Virtual Museum

An exhibition of over 60 historic artefacts that convey something of village life in the past that would otherwise be difficult to observe.

Some items remain in the village in private hands, some have found homes elsewhere, some have been lost.

(some of the images shown here are not the original Goldhanger located items)


select from this alphabetic contents list or scroll down the page. . .


Baker's lamp and scales


Bell from the school

Bell frame woodwork

Bellringers Trophy

Bellringers training model

Blacksmith's Anvil

Boars head

Bus Shelter engraved beam

Coastguard's Sword

Communion vessels

Copper ingots

Cricketers Inn signs

Churchyard grave markers

Church railings

Church Farm Jam & Honey

Electrophants elephants

Wagon wheel

Farm wagon

Farm traction engine

Flags of the British Legion

Funeral Bier

Goldhanger Clocks


Goldhanger Fruit Farms

Goldhanger Canned Vegetables

Goldhanger Players cup

Goldhanger Gardening cup

Goldhanger Flower Show Trophy

Goldhanger Regatta tankard

Goldhanger plough

Globes from the petrol pumps


Hippocampus roof finial

Keel from a Roman ship

Lanterns from the Church


Marble samples

Medals from two world wars

McMullen chair

Ming China

Model-T Ford parts

Mug from the school

Pargetted Panels

Parquet Floor Panel

Pew from the Chapel


Police House sign

Post Office sign

Propeller from the airfield

Pump in The Square

Pump on Maldon Rd

Punt Gun

Railway carriages

Rosary from WW-1

Sagger from Redhill

Salt sacks

Sergeants Mess Sign

Business signs from the past

Smugglers artefacts

Snowdrop's wheel

Stones from the Creek

Stone in The Square

Strawberry baskets

V2 rocket in the Creek

Verine Products

Windsor chairs
Warren Goldhanger Plough

Water carriers yoke



also please visit our. . .  Virtual Library


The Goldhanger Plough





William Bentall developed his Goldhanger Plough while farming Cobb Farm. It was in much demand and he set up a factory in Heybridge to be near the canal. Thousands of these ploughs were built over many years. It was different from previous ploughs in as much as the "modular" design allows parts to interchanges on the farm, using nuts and bolts.

more about. . . William Bentall


The Warren Ironworks - Goldhanger Plough


William Bentall did not initially patent the design of his plough and the Warren Ironwork on the Heybridge Causeway copied the design and produced very similar ploughs which were marked with:

Warren Goldhanger


           Jacob Mickelfield's Goldhanger Clocks


Clockmaker Jacob Mickelfield lived and worked in The Square in the late 1700s and is know to have built several clocks at that time, which are all inscribed on the dial with. . .

Jacob Mickelfield


On some clocks he used the name Micklefield. He later moved to Southminster. His clocks still occasionally appear at auctions throughout the country.


   more about. . . Jacob Mickelfield


Farm wagon wheel


The last wagon at Highams Farm was sold in 2001


Blacksmiths yard in Church St.


Farm wagons with these very substantial wooden handmade wheels would have been a frequent site passing through the village in the years gone by. The village wheelwright and blacksmiths would have made and repaired them.



Bunting Bros Farm Wagon


This farm wagon from the early 1900s has...

Bunting Bros



painted in the top right panel and was made by local wagon makers “Burton Stanway”. It was probably used to transport cattle to the local butchers or to market.


Railway carriages used for holiday accommodation



Retired railway carriages have been used locally as holiday and temporary accommodation for many years. Four were known to be within the Parish in the 1940s. The carriage at the top left was destroyed many years ago. Another was sold to a railway preservation society in 2007 and taken away(top and middle right photos), leaving just two remaining in the Parish.


The carriages dated from around the 1890s and were part of the Great Eastern Railways fleet until decommissioned in the 1920s and 30s. They could have come directly from the Crab & Winkle Line that ran from Kelvedon to Tollesbury that closed to passengers in 1921.


