Goldhanger Lost

O  Cottages lost

O  Parish Rooms


O   Shops lost

O  Wesleyan Chapel


O  Village School

O  British Legion Hall


O  Blacksmiths

O  Petrol Station


O  The Mill

O  Tithe barn & Glebe farm


O  Alehouses

O  Barns Lost


O  Cricket in the park

O  Pit Cottages


O   The Chapel near Chappel Farm

Cottages lost

In the early 1950s over thirty cottages were demolished in the village. They were mainly tenanted or tied properties in a very bad state of repair and were condemned by Maldon Council as unfit for habitation. Ironically, some belonged at the time to the incumbent Rector and families of past Rectors which had came into their possession as part of acquiring the Benefice. Many of the owners did not live in, or even, near the village. New council houses were built on the Maldon Road to provide accommodation for those living in the condemned properties that were demolished.

As early as 1938 newspaper articles were reporting that the council recognised that 23 cottages in the village were in a poor state of repair and needed to be demolished, but a temporary reprieve was granted in response to opposition from the tenants and the second world war deferred action for a further 15 years. It made worldwide news…

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Although the cottages were picturesque, they were described by the tenants who had lived in them as "damp, cold with very low ceilings and little or no sanitation". By modern standard these cottages were poorly constructed with softwood timbers and lath & plaster walls. Most did not have gutters and down-pipes. Some were built of a soft porous red brick and had no damp courses of cavities. The 1820 Tithe map lists 48 cottages in the village as "tenements", and the number of owner/occupied as just 9, and most of these were the shops.

Posrcard views of thirty of the demolished cottages appeared in this PDF document...

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Shops lost

Before the arrival of the automobile and the omnibus, in the days when a pony and trap and horse drawn wagon were the means of getting to Maldon on market day, the village was largely self sufficient with many shops. Many different shops have been identified from old trade directories, although they weren’t all in business at the same time.

Select to enlarge

    Shops from the past…


General store in the Square                    cycle shop                      Head St. pork butcher                         Fish St. butcher

Over the years the post office has been located in at least six different places, but there was probably no more than one at any given time. Several general stores have been identified and they may well have been two of these operating at a time, one doubling up as the post office. There was also known to be three butchers shops, but only two at the same time, one specialising in pork. Here is a summary list (as of 2018)…




Approx. Dates

         Past & Present Business

Church St


early 1700s

Black Bull ale house



late 1700s

Blacksmiths & butchers



1920s to 2004

Petrol & service Station

west side


1920s - 1980s

General Store, newspapers, hairdressers



1500s?- 1990s

Hall Farm -sold fresh dairy produce at gate











early 1900s

Fish & Chip shop (north end lean-to)



1800 - 1870

Wheelwrights (in the thatched barn)



1848 - 1970

Public house & bakers



1848 to present

The Cricketers Inn



1980 to present

Agricultural Museum

east side

Church Fm


Fruit growers, Jam makers



1850 - 1977

Church of England School



1977 - 1998

London borough study centre



1998 to present

Wheatlands / Goldhanger Community Nursery



1890s -1960s

Blacksmiths & Farrier



1910 - 1920s

Post Office & telephone exchange



1940s - 1950s

Doctors Surgery



1960s - 1980s

Agricultural engineers


14A, Coach Hs


Pan Signs,  graphic design & sign writers

The Square


1575 to present

The Chequers Inn

Fish St


1890s  - 1900

General Store & Post Office

east side


1970s - 1980s

Doctors Surgery



1700s - 1930s

Mill owners house & Malters



1700s  - 1870




1870 - 1930s

Steam driven mill



1860s - 1899

Bird in Hand, Ale house



1860s - 1899




1880s - 1900s

Grocer & Baker



1900s - 1950s



Bounds Fm

500BC - 1840

Salt Makers & Traders


Bounds Fm

1924 - 1946

Dog & Chicken breeder


Bounds Fm

1920s - present

Fruit growers

west side


1900 - 1972




1700 - 1800s

The Dolphin Ale house



1700 - 1800s

The Dolphin ale house?




