Viewranger file here
On Thursday the 19th April 2018 I left home for a 6 mile walk before a late shift at work, after 25 minutes I was parking up opposite the Good Intent pub, Copthall Green in a long layby on Crown Hill at EN9 3SZ.
I walk up the road a little before taking a path on my right into a small wooded area and out into a green.
I now walk along a road for a while, almost took the road below with the horses before noticing my mistake. I do however come back that way!
I was too busy looking about and not paying much attention to my GPS and walk a little way beyond the sign below and have to walk back a little.
I pass by Queen Boadicea's Obelisk in the field on my right. The Obelisk was built in the early 18th century at the place where Queen Boadicia reputedly committed suicide by eating poisonous berries to avoid capture after her Iceni army was defeated by the Romans under governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, around AD60-61.
Sadly the land surrounding the Boadicea obelisk is now on private land, although it is visible from the footpath.
I walk through a muddy field, (mud everywhere today made worse by horses churning it all up) and exit by Obelisk Farm.
I walk over and take a path opposite and across another field.
Now on my left I pass The Temple(Built in 1737) in Warlies Park on Temple Hill.
This folly is the Temple that gives its name to Temple Hill. It was built by Richard Morgan in 1737 and is a Scheduled Monument.
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was a C19 campaigner to establish Epping Forest, his family purchased Warlies in 1851. The house and gardens were sold to Dr. Barnardos in 1921, but the family kept most of the land until they sold it to the Greater London Council in 1974. When the GLC was abolished ownership was passed to the Corporation of London, who manage it as part of the Epping Forest Buffer Land
I leave the field onto a road and turn left and up to the top.
Here I meet Warlies Park House, now used as a variety of offices.
Warlies was originally part of the lands belonging to the abbots of Waltham before the dissolution of the monasteries. In the 17th century it was the home of Samuel Foxe, son of the martyrologist, and Samuel's son added to the estate by buying up land and cottages in Upshire.
The estate was held by Christopher Davenport until 1715 and on his death was inherited by his daughter, Frances, who enclosed the estate. Warlies was landscaped by Richard Morgan in the first half of the 18th century. Richard Morgan designed a landscape park with classical rotunda and obelisks, influenced by the picturesque school. Viewpoints in the park are the 1737 rotunda and two obelisks of a similar age which stand about a mile apart and are said to commemorate the death of Boudicca.
Between 1801 and 1814 the estate was owned by James Reed who improved the grounds by adding a notable series of plantations. In 1851 Sir Edward North Buxton, MP, bought the Warlies estate, some 1300 acres, in order to have a house in his constituency. His son, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton succeeded his father as 3rd baronet and after his marriage, Warlies became the social centre of West Essex.
The Buxtons sold the estate in 1921 and the mansion was a Dr Barnardo's home from 1921 until 1974, when it was sold to the Greater London Council. The estate passed to the Corporation of London in 1986 and is managed by Epping Forest District Council and the Corporation as a country park with extensive public access. Their value is as buffer land that is free from the danger of development and ensures open borders for the Forest to the great advantage of wildlife. The house is occupied by small businesses.
|Warlies Park House|
Now I take a path and start to climb a hill up above Warlies Park House.
Now at the top of the hill I walk out onto a car park before noticing my route continues back at the top of the hill, so I back track and walk along a path.
|A view downhill to The Temple again.|
Now I'm out onto a road where I turn right and walk up to St Thomas Church in Upshire.
St Thomas Upshire sits on the high ground above Waltham Abbey on Horseshoe Hill which is recorded as the road between Epping and the Augustan monastery of Waltham Abbey. However the history of St Thomas’s starts during the latter part of the 19th century when the Buxton Family took up residence in Warlies in 1858. When they arrived there was already a reading room and a school, attended by 70 pupils, and where, divine services for the village were held.
Sir Thomas Buxton and his wife Lady Victoria took a great interest in the life of the village taking an active part in the running of the school and the use and upkeep of the hamlet’s reading room. In 1895 Lady Buxton founded the Mother’s Union in the village in and a few years later Sir Thomas commissioned an architect to draw up plans for a church in the village and in 1901 Lady Victoria laid the foundation stone for the new church.
