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MARKET TOWNS OF ESSEX (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

St. Osyth in 1837

St. Osyth is in the hundred of Tendring, 62 miles from London and 11 from Colchester, on the marshy coast at the north-eastern side of the mouth of the Colne. A small creek, or arm of that river is navigable for small boats up to the quays in this parish. The population in 1831 was 1,583, chiefly engaged in agriculture. The original name of the place was Chich, and it took its name of St. Osyth from a virgin said to be of royal blood, but whose history involves too glaring an anachronism to be worthy of credit, who founded here a nunnery, afterwards destroyed by the Danes. An abbey for the canons of St. Augustin was subsequently founded here in or before the year 1118, in honour of St. Peter, St. Paul, and the above-mentioned St. Osyth. The yearly value of the revenues of this abbey at the dissolution was £758, 5 shillings and 8 pence gross, or £677, 1 shilling and 2 pence clear. The quadrangle of the ancient monastic buildings is almost entire, excepting on part of the north side, where it has been replaced by modern apartments; the entrance is by a beautiful gateway of hewn stone mixed with flint, having two towers and two posterns : the stables and offices on the east and west sides of the court bear marks of great antiquity, and among the ivy-grown ruins of the garden is a pier with a Latin inscription describing the ancient magnificence of the place. There are a battery, or martello tower, on the coast in this parish, and a signal station. The church contains several monuments of the D'Arcy, family.