History of Berechurch
St Michael's and All Angels' Church, Berechurch.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
History of Berechurch >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
BERECHURCH or WEST DONYLAND, is a very small parish, two miles South of Colchester, having only 147 inhabitants and 6 borough voters. It obtained its now more common name of Berechurch from its church being in the corn fields. Both it and East Donyland [are] signifying hilly.
It is in two manors, one of which was given by Eudo Dapifer to the monks of St. John's Abbey, and is usually styled West Donyland-with-Montwick; the latter being the name of one of its farms, which was occupied by the abbot.
After the suppression of this abbey, this manor was granted to the Earl of Warwick, who gave it to Sir Francis Jobson. From 1612 to 1718, it was he1d by the Barker family. In the latter year, it passed to Thomas Perry, who sold it to Knox Ward, Esq.
Berechurch Hall gives name to the other manor, which was conveyed by the monks of St. John's Abbey to Sir Thomas Audley, from whose family it passed in 1714, to James Smyth, Esq., who left it, with other great estates, to Sir Trafford Smyth, Bart., whose baronetcy was created in 1665.
On the death of the late Sir Robter, the present Sir George Henry Smyth, Bart., succeeded to the family inheritance. He was born in 1784, and is one of the parliamentary representatives of Colchester. He resides at Berechurch Hall which was a farm-house, but was converted by the late Sir Robert Smyth, into a large and handsome brick mansion, with tasteful pleasure grounds. The interior contains a fine collection of paintings, among which are several by the celebrated Fuseli.
The CHURCH( St. Michael,) is an ancient brick structure, with an embattled tower. It is finely shaded with trees, and at its north-east angle is a chapel, built by the Audley's, and containing several memorials of their family.
The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in 1831 at £100. It is in the gift of Sir G.H. Smyth, Bart., and incumbency of the Rev. J.H. Dewhurst, M.A., of Layer-de-la-Hay.
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