The church design is a simple arts and craft design with clean lines and clear glass giving the interior, despite the dark wood columns and beams a light, airy feel. The arts and craft theme is continued in the fixtures and fittings.
The Bishop of Victoria and Hong Kong and the Vicar of Waltham Abbey dedicated the finished church St Thomas the Apostle and Martyr in September 1902.
It was given the status of a mission church not a parish church, and placed under the direction of the Vicar of Waltham Abbey. In 1903 the Bishop of St Albans, within whose diocese the church was situated at that time, licenced the Vicar of Waltham Abbey to conduct Divine services in the Mission church.
The Buxton family continued to support the church as is evident by the donations of the baptismal font and copy of Raphael’s 1517 painting The Transfiguration, which still hangs in the church today, along with other items such as the church bell, alms dishes and communion rails in 1910.
From the beginning there was a strong desire amongst the congregation for St Thomas’ to be a fully functioning Parish church, which over the next decades was rigorously opposed by the Vicar of Waltham Abbey. In view of this Lord Buxton retained ownership of the church and land which in turn lead to the establishment of a burial ground at the back of the church.
From the outset the congregation were resolved to fund their own needs. They did this by an annual sale of works, a tradition which continues to this day in the much-loved St Thomas Summer and Christmas Fairs.
Founders of the church Lord and Lady Buxton had both died by the end of the First World War so the task of overseeing St Thomas’s fell to their son, Sir Victor and then his grandson Sir Fowell who decided to hand over the responsibility for the church to a board of trustees after which the church passed into the care of the newly formed Diocese of Chelmsford.
Between the world wars the church continued to thrive adding a Sunday school and choir to its regular activities as well as the village guide and scout troop to be attached to the church. The church Council also continued to press for St Thomas’ to be consecration as a parish.
|Views across London|
When the Buxtons moved to Norfolk in the 1920s their former house became a Barnardo’s home and the children from there could be seen each week walking up Horseshoe Hill in crocodile formation to attend church.
During the critical days of 1940-41 when invasion across the channel was a real possibility St Thomas’s held daily services of intersession while members of the congregation who had not been drafted joined the local defence league.
The lynch gate was built in memory of all of those from the village who had died in both world wars and was dedicated in 1950.
Finally in 1956, after 54 years, St Thomas’ was joined with Holy Innocent’s church in High Beech some three miles away and given the status of a parish church.
Today St Thomas’s is part of the Waltham Abbey joint Benefice and shares its incumbent vicar with St Lawrence’s Ninefields.
I walk out back onto the road and walk a little way past The Horseshoes Pub, and had to walk back where the path is hidden next to the pub.
The path comes out into a field with again, fine views over London.
I follow the path downhill, I see what I thought was a fox in the distance, I was about to take a picture then a saw a man. It turns out it was a red coloured staff dog, well it was a long way off!
I walk along a lane of trees before turning left onto Green Lane.
|A view back to St Thomas Church from Green Lane|
At the top of a muddy Green Lane I now cross the M25 by a bridge.
I continue on down Green Lane.
I enter Epping Forest.
Epping Forest was afforested in the 13th century, during the reign of Henry III. "Forest" in medieval times was a legal term meaning an area where the King owned all the deer (and other game) and he alone had the right to hunt. The term did not imply woodland: many forests included open areas, moors and heaths. Nor did it imply ownership: forests were often owned by local gentry with rights of access (to gather wood and graze livestock) for commoners. Instead, afforestation was a way of asserting dominance – the King had the authority to keep his deer on other peoples' land – and of protecting his stock. Laws designed to protect both the vegetation and the wild animals were administered by forest courts, and abuses of the laws were punishable by fines or (rarely) by physical punishments. Foresters, verderers, agisters and surveyors were employed to police the system. Medieval Kings were poor, and the fines generated by these laws were a useful source of income, and the honorific sinecures were a handy way of rewarding faithful service. Furthermore, making the killing of deer illegal except by royal decree made venison a rare and precious meat and thus a valuable gift.
