September news from the Essex Record Office

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Welcome to the September edition of the ERO e-bulletin

Document of the Month, September 2018: Survey of Rivenhall

New fragments which tell us about Essex’s past come in to us all the time, in all shapes and sizes. One new addition is a beautiful survey of the Rivenhall estate. The volume bears no date, so Archivist Ruth Costello has been sleuthing to see if she could find out when it was made.

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ERO in New England

Our agent in New England, Linda MacIver, has been busy again on our behalf, representing ERO at the Celtic Connections conference in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Linda’s role is to spread the word in New England about Essex Ancestors – our online subscription service which allows anyone from around the world to access key family history records held here. If you are one of our e-bulletin subscribers who live in New England, you can find out how to get in touch with Linda to book her to speak at an event here.

A reminder of Britain’s slave-owning past

23 August marked Slavery Remembrance Day, which seemed an appropriate moment to highlight one of the darker documents in our collection. The document dates from 1822 and is part of a series of papers which relate to the administration of the estate of Stella Frances Allen, née Freeman, who had died in 1821. Stella had inherited estates owned by her family in Jamaica, which relied on slave labour, and this document lists the slaves who were at work on the family’s Belvidere plantation in the parish of St. Thomas-in-the-East in Jamaica. The lists provides details of each enslaved person, many of whom were children.

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A bad day’s hunting: one of Essex’s ‘ancientist’ families and the death of a king

In August 1100, the king of England, William II, died in suspicious circumstances while hunting in the New Forest. William (also known as William Rufus) was the son of William the Conqueror, and had inherited the kingdom of England on the death of his father in 1087. 918 years on, our medieval specialist Katharine Schofield discusses what may or may not have happened that day, and the Essex connections of the man rumoured to have killed the king.

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You Are Hear: behind the scenes

During our project You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we aimed to digitise some 1,800 recordings from the Essex Sound and Video Archive (ESVA), and make them available for free through Essex Archives Online, and on SoundCloud and YouTube. But how does the digitisation process actually happen? Sound technician Catherine Norris, who has ploughed nobly through hours and hours of ESVA recordings to digitise them for You Are Hear, tells us all about it here.

Recent sound and video archive uploads

We have been catching up with uploading recordings which we digitised for our You Are Hear project, including videos that demonstrate the rural character of north Essex. Have places such as Clavering and Bures changed since the 1990s when these videos were made?

Forthcoming events

All events take place at the Essex Record Office unless otherwise stated. Please visit our website to see all upcoming events and to book.

Film screening: The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks

The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of The Tanks (1917) is a little known masterpiece of British non-fiction cinema which documents the autumn and winter stages of the Somme campaign on the Western Front. Including the first ever scenes of tanks in battle, Battle of the Ancre also conveys, with power and artistry, the difficulties experienced by the British Army as it fought over ground beset in a sea of mud.

The film is being made available by the Imperial War Museum for screenings across the country throughout summer and autumn 2018. This screening is a joint event with Chelmsford City Council.

Saturday 22 September, 1.30pm-3.45pm (refreshments will be served from 1.30pm, the film screening will begin at 2.00pm)

Tickets £5, including tea, coffee and biscuits. Advance booking essential

Click here to book

Essex History Group: Eastbury Manor House – a remarkable Tudor survivor

Speakers: Pat and Barbara Elliott

On the 100th Anniversary of it being saved from demolition, we look back at how this important building came to be built, its changing fortunes over the centuries and how it was saved. When Clement Sisley acquired the site of a one-time Abbey farm at Eastbury and built his new country home there, he hoped it would continue in his family for generations to come. However, changing family fortunes meant that for most of Eastbury’s subsequent history it was tenanted by local farmers. During WW1 the property was neglected. 100 years ago, as Barking expanded, the House and surrounding buildings were threatened with demolition. Luckily for us, help was at hand.

The Essex History Group meets at ERO for talks on varied historical subjects. There is no formal membership and all are welcome. Talks start at 10.30am, with refreshments before and after. Our lecture theatre is accessible to people in wheelchairs and has an induction loop.

Tuesday 2 October, 10.30am-12.00noon, or

Tuesday 9 October, 10.30am-12.00noon

Please book in advance then pay the £3 admission fee on the door.

Click here to book

To be kept up to date on Essex History Group talks please join our Essex History Group mailing list.

Searchroom Tour

This 45-minute tour will show you how to get the very best from the Record Office’s Searchroom and is ideal if you are just starting your research. The tour includes an introduction to Essex Archives Online, microfiche and microfilm, maps, the Essex Sound and Video Archive and the ERO library.

Thursday 25 October, 10.30am-11.15am

Tickets free, but please book in advance here

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