About Old Ship (HT)
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The Old Ship, currently the Antica Roma Italian Restaurant, in North Street, has stood its ground since around 1600, when it started life as an Inn. The white wash walls no longer display the marks where iron rings once restrained horses, livestock or the odd dancing bear from the fairground, whilst their owners indulged in a mug or two of ale.
In 1820, the landlord’s daughter, Mary Waters, was courting Thomas Fairhead, who owned the butcher’s stall in the yard of the Old Ship. Thomas and his friend Henry Gilliott were caught and prosecuted for thieving sheep and cattle. Neither man ever reached mid 20’s, but they did make history as they were the last men in England hanged for this crime. It’s said poor Mary died soon after from a broken heart.
In 1823 the Rochford Masonic Lodge moved its meetings to the building. It was in fact a member, local carpenter John Allen, who made the last Whispering Post that still resides in the front garden of King’s Hill House.
The Murder of Norah Trott
as told by retired Detective Chief Inspector Ray Newman
Old Ship Lane put Rochford in the news in 1978. Sixty-three-year-old local shopkeeper and resident Norah Trott, was the victim of a brutal sex attack and her body was found battered to death in an overgrown alleyway.
The murder sparked one of the largest murder hunts of its time, with over 4000 interviews taken by Essex Police. It was rumoured the police knew who the culprit was but lacked evidence.
In 2003, Essex Police set up a small team of retired detectives to re-examine ‘cold cases’. The first case they reviewed was the rape and murder of Norah Trott. As a result of DNA evidence, fifty-year-old builder Wayne Doughty was subsequently convicted 27 years after his crime.
|Address:||14 North St|
|Categories:||Point of Interest|