History of Billericay
Billericay was first inhabited in the Iron Age, burial mounds still exist in Norsey Woods, but it is in the Roman period when the local Trinovante tribe assisted Queen Boadicea and were quelled, that a Roman settlement brought about the town's real birth.
During the Saxon period our traditional form of local government came into being. The area was then owned by King Harold's father, who is buried locally, who named the fortified settlement Burghstede.
The area then passed into the ownership of William the Conqueror's half brother. When he fell out of favour, William gave the lands to the Cistercian monks. Barstable Hundred came about when the county was divided into "hundreds".
In the 12th and 13th centuries a manor house called Blunts Walls was built by Bartholomew Blunt on the north west of the town. In 1262 Reginald Blunt joined the Barons Revolt, under Simon-de-Montfort but was defeated at the Battle of Evesham. His lands were then confiscated and passed to the Augustinian Thoby priory at Mountnessing.
In 1342 Billericay acquired a Chantry Chapel with sufficient funds to support its own priest.
The next important event was in 1381 when local men joined with those from Kent in a peasants' revolt against Richard II's poll tax. Wat Tyler led a march on London where he was killed and his followers were driven home and 500 massacred in Norsey Woods by Thomas of Woodstock. They are buried in Great Burstead.
In 1620 victualler Christopher Martin set sail with several fellow townsfolk for the new world in "The Mayflower". The town Billerica was set up in Massachusetts. Find out more about Billerica by clicking here
The town became increasingly prosperous during the Georgian period as it was an important stop en route to the Tilbury Crossing and a highly successful coaching route running between Brentwood, Billericay, Rayleigh, Hadleigh, Leigh and Rochford. The Crown, a large coaching inn was built to accommodate the many travellers as existing hostelries were unable to cope.
In the reform election of 1832 Billericay was one of only seven polling stations in South Essex, the county being divided into north and south for the elections.
From that date Billericay continued to hold its place as a centre of administration. This was confirmed in 1894 with the formation of the Billericay Rural District Council.
Close ties continue to exist between Brentwood and Billericay, borne out not only by the coming of the railway from Shenfield, but also by the A127 major road link.