St Laurence, Eastwood
It is bordered by Rayleigh to the west, Rochford to the north-east, and Belfairs, part of Leigh-on-Sea, to the south. To the north lies Edwards Hall Park, a large area of open countryside, part of which is farmland. This green space extends all the way to Hockley Woods, and Hockley. There are also several play parks throughout Eastwood.
Eastwood has good bus links to both Southend and the surrounding areas. The nearby Southend Airport operates a range of European passenger flights. The nearest railway station is Southend Airport station on the Great Eastern Main Line with services to London Liverpool Street.
It is a mainly residential area with housing and small clusters of independent local shops scattered throughout. There are several pubs, including The Oakwood, The Brookside Tavern, The Bellhouse, and The Loyal Toast. Along Western Approaches there is a supermarket (Morrisons) a doctor's clinic (Scott Park Surgery) and a community centre. There is also a larger clinic at Kent Elms corner, with a pharmacy and library. The parish is served by the Grade-I-listed mediæval St Laurence and All Saints Church which sits at the end of the main runway for Southend Airport.
There is some light industry, mainly centered about the A127 dual carriageway and Progress Road industrial estate. A large number of car dealerships also lie along the A127.
Eastwood has many infant and junior schools. There is also one secondary school, The Eastwood Academy, a mixed school with about 850 pupils (in 2004). The Eastwood Academy is home to the Eastwood Theatre, which puts on several theatrical productions, as well as other events such as battle of the bands.
Eastwood Cricket Club play at Belfairs Recreation Ground, Leigh on Sea. They field four sides in the Mid-Essex League and a number of youth teams.
Eastwood took its name from its situation on the eastern side of the woods and parkland of Rayleigh and Thundersley which were part of the Great Forest of Essex. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Estwa", and was held by Swain of Essex, whose father Robert had held it during the reign of Edward the Confessor. Suen's son, Robert of Essex, founded Prittlewell Priory in the year 1100, but his grandson Henry of Essex forfeited all his estates to the Crown in 1163, because of alleged cowardice in battle. After this date the manor was generally held by the Crown.
In the 13th century, Kings would often visit the district for hunting, making Hadleigh Castle their residence. Henry VIII was the last king known to have hunted here and Eastwood Lodge was the centre of the last reserved portion of hunting land. In 1536, during the Reformation, the Manor was given by Edward VI to Lord Rich whose descendants became Earls of Warwick, then by marriage it passed to the Earl of Nottingham.
The Bristow family purchased the estate and held it until 1866 when it was sold in lots: "Eastwoodbury", the large house which stood immediately to the east of the Church, was on the site of the original Manor house. It was demolished in 1954.
One can read about the history of Eastwood in Leonard Sellers book Eastwood Essex a History. It contains 672 pages, 522 photographs and 56 maps/plans.
- "Eastwood Park (Southend) ward population 2011". http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=13690647&c=Eastwood+Park&d=14&e=62&g=6394925&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1442832371321&enc=1. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- "St Laurence & All Saints, Eastwood, Essex". www.st-laurence.org.uk. http://www.st-laurence.org.uk/. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- "History Part One". St Laurence & All Saints, Eastwood, Essex. 2010. http://www.st-laurence.org.uk/history.html. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "Church of St Laurence and All Saints, Southend On Sea". British Listed Buildings. http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-122902-church-of-st-laurence-and-all-saints-sou. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Sellers, Leonard (2010). Eastwood Essex a History. Peterborough: Fastprint Publishing. ISBN 9781844268788.