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Thaxted (St. Mary)

THAXTED (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Dunmow, N. division of Essex, 19 miles (N. N. W.) from Chelmsford; containing 2527 inhabitants. This parish, which is of considerable extent, lies on the river Chelmer, near its source, and on the road from Chelmsford to Cambridge. The village is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river, and contains several well-built houses. It was formerly a town of importance, and received a charter from Philip and Mary, vesting the government in a mayor, recorder, two bailiffs, and a council of 20 principal burgesses; but on a writ of quo warranto issued by James II., the corporation resigned their functions, and the market, which was on Thursday, was discontinued. The market was subsequently revived, but it never recovered its early celebrity: fairs are held on the 27th of May and 10th of August, the latter for cattle. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £24; net income, £450; patron and impropriator, Viscount Maynard, whose ancestor gave £2000 in augmentation of the vicarage. The church is a spacious embattled structure, strengthened by buttresses with canopied niches, and having a tower and crocketed spire 183 feet high, the exact length of the church; the south porch is much enriched. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Independents. A free grammar school, founded by Thomas Yardley, is now merged into a national school; and near the church are almshouses for 16 persons, partly supported by sums from various charity funds. A number of Roman coins, and a beautiful amphora, were discovered some years since.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.