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St. LAWRENCE.... East Donyland and Rowhedge


THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 29 December 1787 - “The Rev. N. Salter, rector of East Donyland, in this county, on Wednesday, fed sixty-five, all the poor of his parish, with the best beef, plumb-puddings, and strong beer; and afterwards dismissed them with a shilling each.”


THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 23 August 1828 - “On Tuesday next will be Published, A SERMON, delivered in the Parish Church of East Donyland, and repeated by desire at St. Peter’s Church, Colchester, on occasion of the Execution of W.M. CORDER, for Murder; to which is annexed, a Correspondence with him during his Imprisonment.

By the Rev. M. SEAMAN, Queen’s College, Cambridge.

Printed and Published by S. Piper, Ipswich; Wightman and Cramp, London; and all other Booksellers.”

The murder of Maria Marten in May 1827 and execution of William Corder  were sensational news items which continue to fascinate us today. Corder, the son of a Polstead farmer, shot  Marten, with whom he was having a relationship,  at the Red Barn in Polstead and concealed her body in a grain bin.  After his execution his body was slit open and thousands of people queued to view the corpse. An account of the case was bound in Corder’s tanned skin.

The Rev. Meshach Seaman’s sermon “The Privileges of the Righteous and the Woes of the Wicked,” read in the church at East Donyland, had the additional title “On the Occasion of the Execution of William Corder, for Murder,” even though neither Marten or Corder appear before page 19 of the 32-page sermon which took place on Sunday morning 17 August 1828 and later the same day at St. Peter, Colchester.


THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 25 March 1837 - “TO BRICK-MAKERS. PERSONS desirous of Contracting for Clamping Four Hundred Thousand Bricks, at Row Hedge, in the parish of East Donyland, for the Erection of a New Church, may obtain any information required by application to Mr. William Mason, Architect, Ipswich.

Sealed Tenders to be delivered at the Rev. V.M. Torriano’s No.17, North Hill, Colchester, on or before Tuesday, the 4th April, 1837.”


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 7 April 1837 - “EAST DONYLAND CHURCH - TO BUILDERS - Persons desirous of Contracting for the several Works necessary in erecting a New Church, at East Donyland, in the County of Essex, may see the Drawings at the Clerk of the Works Office, St. Botolph’s Church, Colchester, any day after Wednesday, the 12th instant.

Sealed tenders for the different Trades, separately, to be delivered at the Rev. V.M. Torriano’s, No.17, North Hill, Colchester, on or before Wednesday, the 10th of May.

No pledge is given that the lowest Tender will be accepted.

W. MASON, Architect, Ipswich. 6th of April, 1837.”


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 18 August 1837 - “EAST DONYLAND CHURCH - The parish of East Donyland, in the county of Essex, four miles from Colchester, on the banks of the River Colne, is inhabited by a very poor population of fishermen and labourers, amounting to upwards of 700 souls. The Parish church, an ancient building of the 12th or 13th century, stands at the distance of a mile from the village. Although the whole available space of the Church is occupied, not more than 255 persons (including 65 sittings for the Sunday-School Children), can be accommodated. From the age and form of the building, it is incapable of enlargement. These circumstances have necessarily excluded the greater proportion of the people from the services of religion in the Parish Church.

To meet this pressing exigency, it is the anxious desire of the rector to build a new Church, contiguous to the Village, of size sufficient to afford adequate accommodation. The plans of the proposed building are prepared on an economical scale. All the expenses of a tower and separate vestry is avoided. The bell is hung over one of the porches. No room is lost in the pewing. The Church is calculated to contain 570 persons in the whole; five hundred being free sittings, and seventy only in pews, to be appropriated to certain houses in the parish, free from pew rent.

