Basildon is in the Domesday Book You Know

By: Douglas Scott

Geographically, Basildon is situated some 30 miles South East of London, set back 4 miles from the passing River Thames in the county of Essex.
The earliest known reference to Basildon can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when the area was then referred to as Behoter.

Its thought to derive from an Anglo Saxon settlement called Boerthals Hill that stood on or around the Holy Cross area of Church Road.

The name Basildon appears to have evolved from the words Boerthal and dun, the Anglo Saxon term for hill.

Basildon was originally designated as a New Town following the New Towns Act of 1946. This was officially confirmed in 1949, and a Government appointed Basildon Development Corporation was formed and given the task of transforming the designated area into a modern town.

The pre existing towns of Laindon, Pitsea and Vange, together with Lee Chapel and parts of Dunton, Langdon Hills and Nevendon were all absorbed into the new development. Up to this point Basildon had been little more than a small village with a population in 1931 of just 1,159.

Basildon was created primarily as an overspill town to relieve the overpopulated areas of East London, and also to provide essential services and modern accommodation for a scattered local population, of which many were living in properties below the Housing Act standard.

Gloucester Park is the largest park with an area covering around 250 acres. The park is home to the towns main swimming pool and some of its other features include an athletics ground, cricket and football pitches, a bowling green, tennis courts and a fishing lake.

Countryside walks can be enjoyed in over 450 acres of Nature Trail beginning at Dunton Hills in the south west corner, continuing through the woodland of Lincewood to Marks Hill and finally to Willow Park.

This beautiful Palladian mansion featured in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice. It was built in 1776 to 1783 by John Carr for Francis Sykes, who had made his fortune in India.

The interior is notable for its original delicate plasterwork and elegant staircase, as well as for the unusual Octagon Room. The house fell on hard times early in the last century, but was rescued by Lord and Lady Iliffe, who restored it and filled it with fine pictures and furniture.

The early 19th century pleasure grounds are currently being restored, and there are waymarked trails through the parkland.

Langdon Hills Country Park with its views of the Thames and beyond is another popular attraction, as is the Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea. Set in 125 acres of unspoilt countryside, the park boasts the National Motorboat Museum, Marina, Art and Craft shops, Tudor houses and a miniature narrow gauge railway.

Basildon also has an 18 hole municipal golf course.

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