In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Rayleigh like this:
RAYLEIGH, or Raleigh, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Rochford district, Essex. The village stands 4 miles N N E of Benfleet r. station, and 4½ W by N of Rochford; was held, at Domesday, by Sweyn or Sueno; was once a market-town; consists now of onewide street, of considerable length; has a post-office‡under Chelmsford, and a fair on Trinity Monday; and gives the title of Baron to the family of Strutt. The parish comprises 2, 873 acres. Real property, £7, 747. ...
Pop., 1, 433. Houses, 296. The property is much sub-divided. The manor belongs to R. Bristow, Esq. Lime House, Wheatley, Barringtons, and Down Hall are chief residences. A moated mound, 100 feet high, is at the upper end of the village; was the site of a castle, built by Sweyn; and commands a fine view. Roman coins werefound in 1849. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £800.* Patron, R. Bristow, Esq. The church is chiefly later English; and has a tower, with short spire. There are a Baptist chapel, an endowed school with £17 a year, and charities £4.The sub-district contains also 7 other parishes, and most of another. Acres, 23, 764. Pop., 4, 937. Houses, 1,031.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Rayleigh has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Rochford. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Rayleigh and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Rayleigh, in Rochford and Essex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 13th December 2013
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