 19th century. Most of the 19th century tombs are commemorative of the Messents, Kemps and other local farmers.

The estate map of the Manor of Great Henny, drawn in 1600, shows Lamarsh Rectory as situated on the east side of the road between Daw’s Hall and Lamarsh Hall. Newport’s Repertorium, quoting 1637, describes the Rectory as: "Dwelling House, Back House, Barn, Kiln House, Stable and sixteen acres in several parcels lying about the premises". There were also 65 acres of glebe.

The Rectory fell into great disrepair later in the same century when John Siday, who was also Rector of Roding Beauchamp, had seriously neglected it.

The decay of the old rectory and the death of John Siday towards the end of the century must surely have caused the building of a new Rectory, and this one was on Lamarsh land yet in the centre of Alphamstone Parish. In 1690 when John Lillie became Rector, his brother-in-law, Jeremiah Fish was already Rector of Alphamstone, hence a natural choice for a new site.

This was quite a modest rectory house, "small and neat" was a description early in the 19th century. But C.B. Teesdale had a desire for more accommodation and considerably enlarged the Rectory to the size it now is, as Alphamstone House.

In 1884 a Boundary Commission awarded the 90 acres of Lamarsh land to Alphamstone so that the Lamarsh Rectory then became situated in the parish of Alphamstone and Kelly’s Directory for 1890 says: "The Rectory House has, under the Divided Parishes Act, been transferred to Alphamstone".

In 1909 Alfred Schreiber, the Rector, was responsible for building a new Rectory in Lamarsh on the rising ground to the west of the church. The architect was R.M.F. Huddart who had worked in the office of Sir E.L. Lutyens, and the influence of the latter is apparent in the design. The house, with its stables and outbuildings, cost the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty £1,750.

This state of affairs existed for about 50 years but in 1972 Rev. W. H. Davies moved from Lamarsh Rectory into a modern house in Alphamstone and so there as another “Old Rectory”, this time in Lamarsh. This Rectory likewise was sold to be a private house.

Finally, in 1974, the parish of Pebmarsh was, for ecclesiastical purposes, attached to the other two parishes and the Pebmarsh Rectory in turn became redundant. Thus the three parishes are no administered from Alphamstone Rectory and there are five old rectories in the three parishes, Pebmarsh already having one “old rectory” of its own.

Parish Boundaries

Reference has already been made to the fact that Lamarsh had about 90 acres enclosed within the bounds of Alphamstone: this land was given to Alphamstone in 1884 and at the same time over 200 acres, covering Fishpits and Polstead’s Farms to the south, with Lamarsh Park, were surrendered to Bures Hamlet. There as also a small farm known at that time as Mosse’s covering 23 acres, which was also ceded to Alphamstone. All this southern area was pear-shaped and Mosse’s can be likened to the stalk of the fruit which connected it to the tree, or main part of the parish, at Cook’s Green. This land had always been a part of Lamarsh. It had provided the hunting ground for the Lords of the Manor and yielded much valuable timber for the construction of houses and bridges.

In 1839 the acreage of Lamarsh was estimated at 1207 though subsequent assessments put it a little higher at 1245 but in 1914 it was down to 935 so that Lamarsh suffered a loss of one third of its total area as a result of the Commissions findings.

Here are a few statistics for those who like figures:

The value of living



(rent charge)












with 96 acres of glebe

















(reduced acreage)
































When the church was first built the Advowson lay with the Beauchamps but Richard de Beauchamp gave a charter to Colne Priory in which he gave ¼ of a knight’s fee in Alphamstone and Lamarsh, and the Advowson of Lamarsh church, to the monks of Colne, at the instance of his wife Adelina. The document was signed by Payn, Stephen and Walter de Beauchamp.

Holman, writing of Alphamstone, ascribes the land to a part of Gilbert of Clare’s territory, saying that Sir John Barwyck, Prior of Colne, gave Barwyck Hall in White Colne to Colne Priory, and a reference in the White Colne booklet, available in that church, quotes: "(Barwick Manor) was holden of the honour of Clare, by the service of a fourth part of a knight’s fee (about 60 acres) and extended into the neighbouring parishes of Alphamstone and Lamarsh, on which account it is stated in the records that the Prior of Colne held land of this amount in those parishes in the reigns of Edward II and Richard II."

