200AD: The Romans occupied Britain from 43AD to about 410AD and during this time built a road system that criss-crossed the country. The road from London to Great Dunmow passed through Chigwell and the first hall twelve miles out of the city, was little London near the River Roding at the junction of Grave Lane and the Abridge road. Many Roman artifacts have been recovered in that Vicinity.
1066: The Manor of Wolsten (Later Woolston) was taken over from Earl Harold by William the Conqueror.
1160: Ralph de Brit, A Norman distantly related to the Conqueror was the first Lord of the Manor to actually live on his land. He is credited with building the first Church on this site of which only the Norman South Doorway still stands.
1475: About this time a bell turret was added to the West End of the nave of the Norman Church recently enlarged by the addition of a North aisle.
1555: John Rodgers – the rector of Chigwell and Vicar of St Sepulchre – Holborn was burnt at the stake, the first martyr of the Protestant faith under “Bloody” Queen Mary – the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragorn.
1557: The first “Colluson’s” alms houses were built. They were rebuilt in 1858 and modernised in the 1960’s. There is some doubt as to the name as the widow of Sir Thomas Colshill referred in her will to “The Alms Houses of Chigwell built by me Husband” – shoulf they therefore be “Colshill’s Alms Houses”?
1559: Joan Simpson’s trust established in her will a piece of land was left to provide an income for the maintenance of the bridleway from Abridge and Lambourne to Stratford Langthorne. The capital raised from the sale of the land in about 1936 still provides approximately £100 per annum which is used for the enhancement of public footpaths.
1565: Robert Rampston of Chingford left various sums to parishes in South West Essex, of which Chigwell receives £2 per annum in perpetuity. From a land charge on a farm near Great Dunmow to be used for the benefit of the poor.
1597: Samuel Harsnett became vicar of Chigwell, leaving in 1605 to become Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge and later successively Bishop of Chichester, Bishop of Norwich and then Archbishop of York.
1610: From this date onwards various gifts of communion plate were made to the Church by John Pennington, Alice Andrews, William Scott and others these being among the finest in Essex.
1629: Archbishop Samuel Harsnett of York, a former vicar of Chigwell, founded the English and Lating Schools at Chigwell.
1655: William Penn (Later the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia in the USA) was as pupil at Chigwell School. Travelling daily to the School from his home in Wanstead.
1670: About this time, the Chigwell Mineral Spring (“Kings Well”) was discovered near the present Cheshire Home. The water was described as having “Cathartic” properties.
1700: At approximately this date a working windmill stood on the crest of the rising land near Fairview House.
1805: Captain Sir Elliab Harvey of “Rolls Park” commanded the “Fighting Temerair” at the Battle of Trafalgar.
1820: Thomas Priest a horologist of Gravel Lane, patented the first Self-Winding watch, thus replacing the separate watch key.
1829: George Shillibeer, after his successful transport service in Paris, introduced the first omnibus to London between Paddington and the City. He lived at “The Grove House” in Chigwell Row.
1835: The first Girl’s school, built by the “National Society” on a part of the Glebe field by the Vicar, Revd A. R. Chauvel
1842: Charles Dickens Novel, “Barnaby Rudge”, largely written in “Ye Olde Kings Head” in general publication.
1856: The font in St Mary’s was a gift from the Revd William Earle.
1861: Dr W.H Monk (Professor of Vocal Music at King’s College, London and former music master at Chigwell School), became the first editor of “Hymns, Ancient and Modern, composing many new tunes which have become standard works including those for “Abide with Me” and “All Things Bright and Beautiful”.
1867: All Saints, Chigwell Row, consecrated as an independent Parish Church previously part of the ancient parish of Chigwell.
1903: The Great Eastern Railway Loop line, from Woodford to Seven Kings was opened with two stations in the parish, Chigwell and Grange Hill (for Chigwell Row).
1906: 800 acres of Hainault Forest is purchased to be retained in perpetuity as an open space for the public at large.
1924: Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill became Member of Parliament for Epping Division which included Chigwell. He represented the parish until the redistribution of boundaries in 1955.
1934: St Winifred’s Church built at Grange Hill as a gift to the parish by Mr John Banders. It is understood that Winifred was the name of one of his nieces.
1937: The Royal Air Force Balloon station was opened on the site of Chigwell Hall Farm Roding Lane which was to provide the much needed help in the air defence of London in the 1939-1945 World War.
1938: Buckhurst Hill County High School opened with its first intake of 90 students.
1941: The “Prince of Wales” public house was destroyed by an enemy air attack, with a great loss of life. This was the worst local incident suffered during “The Blitz”.
1948: The Woodford – Ilford railway loop line became part of the Central Line and electric underground trains replaced the former steam locomotives calling at Chigwell and Grange Hill stations.
1956: St Mary’s new vicarage, (now the Rectory) was built on that part of the Glebe Field nearest to the church, to replace the former building on Vicarage Lane.
1960: The Nativity window was donated in memory of Mrs Peters (formerly Mallinson) who was the proprietor of the “Kings Head” Public House.
1968: The resurrection window in the North West wall of St Mary’s was donated in memory of Lieutenant Colonel D.J Hedley and later his wife.
1989: St Mary’s Church Rooms were built adjacent to the church following a handsome donation from an anonymous benefactor. Many other members of the church and parish also subscribed generously to complete the amount needed. The ceremony of opening the rooms was undertaken by the Bishop of Barking.
1998: The reverend Antoinette (“Toni”) Smith became the first female curate at St Marys in 800 years.