Maldon Archive
Keeping the Past Alive

Heybridge & Heybridge Basin

Some people believe that the River Blackwater at Heybridge, near where the "high bridge" was later constructed, was the site of the Battle of Maldon. Heybridge was an agricultural village until the 1970s and 80s, when a considerable proportion of the local farm land was given over to house building. 

The main industry in Heybridge itself, until it ceased trading in 1984, was the agricultural machinery manufacturer E H Bentall & Co. Established in 1805 on the south bank of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, the company grew to be a large factory complex that operated for nearly 180 years. Heybridge Basin is believed to have originally been a Neolithic or New Stone era settlement (3000-1800BC). In 1793 the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Company was formed by act of Parliament. Over the next four years, the company built a navigation from Chelmsford to meet the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater in Colliers Reach at the place that's today called Heybridge Basin.  The basin was dug out of the marsh land to enable sea going vessels to enter the canal and unload their cargoes normally wood onto the barges for transportation inland from May & Butcher’s timber to Browns wood yard in Chelmsford. The Basin also had an oyster and eel industrial until the late 1960.

Heybridge is a civil parish and large village, large enough to be a town in the Maldon district of Essex, England. It is adjacent to Maldon, near the River Blackwater. It is often overshadowed by its historic neighbour, and one could mistakenly think it to be the same town, as the two have merged with one another over the years. It has a population of approximately 7,627 odd. 

Heybridge was originally called Tidwalditun.   The name Heybridge came from the high bridge that was built over the River Blackwater in the middle Ages, at Heybridge Square (the junction of Heybridge Street, Holloway Road, and the Causeway). 

This was a 5-arched stone bridge and it was replaced in 1870 by a 2-arched brick one. Much of the water flow down this part of the river had, by then, been diverted into the River Chelmer by diversion work done during construction of  the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.