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Law & Order
1600s: The whispering post
Lawless or Whispering Court was established at Kingley Wood in Rayleigh possibly as early as the 13thcentury but is certainly recorded by the early 1600s. The court was moved to King?s Hill in Rochford sometime during the 17th century.
1750s: Oyster trade
The oyster trade became of major importance in the 18th Century using the numerous pits or lay ins that lined the creeks.
1780s: Paglesham smugglers
Paglesham was a hotbed of smuggling, noted for its 18th century ringleader, William 'Hard Apple' Blyth (1753-1830), whose gang hid brandy barrels and other contraband in hollow trees and the local pond.
1781: Rushley Island reclaimed
Most of the islands were now arable areas and the last island, Rushley, was reclaimed in 1781 by Harriott.
1787-1797: Associations against Felons
John Harriot (founder of the Thames River Police) brought local tenant farmers together at the New Ship and in 1797 formed the Rochford Hundred Association Against Murderers Felons & Thieves. Similar associations include Great Wakering Prosecution Association (1787) and Rayleigh Association for the Prosecution of Felons (1794).
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