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Hullbridge

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Hullbridge is a village, civil parish and electoral ward in the Rochford district of Essex in east England. Bordered to the north by the River Crouch, and semi-isolated from the nearby towns of Hockley and Rayleigh, Hullbridge has a population of around 7,300 (2009), measured at 6,527 at the Census 2011.Prehistoric relics, such as Mesolithic flint axes, have been found in the parish. In the History of Rochford Hundred by Phillip Benton 1857 page 287 Hullbridge is listed as being Whoulnebregg 1375 Ct, Wolvebrigg 1377 Cl, Whulbridge 1492, t Eliza EAS (NS) iii, (OS)i, -bredg 1559 Ct, Hul(l)brigge 1480 Will, -bridge 1540 Ct, 1545 LP, Hulbredge 1544 FF, Hollbridge 1492 EAS (NS) iii, -brigge 1494 ib. "The bridge over the Huolne or Wholve, an old name of the Crouch supra 6. Folklore has it that a Roman Bridge existed here but there is no documented evidence to support a Roman bridge. Essex Record Office however has records relating to a bridge, and to its upkeep and indeed an accident on or from the bridge. Maps of Essex from 16th Century onwards until the mid 18th Century do show the bridge. Benton's book discusses a document that discloses the existence in the reign of Elizabeth I of a bridge here.The OED defines "wholve" as a "short arched or covered drain under a path." The word appears to be local to this part of Essex. This definition may cast doubt on it being the old name for the Crouch but may suggest this is the form of the bridgeAlong the river bank there are remains of evaporation pans where salt was made in Bronze Age times. As captured by well renowned Countryside historian Oliver Rackham in his publication "History of Countryside" The field structures in and around Hullbridge and South Woodham Ferrers were formed during the Iron Age so an ancient settlement in or around Hullbridge is highly likely especially given the Saxon Burial ground finds in Rawreth when the Park school was being built.
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