Ashingdon Parish Boundaries
ASHINGDON AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
Ashingdon Parish is bounded by five parishes on the south side of the River Crouch: Canewdon, Hawkwell, Hockley, Hullbridge and Rochford. Great Stambridge Parish is only 290 metres (315 yards) away from Ashingdon in the southeast. On the north side of the River Crouch, Ashingdon is bounded by four parishes : Stow Maries, North Fambridge, Purleigh and Latchingdon, all four are in Maldon District. Woodham Ferrers Parish in Chelmsford District is only 480 metres (525 yards) away across the River Crouch to the west.
The Parish boundary runs along the middle of The River Crouch, then Beckney Brook, Lower Road, the western edge of Beckney Wood, Footpath 1, Footpath 15, through the Broadlands Estate, along White Hart Lane (Bridleway 31), Footpath 7 and Footpath 2, behind properties on the east side of Rectory Avenue, alongside The Chase, along Ashingdon Road, Brays Lane, Hyde Wood Lane, Canewdon Road, the along The Old Fleet River and the brook to Shortpole Reach and to the middle of The River Crouch where it completes it circuit. These are the main natural boundaries, most of which run along the middle or of them or alongside. The most prominent of these is the very wide tidal River Crouch mostly over 300 metres (about 330 yards) wide. Our western boundary on the River Crouch starts at Beckney Brook, which runs from beside Lower Road to the Brandyhole saltings marshes near Brandyhole Reach opposite Stow Creek. From there, our boundary runs east along that stretch of the River Crouch called “Longpole Reach” until our eastern parish boundary at Shortpole Reach, opposite Bridgemarsh Creek where there is a "four points" meeting point of 4 parishes - Ashingdon, Purleigh, Latchingdon and Canewdon. This is where our parish boundary with Canewdon Parish runs from near Landsend Point and then south along the two brooks, one of which is The Old Fleet River to Canewdon Road.
DITCH AND BANK
In several areas, the parish boundaries are marked by the traditional and historic prominent embankments called a "ditch and bank" boundary. These can be seen : around Boundary Wood near Magnolia Park, south of Footpath 2 / Footpath 7; along the north side of Footpath 2 / 7, the north side of Footpath 15; throughout Beckney Wood. Parts of the old South Fambridge parish boundaries in Beckney Wood and east towards Footpath 17 are also visible. In many other areas the boundary is a ditch, a stream, a hedgerow, a field edge or the middle of a road, track or footpath.
Many parish and county boundaries run for long distances along Roman Roads, where their ridges provided prominent linear features in ancient times where no natural features such as streams, rivers and hilltop ranges existed.The long straight Ashingdon Road is a Roman Road which forms the parish boundary for Hawkwell with Ashingdon and Rochford. The ridge formed by the camber in the centre of the Roman Road became the parish boundary of Hawkwell for about 3 km (2 miles). 1.40 km of that ridge is our Parish boundary with Hawkwell and the remaining 1.55 km is with Rochford Parish.
The shape of the Ashingdon Parish boundaries look like the side profile of a man’s head with a crown and a beard. It is as if it represents the head of a king as one would see it on a coin. It could be King Canute’s or King Edmund’s head which represents the shape of Ashingdon Parish.
HAWKWELL IN ASHINGDON
Some of what appears to be Ashingdon is in fact in Hawkwell Parish. The parish boundary is very curious and runs down the middle of the Roman Road called Ashingdon Road which runs through the village. The east side is Ashingdon, the west side is Hawkwell, even though the main part of Hawkwell is some 5.5 km (3.5 miles) away by road and 2.5 km (1.5 miles) by air. The northern part of East Hawkwell is a narrow strip about 450 metres wide which juts into and is almost surrounded by Ashingdon and is as little as 250 metres (275 yards) from Ashingdon’s St Andrew’s Church, but is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from Hawkwell’s St Mary’s Church. That part of northeast Hawkwell is called “Ashingdon” by all who live there because it is in the village of Ashingdon, being only a few paces across the road and most of the houses and businesses in that part of Hawkwell use Ashingdon as their postal address.
ASHINGDON IN HOCKLEY
Some parts of Ashingdon Parish appear to be in Hockley. The Parish boundary extends as far as the western edge of Beckney Wood, quite near to Plumberow Mount in Hockley. Nearby, our Parish includes Leamington Road, Harrogate Road, Tonbridge Road, Malvern Road "The Spas", all of which are part of the Hockley urban area. Our Parish also extends down to White Hart Lane and the Broadlands Estate. Over a third of that estate is in Ashingdon, but it is in the Hockley urban area. Most of Greensward Lane this side of Hockley Station is in Ashingdon and most of the houses, farms and businesses in Lower Road use Hockley as their postal address.
The villages of Ashingdon, South Fambridge, Hawkwell and Hockley and their parish boundaries are ancient and long established, as are those of Rochford, Canewdon, Stambridge and all other parishes nearby. Our Parish boundary appears on the map of Ecclesiastcal Jurisdictions for The Archdeaconry of Essex dated 1564. But, it had existed long before that.
Canewdon is listed as 1636, Great Stambridge is 1563, Hawkwell is 1692, Hockley is 1728, Little Stambridge was 1654, Rochford is 1678 and South Fambridge is 1754. Wallasea Island was a detached part of Great Stambridge in 1563.