A Brief History & Timeline
Ardleigh (Ergela) comes from two old English words - Ard (High) and Ley (Pasture). Archaelogical digs proved that the village had been settled since bronze age. In the days of Edward the confessor the land belonged to six freemen. Soon after it was owned by only two, Osbert and Scapie. The Saxon landowners were turned out of and the parish was divided among four of William 1 followers. Their names were Roger de Ramus, Hugh de Gurnai, Robert Gurnon and Geoffery de Magnaville. Roger de Ramis owned the Manor of Piggots, where Ardleigh Hall stood. Hugh de Gurnai owned Bovills Hall and the land surrounding, Robert Gernon owned Moze Hall and its land. Geoffrey de Magnaville owned where Martells Hall stood. Ardleigh is one of the largest parishes in Tendring Hundred. The village lays four and a half miles north of Colchester and about four and half miles from Manningtree. The parish contained 4,905 acres and was forty miles in circumference containing four manors. Four of the Manors are Piccotts, Bovills or Bradvills, Mose and Martell's Hall. On the parish boundary were some areas that were unenclosed heathland. They were on most part too low -lying for easy drainage or covered with clay which was too hard from farming. Small settlements had developed on these heaths. The heaths were: to the north Dedham Heath (now called Ardleigh Heath), to the west Skipping Street Heath or Cock Common which was on the main Ipswich Road on the Langham border, to the south-west Beggar. In Ardleigh there was an annual Garden Show, in Newth Meadow, it was a big event , the railway used to run special trains and farmworkers had a day off. There were marching bands, displays, athletics and a horticultural competition. A fair was held on the 29th September. The bakery was one of the last coal-fired bakeries using traditional methods and was closed in 1986.
Picture: Elm Park, Ardleigh - Taken in 2002 by Melanie
1051 - Heavy snow fall in Essex.
1086 - Domesday Book - Ardleigh was divided among four Normans.
1208 - No marriages, no burial-services or celebration of Lord Supper allowed, (Pope Innocent III).
1348 - Plague raged through Colchester.
1360 - Plague raged through Colchester.
1432-1464 - William of Ardeley became Abbot of St John's Colchester.
1450 - One of St Mary's church bells was made.
1460 - St Mary's church porch and tower erected.
1492 - Thomas Nevard was elected to the office of constable.
1531 - Reformation of churches.
1533 - Farmers forbidden this year to keep more than 2,000 sheep or to rent more than two farms.
1534 - 'Consultation be held with the Lord of the Manor about erecting stocks within his domain'.
1540 - John Cook is elected 'Taster' ( tasted ale, bread etc sold in the village to ensure quality).
1550 - On St Margaret's day a great festival was held in Ardleigh.
1555 - 29th March, John Lawrence burned at Colchester.
1555 - 14th June Nicholas Chamberlayne burned at Colchester.
1555 - Earliest church records survived.
1578-1579 - Plague raged through Colchester.
1588 - Ardleigh men went to Tilbury to help sailors and soldiers in the defeat of the Spanish Armarda.
1600 - Mercy Kemp died at Ardleigh, excommunicate person of Skipping Forest. Was she a witch?
1603 - William Gilbert, famous in science, died Dec 10th. He owned land and perhaps lived in Ardleigh.
1637-1641 - No baptism entries in records.
1642 - Civil War broke out.
1642 - Gabriel Honeyfold (Vicar) was stoned and 'hooted' at by the mob at Colchester.
1642 - Many churches around Colchester were ransacked on pretence of purifying superstitious ornaments.
1642-1653 - No marriage entries in records.
1642-1653 - No burial entries in records.
1644 - Matthew Hopkins, witch-finder general visited every village, frequented at the Wooden Fender.
1648 - Battlefield, Ardleigh, north of the church believed to have been the scene of a skirmish.
1648-1653 - Few baptism entries in records (probably written in at a later date).
1654-1661 - No marriage entries in records.
1655-1660 - No burial entries in records.
1665 - Plague in Colchester but only 5 burials in Ardleigh, (ill kept registers since 1842).
1666 - 4,731 died of plague in Colchester but only 3 burials in Ardleigh, (ill kept registers since 1842).
1675 - One of St Mary's church bells was made by John Darbie (inscribed Thomas Lufkin CW).
1676 - One of St Mary's church bells was made by John Darbie.
1678 - The Act passed that every person was to be buried in 'Woolen' to encourage wool trade.
1689 - One of St Mary's church bells was made by Charles Newman, Norfolk.
1692 - Harvest failed and the price of wheat doubled. Highwaymen were rife.
1727 - One of St Mary's church bells was made by Thomas Gardiner, Sudbury.
1777 - From 1777 gunpowder was bought to celebrate 5th Nov by the churchwardens.
1788 - From 1788 churchwardens paid for the killing of foxes.
1796 - The Rev John Kelly took a census containing 1,145 people.
1796-1805 - French Invasion threat. Great precautions taken.
1798 - A gallery for the singers and children of the Sunday school was built.
1800 - Previous to this date Crockleford Heath retained name but no longer a heath.
1801- 1803 - Large amount of common land was enclosed.
1802 - One of St Mary's church bells was made by J Briant Hertford. P Bromley & T. Cooper, C Wardens.
1805 - New pews built in the church.
1805 - Telegraph poles damaged the church.
1811 - The population was 1186.
1813 - Government paid for re-leading the church roof.
1814 - The Act passed that every person was to be buried in 'Woolen' ceased. 
1821- The population was 1387.
1821- The deceased Queen Caroline was brought from London, through Ardleigh to Harwich.
1823- The population was 1387.
1829 - A formerly held fair held on 29th Sept was suppressed by a Magistrate's order.
1831- The population was 1545.
1850 - Mary Lyford's charity dates from this year.
1861- The population was 1580.
1861- Cemetery was opened and partly consecrated, churchyard declared unfit.
1862 - South part of parish cut off (other parishes too) forming St John's, Ardleigh & St John's, Colchester.
1865 - Thomas Love's charity (aka Love's Charity) dates from this year.
1865 - Building started on the National school.
1868 - Mary Kelly's charity dates from this year.
1874 - Palaeolithic flint monuments found at Hill House farm, near the house.
1883- Church was rebuilt.
1883- The Nave and Chancel of the church were rebuilt.
1884 - 22nd April, Ardleigh hit by an earthquake. Two large chimneys at Crockleford Mills fell.
1886 - John Fitzsimmons Bishop's gift dates from this year.
1888 - Charrington Nicholl's coal gift (coal for the poor) dates from this year.
1896 - Charrington Nicholl's pound gift dates from this year.
1897 - Charrington Nicholl presented the church lychgate.
1902 - Parish Lamp was erected in the corner of the Churchyard.
 - Erith, F.H. (1978) 'Ardleigh in 1796:Its farms, families and local government'
East Bergholt; Hugh Temest Radford.
 - Grubb, (1905) 'A few Notes on the parish of Ardleigh in Essex and it's Neighbourhood'
Colchester; Wiles & Son, Trinity Printing Works.
 - Information around Ardleigh. i.e: Plaques & memorials.
 - Federation of
EssexWomen's Institute (1988) 'The Book' Essex Village Berkshire, Countyside Books.