Things to do in Messing, Essex
A very tidy village steeped in history, this small Essex village is a very pretty place that doesn't resemble its name in the slightest! This was how a magazine started its feature on our village recently. Messing along with Ugley near the Essex-Suffolk border (which genuinely has the Ugley Women's Institute based there) certainly do not deserve the modern derivation of their names.
A claim to fame is the fact that it is the ancestral home of the Bush family - whose members have produced two presidents of the USA. The family of ex-president George and his son, George W. Bush (aka 'Dubya'), has its roots in our tiny community - the Bush clan left the village for America in the 17th Century. There are coffee mugs on sale in All Saints' Church, with the motto: "Messing: birthplace of Reynold Bush, ancestor of George Bush, President of the USA".
Known as Maesa's settlement and Mething and by various names in the past, it is close by a site called The Rampart which according to legend is where Boudica, Queen of the Icini was defeated by the Romans. Once referred to as 'the land of slaughter' it is now a peaceful pretty village of 250 inhabitants.
The history of Messing has been published twice. Once in the book called "Simply Messing" which was researched and written by Roger Carter, and also by a past vicar of Messing, William Goldsborough Whittam in the Story of Messing, a book entitled "No Messing" written by C.C Thorburn, which is the autobiography of John C. Chevely; it provides an insight into the affluent childhood of someone born in Messing in 1795.
Being the ancestral home of the American Presidential Bush family draws visitors to the village and All Saints' Church, which has visible post-medieval architecture and an outstanding stained glass window attributed to Abraham Van Linge.
The parish that Messing exists in is bounded by the parishes of Kelvedon to the west, Feering to the north, Birch to the east and Tiptree to the south. Colchester, the oldest recorded town in Britain, is 8.5 miles to the east and Chelmsford is just over 15 miles to the west. The main roads in the parish are the B1023 in the west and the B1022 in the south. The A12 lies just on the boundary to the north.
In broad terms the land in which the parish lays, is a plateau landscape situated on a broad, elevated ridge, dissected by a number of small streams, providing undulations and giving the appearance of a gently folded landscape. Large areas of mixed woodland (Layer Wood and Pods Wood) punctuate areas of predominantly arable farmland, consisting of large rolling arable fields. Smaller regular patches of woodland are a characteristic feature of the south western corner of the area, extending from a band of similar landscape pattern, which extends across the Borough boundary into areas of landscape to the southwest.
The network of minor roads is lined with mature hedges. Single mature trees in field boundaries and standing within fields, create distinctive landscape features, which contribute to a unique sense of place. There is a sense of tranquillity within the area, away from the fringes of the Tiptree settlement.
Description by Geoffrey Jackson
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