Cake & sweet shop



1930s - 1940s




1940s - 1970s

Taxi service

Head St


1830s - 1870s

Blacksmiths, Farrier & Wheelwrights

south side



Pork Butchers




TV & radio shop




General Store & Post Office

north side



Clockmaker & whitesmith

(in The Square)


1900s - 1970s

General Store & Post Office


1800s - 1930s

Wheelwrights, bicycle shop


1900s - 1920s

Petrol station


1920s - 1980s

Undertakers, carpenters, builders


2013 - 2016

Salty Dogs, tearooms & gallery



1840s - 1940s?

Police house



1840s - 1940s?

School headteacher’s accommodation



1990s - present

Homeopath’s surgery




Blacksmiths & Farrier




Carpenters & saw pit



1910 - 1990s

The Parish Rooms

Lt Totham Rd


1970s to present

Farm co-operative - North Maldon Growers


Follyfaunts Fm

1300s - 1920s




1960s to 2007

Verine Products, Fireplace wholesalers


Falcons Hall

1300s - 1950s



Fruitfields Fm

1920s To present

Apple & pear growers

Maldon Rd


1930s  - 2000

General Store & Post Office



2001 - 2005

Post Office



1900 - 1920

General store & tobacconist





On the Tithe map of 1841 the blacksmiths shop is shown on the south side of Head St. adjacent to The Square. The 1880 Ordinance Survey map shows a “Smiths” adjacent to The Square on the north side. William Bentall, inventor of the Goldhanger plough and founder of Bentalls Agricultural Engineers, had his original models of the plough built at the Goldhanger blacksmiths before creating his own foundry and workshops in 1795.

An early photograph shows the blacksmiths and a post office opposite the Cricketers Inn in Church St. and we know Shire horses from Bounds Farm were led up through the village to the blacksmiths shop for re-shoeing. 


Three generations of the Emeny family were blacksmiths and farriers in the first half on the 20th century. George Emeny developed the business into general agricultural engineering between the 1950s & 60s. In an article published in the Essex Chronicle in 1962 Harold Emeny recalled that the business closed down in the 1932 recession. Later he said there was a time when there was so much business that horsemen frequently passed the time in the Cricketers Inn opposite waiting for their horses to be re-shoed, and by the early 1960s the trade was “down to one or two shoes a day”.


In 1962 a full page article appeared in the local press about how the Blacksmiths and forge had changed over the years...

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The Mill

The mill and maltings stood on the east side of Fish Street a few yards south of The Chequers Inn. For much of its life it was a steam driven and then diesel driven mill and  finally ceased to operate in the late 1920s. It is identified and described in Essex Windmills, Millers & Millwrights  written by Kenneth Farries and published in 1985. Here is an extract...



Windmill erected over a malting; precise form not known. Stood on the east side of Fish Street a few yards south of The Chequers public house.  TL 905087.

In 1781 a windmill and watermill stated to be at Goldhanger were to be let, together with 12 acres of pasture, the whole advantageously situated for the London trade, application to be made to Thomas Piggot Esq., of Maldon.  The exact location was not given, nor does it appear on maps, unless the reference be loosely to the pair of wind and tide mills, of which the former stood in the attenuated stretch of Little Totham parish which barely secured a frontage on the Blackwater.

With regard to the 19th-century windmill, situated as above described, a letter from the indefatigable Roland W. Smith is quoted both as a tribute to his spade work towards the ends of this publication and as an example of the transient nature of the folk memory:

20th November 1971. I have been making enquiries lately about Goldhanger Mill without success. The steam mill, run by an oil engine in its last years, is still there, now converted into houses.  They present a very ordinary appearance.  I don't think anyone would guess their origin.  I was told about them by Mr Fred Neville, who lives next door.  His father was carter for the mill in its last years - it was a stone grinding mill until the end.  A local all his life, Mr Neville had never heard of a windmill there.  At the suggestion of Mr Frost of Tolleshunt Major, I wrote to a Mr W. Wenden, now 87 years of age ... Mr Wenden had himself worked at Goldhanger mill. I received from him the briefest of replies, saying he knew nothing about the windmill.  With the help of the telephone directory I got in touch with a Mr P. Belsham of Chelmsford, a member of the family who had once been millers at Goldhanger.  He was aware of the family's past, and had done some research in trade directories, etc., but he, also, knew nothing about a windmill at Goldhanger.

