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Steeple Bumpstead
History of Steeple Bumstead
From the BumpsteadH Congregational Church History:
The village and the Church  are mentioned in Wesley's diary, they have mention in Parliament dispatches, our ministers were fined for not paying the education levy at the satrt of the 20th century, and the building was one of the first Christian meeting places to be damaged by bombs in the second world war! (which made the pages of the Times newspaper!!)
Our history goes further back than 1760 when worship started on the present site in a barn. At the time of the reformation a man named Butcher was martyred as a nonconformist but little is known of him.  John Tibauld is much better known and is remembered in the street names in the village.  He seems to have been a well to do man of Catholic faith (as were all at the time) but who, with a small band of 8 other persons got into trouble for meeting together in Bower Hall to read the New Testament and offer prayer. They were seized and taken prisoner to the then Bishop of London!
It was one of the copies of William Tyndales English translations of the New Testament that escaped the burning at St Paul's Cross London and found its way to Steeple Bumpstead.  And this precious little book caused even more problems for immediately after the break with Rome, the Curate of Bumpstead Rev. Richard Fox, and 40 others were taken to London and tried and severely punished for meeting in a place other than Church to worship God.
 
From: White's Directory of Essex 1848
BUMPSTEAD, (STEEPLE) is a large and pleasant village, with several good houses on the banks of a tributary stream of the Stour, 3 miles South of Haverhill, and 8 miles North West by West of Castle Hedingham, and West South West of Clare. Its parish contains 1212 inhabitants, and 3296A, 1R, 25P. of land, generally having a heavy fertile soil, well cultivated and highly productive both in grain and grass. The fine old pastures and dairy farms in this neighbourhood were formerly in high estimation for a large supply of excellent cheese, but most of them are now in tillage. Mrs. Ann Walton, of Haverhill, owns a great part of the parish, and is lady of the principal manors, formerly belonging to the Bendish family, who were seated at BOWER HALL, a large and handsome mansion, with a well-wooded park, but now unoccupied. Sir Thomas Bendish was created a baronet in 1611; but on the death of Sir Henry, the last male of this ancient family, in 1717, the title became extinct, and this estate passed to Sir Stephen Anderson, Bart., and afterwards to E. A. Stevens, Esq. MOYNES PARK, nearly a mile east of the church, is the beautiful seat of George William Gent, Esq., and was anciently the residence of the Moyne family, whose heiress married William Gent, Esq., in the reign of Henry VII. The principal front of the mansion is a noble specimen of the ornamented style of domestic architecture of the time of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth. The large projecting windows rise as high as the body of the building, assuming the form of turrets; and the numerous ornamental gables, with the antique clustered form of the chimneys, give the whole of this grand front a varied and pleasing appearance. This elegant part of the building was erected in 1580, by Baron Thomas Gent, one of the barons of the exchequer, who died in 1593. A considerable part of the more ancient building has been preserved, and some of the offices behind the house are of great antiquity. Internally, the apartments are spacious and lofty, and richly embellished with valuable paintings, among which are some fine family portraits. The park contains an abundance of fine forest trees, and commands extensive prospects. Mr. Thomas Jarvis, Mr. John Willett, and several smaller owners have estates in the parish, partly copyhold, subject to certain fines. The Wanton, Robtoft, Blois, Gernon, and Latchley families, formerly held the estates in this parish, still bearing their names; and some of them having fine old houses, one of which (Latchleys,) is still encompassed by a moat.

The Church (St. Mary,) is an ancient stone fabric, in good repair, and has a handsome tower and five bells. In the interior are several handsome monuments belonging to the Bendish family. One is very elegant, and has a fine recumbent effigy of Sir Henry, the last male heir of the family. The vicarage, valued in K.B. at 15.2s.1d., and in 1831 at 247, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. J. Townley, who has a good old residence, and about 50A. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1839, the vicarial for 400, and the rectorial for 652.2s.5d. per annum. The latter are held by Mrs. Walton, on lease from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's.

In the village is a neat Independent Chapel, erected in 1800, and enlarged in 1839. It has 700 sittings, and is now under the ministry of the Rev. J. Chapman, who has a house near the chapel, built at the cost of 300. The school belonging to the chapel, was erected in 1847, by subscription, on land given by Mr. John Willett. A neat National School was built here in 1848, at the cost of 500. The old parish school was built in the reign of Elizabeth, and conveyed to trustees in 1592. It is endowed with 100 three per cent. reduced Annuities, purchased in 1797 with money given by several benefactors.

The Town Land comprises 2A. 1R. 6P., and is mentioned in the awards of the enclosure commissioners, in 1702. It is let for 5.5s., which is distributed in calico to poor families. The Poor Houses are three cottages, which have been long held by the parish, and are occupied by paupers. There are also three tenements, called the Old Workhouse, which are let by the churchwardens, at 10d. each per week. There are now no traces of the Church Lands (5A.) said to have been given by William Hilbovan in 1498.


  
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