From Essex England to the Surry Southern USA

by: Robert E. Harris




Chapter 6

Pages 885-908




Pages 696-855

Pages 885-908 


We begin this part with the oldest continuous records we have of the Harris ancestors of our immigrant ancestor, John Harris, who was born in 1588 in Essex, England.

The basic information comes from the Visitations of Essex, an activity ordered by King Henry VIII of England. This information has been extended in the form of English family charts researched and compiled by many researchers and writers. This information, long in the public domain, has been published and republished by several persons.

Some of this information comes from The History and Antiquities of Essex, and The History of the County of Essex, both by Morant, furnished to others by the Essex Record Office, Chelmsford, England.

For the purpose of adding a measure of time identification, this writer has estimated Aimee some dates which are identified as "ca," (circa).

A.           William Harris; b. ca. 1440; d. ca. 1504.

William lived at Prittlewell, Essex, England. He married Anne Jernegan of Hertfordshire.

Their son:

B.            Arthur Harris; b. ca. 1460; d. 1520.

Arthur lived at Prittlewell, Essex. He married Johanna (Joane) Percy. Joane was the daughter of Sir Thomas Percy, second son of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumbria (former-called Northumberland), and Eleanor Harbottle. Arthur signed his will on June 8, 1508. They are buried at St. Mary Church at Prittlewell, Essex.

Their son:

C.            William Harris; b. ca. 1490; d. September 21, 1556.

William lived at Prittlewell, Essex. Later, he lived at Southminister, Essex. Some Ate after the death of Robert Darcye on April 24, 1516, William acquired the estate of Crixseth (Creeksea) which is located on the north side of the Crouch River and about two miles west of the village of Burnham, Essex.

This estate is located in the tidewater area of southeastern England some 40 or 50 miles east-northeast of London.

William, in addition to other estates, held Creeksea "as of the honor of Rayleigh, by service of one knight's fee, and suite at the court of said honor, from month to month." [1]

During his lifetime, William began the construction of a large and elegant brick hose as the centerpiece of Creeksea. This construction was completed about the year 1569 by his son, Arthur.

That edifice, in part, was still standing in May of 1993. Robert and Miriam Gillespie Baker (d125/7115/331), of Sanford, Florida, visited and photographed this estate is September of 1989. Luther Pryor Harris (d125/5278/13) of Seminole, Florida, in the company of his son and daughter in law, Gene and Betty Harris of Key Largo, Florida, also visited this estate and photographed it in May of 1993. The results of those visits are included in this part.

William was the high sheriff of Essex County during the persecutions of Mary's reign and witnessed the deaths of several heretics (this quotation is from THE HISTORY OF ANTIQUTIES ESSEX VILLAGE - CRICKSEA - by Reverend Donald A. Rooke (1910-1974), who grew up at Burnham and served, among others, All Saints Church at Creeksea.

William married, first, Joanna Smythe, daughter of John Smythe of Norton.

Their children:

1.               William Harris. (From THE HISTORY AID ANTIQUITIES OF ESSEX, by Morant, page 363). "William, the eldest son, is not recorded to have enjoyed this manor, but only 23 acres of arable and pasture, and 20 of wood, called Cryxseth-Hide; a messuage called the Newhouse, and 3 acres of land in Crixseth, and the greathouse in Pritwell; a tenement in Rochford, stiled Stebbyns; and other estates in Hockley, South Fambridge, Leigh, especially in Southminister; 23 acres, parcel of the manor of Rattleborough; 102 acres of pasture, named Sheepcote and Lodgelades; and 128 acres of meadow and pasture, called Highfield--."

2.               Susanna Harris.

      Susanna married John 011iffe, son of Sir John 011iffe of London.

3.               Felice Harris.

      Felice married Bartholomew Averes of London.

William married, second, Joanna Cooke of Booking. a. 3 Morant

Their son: [2]

4.  Arthur Harris; b. ca. 1526; d. June 18, 1597.

William married, third. Anne Rutter of London.

Their children:

5.  Christopher Harris of Shenfield. Christopher married Mary, daughter of James Bridge of   Shenfield.

Their children:

a.     Katharen Harris.

b.     Edward Harris of Much Baddow, Essex.

c.              Sir William Harris of Shenfield.

