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Essex Through the Ages
Medieval Essex
  Life in Medieval Essex
  Medieval Castles
  The Medieval Church
  The Norman Conquest
  The Medieval Town
  Medieval Trade
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Medieval Essex

By the end of the Saxon period the manorial hall and accompanying church were already features of the Essex landscape and this pattern continued into the Medieval period. The years following the Norman conquest saw the imposition of castles, as at Rayleigh and Castle Hedingham, and the 11th and 12th centuries saw the foundation of new towns, both as adjuncts to castles as at Pleshey, and as deliberate commercial ventures, as at Braintree and Chelmsford. Both of the latter were founded by the Bishop of London in 1199 to capitalise on his manors’ positions on communication nodal points.

At Cressing Temple, an estate owned by the Knights Templar, two magnificent 13th century tithe barns are preserved. Another form of characteristic Essex Medieval site is the homestead moat, particularly common on the Boulder Clay, whilst large and remarkable survivals of Medieval landscape occur at Epping, Writtle and particularly Hatfield forest.