Annex 12

Old typescript on Parish Council

The typescript of which this is a copy, execrably done on an old machine, was among the Church Council papers. Guess it was done by Leonard Howard about 1970 but I may be maligning him: for it does read as if it were the effort of a Parish Council officer. It was certainly incompetently typed and grammatically hilarious. Most of the obvious idiocies have been corrected but spelling and punctuation left largely untouched. It begins:

Local administration can be traced back for many centuries to the days when the unit was the manor , the residents being the lord and his family, his retainers and his tenants, free & unfree. The duties and services that bound them together were regulated by assemblies, the Lord being obliged to attend them regularly & the tenants being bound to attend. At these assemblies various officers were elected annually the Pinder who impounded stray beasts & put them in the pound,the Hayward whose duty it was to ensure that the fences were kept in order, and so on. Later as the power of the lords declined and that of the church increased the in habitants began to meet under the parson for the social and administative purposes of their religious life. Then with the dissolution of the monasteries and the growth of the population and communications began a network of reforms and Acts of Parliament, until amid such controverys the local Givernment Act 1894 was passed, among its provisions being the setting up of Parish Meetings & Parish Councils.

So it was that the Overseers, John Willett & Joseph Unwin called a Parish Meeting on the 4th of December 1894 at the school to elect five Parish Councillors. for the Parish of Stambourne/, Our first Parish Council consisted of Robert Henry Bedford, John Joseph Smee, John Thomas Bonner, James Metson & Joseph Fitch. with Daniel Unwin being elected District Councillor. Election was by a show of hands after the ballot papers had been scrutinised by the chairman of the appropriate [crossed out] annual Parish meeting. From 1947 onwards election of Parish Councillllors has be3en by secret ballot, except when, as often happened, only sufficient nominations were received to form a council. The powers of the Council were limited and hemmed about by restrictions and formalities, but Among the things the P.C. can do are to make bylaws in cetain respects, provide allotments, community centres, entertainments, car parks, and various other amenities; it can deal with ponds and offensive ditches, maintain war memorials, plant trees, but above all it can, and does, make the views of the Parish known to those in higher authority and call their attention to items, such as a polluted water supply, traffic hazards , essential highway repairs etc. which are of concern to the village and the duty of the higher authority to deal with. Apart from their work on the Parish Council, your councillors all undertake other duties. Our Chairman, Mr D.R.H.Johnson, of course, represents Stambourne and three other villages on the Braintree District Council and is very active in brionging our needs to the notice of those concerned. Mr Crago is Vice Chairman, Mr Boughtwood is our representative on the Halstead Area Road User panel, concerned with road safety, Mr Drysdale is a trustee of the Cole & Unknown Donor Charities, Mrs Peat & Mr Wesley represent the Council on the Essex Assn of Local Councils, & Mr Sager is the Council’s nominee as a Trustee on the Village Hall Management Ctee. & but [sic] with the reorganisation of Local Govt in 1972 the position of the local council was much improved with consequent benefit to the parish.


A Newsletter was instituted in about 1970. It became progressively more ambitious and informative and Number 100 was published in 1978; it is reproduced as annex no 11.

Return to Chapter 6 – Lay governance and buildings