William married Frances, daughter of Thomas Astley of Writtell, Essex.

      Their children:

I.     Jane Harris.

Jane married William Ayliff.

II.  Frances Harris.

Frances married Sir Oliver Raymond (member of Parliament, 1653-56); d. ca. 1679.

III.  Christopher Harris of Lincoln's Inn; b. 1599.

Christopher married Elizabeth Grimston, daughter of Sir Harbotell Grimston.

IV.  Edward Harris.

6. Edmond Harris.

7. Edward Harris of Southminister, Essex.

Edward married Anne Joselyn, daughter of Henry Joselyn of Torrell.

Their children:

a.     Anne Harris.

b.     Arthur Harris.

Edward married, second, Elizabeth Barrington, daughter of Sir Francis Barrington of Hatfield.

Their children:

c.     Sir Francis Harris of Southminister. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Sulliard of   Felminges, Essex.

d.     Edward Harris.

e.     Robert Harris.

f.     Thomas Harris. Some historians suggest that this may have been the Thomas Harris who came to the Virginia Colony in 1611 and who was known as Captain Thomas Harris. (Suggestion in book - Harris  Collection, by Helen Harris Ott, 1979.)

C-4.      Arthur Harris; b. ca. 1526; d. June 18, 1597.

Arthur was born, probably, at Creeksea, Burnham, Essex.

Arthur inherited the estate of Creeksea from his father.

Arthur also held other estates at Woodham Mortimer (near Maldon). [3]

Arthur married Dorothy Waldegrave, the daughter of Sir William and Julian Reynsford Waldegrave of Smallbridge.

Arthur was the high sheriff of Essex in 1589. He was also a Justice of the Peace. He was appointed, in 1577, as a commissioner to enquire into piratical practices along the Essex coast. Arthur signed his will on May 19, 1597. Arthur and Dorothy are buried at Burnham Church.

Their children:

1.            Sir William Harris; b. ca. 1550; d. November 14, 1616.

2.            Dorothy Harris; d. 1626. Dorothy married Robert Kempe (1567-1613) of Gissinge, Norfolk.

Their son, Richard Kempe (b. 1600; d. 1656), served as Governor and Secre­tary of State of the Virginia Colony, 1644-45.

C-4-1.   Sir William Harris; b. ca. 1550; d. November 14, 1616.

Sir William inherited Creeksea Place from his father.

Sir William Harris was knighted by King James I of England on July 23, 1603. Morant, in his The History of the County of Essex, states that this event took place at Otelands, a vast estate which was built by King Henry VIII.

Sir William Harris married Alice Smythe (Smith), the daughter of Thomas "Customer"' Smythe and Alice Judd of Westenhanger, Kent.

Alice died in the year 1616. Sir William and Lady Alice are buried at All Saints Church which was a part of Creeksea Estate, Essex.

Their children:

a.               Sir Arthur Harris; b. 1584; d. January 9, 1632.

b.               William Harris; b. 1585; d. 1622.

c.               Thomas Harris; b. 1586; d. 1617.

d.               John Harris; b. 1588; d. by 1638 in Charles City County, Virginia.

e.               Alice Harris.

f.                 Frances Harris.

g.               Elizabeth Harris.

h.               Mary Harris.

C-4-1a. Sir Arthur Harris; b. 1584; d. January 9, 1632.

Sir Arthur inherited Creeksea Place from his father.

Sir Arthur was knighted by King James I on July 15, 1606 at Otelands. a. 3 Morant

Arthur was returned as a member of Parliament for Maldon, Essex, with Sir Henry Mildmay in 1627.

Arthur married Anne Cramer, the daughter of Robert Creamer of Chepsted, Kent, in A406

They lived at Woodham Mortimer and also at Creeksea, Essex.

Their children:

1.       Cranmer Harris; b. 1610; d. ca. 1674.

2.       John Harris. [4]

After the death of Anne, Arthur married Anne Salter, the daughter of Sir Nicolas Salter of Enfield, Middlesex, on January 18, 1614 in London. Anne was the widow of Sir Henry Bowyer of Denham.

