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Rochford’s Architectural Heritage - P.1

Probably the worst way to view Rochford would be by helicopter. All the Google Map (now out of date) shows from the air is a mass of buildings. Rochford needs viewing on foot if we are to appreciate the styles, ancient and modern, that can be found here.

A few years ago we used to have some pages here on Rochford Life called ‘Review Pages’ and the March/April 2013 review was entitled ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Rochford’ which is still in our archives if you want to see our attempt at brutal honesty about our town. But these pages are for visitors with an historical architectural interest and so below is a copy of a rather ancient paper (well, at least forty years old) of unknown origin which helpfully picks out some of the styles found in the central area of the town of Rochford.

We apologise for the quality but we did say it was old - but it does give an idea of some of the older styles that can still be seen in town.

For an assessment of the town we can do no better than quote from the Rochford District Council’s document  “ROCHFORD CONSERVATION AREA APPRAISAL AND MANAGEMENT PLAN  May 2007”  For anyone interested in the history of Rochford we highly recommend you click on that document title. To just see the quote from it, scroll down this page.


(By Rochford District Council)

Character Statement

2.1 Rochford is a modest but exceptionally well preserved market town centred on a cross-roads. Founded in 1257, there is little evidence today in the fabric of its buildings for its medieval past. The street plan is another matter: the axial roads, the infilled market place, Back Lane, and the irregular frontages are all features inherited from its medieval layout. Around the road junction, along the

three main axial streets, there is a picturesque historic core consisting mostly of brick and weatherboarded buildings of 18th- to 19th-century appearance.

Imposing brick town houses occur in South Street and the east end of West Street, whilst rows of one-and-a-half storey cottages are characteristic of the west end of West Street and much of North Street and elsewhere. No other Essex town preserves so many cottages of this type. At its edges are 20th century suburban development, whilst to the west there are large areas of open space round the parish church and old manorial centre of Rochford Hall, where there is a golf course. The condition of the buildings in the conservation area is mostly good, in part the result of successful grant schemes over the last 30 Years.

Statutory protection within the conservation area

3.1 The west half of Rochford Hall (the part which is not used by the Golf Club) is a scheduled ancient monument protected under the 1979 Ancient Monuments Act.

There are about 70 listed buildings in the conservation area (Fig. 1; Appendix 1). This large number is in part the result of a survey made by the late Mike Wadhams in the 1970s which was used for the accelerated resurvey of listed buildings in the 1980s. Most of the frontages of South Street and West Street are listed, and many buildings in North Street are too. The dates given in the list descriptions are often rather approximate. When it becomes possible to examine them in detail, many buildings with timber frames concealed by brickwork or render may well prove to be older than the dates indicated in the list descriptions. An example is Horners Corner where a 16th-century frame was found behind 18th- and 19th-century brickwork. The low cottages which are such a feature of Rochford are a class of building which has not been closely studied. They seem to have been built c.1600-1800. The 18th-century date generally assigned to them may well be too narrow.

Again, if you wish to see detail descriptions of all the main buildings of the centre of Rochford, then please go to the:


In the pages that follow, we emphasise, we simply provide a “wet-the-appetite” guide to the historical heritage of Rochford for visitors who want a quick glimpse of the town.

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