Period photos of the... Crab & Winkle carriages

However, redundant carriages from the GER main line were known to be held at a siding alongside the river Crouch in the 1940s & 50s and then transported to waterside holiday destinations on a floating pontoon. They were moved inland with a wagon and eight horses. The lower left photo shows a similar railway carriage being moved across Osea Causeway.


the original appearance of these 5-compartment 6-wheel carriages


Anvil from the blacksmith's shop


The anvil from the blacksmiths in Church Street, which finally closed in the 1980s.

more on the.. Blacksmiths


A Windsor Chair from The Chequers


For many years up until the late 1960s there was a large collection of fine Windsor dining chairs in the saloon bar of The Chequers. When the landlord of the time retired the chairs went with him.

more about. . . The Chequers Inn


Pew from the Wesleyan Chapel 


Several of these bench type seats now in The Chequers are said to have originally been pews in the Wesleyan Chapel in Head Street, and were moved from there after it finally closed in 1967.


Parquet Floor Panel


One of several vintage parquet floor panels, installed in a building in the village by builder Bernard Mann in the 1950s. They were purchased from a stately home that was being demolished by the then owner of the house.


Pargetted Panels


Three examples of a number of fine pargetted panels sculptured into a building in the village during work on an extension undertaken in the 1980s. They depict the evolution of the village, from the Viking raids onwards.

more local items in. . .

sculptures and wood carvings


       An ancient ship's keel from the Creek



click to enlarge


In the 1947 Crawshay Frost removed this large piece of wood from the Creek with the help of a group of teenage boys, which he claimed was the keel of a Roman ship. He wrote a letter to the Chelmsford Chronicle describing it at the time. It adorned his front drive in Fish St until well after his death in 1962. What remains of the keel has been made into a sculpture and it is now in another garden at Goldhanger.

more about. . . Wooden Posts in the Creek and Crawshay Frost


From the Creek. . .   A millstone and carved lions head stone


These two stone were found in the Estuary at some time in the past. The millstone is approximately 40cm in diameter and would have been a hand operated stone from a pre-historic period. The lions head is thought to have been brought from London as demolition rubble from the old London bridge, and used to built up the seawall.

more on. . . Archaeology



From the Creek. . .   a World War Two V2 rocket


For many years after the end of WW-2, the remains of a German V2 rocket lay in the mud in the Estuary off Bounds Farm, and was clearly viable at low water. The same relic is now on display on Osea Island


Flags for ceremonial use


Flags have always been used to head village processions. These British Legion - Goldhanger branch flags used to hang in the British Legion Hall in Fish St.
The Coastguards also used to march through the village to their seawall hut with the union flag and carrying arms, and flags can be seem in many old photos of processions and celebrations in the village.

more about. . . Goldhanger Lost


Lamp and Scales from the Bakery


Fred Norton was the last village baker and operated from 2 Fish Street. He used to deliver bread around the village with a horse and cart. He used this lamp to find his way around on dark winter mornings. The lamp is a well made former yacht bulk-head lamp. As his father was a Goldhanger coastguard, it is likely that the lamp came from one of the disused navy cutters that ended their days in the Estuary as watch vessels.

When the bakery finally closed in the early 1970s, these Avery scales were left behind in the shop. The lamp and the scales were used in a restoration of the bakery shop in 2010.


Medals from two World Wars


Many Goldhanger men received campaign medals in both WW-1 and WW-1. Some village men and two flying officers stations at the flight station received gallantry and bravery awards. Many of these medals remain with the families in the village. Major Bill Hopwood's medals are in the Chelmsford museum. He participated in the raid on St Nazaire in WW-2 1942. See more about... The Great War and... World War-2.htm


Propeller from the World War One Flight Station



During WW-1 the Royal Flying Corp maintained a Flight Station close to the seawall at Gardners Farm. A flight of Be12s biplanes were stationed there to attack Zeppelins coming up the estuary heading for London.

more about the. . . The Flight Station

and... Zeppelin Busters


Sergeants Mess sign from the World War One Flight Station


This stencilled sign was on the outside of the Sergeants Mess at the Goldhanger Flight Station on Gardeners Farm during the Great War. After the war the hut was purchased by the Bentall Family and moved to Heybridge Basin and commissioned as St Georges Chapel in memory of their son who was killed in the War, where it remains.


