Stock History
By Charles Phillips
February 1971 saw the three churches and the parish council got together to launch a new village magazine - Stock Press. One of its more prolific contributors was Donald Jarvis. The first editors were Edith Sparrow and Valerie Bell. The name Stock Press was suggested by Thomas McMahon as a pun on Stop Press. Also that year the Congregational Church chose to remain independent from that known as the United Reformed Church by the amalgamation of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England. It was now known as Christ Church.
Proposals were being made for a new airport on the Maplin Sands, which came to nothing: the fast rail link to it would have passed next to the King's Head. A new telephone exchange was opened just off the Mill Road. The old exchange had been on the site of the original Congregational Chapel. On its approach was placed a memorial to William Moss and other members of the family who founded the chapel as well as to the chapel itself. William Moss's headstone is now in the wall adjoining Christ Church.
On 26th December that year the first United Service of all three churches was held in the village. Meanwhile the Catholic Church was getting a bit dilapidated and so funds were made available from the Gillow Trust for its renovation. The major part of the work took place in the spring and early summer of 1972 and for the duration Catholic services were held in All Saints. Even ten years before this would have been unimaginable.
In 1973, the sewer finally arrived: most of the village was now on the main sewer. A few outlying hamlets still use other methods, including having a septic tank installed. The same year the village got in the national press for vandalism to the cricket club. In that year Stock had reached the quarter finals of the National Village Competition and was occasionally featuring in the national press.
1974 saw the local government reorganisation and Chelmsford Rural District and Chelmsford Municipal Borough Councils were merged into the Chelmsford District Council, which later became Chelmsford Borough Council after having gained a charter.
1976 saw a new use for the old telephone exchange, which had stood empty since 1971, when it was converted into a library
To celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 events took place over three days in June. Amongst other things, there was an exhibition (in the Village Hall), a United church service in the grounds of All Saints. There were sports (on the Common), a Fair in the Square and on the Green, free teas for children and teas for adults and a dance and barbeque. There was a cricket match between the men and women
At some during the 1970s, the grocers at the corner of Swan Lane acquired the post office concession following the closure of the shop which held the concession near the War Memorial.
In 1978 Crondon Hall which had been in the parish of Galleywood was transferred to Stock. Crondon Hall is some distance from Crondon Park Lodge and is nearer to Margaretting Tye than to Stock. Despite them both being originally part of the same manor the two should not be confused.
In 1979, the old cricket pavilion was demolished and replaced. The old one was sold to a horse owner who intended rebuilding it as a stables.
The Bishop can reside whereever he likes in his diocese and Thomas decided to be both Bishop of Brentwood and remain parish priest of Stock. This meant, apart from changing the name of the Presbytery to Bishop's House that for most things Stock had to be served again from Ingatestone. Incidentally, many people find it hard to believe that the parish priest is a bishop. In October 1983, the great Belgian Cardinal Leon Seunens visited the village and said Sunday mass. Cardinal Basil Hume is also known to have visited the village, but privately.
For a time in the mid 1980s the village had coach services to Norwich, Peterborough and Kings Lynn. The dates that various destinations were served varied. In 1983, Peterborough was Wednesdays and Saturdays, King's Lynn, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Norwich, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
1981 had seen the end of the last proper buses through Stock. That is those with a driving cab separate from the passenger section albeit front platform entrance and doors for the passengers as opposed to the rear platform with no doors. Buses of the latter sort has ceased running through Stock in 1975 as I recall
The period saw the construction of the Chelmsford by-pass. Originally there were proposals for both a north route and south route. The south route went through Galleywood Common, which Stock did not want, but which was chosen. The concern was that traffic would come through the village using it as a short cut to the Thames crossing near Purfleet - which has proved correct.
Sadly, 1985 saw the death of Father Tatham at the grand old age of 97
In July 1988 there were national celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. It was the intention to light beacons on as many of the sites of the original sites as possible. That in Stock was near the Catholic Church grounds. There were Morris Dancers, stalls, displays, entertainments, a barbecue. The beacon was intended to be lit by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County, Charles Sparrow, QC, although he was out of the country. His return flight was delayed and the beacon was lit by Thomas McMahon, the only beacon in the country to be lit by a Catholic bishop.
All Saints was enlarged that year by the building of a new vestry on the north side of the church, constructed to blend in with the rest of the church.
1989 saw the acquisition of Swan Wood by the Woodland Trust. The wood remains open to public.
For years Ruth Sellars had been campaigning for a pedestrian crossing and in 1990 Stock finally got one. This has proved to be of great benefit to the village, even if people don't always use it.
For a brief time in the early 1990s there was bus service on Fridays only to Ingatestone, whilst National Express started a daily coach service from Southend to Liverpool via Cambridge, Northampton and Birmingham, which serves Stock.
For years the annual Remembrance Sunday Service has been rotated between the three churches. There is a service at the War Memorial on the village green, with the salute taken by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Charles Sparrow.
In 1993 Stock Mill started having regular Sunday opening to the public on the second Sunday of the month from April to October between 2 and 5 p.m. A golf course and golf club was established at Crondon Park. There is another near Potash Road - Stock Brook Manor Golf Club.
1995 saw the 50th Aniversary of the end of the Second World War and there were various commemorative celebrations on 8th May. There was a memorial service in the morning at the War Memorial and a fair in the Square, with exhibitions in the Village Hall, Rectory Hall and British Legion Hall. There was tug of war between the patrons of the various pubs on the Common. In the Catholic Church grounds there was an exhibition of old vehicles. There should have been a dance and barbecue in a marquee in the Catholic Church grounds, but some vandals burnt it down. Fortunately people rallied round and a replacement tent and furniture was found and the dance and barbecue went ahead on the glebe. In the evening a beacon was lit on the same site as that in 1988. The original of this too had been burnt down and a replacement made.
