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Geography of Boreham

The Parish of Boreham is located in open countryside immediately north east of Chelmsford (the County Town of Essex). The basic topography of the Parish was determined by the last great Ice Age. It is six square miles, roughly shaped like a pear hanging from its stalk. Boreham Parish slopes from north to south down to the River Chelmer which forms the southern boundary to the parish. The river was canalised in the eighteenth century and has three locks in Boreham taking up the difference in level as the river falls from west to east eventually to disperse into the Blackwater Estuary. Formed by the melting glaciers it has a broad flood plain of rich alluvium which often floods in winter. The Parish was bisected from east to west by the old Roman road which follows the line where the ice sheet petered out and now by the A12 and the London to Colchester railway line. To the north is a plateau of sand and gravel overlain with fertile boulder clay.

The earliest inhabitants of Boreham may have chosen to settle at the gently sloping sun-trap of the southern edge of this plateau overlooking the steep slope down into the valley where a patch of exceptionally fertile loam 40ft deep is well watered by many springs. One of them, when piped to the Spout, became the chief source of water for people living around the church for centuries until the mains came in 1937/8.

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