Saint Mary's Parish Church
South Benfleet is a small town in Essex, on the mainland north of Canvey Island. The South Benfleet Primary School was used to house local residents of the island temporarily during the widespread flooding of 1953.
The Battle of Benfleet took place here between the Vikings and English in 894.
The town is and is served by Benfleet railway station.
In Roman times the reclaimed area which is now Canvey Island was joined to the mainland by a road providing access from Benfleet at low tides to Camulodunum (Colchester) and Londinium (London). The A130 road from Sadlers Farm roundabout to Canvey Island follows the route of the original Roman road. Its construction in 1971 brought to light a number of artifacts dating back to the early settlements in the area.
The name of the town originates from the time of the Saxon settlers in the 5th Century, when the area was largely marshland. They named the area Beamfleote, meaning "tree stream", being the area where the creeks from the River Thames adjoined the wooded area to the north. The current spelling was adopted at the time the railway service was brought to the area and a railway station built for the town. Throughout the intervening period various documented versions of the names has been 'Benfleota', 'Beamflet', 'Bemflet', 'Bienflet' and 'Bemfleet'. The last was used on John Norden's maps in the 17th Century.
In Saxon times the village became known as South Benfleet when a new settlement, which became known as Little Benfleet, developed to the north of the original settlement. The new settlement did not last, and its site, which has since become known as North Benfleet, is now largely rural.
The railway was brought to the town in 1855. The new Benfleet railway station connected the town with Southend-on-Sea to the east and Fenchurch Street station in London.
In July 2002 Castle Point District Council named a 6-mile cycle way, from near Benfleet railway station to near Leigh-on-Sea railway station, the "de Neumann Way" after Captain Peter de Neumann, GM.
Battle of Benfleet
The Battle of Benfleet took place between the Vikings and English in 894. In this period the Thames and other waterways made the area vulnerable to Viking attacks. Benfleet was used as a Viking base. However the Vikings were defeated in the battle by the army of King Alfred under the command of his son Edward the Elder and Alfred's son-in-law Earl Æthelred of Mercia. Subsequently a church was built in thanksgiving for the victory over the Vikings. St Mary's church is the most recent church building occupying this site.
The parish church is St Mary's.
About the village
The public houses located in the Monument and St Mary's area of the town include The Anchor, "The Hoy and Helmet" and the Half Crown. Further north is the Benfleet Tavern. There are also a range of restaurants in the South Benfleet conservation area.
Benfleet Water Tower (TQ790867) is a brick built structure built in 1903, which is 100 feet high with a 72-foot mast on the roof. All radio equipment is housed within the tower. Being on a prominent hilltop, some 137m amsl, this is an exceptional radio transmission and reception site. Coverage includes the whole estuary, including the Isle of Grain, Medway Towns, Southend, Bradwell, Danbury etc. This site provides both Highband and Lowband CBS systems.
- Benfleet FC
- Benfleet FC (Sunday)
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- Norman M. Chisman, D.P.A., Bygone Benfleet, Phillimore, 1991