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Hatfield Peverel is a village and civil parish at the centre of Essex, England. The 2004 parish population, including the hamlet of Nounsley, was approximately 5,500. Hatfield means a 'heathery space in the forest'; Peverel refers to William Peverel, the Norman knight granted lands in the area by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion of 1066. Sited on high ground east of the River Ter, between Boreham and Witham on the A12, it is situated in the southern extremity of the Braintree District Council area (to which it elects two members).
St. Andrew's church, Hatfield Peverel
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Hatfield Peverel is 6 miles (10 km) northeast from Chelmsford, the nearest large town, to which it is connected by road and rail. Hatfield Peverel railway station is on the Abellio Greater Anglia East Anglia rail network, connecting it to London and Colchester
Hatfield Peverel is the site of a priory founded by the Saxon Ingelrica, wife of Ranulph Peverel and reputed to be the mistress of William the Conqueror, to atone for her sins, and dissolved by Henry VIII. The parish church, St Andrew's (Church of England) is the surviving fragment of the Norman priory church nave. There is also a Methodist Church and a Salvation Army (northeast London headquarters) congregation. The village has a Junior School (St Andrew's C of E) and an adjacent County Infant School, and Scout and Guide organisations with headquarters in Church Road, a Post Office, library, and doctors' surgery. Hatfield Peverel was the site of a Arla Foods factory which closed in July 2016, it used to produce dairy products, and other small business concerns. The factory which has subsequently been demolished and there are plans to build up to 177 houses on the former site. There are six public houses, a farm shop and other retail outlets. Major houses include Berwick Place, Crix, Hatfield Place, Hatfield Wick, and The Priory.
Hatfield Peverel Football Club has been established since 1903. Originally based at the Duke of Wellington Public House before moving to the Recreation Ground in 1936. The club are now based on the outskirts of the village at a former gravel pit at Wickham Bishops Road and fields men's, ladies and junior teams.
Hatfield Peverel was the home of Agnes Waterhouse, the first woman to be executed for witchcraft in England. Known locally as Mother Waterhouse, and she confessed to witchcraft in 1566, and two other women were also accused of witchcraft at the same time: Elizabeth Francis and Joan Waterhouse (Agnes' daughter). Her trial took place in Chelmsford, where she was found guilty and executed for using witchcraft to disease and cause the death of William Fynne.
Elizabeth admitted to having a familiar - a cat called Satan, who she fed drops of her blood and it helped to kill people, terminate pregnancies and stole cattle. She sold the cat to Agnes in exchange for cake, and both Agnes and Joan tested the cat's abilities. Joan is said to have had the cat turn into a toad, and when a child refused to give Joan food, Satan offered to help Joan in exchange for her soul, which she agreed to. The toad was said to have harassed the child and threatened her with death, and eventually the child asked Satan who its 'dame' was, and it answered Agnes Waterhouse, leading her to be accused of witchcraft by the child.
Waterhouse was executed two days after the trial based on the evidence and word of the child.
- "Civil Parish 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
- "Abandoned dairy could be turned into 177 homes". Braintree and Witham Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017.