Place:Great and Little Leighs, Essex, England

NameGreat and Little Leighs
TypeCivil parish
Coordinates51.827°N 0.506°E
Located inEssex, England     (1946 - )
See alsoChelmsford Rural, Essex, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1974
Chelmsford (district), Essex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

Great and Little Leighs is a parish in Essex, England, formed in 1946 from two neighbouring parishes:Great Leighs and Little Leighs. The two parishes are located side by side in the northeast corner of Chelmsford District.

Both parishes were part of the Chelmsford Rural District from 1894 until their merger, and since 1974 the combined parish has been located in the Chelmsford District or Borough.

The Chelmsford Rural District page has a map illustrating the location of the parishes, numbered #10 and 15.

Great Leighs

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Great Leighs from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"LEIGHS (GREAT), a village and a parish in Chelmsford district, Essex. The village stands on the river Ter, 6¼ miles NE by N of Chelmsford [railway] station; and has a post office under Chelmsford. The parish contains also the hamlet of Chatley, and comprises 3,125 acres. Rated property: £3,353. Population: 909. Houses: 189. The property is much subdivided. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value: £878. Patron: Lincoln College, Oxford. The church is very ancient, in tolerable condition; and has a Norman door and window, and a round tower of stone and flint. There are an Independent chapel, a national school, a British school, and charities £30."

Little Leighs

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Little Leighs from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"LEIGHS (LITTLE), a parish in Chelmsford district, Essex; on the river Ter, 5 miles SW of Braintree [railway] station, and 7 NNE of Chelmsford. Post town, Great Leighs, under Chelmsford. Acres: 1,080. Real property: £2,156. Population: 171. Houses: 33. The property is diVided among a few. A priory of Black canons was founded here in the time of Henry III., by Ralph de Geinon; was given, at the dissolution, to Sir Richard Rich; was converted by him into a splendid mansion; passed to the Duke of Buckingham; belongs now to Guy's hospital; and has left extensive and interesting remains. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester. Value: £400. Patron: the Rev. John Green. The church is a small building, with a wooden spire."

Research Tips

  • Essex Record Office handles Essex archives within the county. The address is Wharf Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6YT.
  • The Essex Society for Family History covers topics of genealogical interest throughout the present County of Essex (i.e. excluding the western area now in Greater London). Subscription necessary.
  • GENUKI provides a list of towns and parishes leading to pages for individual parishes with useful local information for genealogists and family historians.
  • Wikimedia Commons has a set of maps of the old hundreds of Essex. These do not show the individual parishes within the hundreds.
  • For very detailed investigation Wikimedia Commons also has a series of 176 part maps of the Ordnance Survey 1st series 1:10560, Map of Essex
  • FamilySearch lists its collections of church records and vital records along with those provided by other organizations, both commercial and voluntary.
  • The commercial website FindMyPast also has a collection of wills and newspaper transcriptions, as well as the "1939 Register" (an equivalent to the census gathered at the beginning of World War 2).
  • A Vision of Britain through Time is a website produced by the Department of Geography of the University of Portsmouth. It outlines all parishes as they were in the 19th century.
  • British History Online has transcribed eight volumes of the Victoria County History project for Essex. Seven of these cover the history of parts of the county in great detail, although the project is incomplete for Essex as a whole. Ownership of land through the centuries can often be traced here. The volumes of note are as follows:
Volume 4, Ongar Hundred, including Chipping and High Ongar, Chigwell, Stondon Massey and Theydon Bois (26 parishes in all).
Volume 5, Becontree Hundred outside Greater London. A thematic account of the growth of metropolitan Essex since 1850. Also contains topographical accounts of Barking, Ilford, Dagenham and other areas of Essex now within Greater London.
Volume 6, parishes of Becontree Hundred now within the London boroughs of Newham, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. These include West and East Ham, Walthamstow and Wanstead.
Volume 7, Covers the ancient parishes, formerly within the Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower and now within the London borough of Havering, and those in Chafford hundred in western Essex now bordering London. It includes accounts of Hornchurch, Romford, Havering.
Volume 8, accounts of the parishes of Chafford and Harlow Hundreds, including Brentwood, Harlow and Thurrock.
Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester, describes the life of the oldest and for long the largest town in Essex from the Iron Age to 1990.
Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (part), includes Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe and other parishes to the north and west of Colchester.
  • As of June 2019 Ancestry (Worldwide subscription required) includes Essex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, these early records are from parish registers of baptisms and burials during the years 1538–1812, and marriages during the years 1538-1754. These are in addition to their previous holdings:
  • Essex, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1918: 3,937,941 records
  • Essex, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1935: 1,968,439 records
  • Essex, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1994: 730,118 records