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Belchamp Walter 904
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Belchamp Walter in 904

The date on the Village sign is 904. I am suprised that few ask what the date refers. I have speculated that it could be 940AD and it was copied incorrectly, but I can find no reference to either date.

There is no confirmed explanation of what the 904 date that is on the village sign. The history that appeared on the Village Hall website

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A request was made to Essex County Council by the clerk of the Parish Coucil in October 2001. A transcipt of the reply is quoted below:

This could be the origin of a couple sources to the statements made in some of the versions of the histories of Belchamp Walter.

Transcript the reply to the query from the clerk of the Parish Council: - October 2001

Dear Mrs Smith
Thank you for your letter of 11 October concerning the history of Belchamp Walter.

I am afraid that I am rather limited in the help I can give you. Very little has been written on the history of Belchamp Walter while, in general, the written sources upon which such a history could be based rarely date back beyond the middle ages. Any history of earlier periods would have to be based on archaeological evidence.

That being said, I have traced a few sources for the post-Conquest period which may be of interest. P.H. Reaney's Placenames of Essex, Cambridge University Press (1935) states that in this instance the name Belchamp is of Anglo-Saxon rather than the more common French origin, possibly derived from a now lost Old English word, Bylc, and the frequently found ham ("a settlement"). He cites the earliest example as circa 940, which he takes from Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum, (1885-1893). Domesday Book of 1086 uses the form Belcham. The name Walter is supposed to derive from Walter de Tey, a descendant of William de Beauchamp. Belchamp Walter has also been called Great Belchamp to distinguish it from Belchamp Otton (or Little Belchamp).

Revd. Philip Morant in his History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, 1768, Vol. 2, p. 329, states that Belchamp Walter was also "otherwise called Belchamp Simon, and Belchamp William, from its ancient owners Simon and William de Beauchamp." He goes on to say that, "it had belonged, in Edward the Confessor's reign, to Ulwin... but at the general survey [i.e. Domesday, 1086], it was one of the lordships holden by Alberic [alias Aubrey] de Vere, ancestor of the great Earls of Oxford... This church belonged originally to Alberic de Vere, lord of the manor of Belchamp Walter. He gave it to the Priory of Earls Colne; who got the great tythes appropriated to their house, and a Vicarage ordained and endowed, of which they continued patron till their suppression". A photocopy of a modern translation of the entry for Belchamp Walter in the Domesday Book is enclosed, in case it should be of interest.

I am afraid that I am unable to supply any more information on the history of your parish from documentary sources. However, you might like to contact the Archaeological Section of the County's Environmental Services Directorate. This maintains the Essex Heritage Conservation Record, which is a record of all known archaeological sites and monuments, historic buildings, parks and gardens in the county, and may therefore hold information on the earlier history of Belchamp Walter. The Archaeological Section can be contacted at Room E3, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex (Tel. 01245 437530).

Edward the Elder

A quote from 1066.co.nz:

Edward the Elder (c.874 – 17 July 924) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death in 924.
He was the elder son of Alfred the Great and his wife Ealhswith. When Edward succeeded to the throne, he had to defeat a challenge from his cousin Æthelwold, who had a strong claim to the throne as the son of Alfred's elder brother and predecessor, Æthelred I.

Alfred had succeeded Æthelred as king of Wessex in 871, and almost faced defeat against the Danish Vikings until his decisive victory at the Battle of Edington in 878. After the battle, the Vikings still ruled Northumbria, East Anglia and eastern Mercia, leaving only Wessex and western Mercia under Anglo-Saxon control. In the early 880s Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, the ruler of western Mercia, accepted Alfred's lordship and married his daughter Æthelflæd, and around 886 Alfred adopted the new title King of the Anglo-Saxons as the ruler of all Anglo-Saxons not subject to Danish rule. Edward inherited the new title when Alfred died in 899.

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