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Writtle has a well documented history going back many centuries, and includes King John’s Palace and Hunting Lodge. Robert The Bruce, King of Scotland was born here on 11 July 1274. The village was on the main coaching road between London and Norwich and was once therefore more important than neighbouring Chelmsford. In 1922, the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Company began transmitting the first regular broadcast from Writtle.
The Little Domesday Book reveals Writtle as one of the largest manors, both in population and territory, in Essex, the importance of which was enhanced by its being a royal demesne (i.e. land that was held for the King's own use).
Writtle was probably named by the Celts combining ‘Rhyd’ meaning ford and ‘Dol’ meaning valley, thus Rhyddol. Some historians think the name derives from ‘Writolaburna’, the Old English name for the River Wid, which winds its way across the extreme south-east corner of the manor. Writolaburna signifies the bubbling, purling stream.
King John had a hunting lodge built near the site of the present Writtle College in 1210 and bears the name King John's Palace. The Palace continued to be used as a hunting lodge by King Henry III, after King John's death in 1216, before passing into the hands of Isobel de Bruys (Bruce), forebear of Robert the Bruce. Robert the Bruce, future King of Scotland, was born here on 11 July 1274. It is recorded that by 1566, little remained of the buildings. Today, very little exists to remind us of its royal connection.
In 1922, the Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Company began transmitting the first regular broadcast from Writtle.
The station was known as Two Emma Toc or 2MT Writtle and was the forerunner of the BBC.
Further information about Marconi and the Writtle connection can be found at Marconi Calling.