Loose Ends

On this page are listed several mysteries, loose ends, blind alleys ... call them what you will they are all unresolved issues which you may be able to help with. Alternatively you may have a loose end of your own that you would like listed. If so please send it to the secretary on  

Takeley Pantomimes and Takeley Drama Group

Follow this link to see how you can help us identify actors and perfmances of Takeley Pantomimes by the Takeley Players and plays by the Takeley Drama Group.


Discovered Photos

Recently, Christine Lodder was kind enough to pass to us a set of eight old pictures of Takeley. These had been framed and then donated to a charity shop. On close examination these turned out to be copies of postcards which we were aware of but had clearly been gathered together as part of an article in a book or magazine. We know this because some of the photos have been captioned and page numbers appear at the bottom of four of the images. In fact we can say that the article spanned at least pages 114 to 117. So the real mystery is, who pulled these postcard images together and where were they published? Did it just contain postcard images and did it contain any more information about Takeley or our neighboring villages?

lodder 1 lodder 2



lodder 3 lodder 4


lodder 5 lodder 6


lodder 7 lodder 8



1950 School Photo

takeley school 1950

This wonderful photo has been supplie by Ian Gowlett. Can you help identify who is on it? Les Frost the headmaster is easily identified in the centre but perhaps you are one of teh children shown?

1954 School Photo

Peter Steele sent me this old Takeley School class photo which dates from around 1954 .

1954 Takeley School Photo

So the question is, are you in this photo? If so you will have been in the class that left Takeley School around about 1958. If you remember this or know anyone in the photo please let us know by emailing

Garrett Family

TLHS is trying to trace descendents of the Garrett family who farmed in Takeley and were resident at Jacks Farm, Jacks lane, Takeley in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Believed to have moved to the Dunmow area about 1916.


Did you go to this Takeley Fete?

fete posterI receive emails from far a wide, usually people looking for help in tracing the history of a Takeley family. It was, therefore, a pleasant suprise to receive an email from a local family in the village offering me something which they had found in their garage. What they found is an old poster for a Takeley Fete, printed by Anchor Press of Bishop's Stortford. The first thing anyone seeing it would ask is, "Which year was that?" and with a bit of detective work I think we can probably narrow it down. There are a number of clues. First of all, the poster states, Admission by Programme 8p Children 2p , and this straight away tells us that it is post 1971 when decimal coinage came out in this country. It also tells us that the opening is by Mr. George Cansdale - The Zoo Man. Now I must admitm much to my shame, that I did not know who George Cansdale was, but a quick look on Wikipedia tells us that he was Director of London Zoo in the 1950s and regularly appeared with animals on childrens TV, including Blue Peter, throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s. He also wrote the Ladybird Book of Pets and the Ladybird book of British Wild Animals. He must have been a very familiar TV celebrity of the time. He was even a guest on Desert Island Disks! George Cansdale died in Great Chestrford in 1993 and so that puts an upper limit on the date of the cansdale We are given the date of 16th September so assuming that was on a weekend that reduces the options to 1973, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1989 and 1990. I suspect from the admission price and the dates when George Cansdale was at his most popular that 1984 onwards would have been too late. We have archive copies of Takeley newsletter from 1978 and 1979 and I have not found any mention of the fete so I suspect that the fete actulaly took place in 1973. So, do you recall going to this fete and seeing George Cansdale? Was it 1973 and do you rememebr anything else about it? Please let me know!

Latest - We have heard from George's son, Richard. He tells us that George, with his wife Sheila, moved to Gt. Chesterford in 1970 and so it is very likely that he was asked to open our fete shortly after that in 1973.


Where is the Takeley Archbishop buried?

Well, not exactly the Archbishop of Takeley, but we do have the Archbishop of Dublin buried at Takeley.

Robert Fowler  the Archbishop of Dublin was buried at Takeley on 19th October 1801. The problem is we are not sure where as at that time the exact location was not recorded. We suspect that it may have been in a vault under the Church. Unfortunately we do not have any concrete evidence of where the vault or its entrance would be due to renovations made by the Victorians.

The challenge here is to find further evidence of the actual burial place of the Archbishop. Perhaps a report was included in a newspaper of time. Maybe a diary could contain an eye-witness account.

More information about Robert Fowler

Where is the Vault in Takeley Church?

Not unconnected with the burial place of Robert Fowler (above) there is considerable evidence for a crypt or vault under the church, but the question is where?

List of people recorded as buried in the vault

On Thursday  23rd October 2008, Ralph Potter from the University of East London brought ground penetrating radar equipment to Takeley Church in an attempt to fid the position of the vault. This proved to have very suprising results.

It had always been assumed that the five memorial slabs—Hannah Knollys, William Towse, John Kendall. William Collyns and Mary English, had all been taken up and replaced at in a neat pattern during the Victorian alterations.

The radar scan immediately made it clear that all these memorial slabs are in fact situated above actual graves. It also told us that the coffin of Mary English could possibly have had a lead lining although the same effect on the radar could be caused by an iron flower pot holder or something similar.

The hunt for the vault proved to be more elusive. The corridor from the rood screen to the altar rails showed a continuous line of disturbance. There was evidence of what could be the vault entrance under the organ stool, and there were other signs of ground disturbance, but nothing that indicated clearly a vault space.

