During the latter 13th century the King’s master mason was Henry Yevele, who owned land at Wennington and whose name is linked with Aveley; Aveley church itself is a medieval Building. During 1377-1400 Yevele rebuilt the nave where Becket had been murdered at Canterbury Cathedral, which murder had led to Becket’s sainthood and shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. By this time pilgrim routes had grown up between Canterbury and York passing through this area, improving the local economy, and recorded at places like Pilgrims Hatch, Herongate, South Weald, St. Thomas Chapel, Brentwood; Great Warley and Hole Farm Lane to Warley Franks (Walk no.3) where local guides could take pilgrims across the marshes, then on to Stifford Bridge and Grays and the Thames ferries at places like Rainham, Purfleet and Tilbury.
From the Thames Chase Visitor Centre Walks No. 2 & No. 6a link to The Chase, which is a medieval route stretching north as a metalled road to join St.Mary’s Lane, and south it continues as a footpath or bridleway (fp228) to join Ockendon Road; until the 19th century it continued directly southwards past Stubbers House until the famous landscape architect Humphrey Repton rerouted that stretch further west as Stubbers Lane today.
More information on the medieval period can be found by visiting websites for the Council for British Archaeology; The Ancient Monuments Society; English Heritage; or by visiting the Museum of London; Thurrock Museum; Havering Museum and Valence House Museum. Read Chaucer’s famous ‘Canterbury Tales’ to get a feel for the life and times of the 13th century pilgrims travelling to Canterbury. Also visit Mountfitchet Castle which is a Norman, timber Motte and Bailey Castle and Village, re-constructed on its original historic site and depicting life in Domesday England. Hedingham Castle is a Norman stone keep, built c. 1140 and with four floors to visit.
© 2014 S.J.Smith
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