Chelmsford, Essex

Historical Description

Chelmsford, a municipal borough, a market-town, and head of a petty sessional division and county court district in Essex. The town stands on a pleasant site, near the centre of the county, at the confluence of the rivers Chelmer, Cann, and Wid, on the Roman road to Colchester, and on the G.E.R., 29 ½ miles NE by E of London. It derives its name from an ancient ford on the Chelmer; it was supposed by Camden, but incorrectly, to have been the Canonium of the Romans ; it belonged from the time of Edward the Confessor till that of Henry VIII. to the Bishops of London; it got a bridge about the year 1100 to draw through it the great eastward thoroughfare which had previously passed through the village of Writtle ; it was constituted in 1199 a market-town ; it sent in the time of Edward III. four representatives to a grand council held at Westminster; and it is now the chief town of the county, the seat of the county council of Essex, and also the assize and quarter sessions town. It received a charter of incorporation in 1887, and is now governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, who also act as the urban sanitary authority.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Essex
Ecclesiastical parish Chelmsford St. Mary
Hundred Chelmsford
Poor Law union Chelmsford

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Chelmsford from the following:


Online maps of Chelmsford are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online: