Hatfield-Broad-Oak, or Hatfield-Regis (St. Mary)

HATFIELD-BROAD-OAK, or Hatfield-Regis (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Dunmow, halfhundred of Harlow, S. division of Essex, 7 miles (S. E.) from Bishop-Stortford; containing 1968 inhabitants. This parish belonged to the crown at the time of the Norman survey, and was granted by Henry III. to William de Cassingham, with the exception of a portion of the tithes previously given to the priory of St. Botolph, in Colchester. It derives the epithet by which it is distinguished from Hatfield-Peverell, from a remarkably fine oak, and there were formerly many oak-trees in the district, the soil being highly favourable for their growth. The parish comprises 8760a. 2r. 20p., whereof about 6285 acres are arable, 1725 pasture, and 582 woodland. The village, which was anciently an extensive market-town, consists of irregularly-built houses much scattered. A fair is held on the 5th of August, principally for lambs. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 11., and in the gift of Trinity College, Cambridge: the tithes have been commuted for £1775 payable to the college, and £100 to the vicar; the impropriate and vicarial glebes consist of about two acres each. The church, a handsome and lofty edifice with a stone tower, comprises portions in the later English style, and contains a monument to Robert De Vere, third earl of Oxford. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Three national schools have been established; and there is a fund of nearly £100 per annum, for the repairs of the church. Adjoining the church, which was then conventual, stood a priory of Black canons, founded by Albeni de Vere, in 1135, and dedicated to God, St. Mary, and St. Melanius Redenensis; the revenue, at the time of the Dissolution, was £157. 3. 2. Downhall, in the parish, was the favourite retirement of the poet Prior.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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