Erith - Essex

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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'Erith - Essex', A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848), pp. 181-186. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Erith - Essex", in A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848) 181-186. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Erith - Essex", A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848). 181-186. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

In this section

Erith (St. John the Baptist)

ERITH (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Dartford, hundred of Lessness, lathe of Sutton-At-Hone, W. division of Kent, 2¼ miles (N.) from Crayford; containing 2082 inhabitants. This was once a market-town; was incorporated; and had fairs on Holy-Thursday, Michaelmas-day, and Whit-Tuesday. It is situated on the Thames, which here forms a haven; and there is a branch establishment in connexion with the custom-house: the East India ships frequently anchor opposite the place, in their passage up the river, and occasion a considerable traffic. A neat pier was completed and opened in August, 1842, and some of the steam-boats plying between London and Gravesend call here. The parish consists of 3735 acres, of which 290 are in wood. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 12. 6.; net income, £368; patron and impropriator, Lord Wynford. The church is an ancient structure, almost wholly overgrown with ivy. An abbey for Canons regular was founded here in 1180.

Erme, St.

ERME, ST., a parish, in the union of Truro, W. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall, 3¼ miles (N. by E.) from Truro; containing 552 inhabitants. This parish, of which a detached portion is skirted by a branch of the Truro river, comprises 4155 acres, whereof 320 are common land or waste: the surface is varied, in some parts hilly; the soil is chiefly clayey, and the lands are watered by numerous streamlets. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £22. 13. 4., and in the gift of E. W. Wynne Pendarves, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £500, and the glebe comprises 80 acres. The church was taken down in 1819, and rebuilt at an expense of £1400, raised by subscription; the present edifice is cruciform, in the later English style, with an embattled tower of granite crowned by pinnacles. There are several barrows.

Ermington (St. Peter)

ERMINGTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Plympton St. Mary, hundred of Ermington, Ermington and Plympton, and S. divisions of Devon, 2 miles (W. N. W.) from Modbury; containing 1607 inhabitants. The parish consists of 4132a. 3r. 8p., of which 2332 acres are arable, 1531 pasture, and 269 woodland; it is pleasantly situated, and comprises the village of Ermebridge, on the new road from Exeter to Plymouth, and a great portion of the village of Ivy-Bridge. A commodious hotel has been erected, and a post-office for the surrounding district has been established at Ermebridge. A market was formerly held, which has been long discontinued; there are still fairs for cattle on the 2nd of February and 24th of June. The living comprises a vicarage and a sinecure rectory, with the chapelry of Kingston annexed: the vicarage is valued in the king's books at £33. 11. 3., and is in the alternate patronage of the Crown, and J. B. Cholwich, Esq.; the rectory is valued at £24, and is in the gift of Mr. Cholwich, who is impropriator of one moiety, the other belonging to J. C. Bulteel, Esq. The great tithes have been commuted for £270, and the vicarial for £308. The church contains a curious Norman font, and a monument to the Strechley family, whose ancient seat is now the property of Mr. Bulteel. In 1513, an almshouse and a charity school were endowed with lands by Alice Hatch.

Erney, St.

ERNEY, St., a chapelry, in the parish of Landrake, union of St. Germans, S. division of the hundred of East, E. division of Cornwall, 2 miles (N. by E.) from St. Germans; containing 81 inhabitants. The river Lynher is navigable on the east, and the St. Germans on the west; on the south they unite.

Erpingham (St. Mary)

ERPINGHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Aylsham, hundred of South Erpingham, N. division of Norfolk, 4 miles (N. by E.) from Aylsham; containing 475 inhabitants. It is on the road from Aylsham to Cromer, and bounded on the west by a branch of the river Bure; and comprises 1385a. 3r. 13p., of which 1180 acres are arable, 130 pasture, and 10 woodland: from the elevated grounds the views are very pleasing, embracing the town of Aylsham, and the woods of Blickling. The living is a discharged rectory, annexed to that of Blickling, and valued in the king's books at £9. 18. 9.: the tithes have been commuted for £475, and the glebe consists of 15½ acres. The church, which is in the decorated and later English styles, with a lofty embattled tower, was repaired in 1841; in the south aisle is a brass effigy of a knight in armour, to the memory of Sir John de Erpingham, a great contributor towards the erection of the church. There is a place of worship in the parish for a congregation of Wesleyan Methodists.