It seems likely that the priory retained its territorial rights but as far as Lamarsh was concerned it did not have the Advowson for long. This was restored to the Wascoyls as Demesne Tenants and on the death of Sir John Wascoyl in 1320, he having no heir, all lands and rights were surrendered to the Crown, since Sir John was a tenant-in-chief paying his dues and services directly to the King. From that time on the Advowson became attached to the Lordship of the Manor and so remained until 1935. It was often used in part dowry for the old Lord’s widow and on such occasions was valued at around £8. In 1700, when the last male Smyth died, the Lordship was divided into three parts, a share out between the three surviving Smyth ladies, and the subdivision remained, though the Teesdale family eventually obtained 2/3rds of the Lordship. This meant that the Advowson was shared in turn between three parts of the Manor.


1203 Richard de Bello Campo (Beauchamp)

Also at some time Rector of Alphamstone, witnessed the exchange of Shernford Mill, Henny, for rent of land in Lammers formerly belonging to Laurence de Wiggeburgh. C. 1240 witnessed a document.

1246 Brian

Presented by John of Sudbury and Maud de Wascoyl. Gave licence to build a chapel at Lamarsh Court.

c.1250 William

Clerk of Lammers, witnessed a grant of land in Little Henny to John of Sudbury.

c.1306 Richard de Meysy

Was in 1309 granted lands in Alphamstone by Richard Hereward, clerk of that Parish.

1361 John Litle

Bought two messuages and 14 acres from John Clee in Alphamstone & Lamarsh, for 20 marks, in 1372. Probably the “John” who died as rector in 1388. Presented by Princess Joan of Kent.

1388 Thomas Evesham

Ratified as parson, 1391

1395 John Wiggleworth

Presented by Thomas Holland, Duke of Kent

1397 John Fulmore.

Presented by Thomas Holland, Duke of Kent. Ratified as Parson, 1400.

1403 William Care

Presented by Margaret, Duchess of Somerset

1417 Walter Lyhert

Presented by Margaret, Duchess of Somerset. Presented to the Church of West Tilbury on an exchange of benefices with Simon Alcok. Directed by the Vicar General in absence of the Bishop of London, abroad.

1417 Simon Alcok

Presented by Margaret, Duchess of Somerset

1428 John Bulbyk

Presented by Margaret, Duchess of Somerset

1441 Thomas Maclefield


1443 John Tyke


1445 Thomas Smith


1447 Thomas Key


1448 Robert Hardy


1510 Thomas Bayly


1511 Charles Stele

Presented by Henry VIII on resignation of Thomas Bayly.

1528 William Swalowe

Presented by Cardinal Wolsey

1532 Robert Cotton

Presented by Cardinal Wolsey

1536 Peter Mannerynge

Presented by Henry VII. Chaplain to the King. Vicar of Wydecombe, Devon.

1550 Robert Challerton

Presented by Earl of Oxford, on Mannerynge’s departure for Chester.

1554 John Woodthorpe

Presented by Earl of Oxford. The first married parson. Started the Parish Register. Presented also to Mt. Bures, 1580 by Queen Elizabeth I.

1597 Lionel Foster

Presented by Queen Elizabeth I. Re-wrote the Parish Register from its inception in 1555 till his death in 1622.

1622 Edward Glover

His wife Anne died 1657. There were 5 children.

1637 John Siday, M.A.

Presented by John & Abigail Rushbroke.*

1670 Samuel Siday.

This name has appeared on a previous list. He must have been a relative of John’s and was probably a curate as John was still alive, but probably living at Roding Beauchamp.

1679 Edmund Chapman

Presented by G. Compton, E. Meadows & T. Barnes*

1690 John Lillie

Had married Hannah Smyth, daughter of John Smyth and sister of Wibrow Smyth who had married Jeremiah Fish, Rector of Alphamstone. Presented by John Smyth.

1716 James Chalmers

D.D. was also Rector of Wickham St. Paul’s. Married 1721. Don, Henry also became Vicar of Wickham St. Paul’s

1761 Brook Hurlock. B.A.

For much of his time as Rector of Lamarsh he was also curate of Langham where he resided, leaving curates to do his work in Lamarsh.

1812 James Sperling

Presented by his father, Henry Sperling of Dynes Hall. Was also vicar of Gt. Maplestead.

