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Stage 3. Great Waltham to Cressing Temple

Thursday 23rd August 2018


Distance Time Elevation in meters

Gain Loss Min Max
20.80 4H45 4H09 107 105 28 61





Great Waltham Church

Into Deer Park

The Essex Way and The Saffron Trail share the same route at this point

The two trails part company

Approaching Langley's



I followed the road, but in hindsight the arrow appears to be pointing across the field



I had reached the A130 but there was no path! I turned right over a small wooden bridge and after 50 yards came to a style leading onto the A130.

This did not look as though it had been used for many a year!

Steps up to the A130. Unfortunately there was no path directly opposite, which told me I had gone slightly wrong. Turning left up the A130 I came to Scurvy Hall Lane, which enabled me to get back on to the Essex Way proper.

Scurvy Hall Lane

Back on The Essex Way and approaching Chatham Green

Passing Ziggi's Fireplace shop in Chatham Green

Leaving Chatham Green

The lake at Little Leighs

St John the Evangelist Church at Little Leighs. A right turn after this took me down
Whites Lane to Deres Bridge underpass

A chocolate box cottage - Hillside Cottage

Deres Bridge underpass

The path towards Fuller Street from Deres Bridge

The path goes off to the left just before the ford and Goodman's Farm


The Square and Compasses pub at Fuller Street


Leaving Fuller Street

Keepers Cottage

Gamble's Green, an excellent place for lunch


The ford at Terling

Into the woods



Back into the open fields and approaching Fairstead Church

Fairstead Church



Maltings Farm

After the footbridge, left to White Notley or right, over the railway line to get to Cressing Temple

Over the railway line to the Witham Road and Cressing Temple



"The Templars" by Dan Jones

The great and the good did not always need to be involved in Holy War to see the benefit of patronizing the Templars. The order made large gains in England in the 1130s, profiting from the bloody conflict (known as the Anarchy) that engulfed the country following the death of King Henry I in 1135. Henry died without a legitimate male heir and his daughter, Matilda, waged war against her cousin Stephen of Blois to secure the succession. Both sides had good reasons to favour the Templars. Matilda was married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, who was King Fulk of Jerusalem's elder son. Stephen's home county of Blois was not far from Champagne, the crucible of Templar recruitment and ideology. Stephen's father had been the hero of the First Crusade, whilst his wife, also Matilda, was countess of Boulogne, and was a niece of Baldwin I.

Stephen and Matilda vied openly to prove themselves the Templar's most generous benefactor. In return they hoped for political support and spiritual insurance as the Templars promised to pray for their good fortune and immortal souls.

During Hugh of Payns' tour of England in 1128 the Templar order had established a house in London known as the "Old" Temple, near Holborn. During the Anarchy a torrent of other royal gifts followed, including land and property in Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Berkshire and Sussex. In 1137 Stephen's wife gave the Templars the wealthy and well-connected manor of Cressing (now Cressing Temple) to which Stephen later added nearby land in Witham. In time this grant would become the basis for a rich and busy estate with scores of tenant families working the land, a sprawling network of monastic houses, kitchens and farm buildings, their labour filling two vast 13-century grain storage sheds, the Wheat Barn and the Barley Barn, which still stand today.



Barley Barn, built by the Knights Templar between 1205 and 1230

Inside the Barley Barn

The Wheat barn, built between 1257 and 1280 according to tree ring dating


Inside the Wheat Barn


The "Tiptree cafe", a great place to end the walk