Drizzle is not the ideal weather in which to wander around looking at old buildings, only someone with a lump of wool for a brain would do such a thing.
I caught the 9:10am bus!
For half an hour we wended our way passing ploughed fields and acres of grass, rolling hills and rows of trees decorated with rust coloured leaves, many littering the roadside as we pass. Typical Essex villages with houses dating back before the English Civil War, the churches a great deal older.
This interesting building rears it head round the corner from the main street and appears to be the 16th century Town Hall. I can see no other reason for such a delicate but expensive building to have been erected here. The town was a commercial success in medieval times, a market was established and prosperity has never left the town, it is a step up from Braintree I tell you.
I doubt these delicate looking lodges were here when the Romans established the settlement on the crossroads. The town was a days march from Braintree and ideal for a stopping place and once they had moved back home to defend the empire the Saxons quickly arrived and continued to make use of the agricultural lands. Agriculture would have been a major occupation over the piece however pigs were also a major part of the commerce.
Not far from the town, Great Dunmow if you have not worked it out yet, lies the village of 'Little Dunmow, where the one time pub is called the 'Flitch of Bacon.' This relates the tale of the 'Flitch Trials' in which a couple have to testify before judges who have been married in church and over the last year have remained 'unregreted' the marriage. The winners then receive half a pig, a 'Flitch of Bacon.' This dates back several hundred years and continues to this day, anyone wish to try it?
As always a War Memorial dominates the town commemorating the men of the district who fell during the Great War, those who fell later in the second war were also added. For a town which even now contains merely some ten thousand souls the loss of almost seventy men at the time must have left a big hole in the town. The returnees would of course have contained many damaged men.
How many of those men carried buckets and pails of water from here I do not know, however I suspect the wives and kids were responsible for that duty. This Water Pump now stand in the centre of the High Street but I wonder if it stood elsewhere and was relocated? No reason why it would not be found here, it is the centre of the Victorian town that erected it, it looks at least to me as a Victorian Pump, and it would be reachable for all from here.
Lady Warwick, Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, Countess of Warwick, was well able to care for the poor of the parish. Lady Warwick was to put it mildly, a 'right little goer!' Marrying well did not stop her, or her husband, making use of other people, the 'elite' are not renown for their fidelity, and she managed to find the Prince of Wales, later 'King Edward VII' as a lover. She was inbetween playing the field a bit of a socialist and participated in many 'good works,' even becoming a member of the Labour Party in time.
Clearly not all were impressed by the woman! The deterioration of the weather is seen when Canada Geese are seen trying to keep one leg warm while they sleep! If he finds it cold so do I!
The cold water of the 'Doctor's Pond,' a doctor in times past is reputed to have made use of the pond to breed Leeches used in medical treatment, makes for a decent photograph. I like the rippling water stretching out across the pond. The Geese ignored it.
Not far away a house stood with this excellent Grouse flying across the wall. Is 'Parqueting' the word I am looking for or does that just involve floor tiles? There is a name for the artistic rendering of these plaster walls. All Essex contains houses emblazened with such decoration and this is an excellent large example. It was lot yellower in reality I have to say, I used the wrong setting.
At this time of year when 'remembrance' is in vogue it is common for stupid people to complain that today's 'soft youth' are not like the youth of yesterday who fought in two world wars. The normal response from me is to indicate 'you' didn't do that either and 'you' are no better than these.
I did wonder what goes through the mind of young men in the Air Training Corps (ATC) when there is talk of war in the air.
"What would you do if war was declared?" I asked.They looked a bit askance as if they had never really given it much thought.
"A bit scary but exciting" said the one hidden behind the fat controller there.
Both gave sensible answers and left me in no doubt that when they join the RAF, as the tall one seen will be doing, the RAF will benefit from the right kind of man. These two young men with their lives before them will give a dozen years of their lives in service for their country not for the rewards and not unaware of the possible dangers. Two sensible good men, I suspect there are more like them in the ATC.