title="Great Oakley Parish Council in Essex">

History of our Villages

Great Oakley

Dedication of the Great Oakley War Memorial, 31st January, 1920

Dedication of the Great Oakley War Memorial,
31st January, 1920

To see a transcript of the lists of names and
details
on the Memorial, with notes, click here
to go to the Document Archive. 

Great Oakley can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086, a complex survey of the British Isles undertaken on the orders of William the Conqueror (see entry below). The name has had many variations over the centuries and means "oak-clearing".

Extract from the Domesday Book:
Robert Holds (Great Oakley) in Lordship which Aelfric Kemp held as Manor for ten hides before 1066. Then and later, twelve villagers, now eleven; Then and later twenty smallhoders, now thirty. Then and later ten slaves, now five.

Always three ploughs in Lordship. Then among the men ten ploughs, now nine.

Woodland, 100 pigs; Meadow, 8 acres; Now 1 Mill; 2 Salt Houses; Pasture, 20 sheep. Then ten cobs, now four. Then ten cattle, now five; Always two-hundred sheep less twenty. Then twenty pigs now fifteen.

Value then, and when acquired £11. Value now £16. Of this Manor, Ralph holds two hides and ten acres. Thirteen smallholders. One plough. Values 30s in the same assessment.

Stones Green

Described in 1870 as a "village of sorts in itself", this small hamlet lies two miles west of Great Oakley, but within the parish boundary. It is possible there has been a settlement here for 1,000 years but the name Stone probably comes from Richard Stone of 1563. During the 16th century a large mansion was erected and called Stone Hall and it is from this building that the village took its name
 

Stones Green's Championship winning Quoits team, 1930
Stones Green's Championship winning
Quoits team, 1930

A stone church was erected in 1831 and a Methodists' Chapel some years later but in 1905 the church was demolished and the mission hall that replaced it is no longer used.

Stones Green contains a wealth of ancient cottages, most notalble are Threeways, Honeypot Cottage and No Name cottage but the oldest is the Compasses, which is a Grade II listed building dating from the 15th Century. Stone Hall is today a modern home - nothing remains of the original, and Skighaugh is a renovated farmhouse. Nearby on the Wix Road stood Dengewell hall, demolished during the 1970s. Here once stood an ancient manor of considerable importance, but the last house was of slightly rambline Victorian design. An impressive mordern farmhouse was its replacement.

Place names can give an indication of the age of a settlement such as Skighaugh. The name may come from the word 'Healh', meaning nook of land once owned by a man with the Anglo-Scandinavia name of Skegge.