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St Andrew's Church and Halstead High Street
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Halstead is a town and civil parish in the Braintree District of Essex in England. It has a population of 11,906. The town lies near Colchester and Sudbury, in the Colne Valley. It initially developed on the hill to the north of the river. The name Halstead is said to derive from the Old English hald (refuge, shelter, healthy) and stede (site, place or farm), meaning "healthy farm", "safe place" or "place of refuge".
The wide High Street is dominated by the 14th-century church of St Andrew, which was extensively renovated in the Victorian period, but retains much older decoration, including tomb monuments from the 14th century and earlier.
The historic core of Halstead can be observed on a walk up the market hill. A river walk runs through the town from east to west. Just outside the town is Broaks Wood, a popular area for walking owned by the Forestry Commission. Halstead Public Gardens were established in 1900 and are noted for their floral displays. The Antiques Centre is full of interesting pieces, ranging from clothing to household items.
Townsford Mill spans the river at the bottom of the town houses. In 1818, Samuel Courtauld built two mills, Townsford at Halstead and another at Bocking. At the end of 1824, Halstead Mill was sold to Stephen Beuzeville. In 1825, Samuel installed a steam engine at Bocking Mill. An agreement dated 19 January 1825 was drawn up between Beuzeville and Samuel Courtauld and partners for the conversion of Halstead Mill for silk throwing.
Beuzeville was to provide the expertise, capital, and supply the silk; Courtauld was to erect the power looms and operate the mill in return for a share in the profits; Beuzeville was to take delivery of the yarn and manufacture the crêpe, on which he was a technical expert with 20 years' experience. The mill appears to have been in operation by the summer of 1825, with Joseph Ash as manager.
The introduction of new technology was important but the mills still remained heavily dependent on manpower, or more accurately, woman-power. The looms required supervision by an army of young female workers and even in 1838, more than 92 per cent of the workforce was female.
In 1827 Stephen Beuzeville was declared bankrupt; a formal deed of sale dated 11 April 1828 was created between the commissioners in bankruptcy and Samuel Courtauld, whereby Halstead Mill (subject to charges of £300) was sold to Courtaulds for a cash payment of £1,500. Stephen and his father joined Courtaulds as employees.
Halstead has a library situated in a large open-plan building, which was built in 1864–1866 as the corn exchange, and has also housed a technical school. Nearby Moyns Park, a Grade I listed Elizabethan country house, is said to have been where Ian Fleming put the finishing touches to his novel From Russia, with Love.
A history society holds regular monthly meetings. A town museum attached to the town council offices features historical artefacts and objects of local interest. The Empire Theatre in Butler Road hosts occasional bingo nights. Halstead is also home to Hume's Bakery, which opened in 1960, and trades at the same shop today.
In birth order:
- Robert Bourchier, 1st Baron Bourchier (died 1349), Lord Chancellor of England, had an estate here.
- John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Bourchier (died 1400), soldier and diplomat, inherited the estate here.
- Bartholomew Bourchier, 3rd Baron Bourchier (died 1409), politician, died at his estate here.
- Bernard Barton (1784–1849), Quaker poet, was apprenticed to a shopkeeper and married here.
- Dummy, the Witch of Sible Hedingham (c. 1788 – September 4, 1863), a deaf-mute charged with witchcraft, was beaten by a mob and died in Halstead workhouse.
- Samuel Courtauld (1793–1881), opened a textile mill here in 1818.
- George Courtauld (1802–1861), textile magnate, was married here in 1829.
- Isaac Baker Brown (1811–1873), notable gynaecologist and obstetrician, went to school here.
- Augustine Stow (1833–1903), Australian politician, was born here.
- Decimus Alfred Ball (1836–1890), notable slum landlord in London, was born here.
- Sir John Mark Davies (1840–1919), Australian politician, was born here.
- Samuel Courtauld (1876–1947), art collector and industrialist, became a director of the silk mill here in 1901.
- Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies (1891–1992), London-born actress, died here.
- Alan Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury (1902–1998), grandson of the founder of the Sainsbury's supermarket chain, was a resident and died here.
- Steve Lamacq (born 1964), BBC Radio 2 DJ, grew up here, attended Ramsey School, and is a resident.
- Matt Cardle (born 1983), was the 2010 winner of The X Factor and is a resident.
Halstead is the home to three primary schools known as Holy Trinity, St. Andrew's, and Richard de Clare.
Halstead has one secondary school called The Ramsey Academy (formerly Ramsey secondary school), which is located to the north of the town centre. Many other secondary schools are within easy travelling distance; most pupils opt for either Sible Hedingham, Braintree or Colchester. The Yellow House School is an independent school for children with special needs, situated in Sible Hedingham.
Places of worship
Halstead also has a Methodist church, which opened as a Primitive Methodist chapel in 1874. Halstead Baptist Church is in Hedingham Road and Grace Baptist Church in Colchester Road, as is the Catholic Church of St Francis of Assisi. The United Reformed Church of Halstead is in Kings Road.
The town is home to Halstead Cricket Club which fields three teams in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship. During the 2011 season the club, with the help of club member and former Bangladesh bowling coach Ian Pont brought in Bangladeshi international cricketer Syed Rasel. Other players to have played both first class cricket and for the club include former Essex and Leicestershire batsman Darren Robinson, international coach Richard Pybus and New Zealand double World Cup finalist Matt Henry.
Since 2010 the town has a rugby club called Halstead Templars R.F.C.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Population Density, 2011 Retrieved 29 November 2015
- Corder-Birch, Adrian. "A brief history of the Essex town of Halstead". Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Unlocking Essex Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Essex libraries Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Halstead & District Local History Society Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- "Humes Bakery – Halstead – Essex | Essex Gourmet". www.essexgourmet.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Rose, Richard K. (23 September 2004). "Bourchier [Bousser], Robert, first Lord Bourchier (d. 1349), administrator". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2992. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- "Dame Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies | British actress". Encyclopedia Britannica. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- "X Factor winner Matt Cardle lends his support to busking in the town". Gazette. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- Holy Trinity Church, Halstead Online, archived from the original on 26 April 2011, retrieved 12 March 2011
- Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Home page Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Halstead churches Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Club history Halstead Town FC
- Team site Retrieved 3 November 2017.
- Club site Retrieved 3 November 2017.
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