Messing Home for Boys, Messing, near Kelvedon, Essex

The Messing Home for Boys was founded by the Rev. Edward Leathes Young Deacle, the vicar of the parish of Messing, near Kelvedon. The exact date of its opening is unclear but it was certainly in operation by 1893. In 1897, the home became affiliated to Waifs and Strays Society. It was one of the Society's smaller homes, housing just eight boys aged from 6 to 10 years. In 1911, when Mrs Emma Goddard was the matron, the number had risen to twelve, with ages from 8 to 14.

The Rev. Deacle was born in 1828 but, despite his advancing years and his other parish duties, he is said to have managed the home almost single-handedly. Apart from organising the home's administration and finances, he trained the boys in subjects such as printing and gardening.

Following Deacle's death in 1915, the home was closed.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
  • Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
  • Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
  • Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
  • Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.