Blackmore Area Local History

High Ongar (Essex)
"The Saxon word Aungre, the place, or hangre, the hill"

Webpage devoted to High Ongar: people and places
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High Ongar in 1861
High Ongar in 1887
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High Ongar in 1887

The following is taken from ‘Durrant’s Handbook For Essex’ written by Miller Christy (Durrant & Co., Chelmsford, 1887).   

High On’gar. A. 4510; P. 1063; Rectory, value £1282; 1m. E. from Chipping Ongar.   

This place may be regarded as a suburb of Chipping Ongar, from which it is separated by the Roding.  The Church (Virgin Mary) is chiefly built of stone.  It contains a red-brick tower, erected in 1858, and containing 5 bells, dated 1610, 1728-46-73, and 1822 respectively, and also a nave and chancel, chiefly of Norman origin.  Some of the windows are narrow Norman slits; others are 13th cent. (
E. Eng.) lancets, three lofty ones appearing at the E. end; while others are 14th cent. (Decor.) insertions.  There is neither chancel arch nor rood-screen.  In the chancel is a small and poor piscina.  The N. door (now mured) seems to have been quite plain, but the S. one is very remarkable, and forms the chief feature of the church.  It is of early Norman work, and has its many mouldings elaborately, though somewhat rudely, ornamented with carvings.  The plain columns have carved capitals.  The filling-in at its head is enriched with zigzags, circles, curves, and various other designs.  The arch is chiefly ornamented with the zigzag moulding.  Over all is a label with very varied ornamentation, each stone of which it is composed bearing a different, though characteristic, Norman design.  There is a brass to a civilian (about 1510), and there are also some inscriptions of brass, but no other interesting monuments. The Register begins in 1538.  Forest Hall (J. L. Newall, Esq.), 3m. N., is a good stone mansion, standing in a park and having an extensive view.  At Astelyns, now a farmhouse, was once a fine old moated mansion, wherein Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, is said to have concealed himself from Queen Elizabeth when charged with having treasonable intercourse with Mary Queen of Scots.

High Ongar in 1861

The following is taken from ‘The People’s History of Essex’ written by D. W. Coller (Meggy & Chalk, Chelmsford, 1861)     

HIGH ONGAR, or Old Ongar, as it is sometimes called, may almost be looked upon as part or suburb of Chipping Ongar, from which is separated by the Roden [or River Roding], though it is the much larger parish of the two.  Forest Hall, a good mansion a mile north of the village, is the seat of the Rev. J. Branston Stane, who is lord of the manor, of Newarks, and Wetherspane, these estates having been purchased of Lord Rich in 1562 for the Stane family, which ever since has been settled here; the mansion was built by Richard Stane, Esq., at the close of the 17th century.  The Earl of Mornington owns the manor of Passlow; and Ashe Hall belongs to the Rev. J. H. Earle. 
Ongar Park, four miles distant, which is completely cut off from the parish but still forms part of it, is held by Capel Cure, Esq.  The farm of Asteylyns is the property of the Collage of Physicians, having been settled upon that institution by Dr. Hamey, in 1672.  It was formerly a park, with a noble old moated mansion, which the Duke of Norfolk found shelter and concealment when Queen Elizabeth sought his head for the presumptuous attempt to secure the hand of Mary, Queen of Scots.   

In the church there are monuments to the Stane family ; and on a black marble stone is a curious inscription on one who appears to have been an actor in or sufferer from Puritan domination in the days of the commonwealth –   

“When a general confusion, ushered in by a pretended Reformation, had buried the Protestant Religion and the Liberty of the Subject under the Ruins of Church and State, he left a sad and serious warning to all posterity how they opposed the king and bishops again; then was this house of bondage happily changed for a heavenly Canaan by Richard Carter, October 26, 1659.”   

There are six almshouses in the parish, built by the Rev. Dr. Tabor, and endowed, in 1610, with a rent-charge of £10. out of Curry-farm, Bradwell.  For eight poor widows Alice Thomlinson left a rent charge of £2. out of a farm at Hatfield Broad Oak; for distribution in bread, John Wyberd left a rent-charge of £2. 10s. out of a house at Kirton; William Peacocke, £1, out of King’s Ridden cottage; and Mr. Waller, 10s. a  year out of Thrift Farm.

Photographs: (Top) St Mary The Virgin, High Ongar. (Others) The Norman South Doorway under the tower with tympanum.
War Memorial
Many names appear on the High Ongar War Memorial including:

John Crane  
Wallace King  
George William Wright  
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Last updated: 1 May 2010