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In 1936 Grays Thurrock urban district was merged in the new urban district of Thurrock, which in 1974 became the borough of Thurrock. 3) From the alluvial marshes by the river the land rises to about 25 m. Underlying the alluvium are successive strata of Brickearth, Thanet Beds, and Upper Chalk. 4) Extensive quarrying, mainly in the 19th century, has altered the natural landscape, as well as influencing the pattern of settlement.
In 1086 Grays was a small rural manor with a recorded population of 28. 5) Twenty-four Grays men were assessed to the lay subsidy in 1327. 6) In Chafford hundred only South Weald and Aveley had more taxpayers.
That is most obvious at the southern end of Bridge Road, which has a steep escarpment on each side. During the same period over 400 houses were erected by private builders. 48) The house was demolished during the Second World War. 49) Farther east, and also perched high on the hill, was Duvals, built as a farmhouse in the early 19th century. Between the buildings were planted patches of grass, rosebeds, and trees on mounds. There are a few references in the early 19th century to hopgrounds, but there is no evidence that they were ever extensive. Cereals were returned as 327 a., mainly wheat and barley. Button's estate in Grays Thurrock had been bought from Sir John van Hattem, heir of the Davall (Duval) family. 170) In 1712 the Davalls owned a limekiln in Grays Thurrock. 171) The wharf which they built about that time was probably used for shipping lime. 172) In 1801 Zachariah Button owned both a chalk-pit and a wharf. 173) Much of his estate appears to have passed to John Meeson, who in 1843 owned Duvals farm, with its large chalk-pit and limekilns linked to the wharf by a tramway. 181) and in 1876 they were said to provide much of the town's trade. It had been opened before 1878, by the Globe Cement, Brick &c. 196) In 1819 he bought premises at the south end of Bridge Road.
In 1903 the town contained 2,507 houses, mostly cottages and small villas. 22) There was then great demand for working class dwellings, and they were being built at the rate of 100 a year. One of the largest private developments was the Lodge estate, north of the town. The scheme took advantage of the view across the Thames, and provided for maximum exposure to the sun. Co., and by 1898 had been taken over by Charles Wall Ltd., whose business as a builder and contractor appears to have included brickmaking up to . The new site provided plenty of room for expansion, and good communications.
Between 18 over 1,000 houses were built in the town under leases granted by Theobald. George Street and Maidstone Road had been laid out to the west of High Street. Most of the area between the railway and Argent Street had been built up, including New Road and Exmouth Road. Brooks, cement manufacturer, who enlarged the house in 1896. 53) In 1979 it was a hostel for old men, under the South Ockendon hospital management committee. Some visitors in the later 19th century were struck by the large number of public houses. As late as 1883 a newcomer found Grays a 'pretty hot shop', where revellers on 5 November rolled lighted tar barrels down High Street. 58) Eight of the public houses existing in 1866 can be traced from the 18th century or earlier. 1850, when an 18th-century window removed from the market house was inserted above the carriageway of the inn. 62) In 1970, when the Bull was demolished, the date of the original structure was confirmed by excavation. 63) The King's Arms, the Rising Sun, the Sailor's Return (or Jolly Sailor, later Wharf), the White Hart, all in Old High Street, and the Green Man (or Man and Bell), at the corner of Orsett Road and High Street, and the Theobald Arms, Argent Street, formerly the Hoy, were all recorded from the 18th century. 64) The Castle, Argent Street, was recorded from 1854, (fn. The Queen's hotel, High Street, for long the largest public house in Grays, was gutted by fire in 1890, when still new, and was rebuilt. New public buildings of the early 20th century included the modest public library (1903) in Orsett Road, (fn. In 1926 vegetables and fruit were returned as 172 a., mainly potatoes, peas, and forage crops, and cereals as 146 a., mainly oats, barley, and wheat. The 1926 returns include 169 sheep, 58 cows and a bull, 40 pigs, and 39 horses. 133) In 1228 Richard de Grey, lord of the manor, had a mill 'near the bridge towards the Thames'. 134) It may have been identical with the watermill on the manor, mentioned in 13. 135) In 1624 Edward Kighley, lord of the manor, sold a windmill on the west side of the marshes to Sir Edward Barrett of Belhus, in Aveley, who was authorized to remove it. 136) A rapeseed mill, which had also belonged to Edward Kighley, was in 1647 still working, but out of repair. 137) Windmill field, mentioned in 1843, was roughly where Langthorne Crescent is now. 138) In the 1860s there was a windmill east of Gipsy (now Whitehall) Lane. 139) In 1221 the king granted Richard de Grey the right to hold a weekly market on Friday on his manor of (Grays) Thurrock, until he came of age. 140) The grant was made permanent in 1239, when Richard de Grey was also empowered to hold an annual fair on 28 and 29 June. 141) The rights of market and fair passed with the manor until the 19th century. 145) An attempt to restore it, some years before 1871, was unsuccessful. 146) By 1906, however, it had revived spontaneously. There was also a livestock market farther north in High Street, opposite the church, on a site which by 1843 was a timber yard. 149) In 1636 the market place contained 13 shops, 3 standings, and an unspecified number of stalls. 150) John Lambert, to whom the market was leased in 1655, was empowered to lengthen the market place by 25 yd., and undertook to demolish the market house as far as the lower floor, and then rebuild it. 151) The market house was again rebuilt in 1774 by James Theobald, lord of the manor. 152) It was a twostorey building, on columns, with open ground floor and court house above. 153) It was used as a Congregational church from 1824 until . When the Bull itself was demolished in 1970 the window was transferred to Thurrock local history museum. 155) After the revival of the market in the present century a new market-place was formed on the east side of High Street, opposite the churchyard. 156) In 1976 the market was transferred to the new shopping centre in Clarence Road. 185) By 1976 the old Duvals pit had been disused for many years, and the Titan pit had also ceased production. 186) The blue clay deposits east of the town were suitable for brickmaking. 192) Brickmaking continued in that part of the town until the end of the 19th century.