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Bread and Cheese Hill is the name of one of the roads climbing the main slope up to the heart of Thundersley.
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Location within Essex
Population15,600 (2001)
OS grid reference TQ800887
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BENFLEET
Postcode district SS7
Dialling code 01268 & 01702
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°34′N0°35′E / 51.57°N 0.59°E / 51.57; 0.59 Coordinates: 51°34′N0°35′E / 51.57°N 0.59°E / 51.57; 0.59

Thundersley is a district and an ecclesiastical parish based on a manor of early origin in the north of the Castle Point Borough, in southeast Essex, England. The settlement, between the size of a typical village and town, is clustered and sits on clay ridge shared with Basildon and Hadleigh, 31 miles east of Charing Cross, London.


Its main parish takes in Daws Heath to the east which is also part of the current Cedar Hall local government electoral ward. The two areas have Anglican churches. A third Anglican church is in the secular ward of St John's, which is commonly conflated on maps with South Benfleet which it adjoins and it is separated from Thundersley by a narrow green buffer. Between the two wards is the main ward of St Peter's, which loosely resembles the very longstanding church parish. [1] One ward is partially in Thundersley, Boyce which includes Thundersley Green and various short streets next to the town itself.


Thundersley derives from the Old English Þunres lēah = "grove or meadow [perhaps sacred] belonging to the god Thunor or Thor". It has also historically been known as Thunresleam.[ citation needed ] The place-name is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Thunreslea. [2]

The place-name is historically significant as a survival from England's pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon paganism.


The area is relatively hilly for Essex, a typical height for the central and eastern part of (old) Thundersley is about 200 feet (61 m) above sea level. The district is partly rural, with large woods and commons; including Thundersley Common (a Site of Special Scientific Interest), Shipwrights Wood (12 hectares) and Thundersley Glen all owned and managed by the council; West Wood (22½ hectares acres) owned by the council and managed by Castle Point Wildlife Group; Tile Wood (6½ hectares) and Pound Wood (22¼ hectares) are owned by the Essex Wildlife Trust; Starvelarks Wood and Wyburns Wood are both part of Little Haven Nature Reserve (37¼ hectares) which is owned by Havens Hospice Trust and leased to Essex Wildlife Trust; Coombe Wood is under mixed ownership and much of it has Village Green status. Thundersley is partly suburban, with large areas of housing, mostly built since c.1950, and small industrial parks.



A clear majority of households in all wards are economically employed (or in self-employment). The proportion of people who are retired is slightly higher than the national average.

2011 ward namehouseholdswith no adults in employmentas a % of households
Cedar Hall2500100040%
St Peter's257885333%
St George's228871031% [3]

Retirement rate

2011 ward nameadultsretiredas a % of adults
Cedar Hall415696323%
St Peter's475994620%
St George's228883119% [4]


The wards have a high rate of owner-occupation. In the 2011 census tenure is stated for all 8570 wards of England and Wales, all of Thundersley's wards ranked between 236th and 341st as to this statistic (the degree to which the census returnees stated they owned their homes either outright or with a mortgage). Specifically these varied in owner-occupation between 87.5% and 88.6%, the average in the jurisdiction being 67.8%. [5] [n 1]


Samuel Lewis (publisher)'s major work, a Topographical Dictionary of England in 1848 gives this account:

THUNDERSLEY (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Billericay [...] S.[outh] division of Essex, 2¼ miles (S. W. by W.) from Rayleigh; containing 596 inhabitants, of whom 120 are in the hamlet. This parish is about two miles in length [east-west], and a mile and a half in breadth, and comprises 2100 acres, of which 100 are common or waste; the village is on elevated ground, and the surrounding scenery is pleasingly diversified. The [parish priest] living...[was] valued in the king's books at £14. 13. 4., and in the gift [ appointment of the Rev. G. Hemming: the tithes have been commuted [near-eliminated] for £570; there is a parsonage-house, and the glebe comprises 40 acres. The church is a venerable structure in the later Norman and early English styles, with a tower and spire. [6]

Schools and colleges

There are three secondary schools in the district – The King John School and Sixth Form, The Deanes and The Appleton School and Sixth Form College. Five primary schools are Thundersley, Westwood, Kingston, Montgomerie, and Robert Drake. The main campus of SEEVIC Further Education College is also in the district, now part of USP College.


Since the Local Government Act 1972, Thundersley, along with Canvey Island, Hadleigh, and South Benfleet, has formed the parliamentary constituency of Castle Point and local government district and borough of Castle Point.

Thundersley elects one councillor to Essex County Council. Within Castle Point Borough Council, Thundersley is represented by 12 councillors, all Conservative, elected from the wards (from west to east) of St George, St Peter and Cedar Hall.

