History from 1600 to 1729
In the 1600's, the soil of all the Forest and the trees to the west of Shermore Brook was owned initially by Lord Morely and the Parker family, from Hallingbury Park, until 1666, and then by the Turnor family. The Barrington family, from Barrington Hall, in Hatfield Broad Oak, owned the trees in the Bush End and Takeley quarters, to the east of Shermore Brook. This was a period of friction between these two families and also between the families and the commoners.
The Parker Family
In 1592, the Rich family sold their interests in the soil of all the Forest, hunting rights and the rights to the timber to the west of Shermore Brook to Lord Morley and the Parker family. They were a distinguished local family who had owned the ancient estate of Hallingbury Place in Great Hallingbury, situated to the west of the Forest, since the 14th century.
The Barrington Family
In 1612, the Rich family sold the remainder of their interests in the Hatfield Estate, including the lordship on the Manor, with all its rights to hold court and fine offenders against the by-laws, to Sir Francis Barrington.
The Barringtons were another long established local family who had their family seat at nearby Barrington Hall, to the east of the Forest. They had owned the timber in the northern eastern third of the Forest, to the east of Shermore Brook, since 1576, in return for surrendering their claim to the office of Woodward.
Sir Francis’ father, Sir Thomas, received Queen Elizabeth in Hatfield Broad Oak in 1576 and 1578. Sir Francis and his son, Sir Thomas, were both Members of Parliament for Essex. Sir Francis was imprisoned by the King Charles I, for over a year in 1628, for refusing to support a loan to the King.
Sir Thomas was caught up in the politics preceding and during the English Civil War, sitting in both the Short and Long Parliaments.
This period was marked by a series of disputes between the Parkers and the Barringtons, as they tested the limits of their rights, as well as between the commoners and the landed gentry.
Thus, in the early 1600’s, there was dispute as to which family had the right to hold the annual St James Fair, at Thremhall Green, in the north west of the Forest, just south of Stane Street. There was a riot in 1613 and this was eventually resolved in favour of the Lord of the Manor, the Barringtons, rather than the landowner, Lord Morley.