History of Billericay >> White's Directory 1848
BILLERICAY, a small market town and chapelry, in the parish of Great Burstead, has 1284 inhabitants, and is pleasantly situated on a commanding eminence, 24 miles East North East of London, 10 miles South of Chelmsford, and 5 miles East of Brentwood Railway Station at the junction of roads from Romford to Southend and from Chelmsford to Tilbury Ferry.
It gives name to a large Union, and to a Polling District, comprising Barstable Hundred, for which Petty Sessions are held once a fortnight, on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at the Town Hall.
Its Market, for corn, swine, etc., is held every Tuesday, pursuant to a charter granted by Edward IV. in 1476. It has two annual Fairs for cattle, etc.. held on August 2nd and October 7th.
The town has been much improved during the last twenty years, by the erection of new houses, and has several good inns and well stocked shops. It has a neat and clean appearance, and is a great thoroughfare. The lofty eminence on which it stands commands extensive and beautiful views over the broad vale of the Thames; and the Nore, Sheerness, and the Kentish hills may be seen in fine weather.
On the north and west sides of the town many Roman Antiquities have been found, and it is clearly proved by these relics, that the Romans had a station here, with a road passing either through or near the town.
Lord Petre is lord of the manor, and holds a court leet and baron annually, in Whitsun week, and at the former of which constables and other officers for the internal regulation of the town are appointed. Part of the western side of the town is in Lord Petre's manor of Cowbridge.
The Church (St. Mary Magdalen,) occupies the site of an ancient chapel, which was founded about 1342, for the accommodation of the inhabitants of this part of Great Burstead parish, and endowed with lands for the support of a chantry priest. The chapel and the chantry were sold by Henry VI. to one of the Tyrells, who, reserving the lands for himself, sold the chapel to the inhabitants.
The body being mostly rebuilt, and it not being known whether the original chapel had ever been consecrated, the inhabitants surrendered it to the Bishop of London, who consecrated it on Aug. 30th. 1693.
The body of the church is a plain but substantial brick building, of modem appearance; but the tower, which rises little higher than the roof, is ancient and handsome.
The benefice is now a perpetual curacy, valued at £120, in the patronage of the Bishop of the Diocese, and incumbency of the Rev. J.H. Bailey. M.A.. whose income it chiefly derived from the pew rents.
Here is a Baptist and also an Independent Chapel, the former belonging to a congregation formed in 1815, and the latter to one which dates its origin from a nonconformist minister of the 17th century.
The old Quaker Chapel here is in a dilapidated state, there being now no members of the Society of Friends resident in the town.
Here is a National School; and the town and chapelry participate with the rest of Great Burstead parish in Charities.
Billericay Labourers' Friend Society embraces about 20 parishes, and holds its anniversary and ploughing match in one of them, and distributes prizes to the skilful and industrious. Mr. James Blatch is the secretary of this useful society.
print published 1834
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Billericay - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
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