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Our Story  &  History

Built 1290 • Est 2013

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Since taking over Sir Henry’s in 2013 we’ve established ourselves as one of Essex’s finest restaurants and free house, our unique interior has been beautifully designed to highlight the buildings original features with the 800 year old timbers being the focal point of the restaurant and our hand drawn oil paintings on show around the restaurant 

The pub takes it’s name from Henry Gernett, a former Lord of the Manor  he was a sheriff and executioner of Essex who rented the land during the 14th century. The building was originally built around 1275 and has been occupied ever since. Although the building has suffered numerous fires, parts of the original structure remains, including the whole front of the restaurant and is now the only standing

V frame building in Essex

The site that is now occupied by the building is listed in the Domesday Book under the name of Kenningtons by 1086 the manor was part of the fief held by the French Baron William de Warenne Earl of Surrey, he however rented it out to Wulfbert, his underlord. The Manor was passed down the family line until around 1300 when the land was rented by Henry Gernet. Henry now had a large estate in Wennington, Aveley and Rainham. 

 

This large estate descended, including Kennington's, to heirs, until 1620 when it was bought from Sir William Ayloffe by Sir Edward Barrett, and was thus merged into the Belhus estate. The building was built between 1275 but over the years has gone under some re-modelling. In 1380 the building was extended to the south and in the 17th Century the brick chimneys were added and then in the 19th Century the inside of the building was modernized. 

 

The building remained within the Belhus estate until 1937  and was sold off to Essex County Council. The building then fell into disrepair but was brought back to life as a pub in the 80's which brings us to our takeover in 2013 and all the happy years we have had since. 

Rumours Of Misdeeds,   Murders And Ghosts 

As with all old buildings there are rumours of misdeeds, murders and ghosts attracted to it. Locals believe that a man was hung from one of the beams in the building, while others talk of a headless horseman. 

 

It is said that late at night a headless horseman can be seen riding across the old Belhus estate to where the main gate once used to be. If your lucky enough to speak to some elderly residents of South Ockendon or Aveley they might also tell you a tale that they were told when they were young, this is of a young lady that visited the house but was never seen again. 

 Some say that she knocked on the door of the house one cold winter night asking for some warm food and drink only to be turned away, it is said that she was found nearby in the morning and had died of the cold. But others say, she was chased by a local who knew of her nature and she fell in the moat and drowned. 

 

There is also a pond in the grounds of Sir Henry’s, some believe that this pond was used in witch trials and had once had a ducking stool, This might sound far fetched until you learn that 4 women were accused of being witches in the local area. 

1580 Joyce Duckerell of South Ockendon  

1584 Agnes Byllynge of South Ockendon 

1592 Elizabeth Boxer of Aveley 

1616 Margaret Lambe of South Ockendon

All would have undergone horrid treatment and if they were lucky enough to survive, they would have then been taken to Chelmsford for a proper trial. Of course these women are only the ones that are documented, there are many more that were accused of being witches that never survived even to be put on trial. 

 

When staff lock up footsteps can be heard coming from the restaurant above even though no-one is up there and a door in the main bar bangs loudly as if some is trying to get into the building. The kitchen has also had it share of strange events. A gas burner has been found turned on in the morning and kitchen equipment never seems to stay were you put it. Paperwork always seems to go missing, glasses have jumped off of the bar area, and staff often feel breezes pass through them

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