The site of The Wheatsheaf as we know it today, and the immediate surrounding area, was an orchard back in the late 1700’s. It was in 1813 that Mr Joseph Staines bought a building that was erected on the edge of the orchard from a Mr James Clift for the price of £100. Over the course of time Mr Staines, described as “a Yeoman”, opened a shop on the site where The Wheatsheaf currently stands which continued to trade until Joseph sold the shop to a Mrs Sophia Horsnell for £210 in 1845.
When Mrs Horsnell died in 1867, she was living in London. She left in her will the property deeds to her nephew, Mr Nichols. He was also living in London and presumably with the property of little use to the London based man, he released the asset for the sum of £210 to Mr Charles Stanton Gray and Mr Walter Gray.
So the property entered into the ownership of the Gray family who were, even then, recognised as brewers of Springfield in Chelmsford. It has flourished throughout the years and now stands as one of only two pubs left in the village of Writtle.
Whilst the buildings history can be traced, it is more difficult to establish when the first beer was sold from the premises and when it was first named as “The Wheatsheaf”. In a local Essex directory published in 1866, the property was known for selling beer although it could have been doing so for years prior to this date.
Some theories say that the pub name came about due to the tenants of the building being bakers as well as beer retailers and they used a name associated with their trade. This is backed up by the County Directory of 1890 which has an entry for Mr George Pearson – baker and beer retailer. The electoral role for that year shows him occupying “The Wheatsheaf Inn, Writtle”
Since this date, a series of tenants have come and gone with the name The Wheatsheaf firmly placed in local historical records.