Some pictures of
The way we were, one day in 2007,
before the church was re-ordered.
The church was decorated for
a wedding later that day.
...and a few monumental inscriptions,
this one to Oliver Bull
1850 - 1876
The Rev'd Moses Dodd
The children of the
Rev'd Moses Dodd
Major William Messe Dunn MA
Rev'd William Harvey Herring
Rev'd William Oddie
1673 - 1728
For those of you who attend our little church, pause a while before you enter and look around you. How many people have worshipped here over the years. How many baptised, how many married, how many buried here? Just outside the entrance porch of the church, to the side of the pathway, is a broken down gravestone, sinking into the ground. You wouldn't even notice it, as the inscription is barely legible now. However, it is one of the oldest stones in the churchyard and has quite a story behind it. It records the last resting place of George Higbee of Aldham.
George Higbee was born on the 17th of September 1673 in Aldham to the parents George and Elizabeth Higbee. He became the Aldham Maltster and the 'Manorial Ale Taster' for Aldham Hall Manor. George married Mary Lay the daughter of William and Mary Lay of Copford. He grew barley on his freehold land both in Aldham and Copford to produce malt for the brewing trade. He bought the Maltings in Ford Street Aldham in 1693 and he conducted his business there for the rest of his life and it still stands today - but much reduced in size.
There is a Porch at the entrance to the Maltings with a plastered motif dated 1706 for which George must have been responsible. George and Mary lived in a house at Gallows Green called 'Westons' which eventually became the Aldham Workhouse and was demolished in the 1900s. He was involved with the Church and became Overseer for Aldham in 1696 and was named as a Trustee for the Crapes Charity in 1712. George was also a Trustee for Aldham Hall Manor in 1712 and perhaps for many years after. As a Freeholder George voted at Aldham in the General Elections of 1710, 1715 and 1722.
George and Mary had five children of which two survived, John and Parnell. John became a Maltster and married Robert and Mary Lay's daughter, Mary of Fordham and Parnel married the son of Argor and Elizabeth Negus of Aldham. John lived in Lorkins in Fordstreet and also Aldham Hall and Parnel lived all her life in Pakes Farm, which still stands today.
George died in 1728 and is buried in Fordham he left a Will and had a probate indenture produced to protect his Wife Mary's financial future.
This delightful story was given to us by Len and Chris Higbee of 72 Carpenters Wood Drive, Chorleywood, Herts, WD3 5RW. Thanks Len and Chris for sharing your story with us.
HENRY JOHNSTON (1792 - 1856)
In Fordham parish church's graveyard stands an ornate topped headstone with angel and footstone with an inscription that reads as follows:
rest the remains of
served in the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd
Regiment of the Guards and fought at the great
battle of Waterloo on the 18(--) of June 1815
after which he lived in this his native village
to enjoy the blessings of peace 41 years
and died March 9th 1856
aged 64 years
fight the good fight of faith
lay hold eternal life
Tim VI Ch 15 V
This stone is erected as a means
of affection by his son
Footstone: H J / 1856 /
Each year, on the anniversary of teh Battle of Waterloo, the Colchester Remembrancer visits the graves of Colchester's war heroes, to say a prayer and to lay a posie of flowers. Johnston is one of three such soldiers that we know of. More can be found in the military section of the Camulos web page.
In Fordham churchyard there are head and foot stones to the memory of Henry Johnston. He was a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards that defended the Hougoumont Farmhouse, the first place Napoleon attacked that morning. Accounts tell us they held out all day until the end of the battle. It was said that their brave defence swung the battle in favour of the Allied forces. Afterwards he was hospitalised with ear trouble, for three months in Ostend and in London for seven months. He became a Chelsea out-pensioner and lived in Fordham for a further 41 years, being buried in Fordham churchyard on 16th March 1856, aged 64. Census records tell us that, in 1841, he was living 'Nr Lower Hill' as an agricultural labourer, with his wife Mary and seven children. In 1851 he was still in Fordham with his wife and two sons, with the additional information that he was born in Aldham and she was born in Fordham. Sadly, little more is known of him, but surely, his close Fordham connection with Joseph Pudney must suggest that the two men knew each other - and perhaps planned to join the army together.
In March 1815, 'Boney' returned to France from his exile in Elba eventually retaking France from Louis XVIII. The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Foot Guards, who were stationed in what is present-day Belgium, took part in, on the 18 June, one of the most famous battles in history, Waterloo. The battalion, was part of the two battalion 2nd Guards Brigade, under the command of Major-General Sir John Byng, the other battalion being the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards. The 3rd Foot Guards were positioned on the ridge just behind Hougoumont Farm, while the light companies of the two battalions, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Macdonnell, garrisoned the Farm, a place, on the right flank of the British and Allied army, that would be a key position during the battle.
Just after 11:00am, the battle commenced, with a French division, under the command of Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, beginning the assault on Hougoumont, with the Farm coming under heavy artillery fire. The French assaulted the farm, but the Guards' stout defense repulsed the first French attack. A second attack happened, and during that attack, the French attempted to push through the main gate. Despite the gallant efforts of the British Guardsmen to shut it, a few dozen French troops broke through before the Guardsmen managed to shut the main gate once more. What followed was a fierce hand-to-hand fight between the Guardsmen and French, until eventually all the French, minus a drummer boy who was spared by the Guardsmen, were killed.
The third attack came from the east of the farm, at the orchard. A few companies of the 3rd Guards subsequently confronted the French troops and, after some hard fighting, drove them from the orchard and back into the woods. The fourth attack soon came, this time with the use of a fearsome howitzer, and thus, the Grenadier Company of the 3rd Guards was sent into the woods to destroy the howitzer, but were faced with a superior French force and were forced out of the woods. The 3rd Guards were then sent to repulse the French from the orchard which they duly did, driving the French back into the woods once more.
Further attacks occurred on the farm, and the gallant defenders never wilted in the face of such French attacks, and held the farm against all odds, even when the farm was set ablaze by howitzer fire, the defenders still repulsed all French attacks. The elite Guards had proven their professionalism and valour once more in the field, and contributed greatly to the British and Allied victory at Waterloo, gaining the praise of the Duke of Wellington in the process. The defenders of Hougoumont suffered over 1,000 men killed or wounded during the Battle for Hougoumont, with the 3rd Guards suffering well over 200 men killed or wounded; while the French suffered many thousands of casualties in their numerous attempts to capture the farm. Napoleon was defeated and as before, he was exiled, this time to the British territory of St. Helena, where he would remain until his death in 1821.
The 2nd Battalion then joined the Army of Occupation in France where they would remain until 1816 when they returned home to the UK. In 1824, both battalions of the 3rd Foot Guards deployed to Dublin, Ireland, and in 1826, the 2nd Battalion deployed to Portugal until returning home in 1828. Also in 1826, the 1st Battalion deployed to Manchester during troubles there. In 1830, William IV ascended to the throne, and the following year gave the regiment a new name, the Scots Fusilier Guards.
Archived 2015 and re-instated 20th October 2023
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