Brentwood is the principal town in the Essex borough of Brentwood. The town was established in the twelfth century as a clearing within the great forest of Essex, which covered much of the area. Wood was burnt here (hence `burnt wood') and people settled in the vicinity, attracted initially by the old Roman road from London to Colchester. The fledging medieval town became popular with pilgrims travelling from the north and east of England on their quest to worship at the shrine of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. During the Peasants' Revolt of the 1380s, some of the agitators met in the town's inns and it was in
Brentwood that the first event of the revolt took place.
The arrival of the railway in 1840 had a major impact on the town, providing fast links to London and bringing new industry. Brentwood is the home of many famous faces and places, including being the setting of cult reality television programme The Only Way Is Essex. In Brentwood & Around Through Time author Kate Cole invites the reader on a captivating photographic journey of old and new. The book showcases many historical places and everyday life in Brentwood and the surrounding area, including Hutton, Shenfield, and Warley.
Kate J. Cole has a Master of Studies in local and regional history from Cambridge University, a Bachelor of Arts in history, and an Advanced Diploma in local history from Oxford University. She is currently writing about the local history of Essex and East Anglia on her own blog. She has written many local history books on the Essex area for Amberley.