Thus it may be regarded as a Church specially for the poor. The form is octagonal, as collecting the congregation into a narrow compass, and close round the preacher. The utmost span of the area is 50 feet. The seats are circularly arranged, so that every individual can see the desk and pulpit without effort. There is no obstruction to sight or hearing. And no money is wasted upon any useless ornaments. An appropriate site has been purchased for £150, which includes a space requisite for the erection of School-rooms for the children of the parish. The tenders for the building of the Church amount to £1,400, exclusive of the value of the site. The Incorporated Society for building Churches and Chapels, “with a view to mark their opinion of the importance of the object,” have kindly voted a grant of £300. The Rector has from private contributions, up to the present time, obtained a further sum of £1,112, making a total of £1,412. As it is desirable that the Church should be covered in before the winter, preparations are in progress for laying the first stone without delay.

The poverty of the bulk of the inhabitants of the parish renders them incapable of contributing adequately towards this good work. The Rector is, therefore compelled to commend it to the Christian sympathy and charity of those, who, possessing the ability to afford assistance, have also the inclination to uphold and extend the beneficial influence of our National Church, in these perilous times. It is to be observed that the rector will derive no increase of income from the intended Church.

Contributions will be received by Messrs. COUTTS and Co. Strand; and at both the Colchester Banks. Also at Messrs. HATCHARDS, Piccadilly; Messrs. SEELEY’S, Fleet Street; Mr. NISBET’S, Berner’s Street, Oxford Street; at the Record Office; and by the Rev. V.M. Torriano, Rector of East Donyland, near Colchester.”

A list of over 150 contributors is appended and among the local names are: Rev. V.M. Torriano, £150; David Mustard, Esq., East Donyland, £20; Mrs. Mustard, ditto, £20; Lieut. Gen. Rebow, Wivenhoe Park, £10; George Round, Esq., Colchester, £5; John Bawtree, Esq., ditto, £5; Charles Gray Round, Esq., M.P., Birch Hall, £5; Captain Maynard, [now of] Clifton, £5; Thomas Cooper, Esq., Langenhoe, £3; J.W. Cooper, Esq., Fingringhoe, £2; Mr. Mothersole, East Donyland, £5; Mrs. Page, Fingringhoe, 10s; Miss. Page, ditto, 5s; Mr. Page, ditto, £1; W.R. Havens, Esq., Wivenhoe, £1. 1s; Mr. George Cooper, Fingringhoe, £1; Mr. Henry Cooper, Langenhoe Hall, £1; Miss. Cooper and Miss. C. Cooper, 10s each.


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 6 October 1837 -  “NEW CHURCH AT EAST DONYLAND - The ceremony of laying the first stone of the above New Church, took place on Tuesday last, the 3rd inst., on which occasion a sermon was preached at St. Peter’s, Colchester, in behalf of the funds for erecting the same, by the Venerable Archdeacon Lyall, from Psalm cxxii, 6th and following verses. The collection in the church amounted to £38. 10s. The Archdeacon afterwards repaired to the village of Rowhedge, in the parish of Donyland, to complete the ceremony of laying the stone, where he arrived about two o’clock. Amongst the company assembled upon the occasion were the Revds. P. Bayles, S. Carr, V. M’Gie Torriano,, J. Torriano, J.T. Round, J.W. Morgan, H. Bishop, W.H. Graham, W.M. Tucker, W. Edge, J.B. Storry, Dr. Hurlock, C. Norman, P. Fenn, W. Keeling, W. Latten, &c.; P. Havens, P. Havens, jun., and D. Mustard, Esqrs. At half past two a procession was formed from the Ship Inn, in the following order:- The Architect, carrying a silver trowel on a velvet cushion. Banners. Clerk of the Works. Contractors. Committee, with wands. Churchwardens, with wands. Apparitor. Archdeacon and Rector. Clergy, two and two. Ladies and gentry, two and two.

At the site of the building a platform was erected for the convenience of the spectators, which commanded a complete view of the ceremony; and after the 117th Psalm had been sung, and appropriate prayers offered, the stone was consigned to its resting place. Boxes were held at the entrance to the ground, and the sum of £6. 10s. was collected.

