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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

In 1870-72, John Goring's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Basildon like this: "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, Honeypot Lane, Clay Hill Road 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.

Text written 2002 with revisions 2003.
Copyright © 2002-2003, 2014, B.Cox, Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.
Page added: 2001
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