South Benfleet - A History, by Robert Hallam

South Benfleet - A History, by Robert Hallam
South Benfleet - A History, by Robert Hallam

Published by Phillimore in 2005, 134 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N5484)
Brand New Book
From the front inside fly leaf: A green jewel on safe water, protected by marshes on the banks of the Thames, with a backdrop of the South Downs and undulating, wooded high ground. These must have been the attractions for the Saxons, who were the first to settle here (although the Romans before them had favoured the salt on its shore). In King Alfred's time, Norsemen, under their extraordinary leader Haesten the Black, made their stronghold here.

For much of recorded history one of its manors belonged to the Church, while the other was held of the King. The wharf at Benfleet played a central role in industry for centuries: first in the transportation of timber to Westminster, and the building of royal ships, and later for shallow 'hoys' that carried farmers' produce to their various markets (and many a cask of smuggled contraband). The competition of the railways, and the Canvey road, finally closed the creek.

Throughout its history, Benfleet has been home to a fascinating array of people, from the first Saxon settlers and the Vikings to individuals such as a rector who left a legacy of music, a composer who proudly put the town's name on his baroque compositions, and a saintly vicar who looked after the people in times of illness. The book examines the contributions of people such as the Nicholsons, who did work for the church, and Dr Priestley, who researched Benfleet's history. Normans, monks, hoymen, farmers, smugglers, publicans and lords of manors are all seen before land agents discovered the town and made it a
favoured place to live.

Benfleet has always had its admirers, and the author of this engaging new book is certainly one of them. His well researched and entertaining account, supported by a wealth of illustrations, follows Benfleet's remarkable history from Saxon times to the inter-war period and post-war expansion that shaped the town as it is today.

The book is illustrated throughout with lots of black and white photographs, and will delight anyone with an interest in the local history of South Benfleet and the surounding area
Condition New