1850 Charles Baker Teesdale, M.A.

Presented by his Father

1892 Edwin H. Oakley


1899 Alfred D Schreiber.

Presented by C.B. Sperling. Built the new Rectory at Lamarsh, 1909-11. In 1918 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold, on behalf of the Rector, 2 parcels of Land Glebe, in Lamarsh, part of Hewitt’s Farm, to Sarah Cant, widow, for £45

1922 Stanley T. Smith

Rector of the combined parishes of Lamarsh and Alphamstone.

1927 John Wallace Smyth


1935 Ralph Moore


1947 William Hatton Davies

Transferred rectory from Lamarsh to Alphamstone, 1972.

1973 George Eric Hodgins

Instituted as Rector of three Parishes, Pebmarsh being added to Lamarsh and Alphamstone.

1979 Stephen Hough

Instituted as Rector of Lamarsh, Alphamstone and Pebmarsh

1989 Mervyn Thomas Morgan

Instituted as Rector of Lamarsh, Alphamstone and Pebmarsh

1994 Bryan Carew Instituted Rector of Lamarsh, Alphamstone and Henny.



Thomas Baines

(also of Gt. Henny)


J. Manistre

(also of Gt. Henny). A relative of the Fisk family of Lamarsh.


Thomas Baines

(also of Pebmarsh)


Marshal Lugar



John Myddleton



Tobert Gray

(became Rector of Twinstead)


Thomas Baines



F. Heckford



D.F. Harridge

(Buried in Lamarsh Churchyard)


W. Alder

(became Rector of Twinstead)


R.D. Duffiled, M.A.

Chaplain to the Duke of Cambridge.


J.H. Fry, B.A.




Some Historical Notes.
As full a list of Rectors as has been verified to date is given, but a few biographical notes about those whom more is known may be of interest.

Richard de Bello Campo  (Beauchamp). He was the first Rector to be named and great-grandson of Simon, the 5th Baron Bedford in whose life time the church was built. It was this Richard’s father who had given ¼ of a Knight’s fee in Lamarsh and Alphamstone to the Priors of Colne and it was this Richard’s sisters, Isolda, Maud, Alina and Idonea, who married respectively, Richard of Sudbury, William de Wascoyl, Sir Ralph de Arderne and the Sire D’Auney, and of these, through his wife, it was de Wascoyl who inherited the Manors of Lamarsh and Great Henny.

Brian who succeeded Richard, was appointed by Maud de Wascoyl and John of Sudbury , her nephew. At this time Sir Ralph de Arderne and Alina were living at Lamarsh. This manor was now the principal of a group of 5 and the Court Baron was evidently kept busy. There are numerous references to transactions and court cases dealt with there during the next 100 years, so it was reasonable that Sir Ralph should wish to have his own Chapel at the Court. For this he had to apply to the Rector for a license and Brian agreed that they “should build a Chapel in their Court of Lammersch and provided the Chaplains appointed to the said Chapel take an oath to the Rector to indemnify his Church and pay over to it all offerings made to the Chapel: such Chapel to cease to exist if the said Ralph and Alina or their heirs grant their Manor of Lammersch to any religious house.

Richard de Meysy. He must have been presented right at the beginning of the 14th century as he received land from Richard Hereward, parson of Alphamstone, in 1309. This could seem to be a building up of the Lamarsh Glebe in the part of Lamarsh that lay in Alphamstone.

John Little. He too seems to have been interested in the increase of Lamarsh Glebe. Presented in 1361, he bought, 10 years earlier, a field close to the Church in Pebmarsh. The conveyance was certainly made in the name of John Little.

William Swalowe. He and his successor, Robert Cotton were in turn presented to the living by Cardinal Wolsey although at this time the presentation lay with the King as Lord of the Manor.

Peter Mannerynge. (1536) Was one of Henry VIII's presentations and was a chaplain to the king. In addition to Lamarsh he already held the vicarage of Wydecombe and Berepondry in the west country and in 1547 he was made "one of the prebends resident of Chrystes Church in Chester and master of the hospital of St. Julian of Boughton-by-Chester."

John Woodthorpe. The Woodthorpes were wealthy clothiers living in the neighbourhood of Lavenham and so were well established as a local family. John Woodthorpe must have been quite a young man at the time of his appointment for he was to sped 43 years of his life in the living. He was the first married rector having taken immediate advantage of Edward VI’s permission for the Clergy to marry. His wife, Agnes, bore him 5 children between 1558 and 1568. She died and was buried in Lamarsh in 1572. All these facts were entered in the Parish Register by John himself for it was he that started the keeping of the Register in 1555.

