Place:Braintree, Essex, England

Watchers
NameBraintree
Alt namesBraintree (town)source: from redirect
Branchetreusource: Domesday Book (1985) p 100
Braintree and Bocking Urban District
TypeTown, Urban district
Coordinates51.878°N 0.55°E
Located inEssex, England
See alsoBraintree and Bocking, Essex, Englandurban district including Braintree 1934-1974
Braintree (district), Essex, Englanddistrict municipality which it joined in 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog


the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Braintree is a town in Essex, England. It is the principal settlement of Braintree District (formed in 1974) and it is located northeast of Chelmsford and west of Colchester. According to the 2011 Census, the town had a population of 41,634, while the urban area, which includes Great Notley, Rayne and High Garrett as well as Bocking, had a population of 53,477.

Braintree has grown contiguous with several surrounding settlements. Braintree proper lies on the River Brain and to the south of Stane Street, the Roman road from Braughing to Colchester, while Bocking lies on the River Blackwater and to the north of the road. The two together, Braintree and Bocking, made an urban district between 1934 and 1974. Between 1894 and 1934 Braintree had been an urban district independent of Bocking.

Braintree gave its name to the town of Braintree, Massachusetts, in the United States.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Braintree dates back over 4,000 years when it was just a small village. People in the area during the Bronze and Iron Ages built houses on the lower part of the town, near the River Brain, known as the Brain Valley. This area was later inhabited by the Saxons, who occupied the town after the Romans left and named the Roman road Stane Street (i.e. stone road), a name it still bears. Most notable road names in Braintree now coincide with names of people who fought for the town, and locals living there, such as Aetheric Road (a notable Saxon nobleman who died in the Battle of Maldon in 991, and subsequently left most of the land of Braintree to the Bishop of London, as well as the land of Bocking going to the Prior and monks of Canterbury), Trinovantian Way (at one point, the townsfolk were called Trinovantes, who were around during the Iron Age, and could till the light sandy soil and hunted animals in the surrounding woodland). Other road names reflect places that have since been built on, such as Coldnailhurst Avenue (a farm at the top of the current road on Panfield Lane), Becker's Green Road (opposite a field called Becker's Green), Mark's Farm residential estate (based at the site of an old farm where a Tesco store is situated), and Fairfield Road (directly in the centre of the present town, named after Fair Field at the same site).

Roman invasion

When the Romans invaded they built two roads; a settlement developed at the junction of these roads, but was later abandoned when the Romans left Britain. The town was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was named “Branchetreu, and consisted of in the possession of Richard, son of Count Gilbert.[1] Pilgrims used the town as a stopover and the size of the town increased, leading the Bishop of London to obtain a market charter for the town in 1190.[2]

Flemish cloth trades

As early as the 14th century, Braintree was processing and manufacturing woollen cloth, a trade it was involved with until the late 19th century. The town prospered from the 17th century when Flemish immigrants made the town famous for its wool cloth trade.[2] They took the then current manufacturing methods to a finer detail, and the main markets for the production in the Braintree area were mainly abroad, notably in Spain or Portugal. In 1665, the Great Plague killed 865 out of the population of just 2,300 people.[2]

Silk manufacturing

The wool trade died out in the early 19th century and Braintree became a centre for silk manufacturing when George Courtauld opened a silk mill in the town.[2] Others followed, including Warner & Sons. By the late 19th century, Braintree was a thriving agricultural and textile town, and benefited from a railway connection to London.[2] The wealthy Courtauld family had a strong influence on the town, supporting plans for many of the town's public buildings such as the town hall and public gardens established in 1888.[2] The town's influence on the textile weaving industry is remembered today in the Warner Textile Archive and at Braintree Museum.

Modern history and World War II

Braintree played its part during World War II, providing men for battle in Britain's armed forces, but also recruiting women into the town's engineering works or munitions work at Crittalls. Braintree and its surrounding areas were also the drop-zone for excess bombs that were left over from raids on London. One particular bomb hit the corner of Bank Street and Coggeshall Road, near the White Hart Inn. The inn stayed intact, but on the opposite side of the road, two buildings were demolished by the bomb. It opened up the town and provided what you see today, with the building that houses the Lloyds Bank, built in 1958.

Since the end of the Second World War, Braintree has seen many changes. The town centre itself is more pedestrianised than it used to be, with a one-way system moving around the town. Local shops have come and gone, with larger outlet-style shops opening in the nearby Freeport Designer Village, and plans have been made for a complete overhaul of the area that is currently the bus station, with plans including a Doctor's surgery, and shops that could possibly improve the footfall of the town.

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