Thomas Cammock was a 30 year widower with 9 children and was one of Richard Rich's the first Earl of Warwickshire's entourage. Richard Rich would travel between his houses like royalty. On one trip to Rochford Hall Thomas Cammock and Richard's 17 year old daughter fell in love. Once everyone had settled into the hall and during one evening after supper Thomas asked Richard for his daughters hand in marriage. Richard was upset and refused his blessing, Thomas said good night and went to bed. During the night Richard heard Thomas and his daughter eloping and so set chase with his men on horses.
Thomas and Richard's daughter rode to South Fambridge on their horses. Once they got there Thomas called for the ferryman who was asleep in his cottage on the other side, at North Fambridge. He yelled and yelled but the ferryman just slept on, eventually they could here the horses of Richard's men coming so Thomas pleaded with his beloved to go back to her father as he would forgive her, and he would swim to safety. She refused to and in the end they both swam with their horses across the Crouch.
Richard's men never caught them and they married in secret, and after a few years they returned to Richard's house and he was impressed by the love his daughter had for Thomas so finally gave his blessing.
Thomas and his wife went on and had a further 13 children. During the dissolution of the monasteries Richard was not only given Rochford Hall but also Hadleigh Castle.
We heard this story from Judith Williams, along with many others, after we met her in the new Southend Library, in the Forum building. Judith is a published author with many books relating to local history.