This remarkable man, married in the reign of Protestant Edward VI, survived the regime of Catholic Mary and died in 1597, only 6 years before his third Sovereign, Elizabeth I. His eldest son, also John, became a farmer and his land lay in the southern part of the parish along the White Colne road. It seems quite possible that his farm was Specks but this is not proven. In all there were 5 generations of John Woodthorpe at Lamarsh.

Lionel Foster Succeeded John Woodthrope and came from Little Tey, being presented by the Queen. He had come to notice in 1595 through a Court Case in which he stood bail for the Vicar of Elmstead who had been charged with stealing 13 cheeses. But Foster is memorable to us for the fact that he re-wrote the Parish Register from its inception and continued it until his death in 1622. This register, beautifully written on vellum, is now in the care of the Essex Record Office.

Edward Glover (1622). He noted his arrival in the Parish with the birth and death of an infant son, but later had 3 further children all of whom survived. He, like Foster, lent a hand to a suspected parson. In 1636 William Frost, Rector of Middleton, faced the grave charge of incest, but, as this could not be proved, he was allowed to purge himself according to Church Law. To do this he had to find 8 fellow parsons who would vouch for his integrity, and one of these men was Edward Glover.

John Siday, M.A. (1637) was a member of a prolific local family. With the Commonwealth cataclysm approaching Siday must have felt the wind of change for unlike many of his fellows in this district he was accepted by the new regime. Perhaps this was the price the Parish had to pay for its lost brasses and monuments. Even in Pebmarsh, which was ruled by rabid Protestants, the FitzRalph brass survived.

At an Inquisition held at Braintree in 1650 it was said: “Mr. Siday performs the Cure himself and by the assistance of Mr. Martin by his appointment and that the said Mr. Siday and Mr. Martin are able and orthodox divines”.

Siday would certainly have needed Martin’s help for the former also had the Parish of Roding Beauchamp and could not have conducted services in both parishes each Sunday.

In 1657 Siday got into trouble through an informer who complained that Siday and his family were residing in a house not the Rectory, this being against the Statute. The fine was a heavy one, £10 a month for 11 months: a sum few parsons at that time would have been able to afford. His absence from the Rectory may have been caused by its falling into disrepair, coupled with his long absences in Beauchamp Roding. It was during the latter years of this Rector that the Church, as well as the Rectory, fell into disrepair, but reference to this has already been made.

John Lillie M.A. (1690), presented by John Smyth, he was already married to Hannah, one of Smyth’s sisters, whilst another sister, Wybrow, had married Jeremiah Fish, Rector of Alphamstone. Lillie was inducted on Advent Sunday by his brother-in-law. As we have seen, the bulk of the restoration work on the church must have been done under Edmund Chapman, Lillie's Predecessor. Ten years after his appointment John Smyth died and the Manor was shared between the families of the 3 surviving sisters. Thus for many years John and Hannah Lillie presided over the Courts Baron and they were followed by two daughters who married and lived locally.

James Chalmers D.D. was inducted 1717 following the death of John Lillie. Chalmers kept some useful notes in the Parish Register concerning tythes, taxes and Charity payments. There are several Wickham St. Paul marriages in the Lamarsh Register, caused by the fact that Chalmers was Rector of both parishes. But Chalmers, though he had two parishes, did not neglect Lamarsh. With him Confirmation became the rule and he brought many married couples before the Bishop for this purpose.

In 1974 he wrote of one child: Penelope Goulding excepted, who did not accompany the rest because of rainy weather, which was but a poor excuse.”. There were also the old incorrigibles to be wrestled with. In 1720 William Peartree of parish of Missly aged 68 was baptized in this parish upon his death bed by James Chalmers, Rector.”

Chalmers had one son, Henry, who also became parson of Wickham St. Paul’s.

Brook Hurlock, B.A. the next in line, was the fourth successive parson to have local connections. He was the son of James Hurlock  of Elmstead Hall and was related to two other local families, the Clarkes and the Loves. He had a daughter, Lucy, born in 1765 and twins, James Thomas and Brook Baines, born the following year. The twins must have been named in part after Thomas Baines, curate of Gt. Henny and later curate of Lamarsh.