Marble samples from Spitzbergen


Ernest Mansfield and his team brought back many samples of colourful marble from his expeditions to Spitzbergen in the early 1900s to demonstrate their company's potential as an importer of this and other minerals. The Revd. Gardner, Dr Salter, Charles Mann and others would had these samples as mementoes of their involvement.

more on this at. . . Spitzbergen - prospecting for gold


St Peter's communion silver


This silver communion service was donated to the church in 1848 by Sarah Leigh in memory of her brother Edward, who was rector of Goldhanger from 1836 to 1846. The flagon, cup and paten are now kept in the vault of Chelmsford cathedral.


More about. . . History of St Peters Church


St Peter's gilded communion Ciborium and Pyxes


A gilded communion Ciborium - a cup with a lid for holding consecrated bread, and a Pyxes - a container in which wafers for the Eucharist are kept, were donated in the past by a local family in memory of their loved ones. They are no longer held in the Church.


Rosary brought back from the Great War


When Dick Phillips returned injured to Goldhanger at the end of the war, he brought back with him a rosary that had a Stanhope Lens with scenes of the Battle of Ypres in the centre of the cross. In 1921 he died of the injuries received in the war, leaving the rosaries to his relatives.

More about... the Great War


Items made from the old bell frame


The Ernie Johnson trophy, this table lamp, and many other items were made from the oak of the old bell tower frame, which was taken out of St Peters tower when the bell were refurbished and increased from 5 to 8 bells in 1952.

Ernie Johnson was a well known ringer throughout Essex due to his skills and enthusiasm, and he visited towers all over the county in the 1950s on his motorcycle. The trophy is regularly awarded by the local branch of Essex Bellringing Association to the winning tower of the annual Call-change Competition.

more about the. . . Bells of St Peters



The Arthur Appleton Trophy


The Arthur Appleton Trophy is regularly awarded by the local branch of Essex Bellringing Association to the winning tower of the annual Striking Competition. Arthur was an accomplished Goldhanger ringer also a well known in the district. A medallion presented to him by the Revd. Gardner is embedded within the trophy.

more about the. . . Bells of St Peters


Bellringer's training model


This simple model of the bell mechanism is held in the ringing chamber of the bell tower and is used to demonstrate to novice ringers and visitors how the bell apparatus operates. It was made mainly out of wood by Cyril Southgate, the former Tower Captain. It shows the functioning of the bell, clapper, stock, wheel, slider, stay, frame and rope.

More about. . . the bells of St Peters


The bellringer's hand bells


For at least a hundred years, and maybe much longer, St Peters Church bellringers have used a set of handbells on special occasions and for practicing methods without disturbing the peace. There are reports in early parish magazines of the ringers travelling to other towers by horse and wagon, ringing the handbells on the way. This photo show some of the Goldhanger ringers at Burnham with the handbells.

More about. . . the bells of St Peters


Lanterns in St Peter's Church before electricity arrived


Before the arrival of electricity in the 1930s, the Church was illuminated with oil lamps and heated with a coal burning stove. Two polished brass lanterns were permanently lit over the alters, and these are still kept in the Church.

There were several oil lanterns hanging from beams to illuminate the nave. These needed to lit before services and had a chain mechanism to raise and lower them as shown on this magnified postcard view on the right.

more about the. . . History of St Peters


Grave Markers


These cast iron grave markers are a familiar site in Goldhanger Churchyard and in many other churchyards in the Maldon district. They were made in the Maldon Ironworks on The Causeway, probably for well over one hundred years. Many Goldhanger men worked at the ironworks in the past, and they were known to supply the iron crosses to family and friends of the deceased as a mark of respect.

The same design is still available, as the grave of the late Cyril Southgate testifies...



Railings around the Church


Up until 2013 two sections of discarded 4ft high cast iron railings were propped up against a wall in the churchyard. This would suggest that at some time in the past the rear of the churchyard was enclosed with this type of fence, although no signs of fixings to the present red brick walls have been found. In Victorian times and earlier it was common to have such fencing around churchyards to deter grave robbers.

See. . . Red brick walls around the churchyard

and more. . . Church scenes


Funeral Bier


Funeral Director and carpenter, Charles Mann and his son Bernard built this unique funeral bier, probably in the 1950s. It is made of oak and has pneumatic tyres. Some of the oak could well have come from the old oak bell frame removed from the bell tower in 1952. The bier is now in the hands of Eustace King & Co of Tiptree and is still occasional used at Goldhanger.


