“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools”
Douglas Adams, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and notable pupil of Brentwood School
Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170, and his canonisation in 1173, was important in the foundation of the town. Pilgrims travelled to the shrine at Canterbury and a clearing in the forest, caused by fire (Burnt Wood) led to the creation of Brentwood.
In the 12th century, William of Ockendon gave his lands in Brentwood to the Abbey of St Osyth. The Abbot of St Osyth to built a chapel, dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury, and the ruins remain today in Brentwood High Street.
Henry III granted a Charter for a market in Brentwood in 1227.
In 1381, the poll tax, levied on every lay person over the age of 15, led to rioting and the Commissioner, Thomas Bampton, was driven from the town. The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, sent to restore order, but was seized by a mob and forced to leave the town. The rebels then joined the Peasants’ Revolt, led by John Bull and Wat Tyler in London. After the death of Tyler, the rebels were defeated at Billericay.
In modern times, the original district council was formed in 1974 from the former area of Brentwood Urban District, part of Epping and Ongar Rural District and part of Chelmsford Rural District. The district became a borough in 1993.
The open parkland at Thorndon South looks over views across countryside as far as Canary Wharf.
There is woodland and Old Hall Pond , which was a feed for the mill when the Old Hall, a residence of the Petre family, was on this site.