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Stop Easton Park


By Stop Easton Park
Friday, September 1, 2017


Things you might not have known about the site proposed for Easton Park......

The site has an abundance of natural wildlife, stunning open countryside and a rich historical background. We can boast a wealth of fascinating royal and legendary connections, along with an historical garden that dates back to the Tudor era. This is an English Historical Asset that should be protected at all costs.


Before the intervention of the airfield during WWII, it was recorded as a deer park in 1565 and they still continue to inhabit this area. Other local animals in this region are varied. We have several priority species (grass snakes, daubenton bats, brown trout & great crested newts). Other protected animals in Little Easton are Badgers, barn owls, kingfishers and kestrels.

-Ancient Trees are listed on The Woodland Trust and areas at Canfield Spring are covered by the Tree Preservation Order

Other important woodland includes High Wood (designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an Ancient & Important Woodland and a Country Wildlife site), Broxted Common Wood and Bush Wood (Ancient Woodland possibly dating back to the Domesday period).

-Rare flowers and fauna have been found on the airfield which were once part of an ancient woodland until it was requisitioned by the War Office during the Second World War.


The Manor at Little Easton was listed in the Domesday Book (1086), as belonging to William de Warenne and Geoffrey de Mandeville. It was rebuilt by Politician Sir Henry Maynard in the 17th century when he was gifted the 10,000-acre manor of Estaines by Elizabeth I in 1590, as a reward for his services to the Lord Chancellor and Treasurer to the Queen. His granddaughter Frances 'Daisy' Maynard later inherited the estate (including Easton Lodge), when she was just three years old. A noted beauty she was courted by many suitors, including Prince Leopold (Queen Victoria's youngest son). She married one of his closest friends Francis Grenville, Lord Brooke who later became the 5th Earl of Warwick.

A socialite and mistress of King Edward VII, she hosted many famous society parties at Easton Lodge and the converted tithe barn, welcomed many theatrical and literary greats from both the past and present. Actress Ellen Terry gave poetry readings and acted scenes from Romeo and Juliet while HG Wells (who also lived on the estate), and his son Gip performed A Midsummer Nights Dream. Other regular performers included Charlie Chapman, Grace Fields and George Formby. A new generation of stars such as Rowan Akinson, Bill Cotton, Tim Rice and Esther Rantzen graced the stage and the magnificent landscape grounds have been a setting in multiple TV shows. The elaborate Gardens of Easton Lodge designed by Harold Petro are designated Grade II by the English Heritage, attracting visitors from both far and wide.

– During WWII, the estate was requisitioned by the War Office and used by the United States Army Air Force 386th Bomb Group (the Crusaders), primarily as a bomber airfield. Known as RAF Great Dunmow, it was the first airfield visited by General Eisenhower in his USAAF airfield tour on Tuesday 11 April 1944.

– Grade 1 listed St Mary's Church is a regular stopping off point for veterans and historians who come to view stained glass windows dedicated to serviceman of the US Air Force. The nave's surrounding windows were built in the early 12th century and paintings dated around 13th and 15th century are especially noteworthy. There's a plaque commemorating Ellen Terry who loved to worship here and one of EastEnders best loved characters Frank Butcher played by actor Mike Reid is buried in the churchyard.


What is the Domesday Book?

The Domesday Book is a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time, and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year. William died before it was fully completed.

Frances 'Daisy' Greville, Countess of Warwick - 10/12/1861 - 26/7/1938

– She and her husband were members of the Marlborough House Set headed by Albert Edward,Prince of Wales

– A keen cyclist she use to cycle along the broad paths at Easton Lodge

– Believed to have inspired Harry Dacre's comical song “Daisy Bell” about a bicycle made for two

– An affair with Lord Charles Beresford ended when Daisy sent a threatening letter to his pregnant wife. This later lead to an affair with Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales, when he intervened out of sympathy and petitioned Beresford to destroy the letter, placing a definite strain on their friendship

– Women's rights were one of her key concerns

– Founded the Studley Agricultural College for Women & a needlework school at Easton

– After WWI she became a member of the Labour party. Her interest in socialism started after a confrontation with Robert Blatchford, Socialist editor of The Clarion.

– Her home was a venue for meetings including trade union & socialists along with her friends Bernard Shaw and HG Wells

– She was interested in improving the lives of workers and rural people & wrote on issues such as unemployment

– Stood for the Labour Party in a by-election for the seat of Warwick & Leamington in 1923. She lost by 10,000 votes to Anthony Eden, who later became Prime Minister

– Impetuous in nature, with little indiscretion she told tales, named names, made scenes and even wrote jealous letters and was dubbed the “Babbling Brooke”

– Left a widow in 1924 and facing large debts, she tried to blackmail King George V by threatening to make public a series of love letters written by Edward VII (who died in1910)

– She was allowed to publish a censored version of her memoirs titled “Life's Ebb and Flow” which is considered one of the best written memoirs on Edwardian society and is often cited

– In 1935, three years before her death, Daisy held a huge party and pageant for five thousand workers, shop-keepers, teachers and trade unionists in the grounds of Easton Lodge

Film Producer Basil Dean married Daisy's daughter Lady Mercy Greville and founded Associated Talking Pictures which later became Ealing Studios in the 1930's. The converted tithe barn, one of the oldest in Essex, welcomed many legendary greats:-

Dame Gracie Fields DBE was an English actress,singer and comedian. She was the worlds highest paid actor in the 1930's.

George Formby was an English comedian and singer in musical theatre, known as one of the greatest musical performers of the early 20th century. Adorned by fans (including the Royal family), his funeral was one of the largest in British history for a figure in show business.

HG Wells was an English writer of many genres including the novel,history, politics, social commentary and textbooks and rules for war games. His Science fiction works included The Time Machine & War of the Worlds – who had a great influence on our vision of the future. Lived in Easton Glebe from 1910-1928.

Charlie Chaplin KBE was an English comic actor, film maker and composer who rose to fame during an era of silent film. He was considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days in Hollywood.

Ellen Terry was an English actress who became the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain and was one of the most popular stage performers in both Great Britain and North America.

Rowan Atkinson CEB, MSc is an English actor, comedian and screen writer best known for his work on the sitcoms Blackadder and Mr Bean.

Sir Bill Cotton CBE was a British television producer and executive. He discovered or developed Dave Allen, Morecambe & Wise, the Two Ronnies, Porridge, Monty Python and Dad's Army and many more.

Sir Tim Rice is an English author and Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award winning lyricist. He collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber with whom he wrote Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita are just to name a few.

Dame Esther Rantzen DEB is an English journalist and television presenter, best known for presenting the hit BBC television series That's Life! for 21 years and is well known for her work with ChildLine and now The Silver Line set up to help combat loneliness.

Easton Park 1942



Little Easton Church

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