Lexden, Essex Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Essex Gotoarrow.png  Essex Parishes Gotoarrow.png  Lexden

Lexden St Leonard Essex.jpg

Parish History

Lexden, is a village and a parish in Colchester district, and within Colchester borough, Essex. The village stands on the river Colne, near the Eastern Counties railway, 1 mile W of Colchester; it dates from at least the time of the Confessor; and has a post office, under Colchester.[1]


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

Online Lexden, Essex Genealogy Parish Register Images and Indexes
Images 1560-1837 EssexAncestors[2] 1560-1837 EssexAncestors[2] 1561-1852 EssexAncestors[2]
Indexes 1560-1754 FindMyPast[3]

Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection.

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 241380.

Poor Law Unions

Colchester Poor Law Union,Essex

'A poorhouse mentioned in 1592 was probably an unendowed almshouse, possibly St. Catherine's hospital which was in Lexden manor although in St. Mary's-at-the-Walls parish. A parish workhouse in Spring Lane, recorded in 1751, was sold in 1835 when Lexden became part of Colchester union. A house on Parsons Hill was let to poor people from 1672 until 1693 or later. In 1823 the parish helped Samuel Durrant to build a cottage on its land at Bottle End, granting him life tenancy at a token rent.

'Parish records include vestry minutes 1813-57 and overseers' papers 1746-1851. The Easter meeting determined the church rate and elected two churchwardens and two overseers. In the early 19th century the vestry rarely held more than 4 additional meetings, determining the overseer's rate twice a year, but in the period 1820-40 there were 6-8 and occasionally 10 meetings a year, besides the Easter vestry. Their main business was to approve the poor rate quarterly, to nominate a surveyor, and to approve his rate and accounts. Local farmers, and occasionally gentry, served as churchwardens, overseers, and surveyors. George Preston, rector 1804-41, and his successor John Papillon, 1841- 90, took the chair at almost every meeting. One or two inhabitants usually attended, workhouse matters and rating assessments attracting a few more. In 1830, although the Easter vestry was attended by only 7 men including the rector and parish officers, 19 parishioners partook of the Easter dinner afterwards and in 1834 many more attended a meeting to elect a new parish surgeon.

'In 1673 poor relief was received by 48 of the 80 households assessed for hearth tax. The annual cost of relief averaged £360 a year in 1783-5, above average for the town and liberty. It rose nearly 3-fold to £1,036 in 1813, the second highest payment in Colchester, then fell to £876 in 1814 and to £646 in 1816, a steeper drop than in any other parish in the town or liberty except Mile End. In Lexden as in the other outlying parishes costs rose thereafter, to £849 in 1818. In 1821 the overseers took a 21-year lease on 16 a. of newly inclosed land on Lexden heath for spade husbandry; in that year the amount spent on the poor fell from £827 to £759, which then represented c. 16s. per head of population, just below the average payment for the town and liberty. By 1833 the overseers employed an apothecary and subscribed to the hospital. In 1836 they continued, with the sanction of Colchester union, to provide spade husbandry on Lexden heath for the term of the lease. In 1867 the vestry set up a fund to pay the expenses of poor parishioners willing to emigrate.

'Following local agricultural disturbances in 1830 the vestry raised a subscription, to be supplemented by the poor rate, to select 10 special constables to provide nightly patrols of 5 men paid 2s. 6d. a night. The system seems to have been abandoned by 1833. The parish was still appointing parish constables in 1837, but by 1841 the borough provided two full-time policemen to patrol Lexden, Mile End, and Greenstead.'[4]

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Essex Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites


  1. Wilson, John M., Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, (1870). Adapted 20 May 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Essex Ancestors: Unearth Your Roots, Seax - Essex Archives Online From the Essex Record Office, accessed 16 April 2012.
  3. 'Boyd's Marriage Index - Parish details by county,' Origins.net, (WayBack Machine) accessed 3 March 2012.
  4. 'Outlying Parts of the Liberty: Lexden', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9: The Borough of Colchester (1994), pp. 391-401. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22020&strquery=lexden Date accessed: 10 February 2011.

Contributor: add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above.