During periods of prosperity In the eighteenth century, many of Witham’s buildings were modernised by encasing them In brick and giving them Georgian brick fronts. This seems to have been the case with Newbury House at No.2 Newland Street. For about 100 years up to the mid-1930s this was the Manse of the Congregational Church, now called the United Reformed Church. During the First World War It was the scene of a tragic accident. In 1916 the Minister was the Reverend David Picton. A Lieutenant James McLagon was billeted at the Manse. One evening, after dinner, he was showing a hand grenade to the family when it went off, killing Mr Picton and the Lieutenant, and seriously injuring Mrs Picton and their daughter Gwyneth.
The building dates from the 18th century and is Grade II Listed. The listing describes it as two storeys and cellars, three window range, double-hung sashes with glazing bars, in plain reveals. A central six-panel door with a semi-circular fanlight has a wood doorcase with panelled reveals, pilasters and an open pediment and is approached by stone steps. The front is protected by iron spearhead railings. Roof tiled, hipped at the north-east end. There is a Witham & Countryside Society/Witham town Council plaque on the front of the building.
Janet Gyford's 'A History of Witham', reports that Frederick Shelley moved here in 1936 and set up a bookmaker's business and named the house after the racecourse.
Sources: Cyril Taylor; Witham & Countryside Society, Janet Gyford; Heritage England.