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MARKET TOWNS OF ESSEX (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Foulness Island in 1837

Foulness Island (so called from the Saxon ‘Fugel’, a fowl, and ‘naeye’, a promontory, ‘The promontory of fowls’) is bounded on the north by the river Crouch, and on the east and south-east by the German Ocean, on the west by the Broomhill river, which separates it from Wallasea Island, and on the south-west by a creek which communicates between this river and the sea and separates Foulness from Potten and New England Islands. Its extreme length, from north-east to south-west, is almost 6 miles, its greatest breadth 2½. Its area is given by Morant at 4,500 acres, and in the ‘Library of Useful Knowledge’ at 5,000 ; but in the Population Returns, Foulness parish, which does not, so far as we know, comprehend more than the island, is given as 8060 acres, with a population of 630, almost entirely agricultural. The soil is good, the upper part producing corn of every kind, and the lower part, pasturage ; the only fences are ditches, which are filled at every tide. Fruit trees thrive ill. The water is brackish, the only fresh water is rainwater. The houses are scattered over the island, upon the different farms ; they are all of wood- a material which here, from some cause or other, is liable to rapid decay. The church, also of wood, is situated near the centre of the island ; it will hold 300 persons. The living is a rectory, exempt from the archdeacon’s jurisdiction, of the yearly value of £300, with a glebe-house. There is a yearly fair in the island. Beds of oysters and cockle-shells have been found beneath the surface of this island, which renders it probable that it was originally formed by deposits from the sea.