by Ian Yearsley
Hadleigh in Essex is perhaps best known for its castle which has looked out over the River Thames from its hill-top position since the early 13th century. However there is evidence of Norman, Saxon and even Roman occupation. By the end of the 18th Century Hadleigh was an important stop on the increasingly busy road from London to the growing seaside resort of Southend-on Sea.
In 1891 a distinct change came to Hadleigh when General William Booth of the Salvation Army bought a huge tract of land on the Hadleigh Downs to establish a farm colony for retraining the destitute from London. The farm colony grew to have a brick works and even its own railway line. There is even a hint of the dark arts with Hadleigh’s very own white witch ‘Cunning Murrell who lived in Endway just off of the High Street