Engraved beam inside the bus shelter


The overhead beam inside the bus shelter in The Square is engraved with these words:



When originally built, the shelter had an open back and sides. These were filled in at some stage in the past, making the inside of the shelter much darker and so more difficult to read these engraved words.

More. . . Scenes from The Square


The Old Pump in the Square


The village pump in The Square was replaced in the 1920s, and for a while there where two pumps located there. The old pump was then removed and must have been disposed of and the old well was capped (the phone box was later placed on top of it!).


more about the. . .The Village Pump


Water carriers shoulder yoke




For centuries the only public fresh water supply for the village was the well and pump in the village square. Men would carry two pales of water from The Square to the far ends of the village using a shoulder yoke. In this one hundred year old postcard of The Cricketers Inn, a man can be seen carrying two pales up Church Street.

More. . . Church Street scenes


Maldon Rd water pumps


When new council houses were built on the Maldon Road in the 1920s, the village still had no mains water. It was decided that it was too far to carry water from the village pump in The Square, so two new wells were sunk along the Maldon Rd. One was on the main road and the other was in the garden of one of the properties. This type of hand operated pump was fitted to the wells.

More... Maldon Road scenes


Hippocampus Roof Finial


There is a Hippocampus finial mounted on the roof of a period cottage in the village, which were popular in Victorian times. The name originates from Greek mythology and is a seahorse like creature with two forefeet and a dolphin's tail.


Sagger excavated from Red Hill at Bounds Farm


A Red Hill adjacent to Bounds Farm where the sailing Club is now located was excavated by the Essex Archaeological Committee in 1889. Amongst the fines were settling tanks, pieces of saggers, fire bars, brickwork and a skeleton. The committee concluded it was the remains of a substantial saltworks that was in operation until the 18th century and was probably destroyed by fire.

more about. . . Archaeology


Sacks of salt from Bounds Farm


There was a saltworks at Bounds Farm up until the mid 1800s. It does not seem to have been licensed to produce white salt, so it is very likely that some of the sacks joined the black-market alone with other smuggled goods passing through the village. More about. . .

Salt extraction in the Blackwater


The missing half of the stone in the Square


In 1909 well known historian and archaeologist Miller Christy wrote about the Goldhanger Stone and determined that it was the upside down part of a cider press, with the other broken half being a partly buried doorstep at 'the cottage occupied by the Curate'. He took this photo in 1909 when the half in The Square was still above ground. It was said to have been put there for Chequers customers to mount horses on their way home.

more about the. . . The Chequers Inn

and... Postcard scenes of The Square


Village Pillory


This device would have part of the village policeman's equipment in the past and was designed to restrain someone by the neck and wrists. Stocks on the other hand were at fixed locations and restrained the offender by the ankles. The pillory could have been temporarily chained to a post in The Square so that the offender could be ridiculed by the public and to act as a deterrent to other potential offenders.


Major Hay's early Ming China



Major Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay lived at Follyfaunts in the 1930s and as well as being the author of four books became a very well known collector of rare early blue and white Ming porcelain.

The Major's Ming china collection is mentioned in an article describing Follyfaunts House in a Homes & Gardens magazine of 1939.

In 1946 after the major's death some 66 items of his Ming china were auctioned at Sotheby's. Today his collection would be worth millions of pounds, and items still change hands with a provenance of the 'Major L F Hay collection'.

more about. . .  Major Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay


Electrophants - Mechanical Elephants


In the 1960s robotic elephants were developed at Follyfaunts and marketed worldwide. An earlier version, developed at Thaxted, was a full-size petrol driven mechanical elephant, but problems with the exhaust fumes led to a second smaller electric version being developed, and this work was undertaken at Goldhanger.
Both versions were extensively used to give children's rides at seaside resorts during the summer months, and examples of both versions have found homes in museums around the world.
more at. . . Eletrophants at Follyfaunts


Classical furniture and ornaments



From the 1960s to the 1990s Verine Products operated from Follyfaunts producing and marketing reproduction Classic fireplaces, columns, garden urns and troughs, etc. The business was operated by owner Julian Jenkinson, with the products being made at the company's factory at Halstead and then stored and marketed from Follyfaunts.


