The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales...., by John Marius Wilson. circa 1866
BENFLEET (SOUTH), a parish in Rochford district, Essex; on the coast, including part of Canvey Island, and on the London and Southend railway at Benfleet station, 4 miles SSW of Rayleigh. Acres, 3,361; of which 305 are water. Real property, £3,756. Pop., 573. Houses, 125. The property is much sub-divided. A strong castle was built here by the famous Danish pirate, Hastings; and taken and destroyed by Alfred the Great. The waters on the coast were celebrated for oysters. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £285. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is a fine structure of the time of Henry VII.
Transcribed by Noel Clark
KELLY'S DIRECTORY OF ESSEX 1933
SOUTH BENFLEET is a village and parish on Hadleigh Bay, which flows between it and Canvey Island. with a station on the London, Midland and Scottish railway, 7 miles west from Southend, 8 south-west from Rochford and 29 from London, and is in the South Eastern division of the county, Rochford hundred, and petty sessional division, Southend county court district, Canewdon and Southend rural deanery, Southend archdeaconry and Chelmsford diocese. The church of St. Mary the Virgin is a large edifice of stone chiefly in the Perpendicular style, but with some Norman remains, including the west doorway. and consists of chancel, nave of three bays with clerestory, aisles, south porch and a western tower with low shingled spire, containing a peal of 5 bells and a clock, added in 1911: the tenor bell weighs nearly 20 cwt. and was cast in 1636: the treble is dated 1664: the aisles retain piscinae, and the rood stairs remain in the north aisle in 1925 extensive restorations and additions were undertaken by Sir Charles Nicholson bart. and his brothers in memory of their parents, comprising the reseating and restoration of the north aisle, the renovation of the organ erected in 1897, and the insertion of fine modern stained glass in the windows of the south aisle: carved oak clergy stalls were provided in 1928 in memory of the late Rev. J. G. Henderson. vicar 1860-72, and these have been filled with panels painted by Miss B. Nicholson: the porch is a beautiful specimen of carved oak, dating from 1450: in 1933 the chancel was screened and provided with a loft and rood figures by generous benefactors, including Sir Charles Nicholson bart. Mr. J. Brace and Miss Henderson: there are 350 sittings. The register dates from the year 1573. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £375, and residence in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and held since 1927 by the Rev. Ralph Gardner A.K.C.L. There is a Methodist chapel, and also a Baptist chapel. Water is supplied by the Southend Waterworks Co. who obtain their water from the rivers Chelmer, Ter and Blackwater, also from wells and borings, There is an 18-hole golf conrse. The trustees of the late J.W. Perry Watlington esq. are lords of the manor, and W. A. Browne esq. and R. Varty esq. are the principal landowners. Most of the land has now been sold and cut up for building purposes. The soil is clayey loam subsoil, clay. The area is 1,949 acres of land, 1 of inland water and 40 of foreshore; the population in 1931 was 4,170.
By the Benfleet and Rayleigh (Constitution of Urban Districts) Order, 1929, the parishes of Thundersley, Hadleigh and South Benfleet were constituted an urban district under the name of Benfleet. For particulars see under Thundersley.
HOPES GREEN is half a mile north.
Post, M. O., T. & T. E. D. Office (letters should have Essex added). Letters from Southend
Town Sub-Post, M. O. & Tel. Call Office, Great Tarpots. Letters from Thundersley, Essex
Town Sub-Post, M. O. & Tel. Call Office, Hopes Green Post & Tel. Call Office, Kiln Road. Letters from Thundersley, Essex. Hadleigh is the nearest M. O. & T. office
Railway Station (L. M. & S)
Fire Brigade Station, Endway