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Essex, St. Leonard's Church, Southminster - - 1713729.jpg
St Leonard's, Southminster
Southminster is located in Essex
Population 4,272 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TQ961995
  • Maldon
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM0
Dialling code 01621
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
  • Maldon
List of places
51°39′35″N 0°49′52″E / 51.6598°N 0.831°E / 51.6598; 0.831

Southminster is a town and electoral ward on the Dengie peninsula in the Maldon district of Essex in the East of England. It lies about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Burnham-on-Crouch and 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Maldon; and approximately 52 miles (84 km) east-northeast of London. To the north is the River Blackwater, which is tidal and since Roman times has been the gateway to trading in the area.


Southminster is in the centre of the Dengie peninsula, which once formed a hundred of the same name.

A major horse market used to be held annually in the town.

Southminster marshes were a favourite centre for hare coursing in Victorian times.

Pandole Wood contains ancient earthworks believed to date from the Iron Age. The landscape surrounding the town, and elsewhere on the peninsula, is characterized by a pattern of strictly rectangular field boundaries, with evidence of a unit of measurement having been applied to the scheme as a whole. Middle-Saxon administrations have been suggested as its origin, although the road to the Roman sea fort at Bradwell also conforms to the pattern.

St Leonard's Church

The medieval St Leonard's Church dates mainly from the 15th century, although there are traces of much earlier work. It is a relatively large, "townish" church by Essex standards. The church also stands at an important road junction, contrasting with the familiar Essex pattern of a church and manor house complex on the same site. These features are consistent with John Blair's formulation of an Anglo-Saxon minster, in contrast to a private oratory in its origins, and the placename would perhaps suggest Cedd's mission at St.Peter's on the wall at Bradwell as its parent. There have been several well-known rectors, including naturalist Rev Walter Henry Hill, and Rev Alexander John Scott who was personal chaplain to Admiral Lord Nelson. After the Battle of Trafalgar Nelson died in the arms of Rev Scott. Several artefacts that once belonged to Rev Scott are found in the church. The church also gives its name to the town's local football team, Southminster St. Leonards F.C.


The town has an infant and a primary school, a small library, a handful of pubs, a police station, a swimming pool, a brewery and cidery and one holiday park.


Southminster railway station, the terminus of a single-line branch that was electrified in the 1980s, provides services to Wickford and Liverpool Street station in the City of London.

Nearest places

Nearby towns include Maldon to the north west and Burnham-on-Crouch to the south.

In Literature

Southminster is the location featured in An Episode of Cathedral History by M.R. James published in A Thin Ghost and Others, his third collection of Ghost Stories published in 1919.

Location Grid

Parishes adjacent to the Southminster parish:

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