ERRINGDEN, a chapelry, or chapelry district, in the parish of Halifax, union of Todmorden, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 7 miles (W.) from Halifax; containing 2221 inhabitants. This chapelry, anciently Heyrikdene, is encircled by a singular strip of land called the Ramble, and situated on the south side of the river Calder; it is a mountainous district, comprising 2980 acres, and chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the numerous mills in the immediate vicinity. The scenery is of bold and romantic character. Part of the villages of Hebden-Bridge and Mytholmroyd are in the township. The chapel of St. John in the Wilderness, which had become dangerous from dilapidation, was taken down in 1838; and a handsome structure has been erected on land given by the late Major Priestly, at an expense of £2130, of which £700 were granted by the Parliamentary Commissioners, £400 by the Incorporated Society, and the remainder raised by subscription; it contains 800 sittings. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Halifax, with a net income of £100, and a good house, built in 1815. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Below the Cragg is a spring, which is in great estimation.

Erth, St.

ERTH, ST., a parish, in the union of Penzance, E. division of the hundred of Penwith, W. division of Cornwall, 4 miles (N. E. by N.) from Marazion; containing 2452 inhabitants. The parish includes part of the town of Hayle, and is situated on the river Hayle, over which is a bridge near the church. It comprises 4092 acres, of which 1454 are common land or waste; the surface is undulated, and mines of copper and tin are worked, for the latter of which there are three smeltinghouses. The village of Churchtown is extensive and well inhabited. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £14. 1. 0½., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, the impropriators, whose tithes have been commuted for £402, and those of the vicar for £280; there is a glebe of 106 acres. The church, a neat edifice, containing nearly 600 sittings, is situated on the bank of the river, near the bridge. There are places of worship for Calvinists and Wesleyans. In the churchyard, and in the village, are the remains of ancient crosses; and near the vicarage-house is a double circular intrenchment, called Carhangives, supposed to have been the site of a baronial castle.

Ervan, St.

ERVAN, ST., a parish, in the union of St. Columb, hundred of Pyder, E. division of Cornwall, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from Padstow; containing 477 inhabitants. It comprises 2958 acres, of which 550 are common land or waste. Fairs are held on the 29th of May, at Churchtown and the hamlet of Penrose, in the parish, for cattle and sheep. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £18. 6. 8., and in the gift of Sir W. Molesworth, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for £380, and the glebe comprises 60 acres. The church is a neat edifice in the later English style. There are places of worship for Bryanites and Wesleyans.

Ervills, or Leigh

ERVILLS, or Leigh, a tything, in the parish and hundred of Hambledon, union of Droxford, Droxford and N. divisions of the county of Southampton; containing 468 inhabitants.

Erwarton (St. Mary)

ERWARTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the incorporation and hundred of Samford, E. division of Suffolk, 8½ miles (S. S. E.) from Ipswich; containing 199 inhabitants. It comprises by estimation 1220 acres, and is bounded on the south by the navigable river Stour. The living is a rectory, consolidated with that of Woolverstone, valued in the king's books at £10. 13. 4., and in the gift of the Rev. H. D. Berners: the tithes have been commuted for £300, and the glebe consists of 21 acres. The church is an elegant structure, lately repaired and beautified, and contains monuments of the Davillers, Calthrope, and Parker families.


ERYHOLME, a chapelry, in the parish of Gilling, union of Darlington, wapentake of Gilling-East, N. riding of York, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Darlington; containing 212 inhabitants. It is on the south side of the Tees, and comprises 2103a. 1r. 7p.: plantations have been made on two of the farms. Coal is said to exist, but the attempts to find it have not been successful hitherto, though there appears some chance, from the broken nature of the ground, of meeting with it. The village is on a gentle acclivity, and commands delightful views of the Durham side of the dale. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar of Gilling, with a net income of £49; impropriators, the Landowners: the chapel is dedicated to St. Mary.


