|I am often asked how Cudmore Grove got it's name. My first knowledge of this area is from the 1930s and of warm summer evenings when my family would visit Auntie Nellie and her family in East Mersea for tea. After tea we would set off for a walk which usually took us to The Bowling Green, a flat grassy area behind the beach and below the cliffs of Cudmore Grove, which in those days was known by the locals as Cumber Grove.
At that time the Golf Links were still very popular and covered the area from the boundary hedge to the west of the park around to what is now Colchester Oyster Fisheries. Many of the local men found work there as caddies, especially when they were out of work. My father Leslie went there on one occasion when he was out of work as a bricklayer. He was caddying for a gentleman who was playing in an important competition and at the last hole he turned to dad and asked 'How shall I play this caddy ?'. Dad being a bricklayer had a good eye for levels and whether dad's advice helped him to sink the putt we shall never know, but he did and the gentleman turned to dad and gave him ten shillings which was very welcome in those hard times. I had always thought the bowling green was part of the golf links but looking at the tithe awards of 1837 it is listed there as Bowling Green Marsh of 1 acre 3 rods and 35 perches, owned by George Round and occupied by Samuel Cant snr. of the well known rose growing family.
The Wilson Family from London used to stay at East Mersea for several months every year before WW1. One daughter, Isabella Rosa, married
Geoffrey Dawson and lived on Mersea for many years. Isabella tells us that an uncle married Hannah Tiffin of North Farm, East Mersea in 1839
and goes on to say "Their wedding was kept up for a week in a marquee on the Bowling Green, a lovely open space where we used to play cricket,
with a sloping mound, covered with trees and blackberry bushes at the back.
It was once used for playing bowls but now is just sand and shingle and not so many trees." She was talking to Sybil Brand in 1967.
Isabella's niece Diana also tells us "In his early days my father had his own yacht the WENONAH and a ship's cutter which he
used for the Scouts. He was one of the earliest people to get involved in scouting and started the 1st Greenwich Troop who camped
on the Bowling Green at Mersea, which was reputedly Roman."
Cudmore Grove may have had some connection with the Cudmore family but a map of 1874 spells it as CUDMOOR. Is this a misspelling or did it never have anything to do with that family ? The 1837 tithes list it as The Grove, 2 acres 2 poles and 19 perches.
The photo believed to date from the 1920s shows the area looking towards Brightlingsea. The cliffs in the distance are already eroding and some trees are already falling into the water. Picture from Mersea Museum Fen Farm Collection.
Published in Mersea Life December 2018, Local Page 20.