The History of Berden
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Although there are many gaps and very
little in written
records we have a Bronze Age burial right on the site of the
hall. It must have been an exciting day for the late Rev H.K.
vicar of the parish to learn that men digging the foundations
new Wesleyan chapel had unearthed a skeleton with an armlet
beaker some 18 inches below the surface. The year was 1907.
Within a few
hours the armlet had been sold and it was not until 1918-19
Maynard and G Montague Benton heard of the important find.
were able to take statements from the men on their return from
service. Jumping some 2000 years we come to Roman times, of
which coins and
other traces of habitation have been found.
name Berden has
had many spellings form Berdane, Bearden, Byerden, Bardyne,
Byrden but they all derive form Old English meaning
'Swine pasture valley'. Another authority suggests the name
corn valley. Other local names are derived as follows: Arnold
John Arnold of Clavering 1373, Coles Green from John Cole
Farm from John de Rooke 1327, Dews Green is listed as Douse
In the Domesday book Berdane had been held by Godman a socman of Robert in the reign of Edward the Confessor, now by Suene by Alured with two hides, that is 240 acres. There was wood for 10 swine and two acres
meadow. By 1086 there were 3 horses, 2 foals, 13 beasts, 21 swine, 122 sheep, 8 goats and a hive of bees. Villagers were described as villains, bordars, serfs in that pecking order.
An interesting mystery relates to the huge sandstone block on Churchland at the corner of Judas Hill and
Berden Priory was founded about 1200 AD by the Rochford family, owners of land in Berden, Manden, Henham, Rickling and Rochford. This was originally a hospital, dedicated to
The 19th century census gives the population of Berden: 1801 - 201 people; 1811 - 303; 1821 - 338; 1831 - 342; 1841 - 391; 1851 - 418; 1861 - 414; 1871 - 426; 1881 - 363; 1891 - 336; 1901 - 286.
The names on the war memorial are: Walter King, Harry Seabrook, Frank Chapman, William Turpin, Sidney Stone, Frank Phillips, Fred Mascall, Arthur Hammond, William King, Walter Hammond, Earnest Knight all from WW1. From WW2 the names are Ronald Davies and Bertha Brett.
The Boy Bishop ceremony was revived in miracle play written by Rev HK
Edited extracts from C.I. Cherry, History of Berden (1980)