Brightlingsea, Essex Family History Guide

Brightlingsea is an Ancient Parish in the county of Essex.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1697
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1639; 1813

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Swedenborgian/New Jerusalem/New Church, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Langenhoe
  • Thorington
  • Fingringhoe
  • St Osyth
  • East Mersea
  • Alresford

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BRIGHTLINGSEA, a village and a parish in Lexden district, Essex. The village stands on the estuary of the Colne, opposite Mersea island, at a terminus of the Tendring Hundred railway, 8 miles SE by S of Colchester; is a sub-port to Colchester, and a member of the cinque port of Sandwich; and has a post office under Colchester, and a recently erected temperance hall. Fairs are held on the first Thursday of June and 15 Oct.; and a large trade is carried on in the fishing of sprats and oysters. The parish comprises 3,560 acres; of which 470 are water. Real property, £7,081. Pop., 2,585. Houses, 589. The property is sub-divided. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £213. Patron, the Bishop of Peterborough. The church has a tower nearly 100 feet high, serving as a sea-mark; and contains brasses of a merchant, a nun, and W. Beriffe, 1579. There are a chapel of ease in Gothic architecture, and chapels for Independents, Wesleyans, and Swedenborgiaus.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Brightlingsea, a parish in the hund. of Tendring, union of Lexden and Winstree, county of Essex; 7½ miles south-east by south of Colchester, bounded on the west by the Colne river, and on the south by Brightlingsea Creek, forming a kind of peninsula. Living, a discharged vicarage, formerly in the archd. of Colchester and dio. of London, now in the dio. of Rochester; valued at £17 0s. 5d., and rated in the parliamentary returns at £104 19s. 10d.; gross income £213. The Swedenborgians have a place of worship here; the church was formed in 1813. There are in this parish six daily schools, one of which is endowed, three Sunday schools, and a New Jerusalem church. Fairs are held here on the first Thursday in June, and October 15th, for horses. Brightlingsea is a member of the Cinque-port of Sandwich. Pop., in 1811, 1,020; in 1831, 1,784. Houses 310. Acres 2,890. A. P. £4,056. Poor rates, in 1837, £682.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Essex
  • Civil Registration District: Lexden
  • Probate Court: Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of London (Essex and Hertfordshire Division)
  • Diocese: Pre-1846 - London, Post-1845 - Rochester
  • Rural Deanery: Pre-1847 - Tendring, Post-1846 - St Osyth
  • Poor Law Union: Tendring
  • Hundred: Tendring
  • Province: Canterbury