St Stephens Chapel

The Annual service at the Chapel will be on September 10th at 11am
The Bishop from Bury St Edmunds,  Rev Martin Seeley will be officiating.
This is the only occasion that a service is held at the Chapel, during each year.
It is usually heavily attended



St Stephens Chapel

About 1 mile north-east of the village, down a track through Fysh House Farm, lies this Chapel of St. Stephen. This was the private chapel of the Manor of Tany, or Tauney, and was dedicated to St. Stephen on St. Stephen’s Day 1218, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This makes it the oldest building in the parish, it pre-dates the church by approx 150 years

On Christmas Day 855, history tells us, Bishop Humbert of Elmham anointed a 14-year-old boy as King of the East Angles. The boy was Edmund, the chosen heir of King Offa, and his Coronation was documented at `Burva`.
The chronicler Galfridus de Fontibus also described the coronation as having taken place at “Bures”, which is an ancient royal hill.
It is the general belief that this was the lonely hilltop, where St Stephen’s Chapel now stands.

Inside it contains the effigies of three Earls of Oxford, the only survivors of twenty-one tombs once found at Earls Colne Priory. The became ruined after the Reformation and only a shell remains today.


At least, there appear to be three: close inspection by expert eyes has suggested that they are in fact made up from pieces of seven separate monuments which were originally located at Earls Colne Priory. This was mainly due to the confusion in trying to piece together the tombs, after the destruction of the original Priory.
This chapel fell into disuse after the Reformation.

As the name Chapel Barn implies, this simple building pretty much resembles a barn – indeed that is what it remained as until it restoration 70 years ago. It was a barn, of stone, with narrow lancet windows and a steeply pitched thatched roof. xtensions in brick and timber at the west and north date from the period after the Reformation when the building became cottages.

Strangely, what looks on the outside like an agricultural outbuilding, seen inside resembles a mausoleum.


It was restored to its present condition in the 1930s by members of the Probert family and re-consecrated.
Once a year each summer, a service is held in the Chapel by the congregation of St Mary`s Church, Bures.
There is nothing of value inside the Chapel apart from these artefacts.
For the full story visit the Bures web site at

USA to Bures

During the past years, the one country that has exceeded all others with enquiries is the USA. It appears that a vast number of the population seemed to have traced their descendants back to the Pilgrims departure circa 1630.
We surely have heard of the Mayflower which set sail for New England, but we must remember, this was one ship out of dozens that left the UK during that period.
Many of the financial backers of this journey originated from Bures and the surrounding parishes.
ie, the Pelhams from “Ferriers” (Bures) and the Waldegraves from “Smallbridge” (Bures),
Winthrop (Groton) together with the Harlakendens from Earls Colne
The map show you the distribution of the emigrants from a 10 mile radius or more from Bures.
This would account for the massive amount of interest from the States, chasing their family heritage that I map

Link to the  Bures web site and  the “Mayflower”

USA Trip

On September the 14th I will be visited by a lady from Origon on the West Coast of the USA. She is a direct descendant of the Harlakenden family from the old Earls Colne Priory.
That family goes way back as far as the Winthrop Sailings (Mayflower) in 1630.
There is still a Harlekenden family in Bures, living at Gt Bevills
I will be giving her a tour of St Stephens Chapel, St Marys Church, Smallbridge Hall, and various other notable properties in the Village
The trip will also take in a visit the Hedingham Castle ( De-Vere family) and back to Earls Colne (Harlakendens) to show her the site of Priory. This was demolished back in the 1500s, so I can only point out a plaque to where it once stood.
This will be the fourth visit in four years from visitors flying in from the States.
All having some connection with families who once lived in Bures.
My tours are now tried and tested and always get a good reception from visitors who have never see building so old as the ones in our local area.
Just consider they may never have been any buildings in the New World older than 1630 `ish

SmallBridge School

During the 1955 – 1972 there was a Private Girls School located in an Elizabethan Manor called Smallbridge Hall.
Its main fame was the visit by Elizabeth 1st, who popped in for a couple of days on route from London to Ipswich. Her entourage was so large it nearly bankrupted the owner

I learnt from an ex pupil who now lives in Monaco, they often exchanged visits with Copford Glebe School, Private Boys School
Usually Debating Classes.
Copford lies between Colchester and Marks Tey

One of the boys who attended Copford was none other than Salem Mohammed Bin Laden, the half brother off Osama Bin Laden
At Copford he shared a room with another Muslim lad, who`s father was the Deputy Chief of Irans Secret Police


Copford School even gets a mention in the 1988 edition of the Iran Times