Braintree, Essex Family History Guide

Braintree is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Essex.

Other places in the parish include: Rayne Hatch Farm.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1660
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1800

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Independent/Congregational, and Particular Baptist

Adjacent Parishes

  • White Notley
  • Stisted
  • Rayne
  • Black Notley
  • Bocking
  • Felsted
  • Cressing

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BRAINTREE, a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district in Essex. The town stands on the river Blackwater, on the Roman road to Colchester, and on the Blackwater-Valley and Bishops-Stortford railway, 6¼ miles north-north-westward from the Witham Junction of the Eastern Counties railway, and 12 miles NNE of Chelmsford. It arose, in the Roman Catholic times, from thorough fare of pilgrims into Suffolk and Norfolk; fell fast into decay after the Reformation; and revived under the influence of trade. The manor was known, at the Conquest, as Great Rayne or Branchetren; and belonged, till the time of Edward VI., to the Bishops of London. The town is straggling; occupies a rising ground; and connects on the N with Bocking. The streets, for the most part, are narrow; and many of the houses are old and timbered. A corn exchange was built in 1839. The parish church stands on a high mound, thought to have been the site of an ancient camp; is later English and spacious, with a tall spire; was enlarged, prior to the Reformation, with the proceeds of three plays acted in it; and contains the tomb of Dr. Collins, physician to Peter the Great. The site of the former church, and some vestiges of a palace of the Bishops of London, are ½ a mile distant. The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, four dissenting chapels, a mechanics, institute, a free school, and some charities; and it is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place, and publishes a weekly newspaper. The Independent chapel is a large and handsome edifice, built in 1832; and the free school has £18 a year from endowment, and educated Ray the naturalist. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; and fairs on 8 May and 2 Oct. A considerable woollen trade sprang up in the time of Elizabeth, but went into decay; and a trade in silk and crape is now carried on. Dawes, the archbishop, and Tusser, the agricultural poet, were born in the neighbourhood. Pop., 4,305. Houses, 980.

The parish comprises 2,242 acres, of which 58 lie detached within Stisted. Real property, £16,324. Pop., 4,620. Houses, 1,051. The property is much sub-divided. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £300. Patron, Rev.J. Cartwright. The subdistrict contains the parish of Braintree, Rayne, Black Notley, White Notley, and Cressing. Acres, 10,493. Pop., 6,600. Houses, 1,500. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Bocking, containing the parishes of Bocking, Panfield, Stisted, Pattiswick, and Bradwell-next-Coggeshall; and the subdistrict of Finchingfield, containing the parishes of Finchingfield, Wethersfield, Shalford, and Great Saling. Acres, 38,652. Poor-rates in 1866, £10,187. Pop. in 1861, 17,170. Houses, 3,839. Marriages in 1866, 138; births, 578, of which 34 were illegitimate; deaths, 339, of which 105 were at ages under 5 years, and 13 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,233; births, 5,591; deaths, 3,603. The places of worship in 1851 were 14 of the Church of England, with 5,924 sittings; 8 of Independents, with 4,746 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 840 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 210 s.; and 1 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 259 s. The schools were 19 public day schools, with 1,500 scholars; 50 private day schools, with 1,174 s.; 22 Sunday schools, with 2,455 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 45 s. The workhouse is in Bocking.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Butcher Philip, Braintree Heath, Essex, horse dealer, Feb. 3, 1821.

Hayward William, Braintree, Essex, tailor, Feb. 2, 1830.

Pearse William Chaney. Braintree, Essex, grocer and draper, June 17, 1823.

Watson Charles, Braintree, Essex, carpenter and builder, Nov. 26, 1839.


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Essex
  • Civil Registration District: Braintree
  • Probate Court: Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (Essex and Hertfordshire Division)
  • Diocese: Pre-1846 - London, Post-1845 - Rochester
  • Rural Deanery: Hedingham
  • Poor Law Union: Braintree
  • Hundred: Hinckford
  • Province: Canterbury