December 5, 2007

Maid Marian is purported to have died and been buried in a village church in Uttlesford.

Priory Church, in Little Dunmow, is one of the oldest buildings in East Anglia and houses the tomb of Matilda or Marian, the daughter of the Earl Fitzwalter.

The present church, in St Mary’s Place, was the lady chapel and is all that remains of the Augustinian Priory of St Mary the Virgin, founded in 1106.

Legend has it that on Marian’s 18th birthday, her father gave a tournament at one of his castles in her honour, with contestants coming from all parts of the country over three days.

The victor of her birthday tournament left on his horse and disappeared into Sherwood Forest. Later, when Prince John attacked the castle after Marian rejected his advances, she escaped into the forest and was found by the man who won the tournament.

He was clad in Lincoln green and held a bow in his hand – the legendary figure of Robin Hood.

* A silver trophy awarded to one of the area’s best-known families in recognition of its generosity has been handed back to them by a mysterious donor, after it had been lost for many years.

The trophy was presented to George Courtauld at the beginning of the last century to acknowledge the gift of the public gardens in Bocking.

It later went missing and it was assumed the trophy would never be seen again.

A businessman, who as a student was awarded a bursary from the Courtauld Trust, bought the lost trophy at an auction and has now handed it back. It was on display at Braintree’s Town Hall before being moved to the Braintree District Museum.


December 3, 1998

The streamlining of Mid-Essex Magistrates’ Courts will take another step forward with particular offences being divided between different courts.

From January 1, Witham Magistrates’ Court and Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court will pool their cases and then split them on the basis of the offence committed.

Offences involving youth and traffic matters, non-police prosecutions and trials will be dealt with at Witham Magistrates’ Court, while cases relating to other offences will be heard at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.

* Braintree’s train station has won a National Railway Heritage Award.

It scooped the London Underground Award, which is presented to the urban station showing the greatest improvement to heritage features.

Almost £1 million was spent to refurbish the station to mark its former 150th anniversary year.


December 6, 1968

A queue of house-hunters camped out all Friday night on the doorstep of a Witham estate agent’s office to snap up homes on the Peverel Valley estate when they came on the market at 9am on Tuesday.

The homes are on the third phase of the estate, due to completed next summer.

Customers had been waiting in the pouring rain and were unable to leave the queue for fear of losing their place.


December 4, 1958

Sixty Panfield parents decided at a protest meeting to seek legal aid if necessary in their campaign to prevent the closing of their 33-pupil village primary school and to meet all costs incurred.

The meeting, held in the two-roomed school, also instructed the county councillor for the area to bring the matter before the Essex education committee.

* A frustrated coach driver was fined £2 for punching a car driver in the face.

The 19-year-old car driver said he was driving from Hatfield Peverel to Witham when the coach tried to overtake his car several times and repeatedly sounded its horn.

He stopped his car and the coach pulled up alongside him.

Then the driver got out of the coach, came over to the teenager, punched him in the face and drove off.