The Parish of Thundersley includes Daws Heath. The western part of Thundersley (approximately St George's parish or the St George ward) is known as New Thundersley.

Thundersley is within the SS7 Postcode Area. [n 2] .


Thundersley is bounded by the A127 road to the north, where it borders the Borough of Rayleigh, the A130 road to the west where it borders the villages of North Benfleet and Bowers Gifford in the Borough of Basildon, the A13 road to the south (bordering the South Benfleet district of Castle Point), plus a triangular salient further southward as far as Benfleet Road and Thundersley Glen, and eastwards beyond the A129 road bordering through Daws Heath, Belfairs Park in the Leigh-on-Sea Borough of Southend-on-Sea, and Hadleigh, also within the borough. The nearest railway stations are Benfleet railway station and Rayleigh railway station. The London Tilbury and Southend LT&SR 79 Class 4-4-2T No. 80 locomotive Thundersley was named after this area, and it is on exhibition at Bressingham Steam and Gardens in Norfolk, on loan from the National Railway Museum. The district has no fixed speed enforcement cameras, but mobile ones are sometimes observed in Daws Heath Road about 0.5 miles east of The Woodmans Arms junction.

Thundersley Rovers Sports Club

Thundersley Rovers Sports Club was formed in 1963 by local football fan Keith Walker. The club was a founder member of the Thundermite League in 1966 and it is from the club that the league took part of its name. From those early beginnings the club grew exponentially and within a decade Rovers boasted no less than three senior teams (two Saturday and one Sunday) plus six youth teams (under 10s through to under 15s), all of whom played in the Southend Junior League.

In 1980, the club found a permanent home at Thundersley Common having played at various venues (including Woodside Park, the John Borrows Ground, Benfleet Rec., Dark Lane and Scrub Lane). The Common, now synonymous with the club, has remained the club's home ground ever since. Since the beginning of the 2012/13 season, it has been the home venue for both junior and senior Thundersley Rovers teams.

Although officially named Thundersley Rovers Sports Club, the only sport the club has participated in thus far is football. In 2013, the club celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Greeves motorcycles

Greeves motorcycles were produced in a purpose-built factory at Thundersley from 1953 to 1976. Initially the bikes were an offshoot of the Invacar company, which produced invalid cars and needed to diversify its products.

The bikes were exclusively two-stroke powered, using proprietary engines from Villiers and British Anzani initially and always for the roadsters, but by 1964 they had developed their own engine for competition use. For a few years, Greeves were successful in competition, with wins in the European Motocross Championship, the Manx Grand Prix, the European Trials Championship and the Scottish Six Days Trial, and with gold medals in the ISDT and the ACU 250 cc Road Race.



Air Training Cadets

Air Training Corps Squadron - (1341) is based in Thundersley.

Anglican churches

The Parish of Thundersley has three Anglican churches: St Peter's, Thundersley, St George's, New Thundersley and St Michael's, Daws Heath the original of which has been replaced by an enhanced timber church, consecrated by the Bishop of Bradwell on 1 December 2012. [7] [ needs update ])

Fully reformed Christian churches include Thundersley Congregational Church which runs as its mission The Beacon, [8] Thundersley Gospel Hall, Daws Heath Evangelical Church and Thundersley Community Church at Cedar Hall School.

Thundersley Christian Spiritualist Church

Thundersley Christian Spiritualist Church was formed in October 1933 and moved to a wooden hut on Bread and Cheese Hill in July 1947. A new building opened at the same site in 2008.


A movie memorabilia barber shop, is among the many unusual businesses of note. [9]

See also

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Rayleigh, Essex Human settlement in England

Rayleigh is a market town and civil parish in Essex, England, between Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea, 32 miles (51 km) east of central London. It had a population of 32,150 at the census in 2011.

Castle Point Borough in England

Castle Point is a local government district with borough status in south Essex, 30 miles (48 km) east of central London. The borough comprises the towns and villages of Canvey Island, Hadleigh, South Benfleet, and Thundersley where the council has its headquarters.

Canvey Island Human settlement in England

Canvey Island is a civil parish and reclaimed island in the Thames estuary in Essex, England. It has an area of 7.12 square miles (18.44 km2) and a population of 38,170. It is separated from the mainland of south Essex by a network of creeks. Lying only just above sea level, it is prone to flooding at exceptional tides, but has nevertheless been inhabited since the Roman invasion of Britain.

Chadwell Heath Human settlement in England

Chadwell Heath is a suburban area in north east London, England. It is situated on the boundary of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the London Borough of Redbridge, around 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Romford and 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Ilford, and 12 miles (19 km) north-east of Charing Cross.

