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In the Domesday Book of 1086, the town was called Celmeresfort and by 1189 it had changed to Chelmsford.Its position on the Londinium – Camulodonum Roman road (the modern A12) ensured the early prosperity of Chelmsford.He was attended by his council, headed by the temporary Chancellor ... It could be said that given this movement of government power, Chelmsford for a few days at least became the capital of England.Many of the ringleaders of the revolt were executed on the gallows at what is now Primrose Hill An Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered at Broomfield to the north of Chelmsford in the late 19th century and the finds are now in the British Museum. In the 17th century many of the victims of Matthew Hopkins (the self-styled "Witchfinder General") spent their last days imprisoned in Chelmsford, before being tried at the Assizes and hanged for witchcraft.Before 1199, there were settlements nearby from ancient times.
The city's name is derived from Ceolmaer's ford which was close to the site of the present High Street stone bridge.Henry VIII purchased the Boleyn estate in 1516, and built Beaulieu Palace on the current site of New Hall School.This later became the residence of his then mistress, and later wife Anne.Since the 1980s Chelmsford has suffered from a decline in its defence-related industries, most notably the Marconi Company with all of its factories either being closed or sold.The site on West Hanningfield Road was sold to BAE; the Waterhouse Lane site sold to E2V and the New Street site is undergoing major redevelopment for residential/mixed use.