As I sat enjoying a meal at The Bell Pub in Purleigh, Essex, I had the distinct feeling this was the very place where the great-great grandfather of George Washington (Lawrence Washington c1633-1650) "...sat daily tippling there and encouraging others in the same beastly vice..." as was said by the Parliamentarians who wanted to oust Lawrence Washington from his post as Rector of All Saints Church, Purleigh. The pub was built centuries before Washington took his position and is located just 50 yards down the hill from the church. Hounded until he could take the abuse no longer, he left with his little family and settled in Maldon, Essex. He died penniless five years later. His sons, John and Lawrence (the younger) despondent over their father's treatment by the Parliamentarians, left England for the New World.
For more information please go to Extraordinary Places...Close to London as the first two chapters are devoted to Washington, how he lived, the bells he had cast in defiance of the Parliamentarians' wishes, and how he rang them at every opportunity. Indeed, they are still rung to this very day.
Photo courtesy and text provided by Julie and Barry Mott.
"The Bell is a 14th century pub which was extensively refurbished in the 16th century. Set in a small conservation area with the church and original village buildings on top of the hill. With views over the Blackwater Estuary. Good beer and food can be enjoyed in the peace as no music or children are allowed in the bars. We are on top of the hill next to the church in the village of Purleigh, four miles South of Maldon, Essex."
Barry & Julie Mott.
The Street, Purleigh, Essex CM3 6QJ Tel. 01621 828348