The windmill was, however, real enough.  It was erected by the Belshams who from 1826 to 1926 at the least were recorded in directories, operating until c 1870 as rnaltsters and millers, and later as millers only.  The windmill was first noted in the Essex and Suffolk insurance registers (Maldon Agency) as at Belsham's premises in December 1823, being valued at £200, and a month or so later the agent felt obliged to record the droll observation: 'The Malting on which Mr Jacob Belsham's Wind Mill is built is worked as a Malting.  Steam was introduced comparatively early, in 1837, and in 1850 Edward Quy insured another steam-driven flour mill in the parish.

The windmill probably continued in use until about 1875, for it qualified for inclusion on the first 6 in O.S. map as 'Goldhanger Windmill (Corn)', but in an insurance record of that year relating to Messrs O. D. & L. Belsham, there is a mention of four pairs of stones driven by steam, but no reference to wind.  The firm was still to be found in Kelly's directory of 1926 as Oliver Daniel and Lewis Belsham, Millers (Steam).


Although in the past there was some doubt amongst locals as to whether it ever was a windmill, records now available confirm that it was originally operated by wind power. The wooden tower that appears on several early postcards clearly looks as if it was once the base of a windmill. However, steam was introduced comparatively early in 1837, so no photograph of the tower with sails is likely to exist.

Marine maps of the Blackwater Estuary in 1800s give the “Goldhanger Mill chimney with the Church tower adjacent” as a navigation landmark and early postcards label what is now called Fish St as Mill Lane. In 1850 Edward Quy insured a steam-driven flour mill in the parish. Cyril Southgate recorded in his memoirsMy father as a young single man had arrived in Goldhanger about 1910-1911, he was a millwright by trade, and stone dresser, and was employed by the then owners of Goldhanger mill.

The business was listed in 1926 Kelly's directory as “Oliver Daniel and Lewis Belsham, Millers (Steam)”, and the tower and chimney are clearly visible in the background of a photograph taken in The Square of the 1937 Coronation Children’s parade, see… Early group photos.  It was a stone grinding mill until the end but the mill warehouse is now converted into two houses.



      Artist’s impression of the windmill in Fish St                              view of the mill from the Church tower



The red brick warehouse building shown in these photographs remains as a pair of cottages




In the past there were several alehouses in the village as well as the Chequers and the Cricketers Inns. They were probably not licensed. The locations included:

The Bird in Hand at 15 Fish St

The Dolphin at 10 Fish St

2 Fish St (more recently the bakery)

The Black Bull at 1 Church St  (the site of the garage of No.2 Head St. and is referred to on old Deeds of this property).


Bird in Hand                                       The Dolphin                                                   2 Fish St

Several reasons for having so many alehouses in a village the size of Goldhanger have been given:

o     In the 18th century there was a period when a licence was not required to brew and sell low alcohol beer so as to discourage people from drinking smuggled spirits. This was the period when Hogarth recorded scenes of alcoholism in London Streets. So the alehouses were not necessarily breaking the law at the time.

o     The Methodist community also encouraged their wealthier supported to open alehouses for the same reason. This probably accounts for why the Bird in Hand was one of the ale houses, as the Alexander family who owned it were heavily involved in the Wesleyan Chapel in head St.

o     Because the low alcohol ale made in small batches on the premises, it didn’t keep for very long, and it was offered for only a short period from each alehouse on a rotor basis. A sprig of broom was hung outside the alehouse to indicate that ale was available. So it was unlikely the businesses would all be selling ale at the same time.

o     Maldon fishermen were said to spend time at Goldhanger waiting for the tide and were willing and captive customers.

o     There was ready supply of smuggled spirits passing up Fish St. from the Creek before the coastguards arrived in the village in 1820.

There are many reports of past incidents and criminal activity associated with the local alehouses in the Early court and newspaper reports. The last newspaper reference to the Bird-in-Hand was in October 1900, which referred to the “surrender of the licence”. The roadside cottages in Fish St and Church St had shutters on the ground floor windows, said to be there to protect the residents from the drunken fishermen returning from the alehouses to their boats. The shutters can be seen on these early postcards. . .


