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Saint Mary's Parish Church
Prittlewell shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||Southend West|
The village of Prittlewell was originally centred at the joining of three main roads, East Street, West Street and North Street, which was extended south in the 19th century and renamed Victoria Avenue. The principal administrative buildings in Southend are located along Victoria Avenue, although Prittlewell is now mainly a residential area.
People first settled by the Prittle Brook at least 10,000 years ago in the late Stone Age. Little appears to have affected life in Prittlewell as its population gradually evolved from their original character as hunter-gatherers to a more settled existence during the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The Roman occupation began to influence the area with the construction of a Roman-style dwelling, probably a farmhouse or villa close to the brook in what is now Priory Park. The introduction of new ideas, new skills and social structures under this Roman influence would have brought significant change to the area. The discovery of Roman burial sites during road and rail construction in the 1920s and 1930s indicated that the settlement was well developed and of some significance, although no prominent buildings were preserved.
Saxons and Vikings
Following the decline of Roman Britain, the area came under the influence of Saxon raiders, over time becoming established as part of the kingdom of the East Saxons. During this time (largely the 5th and 6th centuries), the historic Saxon name of Prittleuuella came into being.
The construction works of 1923 and 1930 that revealed Roman burials also unearthed evidence of numerous Anglo-Saxon burials, a significant number of which were high-status or warrior burials containing weapons, imported goods, jewellery and decorative beads some of which were made out of glass.
Royal Saxon tomb
The high status of the area during the Anglo-Saxon period was confirmed by the discovery of a substantial and undisturbed 7th-century chamber tomb in 2003. The unusually rich contents and their condition have excited archaeologists, being described as "unique" by the Museum of London. A fuller description of the excavation and the artifacts of the burial chamber, thought to be of Saebert of Essex, can be seen at the dedicated Museum of London website.
(ref. Museum of London). The story of the excavation was also thought so significant as to be the subject of a special UK television documentary titled "The King of Bling", as part of the Time Team series.
The burial site was uncovered by archaeologists from the Museum of London, who had been commissioned in 2003 to prepare the site in advance of a road widening scheme. In 2009, following local opposition, the scheme was dropped and the traffic congestion eased by works to a different road location.
At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 the two manors in the area that is now Prittlewell were Prittlewell and Milton, the former owned by Swein of Essex and the latter by the Priory of Holy Trinity, Canterbury (now Canterbury Cathedral).
In the 12th century Robert de Essex, also known as Robert FitzSwein, founded Prittlewell Priory as a cell of the Cluniac Priory of St Pancras, Lewes. The foundation charter included the manor and church of Prittlewell.
At this time the lands of the priory extended to right down to the seafront. Due to this, when a fishing settlement was set up two miles (3 km) south of the priory in the 14th century, it was still regarded as part of Prittlewell and as such was named Stratende, Sowthende or South-End. From this settlement the modern town of Southend-on-Sea grew.
Over a period of around two hundred years the Parish Church, St. Mary's, was substantially enlarged, reaching its present size with the addition of its tower in the mid-15th century.
Southend was developed as a bathing resort in the 18th century and by the 19th, Prittlewell was regarded by visitors to Southend as "an attractive village in the hinterland". In 1848, Prittlewell was described in the White's Directory of Essex as "a neat and well built village with many modern houses overlooking the estuary of the Thames, 1½ miles North West of Southend, and 3 miles South of Rochford"
Links between Prittlewell and Southend were improved in 1889 a road was built between the village crossroads by the church to Southend, named Victoria Avenue and in 1892, when Prittlewell railway station was built on the Great Eastern Railway linking Southend and London
Also 1892 saw the foundation of Southend-on-Sea as a municipal borough, which took over responsibility for Prittlewell from an earlier parish council.
Modern day Prittlewell stretches from the crossroads by the St Mary's Church to the airport on the boundary between Southend and Rochford.
|2001 UK Census||Prittlewell ward||Southend-on-Sea UA||England|
At the 2001 UK census, the Prittlewell electoral ward had a population of 9,478. The ethnicity was 95.1% white, 1% mixed race, 2.8% Asian, 0.5% black and 0.6% other. The place of birth of residents was 93.9% United Kingdom, 0.8% Republic of Ireland, 1.2% other Western European countries, and 4.1% elsewhere. Religion was recorded as 71.2% Christian, 0.3% Buddhist, 1.2% Hindu, 0% Sikh, 1.1% Jewish, and 1.7% Muslim. 16.2% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 8.0% did not state their religion.
The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 39.5% in full-time employment, 12.6% in part-time employment, 9.6% self-employed, 3.3% unemployed, 2.3% students with jobs, 2.9% students without jobs, 16.5% retired, 6.3% looking after home or family, 4.5% permanently sick or disabled and 2.6% economically inactive for other reasons. The industry of employment of residents was 15.8% retail, 11% manufacturing, 8.1% construction, 11.6% real estate, 12.9% health and social work, 7% education, 6.2% transport and communications, 6.7% public administration, 2.8% hotels and restaurants, 11.7% finance, 0.7% agriculture and 5.5% other. Compared with national figures, the ward had a relatively high proportion of workers in finance and health and social work. Of the ward's residents aged 16–74, 14.4% had a higher education qualification or the equivalent, compared with 19.9% nationwide. According to Office for National Statistics estimates, during the period of April 2004 to March 2005 the average gross weekly income of households was £590, compared with an average of £650 in South East England.
Only a small proportion of the historical village of Prittlewell remains standing; the ruins and standing remains of the Priory, visible in Priory Park; St. Mary's Church; A building recently restored following fire damage, though more recently a bakery, now an estate agent appropriately named Tudor Estates; as well as a number of public houses.
The old priory and its grounds, which form Priory Park, were purchased from the Scratton family by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council with money given by a prominent local benefactor, R.A. Jones, for use by the residents 'in perpetuity'. However, a part of this park, together with the adjoining Saxon burial site mentioned above, is currently (as of January 2006) under threat of development from a road widening scheme. A 'protest camp' has been established in opposition to this plan . The camp has been nicknamed 'Camp Bling' as a humorous reference to the gold items found at the site.
Prittlewell is home to Prittlewell Badgers Football Club who play in the Southend Sunday League.
- Blair, Ian. "The Anglo-Saxon Prince". Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- Percival (23 April 2009). "Protesters poised to leave Camp Bling". Echo. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- Rumble, Alexander (1983) Domesday Book: Essex, Phillimore & Co Ltd, Chichester, UK
- Dugdale, William: Prittlewell Priory in Monasticon Vol. V (20-24) New Edition 1825, Longman, London
- White, William (1848). History, directory and gazetteer of the county of Essex. Sheffield: Robert Leader.
- "Neighbourhood Statistics". Statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- "Prittlewell: Treasures of a King of Essex". Current Archaeology. 16, No.10 (190): 430–436. February 2004.
- "A Brief History of Southend"
- Museum of London, "Treasures of a Saxon King of Essex"
- (Museum of London Archaeological Services) The "Prittlewell Prince" The undisturbed 7th-century Saxon burial chamber.