The parish of Witham appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. The manor of Witham was given to the Knights Templar in 1148. To the north of the current town is Cressing Temple which was the earliest foundation of Templar lands in Britain, built over 700 years ago.
The town started life on 'Chipping Hill', where the old forge and the church still exists to this day. As the years went by, the hamlet grew to become 'Witham' and St Nicolas Church of England Church (a unique spelling) serves a congregation of around 150 people each Sunday.
Witham briefly enjoyed a period as an affluent spa town after the discovery of a mineral-bearing spa in the town by Dr Taverner in the 18th century. Witham was also a centre of the wool trade until the decline of the industry in the late 17th century.
Starting in the 1980s but accelerating in the 1990s and 2000s a large number of houses were built in several estates to the south and southwest of the town infilling the farmland that used to exist between the town and the A12 bypass. The most recent of which is the Malting's lane development, which when completed will exceed 1200 homes, a school, business park and community shopping area.
A one time famous resident of the town is the author Dorothy L. Sayers whose statue stands opposite the town's library. The library stands on the site of the old Whitehall cinema, which closed in the late 1970s.
Witham is situated on the A12 trunk road between Chelmsford and Colchester. Originally the A12 ran in a straight line through the middle of the town; however for some decades there has been a by-pass completely avoiding the town.
Because of these excellent transport links, the town has a large number of residents who commute to work in London. This is evidenced by Witham railway station's appearance within the 150 busiest railway stations in Great Britain, which would not be expected based on the town's population alone.
Leisure facilities include a bowling alley, Benton Hall Golf and leisure centre, a pool club and a library which occupies the building of the town's long-closed cinema, the Whitehall. A 'River Walk' runs for three and a half miles through the town and is home to a range of wildlife. Bramston Sports Centre is also located in Witham. The sports center contains three swimming pools: a teaching pool, a diving pool (referred to as the Merlin pool) and the main pool which is 25 metres long (half the standard Olympic and competitive pool length). The Centre also includes four squash courts and a "Kinetika" gym.
The Morrisons supermarket site was previously the factory site of Crittall Windows, until 1994 when the factory was closed and moved to Braintree.
A significant industrial presence remains in the town, mainly concentrated on three industrial estates on the eastern side of the town close to the junction with the A12. There is also significant office accommodation in the town centre area.
In March 2007 Crittall closed its Braintree factory and returned to Witham to occupy a new factory on the Freebournes Industrial Estate. The factory Crittall have moved into was built for J.L. French in 2001, but never used for production. The new Crittall factory is visible on the right hand side of the road exiting Witham towards Colchester via the A12.
However at the next general election Witham will become a new constituency in its own right. The constituency will include Hatfield Peverel, Wickham Bishops, Marks Tey, Kelvedon, and Coggeshall. It is regarded as a safe seat for the Conservative Party, based on the majority that it is estimated would have been achieved at the last general election.
Witham is under the jurisdiction of Witham Town Council (its parish council), Braintree District Council and Essex County Council.
Witham is the home town of two racing drivers. James Winslow, the 2004 ARP British Formula 3 champion, 2006 Asian Formula 3 champion and 2007 Asian V6 Champion and Eddie Hall, 2005 UK karting champion and twice European title winner.
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