The building is the design of Mr. Mason, architect, of Ipswich. the plan is an octagon, of 50 feet span; and the elevation, from the ground to the highest point of the roof, is to be 73 feet. The arrangement of the pews, as described in the ground plan of the building, is most excellent; as, by its being carried into effect, there will be a great gain in point of room; and whilst the octagonal form of the building serves as a powerful conductor of the voice, the situation of the pews affords an uninterrupted view of the preacher from every part of the church. To five sides of the building there will be five-light lancet windows; and the chancel end is to be lighted by a window of the same description, but divided into three compartments. The entrances, which project from the main wall, about four feet, will be from the north and west elevations, on the former of which, Mr. Mason has designed a bell-turret of a very curious construction, and which will greatly add to the appearance of that side of the building. We understand that from the perfection to which Mr. Mason has brought the art of moulding bricks, great advantage will be derived from the ornamental part of the building being constructed with that material, to be supplied from the kilns of Mr. Ambrose; and when completed will have a most novel and imposing appearance.”


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 19 October 1838 - “CALENDAR AND APPOINTMENTS FOR THE WEEK - ... Saturday, October 20.- Consecration of New Church at East Donyland."

ESSEX HERALD – Tuesday 30 October 1838 – “The wind on Sunday night blew quite a hurricane, several large trees were blown down in the church-yards of St. Mary-at-the-Walls and St. Peter… besides chimney pots and tiling in different parts of the town. We regret to hear that part of the New Church at Donyland was blown down.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD – Friday 18 January 1839. “Commutation of Tithes. I, the Undersigned, being the duly authorised Agent of the REVEREND VICESIMUS MC.GIE TORRIANO, Clerk, Titheowner within the parish of East Donyland, in the County of Essex, whose interest is not less than one-fourth part of the whole value of the Tithes of the said parish, Do by this Notice in writing, under my hand, call a PAROCHIAL MEETING of Landowners and Titheowners within the limits of the said parish, for the purpose of making an Agreement for the General Commutation of Tithes within the limits of the said parish, pursuant to the provisions of an Act passed in the Sixth and Seventh years of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Fourth, intituled “An Act for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales.” And I do hereby also give Notice, that such Meeting will be held at the House called the Hall, in the said Parish, on MONDAY, February the Eleventh, at the hour of Eleven in the Forenoon.

Given under my hand this Twelfth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine.



THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 16 August 1839 - “NEW CHURCH AT EAST DONYLAND - We understand that an effort is being made to obtain an organ for the newly erected church at East Donyland; and are happy to hear that sixty pounds has been already contributed towards this desirable object; to accomplish which, the additional sum of £40 is required.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 18 October 1839 - "EAST DONYLAND CHURCH. On Sunday next, the 20th of October, being the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of the Consecration of East Donyland Church, a SERMON will be preached in the Afternoon, by the Rev. H.T. AUSTIN, M.A., Domestic Chaplain to the Right Hon. the Earl of Morley, in Aid of the Funds for its Erection, which are still in arrears. Service to begin at Three o'clock."

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 3 April 1840 - “EAST DONYLAND ORGAN - We understand that the Organ which is building for the New Church of East Donyland is now nearly ready, and is likely to be opened at the beginning of May.”