Leigh-on-Sea Human settlement in England

Leigh-on-Sea is a town and civil parish in Essex, England. A district of Southend-on-Sea, with its own town council, it is currently the only civil parish within the borough.

Castle Point (UK Parliament constituency)

Castle Point is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Rebecca Harris, a Conservative.

Benfleet Urban District was an urban district in the county of Essex, England. It was created on 1 October 1929 by the merger of the civil parishes of Hadleigh, South Benfleet and Thundersley, all previously in the Rochford Rural District.

Rochford Rural District was a rural district with an area of 146.01 square kilometres in the county of Essex, England. It was created in 1894, in 1897 the parish of Leigh was removed to create the Leigh-on-Sea Urban District. In 1926 the parish of Canvey Island was removed to create the Canvey Island Urban District. In 1929 the parishes of Hadleigh, South Benfleet and Thundersley were removed to create the Benfleet Urban District, at the same time the parishes of Rayleigh and Rawreth were removed to create the Rayleigh Urban District.

Daws Heath

Daws Heath contains a large area of woodland in eastern Thundersley, part of Castle Point near Southend in Essex, England. It is traversed by the Daws Heath Road and St Michael's Road. Daws Heath provides a semi-rural escape for local towns and villages and their residents as they drive out of Castle Point, as Daws Heath Road has fields and woodland on both sides of the road with a small scattering of houses. Driving down Daws Heath Road it is not uncommon to see rare-breed cattle, sheep and horses. Daws Heath is surrounded by Greenbelt and Woodland which are a buffer to stop the local villages merging by development. West Woods, nearly 80 acres (320,000 m2) of mixed woodland, was purchased from the Church of England in 2009, securing continued public access to these woods; public support in the Daws Heath area is very strong especially on green belt and woodland preservation. The area has established neighbourhood watch schemes, Church Groups and Greenbelt Protection Groups. Daws Heath contains The Deanes,, and is linked to a local Sixth Form College in Thundersley (SEEVIC), now part of USP College.

Eastwood, Essex Human settlement in England

Eastwood is a town four miles west of Southend-on-Sea in Essex, England. It is a suburb of Southend and part of the Southend-on-Sea unitary district. Eastwood is sometimes called Eastwood Park, particularly for local elections.

South Benfleet Human settlement in England

South Benfleet is a town in the Castle Point district of Essex, 30 miles east of London. The Benfleet SS7 post town includes South Benfleet, Thundersley, New Thundersley and Hadleigh. The Battle of Benfleet took place here between the Vikings and Saxons in 894.

Hadleigh, Essex Human settlement in England

Hadleigh is a town in southeast Essex, England, on the A13 between Thundersley, Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea with a population of about 18,300. It has a squared bypass to the north.

South East Essex (UK Parliament constituency)

South East Essex was a parliamentary constituency in Essex in the East of England. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

North Benfleet Human settlement in England

North Benfleet is a village in the Basildon Borough of Essex, England, located between the towns of Basildon to the west and Thundersley to the east. It adjoins the small village of Bowers Gifford to the south, with which it shares a civil parish.

A.R. Adams Funeral Directors Ltd is an independent family-run firm of funeral directors in the United Kingdom.

2007 Castle Point Borough Council election

The 2007 Castle Point Borough Council election took place on 3 May 2007 to elect members of Castle Point Borough Council in Essex, England. One third of the council was up for election and the Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

2008 Castle Point Borough Council election

The 2008 Castle Point Borough Council election took place on 1 May 2008 to elect members of Castle Point Borough Council in Essex, England. One third of the council was up for election and the Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

Thundersley Great Common

Thundersley Great Common or Thundersley Common is an 8.9 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Thundersley in Essex. It is managed as public open space by Castle Point Borough Council.


  2. Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.471.
  3. UK Government statistics Data Downloads [or on-screen generation] - Query - KS106EW: Households with Adults in "Employment" in wards in England and Wales
  4. UK Government statistics Data Downloads [or on-screen generation] - Query - KS106EW: Households with Adults in "Employment" in wards in England and Wales
  5. UK Government statistics Data Downloads [or on-screen generation] - Query - KS402EW: Tenure in wards in England and Wales
  6. 'Thrumpton - Thurlby', A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1848), pp. 349-351. British History Online [accessed 12 May 2018].
  8. Thundersley Congregational Church
  9. the Simon Foxen Barber Shop
  10. Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992). The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p.  250. ISBN   0198661649.
  1. Specific rankings: Boyce 236th, Cedar Hall 286th, St Peter’s 341st and St George’s 278th out of all 8570 wards
  2. Specifically most of Thundersley is in outward code 3; small parts in 4 (New Thundersley) 2 (mostly Hadleigh) 1 (mostly South Benfleet) and 6 (mostly Rayleigh)

Further reading