infobox UK place
country = England
population = 40,000
region= East of England
postcode_district= CM11, CM12
Billericay (Audio|En-uk-Billericay.ogg|pronunciation; IPA|/bɪləˈrɪki/ or "Bilrikee") is a small
commutertown in Essex, Englandwith a population of 40,000.
Geography and geology
Billericay is a semi-rural town, with many green spaces, including Norsey Wood, Mill Meadows Nature Reserve, Queen's Park Country Park, Sun Corner, Lake Meadows and South Green amongst others. Billericay contains
Billericay Schooland Mayflower High SchoolBillericay is within the London Basinand lies on a mixture of London Clay, Claygate Beds and Bagshot Beds. Near the high street, there is a change in soil type from sandy to clay, which gives rise to local underground springs.
One of the earliest records of human occupation of Billericay are the
burial mounds, which still exist in Norsey Woods. This is evidence of occupation in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Evidence of Roman occupation has been found at a number of locations in the town and there may have been a small cavalry fort at Blunts Wall.
Saxonsdid not settle in the centre of Billericay. They established themselves two miles south, at Great Burstead. In the late tenth century it was known as 'Burhstede.' Billericay was not mentioned in the Domesday Book, as it lay within Great Burstead. At this time the parish church for Billericay was at Great Burstead. In 1291 the name 'Byllyrica' is first recorded.
In the 13th and 14th centuries some of the Canterbury Pilgrims journeyed via Billericay. It is probable that some pilgrims spent the night in Billericay before crossing the
River Thamesat Tilbury. This may account for why there were so many inns in the town.
Billericay's most notable historical episode was on the 28th June, 1381, when
King Richard II's soldiers defeated Essex rebels at Billericay's Norsey Woods. About 500 rebels were killed in the battle which ended the Peasants' Revolt.
The Wycliffe preachers influenced the town. Four local people (Thomas Watts, Joan Hornes, Elizabeth Thackwell, and Margaret Ellis) were
burnt at the stake. Two other residents (Joan Potter and James Harris) were tortured for their faith during the reign of Queen Mary.
The Pilgrim Fathers
A meeting of the
Pilgrim Fathersprior to their sailing in the " Mayflower" is said to have taken place in Billericay, and much local nomenclature and historical imagery reflects this: Mayflower House, Morris Men, Taxis, School, Hall. Sunnymede School's houses were called Mayflower, Pilgrim, Chantryand Martin (after Christopher Martin, a Billericay merchant who travelled on the Mayflower as Ship's Governor).
Four people from Billericay were on board, including Christopher Martin. He and his wife, Marie, along with Solomon Prowe and John Langemore perished shortly after their arrival at
Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The unfortunate fate of the would be pioneers did not deter other inhabitants of Billericay from setting sail for the New World. The town of
Billerica, Massachusettswas established in 1655 to commemorate the origins of some of the first settlers.
Georgian and Victorian era
Georgian periodmany excellent examples of the period's houses were built in Billericay. One of those remaining today is Burghsted Lodge in the High Street, which houses the library. The road from Billericay to Tilbury still had a reputation: with mention of "footpads" and highwaymenoperating along the road where it passed through open country.
In the town, The Union Workhouse was built in 1840 to continue to implement the
Poor Law. Parts of this building were later incorporated into what was St. Andrews Hospital. The railway arrived in Billericay in 1889, being on the Great Eastern Main Linebetween Londonand Southend-on-Sea.
The 20th Century
In 1916, during the
First World War, one of the giant German Zeppelin airships (L32) was shot down during an aerial battle over Billericay. During its fiery demise, it narrowly missed the High Street, crashing into a nearby field. Recent research has indicated that this may be identified with the 'ghost Zeppelin' of Tonbridge which was allegedly seen floating over that town earlier in the day.
St Andrew’s Hospital, which was formerly the site of the town’s Victorian
workhouse, continued to function as an important communal building. From 1973, it housed the internationally renowned Regional Plastic Surgery and Burns unit until this was relocated at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsfordin April 1998. After the relocation most of the hospital was redeveloped into housing, but the listed buildings remain intact but are now residential.
Since 2001 the MP for the Billericay constituency has been John Baron of the Conservative Party. The constituency is due to be reformed as Basildon and Billericay before the next election. It was previously represented by
Teresa Gormanfrom 1987 to 2001, a Conservative rebel who had the whip withdrawn for opposing the Maastricht Treaty. Her predecessor, the conservative MP Harvey Proctoralso had a significant place in the news in 1987, when he was charged with indecency. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/16/newsid_2524000/2524727.stm BBC: On this day 16 April 1987] , Retrieved 7 September 2006.]
Billericay is part of the Basildon district, although occasional proposals have been made to add it to the nearby Brentwood district instead. [ [http://www.lgce.gov.uk/your-area/basildon.cfm/ LGCE review for Basildon area] Retrieved
23 December 2006.] Basildon District Council is Conservative controlled. Billericay is also served by a town council of 20 members, elected in 3 wards and a youth town council, elected in schools around the town.The Chairman of the Youth Town Council is Vikram Footring and Vice-Chairperson Sophie Harrison. [ [http://www.billericaytowncouncil.gov.uk/ Billericay Town Council] . Retrieved 9 November 2006. ] The town council has powers related to local planning and finance, while the youth council has an annual budget of £500 to spend or invest in local services or entertainment. [ [http://www.bytc.org/ Billericay Youth Town Council] . Retrieved 9 November 2006. ]
The Billericay parish was not formed until 1937, before then the area had been part of the ancient
Great Bursteadparish. [ [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/relationships.jsp?u_id=10235728 Vision of Britain] - Great Burstead parish ( [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10235728&c_id=10001043 historic map)] . Retrieved 9 November 2006.] In 1894 a Billericay Rural Districtwas created which covered a wide area stretching as far as Brentwood and Pitsea. [ [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/relationships.jsp?u_id=10186389&c_id=10001043 Vision of Britain] - Billericay RD ( [http://vision.edina.ac.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10186389&c_id=10001043 historic map)] . Retrieved 9 November 2006.] In 1934 the core of this district around Basildon and Billericay was used to create Billericay Urban Districtand in 1937 a Billericay civil parish was created covering the same area. The urban district, but not the parish, was renamed Basildon in 1955. In 1974 the district was abolished and its former area was used to create the present-day Basildon district.
