Battlesbridge, located at the tidal reach of the River Crouch, has had a long history with the river that divides it.
It takes its name from the Battaille family, with a mention in a 1351 document as the settlement of Bataillesbregge. This also indicates that there was a bridge as far back as the 14th century, though the present day iron structure is much later, dating from 1872. It was the second iron bridge to be constructed; the first was struck and irreparably damaged by a passing steam traction engine.
Since mediaeval times, Battlesbridge has been a port. Once busy servicing London’s needs, the village was a busy community of mills, farms and even coal yards. Barges from London collected flour and hay while coal from the North of England was unloaded at the riverside quays. Malt, lime and chalk were also traded and of course, the river was a reliable source of fish. The granary that now houses the largest concentration of antiques dealers was a Victorian addition. It would have been a bustling place.
Those days are a far cry from the genteel antiques trade that characterises the place today. Over eighty dealers ply their trade in the many historic buildings, seven of them listed, that have helped Battlesbridge win the designation of a conservation area. Two pubs, The Hawk and The Barge Inn, also draw people from neighbouring towns as well as from the village itself. Find out more about their food and how to book a table at http://www.thehawkbattlesbridge.co.uk and http://www.empirepubs.com/the-barge-inn.