St Mary the Virgin church, Kelvedon
Kelvedon is a village and parish in Essex, near to the town of Witham. It had a population of 4,717 in 2001, reducing to 3,587 at the 2011 Census. It is now home to several businesses including Knight Group and Lysanda. Brockwell Meadows Local Nature Reserve is south-east of the village between the houses and the River Blackwater.
The existing village of Kelvedon has been a settlement since the Early Middle Ages, though it stands near (and partly on) the site of a Roman settlement, probably Canonium. The earliest surviving part of its parish church, St Mary the Virgin Church probably dates to the early 12th century. The village's first school, Ayletts Foundation School, was founded by Thomas Aylett in Maldon Road, Kelvedon, in 1632 when he bequeathed the property along with £10 per annum to provide a salary for a master.
The village is bounded to the north by the River Blackwater where the adjacent village of Feering starts. The River Blackwater was spanned by a packhorse bridge, built around 1750, which was an essential part of the main road carrying traffic from Norfolk and Suffolk to London and this feature was significant in making Kelvedon an important staging post on the main route to London, as could be seen from the numerous inns and hostelries which served the area.
Kelvedon expanded significantly in the Victorian era. The reason was the Norwich to London railway making it a place to live yet get to work as rail was the only fast method of transport. Victorian Kelvedon was set along one street, High Street. In the late 19th century, Kelvedon became famous for seed growing, and the firm of Kings Seeds, now part of Associated British Foods, became famous for the production of flower and vegetable seeds. Another large seed merchant, based nearby in the hamlet of Inworth, and trading worldwide was E W Deal & Sons (a founder member of Asmer Seeds based in Leicester) who were famous for developing the Kelvedon Wonder Pea and other varieties of flowers and vegetables.
In the 1930s, with the advent of the automobile, High Street became the A12, the main road through Essex. Ribbon development saw houses sprawl along the road for miles. Ayletts Foundation School closed in 1944, though its building still stands and now houses the Kelvedon Library and Museum. It was replaced by the Kelvedon St Mary's School, a Church of England primary school located on the corner of High Street and Easterford Road (now the Kelvedon and Feering Health Centre). It was in turn replaced in 1977 by a new school located in Docwra Road, which converted to academy status in March 2013. The village suffered major congestion until a bypass was built in the 1960s. Suburbanization started to take place in the 1980s - a large development called Riverside Park was constructed containing hundreds of homes.
Kelvedon railway station is on the London Liverpool Street line with trains approximately every 20 minutes. Bus services are provided on the Chelmsford–Colchester route and also from Tollesbury–Witham. The A12 has links with the rest of East Anglia and the north.
- C.H. Spurgeon, known as the "Prince of Preachers", was born in Kelvedon on 19 June 1834. Charles Spurgeon was a powerful preacher of the Victorian era and boasted the largest congregation in London, to the extent that his weekly sermon was printed and sold by the thousands. The Metropolitan Tabernacle was built for him. Charles Spurgeon never returned to Kelvedon to preach although he was invited in 1853 to do so in the new Independent Chapel built in the village, an invitation which he refused. There is a blue plaque on a building in Kelvedon High Street commemorating the place of his birth.
- Actress Juliet Stevenson was born in Kelvedon.
- Actor Jeremy Sheffield, spent part of his childhood living in Kelvedon.
- Actor John Dagleish was born and raised in Kelvedon.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Braintree Retrieved 2009-11-24
- "Civil Parish 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=11125094&c=Kelvedon&d=16&e=62&g=6422993&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&o=362&m=0&r=1&s=1473009448886&enc=1. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
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