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Rayleigh

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Essex  /  Rayleigh
(4.1/5 based on 170+ reviews for 5 attractions)
Things to do: fun & games, museums, classes
Rayleigh is a market town and civil parish in the District of Rochford in Essex, England, located between Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea. It lies 32mi to the east of central London. It had a population of 30,196 in 2001, having expanded rapidly in the 1960s.ToponymyThe name "Rayleigh" is Saxon in origin and is cognate to the German place name Rehlach of the same meaning. According to the English Place Names Society, "Rayleigh" derives from "raege", and "leah", meaning "Female roe-deer stream" or "she-goat stream'". According to the Rayleigh Civic Society, "Roa" is a Saxon word for Roebuck and "Lea" a pasture probably for goats.In any case, the connection with deer continued through the centuries. Lands around Rayleigh were used as Royal hunting forests for many hundreds of years. A deer was included in the coat of arms of Rayleigh Urban District Council, and in the early 2000s, a new pub was named the "Roebuck".HistoryPrehistoric and Roman timesThere have been a scattering of stray finds around the town from Prehistoric and Roman times, including some Roman roof and hypocaust tiles found within the fabric of Rayleigh Church. This suggests there was a Roman habitation site within the area. However there is little evidence of any density of population here during this period.Saxon EraOne significant archaeological find was in the early 2000s at the western edge of Rayleigh, at the site of the former Park School in Rawreth Lane. An early Saxon cemetery site was discovered here, with 144 cremation burials and evidence of just one high-status female inhumation burial.
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