The following day there was a reorganisation of the bus services. The route through Stock was taken over by Thamesway. One effect was that from the middle of the rush hour bus services were reduced. There is now no bus service from Billericay to Southend.
Just before Christmas 1997 Donald Jarvis died at the age of 93.
Since 1998 the Southend Shakespeare Company has held an annual open air play in the village. For the first two years this was at Greenwoods, but since then moved to Weaver Field, off Mill Lane until 2003. Weaver Field also hosted an annual Donkey Derby for a number of year. Since 2004 Sir John and Lady Margaret Carter have hosted the annual Southend Shakespeare Company play at Cobblers in Mill Road. The event is something a bit like the Glyndebourne operas. The Carters also partake in the annual opening of gardens for the St John Ambulance Brigade.
Of recent years the West Ham Baptist Mission has given Greenwoods and somewhat earlier Orchard House. The research station on the hill after being the object of protest by animal rights demonstrators has also closed and has now been demolished.
On the evening of 31 st December 1999 there was a candle-lit procession from Our Lady of Mount Carmel to All Saints, where a time capsule was buried in the grounds. That night there were various parties. At the stroke of midnight the bells of All Saints rang and fireworks were let off.
At the beginning of May there was an exhibition in connection with the year in the new village hall, which had opened to replace the old one. That same month also saw a play The Christ put on it the grounds of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by all three churches.
2000 also the acquisition of a field in Swan Lane adjoining Swan Wood and the planting of trees for a new wood - Cygnet Wood. I also went round the village photgrapthing it as a record of how it was on the first day of the century
The summer of 2001 saw an arson attack on Buttsbury Church; the damage was not so great that it could not be repaired and this had been done by the beginning of December. In the same year responsibility of the church was transferred to Margaretting and Mountnessing, the priest in charge being the Rev Frances Drake.
In September of the year, following the commissioning of a new statue of the Virgin and Christ, Our Lady of Mount Cannel church was renamed Our Lady and St Joseph, reflecting the Catholic Church in the village heritage, commemorating both the chapel at Lilystone Hall and the present church.
In 2002 to celebrate 25 years of the new library a delightful murder mystery book called If Books Could Kill written by Phil Lovesey and the residents of Stock was published.
To celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in June 2002 a programme of festivities was arranged - an exhibition of Coronation and Royal memorabilia and of Stock in the past fifty years was in the village hall; there was a united Church service, followed by a children's street party in the Square; there was a parade through the village, including the Queen for the day and walkers in costume and fancy dress; an Elizabethan fair on the Common; a barbecue; and a six a side cricket knock-out competition.
The year also saw the opening of the hotel and health spa at Greenwood’ September. Not everyone was happy about this. And not simply because it was and is rather expensive. Something of the old village had gone.
On 15th March 2003 there were people from Stock who took part in the march to and rally in Hyde Park against the invasion of Iraq. However Stock people did take part in Countryside Alliance marches in London.
About this time there was a proposal to build houses on the Life Science Research site. Originally they were going to include affordable homes for local people. However a trade off was done by the Parish Council with the Borough Council and the affordable houses were built elsewhere in the village. What emerged was Harvard Grange with £1,000,000 houses.
In 2003 the newsagents was taken over by one Sarah Lewis, who said she was going to open a tea shop in I, which she duly did. Unfortunately Sarah also stopped selling certain things, such as stamps and tobacco. In October 2005 she sent a letter out saying that she suspending the delivery of newspapers to people who hadn’t paid their bills. However she not only sent this out to people who hadn’t paid,, On 14th November she shut the shop at lunch time and on 15th November there was a notice in the shop to the effect that the shop had closed for good. Sajid and Lesley Purves applied to sell newspapers. Whilst it was easy as regards the local weekly newspapers it was not until 12th December that he started selling daily newspapers Interestingly the Daily Telegraph sold more copies than the Sun.
In 2004 an art gallery opened in the old antique shop. This lasted until late 2005 when the shop became a maternity wear shop. The shop has now closed.
Mercifully no one from Stock was killed in the suicide bombings that happened in London on 7th July 2005. Sadly there was a young woman from Billericay who was killed. Hearing about it on television whilst in Stock it was like being in England in 1916 and knowing that a terrible battle was raging in France.
In 2005 Thomas McMahon celebrated 25 years as a Bishop. To celebrate this on 24th July he preached at Even Song at All Saints and had a reception in the Rectory Hall.
In October there was an exhibition in the village hall in connection with the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Also a diner.
In 2006 there were several proposals that effected the village. One was for the enlargement of the shop at the Ship garage. It was widely believed that once the shop had been enlarged it would be let by the petrol company to one of the supermarkets, who would establish a small supermarket there. This would be detrimental to the trade of the village shop. The villagers fought this by means of letters and a partition. The parish council objected. The proposal was rejected by the borough council. When a further application for the redevelopment was made this was also opposed and rejected.
The idea of affordable houses emerged again and this resulted in a proposal to build them at the corner of Back Lane and School Lane. This is going ahead subject to objections in 2007. 2006 also the start of preparations for a Village Design Statement.
In 2006 the former newsagents was reopened as a bistro.
At the end of 2006 a village heritage group was established by Jenny Berkley. The patron of this is Lord Petre. A lecture was given by him to the society on 29th November 2007.
The village web site of which you are looking at has a lot of historical input. Including some, indeed some would say most, by the current writer. Please, I urge you if you have anything of an historical nature send it to Roger Watling at
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If you include any data from this page in your research, please credit Charles Phillips as he has put a lot of work into researching this
(Roger web editor)