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Basildon Stories
The story of Basildon & District as they were 1937 - 1947 - Part 3
by Thomas Edwards


     Here before we go on we pause to study this historic spot now almost swept away by Basildon New Town. Amid the shade of the trees Nevendon Hall itself has a Georgian front with a brick red wall surrounding its property and a 16th Century backyard which was built in Elizabethan times. It was once used by Smugglers in the 18th Century and is said to have a secret passageway connecting it to the nearby Church. Perhaps Nevendon Hall had its Squire.

     Facing the Hall is the old Tithe Barn 16th Century built of seasoned wood used for parties and Sunday School classes and also the 13th Century church of St. Peter's which is early English set in its own grounds and surrounded by a wall. It narrowly escaped destruction by a land mine falling just yards away in the field at the rear in the Second World War. Now a lane led between the Hall and Church to Framptons Farm which was 16th Century and boasted a woman who commited witchcraft.

     Now we leave this peaceful spot and continue our walk passing some fields twisting and turning until we come to the new "Jolly Cricketers" public house built in 1937 [actually 1927] to replace the Old Cricketers at Riders Corner.

     The "Jolly Cricketers" faced the A127 Arterial Road and on the other side the Nevendon Road continues to Wickford. The "Jolly Cricketers" was almost destroyed by a V1 flying bomb in 1944 which destroyed the old "Blue Bird" cafe and a few empty shops, among them the local Home Guard Headquarters.

     Now we retrace our walk back through Nevendon to the junction of Burnt Mills Road and Timberlog Lane. Before we continue along Timberlog Lane we see a shop on our right hand side with two or three bungalows dominating the junction which used to be called "Noyce's Corner".

     Now we continue our walk along the open fields of Timberlog Lane and one field once had a dummy gun barrage set up in the Second World War to scare off low flying German planes. The fields were used for growing corn and grazing cattle sometimes, but not often sheep. Bomb craters were few.

     Now we pass on our right a small bungalow set in its own grounds. Next we reach a bend in the road and a house called "The White House" stood on the corner. A bomb fell beside it, but did not destroy it. Nearby also on the left is a lane leading to Felmores Farm closed in by trees. Next a bungalow, then an unmade road called Briscoe Road leading towards Pitsea.

     All is open fields on our right side until we see across the fields on a slope in the distance Fryerns Farm with cattle browsing around it.

     We pass an open field, on our left a house then a field and finally come to Craylands Secondary School for Boys and Girls on our right.

     This school was opened in 1935 and whether this marked the boundary of Nevendon and Vange I do not know, but Timberlog Lane continues here onwards to Vange. Craylands School field had a shower of incendiary bombs in the war, but they did no damage.

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Page added: July 2003
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