Their children:

3.       Ann Harris.

4.       Alice Harris.

5.       Mary Harris.

6.       Dorothy Harris.

7.       Salter Harris.

8.       Francis Harris.

9.       Thomas Harris.

10.  Arthur Harris.

11.  Edward Harris.

12.  Wilem Harris.

13.  Elizabeth Harris.

Arthur signed his will on November 4, 1631.

Sir Arthur Harris and his wife are buried in the chancel of All Saints Church, Creeksea, Essex, where there is a long inscription concerning Arthur and his family, on the floor, where he is buried. This inscription lists Arthur's father, his home place, Arthur's wives and children. The name Harris, in this inscription, is spelled "Herris", a change from "Herrys" as spelled by Arthur's great-great-grandfather, Arthur Herrys, of Prittlewell, Essex. The inscription, on the floor of the chancel at All Saints Church, ends with the following verses:

"If any prying man here after come that knows not who's the tenant of this tomb, we'll tell him freely, as our sighs give leave, one whose religious brest to Cod did cleave, and that to men just offices discharged. And to the pinched soule his hart inlarged. One, that though laid in dust, of breath bereft. Like dying roses sweet distillments left, And moulders, hoping from this stone, God may raise up a child to Abraham one day."

C-4-1a-1. Sir Cranmer Harris; b. 1610; d. ca. 1674.

Cranmer was born at Creeksea Place. He was knighted by King Charles I at Greenwich on June 21, 1629. Cranmer and others of his day were caught up in the turmoil between King Charles I and the Parliament which resulted in the English Civil War[5]

Sir Cranmer inherited Creeksea Estate from his father. He married Martha Holford, the daughter of Daniel Holford of West Thurrock. Sir Cranmer and his family lived at Creeksea.

Their children:

1.            Martha Harris; b. ca. 1632; d. after 1671.

2.            Mary Harris.

C-4-1a-1-1. Martha Harris; b. ca. 1632; d. after 1671.

Martha married Charles Mildmay, Esquire, the third son of Sir Henry Mildmay of Woodham Walter. They lived at Woodham Mortimer.

Charles was born about 1630 and died on July 11, 1671.

Martha's father, Sir Cranmer Harris, did not have any sons. Martha, therefore, inherited the Creeksea estate. Creeksea passed into the Mildmay family of Martha and Charles.

Their daughter:

1.   Martha Mildmay.

      Martha was the heir of her parents.

      She married Sir Charles Tyrrell of Heron on September 7, 1682 at Woodham Mortimer. The Tyrrell family had been loyal to King Charles I and had suffered therefore in the political upheaval of the English Civil War.

Creeksea remained in the Mildmay family until 1899 when it was purchased by William Rome, Esquire. After the death of William Rome, about 1909, Creeksea was placed on sale by the trustees of the Rome estate. A part of the above information was published by the agents of the trustees of the Rome estate in 1909 (Pritchard, Engle-field & Company).

C-4-1a-7. Salter Harris.

Salter married   ___________.

Their son:

1. Edward Harris of Southminister.

C-4-lb. William Harris; b. 1585; d. 1622. [6]

William enrolled for studies at Pembroke in 1608. He was admitted to study law at Lincoln Inn on February 25, 1613.

Lincolns Inn, at that time, was a leading center for the study of law in England. Pembroke was a part of the educational center at Cambridge.

William signed his will on March 28, 1622. The will did not mention a wife or children.

William's will, much simpler than that of his father, included beautiful language stating his personal faith in Jesus Christ.

William gave legacies to several relatives and friends, including 400 pounds to his brother, John, our immigrant ancestor.

William gave money for educational causes: 40 pounds to Pembroke Hall at Cambridge; 40 pounds to Christ Church Library at Oxford; 10 pounds to one poor scholar at Cambridge.

He also gave to the parish church at Creeksea, All Saints Church.

C4-1c, Thomas Harris; b. 1586; d. 1617.

Thomas' will was probated March 10, 1617 at the Court of Bishops in London. Thomas' will clearly identifies himself as the son of Sir William Harris of Creeksea, Essex.

