Barnston: a brief history

Barnston is a small village just beyond the south-eastern outskirts of Great Dunmow on the old road to Chelmsford (B1008 – now mercifully signposted as via the new A120). The major part of the village’s housing lies on two roads, the main Chelmsford Road and High Easter Road.

Barnston is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 which describes a small population of 7 smallholdings, 7 villagers, 2 slaves, woodland, 200 pigs, meadows etc.

The lovely village church can be found by taking the main road out of Barnston and bearing left into Parsonage Lane just after the old Post Office and a row of cottages.

St. Andrews Church

St Andrews Church was built around 1160-70.The churchyard contains 'The Livermore Tombs', recorded in the well-known painting of that name by Kenneth Rowntree.

‘The Livermore Tombs’ in St Andrew's Churchyard

These tombstones in the churchyard tell of sad and poignant tales of four Livermore sisters who all died young. The first to die was Martha Susannah who died of 'A slow decline' at the age of 14 years in 1827. Thirteen years after that in 1840, Emma who was aged 22 years, was thrown from her horse. Eight months later, Jane who was aged 19 years old, died of a heart attack and her demise was closely followed by 16-year-old Maria, who succumbed to smallpox.

Barnston also has an Evangelical Mission Church,which is affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. The Church was built by the villagers by converting some derelict stables.

Barnston Evangelical Mission Church

Although Barnston has grown considerably in the late 20th century (the population was 850 in the 2001 census), some of the local facilities that it previously had, have disappeared. Until 1959, Barnston had its own primary school and in previous years, a Post Office.

Barnston Primary School in 1955

Barnston has two bar/restaurants, a hotel and some beautiful timber-framed buildings such as Brook Farm on the main Chelmsford road, just before the junction with Parsonage Lane.

Brook Farm

Barnston Village has an excellent website with lots of local information :

With thanks to Austin Reeve, Local History Recorder for Dunmow, for contributing this item and the 'In Memoriam' Barnston article to the website.