26. EAST TILBURY. (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxxxiv. S.W. (b)lxxxiv. S.E.
East Tilbury is a river-side parish 3 m. E. of
Tilbury town and docks. The church and the
Romano-British huts are the principal monuments.
c(1). Adjoining the western boundary of the
parish, on the foreshore of the Thames, below the
present high-tide level, are fragmentary remains
(Plate, p. xxxvi) of a small settlement of circular
huts associated with very numerous potsherds of the
1st and 2nd centuries A.D. In 1920 the remains
visible in the mud at low-tide represented three
adjacent huts, and fragments of a fourth were
detected about 20 yards further W. The interior
diameter of the smallest was about 11½ ft., that
of the largest about 20 ft. The two largest
circles consisted of three rings of pointed stakes,
each 1½–2in. in diameter, mostly in their original
round state but sometimes roughly squared. They
were employed either singly or in pairs, and
formed the framework for interlacing wattlework which still remains in excellent preservation below the mud. The two innermost
rings of stakes are about 8 in. apart, and
between them are remains of a ring of stones
(Kentish rag with some chalk), whilst a similar
ring of stones appears to have surrounded the
outermost ring of stakes. One hut (III on plan)
retains traces of a partition. Another (II) has in
the middle a small circular platform, 1½ ft. in
diameter, of rubble; this shows no signs of
burning and was therefore not a hearth, but
probably supported a stout central roof-pole.
In the same hut is a piece of original woodflooring, about 5 ft. by 2ft., made up of 1 in. by
5 in. planking; and close to this are the foundations
of an oval or omega-shaped oven, with hard clay
walls 6 in. thick and an opening on the N. side.
The ground in and around the opening is burnt
black and hard to a considerable depth, but no
indication remains of the original use of the oven.
In the smallest circle (I) the entrance appears to
be marked by two thick posts, each 2½ in. in
diameter, set 2 ft. 10 in. apart. In and around the
huts were fragments of the clay daub with which
the timber walls had been covered. The rings of
stone cannot have been carried up to any considerable height. Numerous fragments of roofing
tile may indicate the nature of the roofing.
East Tilbury. Romano-British Hut Circles
Immediately E. of the huts is a shallow channel,
running N.E. and S.W., with some traces of flanking
stakes. This may represent a former trackway
leading from the old river-edge.
The foreshore for about 100 yards on each side
of the huts is covered with potsherds, including
the following 1st and 2nd-century Samian forms:
15/17, 18, 18/31, 27, 30, 31, 37, 38, 54 (plain), 78,
and 79. Mr. F. Lambert, F.S.A., has noted the
following potter's stamps: DAGOM[ARVS] (on
form 18/31), OF VIRIL (on form 18), AVITI-MA
(on form 33), ANISATV[S] (on form 33),
[CINT]VSMIM (on form 31), and INDERCILLIOF
(on form 33). Most of the pottery, however,
is of native type, with marked Late Celtic
elements such as cordons, bosses and incised linear
patterns, and represents the production of native
manufacturers working under Roman influence.
No 'wasters' have yet been noticed from this
site, and there is no evidence that any of the
pottery was made on the spot. The site may have
been a landing-place for traffic from Kent or elsewhere; the amount of pottery certainly seems
excessive for the ordinary requirements of a small
(Slight mention of the site in Arch. Journ.,
XLII (1885), pp. 276–7.)
East Tilbury, the Parish Church of St Margaret
b(2). Parish Church of St. Margaret, now
St. Katherine, stands at the S. end of the
village. The walls are of flint and ragstone-rubble
with some Roman and later bricks; the dressings
are mostly of Reigate stone; the roofs are
tiled. The Nave was built early in the 12th
century and late in the same century the
N. arcade was built and the North Aisle added.
The Chancel was re-built and probably enlarged in
the first half of the 13th century. In the 14th century the S. arcade was built and a S. aisle and tower
added; the chancel-arch was also re-built and
widened. The S. aisle and tower are said to
have been destroyed by the Dutch fleet in
1667 and the S. arcade was then blocked.
A N. porch was built in 1704. The church
has been restored in modern times when the
North Porch was re-built. A new West Tower
has been begun but not completed.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35½ ft.
by 19¼ ft.) has in the E. wall three early 13th-century graduated lancet-windows (Plate, p. 41)
with moulded internal labels and intermediate
mask-stops. In the N. wall are two windows, the
eastern is similar to those in the E. wall; the
western window is of early 14th-century date
probably re-set and is of two cinque-foiled lights
in a two-centred head; the W. half of the wall
externally is faced with knapped flints, probably
16th-century work. In the S. wall (Plate, p. 84)
are four windows, the easternmost is of early 16th-century date and of two four-centred lights in a
four-centred head with a moulded label; it is set
in a taller two-centred opening probably of the
14th century and is now blocked with 17th-century
brick; the second window is similar to the
eastern window in the N. wall and had an
external label; the third window is a late 13th-century lancet without a label; the westernmost
window is a 13th-century lancet partly blocked and
with a 15th-century cinque-foiled light inserted;
the window is carried down below a transom as a
'low-side' and rebated for a shutter. Below and
to the E. of the third window is a late 13th-century
doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred
arch; W. of the same window is a blocked doorway
with a roughly two-centred head, probably of early
13th-century date. Below the windows of the
chancel runs a moulded string-course, of which the
western half has been cut away. The distorted
14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of
two moulded orders, the outer dying on the
chamfered N. respond and the S. side wall and the
inner springing from attached shafts with moulded
capitals and bases.