When his children were growing up Brook Hurlock obtained the curacy of Langham from Dr. Fisher, the reason being that he wanted his sons to go to school at Dedham where he had been himself. This occasioned a long string of curates at Lamarsh. While the Hurlocks were still at Langham John Constable was also pupil at Dedham school and Lucy Hurlock, ten years older than John, became his friend and encouraged him with his painting. When, later, she married, Constable gave her four watercolours as a wedding present. Meanwhile the Hurlocks had introduced Constable to Dr. Fisher who arranged meetings between the young artist and his future bride.

James Sperling. Appointed by his father, Henry Sperling of Dynes Hall in 1812 following the death of Brook Hurlock. James also had the living of Gt. Maplestead and after 1832 the register shows a number of curates in Lamarsh.

Charles Baker Teesdale. Also presented by his father in turn. C.B. Teesdale inherited his father’s share of the Manor and the Rectory, he effectively ruled Lamarsh. His gifts and restorations have already been listed. He died in 1892 so that from the appointment of Chalmers in 1717 to the death of Teesdale, a span of 175 years, there were only 4 Rectors.


John Clarke Charity. This was drawn up in a deed of 1575, the year of his death, and the original document is preserved in the 1st volume of the Lamarsh Parish Registers, lodged at Essex Records Office. John Clarke gave:“£8 to be employed as a stock forever for the benefit of the poor of the parish.” Morant, writing in 1768 says: “The sum is improved to £15, the interest whereof is distributed at Easter, yearly.” An enquiry into the Charities of Essex, published in 1837, says “In 1822 the Churchwardens distributed 15/-, the last payment that was made.”

John Smyth Charity. It is not known which John Smyth founded this Charity but it is likely to have been that John who was Lord of the Manor and died in 1652.

He gave 40/- a year to be distributed amongst the poor of this Town forever at Christmas.

The 1837 enquiry said that this was paid from a rent charge on certain lands in Lamarsh. Afterwards this was sold in lots and apportioned as follows:

Lamarsh Hall Farm

15/1 ½

1/3rd Manor

1/5 ½

Dawes Hall Farm

9/11 ½

1/3rd Manor

1/5 ½

Broad Dale

9/9 ½

1/3rd Manor

1/5 ½

Certain lands

-/10 ½



This sum was given in coals to the poor.

There are a couple of entries in the 18th century Parish Register which show that payments were being made in this proportion. The sale of the land in lots must have been on the death of the last John Smyth , in 1700, when the whole estate was sold: the splitting of the Manor into 1/3rd shares agrees with this since it was then that the Manor was split for the 3 surviving daughters.

This Charity was evidently still paid in 1837 but it has subsequently lapsed.

Isaac Wincoll Charity. Now £48.53 in 2½% Consols.
In 1681 Isaac Wincoll bequeathed Twinstead Hall to William Golding with “provision for a good bull (except the hide) to be distributed at Xmas for the poor of Twinstead, Gt. Henny, Pebmarsh, Alphamstone and Lamarsh. £5 to be paid to the Churchwardens of Twinstead in default of such an annual distribution: £1 being given by them to each Parish."
The present yield is £1.20 a year so the investment has not kept pace with inflation.

Thomas Messent  Bequest. Now £197.60 in 3½% War Stock.
Thomas Messent, eldest son of Zaccheus Messent, died 1929, aged 88 and left £200 to be invested for the benefit of the poor of the parish.

M.P. Lupton  Bequest. £100 in 2½% Consols.
M.P. Lupton, grandson of Jane Annette Lupton who was daughter of Thomas Piper Parmenter, made this bequest. (Memorial tablet in the church.)

Gate charity
Alfred Gate
, architect, who had married a daughter of Z. Messent, left £200 the interest therefrom to be distributed yearly, in the form of coals, to the poor widows of the parish. In 1924 the same donor enriched the Church with the Persian Rug in the Sanctuary.

Anderson Donation.
In 1974, David Anderson, a Churchwarden, gave £599.66 in 8½% Treasury Stock, 1980/82, in the names of the Churchwarden and Treasurer; the interest to be put to the Fabric Fund. At present this brings in a gross income of £50 p.a.



* These names are provided from only  one source and do not have any apparent connection with the Lord of the Manor, Smyth who would be expected to appoint both Siday and Chapman.