Excursions in the County of Essex by Thomas Kitson Cromwell 1818


Purleigh is very pleasantly situated, particularly about the church, the steeple of which commands a pleasing and extensive prospect, as the variety of rises and falls, with the woods and commons in the adjacent country, give it an appearance in some degree wild and picturesque.

To the west and north-west are seen the churches of Danbury, Hazeleigh, and Woodham Mortimer ; and on the north-east Blackwater Bay, gradually opening through the distant marshes.

On this side is the town of Maldon; with the churches of Langford, Tolleshunt Darcy, Tolleshunt Beckingham, Goldhanger, and Tollesbury; and to the east are seen the churches of Mundon, Steeple, Latchingdon, Althorne, and St. Lawrence.

On the south there is a fine view of Canewdon church, and of the Kentish hills, appearing on the other side of Rochford Hundred. Purleigh Hall, the manor-house, stands near the west end of the church.

This estate, at a very early period, was in the noble family of Grey de Wilton.

The church of Purleigh, dedicated to All Saints, is a large handsome structure, consisting of a body and two aisles; the tower, built with flint and stone, is embattled, and contains five bells. Over the western door are the heads of a man and woman carved in stone, supposed to represent the founder and his wife. The inside of the church is very neat, and does honour to one of its worthy rectors, who new fronted the pews at his own expense, and gave a handsome brass chandelier of twelve branches, with this inscription on the bowl: " The gift of Samuel Horsmanden, L.L.B. rector, 1758."

As a further testimony of his piety and munificence he bequeathed, at his death, an elegant service of communion plate to this church. The chancel is paved with stone; the pulpit and the altar-piece are both handsome, and the latter has a Moses and Aaron, tolerably executed. Here is a vestry, and a neat gallery for the singers. In the north aisle, it is supposed, was a chapel belonging to the Bouchier family.


A topical Dictionary of the United Kingdom by Benjamin Pitts Caper and Richard Cooper 1813

Purleigh is a parish in the hundred of Dengie, Essex 3 miles from Maldon and 39 miles from London.

It contains 102 houses and 709 inhabitants.

It holds a fair on Whit Tuesday

The Rectory is valued at 125 is annexed to the provostship of Oriol College, Oxford

Essex by J Charles Cox 1909

Purleigh (2 m. from Cold Norton) is a large village overlooking the widest part of the Blackwater estuary.

In this parish, near Howe Green, there is an entrenched mound, slightly raised above the surrounding surface. It is about 55 yds. in diameter, and the surrounding ditch measures 12 ft. in width. The late Mr Chalkeley Gould considered that it was possibly a mote or low hill.

The stone church (All Saints), thoroughly restored in 1892, consists of chancel, nave with aisle of three bays, south porch, and good embattled tower. Most of the fabric, except the porch, c. 1 500, as well as the fonts, is 14th cent. The tower is beautifully chequered and banded with dressed flints.

It is about to be repaired in memory of Lawrence Washington, great - great - grandfather of General George Washington, who was rector of Purleigh, 1633-43

History and Topography of the County of Essex - 1835

Part of this extensive parish rises above the surrounding district, and is pleasant and healthy, the site of the church and village commanding an extensive and varied prospect, in many parts of it presenting luxuriant sylvan scenery of a wild and picturesque appearance; to the west and north-west the woody eminence of Danbury and the churches of Haseley and Woodham-Mortimer ; north and north eastward, Blackwater-bay gradually opens through the distant marshes, and in the nearer view the town of Maldon, with the churches of Langford, Tolleshunt-Darcy, Tolleshunt-Beckenham, Goldhanger, and Tollesbury ; to the east, the churches of Mundon, Steeple, Latchingdon, Althorn, and St. Lawrence; on the south, a fine view of Canewdon church; and over Rochford hundred and the river Thames may be seen the hills of Kent.

According to Norden, the name of this parish is from the word Purlieu, applied to the borders of a forest, in which the king's rangers were to confine their excursions in hunting the deer, and where the owners of land had the right, under certain restrictions, to kill game. ;Reginald de Grey, who died in 1307, had this lordship, with which he enjoyed the privilege of Purlieu; as is expressed in the record, " he had Purlieu within this whole lordship, of any deer or forest wild beast." In records it is sometimes written Purlay, Purlai, and Purle

The parish is nine miles in length; distant from Maldon three miles, and from London thirty-nine.

There is a fair here on Whitsun Tuesday.

The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a handsome structure, on an eminence, with a nave, north and south aisles, and chancel, and an ancient embattled tower of flint and stone.

This parish, in 1821, contained nine hundred and sixty-seven inhabitants; increased  to one thousand and forty- four in 1831.  
Durrants Handbook for Essex - 1887
A large village, very pleasantly situated on an eminence overlooking the widest part of the Blackwater estuary with Osea Island in the foreground.
D W Coller - History of Essex 1861
Purleigh extends about 9 miles and has clusters of houses in How Green, Round Bush, Callow Green and Cock Clarks.
Miss Harvey Bonnell is Lady of the Manor of Purleigh Hall, which belonged at Domesday Survey to the great Earl of Boulogne. 
J J Tufnell is Lord of Barons and Freme and Sackett, which were part of the endowment of Wikes Nunnery, are the property of Charter House.
From the tower of the large handsome parish church, which stands on top of one of the highest hilltops of the Hundred, vast and beautiful views are obtained.
As the eye sweeps around the scene glimpses are caught of twelve or thirteen churches, the neighbouring town of Maldon with ,the bay of the Blackwater below.
There is a free school for the poor, endowed from a bequest of the Rev D Horsmonden with 30 pounds a year.
His widow, in carrying out this, gave 20 shillings a year for repairing the chancel windows.
The clerk has 5 pounds a year, the rent of 3 acres of church land and the poor have 3 pounds 18 shillings from 100 pounds left by Viscountess Falkland.