TOWIE is the Essex research group led by Wendy White on the second Thursday of the month from 2-4. Membership of the group is unfortunately full.
This month our visit in words was to the village, some say small town, of Coggeshall. For those of us who had never been there the resulting information certainly put it on the “to visit” list. The village has been in existence since Anglo Saxon times and in the past has held a position of great importance as Kings have asked much of its inhabitants. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries development was at its peak in the building of religious places and St Peter's church is a fine example, although there had to be extensive reconstruction after war damage in 1940. the east window survived intact but the tower and chancel were completely demolished. The gatehouse of the old Abbey has also been used as a church and became the main church of use when St Peter's was damaged. This church is the Chapel of St Nicholas built in 1225 and as so often it went into a state of disrepair but there was a great restoration in the 1890's. The Abbey itself was founded by Queen Matilda and the original High Altar was dedicated in 1162.
In and around the village there are many grand houses and Paycocks was the one we were told about in detail. Built in 1510 as a wedding present for his son by John Paycock it had all the grandeur of the rich of the day,. The family were cloth merchants and their emblem stamped on al the bales of cloth was an Ermine. His symbol appears in the stonework of the house as a sign of the importance of the family in the area. The house stayed in private ownership with differing faamilies owning it , again suffered the ravages of time , but was restored when a descendant bought the derelict building and brought it back to the full glory of Tudor times.
As with so many buildings of the past we owe it to the National Trust that visitors can enjoy it now.
The only other place of any not we herd about was the Market Place with the Clock Tower and the White Hart being buildings of note. Today the market is open every Thursday, selling mostly the fresh produce , breads, cheeses fruit and vegetables and, as times change ethnic foods are now appearing alongside the more traditional ones. There was a separate Farmer's Market until recently but it has closed due to lack of support and very poor footfall.
Another interesting meet, and next month promises much as we look at some of the more unusual museums of the county.