16th May 2020

Village News and Events

in Boxted and Langham

Welcome to this week’s newsletter.

If you wish to have an item included in this newsletter, please submit by Thursday 5pm at the latest. Thank you.

Stay safe everyone.

Replastering the Hub

Essex Mills History

This weekend is National Mills Weekend. Join Explore Essex to celebrate a piece of Essex history and learn a little about the five mills we are proud to own today.

Mountnessing Mill 1937 (Credit: Catalogue Mills archive.org)

Mills are an integral part of Essex’s history. The Domesday survey of 1080-1086, the first attempt to quantify mills on a national level, documented that Essex had between 200 and 225 mills, many of which have since been demolished.

In the 16th Century, water became the most important source of mill power but by the latter part of the 19th Century, steam engines began to replace waterwheels, except in rural areas where they were supplemented by a steam or oil engine.

The agricultural depression at the turn of the 20th Century, followed by two World Wars, saw many mills close down or diversify.

Take a look inside a steam mill

Have you ever wondered what it is like inside a Steam Mill?

Whilst we’re unable to open up our mills to visitors at the current time, we’d like to show you around virtually.

Beeleigh Steam Mill is one of the largest milling sites in Essex and records show there have been mills on this site since 1066.

Watch the Wentworth Beam Engine in action, running with compressed air, at Beeleigh Steam Mill earlier this year.

Did You Know?

At Explore Essex we’re proud of our mills. We’ve dug out a few historical gems about each one to celebrate their heritage.

Alderford Water Mill used to mill corn but switched to producing animal feed during WW2. It is one of the best-preserved water mills in Essex, containing most of the original machinery.

The Weatherboard Water Mill at Beeleigh, which housed 2 water wheels driving 10 stones, was destroyed by fire in 1875 but the Steam Mill survived and the building now houses a rare Wentworth beam engine, elephant boiler and circular all-iron steam mill dating from 1845.

Finchingfield Post Mill is the oldest mill in Essex, built around 1756. Finchingfield used to be home to 7 mills, this one is the last mill standing! The mill’s four sails could be rotated to catch the wind, driving a pair of millstones. A tail pole was used to turn the mill.

Mountnessing Post Mill, built in 1807, is in full working order and although it stopped operating in 1933, it still occasionally mills flour!

Stock Tower Mill was a wind powered corn mill. The mill used wind power up until around 1930, then ran for a further six years using an internal combustion engine.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about our mills in celebration of #NationalMillsWeekend and we hope to welcome you as a visitor soon.

In the meantime you can explore more about our mills and heritage places here.

Stay local, stay home, keep exploring.

Boxted Mill

Here’s a little slice of Boxted history from Lucinda de Jasay and Arabella Douglas-Menzies of Boxted Mill.

Photograph by E M Gardner, an authority on watermills, from Mills Archive

The Domesday Book records a mill at Boxted in 1066 and it is probably true to say that milling was carried out here continuously until the old mill was demolished in 1925. Like many other watermills around the time, its disappearance from the landscape was largely the result of the introduction of big steam roller mills, capable of working 24 hours a day.

Boxted was a water driven grain mill, the only remaining trace of which are the flood gates (automated in 1994), the mill race, which can be seen from Boxted Bridge, and the mill outbuildings. The two storey brick built miller’s house on the roadside was built in the 1840s.

The Munsons were millers of longstanding in the area. A retired Naval Commander Munson lived at Boxted Mill in the 1950’s; his nephew was the miller at Thorrington Street Mill – his great uncle milled at Boxted Mill.  Mr Bullough was the next owner then the current owners moved here in 1969.

During floods Boxted Mill is entirely cut off, as all the approach roads are sometimes several feet under water, but in spite of this the house is free from damp and so far has not flooded, demonstrating the skill of the original miller’s choice of the site.

Just before Boxted Mill was demolished in 1925, Pat Rooney, then an art student, managed to complete a series of pen and ink sketches of the building, which appeared in the December 1966 edition of ‘Essex Countryside’ magazine, alongside informative descriptions of the workings of the mill. Pat Rooney is buried in the churchyard of St Peter’s, Boxted. A selection his drawings can be seen below:

Finally, you may be interested to know that a former Boxted resident, Ambrose Waller, wrote a most informative book ‘The Suffolk Stour’ (published 1957) giving a detailed account of the Stour from the Roman times until the 20th century.

