Danbury (St. John the Baptist)
DANBURY (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union and hundred of Chelmsford, S. division of Essex, 5½ miles (E. by S.) from Chelmsford; containing, with the hamlet of Runsell, and part of that of Bicknacre, 1189 inhabitants. The name is contracted from Danesbury, signifying the town or castle of the Danes. On the summit of Danbury Hill is an ancient encampment, about 680 yards in circumference; the glacis-on the south side is still nearly 30 feet deep, and the lines may be distinctly traced on the other sides. The parish comprises 2624 acres, of which 300 are common or waste: it occupies an elevated situation, commanding fine views, and the general scenery is varied; the soil, though in some parts light and gravelly, is in others of the richest quality. An estate partly in this parish and partly in the parish of Sandon has just been purchased for the residence of the Bishop of Rochester, in lieu of the palace at Bromley, Kent, which is not now within the limits of the see: the cost was £24,700. A fair is held on the 29th of May. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20, and in the gift of Sir B. W. Bridges, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for £569, and the glebe contains 22 acres, with a glebe-house. In 1402, the body of the church, and part of the chancel, were destroyed by lightning; and in Feb. 1750, the upper part of the spire was struck down by a like cause. The interior contains many ancient and interesting monuments, and in the walls are several niches, in two of which are effigies of Knights Templars, curiously carved in wood. From the summit of the tower is a remarkably fine panoramic view. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.