Welcome to the Essexmeme Wiki
In January 2014 artists Stuart Bowditch and Alan Hockett were commissioned as part of the ENAS (Essex Network of Artists Studios) programme to enable artists to create collaborative works around a creative dialogue. The Commission was set up to enable the artists to test out ideas, take risks, explore new ways of working and broaden their scope of work.
Stuart and Alan spent six months searching out many forgotten bits of history, folklore, legend or myth that abounds in Essex. They delved into local archives, spoke to curators of museums and spoke to a lot of Essex residents and communities. They were taken on rides in boats and on the back of a tractor. They were given access to areas restricted to the public. They met people in village halls, front rooms, on piers, in car parks and in art galleries. They drunk tea, ate biscuits and cake and bacon sandwiches. They even crossed the River Stour into Suffolk, but only to interview a man who looked out of his window at Essex across the river every day. All this in the name of art!
The collection of stories they found has been collected onto a wiki website (you're here), which the artists and public can continue to contribute to, refining the facts and details over time. A selection of the stories were developed into a series of Internet memes which have been sent out over the internet using familiar social networks . They also colated all of their research, recorded interviews and photographs into a central repository, which will be on display at Hadleigh Old Fire Station between 1st and 14th September 2014.
Stuart and Alan have really enjoyed meeting many characters from across the county and thank them warmly for helping make this project possible. If you have discovered this project recently, you can still contribute by sending them an email or adding to this website.
Myths, legends and folklore.
We are looking for information on any myths, legends and folklore connected to the dark corners of the county of Essex. This website has only just started but will grow over time. So far we have information on the following stories, but please feel free to contribute, add, correct and expand. Alternatively, if you woud like to talk to us in person then we're happy to come and visit you for a chat (and possibly a cup of tea).
Stories we have information on so far include Sarah Moore (of Leigh-on-Sea), The Tilbury Serpent , The Great Storm of 1870, the lost Church of Milton hamlet , The Coin of Rainaldus, Matthew Hopkins, Thomas Cammock , The Mayflower, HMS Beagle , Dick Turpin, Cutler Lynch, the Kursaal Zoo, Mr Gundy (of Shoebury) and Borley Rectory. More recently we have added information on the stories of the Hadleigh Woman-in-White , the Tilbury Giants ,The Ghost of Moulsham Street , a Harwich Mooring and the Ghost at Firstsite .
Foulness Island has a myriad of myths and stories connected to it. So far we have information on the hail storm of 1992 that killed thousands of birds, the story of a beached Fin Whale and details of a thriving cheese industry .
There are also a couple of Essex cunning men, James Murrell and George Pickingill, and a couple of bare knuckle fighters in John Bennewith and Canadian Johnson that we'd like to find out more information about.
We have been adding all of the locations to a map, which you can visit here.