Great Burstead shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||CM11 2|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
By tradition, the origins of the church, St Mary Magdalene, at Great Burstead are linked to Saint Cedd. Cedd, a missionary monk and later Bishop of the East Saxons, was trained by the Celtic Saint Aidan at Lindisfarne. Cedd's original chapel at Bradwell-juxta-Mare can still be visited. It is understood that at first he set up his wayside preaching cross by a well near the road between Tilbury (another of his establishments) and Chelmsford, having converted Ebba, the Thane of Great Burstead. However, it is also reputed that the East Saxon King Sæberht (d 616) was buried nearby, a convert under the earlier Christian mission of Mellitus, the first Bishop of London. The area first having been settled by the East Saxons around 527 AD. Later, around 680 AD, the cross was replaced with a wooden building by the Thane, Edwy, perhaps dedicated by Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Great Burstead was part of the Barstable hundred, and in 1841 had a population of 884 spread over 3,620 acres (14.6 km2) of land. The complete census can be viewed, as can a listing of many of the historical public houses.
The Great Burstead parish, abolished 1934, also covered Billericay. The parish formed part of the Billericay Rural District from 1894 and Billericay Urban District from 1934. The district was renamed Basildon Urban District in 1955 and became part of the present-day Basildon district in 1974.
The village has South Green as its main shopping district.
The Great Burstead cricket team was formed in 1956 has recently merged with East Hanningfield CC but will continue to play in the T Rippon Mid-Essex League.