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Rayleigh or Raleigh, Essex

Historical Description

Rayleigh or Raleigh, an ancient town and a parish in Essex, situated on a lofty range of hills dividing the valleys of the Thames and Crouch. The town has a station on the Southend branch of the G.E.R., and is 4½ miles NNE of Benfleet station on the London, Tilbury, and Southend railway, and 4¼ W by N of Rochford. It was held at Domesday by Sweyn or Sueno, was formerly a market-town of some importance, consists now of one wide street of considerable length, has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.), and a fair for horses and cattle on Trinity Monday, and gives the title of Baron to the family of Strutt. The parish comprises 2906 acres; population, 1301. There is a parish council consisting of nine members. The manor belongs to the Digby family. A moated mound 100 feet high and 250 above sea level is at. The upper end of the town, was the site of a castle built by Sweyn, and commands a very extensive view. Roman coins were found in 1849. The living is a rectory in the diocese of St Albans; net value, £614 with residence. The church, which stands on rising-ground, is a picturesque, ivy-clad, ancient building of flint and stone chiefly in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel with aisles, nave, S porch, and massive western tower with fine peal of six bells. There are Baptist and Wesleyan chapels.

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 parishRayleigh Holy Trinity 
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 Rayleigh or Raleigh 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

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