Essex village celebrates 1,000 years of memories with new archive

A painting of King Cnut as if he were on a stained-glass window in Hadstock, Essex - He wears a crown and holds a staff.

King Canute by Jan Lupton - Credit: Community Archive Hadstock/Lynn Nuttall (CC-BY-NC-4.0)

The 1,000 anniversary celebrations for an Essex church have culminated in the launch of a new village archive.

St Botolph's Church in Hadstock was consecrated 1,001 years ago, with celebrations marking the milestone throughout 2020 and 2021.

Hadstock's online archive has been launched at the end of the celebrations as a record of 1,000 years in the life of an Essex village.

St Botolph's Church's history is thought to date to 1016 at the Battle of Assandun, where Danish prince Cnut defeated King Edmund II.

There are two possible sites for the battle - Ashingdon near Rayleigh or Ashdon, about two miles from Hadstock.

Edmund continued to rule after the battle until his death in 1017.

Cnut became king and returned to Assandun in 1020 to build a church to commemorate the battle.

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It cannot be proven beyond doubt, but the 11th-century fabric of the building and a church door dating to around 1038 suggests St Botolph's was Cnut's memorial church.

The archive features a series of articles on the 1,000th anniversary of the battle in 2016, including a talk by Professor Simon Keynes, an Anglo-Saxon specialist at the University of Cambridge.

A painting of a woman standing at a water pump in Hadstock, Essex.

Emma Swann by Lynn Nuttall - Credit: Community Archive Hadstock/Lynn Nuttall (CC-BY-NC-4.0)

A painted picture of an F2 Bomber at Hadstock Aerodrome, Essex. It bears text: Detroit

F2 Bomber on the American Airbase, Hadstock 1944 by Barbara Bawden - Credit: Community Archive Hadstock/Barbara Bawden (CC-BY-NC-4.0)

It also contains a series of paintings by 29 village artists to celebrate the anniversary, under the supervision of Cambridge Open Studios chair Sonia Villiers, from Hadstock.

Beekeepers, pub landlords and choristers from the 1960s are remembered as important people.

It contains a Hadstock Histories podcast which explores 1,000 years of rural life as told by villagers.

The Hadstock Society led much of the project.

Richard Dolby, its chairman, said: “Our village has a wonderful story to tell about its medieval and more recent past.

"The village community is changing constantly and this multi-project millennium celebration has provided a unique opportunity to share our heritage with a much wider village group.

"It will encourage greater participation in community activities and strengthen pride in this very special village.”

The project was supported by £7,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with a further £1,000 from the Diocese of Chelmsford. 

Viewers and contributors can visit the archive online: