Essex in 1594

Author and mapmaker John Norden paid a visit to Essex in 1594 and wrote a description of his visit in Speculi Britanniae Pars

Some revealing extracts dealing with Eastern Essex are reproduced below.

  • I cannot comment the healthyness of it especially near the sea coasts, The Dengie Hundereds and other low places about the creekes gave me a most cruel quarterne fever but the many and sweet comodities counteract the danger.
  • The Hundred of Dengie yields  milk, butter and cheese in admirable abundance and in those parts are great and huge cheeses made wondrous  for their massiveness and thickness.
  • Some of the sea shore of Essex yeilds the best oysters in England called Walflete Oysters.So called because of a place in the sea although which place is subject of some dispute. By the circumstances that I have observed in my travels I take it to be the shore which lies between St Peters Chapel and  Crouch Creeks the breadth of the Dengie Hundred through which on the very shore was ereceted a wall for the preservation of the land.
  • The Dengie Hundred is very ill watered having no springs, having only standing waters which is bad for winter and worse for summer.

The Book contains a village directory and in some cases comments. The directory is reproduced below with original spellings and comments although the modern name is contained in box 2.


Name or names given

Modern name


Ashildon or Ashelham


The land of John De Roos


Burnham on Crouch


Cricksey or Crickeseley 

Creeksea - Part of Burnham on Crouch


Denge or Dansey


The place from where the hundred takes its name

N Fambridge

North Fambridge



Lawlinge - Part of Latchingdon


Lachenden or Lashingdon










Cold Norton


St Peters on the Wall

St Peter's Chapel at Bradwell on sea

Where some suppose Ithancaster to have stood.

It appeareth to have been a town now greatly destroyed by the sea.

It is called St peters on the wall for it standeth on the wall which was made to defend the land from the sea.

Purley or Purlieu



St Lawrence

St Lawrence





Stansgate Monastery

Demolished part of Steeple






Stow Maries





Woodham Water

Woodham Walter


Woodham Mortimer

Woodham Mortimer


As a mapmaker John Norden made many maps and mileage charts. His mileage chart for Essex from 1625 is reproduced below.