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Robert’s son William, who was most likely named after the King, dropped the name of Gernon and took the name of Mountfitchet, which was then used by his descendants. He is reputed to have built the original Parish Church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, which now stands at the edge of the present Stansted Hall grounds. There is a stone effigy of a knight in the Church which is reputed to be him. The Chancel Arch in the Church today is just as the Norman builders completed it and there are also two beautiful Norman doorways of very fine quality.

In 1185 there is the first mention of a park at Stansted.

About the year 1214 Richard de Mountfitchet living at Stansted Castle joined with other noblemen to make a stand for their rights, because of the opposition by King John to the status bestowed upon them by William 1.

In the year 1215 on the 15th June, the Barons finally forced King John to meet them at Runnymede, near Windsor by the River Thames. There in the water meadows they forced the King to sign and seal their great charter, now known to everyone as the Magna Carta.

At this point one might ask what the connection with this great event is in English history and Stansted Hall. The connection is, that the same Baron Mountfitchet who owned the land at Stansted, also owned the land at Runnymede. Richard was one of the 25 Barons chosen in 1215 to govern the realm in the reign of King John.

Alas, this story has a very sad ending, because in 1216, King John who could never forgive and forget sent a small army to Stansted, laid siege to the castle and eventually destroyed it, together with the slaying of some of its inhabitants.

It is most likely about this time that the first Stansted Hall or Manor House was built with stones from the castle. History does not record the exact date, but we do know that there have been various Halls on a site in the field below the present terrace walk, near the Church, since the 14th century.

Richard died in 1258 without issue, and Stansted Hall reverted to his sister Margery, wife of Hugh de Bolebec of Northumberland. She was succeeded by her son Walter de Bolebec, who was then succeeded by his son, also Walter, who died without issue.

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