About Great Oakley and Stones Green
Great Oakley Parish, in the Tendring District of Essex, is a civil parish which consists of the village of Great Oakley and the neighbouring hamlet of Stones Green. It is a long, narrow parish on the Harwich peninsula in North East Essex where it generally lies on a low (25-metre) ridge south of Ramsey Creek which drains north-east towards Harwich. Our rural coastal parish extends south to Oakley Creek, a branch of Hamford Water, within the Walton Backwaters. The Backwaters are an area of outstanding natural beauty and an SSSI, where once stood Great Oakley Dock, now disused.
There are about 350 homes in the parish, a general store / newsagent, public house and 2 Doctors Surgeries supporting about 1,000 residents. There are fishing lakes, an airfield and golf range in the area. We have a thriving Primary School attended by children resident in our Parish together with a substantial number of children from surrounding villages. Our Village Hall, which is available for hire, is used widely by a variety of groups.
All Saints Church is on the outskirts of Great Oakley and there are many interesting walks and footpaths around the area.
The history of our villages runs back to the Doomsday Book and we were once on the major road between the Port of Harwich and the London Markets. The villages have survived the plague and two world wars. The Domesday Book of 1086 was a complex survey of the British Isles undertaken on the orders of William the Conqueror. The name has had many variations over the centuries and means "oak-clearing". Translated extract:
Robert Holds (Great Oakley) in Lordship which Aelfric Kemp held as Manor for ten hides before 1066. Then and later, twelve villagers, now eleven; Then and later twenty smallholders, now thirty. Then and later ten slaves, now five.
Always three ploughs in Lordship. Then among the men ten ploughs, now nine.
Woodland, 100 pigs; Meadow, 8 acres; Now 1 Mill; 2 Salt Houses; Pasture, 20 sheep. Then ten cobs, now four. Then ten cattle, now five; Always two-hundred sheep less twenty. Then twenty pigs now fifteen.
Value then, and when acquired £11. Value now £16. Of this Manor, Ralph holds two hides and ten acres. Thirteen smallholders. One plough. Values 30s in the same assessment.
Described in 1870 as a "village of sorts in itself", this small hamlet lies two miles west of Great Oakley, but within the parish boundary. It is possible there has been a settlement here for 1,000 years but the name Stone probably comes from Richard Stone of 1563. During the 16th century a large mansion was erected and called Stone Hall and it is from this building that the village took its name. A stone church was erected in 1831 and a Methodists' Chapel some years later but in 1905 the church was demolished and the mission hall that replaced it is no longer used.
Stones Green contains a wealth of ancient cottages, most notable are Threeways, Honeypot Cottage and No Name cottage but the oldest is the Compasses, which is a Grade II listed building dating from the 15th Century. Stone Hall is today a modern home - nothing remains of the original, and Skighaugh is a renovated farmhouse. Nearby on the Wix Road stood Dengewell hall, demolished during the 1970s. Here once stood an ancient manor of considerable importance, but the last house was of slightly rambling Victorian design. An impressive modern farmhouse was its replacement.
Place names can give an indication of the age of a settlement such as Skighaugh. The name may come from the word 'Healh', meaning nook of land once owned by a man with the Anglo-Scandinavia name of Skegge.
2004 Parish Plan
If you'd like to know more about the Parish then have a read of our Great Oakley Parish Plan 2004 (pdf)