Woodham Mortimer

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Woodham Mortimer
St Margarets Woodham Mortimer.jpg
St Margaret's Church, next to Woodham Mortimer Hall
Grid reference: TL815044
Location: 51°42’32"N, 0°37’41"E
Population: 641  (2011[1])
Post town: Maldon
Postcode: CM9
Dialling code: 01245 & 01621
Local Government
Council: Maldon

Woodham Mortimer is a village on the Dengie peninsula about three miles west-south-west of Maldon in Essex.


The discovery of a hoard of denarii dated to AD 41[2] is some evidence of occupation in Roman times. However, the village first appears in written records as "Wudeham" in c. 975. The name, which means "village in the wood",[3] is derived from the old English words "wudu" (wood in modern English)[4] and "ham" (home, or homestead).[5] At the time of the Norman Conquest the parish belonged to Ralph Peverell and was known as Little Woodham. Henry II gave the parish to Robert de Mortimer, leading to the change in name.[6]

In the Domesday Book the population was recorded as 14 households with the local lord in 1066 being Siward Barn.[7]

During the First World War a new aerodrome was opened in nearby Stow Maries to provide air cover for the London area. 37 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps occupied the base from September 1916 taking over The Grange in Woodham Mortimer as its headquarters.[8][9] The Grange was once the property of Beeleigh Abbey and is a Grade-II listed building.[10]


Woodham Mortimer Hall

Woodham Mortimer has an average elevation of 167 ft above sea level and lies just south of the Danbury-Tiptree ridge that marks the furthest extent of the Anglian ice sheet during the last ice age approximately 450,000 years ago.[11] The geology of the area is rock, sand and gravels that were deposited by the retreating ice.[12] Gravel is commercially extracted from the Royal Oak Quarry with a proposed additional site at Tynedales Farm of 117 acres.[13] The National Soil Resources Institute at Cranfield University describes the main soil type as "slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils."[14]


There are two public houses, the Royal Oak on the A414 and the Hurdlemakers Arms on Post Office Road. Its name refers to the hurdles which used to be made from materials cut in the nearby woods.[15] There is a golf driving range with 9-hole pitch and putt that was opened in 1967[16] on Burnham Road.

Culture and facilities

Village hall

Memorial to William Alexander

Next to the village hall is a one-acre playing field with swings and a small football pitch.[17]

Religious sites

The parish church is St Margaret's. The original church on the site may date from the 16th century, however, it was rebuilt in the 19th century leaving little evidence of the older church with only the south wall and east end remaining.

Evidence for the age of the church includes the 13th century font (although the base is newer) and the 17th century carvings on the pulpit. The church has a small window commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The graveyard includes the grave of Peter Chamberlen.[18]


Woodham Mortimer Hall is a 17th-century gabled house that Hugh and Peter Chamberlen lived in. There is a blue plaque fixed to the hall[18] noting them as pioneering obstetricians who invented the forceps. The hall passed out of the Chamberlen family in 1715 when the family home was sold.[19] The forceps were found in 1813 under a trap door in the loft of the hall and given to the Medical and Chirurgical Society which passed them to the Royal Society of Medicine in 1818.[19][20] The find was described by R. Lee in Observations on the Discovery of the Original Obstetric Instruments of the Chamberlens (1862) as:

The [space] contained some boxes in which were two or three pairs of midwifery forceps, several coins, a medallion of Charles I, or II, a miniature of the Doctor damaged by time, a tooth wrapped in paper, written on, "My husband's last tooth"; some little antique plate; a pair of ladys long yellow kid gloves, in excellent preservation; a small testament date 1645.[19]

There is a war memorial commemorating the nine people from the village who died during the World Wars. There is also a Grade II listed memorial erected in 1825 to William Alexander, who left his lands to the Worshipful Company of Coopers for the benefit of the poor.[21]

Woodham Mortimer Lodge is a Grade II listed building.[22]


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Woodham Mortimer)
  1. "Parish population 2011". http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=11130897&c=CM9+6SR&d=16&e=62&g=6425521&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&m=0&r=0&s=1443006248546&enc=1. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  2. B. C. Burnham, L. J. F. Keppie, A. S. Esmonde Cleary, M. W. C. Hassall and R. S. O. Tomlin. "Roman Britain in 1992". Britannia (Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies): 302. doi:10.2307/526740. SSN 0068-113X. 
  3. Reaney, P.H. & Wilson, R.M. (1958). A Dictionary of English Surnames. Routledge. p. 3480. ISBN 0-415-05737-X. https://books.google.com/books?id=fPoujUPs3hYC&pg=PA3480&lpg=PA3480&dq=wuduham&source=bl&ots=RWoRYv-39l&sig=MZtaPKPNGNzHAvyJXb6dkIyAU_E&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BF6FUJTNFcaa1AXijoGQCQ&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=wuduham&f=false. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  4. "Woodland Terms in Place Names". St Johns College Research Centre, University of Oxford. http://info.sjc.ox.ac.uk/forests/Place-Name-Elements.htm. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  5. Mills, A.D. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198527586. 
  6. Directory of the County of Essex. White's. 1848. 
  7. "Woodham Mortimer". Open Domesday. http://domesdaymap.co.uk/place/TL8104/woodham-mortimer/. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  8. Ivor Dallinger. "Stow Maries Aerodrome". http://www.stowmaries.com/history1.asp. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  9. "37 Squadron RFC". The South East Echo. http://www.thesoutheastecho.co.uk/Squadrons/37_squadron.htm. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  10. English Heritage. "Woodham Mortimer Grange Woodham Mortimer". British Listed Building. http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-119148-woodham-mortimer-grange-woodham-mortimer. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  11. "Geology of Essex". Essex Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20121021073553/http://www.essexwt.org.uk/geology/geology3.htm. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  12. "Geology of Essex". Essex Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20120404175449/http://www.essexwt.org.uk/geology/geology.htm. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  13. Adam Cornell (1 April 2009). "Asheldham pit closes". Maldon and Burnham Standard. http://www.maldonandburnhamstandard.co.uk/news/localnews/4248446.Asheldham_pit_closes/. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  14. "Land Information System". Cranfield University, National Soil Resources Institute. http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  15. Rothwell, David. Dictionary of Pub Names. Wordsworth. p. 197. ISBN 1-84022-266-2. 
  16. "Woodham Mortimer Golf Range". http://www.wmgr.co.uk. Retrieved 3 November 2008. 
  17. "Woodham Mortimer Parish Field". Maldon District Council. http://www.maldon.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_and_open_spaces/160/woodham_mortimer. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Chamberlen Essex Family History". http://www.essex-family-history.co.uk/chamberlen.htm. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Hibbard, Bryan M. (2000). The Obstetrician's Armamentarium: Historical Obstetric Instruments and their Inventors. p. 14. 
  20. Christie, Damian (September 2004). "The Surgeon returns to Melbourne; Chamberlen's forceps find a home at the College". O&G (Victoria, Australia: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) 6 (3): 246–247. Archived from the original on 27 December 2005. https://web.archive.org/web/20051227110112/http://www.ranzcog.edu.au/publications/o-g_pdfs/O%26G-September-2004/OG-Sept-2004.pdf. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  21. English Heritage. "Obelisk on Opposite Side of Road and Approximately 70 Metres South of Woodham Mortimer Hall, Woodham Mortimer". British Listed Building. http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-119137-obelisk-on-opposite-side-of-road-and-app. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  22. English Heritage. "Woodham Mortimer Lodge, Woodham Mortimer". British Listed Building. http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-119122-woodham-mortimer-lodge-woodham-mortimer-. Retrieved 24 October 2012.