Remnants of Hadleigh Common

The Recreation Ground, Chapel Lane 2011
Bob Delderfield
The Allotments 2011-created 1852
Bob Delderfield
The cricket field - John Burrows Recreation Ground 2011
Bob Delderfield

Hadleigh Common once covered 42 acres, stretching from Victoria House Corner to Rectory Road. In 1852 the Common was enclosed. The ancient rights disappeared overnight. Local landowners who especially benefited were Lady Olivia Sparrow and Jonathan Wood. A mere five acres was left for public use on the south side of the “Caussie” or Causeway. [The stretch of road, now part of the A13, between Chapel Lane and Victoria House Corner was called the Causeway because of its raised nature.]

Two of the five acres were named Recreation Ground and the other three acres were reserved for the ”Labouring Poor”. They both survive today as recreation ground and allotments.

Jonathan Wood, gentleman farmer living at Solbys, acquired most of the common land to the north of what is now New Road, including what became the cricket ground.  A later owner of Solbys, J.H. Burrows, (see “People” on this website)  gave that part of the former common to the use of local cricketers. In 1936 Benfleet Urban District Council bought Solbys. The grounds then became the John Burrows Recreation Ground so that a sizeable piece of what was once Hadleigh Common was returned to public use. In January 1946 the rival cricket clubs of Hadleigh and Thundersley amalgamated to form the Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club who have played at John Burrows since that date.

The former extent of Hadleigh Common and its dominance of a small village may perhaps be gauged by the sale catalogue blurb when Solbys was up for sale in 1816, “Facing south on an eminence with views of the River Thames and shipping”. I suspect that today you would be hard pressed to see the Thames from anywhere north of the A13 in the village of Hadleigh.

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  • Thank you for your comment, Neil. I am afraid that my wording in the article was slightly ambiguous. I have edited it accordingly. The Hadleigh & Thundersley Cricket Club took over the ground in 1946. Who was given permission to play there before 1936 I do not know. Ian Yearsley discovered the information when he wrote his book. When I get the opportunity I will seek out the source and let you know the details.

    By Bob Delderfield (09/10/2012)
  • On a personal basis I would love to see the document that gave the cricket field to the club before the council took it over ?? prior to 1936.

    By neil harding (07/08/2012)
  • Wasn’t it gracious of Lady Sparrow to donate land in 1855 for the first school in Hadleigh – land which she had first taken from the locals under the Enclosure Act?

    Editorial note:   Major landowners were awarded land under the terms of the General Enclosure Act, 1845.  In the case of Lady Olivia Sparrow, she donated some of this awarded land to support the provision of education to the children of Hadleigh.

    By Robert Hallmann (15/03/2011)

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