Wivenhoe Cross

An Early Settlement

Added by Pat Marsden

Extract from the 1777 Chapman and Andre map of Wivenhoe showing the Cross
Courtesy of Essex Record Office

The Cross was an early settlement at the junction of the roads from Colchester, Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe. The earliest access to the town consisted of the road from Colchester to Elmstead and Walton-on-the-Naze (travelling down what is now Rectory Road) which cut off the north-eastern corner of the ancient parish. A little further south the road from Colchester to Alresford ran through the parish from west to east, with a branch running south-east towards Brightlingsea from which a road turned south-west (along what is now called Belle Vue Road) and then south down what is now Wivenhoe High Street to reach Wivenhoe Quay.

This changed when the Lords of the Manor, the de Veres, built a new road called The Entry (now The Avenue), just south of the Cross which ran directly to the manor house circa half a mile further to the south. This became a public road before 1566 and provided a more direct route to the Quay. This may explain why although the earliest settlement in Wivenhoe developed around the Quay in the south-west corner of the parish there was also a notable cluster of houses around The Cross which is clearly shown on both the 1734 and 1777 maps of Wivenhoe.  A. F. J. Brown, the Colchester historian states that the settlement including a forge, a wheelwright and a ropery. There are three buildings on the National Heritage Register at the Cross. These are Ropery House (LB421656), 20 The Cross, also known as Ropery Cottages (LB421486) and Beehive Cottage (LB421486) which was formerly an inn. There are also a number of other unlisted early properties such as No 41 The Cross, the pink-washed building known as ‘Timbers’. The Horse and Groom, formerly known as the King’s Arms, first appeared in the licensing records of 1772. It seems to have traded successfully until c1870 when it disappears from the Directories, until reappearing circa1885.

The Cross and the Horse and Groom were added to the Wivenhoe Local List which was adopted by Colchester Borough Council in March 2012.


Victoria County History of Essex X (2001) pp 274-281
Peter Kay’s notes, November 2011
1734 Hayward Rush ‘A Mapp of Wivenhoe Parish’
1777 Chapman and Andre ‘Map of Essex’
Brown, A.F.J. ‘Essex at Work 1700-1815’ (1969), pp124-5
Kay, P. ‘Wivenhoe Pubs’ (2003), p19
‘Deed of the ‘King’s Arms’ or The Horse and Groom’ Wivenhoe 1785, (ERO D/DB T1306)

This page was added on 19/04/2016.

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