Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


Secretaries, Station Hill, Bures


Secretaries has connections with three notable local families, the Gurdons, Garrads and the Constables

"Secretaries" so called because of the legend of when Queen Elizabeth 1 visited Bures in 1561 (Smallbridge Hall), her secretary stayed in this property

Her Secretary of State was "William Cecil, 1st Baron of Burghley" and by all accounts he stayed with the Queen while she was visiting Smallbridge


Grade 11 Listed 14ct building


The family were well-to-do farmers and tanners in Bures and neighbourhood throughout the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
They owned substantial land in Bures, Mount Bures and the surrounding countryside. They were also involved with the Maltings, Brickmaking as well as owning boats at Colchester.
They owned Brook House, Secretaries and the White House in Bures Hamlet.

The earliest record of the Garrad family at Secretaries was recorded as :

John Garrad (1730 -1788),
Tanner, inherited the Tannery from Edward Garrard. Lived in Secretaries previously owned by the Gurdon family.(see below)
Moved to the Witham Tannery around 1768 and held 3 freehold properties in Bures where he is buried.

Robert Garrad (1761 -1844)
Farmer, purchased Secretaries

John Garrad (1796 -1874)
1851, lived at Secretaries, Malster, farmer, merchant and brickmaker employing 67 men. Of those, 8 were employed on two sailing vessels based at the Hythe, Colchester, with which he traded in bricks, malt, farm produce and coal.

Constable:-John Constable (RA) often travelled over to Bures to visit his sister Ann and his brother Abraham.

Abram Constable (1768 -1856) owned property (now called Abram Constables) in Sudbury Rd, Bures and Mount Bures,
Married to Catherine.

The Garrads had very strong links with the Constable family.
1. John Garrad (1730 - 1788) married Ann Constable (1732 - 1768).
2. The Garrads and the Constables were in partnership as Corn Merchants at East Bergholt.
3. Judith Garrad (b.1708 daughter of Edward) married John Constable (1705-1777) 
4. John Garrad (1796-1874) was in partnership in coal merchant with John Sidey Constable of Wormingford (1792-1867)

Letter to John from his affectionate mother Ann Constable dated 16 March 1811. "We have this week had Mary & Ann Garrad from Bures with us - their kind [uncle] brought them last Sunday & we expect their brother Abram to come for them tomorrow - the weather has been favorable & they seem to have been pleased & happy. They are very worthy good young people."
From 'John Constable's (Artist) Correspondence' published by HMSO 1 862 by R.B. Beckett. P.60

The Gurdons moved in Secretaries, previously owned by John Garrad (1730 -1788)
The Gurdons were small clothiers and landowners of Dedham, Essex, who by the close of the fifteenth century had risen in status. Gurdon’s father made a fortunate marriage, and purchased Assington Hall from Sir Richard Corbet
Ref:- John Gurdon (b1933) interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 20th August 2008; our family goes back reliably to 1199 and was well established in a large house in Assington, Suffolk;
Phillip Gurdon was the Vicar in Bures 1680 > 1740

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Published 26/12/2017