Photograph of Boxted Mill taken by James Blewitt pre 1966

In 2014, as a modern twist to the long water power history at Boxted Mill  a mini hydro power station was constructed by Farm Power Hydro Ltd, channelling water through an archimedes screw above the flood gate, to make electricity – enough to power 40 houses.

Download the minutes of the Boxted Parish Council meeting held on 11 March 2020

Digital help at home

There will be no digital help at the Hub for the time being, but fear not! You can still go online and get help and support.

Michael Smith at Colchester Borough Council is still offering digital support via a remote service. See the Council’s webpage (https://www.colchester.gov.uk/digitalaccesssupport/) or, for further information, contact:

Get updates on Coronavirus from the government and take part in the latest symptom survey

You can get the latest information from GOV.UK straight to your mailbox. Sign up here:

The Government is asking you to share your coronavirus symptoms to help others. This will help the NHS to co-ordinate its response. https://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-status-checker

Covid-19 symptom checker app

People of all ages and backgrounds are joining together to fight COVID.

Support the NHS, help scientific research and help get us out of lockdown safely.

Take 1-minute to report your health daily, even if you are well. To help support this important initiative, more volunteers are needed using the app.. You can even report on behalf of older relatives (like your mum or nan) in the app today.

As anticipated, we are now seeing a high demand for assistance with food and household essentials from elderly and vulnerable Boxted residents. We are now giving out care packages to our elderly, fragile and isolated members of the Boxted community.

We would like to support also any NHS workers in Boxted who are in dire need of help. The vast majority of people that we are assisting right now are well-known to us, and are those most in need

Therefore we would like to ask you if you might, from time to time, be able to donate ANY food, fresh or non-perishable, loo roll, household products or ladies’ sanitary wear/Tena products.

Donations may be collected by us from your doorstep, or you can deliver them to the doorstep of the Hub, Tuesday to Friday inclusive, 10 am till 2 pm.

We encourage everyone to join as one community. We have asked the vulnerable and elderly to get in touch with us should they need any help with the following:

  • Food supplies
  • Basic household essentials
  • Pick-up or refill of prescriptions
  • A friendly chat

We also offer a ‘meals on wheels service’ that you can order by telephone and which we can deliver to residents of Boxted.

You can contact us via telephone:
DAYTIME 01206 272129
EVENINGS: 07488 345019


Please note that the service we offer is primarily for those Boxted residents over 70 and those in most urgent need – who are vulnerable in these difficult times.

Church services

Churches can longer be kept open as places for prayer and solace.Therefore all churches will be locked and will remain so until further notice.  The car park at Boxted church  has also been closed for the time being although it is still possible to park and visit the graveyard.

Should you require prayer please contact Revd Mandy Elmes via email lwb.wb.gh.parishes@gmail.com.

Sunday services are now on theLangham and Boxted Church Website for all to view under Streamed Services. https://lb-churches.co.uk/streamed-services/ They will be uploaded on Sunday afternoons for as long as services are streamed.

Download the services booklet here

Download notes from last week’s sermon by Rev’d Anne Mason

1 Peter 5:7 ~ Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Keeping your home safe in these changing times

Stephen Armson-Smith
Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor
Essex Police

Having been “confined to barracks” during lock down don’t forget to lock up your home securely when you do go out. Whether going for your daily exercise, or to get your provisions, or with some now beginning to return to work its important get back into the habit of locking up when we leave our homes unoccupied.
Even if you are at home still consider your home security for as it gets warmer, we get to see a rise in the number of “Creeper Burglaries” where burglars take advantage of open gates, windows and doors.

An open or insecure garden gate will provide the thief with access to the back of your home.  If you have unoccupied rooms that are accessible to others from outside or off flat roofs make sure the windows are closed, if you need ventilation in these rooms whilst at home at least lock the larger window and only have the small window open even during the daytime. If you only have just bigger windows consider a lockable window restricter and a small alarm sensor on the window to detect entry.

Leave any accessible door open or insecure and an opportunist thief will pop in and anything lying around will be gone. You may have only popped out, or down the end of the garden or having a quick shower; it only takes a second for a thief to steal.