TESCO Canned Fruit and Vegetables


Sir John (Jack) Cohen, founder of TESCOS, created the "Goldhanger Fruit Farms" canning factory across the fields at Tolleshunt Major while living at Little London Farm in the 1940s. The factory canned locally produced fruit and vegetables for his first supermarkets in east London and Essex. These were the first "own label" supermarket products in the UK.


Goldhanger Canned Vegetables


TESCO sold Goldhanger Fruit Farms in the late 1950s to Cadbury Sweppes who in turn sold it to TKM Foods in the 1970s. Both companies continued to produce canned local and imported fruit and vegatables that were sold in many UK supermarkets and stores. These labels were used in the early 1970s. The canning factory finally closed in 1983 and became Beckingham Business Park.



School Mug


In 1975 the Village School celebrated its 100th anniversary. This mug was produced and offered for sale to parents and residents to mark the occasion.

more about the. . . School


Strawberry Pickers Baskets


Since 1926 Bounds Farm have been growing strawberries for Wilkin & Sons at Tiptree. Originally two quart wooden baskets were used to collect the berries and bushel baskets were used to transport them to Tiptree. Horse-drawn wagons used to be seen travelling up Fish Street in the season with the overflowing baskets.

See also... Stanley Wilkin


Mr Ponder's Beehive


Mr W Ponder of Fish St. Goldhanger displayed a new design of beehive made of glass and wood, "with eight windows and outside shutters" at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, which was reported in the Illustrated London News of the day. No picture of his exhibit has been seen, however a postcard of The Apiary at Rectory Farm, also known as Church Farm, shows one unusual "pagoda" style of beehive in the foreground. Could this have been a sample of Mr Ponder's hives?


Church Farm Jams & Honey


In the first half of the 20th century Charles Page produced jams and honey from his orchards on the east side of Church St and Fish St. He developed his own jam making facility in the outbuildings on the farm, using his own well water and constructed his own bottle washing machine.
More about. . . Rectory Farm & Church Farm


Mr Page's traction engines



Early photographs show three different types of farm traction engines at Highams Farm and Rectory Farm at the time when Charles Page was the farmer of both farms. They were used for ploughing and as power sources for other farming work such as thrashing.


Mr Page's Model-T Ford radiators


In the first half of the 20th century Charles Page at Rectory Farm, owned a fleet of model-T Ford vans. He and his workers adapted and re-built them for many uses on his fruit farm, including use as spaying machines for the fruit trees. Perhaps parts, such as the radiators survive nearby.

See. . . Church Farm Model-T's


The School Bell




In 1977 when the village school closed the school bell was removed from its belfry to church tower for "safe keeping". Twenty years later when the school re-opened as a nursery the bell was re-installed and is now regularly rung at 9.15am.

More. . . Did you know about...


Chair in the Village Hall



Oak chairman's chair in the Village Hall dedicated to the memory of Mrs Maude McMullen who was president of the "Goldhanger Players" Drama Society in the 1940s and 50s and affectionately know as Mrs Mac.

More about the.. Goldhanger Players


Goldhanger Players Silver Trophy Cup


This silver cup, engraved with The Goldhanger Players, was presumably presented to members of the drama society for outstanding performances. It is hallmarked 1933.

More about the.. Goldhanger Players


Goldhanger & Lt Totham Gardening Society Silver Trophy Cup


These two silver cups were awarded annually to members of the local Gardening Society in the 1950s. The 10-inch high cup on the left was awarded to the men and the 3-inch high one on the right was awarded to the ladies.

See the 1954 Gardening Society poster in. . .

