Sutton with Shopland Village Sign

Article by Richard Kirton - September 2012

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described the parishes of Sutton and Shopland as follows:

SUTTON, a parish in Rochford district, Essex; 2¾ miles N of Southend r. station. Post town, Rochford, under Chelmsford. Acres, 721. Real property, £1,132. Pop., 148. Houses, 32. The manor belongs to Mrs. Aitken. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £254.* Patron, Mrs. Aitken. The church is good.

SHOPLAND, a parish in Rochford district, Essex; 2½ miles NE of Southend r. station. Post town, Rochford, under Chelmsford. Acres, 1,039. Real property, £2,299. Pop., 80. Houses, 10. The property is divided among four. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £89. Patron, Mrs. H. Aitken. The church is ancient but good.

Shopland was amalgamated with Sutton on 01 Oct 1933.

A new Village Sign was designed and erected by the Friends of Sutton, supported by the local community, to commemorate the new Millennium in 2000.

The Legend of the Sign

The Cow - Represents livestock farming in the past, the famous Shopland Herd of Pedigree Friesian cattle won many prizes at the Royal Show during the 1960’s. The cow ‘Shopland Edleet Ruth’ was given the accolade of being considered the epitomy of excellence in the breed.

The Wheat - Represents the arable farming of today. Local soil produces high quality bread making wheat.

Book & Quill - Philip Benton 1815 - 1898 – local Historian. He farmed and lived at ‘Beauchamps’. In 1897 he began writing his History of Rochford Hundred. The work was published in alphabetical order starting with Ashingdon. Unfortunately, because of paralysis of his hands he was unable to finish his writings, the last being of Shoebury North. In Sutton Church there is a window dedicated to his memory.

The Telescope and Stars - Chester Moore Hall 1703 – 1771 lived at Sutton Hall. He ranks high among the world’s greatest inventors. He is famous for his invention of the achromatic lens (concave and convex) for telescopes – the combination of two or more lenses corrected for chromatic aberration, thereby obliterating fringes in the clear and undistorted images we see today. The stars represent the Plough Constellation. His memorial is in the chancel of Sutton Church.

The Blue Cross - This separates the four quarters and represents the River Roach to the North and Prittle Brook to the West which bound the Parish.

The Saints’ Signs - All Saints, Sutton (left). The gold crowns refer to sanctity, the gold scrolls with red inscription “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus” can be translated to “Holy, holy, holy”. The silver left half of the field indicates the brightness of the Heavenly life in contrast to the black right half depicting the trials of earthly life.

St Mary Magdalene, (right), stood in Shopland. Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She anointed the head with precious ointment of spikenard, hence the white ointment pot with gold cover and base on a divided field of purple for penitence, and black for mourning, bestrewn with silver teardrops.

Time Capsule

A Time Capsule was placed underneath the Village Sign at installation and the following document was placed inside.

A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists or historians.

The purpose of this document was to divulge the legend of the pictures displayed on the sign and to give an insight to the highlights of the Parishes of Shopland and Sutton.

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