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 8 May 1840 - - “EAST DONYLAND ORGAN - In our second edition of last week, as we had not time to notice more than the mere opening of this Organ, doubtless our readers will be interested to learn a few further particulars, which we partly witnessed ourselves, and have since been able to obtain. On the Friday, the villagers, anticipating that those of a distance, who were friendly to this object, might wish to attend on a week-day service, when they could not so conveniently be present on the Sabbath-day, gave up their pews and seats by way of accommodation, and as, from various causes, the friends who were expected could not come, the congregation was by no means so large as could have been wished. But the collection exceeded expectation, as many, who could not be present themselves, had sent their contributions to be added to the plate; and those who gave must have given liberally. The prayers were read by the Rev. James Thomas Round, Rector of St. Runwald’s, and a most appropriate and interesting sermon was preached by the Rev. John Hallwood, Rector of Easthorpe. The peal of the organ and the noise of chanting were indeed new sounds in that Church; but they were particularly gratifying; and all present seemed to have enjoyed a sweet and edifying service. The collection amounted to £18. 12. 7. On the following Sunday afternoon, the Church was overflowing. Additional pews and seats were introduced in every situation where they could be placed, and still numbers had to stand the whole service; some were standing outside, and many were obliged to return. Mr. Seaman’s text was Colossians iii. 16; and was an instructive exposition of the passage, the preacher was enabled, from his previous personal knowledge of the parish, to contrast with past times, the great advantage the congregation would derive, in their Psalmody, from the assistance in singing, which the newly-erected organ would afford them. The collection amounted to £8. 10. 8. The instrument itself is indeed exactly adapted to the Church. The volume of sound is abundantly sufficient, and may easily be increased if deemed necessary. The spirited builder, Mr. Henry Bryceson, Tottenham Court, New Road, has done ample justice to his contract. The stopped diapason, open diapason, and principal, are really sweet stops, and the mechanical parts of the instrument have been well conceived and executed. The tunes on the barrels have been judiciously selected and arranged, with a full harmony, by Mr. Bilson Binfield, of Reading, who, we understand, has devoted many years to the improvement of country psalmody in the villages of that neighbourhood. Nor can we overlook the merits of our townsman, Mr. S. Tillett, who, being solicited by the esteemed Rector of the parish, and anxious to render him all the aid in his power, entered with heart and soul into the occasion, and presided at the organ with much judgment.The best thanks of the parish are also due to Mr. Mattacks and other members of the Colchester Choral Society for the assistance kindly rendered by them. The playing and chanting were simple, chaste, dignified, and the more pleasing and impressive on that very account, and no doubt have given an impulse to the parishioners to cultivate, with the help of their new organ, the sweets of sacred melody. We could well wish that many other parishes might be induced to turn their thoughts to the improvement of this animating part of Divine worship, and certainly Mr. Bryceson’s elegant barrel and finger organs, constructed at a reasonable price, will help to place the attainment of this object within their command.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 6 August 1841 - “SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS - Monday last... Prayers having been read by the Rev. V.M. Torriano... The Auxiliary Society had sustained a further loss during the past year in the death of David Mustard, Esq., of Roman Hill, East Donyland, who had bequeathed a legacy of £10 to the auxiliary...”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 30 June 1843 - “SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS -  [A fund-raiser on the previous Sunday] ... In the afternoon of the same day the reverend gentleman [Rev. J.J. Reynolds] preached at East Donyland Church, for the same object, when a collection of £6.8.7 was made.”

ESSEX HERALD – 3 June 1851 – “CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.- On Sunday, two sermons were preached in behalf of the Colchester and East Essex Association, in aid of the above society, at St. Peter’s Church [Colchester]…. Sermons were also preached by the Rev. C. Jez Blake, M.A. association secretary at Lexden, afternoon at Donyland, and evening at Nayland…. Collections were received in the morning…. Donyland, £4.”

ESSEX HERALD – 19 August 1851 – “COLCHESTER – Irish Society of London. On Friday last, a public meeting was held at the Town Hall, Colchester, in aid of promoting the religious instruction of the native Irish through the medium of their own language.” Among those present – (Rev?) Goode, Donyland.

ESSEX HERALD – 10 August 1852 – “SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS. On Monday, the thirty-fifth meeting of this society was held at the Town Hall, Colchester.” The Rev. V.M. Torriano, of East Donyland, read the latest financial report. Jews were not permitted to enter parliament and the argument went that by converting them to Christianity they would then be able to stand if they so chose.

THE TIMES - Wednesday 24 March 1858 - "HOUSE OF COMMONS, Tuesday, March 23 - The Speaker took the chair shortly before 4 o'clock -  Petitions were also Mr. T. MILLER, from the rector, churchwardens, and parishioners of the parish of East Donyland, in the county of Essex, against the admission of Jews to Parliament."

SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS – 1 July 1858 – “In the House of Commons, on Thursday, petitions that the use of the bible in an Irish school may not debar it from a share in the educational grant were presented by Mr. Rebow, from Colchester; by Mr. Du Cane, from Saffron Walden, Stambourne, East Donyland, and Little Tey, Essex.”

SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS – 15 July 1858 – “COLCHESTER – On Sunday evening, sermons in aid of the Colchester and East Essex Auxiliary of the Society for the Conversion of the Jews were preached in the morning, at St. Peter’s Church…. Sermons in aid of the same object were also preached at the churches of Lexden, East Donyland, and East Thorpe.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Wednesday 27 July 1859 - “Colchester and East-Essex Auxiliary Society In Aid of the London Society for Promoting CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS, Patron - The Archbishop of Canterbury Vice-President - The Bishop of London. SERMONS In aid of the general purposes of the Institution will be preached on Sunday, July 31st, 1859, in the Morning at St. Mary’s Church, in the Afternoon at East Donyland, and in the Evening at St. Peter’s by the Rev. J.C. Reichardt, Formerly Missionary to the Jews in Poland and in the Holy Land.”

THE HALFPENNY NEWSMAN – 22 April 1876. “DEATHS.- LUFKIN. 16th inst. At East Donyland Rectory, Arthur Henry, only child of the Rev. Henry E. Lufkin, aged 16.”

THE HALFPENNY NEWSMAN – 4 November 1876. “DEATHS. LUFKIN.- 23rd ult. At East Donyland Rectory, Susan, wife of the Rev. H.E. Lufkin, aged 50.”

COLCHESTER GAZETTE – Wednesday 26 February 1879 – “THE LATE REV. JONATHAN BATES.- …. Mathematical master at Colchester Royal Grammar School….. constant and popular lecturer in St. John’s Street, more especially on astronomical subjects… Before he finally left Essex he was for some time Curate-in-Charge of East Donyland… Mr. Bates died on the 13th inst., as it were, in the prime of life, having completed his 50th year.”

19 February 1859

THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 26 February 1859 - “IPSWICH MECHANICS’ INSTITUTION.- On Tuesday evening, the Rev. J. Bates, of East Donyland, one of the masters of Colchester Grammar School, delivered a lecture to the members in the Lecture Hall, Tower-street, on “The Poetry of Longfellow.” -Mr. Vulliamy presided.- The reverend gentleman made but few critical remarks upon the genius of the poet, or his works, and mainly confined his attention to a rapid sketch of Longfellow’s early history, remarking, that he crept into fame by the casual insertion of poetical pieces in American newspapers. Quoting several of his poems, he said, “Hiawatha” might be considered one of his most successful.- At the close, Mr. Vulliamy thanked Mr. Bates for the interesting lecture he had delivered.”

ESSEX STANDARD – Friday 19 September 1862. “DEATHS. On Thursday Sept. 18th, at his residence, North Hill, Colchester, after a short illness, the Rev. Vicesimus McGie Torriano, the respected and beloved Rector of East Donyland, in this county, aged 78 years.”

ESSEX STANDARD – Wednesday 1 October 1862. “FUNERAL OF THE REV. V.M. TORRIANO.- On Friday the mortal remains of the Rev. V.M. Torriano were conveyed from Colchester to East Donyland, with which parish he had been connected as curate and rector for the long period of 47 years. The interment took place in a new vault near the chancel. The principal mourners were the Rev. Joshua Torriano, brother of the deceased, Mr. Wm. Torriano his nephew, and a few more distant relatives. In the funeral cortege, however, were a number of the clergy of the neighbourhood; and at the entrance of the village it was joined by all the principal parishioners, together with the children of the village school (clad in mourning), while the vessels in the river lowered their flags to half-mast. There was also a large concourse of persons in and around the churchyard, and the funeral service, read by the Curate, the Rev. F. SWANN, was listened to in deep and solemn silence. In fact there was every demonstration of respect for the memory of the deceased, and of the love and esteem in which he had been so deservedly held. The arrangements of the funeral were carried out by Mr. Grimes, of Colchester.”

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Dedication of the New Burial Ground, East Donyland

Rev. Brice far left, Bishop?, Magistrate, Stephen Cranfield, Ruth Knights, Ernest Knights, Ida Spooner, George Robinson, unknown

   Dedication of  Memorial Gates, St. Lawrence, Rowhedge



To be continued.... 
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