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St Marys Church, Bocking Churchstreet

Bocking is an area of Braintree, Essex, England, which was a former village and civil parish. In 1934 it became part of the civil parish of Braintree and Bocking,[1] which is now within Braintree District, Essex.

It forms an electoral ward for Essex County Council elections,[2] and gives its name to Bocking Blackwater, Bocking North and Bocking South wards of Braintree District Council.[3]

In 1862 Kelly's Directory of Essex already stated that "Braintree and Bocking, although distinct parishes, form one continuous town, extending for a mile on the road between Chelmsford and Halstead, and the rivers Blackwater and Podsbrook, and having a united population in 1861 of 8,186."[4]

The Deanery Church of St Mary, Bocking, is mainly 15th and 16th century flint and limestone, with 19th century restoration, built on a more ancient church site.[5] It is grade I listed.[6] St Peter's Parish Church was built in 1896-97 of yellow brick, in a design intended to be extended at a later date, and is still unfinished; its website describes it as "unusual in appearance from the outside".[7]

Bocking Windmill is a preserved 18th-century post mill and is grade I listed.[8] It is owned by Braintree District Council and run by the Friends of Bocking Windmill.[9]

Education[edit | edit source]

Bocking has one school called Bocking Church Street School.[10] It used to have another school called Edith Borthwick School but they move to Springwood Drive in Braintree in September 2015 because their old school in Bocking is too small.

Bocking in 1870-72[edit | edit source]

The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales gave the following description of Bocking in 1870-1872:

Bocking: a village, a parish and a sub-district, in Braintree, Essex. The village stands on the left bank of the Blackwater river, and on the Braintree railway, adjacent to Braintree; forms a suburb of that town; consists chiefly of one long street; and is a seat of petty sessions.

A trade in baizes, called 'bockings', was at one time prominent; and a manufacture of silk and crape is now carried on.

The parish includes also Bocking-street and Bocking-Church-street, 3/4 and 2 miles distant from Braintree, both with post offices under that town, and the former situated on the branch Roman road from Chelmsford. Acres: 4, 607. Real property: £15, 156. Pop.: 3, 555. Houses: 768. The property is much sub-divided.

The Manor was given by Ethelred to the See of Canterbury; and belongs now to the corporation of the sons of the clergy. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value: £923. Patron: the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is early English, had anciently 3 altars and 5 chantries, and contains some monuments and 2 brasses. There are: an Independent chapel, much improved in 1869; a charity school, with £50; and other charities, with £172. Dr. Dale, the author of 'Pharmacologia', was a native.

The sub-district contains 5 parishes. Acres: 11, 507. Pop.: 5,281. Houses: 1, 171.

H.G.Wells on Bocking[edit | edit source]

H. G. Wells, in his What Is Coming? A European Forecast (1916), in the fourth chapter, "Braintree, Bocking, and the Future of the World," uses the differences between Bocking and Braintree, divided, he says, by a single road, to explain the difficulties he expects in establishing World Peace through a World State.

If the curious enquirer will take pick and shovel he will find at any rate one corresponding dualism below the surface. He will find a Bocking water main supplying the houses on the north side and a Braintree water main supplying the south. I rather suspect that the drains are also in duplicate. The total population of Bocking and Braintree is probably little more than thirteen thousand souls altogether, but for that there are two water supplies, two sets of schools, two administrations. To the passing observer the rurality of the Bocking side is indistinguishable from the urbanity of the Braintree side; it is just a little muddier.

Efficiency, perhaps the supreme virtue for Wells (and others in the Fabian Society), meant someone in authority preventing waste and inefficiency at every level from water mains to wars. The difficulty of establishing it at the local level was a reflection of the difficulty of establishing it at the global level. In that same chapter he mentions his friend but ideological foe, G. K. Chesterton, who would have been delighted by those same local differences (particularly if it included the beer in the pubs) and whose 1904 novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, praises them. Wells wanted to end war by establishing an authority that could ban any difference between people that might lead to disagreements and perhaps war. Chesterton wanted to reduce the likelihood of war by reminding people that a healthy love for your country meant respecting the love others have for their country. In the December 31, 1910 issue of Illustrated London News he wrote:

You cannot make men enthusiastic for the mere negative idea of peace; it is not an inspiring thing. You might make them enthusiastic for some positive bond or quality that bound them to others and made their enemies their friends. You may get Tommy to love Jimmy; you cannot get Tommy to love the mere fact that he is not quarrelling with Jimmy. So it would be far easier to make an Englishman love Germany than to make him love peace with Germany. Germany is a lovable thing; peace is not. Germany is a positive thing; one can like its beer, admire its music, love its children, with their charming elf-tales and elf-customs, appreciate the beaming ceremony of its manners, and even (with a brave effort), tolerate the sound of its language. But in the mere image of a still and weaponless Europe there is nothing that men will ever love, either as they can love another country or as they can love their own.

References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Published histories of Braintree & Bocking include:

  • May Cunnington & Stephen Warner Braintree & Bocking (Arnold Fairbairns, 1906)
  • W. F. Quin A History of Braintree & Bocking (Lavenham Press, 1981, ISBN 0950737801)
  • Michael BakerThe Book of Braintree & Bocking (Barracuda Books, 1981, ISBN 0860231348; Baron Books 1992);
  • John Marriage Braintree & Bocking A Pictorial History (Phillimore, 1994, ISBN 085033909X).

Coordinates: 51°52′60″N 0°33′00″E / 51.8833, 0.55

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