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Village sign at Foxearth, Essex - - 271105.jpg
Foxearth village sign
Foxearth is located in Essex
Location within Essex
Population296 (Including Liston 2011 Census)[1]
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSUDBURY
Postcode districtCO10
Dialling code01787
AmbulanceEast of England
List of places
52°04′21″N 0°40′27″E / 52.0725°N 0.6742°E / 52.0725; 0.6742Coordinates: 52°04′21″N 0°40′27″E / 52.0725°N 0.6742°E / 52.0725; 0.6742

Foxearth is a village and civil parish on the borders of north Essex and Suffolk in England, between Long Melford and Cavendish. The neighbouring parishes are Borley, Belchamp Walter, Belchamp Otten, Liston and Pentlow.


Foxearth is an ancient settlement in north Essex. The parish is about 7 miles (11 km) in circumference; 3 miles (4.8 km) from Sudbury seven from Halstead, and 56 miles (90 km) from London. The lands are very good loamy clay soil.[citation needed] Foxearth has always been predominantly agricultural, and had its own watermill that originally fell within a separate parish, Weston, until the year 1286, when the two manors became united.[citation needed]

In the reign of Edward the Confessor, the parish was in the possession of nineteen sochmen and four freemen; The Domesday survey shows that the small manor of Foxearth Hall, had become the property of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, ancestor of the lords of Clare.

Literally "fox’s den",[2] the village is recorded as Focsearde in the Domesday Book (1086) and mediaeval spellings varied somewhat — Foxherde (1202),[3] and Foxherthe (1232),[3] Foxhierd (1221 & 1428),[4] Foxhole (1212 and 1314),[5] Foxhierd (1246), also Foxhirde (1246), Foxerht (1261), Foxeyerde (1294),[6] Foxherne (1362), Foxhorn (1363),[7] Foxzerd (1428) and finally Foxearth (1594).

Until the mid-nineteenth century, Foxearth was a typical agricultural village. The village was transformed by wealthy vicar, Rev. John Foster.[8] In order to loosen the grip of the farmers on the community, Foster funded a brewery in the village in 1878 to provide alternative employment.[citation needed] The brewery was run by three generations of the Ward family. Under the Wards' influence, the village was rebuilt in red brick, with flint walls, with the brewery providing employment. It was one of the pioneers in the production of bottled beers and also produced several non-alcoholic bottled drinks.[citation needed] The brewery was sold to Taylor Walker & Co in 1957, and the last brew of 62 barrels (9.9 m3) of Small Best Bitter Ale was made on 19 February the following year.[citation needed] Although the brewery was bought back in a reverse takeover bid in 1960, it was sold again by the Ward family in 1963 to Charrington United Breweries. The brewery site was sold in 1988 with the final demolition of the building begun in the 1990s. It is now a housing estate.[citation needed]

St. Peter and St. Paul's church[edit]

St Peter and St Paul Parish Church

The parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul's stands on the east side of the village. The walls are of flint rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs with tile and lead. The church has a tower, nave, with a north aisle, and formerly a south aisle, and a chancel; adjoining the north side of which is Kemp's Chapel, which belongs to the hall.

The whole building is of stone, and at the west end there is a square tower with eight bells (now dormant save the automatic clock chimes) and which formerly had a spire. The nave is of uncertain date, but circa 1350 a north aisle was added and the chancel was rebuilt. The north aisle was rebuilt and widened around 1450, and Kemp's Chapel was added; the chancel arch was possibly removed at the same time. The west tower was added in 1862 by Rev John Foster, and the church was restored and the south porch added at around the same time.

The chancel, 29 feet (8.8 m) by 18 feet (5.5 m), has an east window of c. 1350, and of the three cinquefoiled ogee lights with leaf tracery in a two-centred head; the internal and external labels are chamfered. In the north wall is a Victorian doorway, and further west a two-centred arch of c. 1450 and two hollow chamfered orders; the responds are moulded and shafted, with moulded bases and capitals. In the south wall are two windows; the eastern is of c.1350, partly restored and of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental pointed head, under a chamfered label; the western window is Victorian, except the internal splays and hollow chamfered rear arch, which are of the 15th century. Between the windows is a Victorian doorway. There is no chancel arch, but between the chancel and the nave is a chamfered and moulded beam, probably of the 15th century.[9]



  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Place names in the Oxford English Dictionary". Aspects of English. OED. [...] thanks to the name of Foxearth in Essex (recorded as Focsearde in the Domesday Book) we know that the Anglo-Saxons were calling a fox’s den an earth some four centuries before this sense turns up in literary sources.
  3. ^ a b the Feet of Fines for Essex 1202
  4. ^ Feudal Aids 1899-1920
  5. ^ Red Book of the Exchequer and Calendar of Closed Rolls
  6. ^ Calendar of Patent Rolls
  7. ^ Calendar of Closed Rolls
  8. ^ Morris, Richard (2005). Foxearth Brew. ISBN 0-9548193-0-6.
  9. ^ The Monuments of North West Essex. A survey commissioned by H.M.Government in 1909

External links[edit]

Media related to Foxearth at Wikimedia Commons