Billericay is a part of the
London commuter belt.
It is served by
Billericay railway stationon the National Express East Angliaroute from Liverpool Street station, in the City of London, to Southend.
Billericay is close to two primary routes: the A12 to the north and the A127 in the south. The A176 provides a road link to Basildon to the south of Billericay, as well as to the A127. The only secondary road in the town, the B1007, passes from just south of the town centre as Laindon Road meets the A129 at Sun Corner and then continues northwards as Billericays High Street and then Stock Road. It continues north to the county town of Chelmsford. Along its route is the village of Stock and an interchange to the A12. The town is a distination on the A129, linking it to the neighbouring towns of Brentwood and Wickford.
Sport and culture
The town is represented by local teams in a number of sports. The grounds of the local football and cricket teams and tennis club are located in the West of Billericay, along Blunts Wall Road.
Formed in 1880, Billericay Town FC is the local football team and are currently in the Ryman Premier League. The stadium is called the New Lodge and has a capacity of 3,500. Whilst members of the Essex Senior League, the club won the F.A.Vase in 1976 when Stamford were beaten 1-0 after extra-time at Wembley Stadium.The following season, 1976/77, saw the club go to Wembley again and - after a 1-1 draw there - played at Nottingham Forest F.C. in the re-play and emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield, the oldest club in the world.Billericay Town became the first [and so far the only] club to win the F.A.Vase for a third time in 1979 when they defeated Almondsbury Greenway 4-1. This match was notable for a hat-trick by Doug Young - the first hat-trick in a Cup Final at Wembley Stadium since Geoff Hurst's in the 1966 World Cup Final.
Billericay Rugby Football Clubis the local rugby team, playing in Essex Division One. Their ground is the Willowbrook Sports Club to the North of the town off of Stock Road. They are the only team from Essex to play at Twickenham, the home of English Rugby, when they won the Tetley Bitter Vase in 1999, a trophy they won again in 2007. Billericay is the only town to have won both the football and rugby vases. The club was formed in 1969 (although evidence has been found dating back to 1905). There has been a tennis club in the town since "c". 1930.
The town is now served by a small community radio station,
The town was immortalised in the
Ian Dury and the Blockheadssong ' Billericay Dickie.' Billericay is also mentioned in George Orwell's novel 'Down And Out In Paris And London'. Gavin Shipman, a main character in the sitcom Gavin & Staceyis from Billericay.
The Cater Museum is a privately owned folk museum. It is housed in an 18th century building in the High Street.
1 July 1837and 1 July 1939Billericay was a registration district. From 1974 until the present, the town falls under the Basildon district. However, the registry office is not located in Basildon, but in Billericay at Burghstead Lodge, adjacent to the town's library in the High Street. There is also the facility to register deaths in Basildon Hospital. [ [http://www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCWebsite/dis/guc.jsp?channelOid=13563&guideOid=14832&guideContentOid=13933 Basildon District] - Essex County Council. Retrieved 22 September 2006.]
Billericay is twinned with
Fishers, Indiana[ [http://www.the-bta.org/ Billericay Twinning Association] . Retrieved 9 November 2006. ] flagicon|US and Billerica, Massachusetts[ [http://www.btinternet.com/~bmta/index.html Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association] . Retrieved 9 November 2006. ] flagicon|US in the US. The town is also twinned with the French market town of Chauvigny, Vienne. flagicon|France
Alison Moyet, British pop singer, born in Billericay
Barbara Follett, British politician, lived in Billericay as child
Chris Haywood, Australian actor/producer, born in Billericay
Christopher Martin, Mayflower pilgrim, lived in Billericay before his pilgrimage
Daniel Corbett, British TV weather forecaster, lived in Billericay as child
Darren Day, British entertainer
Francis Thomas BaconOBE FRS, British engineer, born in Billericay
Jody John Fowler, Author, musican and tv presenter still resides in Billericay
Lee Barnard, English football player, went to school in Billericay
* Lee Evans, comedian, went to school in Billericay
Lee Harrison, English football player, born in Billericay
* Mark Foster, British swimmer, born in Billericay
Neal Asher, science fiction writer, born in Billericay
Peter Bone, British politician, born in Billericay
Stewart Robson, former English football player, born in Billericay
* [http://www.billericay.net/ Local Interest in and Around Billericay]
6 December 2007.
* [http://www.billericaysociety.co.uk/ The Billericay Society] - Retrieved
9 November 2006.
* [http://www.ctib.faithweb.com/index.html Churches Together in Billericay] - Retrieved
9 November 2006.
* [http://members.tripod.com/~WynGrant/Billericay.html Wyn Grant's Billericay Page] - Retrieved
9 November 2006.
* [http://www.billericay.net/LocalHistory.html The History of Billericay] - Retrieved
9 November 2006.
* [http://beehive.thisisessex.co.uk/billericayrfc/ Billericay Rugby Club] - Retrieved
23 December 2006.
* [http://www.billericayroundtable.co.uk/ Billericay Round Table (RT594)] - Retrieved
28 May 2007.
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