More documents from the past


Goldhanger Flower Show Trophy


This 4 inch high trophy is inscribed:

JULY 1949





Goldhanger RegattaTankard & Trophy


The Goldhanger Regatta took place over a period of nine years from 1868 to 1876. It was held in the Creek and the Estuary near The Shoe. Newspaper reports of the events are available with quotes such as: "This delightful aquatic event - the company being large and fashionable - many present in the carriages from Maldon and Witham". There were many sailing, rowing and swimming races, plus a mud race, duck hunt, walking the greasy pole, "land sports" etc. Coastguard vessels, including the Stansgate based cutter "Fly" took part in some races. The Maldon Volunteer Band played at a number of the annual events.
Today the trophy is in the hands of the West Mersea Town Regatta and is awarded to the winner of the pair-oared rowing race, which is part of the Cobmarsh Marathon.
The upper part of the tankard is engraves with:
1872 Goldhanger Regatta
Four Oared Amateur Race


Wheel of the Barge "Snowdrop"


The Barge called Snowdrop was abandoned in Goldhanger Creek in the 1950s and was initially in complete state, including its wheel. The village teenagers played on it and used it as a diving board. At some stage it was burnt out and has remained there ever since. One wonders what happened to the wheel?
More. . . Estuary Scenes


Punt Gun




Punt guns were used extensively in the past to shoot wildfowl on the Essex marshes. A Goldhanger family living in Fish Street once maintained a collection of these large weapons which they used to hunt ducks and geese in the winter months to supplement their income as fishermen. The guns, which could be up to 7 feet long, were bolted to the punt, which resulted in the re-coil causing the punt to go backwards when the gun was fired.
More about... Estuary Activities


Smugglers artefacts


These artefacts would have been in common use in the village 200 years ago when smuggling was rife. Half ankers were the main means of transporting Dutch Gin from the Creek up to Tiptree Heath, and a Spout Lantern would have been used to warn of approaching Riding Officers. The calibrated set of glass balls or spirit bubbles were an early and simple form of a hydrometer used to quickly check alcohol levels.
More about.. Smuggling


Chief Coastguard's Sword


The Goldhanger Coastguards marched each day down from their parade ground, next to their row of cottages in Church St. and called the court, down to their hut on the seawall. The men carried rifles and the officer carried his drawn sword. The sword of the last Goldhanger Chief remains in the possession of his decendants.
More about... Goldhanger Coastguards


Petrol pump globes from The Square





These early manually operated petrol pumps were installed in The Square in the early 1900s, complete with electric lights and globes, and were probably used for about 30 years. However, over all that time there was no electricity in the village so the lamps were never illuminated. Early on the glass globes were broken and never replaced.

more photos from. . . The square


Cast iron Essex police sign


In Victorian times houses in rural locations that were used as police stations and police accomodation had these cast iron plaques mounted on the front of the biuldings. The signs were made for the Essex police constabulary by the Warren Iron Works in Maldon. We know that No.10 Head Street was used as the police station after it ceased to be the village Poorhouse in 1842, so this sign would have been displayed from that time untill the village lost its policeman. The Poorhouse is described and a photo is shown in... Charities - Poorhouse


Post Office sign


The Goldhanger Post Office was situated in at least seven different locations over the last 100 years. And several early postcards of street scenes demonstrate this. This sign was displayed on No.10 Head St. when the Post Office was located there in the 1930s - 40s.


Cricketers Inn signs


Until recently these two original oil paintings hung on either side of the pub sign outside the Cricketers Inn and had been there for many years. The portrait that was on the south-side (the right here) has W G Grace inscribed on the sleeve.


More business signs from the past


There is a list of shops and businesses lost at... Goldhanger Lost - shops


Letraset Patent


The Letraset 'dry transfer lettering' has its origins at Goldhanger House. The original design was patented in both the UK and the USA by Rivelin Richards in 1965, at a time when the family were running the Pan Signs business from the Coach House. The Letraset Company, originally registered in London, later took out patent in 1979 which cited Rivelin's much earlier 1965 patent.
Goldhanger House is the former Rectory shown in... Church St Postcards


Copper Ingot Hoard


In the year 2000 a local metal detector enthusiast found a rare hoard of 58 copper ingots weighing about 18 Kgs that had been buried around 3000 years ago in a farmer's field close to the village. The ingots date from the Bronze age and were probably made between 1000-800 BC. The hoard is one of the largest of its kind found in the UK and is in the custody of Colchester Museum.

more on. . . Archaeology


The Boars Head


A local artist made this model of a boars head for a Christmas concert in St Peters Church in December 2013.

more about the. . . History of St Peters Church


There are more local artefacts shown in. . . Local sculptures and wood carvings

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