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Basildon Stories
The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 - Part 2
by Thomas Edwards


     Before we begin our walk along Cranes Farm Road towards Nevendon on our left on a high embankment stood a First World War camp containing German prisoners of war who helped build the A127 Arterial Road. Nothing was left of this camp but its foundations. We now continue our walk along this road which was high embankments on either side. Now a contrast is seen. We are in arable farmland while Basildon is poultry farmland. This road we travel along is narrow and very steep and we must hug the side as traffic comes along. Why so narrow a road remains to me a mystery. Soon we come away into a broader stretch of road and on our right a road, an unmade one, leads to Fryerns Farm which stood there for many years. Someone commited suicide in one of its barns which was said to be haunted. At the entrance to this unmade road had stood some old cottages, seven or eight of them dating back to the 1600 or 1700. People still lived in them and on the left of the road in an open field stood an old black Army hut where an old lady named Mrs. Steward lived.

     We now continue our walk along Cranes Farm Road. We pass on our left two old black cottages and on our right a thatched low cottage with a little flower garden in front of it, then an open field with cows grazing and the road slightly dips. Then we reach Cranes Farm or Great Spenders Farm, but known to the locals as McCheynes Farm. The road actually runs through the farmyard as the farmer's home is on the left and his farm on the right opposite. A duck pond is by the roadside on the left with a large orchard and on our right another open field. The farm is old; how old I never knew but the road is named after it.

     So we continue and enter now the village of Nevendon. On our right is an unmade road leading into "The Avenue", built up of early twenties bungalows in a straight line on one side facing an open field. On our left we pass McCheynes orchard until we meet some old Victorian houses. Then we reach a junction which divides to our left and right. This is now Nevendon Road. We take the right turning and right on the left hand corner stood the "Old Cricketers" public house, now a private residence. So on our right is "Riders Corner Shop" with Nevendon's own bakery behind the bungalow. On the other side of Rider's shop stood a disused garage and in the bungalow itself converted into a workshop I begun my first job after leaving school in 1944. We are now in the village of my boyhood and as we walk along this road we pass on our left some bungalows built in the nineteen thirties, one of which was my home, and on our right two modern brick bungalows and an open field. Then we arrive at another junction and the road leads ahead into Timberlog Lane. The road to our left is called Burnt Mills Road.

     As we continue walking, passing more bungalows on our left and on our right open fields, so we come to Nevendon Primary School built in 1926. On our left are a few more bungalows. On our right we come to Nevendon bushes or woods. Then on our left Archers fields and small farms and so on until we reach the top of Burnt Mills Road. Another junction to the right leading along Rectory Road towards Pitsea and Burnt Mills Road continues on our left towards Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford.

     Now we retrace out steps back along towards Nevendon and take the road back towards Cranes Farm Road towards the Nevendon Road leading Northwards. We pass on our left at Rider's Corner the Old Cricketers erstwhile public house which stood there since Edward III was on the throne when it was called the "Kings Head". On our right are one or two houses and about twelve bungalows all built in the nineteen thirties and so on our left pass the Old Cricketers open fields. We now come to a sharp bend in the road and on our left is the "Old School House" built in Victorian times as a "Dame School". Ahead of us is "Nevendon Hall" on our right is an open field with the entrance to Nevendon Rectory and then the Old Tithe Barn and Church all in one corner....the quiet tranquil spot in old world Nevendon.

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Page added: July 2003
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