THE VILLAGE SIGN

 

The Village Sign was installed in September 2004 with the help of a substantial grant from Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust, and practical assistance overseeing installation from Basildon District Council. It was designed and manufactured by Alpha Signs of Saffron Walden.

 

The Sign stands in front of St. Mary's Church, which is included in the design. The church is the oldest building in the parish and was for centuries the centre of village life. It is believed that there has been a church on this site for over 1000 years although the oldest part of the present building, the tower, is only 590 years old.

 

In the foreground of the Sign stands a stook of corn with a scythe depicting the historic farming tradition of the area while the whole scene is being surveyed by a raven.

 

The raven represents the Saxon origin of 'Ramsden'. In the Doomsday Book the name is given as Ramesdana. Dana is the Saxon word for a valley and the whole name meant valley of the Ravens. The Ravens were a Saxon tribe who settled in the area, probably in about the 5th. century, which was after the Romans had left Britain.

 

At the top of the Sign is the Coat of Arms of the Belhus family from which comes the second part of the village name, Bellhouse. Sir Richard de Belhus was given the lands of the parish in 1200 by King John whom he had served in a number of posts including that of Sheriff of Cambridgeshire.