Video introduction: https://www.loom.com/share/0bc93bcec4b545a5a8bc845e1d4d52ea
Initially, the school only had three Houses – Bruyn, Rokell and Warren. These houses are named after historically influential Thurrock land-owning families from the Middle Ages. Whitmore House was introduced later, as the school expanded and was named after a local family.
Named after the Bruyn family who owned land in the Stafford area from the 1200s. Sir Maurice Bruyn was Sherriff of Essex & Herefordshire in 1423-1424 and again in 1435-1436
By 1181, the Rokell (or de la Rochelle) family were the owners of Willingdale Doe in Essex and the Manor of South Ockendon. In 1255, Sir Richard de la Rochelle, who was an accomplished lawyer, was made Justiciar of Ireland by King Henry 111.
William de Warrene was one of the eleven Norman Barons who came to England with William (the Conqueror) of Normandy in 1066 and were later given significant land holdings. Part of William de Warrene’s gift was a 30 acre holding in Stifford. The de Warrene family was influential in Thurrock until the late 1200s, when most of their local land and property was sold to the Crammaville family.
The Whitmore family became the owners of the Orsett estate in 1884. Francis Whitmore inherited the estate from his father in 1899 and became a very well known and pro-active member of the local community. He was President of the Orsett Cricket Club, the founder of Orsett Golf Club, a Justice of the Peace and Lord Lieutenant of Essex. He also re-built the roof of Orsett Church. The Whitmore family remained at Orsett Hall until 1967.