Cottages with shutters on the road in Church St.



Cricket in the park

The cricket field was was located behind the Rectory, now called Goldhanger House and  beside the Maldon Road. It was always known as “The Park”. Tea was usually provided in the garden of the Cricketers Inn. The first recorded landlord of the Cricketers was in 1848, so presumably the cricket pitch dates from at least that time.


The June 1919 Parish magazine reported: 

20 men attended a meeting to form a Goldhanger & District Cricket Club covering the parishes of Goldhanger, Little Totham, Beckingham and Osea Island. Subscription 5/- and upwards for playing members. Mr. Pinhey was appointed Captain and the Curate, Rev B.H. Durrant-Field Vice-Captain.  Practice nights will be on Tuesday and Thursday, and matches to be played away until after hay time.

Before the Second World War cattle were grazed in the park and iron hurdles with wheels were used to fence off the cricket square from the animals, and for many years a concrete strip was used as the pitch, over which coconut matting was stretched and pegged into place. A hard cork ball without a seam was used.

The concrete cricket strip

Other activities also took place in the field during this period, such as WI organised sports days. During the second world war the park and the pitch were used by a searchlight battery stationed in the village.

The cricket team in 1930

After WW-2 declining support made it increasingly difficult to pay the ground rent and in 1952 when the farmer disposed of his milking herd the lease for the cricket square was given up and all of the park was converted to arable land.



Tithe barn and Glebe farm

The village tithe barn was located in Church Street next the Church and is shown on the 1841Tithe map. In the first half of the 20th century the barn was part of the Glebe otherwise known as Church Farm belonging to the Page family. The barn was a low timber framed building, with gabled entrances just large enough for horse draw carts to load and unload in the dry. 


The barn was demolished as recently as the1970s just after the photo on the left above was taken and when it was in a bad state of repair. The early postcard photo (on the right) taken from the Church tower clearly shows the shape of the barn. It was unusually symmetrical with four gables. One reason for the entrances being placed opposite each other in this way was to create draught for “winnowing” the chaff in the days before any form of mechanised drying existed. See also… Barns Lost

Judging from early photographs and postcards taken in the first half of the 20th century Church Farm or Old Rectory Farm, appears to have been a prosperous and successful farming enterprise…

Between the 1920s to the 50s Charles Page and the Page family maintained extensive fruit orchards on the land to the east side of the village and for a time produced jam in the farm buildings on their land which, together with their D’arcy Spice apples, were sold all over the country.

Common Market policy resulted in the orchards being taken out in the early 1970s and the fields were became arable land and merged into Highams Farm. By 1974 the tithe barn was in a poor state of repair and it was demolished.



Barns Lost

As well as the Tithe barn several other ancient timber framed barns have been lost in the village for to a variety of reasons…

Falcons Hall  had a large timber framed barn which was demolished in the 1940s as it was in a poor state and unsafe. It was replaced just after WW-2 with a redundant semi-circular corrugated iron structure.

Wheelwrights barn  next to the Cricketers Inn in Church St. was burn down in the 1970s. It just appears on three of the early postcards of Church Street next to the Cricketers. A private house was built on the site.

Hall Farm barn  was sold, dismantled and move to Tiptree heath in the 1960s, where it remains as a private house.

The Tithe Barn  was demolished as recently as the1970s. Photos are above. Two private houses were built on the site. The beams and roof tiles were sold on.

Scotts & Motts  the barn seems to have fallen down in the 1980s but some remains are still there. A photograph of an aircraft crash on the Maldon Road during WW-2 (shown below) clearly shows several buildings in the background that were Scott & Motts farm.

Bounds Farm  barn caught fire due to an electrical fault, probably in the 1990s, and has been replaces with a modern structure.


Falcons Hall barns                                                               Tithe Barn


 Hall Farm Barn before being dismantled                                     Bounds Farm Barn before the fire       .


         The Tithe Barn during demolition                                 Scotts & Motts Farm and barns in the background.

Ancient barns remain at...   Cobbs,   Follyfaunts,   Vaulty Manor  and  Highams   farms


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