Brentwood in 1837
Brentwood is on the road to Chelmsford and Colchester, 18 miles from London and 11 from Chelmsford. Some Roman antiquities have been found in the neighbourhood. The assizes for the county were formerly held here. The place consists chiefly of one main street along the high road, with irregular and mean houses : from its situation on a great thoroughfare, it has many public-houses and inns. There are the remains of the old prison and town-hall, the tenants of which are bound to put them in repair if ever the assizes should be held in the place again. There is an ancient chapel in the town (for Brentwood is only a chapelry in the parish of South Weald, and the living a perpetual curacy, worth £124 a year, with a glebe-house, in the archdeaconry of Essex), founded about the year 1227, by the prior of the monastery of St. Osyth, for the tenants of a manor belonging to that monastery : this chapel is a small building dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, of whom it contains a rude image carved in wood. There is an endowed school : races are held in the neighbourhood ; and at Warley, not far off, are cavalry barracks. The area of the chapelry is 730 acres : the population, in 1831, was 1,642. The market has not been discontinued many years. There are two yearly fairs, at which a great number of cattle are usually sold : it is one of the fairs from which the farmers of the hundreds obtain their live stock.