Two Mills

Independent Adult Education

Chelmsford, Essex

Essex Countryside & Wildlife Course BLOG :

Welcome to my blog as the Tutor of

Essex Countryside & Wildlife Course


I'm ROGER TABOR, and this blog is to give a flavour of the activities on the course. What does it cover?


Everything about the history & wildlife of Essex & its countryside!


Every evening & every year of the course is different as we follow an ever changing range of topics.


I note here some of the things we have looked at!


When you get to the bottom of a page, to see more click on 'older' for earlier posts on other topics.

By Roger Tabor, Aug 1 2018 01:21PM

AAfter a great lunch at the Red Lion at Kirby le Soken, we headed south to Great Holland Hall where our tutor Roger Tabor talked about the buildings, & former farmer Charles Hick's C19 diary which covered the era of the 1930 "Swing Riots" which involved Gt & L Holland & Kirby le Soken as well as other places across the S & E. Threshing machines were destroyed as a reaction to mechanisation & a number of factors affecting agricultural workers livelyhoods. The Hall was also subsequently significant for Mr Hick's daughter in law Lilian Hicks b 1853 & her daughter Amy b 1877 were active in Women's Suffrage.

By Roger Tabor, Aug 1 2018 12:59PM

Stepped back into the world of Arthur Ransome's "Secret Water", the really charming old thatched pilot's cottage & the Quay which Ransome dubbed 'Witch's Cottage' & 'Witch's Quay'. We were lucky to arrive to a low tide sea-mist across Kirby Creek & Horsey Mere giving what we could glimpse of Horsey Island an ethereal view. Wonderfully atmospheric. Ransome dubbed the Mere 'the Red Sea' as he had the youngsters marooned in the middle of 'the Wade' with incoming tide.

By Roger Tabor, Aug 1 2018 12:42PM

Coach pick up at Writtle, then first stop the impressive Norman Great Clacton Church, large due to Richard de Belmais Bishop of London 1108-27, wide pilaster responds, the bases of vaulting ribs in the nave reveal it was formerly vaulted like Copford Church [also was under the Bishops of London). Thich walls, deeply recessed large windows, important church. Pict of Roger Tabor talking about the large external corresponding flat butresses.

By Roger Tabor, Mar 19 2018 06:55PM

Investigated ID, habitats, behaviour & ecology of Essex coastal Gobies, Blennies & Prawns/Shrimps. C. Goby has eyes set higher than C Blenny, & C Goby has gap between ant. & post. dorsal fins unlike C Blenny. ID of prawn species by the spines on its rostrum using microscope as well as hand lens. History of Leigh-on-Sea's Bawleys, & catching Brown Shrimps & "Pink Shrimps" at different locations. Examined eggs held on females swimmerets. (Picts of toothed rostrum on Essex coastal C Prawn, & Essex Countryside & Wildlife course looking at rostrum by binocular microscope for species ID).

Talked of story of a couple of shrimp boats that were part of "Little Boats" at Dunkirk in WWII.

By Roger Tabor, Mar 19 2018 06:34PM

Explored botanical debate over naturalised or native or both for Snowdrops. The structure of Snowdrops suit season, + involvement of ants in spreading seeds.

Talk on Grayson Perry's exhibition at First Site Colchester on the fictional "Life of Julie Cope"with huge tapestries, ceramic house set in the Essex landscape from Canvey Island, via Maldon & Colchester to her "shrine" at Wrabness.on R Stour.

Also Minories summerhouse (Strawberry Hill Gothic style) & Minories 'upgrade' from Tudor house into Georgian by baize maker Isaac Boggis' son Thomas.

By Roger Tabor, Mar 19 2018 06:17PM

Used church windows as a tool for dating churches, Saxon, Norman, Early English, Decorated, Perpedicular, Tudor etc.

Featured Great Clacton Church built by Richard de Belmais, Bishop of London, early C12. Church originally barrel vaulted (as also Copford Ch by same man, who also founded St Osyth Priory).

Discussed the village, Tendring Peninsular, Poor Laws especially in conjunction with the Swing Riots in 1830 at Gt Clacton & Gt Holland. Used different evidence sources including Broadsheet Ballads.

By Roger Tabor, Mar 19 2018 06:03PM

Our tutor Roger Tabor gave a lecture to us & members of BNA Essex Branch at Moulsham Mill, Chelmsford, Essex, on the 800th anniversary of the day that the Charter of the Forest was sealed by William the Marshall for the young 10yr old Henry III in St Pauls Cathedral. This charter with Magna Carta are recognised as forming the basis of Common Law. The Charter of the Forest took out of Forest Law the Royal Forests set up between the reigns of Henry II to King John, & gave greater access to Royal Forests to free men.

Pict of cattle grazing in Hatfield Forest, Essex. Commoners rights of grazing & pannage in Royal Forests were granted under the Charter of the Forest.. At one point all of Essex was termed Forest of Essex coming under Forest Law.