The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales...., by John Marius Wilson. circa 1866
ARKESDEN, a parish in Saffron-Walden district, Essex; on an affluent of the river Stort, 2½ miles W of Newport r. station, and 5 SW of Saffron-Walden. Post-town, Newport under Bishop-Stortford. Acres, 2,320. Real property, £3,207. Pop., 506. Houses, 111. The property is not much divided. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £181. Patron, the Rev. W.B. Wolfe. The church is very good, and contains a brass of a knight.
Transcribed by Noel Clark
KELLY'S DIRECTORY OF ESSEX 1933
ARKESDEN is a village and parish on a winter brook falling into the Cam, 3½ miles south-west from Audley End and 3½ west from Newport stations on the main line of the London and North Eastern railway, 5 south-west from Saffron Walden and 38 from London, in the Saffron Walden division of the county, Uttlesford hundred, Saffron Walden petty sessional division, rural district and county court district, Newport and Stansted rural deanery, Colchester archdeaconry and Chelmslord diocese. A stone bridge of one arch was constructed over the brook near the church in 1911 by Charles Beadle esq. The church of St. Margaret, situated on rising ground, is a large building of flint with stone dressings, in the Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays, with clerestory, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower with turret containing 6 bells: in the chancel, under a double arch, is a recumbent effigy of a priest vested, temp. Henry VII.; and in the south aisle is a brass effigy in armour of Richard Fox esq. c. 1439, affording a good example of the additions gradually made to defensive armour; four shields of arms and the inscription are missing, but in an old manuscript in the possession of the vicar the following inscription appears: Here lies Richard Fox of Arkesden in the County of Essex esq. who died on the festival of the Purification of the Virgin in the year of Our Lord 1439, on whose soul may God have mercy; here also is a very fine tomb of the Cutts family, 1592: in the tower are exceedingly fine busts, by Roubiliac, to members of the Withers family, 1692, and the west window exhibits the arms of Walden abbey, to which, in 1364, this church was attached, and those of the Earls of Arundel: the north aisle was built in the reign of Henry VII. by Thomas Alderton, stock fishmonger, of London, who also founded a chantry here: the font consists of a large square basin of Barnack stone, supported on four Early English arches: the church was partly rebuilt and restored in 1855 and 1856, at a cost, exclusive of the chancel, of £2,294, of which upwards of £1,000 was contributed by the late R. Birch-Wolfe eaq. lay impropriator, who also rebuilt the chancel at an additional cost of £ó00: there are 250 sittings The register dates from the year 1690, In the churchyard, facing the road, is a boulder of Essex "pudding" stone, set in which is a marble tablet bearing the names of those who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. The living is a vicarage, united with the rectory of Wicken Bonhunt, joint net yearly value £490, with residence, in the gift of Keble College, Oxford, and held since 1928 by the Rev. Horace Joseph Stares, of Kings College, London. There is a small Methodist chapel. A charity of £4 8s. was left to the poor of the parish by the late Mrs. Sophia Birch-Wolfe, and there are other small charities. Wood Hall, about 1 mile south-east of the village, is pleasantly situated in well-wooded grounds of 100 acres, commanding extensive views of the surrounding country: the original mansion dated back to the Conquest and was moated, but was rebuilt in 1652 by the Cutts family; John Lord Cutts, who fought under Marlborough at Blenheim, was born here; there is some fine oak carving over a fireplace in the old hall: the "Preachers Oak," in Westmead, once a wood, was cut down by Richard Birch-Wolfe esq. and used in rebuilding the chancel of the church; part of the old moat remains and is now a fishpond, in which are strong springs. Mr. Ralph Saunders, who is lord of the manor, and Charles Gowlett esq. are the principal landowners. The soil is heavy, with a portion of a lighter nature; subsoil, clay and chalk. The crops are on the four-course system. The area of the civil parish is 2,180 acres; the population in 1931 was 224 in the civil and of the ecclesiastical parish in 1921, 295.
Post & Tel. Call Office (available for calls to places within a limited distance). Letters through Newport, Essex. The nearest M. O. & T. office is at Clavering