A few tips for keeping your home secure:

  1. Don’t attract a thief with insecure pedal cycles or cars or gates.
  2. Keep side or rear gates, sheds and garages shut and securely locked.
  3. Doors closed and locked? Don’t forget that with a PVCu multi-locking door you may have lifted the handle but until you turn the key or thumb turn on the inside you have not locked all the locks in place. Before going out or turning in for the night don’t forget to check all doors, someone may have closed it but did they lock it?
  4. Windows – lift the blinds or open the curtains and check they are closed, the sun may have been on the TV when it was hot, and so the curtains were drawn with the window open. Remember the above advice about open windows. Make sure in case of fire that keys to windows and doors are readily accessible to occupants but not in view of possible burglars.
  5. If you have an intruder alarm activate it when going out and activate the zone for the unoccupied area whilst in.
  6. Car keys – don’t take them to bed with you, where possible leave them in noisy drawer/location. Keep the keyless fob in a “Faraday” bag.
  7. If you do hear a suspicious noise in the house that you are not happy with dial 999 and make a noise, shout out, it could cause any intruder to flee, they may not have known you were home, remember your life is more important than your property. If safe to do so get a good description of the person/s and if possible the car index number and direction of travel.

Advice on passwords

Grahame Stehle
Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch


The following advice is pertinent to both business and personal users of digital devices and online services. Laptops, computers, tablets and smartphones contain a lot of items such as business-critical data, customer information, personal information and details of online accounts.

Passwords – when implemented correctly – are a free, easy and effective way to prevent unauthorised users accessing your devices. Things to keep in mind when using passwords for personal or organisation devices and services:

  • Make sure you switch on password protection – Set a screen lock password, PIN, or other authentication method (fingerprint or face unlock).
  • Use Two-factor authentication (2FA) for important’ accounts. – This requires two different methods to ‘prove’ your identity.
  • Avoid using predictable passwords (Pa$$word123)
  • Passwords should be easy to remember, but hard for somebody else to guess.
  • IT systems should not require staff to share accounts or passwords to get their job done. Avoid password overload – Passwords only need to be changed when a compromise is suspected.
  • Staff will forget passwords, so make sure they can reset their own passwords easily.
  • If using password managers, make sure the master password is a strong one
  • Change all default passwords.
  • The most secure passwords are made up of three random words and can be further strengthened by adding numbers, capital letters and symbols, eg pink31Rainbowjam9!

Password ‘Spraying’

One common way that online accounts are breached is through password spraying. Lists of a small number of common passwords are used to brute force large numbers of accounts.

These attacks are successful because for large set of users there will be some using very common passwords.

The NCSC recently conducted a research study which allowed participating organisations to assess how vulnerable they would be to a password spraying attack.

Results from the study:

  • 75% had accounts with passwords featured in the top 1,000 passwords
  • 87% had accounts with passwords that featured in the top 10,000

Whilst account lockout policies limit attackers trying multiple passwords against a single account, the account lockout counters usually reset over time, allowing persistent attackers to try hundreds or even thousands of common passwords.

One of the most effective ways to secure against these attacks is to prevent users from using common passwords in the first place. Using a password blacklist stops users choosing common passwords. More information on password blacklists can be found here.

We are reminding people in Essex to be vigilant following reports that fraudsters are attempting to take advantage of the current climate by carrying out crime online and at people’s doorsteps.

Sadly fraudsters will look to take advantage of any situation. This means tricking people into parting with their money and information, including posing as government officials, bank or other financial services employees by text message, online or by knocking at doors.

While we have only received a handful of incidents, it’s important that people be mindful before handing over money or personal details.

Some simple steps you can take are:

  • Do not assume or believe a call, a knock on the door or a deal online is genuine.
  • Take five minutes before taking action and trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel real or genuine,  probably isn’t.
  • Challenge any calls, visits or messages you may receive.
  • Never click on links and never divulge personal information – the police and government departments will never ask you for these details.
  • If you receive any fake gov.uk/coronavirus messages, please report these to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you are a victim of a scam.

Next visit:
Wednesday 20th May
7.30pm – 9pm

Boxted Royal British Legion car park

Useful links:

Boxted Village Hall
Boxted Village Website
Boxted Primary School
Boxted British Legion

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Newsletter editor: Angela McLauchlan   :   Design and layout: Shirley Szymanek