+ Saint Giles Church, Langford
Sunday 21st of July 2019
Picture: A Statue of Saint Giles.

The Parish of Langford.

A Brief History.

Langford was established around the point where an ancient road crosses the River Blackwater (known of old as the River Pant); and from this, the name Langford (long ford) has derived. There have been settlements in the Langford area since at least the Middle Bronze Age, about 3,500 years ago.

During the Late Iron Age, and while the Romans were roaming, there was a significant port within easy walking distance at the junction of the rivers Chelmer and Blackwater. Recent archaeological excavations at the port suggest that it traded in luxury goods from Europe and may have been of religious significance to the Romans.

The earliest written record of Langford that we have found is in the Domesday Book (1086) which records it as 'Langheforda'.

From 1180, Langford Parish belonged to Beeleigh Abbey (near Maldon) so all lands and buildings would have been rented from the Abbot, by payment of annual tithes, until 1536 (6th June to be exact) when King Henry VIII relieved Beeleigh Abbey of its possessions and it ceased to exist as a religious house.

On 15 July, 1540, King Henry VIII granted Beeleigh Abbey to John Gate (of Garnetts, High Easter) with its various possessions in Langford, Ulting, Maldon, and neighbouring areas. Since that date, the land has been subdivided and sold or passed on through many owners, though the principal owners have been the Wescomb and the Byron families.

A railway line through Langford was opened on 2nd October 1848, our station was situated next to the main road to Heybridge (B1018). As with many rural railways, the line was closed by Mr. Reginald Beeching (Chairman of British Railways) on 7th September 1964.

In 1929 Langford became an important site for the purification and pumping of water by the Southend Waterworks Company. The same essential service is now carried out by Essex and Suffolk Water, still using much the same site but greatly changed and utilising modern technology and equipment.

Recently, a disused part of the old waterworks site was sold for development and a new light industrial area, Oval Park, was built. And so, a predominantly agricultural area has met the challenges of the 21st century with the arrival of new businesses at the forefront of modern technology, and yet Langford has retained its rural tranquility; Surrounded by unspoilt countryside it is a pleasant place to live, or simply to visit for a walk - perhaps to Beeleigh Falls or along the towpath to Maldon, Heybridge, or Heybridge Basin.

Langford has a rich and interesting history that will ultimately be available in a book which is currently being written. Details of how to obtain the book will be posted here when it is available.

Principal Buildings in Langford.

St. Giles' Church.
Picture: St. Giles' Church, Langford.
Read about St. Giles' Church on the rest of this website.
The Village Hall.
The village hall was once a cowshed, and in 1994 the architects Plater Claiborne won a conservation award for its conversion. The Village Hall is very well used, and houses the "Little Oaks" Nursery during term time.
Please note that the Village Hall is not connected with the Church in any way, so Church Officials cannot answer enquiries or take bookings.
Langford Mill.
Picture: Langford Mill.
The present brick mill replaced the 1776 weather-boarded building which burnt down in 1879. Mill owners often had their own barges, and the owner of Langford Mill had anticipated the benefit of the economic advantages of having access to London's markets. Three years before construction of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Canal began, he formed his own cut from Langford to the River Chelmer. He had an additional bonus when the owners of the Navigation paid him to deepen the cut so that it was at the same level as their own. Before a disastrous fire destroyed the old building, the mill had been sending some 8,000 sacks of flour every year to the London market. The mill was rebuilt, but too late to enjoy continuing prosperity.
Mill House Hotel.
Picture: Mill House Hotel, Langford.
In its hey day it was one of the larger private houses in the village and home to the Baker family who were very active in all aspects of village life. In the 1960s it became an old people's home before being sold in the 1990s. It was used as accommodation for asylum seekers in the late 1990s before being turned again into a hotel. For enquiries about accommodation contact them on 01621 841518.
Langford Water Works.
Operated by Essex and Suffolk Water, purifying and recycling water to a very high standard and monitoring the quality of water in our rivers.
Museum of Power.
Picture: The Museum of Power, Langford.
Until 1945, 96% of the Southend Company's water requirement was pumped from Langford. However, the Langford Steam Pumping Station could not supply enough water to meet the ever-increasing demand and in 1964 the decision was taken to scrap two of the big engine and pump sets, and the boilers. Fortunately one of the engines and its pump set was preserved. The buildings and engine became Scheduled Ancient Monuments in 1986. The Museum of Power, as it is now known, came to Langford in 1996 and is centered in and around the the Steam Pumping Station.
Langford Hall.
Picture: Langford Hall.
To the north of the church stands Langford Hall, described by Nikolaus Pevsner in his Buildings of Essex (1954) as an L-shaped, timber framed house of red brick, c. 1700 with a 1748 addition. However, a plan of Glebeland belonging to the rectory of Langford, dated 1610, makes mention of Langford Hall, so it is actually somewhat older. The Hall is currently owned by Mr. & Mrs. Edward Watson of Watsons Farms Limited, members of the congregation of St. Giles' Church.


Water Company:
Essex and Suffolk Water.
Mill House Hotel,
Maldon Road,
Phone: 01621 841518
Fruit Suppliers:
Maldon Fruit Supplies,
Furzeland Farm,
Maypole Road,
Tel: 01621 859613
Electronic Design and Manufacture:
CML Microcircuits (UK) Limited,
Oval Park,
Tel: 01621 875500

Things to do:

Museum of Power,
Steam Pumping Station,
Hatfield Road, Langford,
Tel: 01621 843183
Maldon Golf Club,
Secretary: Mr G R Bezant
Tel: 01621 853212
To Beeleigh Falls, then turn left and follow the towpath (either cross Fullbridge and go to Hythe Quay and the Thames Sailing Barges in Maldon, or follow the towpath to Heybridge Basin), or turn right and follow the towpath for 8 miles to Chelmsford.

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