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The Last Two Thousand Years


Evidence of possible Roman settlement has been found at Countess Cross, near the church and near Knights Farm.

In 1066 there were 32 recorded tenants.  In 1086 a total of 38 tenants.

A 12th or 13th century settlement has been excavated at Black Bats, east of the modern village, where the frame of an early 14th century aisled hall survives in No. 1 Brickhouse Road.

There is evidence for other small medieval settlements or farms at the north end of Brickhouse Lane and at Booses Green.

The parish was called Little Colne in 1086 and 1327, presumably to distinguish it from Earls Colne.

In 1377 only 109 people paid poll tax implying that the population, although higher than those of Wakes and White Colne, was one of the lowest in the hundred.

The population seems to have grown in the late 16th century and the early 17th century when several cottages were built on the waste ground.

Epidemics between 1637 and 1639, in the winter of 1647-8, and in 1670, 1681 and 1686, as well as the smallpox recorded in 1651 and 1652, presumably reversed that growth.

Although 33 households were assessed for hearth tax in 1671 and a further 35 were exempt, only 80 adults were reported in 1676.

Estimated population at 40 families in 1723 and at 453 persons in 1766, and reported 76 houses or cottages in the parish in 1790.

The population rose from 523 in 1801 to 685 in 1841, and then fell to 501 in 1901.  It rose again to 583 in 1911, then remained fairly steady until it rose from 581 in 1961 to 888 in 1971.  By 1981 it was 947 and in 1991 it was 925.

At the last census (2001) there were 374 households/979 persons.

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