From Academic Kids

Region:East of England
Ceremonial County:Essex
Traditional County:Essex
Postal County:Essex

Template:GBdot Prittlewell is an area of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. Originally a Saxon village, Prittlewell is centred on St. Mary's Church, at the joining of its three main roads, East Street, West Street and Victoria Avenue (which was built over North Street in the late 1800s) which is the main Southend Arterial road. Along this road lies Southend's main administration centres, however Prittlewell is mainly a residential area.


People first settled by the Prittle Brook in stone-age times, and stayed through to the time of the Roman occupation when a villa was built in what is now Priory Park. The Romans brought with them all the benefits of their civilisation which would have transformed the local village. However, being on the east cost, the village increasingly fell to Saxon raids after the Romans left. The Saxons settled in the 5th and 6th century and gave the village a Saxon name, Prittleuuella. Archaeological finds from this time include a tomb containing artifacts of such quality that it is believed that they are one of the Saxon Kings of Essex who converted to Christianity. In the 7th century, a church was built on the hill to the south of the brook and spring, of which an arch remains in the currently standing church. Saxon rule continued until the Danes invaded in the 10th century. A Dane called Sweyne acquired large areas of land in the area and remained during the Saxon restoration.

Missing image
St. Mary's Church, Prittlewell

After the Norman invasion of 1066, Sweyne switched allegiances to William and increased his power. Under the feudal system he became Lord of the Manor.

Around 1110, a Sweyne's sucessor, Robert Fitzsweyne, also known as Robert d'Essex, divided his manor in two, the part to the west being Earl's Hall and the rest, consisting of 30 acres (120,000 m²) of land, the church at Prittlewell, and also the chapels at Sutton and Eastwood, being given to the Cluniac Priory of St Pancras of Lewes for the purpose of setting up a Priory.

At this time the lands of the Priory, extended to right down to the seafront. Due to this, when a fishing settlement was set up two miles south of the priory in the 14th Century, it was still regarded as part of Prittlewell and as such was named Stratende, Sowthende or South-End. From this settlement the modern town of Southend-on-Sea grew.

At the time of Henry VIII's disolution of the monastaries, the Priory, which had, by this time, developed into a sprawling complex, was closed and the lands seized by the crown.

Southend was developed as a bathing resort in the 18th century and by the 19th, Prittlewell was regarded by visitors to Southend as "an attractive village in the hinterland".

Links between Prittlewell and the rest of the world were improved in 1889 a road was built between the village crossroads by the church to Southend, named Victoria Avenue, and in 1892, when a station was built on the Great Eastern Railway linking Southend and London

Also in 1892 was the foundation of Southend-on-Sea as a Borough, which took over responsibilty for Prittlewell from an earlier parish council.

Modern day Prittlewell

Much of historical Prittlewell remains standing; the ruins of the Priory remain visible in Priory Park as well as the Manor House built there after the reformation; St. Mary's Church, containing architecture from saxon times; A newly restored building, thought to have been the village market hall, though more recently a bakery, now an estate agent appropriately named Tudor Estates; as well as a number of public houses.

Modern day Prittlewell stretches from the crossroads by the St Mary's Church to the airport on the boundary between Southend and Rochford.

The old priory and its grounds, which form Priory Park, were donated to the town of Southend by a prominent local benefactor, R.A. Jones, for use by the residents 'in perpituity'.

Prittlewell is also home to Southend United football club in their Roots Hall ground.


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