RAMSDEN BELLHOUSE AND CRAYS HILL
The name, 'Ramsden', is believed to be derived from 'Ramasdena' (Domesday Book, 1086), meaning 'Little wooded valley of the ravens'.
It covers the parishes we now know as Ramsden Bellhouse and Ramsden Heath, and stretches from Stock in the north to Nevendon in the south, with Down and Wickford to the East and Ramsden Crays to the west.
The Belhus family moved to the area in the 13th Century and by the 14th Century it had taken on the name of Rammysden Belhous.
Ramsden Heath, in the borough of Chelmsford City, did not come into being until the early part of the 20th Century. It covers the area of the heath-land to the north of the parish.
At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 the parish of Ramsden Crays was known as 'Windull', probably after a family of that name. It was not until the beginning of the 13th Century when it was also being referred to as 'Ramesdena'. This more of less coincided with the arrival of the de Crei family in to the village. Within one hundrerd years their name had been incorporated into the parish name, Rammysden Creys. Although the original name of 'Windull' was still occasionally being used right up until the early 16th Century.
If you visit the are and look at the village sign to the east end of the village you will see on one side the name 'Ramsden Crays', and on the other 'Crays Hill' At the other end of the village a large sign says 'Crays Hill' then in brackets' Ramsden Crays'. We are yet to find out why.