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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
EU Parliament 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.

Manor Estate in land to which is incident the right to hold a manorial court

In English law, a manor is an estate in land which includes the right to hold a manorial court. The Lord of the manor, through the manorial court, has jurisdiction over those who live within the lands of the manor. The proper unit of tenure under the feudal system is the fee, on which the manor became established through the process of time, akin to the modern establishment of a "business" upon a freehold site. The manor is nevertheless often described as the basic feudal unit of tenure and is historically connected with the territorial divisions of the march, county, hundred, parish and township.

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.

Essex County of England

Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region.


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.

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 School, Secondary School, and is linked to a local Sixth Form College in Thundersley (SEEVIC), now part of USP College.

South Benfleet town in Essex, United Kingdom

South Benfleet is a town or populous, largely modern village 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.

Buffer zone Intermediate region, typically between belligerent entities

A buffer zone is generally a zonal area that lies between two or more areas, but depending on the type of buffer zone, it may serve to separate regions or conjoin them. Common types of buffer zones are demilitarized zones, border zones and certain restrictive easement zones and green belts. Such zones may be, but not necessarily, comprised by a sovereign state, forming a buffer state.


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. [2] The place-name is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Thunreslea. [3]

Thor Hammer-wielding Nordic god associated with thunder

In Germanic mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz.

Domesday Book 11th-century survey of landholding in England as well as the surviving manuscripts of the survey

Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states:

Then, at the midwinter [1085], was the king in Gloucester with his council .... After this had the king a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men. Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out "How many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire."

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

Anglo-Saxon paganism

Anglo-Saxon paganism, sometimes termed Anglo-Saxon heathenism, Anglo-Saxon pre-Christian religion, or Anglo-Saxon traditional religion, refers to the religious beliefs and practices followed by the Anglo-Saxons between the 5th and 8th centuries AD, during the initial period of Early Medieval England. A variant of the Germanic paganism found across much of north-western Europe, it encompassed a heterogeneous variety of disparate beliefs and cultic practices, with much regional variation.


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.

Site of Special Scientific Interest Conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Great Britain or an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) in the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man. SSSI/ASSIs are the basic building block of site-based nature conservation legislation and most other legal nature/geological conservation designations in the United Kingdom are based upon them, including national nature reserves, Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas, and Special Areas of Conservation. The acronym "SSSI" is often pronounced "triple-S I".

Tile Wood Essex Wildlife Trust Nature reserve

Tile Wood is a 6.5 hectare nature reserve in Thundersley in Essex. It is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Pound Wood Essex Wildlife Trust Nature reserve

Pound Wood is a 22.3 nature reserve in Thundersley in Essex. It is owned and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.



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% [4]

Retirement rate

2011 ward nameadultsretiredas a % of adults
Cedar Hall415696323%
St Peter's475994620%
St George's228883119% [5]


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%. [6] [n 1]

England and Wales Administrative jurisdiction within the United Kingdom

England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. ’England and Wales’ forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.


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. [7]

Schools and colleges

There are three secondary schools in the district – The King John School and Sixth Form, The Deanes School 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. [8] [ needs update ])

Fully reformed Christian churches include Thundersley Congregational Church which runs as its mission The Beacon, [9] 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. [10]

See also

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Rayleigh, Essex town in Essex, United Kingdom

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Chadwell Heath suburban area of East London, England

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Leigh-on-Sea civil parish in Essex, England

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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.

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Hadleigh, Essex town in southeast Essex, England

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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

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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. Cornwell, Bernard (2007). Sword Song . Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins. p. 366. ISBN   978-0-00-721971-1.
  3. Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.471.
  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 - KS106EW: Households with Adults in "Employment" in wards in England and Wales
  6. UK Government statistics Data Downloads [or on-screen generation] - Query - KS402EW: Tenure in wards in England and Wales
  7. 'Thrumpton - Thurlby', A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1848), pp. 349-351. British History Online [accessed 12 May 2018].
  9. Thundersley Congregational Church
  10. the Simon Foxen Barber Shop
  11. 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