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MARKET TOWNS OF ESSEX (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Prittlewell in 1837

Prittlewell is in Rochford hundred, 39 miles from London, on the northern shore of the estuary of the Thames. Milton, now a hamlet of this parish, is said to have been anciently a distinct parish ; part of it has been swallowed up by the sea gaining on the land. Morant, writing near the middle of the last century, says, ‘it had a church, or chapel of ease, the remains of which were visible not long ago at low-water mark.’ The village consists of two streets, on the slope of a hill, forming a right angle with each other, and having the church at the vertex on the summit of the hill. The church has a nave and chancel, a side aisle running the whole length of the building, and of nearly equal breadth with the nave. There is a fine western tower (in the Perpendicular English style) embattled, with strong buttresses and rich pinnacles : from its height and lofty situation it is a good sea-mark. There was once a priory of Cluniac monks here, cell to an alien priory of the same order at Lewes, in Sussex, but afterwards made independent : its yearly revenue at the dissolution was £194, 14 shillings and 3 pence gross, or £155, 11 shillings and 2 pence clear.

Southend is a hamlet of Prittlewell. It is pleasantly situated on the side of a wooded hill, and is in some repute as a bathing-place. The terrace, in what is commonly called New Southend, or the upper town, is a handsome range of buildings. There are a good hotel, an assembly-room (beside one at the hotel), a theatre, and a library, the last some what in the Gothic style. There is an Independent meeting-house. The population of the whole parish of Prittlewell was, in 1831, 2,266: nearly half agricultural.