Edmund Crowe of Broomfield, Essex (1510 – January 1559), is my 11th great grandfather. He is the earliest ancestor that I know of that resided in the parish of Broomfield.
Broomfield is a small hamlet, which is now a suburb of Chelmsford City, where I grew up and where I currently reside too. I have traced many generations of my paternal ancestry to this area and it’s surrounding parishes.
Chelmsford, Broomfield, The Waltham’s, Boreham, Great Baddow are all a part of my heritage. Walking Chelmsford High Street is something my ancestors have been doing for more then 500 years.
Edmund Crowe is one of those ancestors that we all have, that very little is known about. To understand his life, is to understand more about the time in which he lived and the area he resided.
Chelmsford was and still is the county town of Essex, it has held a market here since the 12th century and The town became the seat of the local assize during the early 13th century. Crime and Punishment was ever present in Chelmsford and over the years many people have been executed.
Chelmsford was also the location of Beaulieu Palace, (meaning Beautiful Place) It became a Royal Residence once owned by King Henry VIII, who bought the property of New Hall from the Boleyn Family and so built his palace on the site. Many of the forests and surrounding country side would have been owned by the Monarchy, so Chelmsford would have played host to many Royal visits and the King’s soldiers would have been a regular presence.
Local legend claims that the ghost of Anne Boleyn often appears in Boreham.
Edmund Crowe’s descendants settled in Boreham through the late Tudor and Early Stuart period before returning once more to Broomfield. Evidence suggests from older manorial records that the Crowe family have lived in the area at least as far back as the 1400’s.
Through later family wills, the family seem to have been Yeoman Farmer’s. Probably not very wealthy, but certainly better off then some.
The Crowe Families of Essex can probably trace their origins to Suffolk and Norfolk where much older members of this family have been recorded.
This surname, with variant spelling Crow, has two distinct possible origins, one English and the other Gaelic Irish. In the first instance, the derivation is from the Middle English “crowe” (Olde English “crawa”), meaning “crow”, and originally given as a nickname to someone thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the bird, perhaps someone with particularly dark hair. The surname from this source first appears on record in the latter part of the 12th Century. Other early recordings include: Nicholas Crowe, in the 1187 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and William Croe, in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1273.