From Tudor times, the Crown's interest in forests gradually declined leaving them to the landowners, but still with access rights for commoners. Over time various Enclosure Acts were passed allowing landowners to extinguish these access rights. In the mid-19th century local landowners began to enclose Epping Forest. Social reformers of the time (including Sir Edward Buxton) objected to this believing that access to nature was an essential right, especially for people in urban environments. The situation was finally settled by the Epping Forest Act of 1878, which appointed the Corporation of the City of London (who had brought the land from the Crown) to be Conservators of the Forest, with the duty of keeping the forest as an open space for public recreation. All the enclosed lands, except those actually built on, were opened again. Lopping rights were extinguished but the other rights, including the right to graze livestock, were retained. Verderers, originally enforcers of forest law, became representatives of the users of the forest. The forest was saved, in the words of Queen Victoria "for the use and enjoyment of my people for all time".
I pass by Lodge Road Bog North.
Carbon-dating reveals that the first layer of vegetation was laid down here more than 4,000 years ago. Ponded back by a Neolithic trackway, or just some natural lip of gravel, the area was deepened by road building for the various incarnations of nearby Copped Hall since the middle ages.
I leave the forest cross a road and enter the grounds of Copped Hall.
|I cross over the M25 once more|
Recorded history at Copped Hall starts in the 12th century when there was already a substantial building on the site. At that time Copped Hall belonged to the Fitzaucher family who served the King as huntsmen.
In 1303 the Copped Hall Estate consisted of 180 acres – comprising parkland, arable land and meadow land. In 1337 Copped Hall came into the hands of Sir John Shardlow who conveyed it to the Abbots of Waltham in 1350 in exchange for other lands. The Abbots described Copped Hall as "a mansion of pleasure and privacy". They were granted leave by Edward III in 1374 to extend the park by a further 120 acres on the Epping side.
In 1537 the Abbot gave Copped Hall to Henry VIII in the vain hope of saving Waltham Abbey from being dissolved. This failed to appease Henry and the Abbey was dissolved in 1540. Henry VIII visited Copped Hall but never lived there. In 1548 his son Edward VI allowed the future Queen Mary to live at Copped Hall where she remained – to a large degree – a prisoner, as she was a Catholic. When Mary became Queen in 1533, Copped Hall was leased to Sir.Thomas Cornwallis. In 1558 it was transferred to the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1564 Queen Elizabeth granted Copped Hall to one of her closest friends – Sir.Thomas Heneage.
There is only one vague drawing indicating what the Copped Hall of this period might have looked like and this shows a row of roof gables. The mansion would have been altered and rebuilt over the centuries. It would have started off as a timber framed building but would later have acquired tall brick chimneys. The external walls of the principal parts would probably have also been rebuilt of brick with corner buttresses.
Copped Hall is a stately Georgian mansion, completed in 1758. A new wing was added in the 1870's. In 1887, at the age of 19, Ernest Wythes inherited Copped Hall. He was immensely rich – his grandfather had made a fortune building railways – and he began spending money on the house almost immediately. A new stable block was built in 1894. The next year, the new wing was pulled down and rebuilt.
At around the same time the roof line was given a balustrade and elaborate chimney tops, the windows were given stone architraves, and on the western front, the central portion was given a classical makeover by adding stone pilasters and a carved pediment. Elaborate ornamental railings and gates were added, and a large stone conservatory was built to the south, linked to the main building by a glazed corridor. The interior was remodelled and filled with fine art and elegant furnishings. 58 staff were employed in the house and gardens. During WWI, many of the staff went off to war and the house was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1917 there was a catastrophic fire and the main block was burnt out. Mr Wythes and his family never lived there again. After his death in 1949 the estate was sold and anything of value stripped out. The house remains a ruin although the grounds have been saved from developers by the Corporation of London and the house is slowly being restored by the Copped Hall Trust with a view to establishing relevant educational, cultural and community uses.
I leave Copped Hall behind and continue along the path and down to a road.
I follow the path to my right and along the road for a short way.
I take a path across some fields next to a house and across to Lodge Farm and then along a road past some lovely houses.
I am now back at the car, a 6,5 mile walk with the slight diversions, a nice walk now to get back home before work!!