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Ongar (Chipping)

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"ONGAR (CHIPPING), a market-town and parish in the hundred of ONGAR, county of ESSEX, 12 miles ("W. by S.) from Chelmsford, and 21 (N.E.) from London, containing 768 inhabitants. Its name is derived from the Saxon aungre, i. e. the place, or, as Morant supposes, from the old word hangre, a hill, the addition of chipping, or cheaping, signifying a market. It was anciently denominated Ongar ad Castrum, on account of its castle, and to distinguish it from High Ongar, a village in the vicinity. The town is of considerable antiquity, having probably been founded by the Saxons soon after their settlement in England. At the time of the Norman survey, the manor was held in demesne by Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, and after passing through several families, came into the possession of Richard de Lucy, Chief Justice of England under Henry II., who procured for the town, as the head of the barony, a market and fairs, and built the castle on a high circular eminence to the east of it, surrounded by a moat and some earthworks, of which there are still traces; the castle itself was destroyed in the reign of Elizabeth, The town occupies an eminence on the bank of the river Roden, and consists principally of one long street, within the area of an extensive intrenchment, which may be distinctly traced; it is neither paved nor lighted, but amply supplied with water from wells and springs. A new road has been recently made through it from London to Clare, in Suffolk. A market for corn and cattle is held on Saturday; and there is a fair on the 12th of October, for hiring servants. The magistrates hold a petty session on the market day. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Essex, and diocese of London, rated in the king's books at £6, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Mrs. Bennett. The church, dedicated to St. Martin, is a small neat structure, partly built with Roman bricks, and is remarkable for the castellated loop-hole appearance of its windows. There is a place of worship for Independents. A free school was founded, in 1678, pursuant to the will of Joseph King, a native of this town, who bequeathed to trustees five houses, the rents of which, amounting to £70 per annum, are applied to the education and apprenticing of six poor boys, for teaching poor girls to read, and for other charitable purposes; any one of the scholars that may be eligible for the University is entitled annually to £5 for four years from this fund." [From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]



  • Census returns are available from the usual sources for 1841-1911, which includes most copies held at the ERO, Wharf Rd, Chelmsford. More information on other ways to view these census returns on the Essex

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

  • Chipping Ongar was a member of the Onger Hundred

You can see the administrative areas in which Ongar (Chipping) has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Chipping Ongar was a member of the Onger Poor Law Union