Chappel: Local government

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2001.

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'Chappel: Local government', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe, (London, 2001) pp. 82-83. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]


Tenants of Great Tey and Crepping Hall manors attended their respective manorial courts. The Great Tey court made no distinction between Great Tey and Chappel, but the Crepping court elected a rent- collector for Bridgehall in 1347 and a constable for Brightlingsbridge in 1457. (fn. 1) From 1541 or earlier courts baron were held for Bacons manor; they dealt almost exclusively with transfers of copyholds, although c. 1580 the farmer of the manor was ordered to repair his buildings. The last recorded court was held in 1849. (fn. 2)

An almshouse for two families, on the Tey road, was repaired by the parish in the later 18th century. It may have been the workhouse or poorhouse, or the old poorhouse, both of which were recorded in 1821. A workhouse continued in use in 1835. (fn. 3)

The parish spent £104 on the poor in 1776, and an average of c. £86 a year between 1783 and 1785. (fn. 4) In 1803 expenditure was £198, or 18s. 10d. per head of population, one of the higher rates in the hundred. All relief was given in the workhouse. (fn. 5) The amount spent on the poor rose to £565 in 1813, and total poor rates to £669, including some money spent on the roads and the church fabric, in 1821. (fn. 6) Expenditure peaked at £653 in 1822, then fluc- tuated between £618 and £446 between 1823 and 1834. The rate per head of population was one of the highest in the hundred in the early 1820s, reaching c. £2 a head in 1822, and remained above average for the area. (fn. 7) Some out relief was being given, perhaps to the sick, in 1821. By 1823 up to 20 people seem to have received weekly allowances. In the 1820s clothes, shoes, and coal were bought for paupers; men were paid for work on the road, and for 'loss time'. In 1831 the overseers paid to appren- tice a boy. (fn. 8)

No records of vestry government before 1836 survive, but the 'town meeting' which cost £1 in 1822 and £2 in 1823 may have been the Easter vestry. (fn. 9) In 1899, during the dispute between the vicar, Alfred Werninck, and his parishioners, the chairman of the parish council tendered his resignation, and no guardians were elected. (fn. 10)


  • 1. E.R.O., D/DBm M3, rot. 37; M7, rot. 15A.
  • 2. Ibid. D/DZa 1, 8, 10-11.
  • 3. Ibid. T/P 195/11/17; ibid. D/P 87/12/1.
  • 4. Ibid. Q/CR 1/1.
  • 5. Poor Law Abstract 1804.
  • 6. E.R.O., Q/CR 1/10, 12; D/P 87/12/1.
  • 7. E.R.O., Q/CR 1/10, 12; Rep. Sel. Cttee. on Poor Rate Returns, 1822-4, H.C. 334, Suppl. App. (1825), iv; ibid. 1825-9, pp. 61-2, H.C. 83 (1830-1), xi; ibid. 1830-4, p. 60, H.C. 444 (1835), xlvii.
  • 8. E.R.O., D/P 87/12/1.
  • 9. Ibid. D/P 87/12/1.
  • 10. Ibid. T/P 181/3/4; below, this par., Church.