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A Basildon Chronology
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1500   1799
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1500

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Unknown year

The tower at Holy Cross Church in Church Road, Basildon is believed to date from the early 16th century. The impressive tower, capped with a small pyramid, has a weather vane dated 1702 and initialled F.A., after Francis Aylett who lived at Oliphants in nearby Rectory Road.

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Unknown year

Great Chalvedon Hall in Tyefields, Pitsea built. The 16th century hall, rich with history and reputed to be haunted, was converted to a public house in 1979 after Basildon Council purchased the property from its last owners in 1977. It is one of the oldest buildings, excepting churches, to have survived in Basildon and has Grade II listed building status. In 2008 the public house closed and was boarded up but following a refurbishment under new ownership was re-opened on 22nd January, 2010.

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Unknown year

Pitsea Hall (now Cromwell Manor) in Pitsea Hall Lane, built. In 1852 the London Tilbury and Southend Extension Railway Act was passed which allowed for a new rail route to Southend via Tilbury. During construction a small portion of the grounds was acquired to enable the route to pass through Pitsea where a new station was then built which opened in 1855. The hall, which now stands in around 23 acres, has been a listed building since 24th March, 1950 (now Grade II) and is now a licenced venue for weddings and hospitality functions.

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1588

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A beacon is erected at Langdon Hills in anticipation of an invasion threat from Spain. In 1988 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada a beacon is re-erected on the site of the former German prisoner of war camp at Dry Street, Langdon Hills.

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1597

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The chancel at Holy Cross Church in church Road, Basildon is rebuilt in brick.

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1617

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John Puckle, Laindon landowner died. In his last will, dated 6th May, 1617, he left his lands to pay for the maintenance of a schoolmaster to teach the poor children of the parish. His endowment being Puckle's Farm in Wash Road, Laindon. In 1975 a cul-de-sac on the then part finished Langdon Hills housing estate was named Puckleside in his memory.

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1620

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A team of dutch labourers under the direction of engineer Cornelius Vandenanker set sail for England to reclaim Essex marshland. Centuries of attempts to reclaim the marshland bordering the River Thames between Dagenham and Canvey Island had proved unsuccessful with regular floods due to inadequate tidal defences. The Government of the day forfeited the reclaimed land in payment for the work. The team, possibly totalling several hundred, transported thousands of tons of chalk from quarries in Grays. Much land was reclaimed at Vange and Pitsea where farms like Kiln and Merricks were established. Cornelius is said to have become very rich and today there remains a dutch labourers cottage dated 1621 at Haven Road on Canvey Island, along with lots of Essex streets bearing dutch names.

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1641

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The White House in London Road, Pitsea built. It stood on the south side of London Road between Brackendale Avenue and Sunnyside Avenue. In the 1800s it was home to the Willsner family who were millers and ran the only grocery store in the area. The Tew family were later occupants; Charles and Horace going on to establish a shoe repair business. The house was lost in 1965 to make way for the A13 Vange and Pitsea bypass, which when completed ran close to the Rectory Road junction before being realigned to Sadlers Farm roundabout in 1976.

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1710

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Southfields Farm in Dunton is believed to date from 1710. This date and the initials CT, a possible reference to the name Tyrell who owned the farm during the 18th century, existed by the south door. The house stood on fields now bordered by the A127 Arterial Road and West Mayne. It existed until around the late 1950s early 1960s with much of its land now covered by the Ford Motor Company's Research and Engineering Centre, opened in 1967. The farm later gave its name to an industrial estate created in the 1980s off West Mayne at Laindon West.

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1721

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Telegraph Cottages in London Road, Pitsea built. The two semi-detached wooden cottages stood on the corner of Sunnyside Avenue close to the Broadway shops. They were later numbered 1 and 2 and around 1908 number 2 was renamed Wembley Cottage. These two properties were also lost in 1965 to make way for the A13 Vange and Pitsea bypass.

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1769

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The first mention of an inn called the Five Bells. The inn at Vange at the foot of Bells Hill Road on the Stanford-le-Hope - Vange road appeared in the Alehouse Recognizance List of 1769. William West was said to be the landlord. It also appears on Chapman and Andre's map of 1777 as The 5 Bells. The inn is almost certainly 17th century as the property deeds are said to go back to 1690.

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1777

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Chapman and Andre's map of Essex issued. The map of Essex by John Chapman and Peter Andre is the first detailed survey of the county undertaken, predating even the earliest Ordnance Surveys. The map is scaled 2 inches to the mile and comprises 26 sheets measuring 23 x 19 inches. Local area place names are noted as being Bafildon (Basildon); Buers Gifford (Bowers Gifford); Chapel Lee (Lee Chapel); Fryerne (Fryerns); Langdon Clay - in reference to Laindon; Nevenden; Pitfey (Pitsea) and West Lee (Westley). Both Dunton and Vange are spelt as they are now. The original course of Green Lane, which would later have a permanent way crossing across the London - Shoeburyness rail route, is clearly shown, as is Dry Street, Honey Pot Lane and both Rectory Road's. Other interesting features show Bluehouse Farm as being Little Gobions and the Manor House in Manor Road, Laindon, as being Great Gobions. Charlton Hall (now Great Chalvedon Hall) can be seen along with Moat House and Shop House and there is an image of a windmill (Pitsea Mill) on a site off Rectory Road (now Howard Close). The original map, which has been reprinted on a number of occasions, has now been digitally redrawn and available to purchase.

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1789

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Nevendon Hall in the parish of Nevendon built. The hall, which stands off Nevendon Road in Church Lane, is said to contain secret passages used by smugglers. It was formerly in the ownership of William Pigott who farmed at nearby Frampton's Farm in the late 19th century. In March 1950 it was entered on the Ministry of Works buildings of historic interest list and now has Grade II* listed designation. The hall is now in the ownership of Hopkins Young Electrical Ltd., electrical contractors, who took it over in 2016 as their business headquarters.

 
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2001 with revisions and additions 2002-2017.
Copyright © 2001-2017, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Acknowledgements and Bibliography

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