In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Castle Hedingham like this:
CASTLE-HEDINGHAM, a village and a parish in Halstead district, Essex. The village stands on the river Colne, and on the Colne Valley railway, 4½ miles NW of Halstead; is a seat of petty sessions and a pollingplace; and has a post office under Halstead, a railway station, and an inn. Fairs are held on 14 May and 25 July. ...
A grand castle was built on an adjacent eminence, in the early part of the 12th century, by Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford; was the death-place of Queen Maud; made a great figure in the wars in the time of King John; was the scene of a sumptuous entertainment to Henry VII.; suffered much demolition, in 1592, by Edward de Vere; and was reduced to ruin, in 1666, in the first Dutch war. Only the keep of it now stands; and this is pure Anglo-Norman, 62 feet wide, 55 feet broad, and about 100 feet high,-the walls, from 10 to 13 feet thick,-the height disposed in five storeys, pierced with loop-holes and narrow windows. A Benedictine nunnery and an hospital also were founded here by the De Veres,-the former in 1198, the later in 1250;-part of the nunnery is now a farm house. The parish comprises 2,429 acres. Real property, £6.027. Pop., 1,203. Houses, 300. The property is divided among a few. The manor passed from the De Veres to the Ashursts and the Houghtons; and belongs now to A. Majendie, Esq. The parish is notable for its produce of Essex hops. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £100. Patron, A. Majendie, Esq. The church dates from the time of King John; shows Norman traces; has a tower of 1616; and contains monuments of the De Veres and the Ashursts. There are a large Independent chapel and several alms-houses.
Castle Hedingham is now part of Braintree district. Click here for graphs and data of how Braintree has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Castle Hedingham itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Castle Hedingham, in Braintree and Essex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 27th April 2017
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