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Basildon, Essex
A map of the area.

Basildon: A brief history

Geographically, Basildon is situated some 30 miles South East of London, set back 4 miles from the passing River Thames in the county of Essex.

The earliest known reference to Basildon can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when the area was then referred to as Behoter. It's thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon settlement called Boerthals Hill that stood on or around the Holy Cross area of Church Road.

The name Basildon appears to have evolved from the words Boerthal and dun, the Anglo-Saxon term for hill.

From these earliest times to the 18th century there have been many variant spellings.

1176 Berdlesdon

1200 Bretlesden

1240 Batlesdon

1510 Bastelden

1594 Basseldon

1602 Bassendon

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales by Rev. John Marius Wilson

The Reverend John Wilson edited these impressive topographical volumes between 1870 and 1872. They included a brief description of Basildon.

BASILDON, a chapelry in Laindon parish, Essex; 2 miles NNW of Pitsea r. station, and 4 SE of Billericay.

Post Town, Laindon, under Billericay.

Acres, 1,627. Real property, 1,927. Pop., 180. Houses, 25.

The living is annexed to Laindon rectory in the diocese of Rochester.

Extract from 'Essex Roads & Lanes' Part 1. Being a useful guide for Pedestrians & Cyclists. Published approximately 1908.

     There is a place in Essex called Basildon, the Cyclist who may wish to go there will be interested to know that it lies to the right of Cray's Hill going to Wickford and it joins on to Vange on the opposite side of the valley. If standing on Langdon Hill and looking across to Billericay, Basildon is to the right, and it may be reached by turning one's back to the "Crown Inn," and taking the first lane on the left(*) at the end of which lane turns to the left and then the first on the right, continuing until a cross lane is found on the left c.1920, Church Road, Basildon which takes you over the railway and on past Basildon Church. Most of the houses here have two acres of practically useless ground tacked on to them. It gives the back garden in some cases the generous depth of a quarter of a mile.

     When it rains in the surrounding country it seems to have a knack of sometimes skipping Basildon, hence water is a valuable commodity there.

     The nearest Railway Stations are Billericay, Wickford, Laindon, or Pitsea, either of which is about three miles distant.

(*)The route referred to does not mention local names but at that time they would have been Dry Street, Bells Hill Road, Honeypot Lane and Church Road. During the new town development Dry Street was slightly truncated when Nether Mayne was constructed, but its original junction with Honeypot Lane and Bells Hill Road still remains; although very overgrown and no longer used as such. The eastern side of Honeypot Lane virtually disappeared, except a small stretch which was renamed Clay Hill Lane. Waldegrave, on the Kingswood estate roughly follows its previous course. At the same time Clay Hill Road was rediverted and now runs to Southernhay, but the railway overbridge at Church Road still remains today.

White's gazetteer and directory

In the 1800s the publisher William White of Sheffield produced a small history of Basildon in his yearly gazeteer and directory.

Reproduced here is the entry information for Basildon from the 1848 edition.

BASILDON, or Basseldon, is a small village and chapelry, ecclesiastically united to Laindon parish, and distant 4 miles South South East of Billericay. It contains 157 souls and 1627 acres of land; and has a fair for toys, etc., on Sept. 14th.

It was made a chapelry to Laindon at an early period, and is in the three manors of Barstable, Botelers, and Battleswick, belonging to the Slater, Prentice, and other families.

Barstable gives name to this Hundred, and had anciently a village, the foundations of which have often been ploughed up in the town field. At Domesday Survey, it belonged to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and was held, with the Hundred, of the King.

The Church, or chapel, is a substantial building, with a nave, chancel, and an embattled tower, crowned by a spire. The living is a perpetual curacy, consolidated with the rector of Laindon.

The principal farmers are Francis Ede, Benjamin Moss, and John Peasgood.

The inhabitants of note are listed as:

Walter Shead, shopkeeper
John Flowerden Colls D.D. (Doctor of Divinity)

Farmers:

Alfred Archer and Daniel Archer
Benjamin Moss
Abraham Offin
John Peasegood
Mary Skipworth

Source: William White's History, Gazeteer, and Directory of Essex 1848

White's Directories
The publisher William White of Sheffield issued a yearly series of gazetteers and directories covering the United Kingdom. These began in 1826 in partnership with William Parson, but from 1831 were solely the work of White. William White continued to produce these until 1898 when his company was absorbed into Kelly's (Frederic Festus Kelly) trade directory, which continued into the twentieth century.

Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1894

BASILDON (or Battelsdon), though now annexed to Laindon, is said to have been formerly a town.

The church of the Holy Cross, standing on an eminence, is a building of brick and stone in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave, south porch and a western tower containing 3 bells, dated 1677 and 1756: in 1880 the chancel was thoroughly restored and new oak choir stalls were introduced, the nave was thoroughly restored in 1888: a curious tablet on the north wall of the nave records that in 1702 the parishioners paid eleven shillings and sixpence in the pound, according to their rental, for the restoration of the church. The register dates from 1707, previous entries having been made in the Laindon registers.

The rectory house was built in 1869, by the late rector, assisted by a loan of 1,500 from Queen .Anne's bounty.

According to Morant, Barstable Hall, in this parish, gave its name to the hundred.

A bequest of 200 was made in 1862 by Samuel Leake Gibbons, the interest of which is given to the poor of this parish.

Joseph Moss esq. and the Misses Ede are the principal landowners.

The soil is heavy; strong land. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas and clover.

The area is 1,607 acres; rateable value, 1,157; the population 1881 was 179.

Post office.-Nathan Beardwell, sub-postmaster. Letters arrive from Brentwood via Billericay at 8.30 a.m.; despatched at 4.45 p.m. The nearest money order office & telegraph office is at Wickford.

Carpenter Rev. Herbert (curate in charge of Laindon & Basildon), The Rectory
Durham Edward Burton, Fryern's ho
Austin John, beer retailer
Bacon Hy. fm. bailiff to J. Halston esq.
Baker Harry, farmer
Dowson Edwd. frmr. Summerhill fm
Gardiner William, farmer
Moss Joseph, farmer & landowner, Fairfield

This article is used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales.
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/

Text written 2002 with revisions 2003.
Copyright © 2002-2003, 2014, B.Cox, Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
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