Orsett Road, Grays, c.1955Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Grays Thurrock (Grays) >> White's Directory 1848
GRAYS THURROCK, or Grey Thurrock, is a small ancient town on the north bank of the river Thames, 20 miles East by South of Whitechapel, and 4 miles North West by West of Gravesend.
It has a small creek or harbour, which receives boys and other vessels as large as 300 tons; and has a wooden pier, 400 feet long, constructed in 1841, at the cost of £2500, by a company of proprietors,in £10 shares.
The London and Gravesend steam vessels call at the pier five times a day, and the town presents a scene of considerable traffic, especially in brick and tiles, of which large quantities are made here, and sent to London.
Here are also extensive lime quarries, in which many curious fossils are found. The town has likewise a large brewery, and a coast guard, consisting of a captain and seven men. It had formerly a corn market every Thursday, but it declined after the institution of that at Romford, about 30 years ago. It has still fairs for cattle, etc., on May 23rd and Oct. 20th.
Its parish contains l332A. of land, and had only 677 inhabitants in 1801; but in 1831, they had increased to 1248, and in 1841, to 1464 souls.
High Street, GraysLow resolution copy courtesy of Footsteps' Shop on Ebay. Quality postcards of Essex.
It received the distinguishing part of its name from the noble family of Grey, who held it more than three centuries. Richard de Grey procured it a charter for a weekly market on Friday (afterwards changed to Thursday,) and two annual fairs, in the reign of Henry III.; and the grant was confirmed by Edward III. The manor was granted by Richard I. to Henry de Grey, and it was held by his family till 1521, as parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster and honor of Mandeville. James Theobald. Esq., is now lord of the manor and owner of most of the soil.
BELMONT CASTLE, the delightful seat of Richard Webb, Esq., belongs to George R. Hilliard, and stands half a mile West of the town, on the summit of an eminence which rises abruptly from the banks of the Thames.
It was built by the late Zachariah Button, Esq., who finished it in a costly style of architecture. The centre is a round embattled tower, in four stories, with spacious apartments, commanding extensive prospects of the river, the shipping, and the rich Kentish enclosures, to the hills beyond the great Dover road. The pleasure grounds are tastefully disposed and ornamented with trees and shrubs of great value and of beautiful forms.
St Pater and St Paul's Church, Grays.© Copyright Ron Galliers contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Church (St. Peter and St. Paul,) was rebuilt by the parishioners in 1846, at the cost of £1800, on its original cruciform plan, and in the Anglo-Norman style. The tower has three bells, and is crowned by a small spire.
The benefice is a discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £5.0s.10d., and in 1831 at £160. James Theobald, Esq., is patron, and the Rev. H.S. Hele, M.A., is the incumbent, and has a neat residence, but no glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1837, the vicarial for £230, and the rectorial for £250. The latter belong to J. Errington. Esq.
The old Town Hall was converted into an Independent Chapel in 1836; and here is a small Weslyan Chapel, built in 1847.
Here are several Sunday Schools, and an endowed Charity School.
Back to History of Grays Thurrock
Are your ancestors from Grays Thurrock? Why not tell us their story: My Grays Thurrock Ancestors.
Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.
Find your ancestors in the newspapers.
Try our example search to discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.
Also look at other newspaper archives and learn how they can help you research your ancestors. >>more
Grays Thurrock - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
Grays Thurrock - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805
Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box.