M25 ~Epping Bell Common

Post to the west Copped Hall Estate
Post to the south Great Monk Wood

Bell Common
Bell Common is no longer managed as a common and it is rapidly being taken over by scrub and young woodland.
A major part of Bell Common is in the square to the east. The common is a stretch of mixed woodland and grassland that begins at Ambresbury Banks and meanders, mainly along the roadside to Epping.  The Common thus provides an area of transition between Epping Forest and the built-up area, historically as part of a ‘purlieu’, a buffer zone where some, but not all, forest laws applied. a raised ‘purlieu bank’ is still visible along its south side. The common was included among the lands protected as public open space under the Epping Forest Act in 1878, and is now part of the Green Belt and a conservation area,
Beacon  It was once known as ‘Beacon Common’ . From at least the 14th this was the site of a beacon to warn London of invasion. it has been suggested that the settlement of Epping Heath (now Epping) was founded to maintain this beacon.  This is unlikely to be true.
Earthwork. This was at the south end of the common  consisting of about an acre of land raised a few feet to form a perfect level, and was known in the 18th as the “Bowling 'Green.”
Mill.  A mill is said to have stood near the bowling green until around the end of the 19th
Cottages. On the south side of the common there are several small, traditional weather boarded cottages

Epping High Road
The road became a turnpike in 1769 using the Epping and Ongar Turnpike Trust. A toll gate stood near the Theydon Road turning.
Ladderstile Farm. The farmhouse is 17th timber framed and plastered building.
Belle Vue cottage. This was the toll house for the turnpike road
Griffins Wood Cottages. 19th cottages. built for workers from the Copped Hall Estate.
Magpies Nest. Housing and businesses. Plus communal housing of elderly and handicapped
Bell Hotel.  The pub dates from at least the late 18th and was jrebuilt around 1900 and turned into a ‘motor hotel’ in the 1960s, continues to offer accommodation as the Best Western Bell Hotel.

Copped Hall Estate Road
Drive to Copped Hall.  The approach to Copped Hall until the 19th was from the Waltham road. A later drive led from the London road, passing New Farm and Wood House, and was altered by E. J. Wythes.
Griffins Wood
New Farm
Wood House. Built by E. J. Wythes in 1898 built Wood House for a relative of his wife. It was designed by C. E. Kempe and his nephew W. E. Tower. It is modelled on the mid-17th-century Sparrow's House at Ipswich

Bell Common Tunnel. This is a covered section of the motorway which was forced into a very narrow gap between Epping Forest and housing to the north. It T was therefore put underground in a tunnel 470 metres long built between 1982 and 1984 using the cut and cover method

Theydon Road
Windmill Reservoir. This was originally built by the Herts and Essex Water Works. It is now owned by Affinity. There is an attached pumping station
Millhouse Farm.  It is assumed the name of the farm relates to the windmill known to have stood nearby. There are plans for housing on the site of the gardens and tennis court.
Wensley House. Care Home

British History Online. Victoria County History. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Corporation of the City of London. Web site
Epping Forest District Council. Web site
Essex Archaeological Society. Transactions
London Underfoot. Web site
Wensley House. Web site
Winstone. Extracts from the Minutes of the Epping and Ongar Highway Trust


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