ESCOMBE, a parochial chapelry, in the union of Auckland, N. W. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, 1¾ mile (W.) from Bishop-Auckland; containing 510 inhabitants. The township comprises 929 acres, of which 557 are arable, 365 meadow and pasture, and the remainder gardenground; the surface is undulated, and the scenery agreeably diversified. The neighbourhood abounds with coal, of which there are extensive mines in operation in the hamlet of Etherley-Lane; the produce is conveyed by railway. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £200; patron, the Bishop of Durham. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £8, and the glebe comprises 40 acres. The church is an ancient structure. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Escrick (St. Helen)

ESCRICK (St. Helen), a parish, in the wapentake of Ouse and Derwent, union, and E. riding, of York; containing, with the township of Deighton, 895 inhabitants, of whom 710 are in the township of Escrick, 6 miles (S. by E.) from York. The village is on the Selby road, and is one of the most picturesque in the county; the buildings, most of which are of recent date, having neat and tasteful gardens adjoining. Escrick Hall, the property of Lord Wenlock, was the seat of Sir Thomas Knyvet, one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to James I., who was sent, with several others, November 5th, 1605, to search the vaults under the house of lords, at the time of the famous Gunpowder Plot. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £23. 3. 9.; net income, £530; patron, Lord Wenlock: the tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1781. The church is a handsome structure, built about fifty years ago by Beilby Thompson, Esq., on the site of the former edifice.

Esh, or Ash

ESH, or ASH, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Lanchester, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Durham; containing 518 inhabitants. The manor gave name, at a very early period, to a family of considerable local consequence, who held the estate, with little interruption, from the middle of the 13th century till the time of Henry VIII.; it afterwards came, among other families, to the Smythes. The chapelry comprises 1123a. 1r. 6p., of which 461 acres are pasture, 617 arable, and 44 waste: the village occupies the centre of the heights between the vales of Browney and Derness. At Walls-Nook, a hamlet in the chapelry, are a flourmill and an iron-foundry. Esh Hall, the deserted seat of the Smythes, of whom Sir Edward, the first baronet, most probably erected it, is a long irregular building fronting the south, and shaded by a grove of old sycamore-trees. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop of Durham; net income, £190. The tithes have been commuted for £77. 16. 6.; there is a glebe of 20 acres. The chapel, dedicated to St. Michael, was almost entirely rebuilt in 1770, and consists of a narrow nave and chancel, and of a south porch, which opens under a low pointed arch. There is a Roman Catholic chapel in the village; and at a short distance to the east is the Roman Catholic College of Ushaw, which see.

Esher (St. George)

ESHER (St. George), a parish, in the union, and partly in the hundred, of Kingston, E. division, but chiefly in the Second division of the hundred of Elmbridge, W. division, of Surrey, 3¾ miles (S. W.) from Kingston: containing 1261 inhabitants. It comprises 2075 acres, whereof 799 are pasture, 407 arable, and the remainder chiefly gardens and houses: the soil is principally sand, but with a mixture of sand and some clay. In this parish are situated the mansions of Claremont and Esher Place. The former, well known as the seat of the Princess Charlotte, is the property of the King of the Belgians; it was frequently the residence of the Queen in her younger days, and has been occasionally since Her Majesty's accession to the throne. The latter was the place to which Cardinal Wolsey retired when he fell into disgrace, but there are no remains of his palace, with the exception of the gateway flanked with towers, which forms an exceedingly picturesque object from the grounds. The scenery is highly interesting, being enriched with mansions and seats of the first order. There is a fair for horses on September 4th. A station on the London and South-Western railway is situated near the village. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 18. 4.; net income, £400; patron, Henry John Pye, Esq., who appoints, if possible, a kinsman of the founder of Wadham College, Oxford. The church is neatly fitted up, and contains at the east end a highly finished painting of Our Saviour by Sir Robert Ker Porter, who presented it to the parish in 1837, and whose mother was for some time a resident here. Adjoining Esher Common, an hospital or priory was founded in the reign of Henry II., the site of which is now called Sandon Farm.


ESHOLT, a township, in the parish of Otley, union of Carlton (under Gilbert's act), Upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, W. riding of York, 4¼ miles (S. S. W.) from Otley; containing 443 inhabitants. A nunnery was founded here by Simon de Ward, in the middle of the twelfth century, which continued to flourish until the year 1530, when it was suppressed, and its revenue was returned at £19: some small remains still point out the site. The township comprises 810 acres: the village is pleasantly situated on the north side of the Aire. Here are a worsted-mill, a scribbling and fulling mill, and a corn-mill. Esholt Hall, the ancient seat of the Calverleys, is now the property and residence of Crompton Stansfield, Esq. A church was erected in 1839 at the expense of Mr. Stansfield, which is supplied by the vicar, whose curate's stipend is paid by the Pastoral-Aid Society. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


ESHOTT, a township, in the parish of Felton, union of Morpeth, E. division of Morpeth ward, N. division of Northumberland, 9¼ miles (N.) from Morpeth; containing 117 inhabitants. It was long in the possession of the ancient family of Carr, and was the property of William Carr, high sheriff of the county in the 8th of Queen Anne, and of Thomas Carr, who filled the same office in the 18th of George III. The township is situated about midway between the coast and the road from Morpeth to Alnwick: it includes the hamlets of Eshott-Brocks, Eshott East-Houses, Eshott SouthHouses, and Eshott Hall; and comprises 1800 acres, whereof three-fourths are arable, and about 200 acres grass-land. A seam of coal runs through the township, and there is a good freestone-quarry. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £275.


