Local History

Historical connections

Edmund Bonner was Bishop of London from 1540 and thereby owner of the manor of Copford Hall. He had been a bishop under Henry VIII and was a supporter of Cardinal Wolsey. He was also one of the catholic Queen Mary’s most determined and notorious of her persecuting bishops in the trials of heretics. However, he lost his title and lands in 1559 when he refused to subscribe to the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity for the newly crowned, but protestant, Queen Elizabeth I. He died in Marshalsea prison in 1569 and contemporary records state that he was buried in St. George’s churchyard, Southwark. However, in 1809 a workman here at Copford church is said to have found a coffin bearing his name under the north side of the altar. So it would seem that the coffin was secretly moved and reburied here, perhaps shortly after his death.

There is an interesting local connection with the early American settlers. John Haynes (1594-1654) bought the manor of Copford Hall in around 1624. He was a devout puritan and, in 1633, emigrated to America. In 1635, he became the third governor of Massachusetts. In 1639, he was elected the first governor of Connecticut, having moved in the interim to Hartford. Due to the requirement for the holder of the post to change every year, he was re-elected governor every other year thereafter until his death. He was one of the five draughtsmen of the first Constitution of Connecticut. This text formed the main part of all subsequent state constitutions, and of the Federal Constitution. He was also a close friend of Thomas Hooker (they emigrated together on the Griffin), another man of Essex origin, who later founded the New England Confederation in 1643. Hooker is often referred to as the father of American democracy.

John Haynes’s son, Hezekiah Haynes, was one of Oliver Cromwell’s major-generals. However, as was not uncommon, his elder brother, Robert, fought for the Royalists. Hezekiah was imprisoned in the Tower of London from 1660 to 1662 for alleged treason against the restored King Charles II.

Useful/interesting local links

List of rectors

John de Abbury de Sutton Regis ?
John de Forden 1370
John de Stansted Robert Rame STB 1372
John Rauf ?
Robert Laveroke 1395
Robert Redford 1407
John Sarjeant 1412
William Duffield 1432
Robert Lardner ?
William Kirkby 1439
Thomas Leynthorpe 1440
Edmund Connesburgh 1451
Robert Fowlys 1469
Robert Bellany 1469
Henry Francis 1471
John Bonpace 1473
John Southyn ?
Thomas Hulse 1498
Thomas Grete 1499
John Lech 1499
Thomas Walton DL 1499
Edward Evered 1505
Edward Mowle 1545
John Morren STB 1558
John Pulleyn STB 1559
Robert Hewett 1572
Robert Thompson 1638
Ezechiah Josselin 1662
John Poole 1671
John Cardell 1677
John Dane 1689
John Robinson 1713
John Denne 1754
John Kelly LLD 1800
Gervas Holmes 1809
Kenneth C. Bailey 1845
Peter Almeric Leheup Wood 1861
Benjamin Ruck-Keene 1878
Edmund R. Ruck-Keene 1893
Honyel G. Rosedale DD 1924
Charles John Hanson Haigh 1945
Thomas H. Hollingdale 1958
Howard Marker ALCD 1968
Leonard Middleton 1977
Peter W. Youle BD AKC 1993
Christopher J. Garland BA PhD 1995