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History - Part 3

Local History

Page updated - 22 August 2008




This series of  Potted History of Great Cornard has been submitted by Cornard News. The articles were written by Joan Herbert who researched them from a variety of local sources.


Part 3 - 18th to 19th Centuries

The River Stour became navigable for larger boats in the early 18th century and brought increased prosperity to Great Cornard. However there was still hardship especially for the weak and vulnerable as shown by the opening of a workhouse in Cornard in 1776. The inmates of workhouses consisted mainly of the aged and infirm, orphaned and illegitimate children and unmarried pregnant women – people who were unable to work elsewhere.


 The Manor of Cornard Magna passed into the hands of James Sparrow along with the patronage of the living of St Andrews Church in 1770. The Sparrow family held the Manor for the next 160 years and during that time they never lived in Cornard and did very little to benefit the parish. The Enclosure Act of 1813 gave one member of the family the opportunity to acquire five acres of Common Land that were then sold in the 1880’s for building plots. Cornard was still a farming community and the records of 1831 show that 144 people were employed in agriculture. However Hannah Hunt had a large brick-making, pottery and coarse earthenware business in the Pot Kiln area and there were also lime kilns in the same area along with chalk workings.


Although there were three daily schools listed in 1833 they were small private establishments taking only a total of 55 pupils and it was not until 1878 that a school was built at the corner of Wells Hall Road and Head Lane to accommodate 140 pupils.


 The coming of the railway in the late 19th century heralded a decline in using the river as a means of carrying goods but also meant that travel to many places outside Cornard was possible. In 1844 there were two public houses and one beerhouse in Cornard and by 1891 there were four public houses, one brewer and one beerhouse. The population was listed in 1871as 877 and even as late as 1901 it had only risen to 932 - it seems that Cornard men must have had a great thirst! It probably was a coincidence that also in 1891 a police officer was listed and a map of the same year shows a Police Station in Broom Street.


[Mainly from County archives. Information about James Sparrow came from 'A History of St Andrew’s Great Cornard' by E R Chaplin.]


Compiled by Joan Herbert – Cornard News - 04 November 2003