In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Leigh on Sea like this:
LEIGH, a small seaport town and a parish in Rochford district, Essex. The town stands on a creek of the Thames, at the skirt of a bold steep hill, adjacent to the Southend railway, opposite Canvey Point, 3 miles W of Southend, and 4 SW by S of Rochford; is an ancient place, mentioned in Domesday book; consists chiefly of one street; carries on a small coasting trade, and an important oyster, shrimp, musse1, and periwinkle fishery; and has a post office, ‡ under Chelmsford, a railway station, a custom-house, a church, a Wesleyan chapel, and national schools. ...
The oyster fishery is conducted chiefly by the collecting of oysters on distant coasts, particularly the N coast of France, and by laying them down to grow and fatten on the sea-ground of the Leigli shore. The church stands on the hill behind the town; commands an extensive view of the Thames estuary; is of the 14th century, of large nave, N aisle, and handsome chancel, with an ivy-clad tower; and has carved oak stalls, and some brasses.The parish comprises 2,331 acres. Real property, £4,223. Pop., 1,473. Houses, 291. The property is much subdivided. Roman coins have been found. A stone boundary, about 1½ mile E of the town, marks the limits of the jurisdiction of the conservators of the Thames. An anchorage, called Leigli Road, with 5 fathoms water, lies off the town. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £284.* Patron, the Bishop of Rochester. Bishop Eden was rector.
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 Leigh on Sea has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Southend on Sea. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Leigh on Sea and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Leigh on Sea, in Southend on Sea and Essex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2015
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