ESHTON, a township, in the parish of Gargrave, union of Skipton, E. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, W. riding of York, 5½ miles (N. W.) from Skipton; containing 74 inhabitants. It comprises about 1150 acres, chiefly meadow and pasture; the surface is boldly undulated.


ESKDALE, with Wasdale, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Bees, union of Bootle, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland, 7 miles (N. E. by E.) from Ravenglass; containing 375 inhabitants. This place, with Wasdale and Nether Wasdale, comprises 30,000 acres, of which 26,680 are common land or waste. It is remarkable for two waterfalls, Birker-Force and Stanley-Gill, about three-quarters of a mile distant from each other; the former dashes over a bare precipitous rock, and the latter, though somewhat inferior in height, is equal to it in beauty and grandeur. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £66; patron and impropriator, E. Stanley, Esq. The chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, is a very ancient structure; in the east window is a painting of the saint, and above the eastern gable is a stone cross. A school was endowed by Edward Wilson in 1722, and by Edward Hartley in 1752.


ESKDALE-SIDE, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Whitby, liberty of Whitby-Strand, N. riding of York, 5½ miles (S. W.) from Whitby; containing 519 inhabitants. This chapelry is beautifully situated, extending for five miles along the south bank of the river Esk, and comprising 2500 acres, of which about 1500 are good arable and pasture land, and the remainder uninclosed moor producing only heath. The surface rises gradually from the Esk to an elevation of 1600 feet, forming one of the highest points of the eastern moors in the county, and inclosing one of the most lovely valleys in the kingdom, through which the Esk pursues its rapid and winding course. There are some large quarries of freestone in operation, and a great abundance of alum rock, which was formerly extensively worked: a considerable bed of stone, containing about fortyfive per cent. of iron, was discovered a few years since, at the western extremity of the township, and the ore, now extensively wrought, is sent to Newcastle to be smelted. The Whitby and Pickering railway passes through the chapelry for more than five miles. The living is a perpetual curacy, with that of Ugglebarnby annexed, and in the patronage of the Rev. William Walker, with a net income of £329; appropriator, the Archbishop of York. The chapel, founded by Roger, abbot of Whitby, about the year 1260, having become ruinous, a very elegant structure was erected on a more commodious site, in 1767, at the expense of Robert Bower, Esq., and his wife and sister, who likewise built a parsonage-house. A second church has been erected at the western extremity of the chapelry, chiefly through the exertions of H. Belcher, Esq., of Whitby. There are numerous springs, most of them containing alum and iron. In the reign of John a small priory was founded here. The place is celebrated for the singular ceremony of the Penny Whittle hedge.


ESKE, a township, in the parish of St. John, Beverley, union of Beverley, N. division of the wapentake of Holderness, E. riding of York, 3¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Beverley; containing 29 inhabitants. This place, in Domesday book Asche, derives its name from the British word signifying water. It was given at an early period to the collegiate church of St. John. The township comprises about 1130 acres: the situation of the village, on the east bank of the Hull river, is elevated, but the country around is flat, and before the introduction of drainage here, the grounds were frequently under water. The lands are tithe-free.


ESPERSHIELDS, with Milshield, a township, in the parish of Bywell St. Peter, union of Hexham, E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northum-berland, 11½ miles (S. S. E.) from Hexham; containing 198 inhabitants. At Winnis Hill, a little westward, is a meeting-house for the Society of Friends, near which is a place called Hare Town, where it is supposed was formerly a collection of houses. The country between Espershields and Newbiggin, in the county of Durham, was anciently covered by a thick wood, said to have been burnt down by the owner, well known by the appellation of "Mad Maddison," who was afterwards hanged at Durham.


