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Prittlewell is an area of Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea is a unitary authority area, town, and seaside resort in Essex, England. The district has Borough status, and comprises the towns of Chalkwell, Eastwood, Leigh-on-Sea, North Shoebury, Prittlewell, Shoeburyness, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay, and Westcliff-on-Sea. The district is situated...

 in Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

. Historically, Prittlewell is the original town, Southend being the south end of Prittlewell.

Originally a Saxon
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 village, Prittlewell is centred on St. Mary's Church, at the joining of its three main roads, East Street, West Street and Victoria Avenue (which was built over North Street in the late 19th century) which is the main Southend arterial road. Along this road lies Southend's main administration centres, however Prittlewell is mainly a residential area.


People first settled by the Prittle Brook
Prittle Brook
It is unlikely that The Prittle Brook which is a brook in Essex, England, rises from a spring in Pound Wood, Thundersley Common.It appears to start in Thundersley to the West of West Wood...

 around ten thousand years ago during the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Little appears to have affected life in Prittlewell as its population gradually evolved from their original character as hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s to a more settled existence during the Bronze
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...



The Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 occupation began to influence the area with the construction of a Roman-style dwelling, probably a farmhouse or villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

 close to the brook in what is now Priory Park. The introduction of new ideas, new skills and social structures under this Roman influence would have brought significant change to the area. The discovery of Roman burial sites during road and rail construction in the 1920s
File:1920s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Sean Hogan during the Irish Civil War; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the entire decade; In...

 and 1930s
File:1930s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Dorothea Lange's photo of the homeless Florence Thompson show the effects of the Great Depression; Due to the economic collapse, the farms become dry and the Dust Bowl spreads through America; The Battle of Wuhan during the Second Sino-Japanese...

 indicated that the settlement was well developed and of some significance, although no prominent buildings were preserved.

Saxons and Vikings

Following the withdrawal of the Roman legions, the area came under the influence of Saxon
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 raiders, over time becoming established as part of the kingdom of the East Saxons. During this time (largely the 5th and 6th centuries), the historic Saxon name of Prittleuuella came into being.

The construction works of 1923 and 1930 that revealed Roman burials also unearthed evidence of numerous Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon may refer to:* Anglo-Saxons, a group that invaded Britain** Old English, their language** Anglo-Saxon England, their history, one of various ships* White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an ethnicity* Anglo-Saxon economy, modern macroeconomic term...

 burials, a significant number of which were high-status or warrior burials containing weapons, imported goods, gold jewellery and decorative beads some of which were made out of glass
Anglo-Saxon glass
Anglo-Saxon glass has been found across England during archaeological excavations of both settlement and cemetery sites. Glass in the Anglo-Saxon period was used in the manufacture of a range of objects including vessels, beads, windows and was even used in jewellery. In the 5th century AD with the...


In the 7th century, the return of Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to the East Saxons may have led to the building of a church on the hill to the south of the brook and spring. Within the current St. Mary's Church, there is a small 7th century arch in the north-east wall of the chancel. Early clay tiles forming the top of the arch are thought to be of Roman origin.

Saxon rule continued until the Danes invaded in the 10th century. A Dane by the name of Sweyne acquired large areas of land in the area and remained during the Saxon restoration.

Royal Saxon tomb

The high status of the area during the Anglo-Saxon period was confirmed by the discovery of a substantial and undisturbed 7th century chamber tomb
Chamber tomb
A chamber tomb is a tomb for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the interree than a simple grave. Built from rock or sometimes wood, the chambers could also serve as places for storage of the dead from one...

 in 2003. The unusually rich contents and their condition have excited archaeologists, being described as "unique" by the Museum of London
Museum of London
The Museum of London documents the history of London from the Prehistoric to the present day. The museum is located close to the Barbican Centre, as part of the striking Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 70s as an innovative approach to re-development within a bomb damaged...

. A fuller description of the excavation and the artifacts of the burial chamber, thought to be of Saebert of Essex
Saebert of Essex
Sæberht, Saberht or Sæbert was a King of Essex , in succession of his father King Sledd. He is known as the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity....

, can be seen at the dedicated Museum of London website.

(ref. Museum of London). The story of the excavation was also thought so significant as to be the subject of a special UK television documentary entitled The King of Bling, as part of the Time Team
Time Team
Time Team is a British television series which has been aired on Channel 4 since 1994. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode features a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining...


Unfortunately, although the burial site is of archaeological importance, it is also earmarked as the route of a highly controversial road building project championed by Southend Borough Council in the face of very substantial local opposition. When funds become available, it is probable that the burial site and a significant part of the adjacent Priory Park will be consumed by a widening and straightening of a road constructed in 1923. It is ironic that the building of that original road led to the earlier discovery of Roman and Anglo-Saxon burial sites at Prittlewell.


After the Norman Conquest of 1066, Sweyne switched allegiances to William
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 and increased his power. Under the feudal system he became Lord of the Manor
Lord of the Manor
The Lordship of a Manor is recognised today in England and Wales as a form of property and one of three elements of a manor that may exist separately or be combined and may be held in moieties...

: at the times of Domesday there were two manors in the area that is now Prittlewell — Prittlewell and Milton.

Around 1110, a Sweyne's successor, Robert Fitzsweyne, also known as Robert d'Essex, divided his manor in two, the part to the west being Prittlewell, the site of Earl's Hall and the rest, consisting of thirty acres (120,000 m²) of land, the church at Prittlewell, and also the chapels at Sutton and Eastwood, being given to the Cluniac
Cluny or Clungy is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France. It is 20 km northwest of Mâcon.The town grew up around the Benedictine Cluny Abbey, founded by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910...

