Pit Cottages

formerly on the Triangle in the Maldon Rd

an artist’s impression of the cottages based on descriptions

by residents who remember them as no photograph has been seen.

The Pit Cottages acquired their name from being built in a former brick pit (also called a clay pit) and were well below the general ground level. The cottages had a chequered history until they demolished in the early 1960s. This extract for the Essex Records Office indicates that the building was used as the village school as early as 1602…

and this extract from House of Commons papers indicated that it may still have been in use as a school in 1833, as no other building from that date has been identified as being used as a school…

 

Part of a long article in The Essex Chronicle in 1937 entitled: “Your Essex at Goldhanger” (and transcribed in Descriptions of Goldhanger ) has interviews with elderly villagers were about their past, and includes...

 

In Goldhanger - an Estuary Village   Maura Benham wrote…

 

This 1906 sales brochure offers “The Old School” as one of the Revd. C B Leigh’s many properties sold in that year…

 

The cottages appear on this map supplied with the above brochure shows the cottages on the north side of the triangle…

The cottages also appears on many other old maps, including both the 1820 and 1838 Tithe Maps (reference 146).  In the Awards listings associated with these maps the cottages are identified in the ownership of William Bentall, of Goldhanger Plough fame, and the tenants were listed as Robert Wager and James Hume.

It is said that the cellar at the back of the cottages went under the road and was used by smugglers who were using the well established route between Goldhanger Creek and Tiptree Heath. In the 1950s an Osbornes bus fell through the road surface into the cellar, which is probably one reason why the cottages were then demolished. However, it was at a time when many cottages were lost in the village after being condemned by Maldon Council and pulled down, and being in an old clay pit the cottages were probably very damp.

 

In the 20th century the cottages were privately owned and rented to tenants. There was a well and a large Walnut Tree in the front garden. One of the last to live in the cottages was Reuben Johnson who worked at both the garage opposite the Church for George Stokes and also Frank Norton the baker. He used to get up very early and cycle down to Norton’s bakery at 2 Fish St. where he would get the fires going for the ovens and prepare the first bread of the day. He would them cycle home for breakfast before returning to the garage for opening time.

 

Two trees were planted on the triangle in 1977 as part of the Queens Jubilee celebration and these are still flourishing.

 

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