Once upon a time in... KELVEDON
PUBLISHED: 11:07 11 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:50 20 February 2013
An ancient history and a mysterious origin to its name mean Kelvedon has a fascinating archive of information for Deborah Peers at the Essex Record Office...
KELVEDON and the surrounding area is rich in archaeological remains, providing evidence of Roman and even earlier occupation. It is now generally agreed that Kelvedon is the site of Canonium, a Roman settlement on the Chelmsford to Colchester road. There are many theories as to the origin of the name Kelvedon and the most entertaining, although also the least likely, is related by Daniel Defoe who attributes it to a corruption of Kill Dane! recalling a massacre of Dane folk.
The towns location on the main road to Colchester meant it was a convenient stopping place for coaches and the many inns once found there reflected this. The fine land around Kelvedon ensured that for many centuries agriculture was the main employment. In the latter half of Queen Victorias reign, when cheap imports of corn and meat led the agricultural industry to falter, Kelvedons farmers turned to seed growing. Conditions proved excellent and the town grew famous for its high quality seeds, even lending its name to varieties like the Kelvedon Wonder pea. A guide to Kelvedon from the 1950s noted the, colourful patchwork of the flowers grown for seed. Today the industry is much reduced, although commercial seed production continues.
The Angel, postmarked 1915
References to the Angel, one of the oldest inns in the town, appear in documents dating from around 1520. It is reputed that King William III stopped there for dinner in 1692, when on a journey to Holland. The Angel that can be seen today is a later building, situated further back from the road than its predecessor
Greys Mill, c1900
It is likely that there has been a mill on the site of Greys mill for at least a millennium. The current one was built in the mid-19th century and in use until just before World War I. Today it has been converted into flats
Felix Hall, pre-1939
The mansion shown here was built in the 18th century to replace an earlier house and was at one time home to Sir Thomas Western, MP and Lord Lieutenant of Essex. In the late 1930s, the house was sold and changed considerably, only to fall victim to a fire in 1940. It now stands as an empty shell The
Wheatsheaf, High Street birthplaceof Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born here in 1834, although he moved away when very young. Spurgeon grew up to be an influential and popular evangelist, who gained the name Prince of Preachers and was said to have preached to 10,000,000 people during his life.