Family history story Notable Brinds Main index Transported: Job Hatherall & Swing Riots

James Brine

Arrested before his 21st birthday, James was born in 1813. Reputed to have a bright personality, he produced a dramatic account of his experiences as a Martyr.

In Australia he was robbed of all the bedding and clothes allocated by the authorities on his way to his assigned master. He married Elizabeth Standfield, daughter of Thomas and sister of John, further strengthening the family bonds, at Greensted Church, Essex. They had 11 children, four born in England, the others in Canada. Brine lived to 90, dying in 1902.

He built the log house which is still a local landmark - the only building associated with the Martyrs left in their adopted country.

Copyright 2001 Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum Trust. All rights reserved. Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS United Kingdom.

Family history story Notable Brinds Main index Transported: Job Hatherall & Swing Riots
The effects of the hot weather or a doodle-bug which landed nearby, are believed to be threatening St Andrew's, at Greensted, Essex, the world's oldest wooden church The marriage of James Brine, one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs transported to Australia for forming a trade union, is the first entry in the church register. Pardoned martyrs settled in the village.
Time may fell Saxon church

By Jack O'Sullivan

THE WORLD'S oldest wooden church is in danger of collapsing, possibly because of this summer's hot weather or the effects of a wartime bomb.

The 1,100-year-old Saxon log walls of St Andrew's Church in Greensted, near Ongar, Essex, are bulging. Its beams are splitting and the roof is leaking. The church, which was built in 845, once hid the remains of the Saxon king, St Edmund, who was beheaded by the Vikings.

The blackened tree trunks are believed to have been growing when Jesus Christ was a boy. Legend says the covers of the church's Bible and Prayer Book are made from the .tree against which King Edmund was martyred. When the tree fell in 1848 an old arrow head was found embedded in the trunk.

The Rev Tom Gardiner, the rector of St Andrew's, believes this year's dry spell or a "doodle-bug" which landed nearby may be responsible for the widening one-inch gap between the walls and pews.

Mr Gardiner, who is appealing for funds to aid the restoration, said it may be necessary to insert a girder across the tiny nave to stop the church falling apart.

St Andrew's was built in the midst of the vast Essex forest, which may have saved it from developers. Its name, after the patron saint of Celtic missionaries, indicates an earlier church on the site. From that building, dated about 650-660 AD, some of the present timbers were rescued. A claim by Norway that it had the oldest wooden church has been dismissed by archaeologists, who have dated bodies interred in its nave. Although Norman flint walls, Tudor brickwork and a Victorian interior have been added to St Andrew's, the Saxon logs are almost unaltered. The only big restoration was 150 years ago when the timbers were dried and rotting wood gouged out.

The church was a shrine for pilgrims seeking a cure from St Edmund, England's patron saint before he was replaced by St George.

It was also a haven for the Tolpuddle Martyrs, a group of Dorset labourers transported to Australia in 1834 for forming a trade union. When public pres sure forced their Royal pardon, they moved to Greensted. The marriage register, which dates from that time, begins with a record of the wedding of one "martyr", James Brine, to Elizabeth Standfield in 1839. This summer, Greensted children celebrated the 150th wedding anniversary of the couple in St Andrew's by holding mock marriages with the boys dressed as farm hands and the girls as brides. A great great grand-daughter of the "martyr" couple visited the church.

Independent Wednesday August 23, 1989.

Published Price: £4.99
ISBN: 0340852038
Published By: Hodder & Stoughton Children's Books
Publication Date: 13 June 2002
Format: Paperback, 128pages, height, 4pic insert
Category: children's true stories
Category: children's fiction Languages: English

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