The District Council has just released a 145-page document called “The Rochford District Historic Environment Characterisation Project”. Basically it’s a description of how the character of each part of the district is affected by it’s archaeology, history and geography.
To take a few examples at random :
there’s a mention of corn being grown in medieval Barling in fields owned by St Pauls Cathedral and then being shipped from Barling Creek to London. (page 29)
In the 1500s this part of Essex was noted for “great and huge cheeses of such admiration for weight and magnitude” (page 30)
In the 1700s some parts were dangerous places to live because of malaria. In places like Wakering it was not uncommon for men to have had many wives, brides who had come from inland, “got an ague or two” and died within a year. (page 31)
Despite it’s ancient church, the historic core of Ashingdon is very small – in 1086 there were only two households and this had only increased to seven by 1777. (page 93)
There were three windmills in Rayleigh that were demolished in the late 1800s. Our “famous” windmill was actually the fourth one to have been built, in 1809. (page 109)
At the moment you can’t get a hard copy , but you can download it from the council’s website free of charge from here.