Thomas mentions neither wife nor children in his will.

After citing his faith in Jesus Christ, Thomas gave legacies to his brothers, sisters, friends and servants.

C-4-1d. John Harris; b. 1588; d. by 1638 in Charles City County, Virginia.

For details of this John Harris, our immigrant ancestor, ess d. John Harris in the American part of this history.

C-4-1e. Alice Harris.

Alice grew up at Creeksea.

Alice married Sir Henry Mildmay of Gracys, Essex. Sir Henry, in one report, was re­ferred to as an "old soldier”.

Jessie Berridge, Vicar of Little Baddow, wrote about Gracys Walk.

A news item was recorded concerning this family: "A sad story is that of Alley Harrys who married the old soldier, Sir Henry Mildmay of Gracys, Little Baddow, and was found drowned in the stream by their house." [7]

NOTE: The feeling of those at Creeksea is that Alice had been unhappy with her marriage (by choice of her family) from its beginning and that she took her own life.

Their youngest son:

1.   Charles Mildmay; b. ca. 1630.

      Charles married Martha Harris, the daughter of Lady Martha Holford and Sir Cramer Harris of Creeksea.

      Charles, by inheritance of his wife, Martha, became the master of the Creek-sea Place.

C-4-1f. Frances Harris.

This Frances, at times, has been confused with her cousin, Frances Harris, the daugh­ter of Sir William Harris of Shenfield. Frances Harris of Shenfield married Sir Oliver Raymond, member of Parliament, 1653-56. The confusion between these cousins may, indeed, continue.

C-4-1g. Elizabeth Harris. Elizabeth married a Mr. Roope.

C-4-1h. Mary Harris.

Mary married Sir Giles Browne.

[1] 3 Mornat

[2] 3 Mornat

[3] 3 Morant

[4] 3 Morant

[5] 3 Morant

[6] 3 Morant

[7] 3 Morant




This home area of our English Harris ancestors is located two miles west of the village of Burnham and on the north side (and adjacent to) the Crouch River in Essex, England.

A map showing the location of this estate is included herein.

Pictures of this area taken in 1909, in September of 1989, and in May of 1993 are, also included.

The history of this area was recorded on page 363, The History and Antiquities of Essex, by Morant. The following was recorded by Morant:

"CRICKSEY, adjoins on the south to the river Crouch, and is supposed to have been so named from the two Saxon words, Cnecca, a creek; and rae, the sea; it lying near the creek of the sea, at the mouth of the said river; for which reason Norden styles it Chroucheses.

"It is otherwise written in records, Chicheseia, Cricksey, Crixsey, Crixheth, Crixseth, Crekeshuth and Kryxhithe.

"The owner of this place, in Edward the Confessor's reign, was Aluuard. It was held by Moduin at the time of the survey. Here is only one maner.

"Cricksea-hall is near the east end of the church; and Cricksea-place about three-quarters of a mile south-east of the same.

"After Moduin, we have no account of the possessors of this estate, until 1320; when John de Brianzon, held, of John de Chanceux, 20 acres of land called Crickseth, which had been William le Smyth's, by the service of 4 shillings a year; and of Wm. Senaunt, 15 acres.

"In 1377, the Lord Walter Fitz-Walter held the maner of Crixeth, of the King, of the honor of Reyleigh, by knight's service. And he held the same, at the time of his decease, in 1386, as did his son, Walter Fitz-Walter, who died in 1407 or 1408.

"Next, in 1498, Thomasine Hopton held the manor at Crixhethall, of Thomas Darcye, Esq., as of his maner of Canindon; and Robert Darcye, at the time of his de­cease, the 24th of April, 1516, held the maner of Crykesey, with the abowson of the church, of the King, by the service of a half a knight's fee.

"It continued longest in the Harris family, who had a large brick-house here, in a pleasant park, well stored with timber. They were descended from William Harris of Prittlewell in this county" - Here ends the quote from Morant.

Some additional history of Creeksea, during the above discussed time period, is taken
from the booklet by Donald A. Rooke (1910-1974) who had served All Saints Church at
Creeksea. A copy of the booklet, THE HISTORY OF AN ESSEX VILLAGE - CRICKSEA, was secured by Luther Pryor Harris of Seminole, Florida on his visit to England in May of 1993. Mr. Rooke quoted Morant, John Norden (who wrote in 1594 and at other times) and others:

"The Domesday Book records that one manor at Criccheseia was held by suene of the Bishop of Bayeux. He was no other than William I's half brother, Odo, who fought, mace in hand, at the Battle of Hastings, - for no priest might bear a sword, - In 1087 he was left in charge of England, together with William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford. He led a rebellion against William II, but was captured at Rochester in 1088. In the time of King Edward the Confessor, Edric, a freeman, held one manor, and Alvard, an­other, at Criccheseia. Apart from this there is no evidence of more than one manor here. In 1286 the manor of Crickseth was held by William Can­tilupo."

"William Herrys, who died in 1556, held the manor of Crixetts - Hall of the Lord Rich. Arthur Herrys, his third son, succeeded to the manor of Cricksey, alias Cricksetts, and held it til his death in 1597. He was succeeded by his son, Sir William Harris, who held the manor of Crixsey till he died in 1616." (End quote.)

The Creeksea Estate was advertised for sale at auction in 1909. The time for such sale was advertised to be at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, July 21, 1909.

The proposed sale was by order of the Trustees of the estate of the late owner of such estate, William Rome, Esquire; through their agents, Messrs. PRITCHARD, ENGLE­FIELD & CO.; Solicitors, Painters' Hall, Little Trinity Lane, E. C.

A brochure was prepared for the proposed public sale of this property. This brochure described the property to be sold and also included some history of the same. The brochure confirmed that the major improvements to the property were completed in the year 1569 by Arthur Harris. The historical reminiscences were "culled from a work to be entitled 'A History of the Parish of Creeksea, in the county of Essex,' now in course of preparation, by the courtesy of a gentleman whose family resided at Creeksea Place uninterruptedly for a period of 156 years, viz., from 1721 to 1877."

The author of the history "in preparation" was not identified in the publication.

The following, except for the words in parenthesis which are by this writer, are taken from the described publication:

"This date (1569) fortunately is preserved and can be found on the large rain water pipe by the side of the western block of chimneys of the north wing, the figures being cast in lead; in its architecture the house is pure Elizabethan, and consisted of three wings, via.: the North wing, which still remains, the East wings and the West wing. These latter were somewhat of greater length than the former, the West slightly narrower than the East; both were united at their southern extremities by a high and strong wall, having an entrance in the centre, thus forming an Inner Court; the material used in the construction of the House, the Lodges, and outbuild­ings was red bricks of varying size, tiles of same colour for the roof, English oak for the beams, doors, panelling, etc.; the chimneys, arranged for the most part in -imps of three, were built on the exterior walls of each wing, standing out from them 4 to 5 feet, and were carried up well above the roof, forming a notable and imposing feature in the design of the building. The terminal portion of each chimney was octagon in shape, general to the Tudor period; the windows of the House were mullioned; those of the principal rooms each contained 'ten lights,' with diamond panes of glass set in lead throughout.

"The East front of Creeksea Place was entirely enclosed by a large courtyard, its walls built of red bricks, with an ornamental course V-shaped below the coping, an exceedingly fine Archway, also of red brick, with three square topped pinnacles, directly in the center of the Court, and flanked on each side at the angle of the walls by an octagonal tower, formed the Grand Entrance. The whole of this Courtyard remains today, the brickwork of the walls, towers and Archway being in a remarkably fine state of preservation, and it is considered the most complete and interesting in the County, if not in the whole of East Anglia.

      "Creeksea Place retained all its original architectural features intact until the year 1739; an old plan of this date shows that all the wings were then standing with the gables and chimneys, but soon after, viz., in 1741-2, both the East and the West wings, together with various outbuildings, the lofty walls enclosing the old pleasure gardens extending south and westward of the House, were carefully taken down and the material sold, leaving the North wing, in itself a large house, a range of the outbuildings, dairy, etc., with the Courtyard on the East, together a most interesting portion, and fitting memorial of the former greatness of this fine old English Mansion of the time of Queen Elizabeth." - End of quote from this document. It should also be stated that the information concerning the marriage of Martha Atria, daughter of Sir Cranford Harris, to Charles Mildmay, was also taken from this me page of this brochure.

