Bocking, Essex

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St Mary's Church, Bocking Churchstreet

Bocking is an area of Braintree, Essex, England, which was a former village and civil parish. In 1934 it became part of the civil parish of Braintree and Bocking,[1] which is now within Braintree District, Essex.

It forms an electoral ward for Essex County Council elections,[2] and gives its name to Bocking Blackwater, Bocking North and Bocking South wards of Braintree District Council.[3]

In 1862 Kelly's Directory of Essex already stated that "Braintree and Bocking, although distinct parishes, form one continuous town, extending for a mile on the road between Chelmsford and Halstead, and the rivers Blackwater and Podsbrook, and having a united population in 1861 of 8,186."[4]

The Deanery Church of St Mary, Bocking, is mainly 15th and 16th century flint and limestone, with 19th century restoration, built on a more ancient church site.[5] It is grade I listed.[6] St Peter's Parish Church was built in 1896-97 of yellow brick, in a design intended to be extended at a later date, and is still unfinished; its website describes it as "unusual in appearance from the outside".[7]

Bocking Windmill is a preserved 18th-century post mill and is grade I listed.[8] It is owned by Braintree District Council and run by the Friends of Bocking Windmill.[9]


Bocking has one school called Bocking Church Street School.[10] It used to have another school called Edith Borthwick School but they move to Springwood Drive in Braintree in September 2015 because their old school in Bocking is too small.[citation needed]

Bocking in 1870-72

The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales gave the following description of Bocking in 1870-1872:

Bocking: a village, a parish and a sub-district, in Braintree, Essex. The village stands on the left bank of the Blackwater river, and on the Braintree railway, adjacent to Braintree; forms a suburb of that town; consists chiefly of one long street; and is a seat of petty sessions.

A trade in baizes, called 'bockings', was at one time prominent; and a manufacture of silk and crape is now carried on.

The parish includes also Bocking-street and Bocking-Church-street, 3/4 and 2 miles distant from Braintree, both with post offices under that town, and the former situated on the branch Roman road from Chelmsford. Acres: 4, 607. Real property: £15, 156. Pop.: 3, 555. Houses: 768. The property is much sub-divided.

The Manor was given by Ethelred to the See of Canterbury; and belongs now to the corporation of the sons of the clergy. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value: £923. Patron: the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is early English, had anciently 3 altars and 5 chantries, and contains some monuments and 2 brasses. There are: an Independent chapel, much improved in 1869; a charity school, with £50; and other charities, with £172. Dr. Dale, the author of 'Pharmacologia', was a native.

The sub-district contains 5 parishes. Acres: 11, 507. Pop.: 5,281. Houses: 1, 171.

H.G.Wells on Bocking

H. G. Wells, in his What Is Coming? A European Forecast (1916), in the fourth chapter, "Braintree, Bocking, and the Future of the World," uses the differences between Bocking and Braintree, divided, he says, by a single road, to explain the difficulties he expects in establishing World Peace through a World State.


  1. ^ "Bocking CP/AP". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Councillors". Essex County Council. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Councillors by ward". Braintree District Council. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  4. ^ Kelly's Directory of Essex. 1862. Retrieved 22 March 2016. Quoted in GENUKI
  5. ^ "A Brief History of St. Mary's". The Deanery Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bocking. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary the Virgin (1122530)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  7. ^ "About St Peter's". St Peter's Parish Church, Bocking. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Bocking Windmill (1005572)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Welcome". Friends of Bocking Windmill. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Home page". Bocking Church Street School. Retrieved 22 March 2016.

Further reading

  • "Bocking". An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. 1916. pp. 30–41. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  • Hoffman, Ann Bocking Deanery: The Story of an Essex Peculiar (Phillimore, 1976 ISBN 0850332265)

Published histories of Braintree & Bocking include:

  • May Cunnington & Stephen Warner Braintree & Bocking (Arnold Fairbairns, 1906)
  • W. F. Quin A History of Braintree & Bocking (Lavenham Press, 1981, ISBN 0950737801)
  • Michael BakerThe Book of Braintree & Bocking (Barracuda Books, 1981, ISBN 0860231348; Baron Books 1992);
  • John Marriage Braintree & Bocking A Pictorial History (Phillimore, 1994, ISBN 085033909X).

Coordinates: 51°53′00″N 0°33′00″E / 51.8833°N 0.5500°E / 51.8833; 0.5500

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