St Peter's Church, Great Totham
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Great Totham is a large village and parish in the hundred of Thurstable, Essex, situated midway between Chelmsford and Colchester. The village includes the Island of Osea in the Blackwater estuary and is separated into two parts, north and south. The north side and the south side which are about a mile and a half apart distributed along the B1022.
According to the old maps, before the time of the enclosures, the outskirts of Great Totham North were part of Tiptree Heath, which was then well known as a haunt of smugglers, this being celebrated in the name of a house in Mountains Road called Spirits Hall. The 'mountain' in question is Beacon Hill which at 272 feet is one of the highest points in the county and probably the original place of settlement, giving the name Totham. This possibly derived from the Saxon, meaning 'look out' or 'hill-top dwelling'.
South of the village of Great Totham has St Peter's church which dates back to Norman times. There is also the Barn Chapel, with its thatched roof. This became a chapel back in 1822 when Mr Isaac Foster donated the barn to be a place of worship for non-conformists.
Great Totham village school celebrated its centenary in 1977, but by that time the Victorian building, though still in existence, had been replaced by a larger modern school situated on a different site. There is also a Grade-II listed building known as the Honeywood School, this is a church school which was founded by the Honeywood family of Marks Hall, Coggeshall in the mid 19th century, who had inherited the manor of Great Totham. This is still in use as the church hall.
In the North of Great Totham there is a United Reformed church dating back from 1871, This has been recently refurbished and used not only for services but for many other activities such as the pre-school playgroup. Just around the corner adjoining the small village green, is the Compasses public house which dates back to the late 17th century.
The Prince of Wales public house in Totham South was completely gutted by fire in 1990, so many historic features have been lost for ever, but it has been rebuilt and reopened, the first pint pulled by Ted Newton, who was born over 80 years ago.
Great Totham has changed a great deal over the centuries, some of the crafts and trades having died out or been brought up to date. There are no longer any walking-stick makers, brickworks or saddlers. The old gravel pits have also become recreation areas for fishing lakes.
Great Totham has a village sign. A plaque attached to the village sign of the north area reads:
On 17 October 1952, two Gloster Meteors of No 72 Squadron, Royal Air Force, crashed nearby killing both pilots. F/O Charles Muldownie from Rotherham and P/O Ian Carmichael from Devon. Two local people were injured and many were affected by the accident.
Local people assisted at the time and this village green became the base for recovery operations by RAF personnel. This plaque is in memory of the pilots and for all those involved.
- Dated October 2002.
St Peter's Church
St Peter's Church, situated on Church Road in Great Totham, is a Grade-II listed building that was built back in the 13th century. The church became a listed building on 30 December 1959.
Great Totham Primary School is located in Walden House Road, Great Totham. The school is divided into 14 classes, two per year group. The School Motto is 'Enjoy, Respect, Achieve'.
England cricketer Alastair Cook was a pupil at the school.
The closest railway service is located in Witham or Hatfield Peveral. Destinations served from these stations include London Liverpool Street and Ipswich, Clacton, Harwich, Braintree and Norwich via the Great Eastern Main Line.
- "Parish population 2011". http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=11123974&c=Great+Totham&d=16&e=62&g=6425366&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1442931535557&enc=1. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
- ISBN 978-1-85306-685-6, The Essex Village Book, The Essex Village Book, accessed 24 May 2012
- , Great Totham Primary, accessed 24 May 2012
- Greater Anglia, Greater Anglia Website, accessed 10 May 2012
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