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Dunton: A brief history

Geographically, Dunton is situated some 26 miles south east of London, set back 4 miles from the passing River Thames in the county of Essex.

The earliest known reference to Dunton can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when the area was then referred to as Dantuna. The name is believed to be of Saxon origin dating from the Anglo-Saxon occupation of south east Essex. Its population is mainly centred around Dunton Road and Lower Dunton Road.

The name Dunton appears to have evolved from the words dun, the Anglo-Saxon term for hill, and tun, meaning occupation. This could be interpreted to mean hill town, which of course Dunton is anything but.

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 Dunton.

DUNTON, a parish in Billericay district, Essex; 4½ miles SSW of Billericay, and 5 SE of Brentwood r. station. Post-town, Laindon, under Ingatestone.

Acres, 2,338. Real property, 2,264. Pop., 174. Houses, 33.

The property is divided among a few.

The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value, 442. Patron, King's College, Cambridge.

The church is good.

White's gazetteer and directory

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

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

DUNTON, or Dunton Waylett, a small pleasant village on elevated ground, 5½ miles S. S. E. of Brentwood, and S. S. W. of Billericay, has in its parish 194 souls, and 2338 acres of land, including part of Laindon Hills.

Ulwin, a priest, held it in the Confessor's reign, and at the Domesday Survey, it belonged mostly to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, on whose disgrace, the Conqueror gave it to Bec Abbey, in Normanby.

The manor of Dunton Hall was afterwards held of that abbey by the Albini, Walden, Vere, and other families; but on the suppression of alien monasteries, it was given to King's College, Cambridge, to which it still belongs, together with the farm called Dunton Waylett.

Part of the parish belongs to J. B. Freeman, Esq., and several smaller freeholders; and the estate, called Friern, is the property of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

The Church (Virgin Mary) stands on an acclivity, and has a nave and chancel, with a wooden belfry and spire. It has two bells, and the rectory, valued in K. B. at 14.3s.4d., and in 1831 at 466, is in the patronage of King's College, Cambridge, and incumbency of the Rev. W. H. Tucker, M. A., who has 29a. of glebe, and a large and commodious residence, with pleasant grounds.

The National School was built in 1843

The inhabitants of note are listed as:

Collins Jermh. smith and shopkpr
Ridall Ann, National School
Tucker Rev. W. H., M. A. rector


Buckenham Charles ll Cox Wm.
Knight Richd. Esq. Dunton Hall
Robinson Henry ll Moss John
Sider John, Dunton-Waylett
Wilby Warner ll Squier Joseph

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

White's Directories

The publisher William White of Sheffield issued a yearly series of gazetteer's 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

DUNTON (or Dunton Waylett) is a parish pleasantly situated on the range of the Laindon Hills, 5 miles south-west from Billericay, 6 south-east from Brentwood, on the main line of the Great Eastern railway, 5 north from Stanford-le-Hope, and 4 from Laindon stations on the Tilbury and Southend railway and 26 from London, in the Mid division of the county, Barstable hundred, Brentwood county district and petty sessional division, Billericay union, and in the rural deanery of Barstable, archdeaconry of Essex and diocese of St. Albans.

The church of St. Mary the Virgin, situated on rising ground, is an edifice of brick, in the Decorated style, and was entirely rebuilt in the year 1873, at a cost of about 1,500, raised by subscription: it consists of chancel, nave, south porch and a western belfry, with spire, containing 1 bell. The register dates from the year 1538.

The living is a rectory, average tithe rent-charge 379, net yearly value 300, with 24 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of King's College, Cambridge, and held since 1892 by the Rev. William John Benson M.A. of Exeter College, Oxford.

The provost and fellows of King's College, Cambridge, who are lords of the manor, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, George Alan Lowndes esq. of Barrington Park, Harlow, Gerald de Witte esq. and Lord Petre are the principal landowners.

The soil is clay; subsoil, heavy clay. The chief crops are wheat, beans and oats.

The area is 2,375 acres and 13 of water; rateable value, 1,665; the population 1881 was 137.

Letters through Brentwood arrive at 9.30 a.m. The nearest post & money order office is at Herongate. The telegraph office is at Billericay. Pillar Letter Box cleared at 4.30 p.m.; sunday, 9.30 a.m.

A Board School of 5 members was formed 13 Dec. 1873; Charles C. Lewis, High street, Brentwood, clerk to the board. Board School (mixed), built in 1840, for about 40 children; average attendance, 23; Mrs. Louisa King, mistress.

Benson Rev. William John M.A. Rectory
Buckenham Eldred, farmer
Parker Edward Richd. farmer, Friern Manor farm
Wilson John & William, farmers, Dunton hall

Kelly's Directory of Essex, 1914

Identical entry to 1894 edition for opening paragraph with the exception that Dunton is now within the Chelmsford diocese.

Identical second paragraph to 1894 edition relating to St. Mary the Virgin church with the addition that it has 100 sittings.

The living is a rectory, net yearly value 275 with 28 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of Kings College, Cambridge and held since 1906 by the Rev. Biscoe Hale Wortham B.A. of Trinity College, Oxford.

The Poplar Board of Guardians have a farm colony here of 100 acres for training men in agricultural pursuits.

The provost and fellows of King's College, Cambridge, who are lords of the manor, and Miss Lowndes, of Hatfield, Broad Oak, Harlow, are the principal landowners.

The soil is clay; subsoil, heavy clay. The chief crops are wheat, beans and oats.

The area is 2,310 acres acres of land; rateable value, 2,011; the population of the civil parish in 1911 was 246, and of the ecclesiastical parish 251, including 94 in the Poplar Parish Borough Workhouse.

Letters through Brentwood arrive at 8.30 a.m and 5.30p.m. The nearest money order & telegraph offices are at Herongate and Langdon Hills, each about 2 miles distant.

Wall Letter Box, Wayletts, cleared at 9 a.m. & 6.30 p.m. ; sunday, 11.15 a.m.

Wall Letter Box, opposite school, cleared at 8.50 a.m. & 6.15 p.m. ; sunday 11.5 a.m.

Public Elementary School (mixed), built in 1843, for 31 children; average attendance, 23 ; Mrs. Elizabeth Ellen Lockhart, mistress.

County Police Station, Walter Suckamore, constable.

Wortham Rev. Biscoe Hale B.A. The Rectory
Brown Edward John, farmer, Doesgate farm (letters through Bulphan, Romford)
Clark John, supt. Poplar Board of Guardians' Farm Colony, Sumpners farm
Dove Arthur, frmr. Friern Manor fm
Hodge James, farmer, Southfield frm
Key Albert, farmer, Dunton hall and Lower Dunton Hall farm
Martin George, farmer, Wayletts
Wheaton Joseph & Henry, farmers, Park farm

This article is used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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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