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History of Great Warley

Also see Little Warley

As always, I start the history of an area with a few trade directories, Pubs and census data.

The history of the Great Warley Barracks; originally home of the troops of the East India Company

Great Warley 1848 Whites Directory

Great Warley 1855 Post Office Directory

Great Warley 1874 Post Office Directory - 1874 Commercial Traders

Great Warley 1882 Kellys Directory - 1882 Private residents - 1882 Commercial Traders

Great Warley 1886 Kellys Directory - 1886 Private Residents - 1886 Commercial Traders

Great Warley 1894 Kellys Directory - 1894 Private Residents - 1894 Commercial Traders

There are fifteen historical Public Houses listed in Great Warley

Warley - There was a considerable Barrack area in Little Warley, initially set up in the 1770's as an adhoc (non-permanent) camp, although Parish Records show there to have  been a military presence as early as 1742 . In 1804, 116 acres of land was purchased from George Winn, the owner of Great Warley manor. Barracks built for two troops of horse artillery, i.e. ten officers and 306 men; plus 222 horses were to be stabled.
 The East India Company,  transferred here in 1843 from Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent, costing £15000 but requiring alterations to house 7 officers, 21 staff sergeants and 800 men. Also, the Essex Regiment chapel was built at a cost of £2147 . By end of 1857; 2,500 men had passed through the  barracks and shipped to India.  Training was initially for artillery and infantry but also included 3092 cavalry recruits despatched to Calcutta by August, 1858. Many were also garrisoned in the town.

Administrative rights of the East India Company were transferred to the Crown in 1860
The War office took possession of Warley Barracks in 1861, and a depot battery of Royal Artillery was stationed there. In 1864, Warley became a depot for the Guards. In 1870, the Royal Scots were in occupation and when the Guards were transferred to Caterham. In 1873 after the Guards, the 44th and 56th Regiments of Foot were there. * In 1881 important changes, known as the Cardwell Reforms, were made. As a result the various infantry units of a county or district were grouped territorially. In Essex the 44th (East Essex) Regiment and the 56th (West Essex) Regiment were brought together and called the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Essex Regiment. The two units of the ancient militia, the East Essex Militia and the Essex (Rifles) Militia, were re-designated the 3rd and 4th (Militia) Battalions of The Essex Regiment, while the depot companies of these four units were brought together at Warley Barracks and formed into the Regimental Depot. Finally the various Corps of Essex Rifle Volunteers became the four Volunteer Battalions of the Regiment. In this manner was the foundation laid for the Territorial Army. **

OFFICIALLY, the formation of the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards dates from the 15th July 1915, when it was announced that His Majesty the King had been “graciously pleased to approve” of the formation of two additional Battalions of Foot Guards—the 4th Grenadier Guards, and the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, which was to be made up out of the personnel of the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion. And, officially, on July 18 that formation took place. But those who knew the world in the old days, and specially the busy part of it that had Warley Barracks for its heart, know that the 2nd Battalion was born in spirit as in substance, long ere the authorities bade it to be. The needs of the war commanded it; the abundance of the reserves then justified it; and, though Warley Barracks had been condemned as unfit for use by the Honourable the East India Company a trifle of fifty odd years ago, this was not the hour to stand on ancient tradition. So the old, crazy barracks overflowed; the officers’ damp and sweating dog-kennels were double-crammed; and, by sheer goodwill and stark discipline, the work went forward to the creation.

Warley Barracks is now the Ford administration centre.

*  Warley Magna to Great Warley - George Harper(1956)  - This book is very good, but lacks any references to source material, and is therefore suspect as to whether information is correct.

** Chelmsford Museum

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