Chadwell Primary School saved

Posted in Education at 10:00 pm by henrysgauntlet

Excellent news that Thurrock Council has decided not to close Chadwell St Mary Primary School.  

The level of support in the town was tremendous, and a fine campaign was fought.

Now it is up to teachers, pupils and parents to prove that the right decision has been made by working to make the school even better.



Grays and the Popish Plot

Posted in Local History at 10:15 pm by henrysgauntlet

People living in twenty-first century Britain often find it difficult to understand why Catholics are barred by a law dating from 1701 from becoming King or Queen of our country.   They are no less puzzled to discover that members of the royal family must give up their place in the line of succession if they marry a Catholic.

The reason for this lies in the history of England after the Reformation.   By the late-16th century, the overwhelming majority of the population was Protestant.   Practising Catholics were a tiny minority, most of them loyal to Queen Elizabeth.   However, there were Catholics in exile and England willing to plot to overthrow the Queen and her Stuart successors.   We still remember the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and, rather less often, the Popish Plot of 1679.

The Popish Plot was triggered by claims that King Charles II’s brother, James, Duke of York, was planning to succeed his brother with the help of Jesuit Priests and his cousin, Louis XIV, King of France.   The Church of England was to be overthrown and Parliament was to be abolished.   True religion and the liberties of England were to be overthrown. There was just enough colour in these allegations for Titus Oates to be able to instigate a series of trials of real or imagined Catholic conspirators.

Grays actually figured in the trial of one of those accused.   A man called John Lane was apparently sent to hide “by the waterside” in Grays by Lord Powis.   

The River Thames at Grays

The River Thames at Grays

He was provided with a new pair of shoes and ten shillings (50 pence in modern currency) to support himself.   It was all to no good.   Lane was apparently seen by one of Oates’s agents and had to flee from Grays after less than two weeks.   Shortly thereafter, he was on trial for his life.

It was the combination of Protestant fears about the safety of their religion and of English people generally for their liberties that led to the passing of the Act of Settlement in 1701, which governs succession to the throne to this day. Grays may not figure very prominently in this story but it does appear.   National history touched this locality too as it still does.

Author  –  Christopher Thompson


New book from Thurrock Local History Society

Posted in Local History at 12:39 pm by henrysgauntlet

If you are interested in local history, do have a look at a new book, out just before Christmas, called “Exploring Thurrock”, edited by Christopher Harrold, and published by Thurrock Local History Society.

The book does not make any startling discoveries, but rather describes historical places in the Borough which are still there for visitors to see.   And it does so from the point of view of the motorist, providing maps, and working from West to East across the Borough, visiting each of the seventeen major parishes.



Happy New Year to everyone. May it be a good 2009

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:38 am by henrysgauntlet