ESSENDINE, a chapelry, in the parish of Ryhall, union of Stamford, hundred of East, county of Rut land, 4 miles (N. by E.) from Stamford; containing 152 inhabitants. It is on the road from Stamford to Bourn, and comprises 1487a. 2r. 32p. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, is very ancient, with a curious Saxon arched doorway.

Essendon (St. Mary)

ESSENDON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Hatfield, hundred and county of Hertford, 3½ miles (E.) from Hatfield; containing 690 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the north by a branch of the river Lea, comprises by measurement 2298 acres. The soil is generally a gravelly loam, resting upon clay, and by far the greater portion of the land is unproductive; the surface is varied with hill and valley. The living is a rectory, with the curacy of Bayford annexed, valued in the king's books at £18, and in the gift of the Marquess of Salisbury: the tithes have been commuted for £368. 10., and the glebe comprises 45 acres.


ESSEX, a maritime county, bounded on the north by the counties of Suffolk and Cambridge, on the west by those of Hertford and Middlesex, on the south by the river Thames (which separates it from Kent), and on the east by the North Sea. It extends from 51° 27' to 52° 6' (N. Lat.), and from 0° 3' (W. Lon.) to 1° 17' (E. Lon.); and includes 1532 square miles, or 980,480 statute acres. The county contains 67,618 inhabited houses, 2490 uninhabited, and 499 in the course of erection; and the population amounts to 344,979, of whom 172,348 are males, and 172,631 females.

At the time of Cæsar's invasion, this portion of Britain was inhabited by the Trinobantes; and in the subdivision of the island by Constantine the Great, the county formed part of Flavia Cæsariensis. The origin of its name is coeval with the establishment of the kingdom of the East Saxons, of which London was the metropolis, and of which the tract comprised within the limits of this county constituted an important district: the kingdom was founded about the year 530, and it was called East Seaxa, meaning "land of the Eastern Saxons," from its relative position to the other Saxon kingdoms. The county is in the province of Canterbury, and comprises the archdeaconry of Essex, containing the deaneries of Barstable, Chafford, Chelmsford, Dengie, Dunmow, Harlow, Ongar, and Rochford, with part of Barking; that of Colchester, containing the deaneries of Colchester, Hedingham, Lexden, Newport, Sampford, Tendring, and Witham; and part of that of London, containing the remainder of Barking deanery: the number of parishes is 400. By the act of the 6th and 7th of William IV., cap. 77, the entire county was transferred to the diocese of Rochester, with the exception of the parishes of Barking, East and West Ham, Little Ilford, Low Layton, Walthamstow, Wanstead, Woodford, and Chingford, which remain in the diocese of London. For civil purposes it is divided into the hundreds of Barstable, Becontree, Chafford, Chelmsford, Clavering, Dengie, Dunmow, Freshwell, Harlow, Hinckford, Lexden, Ongar, Rochford, Tendring, Thurstable, Uttlesford, Waltham, Winstree, and Witham; and the royal liberty of Havering-atte-Bower. It contains the borough and market-towns of Colchester and Maldon; the borough, market-town, and port of Harwich; and the markettowns of Barking, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Chipping-Ongar, Coggeshall, Dunmow, Epping, Gray's-Thurrock, Halstead, Manningtree, Rayleigh, Rochford, Romford, Thaxted, Saffron-Walden, Waltham-Abbey, and Witham. By the act of 1832, the county was divided into the Northern and Southern divisions, each returning two members to parliament; and the three boroughs send two representatives each. The county is in the Home circuit: the assizes and quarter-sessions are held at Chelmsford, where stands the old county gaol and house of correction; the new convict gaol is at Springfield.

The soil comprises every species of loam, from the most stubborn to the most congenial; there is also a portion of light gravelly sand, besides a considerable share of meadow and marsh ground, the greater part of which, with suitable management, is very productive. The late Arthur Young divided the soils into eight districts, viz., the crop and fallow district of strong chalky loam, the maritime district of fertile loam, three districts of strong loam not peculiar in management, the turnipland district, the chalk district, and the district of miscellaneous loams. The fertility of the arable land, and the good husbandry practised, enable Essex to rank high among the agricultural counties of England; its proximity to the metropolis affords it great advantages, and the various agricultural societies that have been established have given a stimulus to improvement hitherto without example. The cultivation of potatoes and vegetable crops is extensive in the vicinity of London. Carraway, coriander, rape, canary, and white and brown mustard seeds occupy a considerable portion of the marshy districts, and fine tracts of grazing marshes extend from the mouth of the Thames northward to Bradwell Point, on which small Highland cattle and Welsh "runts" are fed, with numerous flocks of Southdown and Romney-marsh sheep. The hop plantations at present cover about 400 acres, and are chiefly at Castle-Hedingham and in the adjacent parishes: the hop-fair is held at Braintree, early in October. The dairy-district is not considerable: the largest dairy-farms are those in the neighbourhood of Epping, which are deservedly in repute for the richness of the cream and butter; the skimmed milk is used for feeding pigs for the London market. The natural woods have been much diminished, both in number and extent, within the last century; the principal remains are the curtailed forests of Epping and Hainault.