Bearing in mind the information quoted above concerning the removal of the East and West wings of the house and also the removal of other features from the estate in the 1741-2 time period, we approach the description of the property which was on sale in the year 1909.

Quoting again from the same 1909 source as described above, the following descriptive areas of Creeksea Place were used on the front page of the above described brochure published in the year 1909. We understand that these terms were used to describe the estate as it existed at the time of the sale in 1909.

"About one mile from Burnham Station on the Southminister section of the Great Eastern Railway, about 9 miles from Southend, 12 miles from Maldon and within 1 1/2 hours by rail of Town (London). A fine old Tudor Residence known as Creeksea Place. Three reception rooms, Billiard Room, Thirteen Bed and Dressing Rooms, Bath Room. Charmingly Disposed Pleasure Grounds, intersected by a chain of Ornamental lakes. Enclosed OLD-WORLD GARDEN and PRODUCTIVE WALLED-IN KITCHEN GARDEN. FIRST-CLASS STABLING FOR FIVE HORSES. Two coach or motor houses, kennels, bailiff's house, and a complete set of farm buildings. Also a GENTLEMAN'S YACHTING RESIDENCE distinguished as 'THE WHITE HOUSE', with COTTAGE and STABLING, and pleasure Grounds sloping down to the River Crouch, and an interesting OLD ELIZABETHAN TEA HOUSE with Lawn to the River. A very useful BLOCK of ACCOMMODATION PASTURE LAND, AND AN EXCELLENT Mal MOLDING with THREE COTTAGES, PASTURE LANDS and OYSTER PITS, the whole embracing m area of 256 ACRES. And possessing a total River Frontage of nearly 1 mile in length, including a portion of the Burnham Regatta course. FIRST-RATE YACHTING on the Creed and other Rivers on the Essex Coast, including the Blackwater, Stour and Orwell." -End of quote from the brochure.

As stated above, Robert and Miriam Baker of Sanford, Florida visited Creeksea in Sep­tember of 1989. (The estate is not formally open to the public.) They took pictures and talked with some of the residents of the nearby village of Burnham and others. They returned with some very interesting information concerning this local historic site, including some of the old tales which have local circulation in this community.

They were told that a variety of different people had either owned or lived on the estate through the years.

Bob and Miriam had the pleasure of meeting a very charming lady who lives in one of the cottages on the estate and has lived there at least as far back as World War II. This lady is Miss Ruby Reed. A picture of Miss Reed and Miriam Baker is included herein.

Ruby shared with Bob and Miriam some of the old tales she had heard about Creeksea.

One tale that had circulated for many years, reaching back before the advent of the automobile, concerned a great white horse which had appeared to many people on Creeksea Estate.

It had been said that, on several occasions, horses drawing carriages on the estate would stop still in their tracks with fright when the great white horse would run across the road in front of them.

Miss Reed said that she, of course, did not believe the old stories about the great white horse. However, she did relate one of her own experiences while living at Creeksea.

During World War II, Miss Reed lived at Creeksea and also drove an ambulance in London during the time of the great air raids on that city. Ruby would ride her bicycle the two miles to Burnham and ride the train to London in the morning. In the evenings, she would return to her home the same way.

One evening when she returned to Burnham, it was raining and the fog was very heavy As she prepared to ride her bike to Creeksea, a friend of hers (everyone knows each other in Burnham), who was a taxicab driver, insisted that he should drive her to Creeksea in such bad weather. Ruby accepted the offer. After they had turned off the main road and were driving inside the estate, they became aware of a mass of light that was moving toward them in the fog. As the lighted object moved closer the taxi driver stopped the car. Suddenly, a great white horse ran cross the road in front of them. Ruby was sitting in the back seat of the cab. Both of them sat still and silent for several minutes until one of them asked the other, "Did you see what I saw?" They decided that they should not tell of that experience lest their friend in Burnham should laugh at them.

