Dutch Cottage and Red Cow P.H., Canvey Island, c.1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Canvey Island >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
CANVEY ISLAND, is divided among eight parishes, and has 277 inhabitants, and about 3600 acres of rich grazing land, on which many cattle and sheep are fattened yearly. This marshy island is in the estuary of the river Thames, opposite South Benfleet, Hadleigh, and the port of Leigh, and is separated from the main land by Hadleigh Bay and South Benfleet and East Haven creeks.
It is of an irregular oval figure, from 1½ to 2½ miles in breadth, and about 6 miles in length, including the narrow point at its eastern end.
It has a fair on June 25th, and a passage to South Benfleet, by a raised causeway across the creek, fordable at low water.
Camden supposes this island to be that mentioned by Ptolemy, under the name Counus.
In the 16th century it belonged chiefly to the Baker and Appleton families. In 1622, the proprietors agreed to give one-third of it to Joas Croppenburgh a Dutchman, in consideration of his securing the whole island from the over flowing of the the tides, by raising round it the high embankments which still preserve it from inundation, except during very high tides, when some parts of it are overflowed, but these occasional visitations tend to the enrichment of the soil.
A timber chapel was erected on the island by the Dutch settlers, and was rebuilt in 1712, by a Mr. Edgar of the victualling office.
The present Church (St. Peter,) was built in 1745, partly by the contributions of the landowners and inhabitants, but chiefly by the benefaction of Daniel Scratton, Esq., of Prittlewell, who gave part of the tithes to trustees, to pay £lO a year to the vicar of Prittlewell, and £10 to the curate for preaching 20 sermons here.
The benefice is now a perpetual curacy, valued at £58, in the patronage of the Bishop of London, and incumbency of the Rev. William Ray, B.C.L., of Eastwood.
The island now belongs to the Spitty, Ballie, Curtis and other families, and is mostly occupied by the farmers of the eight parishes to which it belongs.
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