Among the Manufactures, from time immemorial until of late years, the woollen manufacture was the principal; and although it has long been declining, a considerable quantity of cloth of various kinds is still sent to the metropolis, or exported to foreign countries, from Bocking, Braintree, Halstead, Coggeshall, and Colchester. Large silk manufactories have been erected at Halstead, Coggeshall, and Braintree; and English and foreign straw-plat is extensively produced throughout the northern districts. The principal rivers are the Thames, the Lea, the Crouch, the Chelmer, the Blackwater, the Coln, and the Stort. The Thames is navigable for merchant vessels of the largest burthen during the whole of its course along the southern border of the county; and the Lea is navigable along its western border. The Crouch, after forming a long and narrow estuary, falls into the North Sea between Foulness Island and the opposite marshes. The Chelmer and the Blackwater unite near Maldon, and form the broad estuary of the Blackwater, which joins the sea twelve miles below, and the navigation of which, by the Chelmer, is continued up to Chelmsford. The Stort is navigable up to Sudbury; below Manningtree it forms a long and wide estuary, which, contracting at its mouth, unites with the North Sea at Harwich. In the Blackwater river is a considerable oyster-fishery, and West Mersea is one of the principal stations of the dredgers; the number of vessels engaged is about 200, varying in burthen from 8 to 50 tons, and employing from 400 to 500 men and boys. The principal breeding rivers are the Crouch, the Blackwater, and the Coln. The oysters are sent to London, and to Holland, Flanders, and France; the quantity annually obtained is estimated at from 12,000 to 15,000 bushels. In Foulness Island are salt-water stews for various sorts of sea-fish. The county derives facility of communication from the Eastern Counties railway, which, entering from Middlesex, divides at Stratford into two great branches; the one proceeding northeast by Romford, Chelmsford, Witham, and Coggeshall, to Colchester; the other proceeding north, sometimes in this county and sometimes in the adjacent counties of Middlesex and Herts, until it quits Essex for Cambridgeshire near the town of Saffron-Walden. Another line connected with the county is the Colchester and Ipswich, which proceeds from Colchester in a north-east direction, and quits Essex at Manningtree.

Under the Roman government this territory was early and thoroughly explored; one great road ran the whole length of it, another skirted its northern border, and many vicinal ways crossed it in different directions. The first Roman colony in Britain was established in the county, and there were several other stations and towns in different parts: those mentioned in the Itinerary of Antoninus are, An Ansam, of undetermined locality; Camalodunum, at Colchester or Maldon; Canonium, at Coggeshall, or near Kelvedon; Cæsaromagus, at Chelmsford or Writtle; and Durositum, below Brentwood; but there are few remains of any of these. The principal relics have been discovered at Colchester: upwards of 1300 Roman and British coins were collected by Morant, the historian and antiquary, in a period of thirty years, during which he resided in that town. There are also Roman remains at Leyton, Wanstead, Great Burstead, Tolleshunt-Knights, West Mersea, Harwich, and other places; and tumuli, or barrows, at Lexden, Bures ad Montem, West Mersea, and Wigborough. The remarkably large tumuli called Bartlow Hills, are in this county, though taking their name from the neighbouring village of Bartlow, in Suffolk. Before the Reformation there were forty-seven Religious houses, namely, two mitred and six other abbeys, twenty-two priories, three nunneries, nine hospitals, three colleges, and two preceptories of the Knights Templars; the most remarkable monastic remains are those of St. Botolph's Priory (Colchester), St. Osyth's Abbey, and Waltham-Abbey Church. Of the ancient Castles, or castellated mansions, which were twelve in number, that of Colchester is the only one not either utterly demolished or extremely ruinous. Fossils are found in various parts, but no where so abundantly as in Harwich Cliff. Essex gives the title of Earl to the family of Capel.