Thank you, Miss Ruby Reed, for being so nice to Bob and Miriam when they visited Creeksea.

Miriam was somewhat saddened to see the aging condition of the old house. After more than 420 years of existence, I am sure that the thousands of descendants of those who laved at Creeksea should feel fortunate that the old home place is still in existence for us to talk about. Perhaps some of us may have the opportunity to see it in the future.

NOTE: Luther Pryor Harris, in May of 1993, learned that Miss Ruby Reed had died ut 18 months before.



Luther Pryor Harris (d125/5278/13) of Seminole, Florida is a family historian who has contributed much to this writing. Luther, now in his 85th year, is a man of intelligence, experience, and zeal in his work to discover all he can about his an­cestry. Luther, in the company of his son and daughter-in-law, Betty and Luther Eu­gene Harris, of Key Largo, Florida, visited several points of interest to the Harris family in England in May of 1993. Their new information, discussions with people at Creeksea and at other places, and the pictures they brought back serve to enrich this history. Thank you, Betty, Gene and Luther.

Luther and his party chatted with Mrs. Liz Wastnage, the present owner of the old Harris home at Creeksea Hall. Liz was very friendly and helpful. She expressed sentiments similar to those recorded as being expressed by her late husband, Hr. Wastnage "although he owned the Hall, he felt that he did so in trust for the future. Surely living in the present can only be justified by a feeling for the past and the preservation for the future."

Mrs. Wastnage furnished Luther with a copy of the booklet by Donald A. Rooke, THE HISTORY OF AN ESSEX VILLAGE - CRICKSEA.

The All Saints Church is located at Creeksea Hall. Liz Wastnage had a key to the church and permitted Luther and his party to see the inside of the church. What a wonderful experience to read Donald Rooke's history of the church and then to see it in the company of Mrs. Wastnage!

From Mr. Rooke's history:

"Cricksea---is a civil parish in the Hundred of Dengie and the southeastern division of the County of Essex--. Cricksea is also an ecclesiastical parish in the rural deanery of Dengie, and forms part of the diocese of Chelmsford--."

Mr. Rooke discusses some of the families who live at Creeksea, including the Kemps who descend from Arthur Harris (d1597), through his daughter, Dorothy Harris, who married Robert Kempe.

"The Parish Church - All Saints---formerly belonged to the Priory of Dunmow, founded in 1104 for canons of the Augustine order."

"The square stone bowl of the original font was found on the Cricksea glebe, being used as a step to the barn. It was assigned to the year 1125 or thereabouts and was replaced in the church at Easter, 1921."

The church was expanded and rebuilt on its original site in 1877-78. The church received major repairs again in 1906.

Mr. Rooks discussed the old Cricksea Ferry. "The Dengie Hundred, so remote from the
rest of England, forms a peninsular anciently called 'Danes Island'." "The river
Crouch divides Dengie from the land to the south. Across it there has been a right of ferriage at Creeksea, for over 500 years."

      "Before the railway came to Burnham, a horse drawn 'bus' plied between Southend Ad Cricksea, and this formed a regular means of traveling to London."

Concerning Creeksea Place - from some old references: "Sheltered in a fold of the hill the stately outline and mellow colouring of an Elizabethan farm-house appear." *Few houses make such an instant appeal to the imagination. The complete harmony of the setting, the dull glow of the Tudor bricks and the sombre corners of the great rooms inside - all contribute to a suggestion of inherent quality."

      "Some say that it was the home of Anne Boleyn, and others that they have seen her walk from the old cottage by the ferry, to disappear in the way of all spirits. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, is thought to have met her soldiers here, and that they came to meet her through a subterranean tunnel connected with Rochford Hall. Great Tudor drains have been unearthed, full of oyster shells, and the like, but no one has yet discovered the tunnel itself,"

      "Natives have called the house haunted, and superstitions linger."

Mr. Rooke discussed the legend of the sword of Creeksea Place.