 Priory of St Pancras, Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

 for the purpose of setting up Prittlewell Priory
Prittlewell Priory
Prittlewell Priory is a medieval priory in Southend, Essex, England, founded in the 12th century, and is a Grade I listed building.-External links:...


At this time the lands of the priory extended to right down to the seafront. Due to this, when a fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 settlement was set up two miles (3 km) south of the priory in the 14th century, it was still regarded as part of Prittlewell and as such was named Stratende, Sowthende or South-End. From this settlement the modern town of Southend-on-Sea grew.

Over a period of around two hundred years, St. Mary's Church was substantially enlarged, reaching its present size with the addition of its tower in the mid 15th century.


At the time of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

's Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

, the priory, which had by this time developed into a sprawling complex, was closed and the lands seized by the crown.

19th century

Southend was developed as a bathing resort in the 18th century and by the 19th, Prittlewell was regarded by visitors to Southend as "an attractive village in the hinterland".

Links between Prittlewell and Southend were improved in 1889 a road was built between the village crossroads by the church to Southend, named Victoria Avenue and in 1892, when Prittlewell railway station
Prittlewell railway station
Prittlewell railway station serves Prittlewell in Southend-on-Sea, England.Prittlewell was actually the first settlement here before Southend diverged from the village, expanded and engulfed it.A nearby place of interest is Prittlewell Priory.- Services :...

 was built on the Great Eastern Railway
Great Eastern Railway
The Great Eastern Railway was a pre-grouping British railway company, whose main line linked London Liverpool Street to Norwich and which had other lines through East Anglia...

 linking Southend and London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

Also 1892 saw the foundation of Southend-on-Sea as a municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

, which took over responsibility for Prittlewell from an earlier parish council.


Modern day Prittlewell stretches from the crossroads by the St Mary's Church to the airport on the boundary between Southend and Rochford
Rochford is a small town in the Rochford district of Essex in the East of England. It is sited about 43 miles from Central London and approximately 21 miles from the Essex county town, Chelmsford...



Prittlewell compared
2001 UK Census Prittlewell ward Southend-on-Sea UA England
Population 9,478 160,257 49,138,831
Foreign born 6.1% 6.0% 9.2%
White 95.1% 95.8% 90.9%
Asian 2.8% 2.2% 4.6%
Black 0.5% 0.7% 2.3%
Christian 71.2% 68.7% 71.7%
Muslim 1.7% 1.2% 3.1%
Hindu 1.2% 0.6% 1.1%
No religion 16.2% 18.8% 14.6%
Unemployed 3.3% 3.7% 3.3%
Retired 16.5% 14.8% 13.5%

As of the 2001 UK census, the Prittlewell electoral ward had a population of 9,478. The ethnicity was 95.1% white, 1% mixed race, 2.8% Asian, 0.5% black and 0.6% other. The place of birth of residents was 93.9% United Kingdom, 0.8% Republic of Ireland, 1.2% other Western European countries, and 4.1% elsewhere. Religion was recorded as 71.2% Christian, 0.3% Buddhist, 1.2% Hindu, 0% Sikh, 1.1% Jewish, and 1.7% Muslim. 16.2% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 8.0% did not state their religion.

The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 39.5% in full-time employment, 12.6% in part-time employment, 9.6% self-employed, 3.3% unemployed, 2.3% students with jobs, 2.9% students without jobs, 16.5% retired, 6.3% looking after home or family, 4.5% permanently sick or disabled and 2.6% economically inactive for other reasons. The industry of employment of residents was 15.8% retail, 11% manufacturing, 8.1% construction, 11.6% real estate, 12.9% health and social work, 7% education, 6.2% transport and communications, 6.7% public administration, 2.8% hotels and restaurants, 11.7% finance, 0.7% agriculture and 5.5% other. Compared with national figures, the ward had a relatively high proportion of workers in finance and health and social work. Of the ward's residents aged 16–74, 14.4% had a higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 qualification or the equivalent, compared with 19.9% nationwide. According to Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- Overview :...

 estimates, during the period of April 2004 to March 2005 the average gross weekly income of households was £590, compared with an average of £650 in South East England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...



Much of historical Prittlewell remains standing; the ruins of the priory remain visible in Priory Park as well as the manor house built there after the reformation; St. Mary's Church, containing architecture from Saxon times; A building recently restored following fire damage, thought to have been the village market hall, though more recently a bakery
A bakery is an establishment which produces and sells flour-based food baked in an oven such as bread, cakes, pastries and pies. Some retail bakeries are also cafés, serving coffee and tea to customers who wish to consume the baked goods on the premises.-See also:*Baker*Cake...

, now an estate agent
Estate agent
An estate agent is a person or business that arranges the selling, renting or management of properties, and other buildings, in the United Kingdom and Ireland. An agent that specialises in renting is often called a letting or management agent...

 appropriately named Tudor Estates; as well as a number of public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...


The old priory and its grounds, which form Priory Park, were donated to the town of Southend by a prominent local benefactor, R.A. Jones, for use by the residents 'in perpetuity'. However, a part of this park, together with the adjoining Saxon burial site mentioned above, is currently (as of January 2006) under threat of development from a road widening scheme. A 'protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

 camp' has been established in opposition to this plan http://blingblog.bravejournal.com/index.php. The camp has been nicknamed 'Camp Bling' as a humorous reference to the gold items found at the site.


Prittlewell is home to Prittlewell Badgers Football Club who play in the Southend Sunday League.

External links