The Nave (56½ ft. by 21¼ ft.) has a late 12th-century N. arcade (Plate, p. 41) of four bays with
two-centred arches of one plain order; the middle
column is octagonal and the others round; the two
eastern have carved and scalloped capitals with
square abaci; the third capital is similar but
uncarved and perhaps unfinished; all have moulded
bases; the semi-octagonal responds have grooved
and chamfered abaci and the eastern has volutes
at the angles of the capital; above the W. half of
the first arch are the remains of an early 12th-century window, now blocked. The quoins of
the original N.E. angle of the nave remain in situ.
In the S. wall are remains of the two eastern arches
of the early 14th-century S. arcade with two-centred arches; part of the E. respond shows
externally and has a moulded capital and base;
re-set in the blocking of the arcade are two 14th-century windows, the eastern of three trefoiled
ogee lights with tracery in a four-centred head
and the western of two similar lights with tracery
in an elliptical head; in the W. bay is the 14th-century tower-arch, two-centred and of three
chamfered orders, the two outer continuous and
the inner springing from attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases; the archway is partly
blocked. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet
window and below it a large W. doorway, probably
of the same date with shafted and moulded jambs
and abaci and moulded two-centred arch, much
The North Aisle (7¾ ft. wide) has in the E. wall
a 15th-century window of one cinque-foiled light.
This wall is faced with knapped flints like the
N. wall of the chancel. In the N. wall are three
windows, the easternmost is of three trefoiled
ogee lights in a square head, all of wood and probably of early 16th-century date partly restored;
the second window is a small late 12th-century
light with a later lancet-head; the westernmost
window is modern; the 14th-century N. doorway
has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with
defaced label and head-stops; the N. wall has
been largely refaced in the 17th century. In the
W. wall is a 16th-century window of one four-centred light with some re-used 12th-century
stones in the splays.
The North Porch is modern but incorporates old
material. Adjoining the W. wall of the nave
externally is a timber bell-cote, all modern except
the 17th-century vertical posts.
The Roof of the chancel is modern except for
three tie-beams which are probably of the 17th
Fittings—Bell: one, by William Oldfield, 1629.
Brass Indents: In chancel—(1) of small figure,
probably of priest, and inscription-plate. In tower
—(2) of inscription-plate. Coffins and Coffin-lids:
In tower—part of shaped head of a coffin and
part of the lower end of another, also two lids with
moulded edges and raised crosses, 13th-century.
Doors: Loose in N. aisle—of two folds with strap-hinges, 17th-century. In N. doorway—of feathered
battens, probably 16th or 17th-century. Font:
octagonal bowl, with moulded under-edge, plain
stem and moulded base, early 16th-century.
Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In church-yard—S. of chancel, to Abigail, wife of Thomas
Bland, 1713, head-stone. Floor-slab: In chancel—
to John Rawlinson, 1698. Piscina: In chancel—
with trefoiled head with projecting sex-foiled drain,
foliated on the underside, shallow shelf and grooves
for later shelf, late 13th-century. Pulpit (Plate,
p. 4): hexagonal, each face with enriched arcaded
panel with arabesque spandrels, fluted and enriched
pilasters at angles and dentilled cornice, early
17th-century. Royal Arms: Above chancel-arch—remains of painted 16th-century Royal Arms
in garter with supporters. Miscellanea: Re-used
in walls and filling of arcade, various worked
and moulded stones, 14th and 15th-century. In
tower, re-set, two dished angle-stones with drains,
Condition—Good, some of the external stonework
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described are of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled.
Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks.
Condition—Good or fairly good.
a(3). Black Cottage, on E. side of road, 550
yards N.W. of the church, was built in the 17th
century and is of central-chimney type. The walls
have been partly re-built in brick. The chimney-stack has four shafts built on a cruciform plan.
a(4). East Tilbury Place, house, about ¾ m.
N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics.
It was built probably early in the 18th century
but has been much altered. Inside the building is
an original staircase with moulded string, turned
balusters and square newels surmounted by ballfinials.
a(5). Gravelpit Farm, house and outbuildings,
1 m. W.N.W. of the church. The House was built
early in the 17th century; later alterations include
the rebuilding of parts of the walls in brick.
The Barn is of late 17th-century date and of
weather-boarded timber-framing open at the ends
and carried at the sides on brick walls.
a(6). Smithy, cottage, at the junction of the
road to the church and the Muckingford Road,
1¾ m. N.N.W. of the church, is a rectangular
building of late 17th or early 18th-century date.
b(7). Earthwork locally known as "Soldiers'
Graves." Running W. of the church and traceable
for a distance of ½ m. or more, is an abrupt partly
artificial scarp with a ditch and external rampart
at the foot. It faces S. and overlooks the river.
It was probably not a defensive work.