      "For nearly three hundred years, preceding this date, a sword had rested on the platform at the head of the oak spiral staircase leading to the attics. It was a court sword of the early 17th Century; its hilt and pommel being covered with richly chased silver in various designs, the Tudor rose being the most prominent. Each generation carried on the legend that 'this sword has always been at Cricksea Place'. One man alone could have held those attic stairs against all comers; the womenkind children secure in the rooms behind."

Mr.  Rooke revealed in his book that the sword had been taken by one of the later families who lived at Creeksea Place. It was returned to Mr. Rooke by members of that family. The sword is now housed at All Saints Church.

      "The sword was placed in a velvet lined case, which had been made by Mr. C. Burrows, after a service of dedication by the Rev. V. C. Castle on May 9, 1976. The case is affixed to the south wall by the font. A while afterwards, photographs of the Herries tomb in the chancel (now covered by the red carpet) were hung by the side of the sword case." The inscription, "This Rapier belonged to Sir William Herries, Knight of Creeksea Place—Sir William Herries died in 1616 and with his wife is .dried somewhere in this church."

Concerning Creeksea Place, Luther Harris learned that British military units had used this area for training during World War II. Some damage was done to the interior of the old house.

Since that time, the old house has not been used as a dwelling.


***Please note that any images referred to in following are not included in these files***



The photos on this and the next three pages were taken in September of 1989 by Robert and Mirian Gillespie Baker (6125/7115/331) of Sanford, Florida.

Completed in 1569 by Arthur Harris (d. June 18, 1597), the grandfather of our immigrant ancestor, John Harris (1588-1638), the home consisted of east, west and north wings. The east and west wings were removed in 1741-42.


These close-up views of Creeksea Place in September of 1989 show the wear and aging of the old house.


ABOVE; All Saints Church is seen in the distance from Creeksea Place.

BELOW; Miriam Gillespie Baker of Sanford, Florida is shown here with Miss Ruby Reed, a long time resident of a cottage on Creeksea Place. We received news in June of 1993 that Miss Reed had passed away some 18 months before.


ABOVE; A view of the Crouch River from Creeksea Place. The donkey belonged to Miss Ruby Reed.

BELOW; A view of the Crouch River from the White House Hotel in Burnham, Essex.




Photos on these three pages were taken by Luther Pryor Harris of Seminole, Florida on May 27, 1993, in the company of his son and daughter in law, Gene and Betty Harris of Key Largo, Florida. Below; views of Creeksea Place.


Views of All Saints Church at Creeksea. The inside view shows the chancel area.


ABOVE: Creeksea Hall. Owned now by the Westnage family.

BELOW: Another view of All Saints Church - photographer unknown to writer.


The above photos, of oil paintings, were included in the Booklet by Reverand Donald A. Rooke, entitled, THE HISTORY OF AN ESSEX VILLAGE - CRICKSEA. These paintings have hung in All Saints Church at Creeksea for many years. They have also been in the Albert & Victoria Museum in England.

Mr. Rooke and others believe that the above paintings are of Sir William Harris, Knight, of Creeksea, and his wife, Alice. Some of the descendants of Sir William, Harris, Knight, of Shenfield, and others, believe that the above depicted persons are their ancestors. The two Sir Williams were first cousins.

There is a saying around Creeksea Village, that has found its was into print, that all of the Harrises look alike.

Many Harris family historians believe that all of those by the name of Harris who -faltered the Virginia Colony in its early years were, indeed, from this same Essex County Harris family. They were closely related to each other. There appears to be good reasons for this belief. Gideon Dowse Harris, who published his, HARRIS GENEOLOGY, in 1914, correctly exposed and laid to rest the myth that one of our early ancestors was a preacher from Wales. For all of these reasons, it seems to be appropriate to include these pictures.

Upper left andViews of St. Mary's Church at Prittlewell, Essex. Upper right: A likeness of St. Margaret's Church at Woodham Mortimer, Essex. (Artist unknown).        Photos by Luther P. Harris.



Pages 696-855

Pages 885-908 


©  2009 Ginger L. Christmas-Beattie, Nola Duffy or individual contributors.    No portion of this any document appearing on this site is to be used for other than personal research.  Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner.08/20/2016