As we have clear documentary evidence for the existence of a vault under the chancel, we can only assume that the filling in was done very thoroughly and the earth compacted. Ralph Potter has suggested that at some stage we get a small camera which can be inserted into the spaces under the floor boards of the choir stalls. 

One other fact came to light, and that is that the Vicar of Takeley, & husband of Mary English does not seem to be buried in Takeley Church. As he was also Rector of Great Birch he may be buried there, & that is something we will investigate at a future date. It is also possible that he was buried in the vault. Many of the vault burials have no memorial at all in the Church or in the graveyard.

One mystery, the name of the designer of the Rood Screen has recently been answered. George Fellowes Prynne was is listed as being responcible for the Screen; rood; sanctuary panelling; altar and choir stalls in 1910 and also the Lady chapel. This information from a website listing a large number of George Fellowes Prynne's works.

Where are our early Church Records stored?

Holy Trinity Church Takeley (originally St. MAry's) dates from 12th century. Throughout its lifetime changes and additions have been made but in particular The Victorians made extensive changes. It was usual in Victorian times for detailed drawings and plans to be made so what happened to those drawings? Where are earlier records of Takeley Church held? We think we know where there may be records as listed below but have not yet had time to find them.

All of Essex was originally in the diocese of London.  Records may be at Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2P 2EJ and the London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB.  In 1846 the county was transferred to the diocese of Rochester.  Records of the diocese of Rochester are held at the Centre for Kentish Studies, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone ME14 1XQ. In 1877 it was transferred to the newly-created diocese of St. Albans.   Records for that are held at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, County Hall, Hertford SG13 8EJ. The diocese of Chelmsford was created in 1914 and Chelmsford records are deposited at The County Records Office in Chelmsford.

If anyone has the time to search these archives for Takeley Church records we would be delighted to see the results. There could be some real treasures of information buried in these records offices.

UPDATE November 08 Nia and John Watkiss have been very active in following up early church records and have submitted the following Early Takeley Church Records



Who was G.T. Verney?

Mrs Mary Britton has had a black bordered envelope in her stamp collection for many years with the name G.T. Verney Esq., Takeley Essex on it. Verney is her family name so G.T. Verney was a relative, possibly her grandfather’s brother. The envelope is franked from Southend-on-Sea  October 27 09 and has a Bishop’s Stortford postmark also dated Oct 27 09 on the rear.

A search of TLHS archives has not found any Verney records at all. Similarly the 1901 census has not shown anything with a Verney link to Takeley.

The challenge is to discover what G.T. Verney was doing in Takeley in 1906. What was his full name and was he so well known in the village that a full address was not required, or was the envelope held at the post office for him to pick up?  What sad news (we assume the black edge tells of a death) did the envelope hold? It may be possible to find a Verney death that matches the date on the envelope.
If anyone can help Mary with  these unanswered questions please send your information via the secretary at and we will pass it on. SEE 2020 UPDATE FROM ROS BOON


Rev. Robert Hart, where are his diaries?

The Rev.  Robert Hart was vicar of Takeley 1868 – 1897. He kept , a regular diary which shows an invaluable insight into the history of the village at that time. We know this because his grandson, A. Tindall Hart was a prolific author who wrote a number of books about the clergy. In at least one of these, “The Nineteenth Century Country Parson”  by A. Tindall Hart and Edward Carpenter. Shrewsbury, Wilding and Son, Pages 134 to 165 he includes extracts of his grandfather’s diary. The Rev. Robert Hart died in 1904 and is buried in Takeley Churchyard with many of his close family.
The challenge is that we do not know what became of the diaries and would really like to acquire a copy of this historically valuable source.  They not only contain Takeley history but a social history of life at the time as seen by a rural clergyman.  We must assume that  Rev. A.Tindall Hart is now deceased (he was born in ???) but we believe he spent his last few years at the College of St. Barnabas, Lingfield, a home for retired clergymen. He was certainly still writing books into the 1970s. We also believe that one of his last parishes was Alciston in Sussex. We do not know if he owned the diaries at the time of his death or whether he had only borrowed them in order to research his books.

If anyone can give Takeley Local History Society any information that may lead us to the diaries or the family of Rev. A. Tindall Hart we would be very grateful. Emails to


Does anyone have an engraving of Bassingbourn Hall?

Bassingbourn Hall was one of the large houses in Takeley. The site of the original house now lies under Stansted Airport. A farm house, often reffered to as Bassingbourn Hall, was demolished in the 1980s but what we would like to find is an engraving of the original house demolished in the 1800s (too early for a photograph). Does anyone out there know of an index of engravings of old buildings? Emails to marked Bassingbourne please.



Where can we find a Takeley Token?

We actually know the answer to this one - on ebay!! Long ago some tradesmen issued their own tokens or coins and as far as we know the only Takeley person to do this was Samuell Tayler in 1667 who issued a half penny token.

halfpennny token

Samuel Tayler lived in what is now Yew Tree House near the Green Man. We would very much like t o have one of these tokens in the village, however they are both rare and hightly collectable.








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