Saturday, 19 October 2013


"Although Canvey remained until the last two years practically terra incognita, postal authorities nevertheless recognized the island under appellations such as would puzzle any but the officials of St. Martin's-le-Grand; for instance:
Rev. mr hayes Canibell irland.
To the Vicar of the Parish Church of Convent or Canvy Highland.
The Vicker of Cordey ilient.

Such addresses are now far rarer than formerly, and most prob­ably the days are not far distant when to mention Canvey Island will no longer elicit the question "Where is Canvey ? " for it will be as well known as the neighbouring holiday resorts of Southend and Leigh."

"Canvey Island, situated at the mouth of the Thames, and divided from the Essex mainland by Hadleigh Ray and Benfleet Creek, is accessible to pedestrians at low tide. Its length is about five miles, its breadth two miles; contains some 3,600 acres, and supports a population of over 300."

"generally spoken of as Canvey Island, the area now comprised within the sea walls was in reality six islands, cut up by many creeks and waterways, and constantly overflowed by the tides."

"The Dutch, although not occupying any land at the present day, still continue their connection with the island, for in the creek they anchor their picturesque eel-boats (that supply the demands of the London market), and carry on a small local trade in cheeses, brooms, and sabots."


The island has its derived from the Saxon language and their word Caningaege; meaning The Island of Cana's People. The more familiar name of Caneveye appears in manorial records of the development of written English in the middle ages often produced a confused use of letters such that comparative spellings would also include Canefe, Kaneweye, Kaneveye, and Koneveye.

Incular Island

Mentioned on John Norden's 1594 (map), is what is now the Eastern/Point mud flats of Canvey Island. Two Tree Island is in pretty much the same shape now as then. The third un-named Island could well be Counus or (Council Island). Certainly the Trinovantes Cantiaci and the Catuvellauni would have counselled with the Iceni here, shortly before the rebellion against the Romans. Counus remains as the Canvey Point Sand Bank and Maplin Sands, and stretched the whole length of Southend Sea Front area. It is the main reason for Southend's Tidal flats being so shallow. Cana's People were descendant of both Cantiaci and the Catuvellauni. Counus would then be placed at the southern border to the Trinovantes on the Eastern Extent of the Tames (Thames).

"Afterwards this river, passing by places lying flat and unwholesome, with a winding retune of his water, severeth the Island Convenon, which also is called Counos (whereof Ptolemee maketh mention) from the firm land. This hath not yet whole forgone the old name, but is called Canvey. It lieth against the coast of Essex, from Leegh to Hole Haven, five miles in length, some part whereof appertaineth to the Collegiat church of Westminster. But so low that often times it is quite overflown, all save hillocks cast uppe, upon which the sheep have a place of safe refuge. For it keepeth about four hundred sheep, whose flesh is of a most sweet and delicate taste, which I have seen young lads, taking womens function, with stooles fastened into their buttocks to milke, yea and to make cheeses of Ewes milk in those dairy sheds of theirs that they call there wishes."