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Leigh, Essex

Historical Description

Leigh, a small sea-port town and a parish in Essex. The town stands on a creek of the Thames, at the skirt of a bold steep hill, adjacent to the London, Tilbury, and Southend railway, on which it has a station, opposite Canvey Island, 3 miles W of Southend, and 5 SW by S of Rochford. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.) Acreage of parish, 1547; population, 210 8. Leigh is an ancient place, mentioned in Domesday book; consists chiefly of one street, carries on a small coasting trade, and an important oyster, shrimp, mussel, and periwinkle fishery, and has a coastguard station, a church, and a Wesleyan chapel. The oyster fishery is conducted chiefly by the collecting of oysters on distant coasts, particularly the N coast of France, and by laying them down to grow and fatten on the sea-ground of the Leigh shore. The church stands on the hill behind the town, commands an extensive view of the Thames estuary, dates from the 14th century, is a building of Kentish ragstone in the Perpendicular style; consists of large nave, N aisle, and handsome chancel, with an ivy-clad tower, and has carved oak stalls, some brasses, and many interesting tombs and monuments both in the church and churchyard. Roman coins have been found. A stone obelisk known as " Crow Stone," about U mile E of the town, marks the limits of the jurisdiction of the conservators of the Thames. An anchorage, called The Ray, with 5 fathoms of water, lies off the town. The living is a rectory in the diocese of St Albans; gross value, £400, in the gift of the Bishop of St Albans. Bishop Eden was rector.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyEssex 
Ecclesiastical parishLeigh St. Clement 
Poor Law unionRochford 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Leigh from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Essex is available to browse.

The Essex pages from the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 is online.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online: