Some of the earliest records of human occupation of Billericay are the burial mounds in Norsey Wood: evidence of occupation in the Bronze and Iron Ages.
Evidence of Roman occupation has been found at a number of locations in the town and there may have been a small cavalry fort at Blunts Wall.
The Saxons did not settle in the centre of Billericay. They established themselves two miles south, at Great Burstead. In the late 10th century it was known as 'Burhstede'. Billericay was not mentioned in the Domesday Book, as it lay within Great Burstead. At this time the parish church for Billericay was at Great Burstead. In 1291 the name 'Byllyrica' is first recorded. This is believed to be from a medieval Latin word, bellerīca, meaning 'dyehouse or tanhouse'.
In the 13th and 14th centuries some pilgrims to Canterbury journeyed via Billericay. Some of them may have spent the night in Billericay before crossing the River Thames at Tilbury. This may account for the large number of inns in the town.
Billericay's most notable historical episode was on 28 June 1381, when King Richard II's soldiers defeated Essex rebels at Norsey Wood. About 500 rebels were killed in the battle, which ended the Peasants' Revolt.
The Wycliffe preachers influenced the town. Four local people (Thomas Watts, Joan Hornes, Elizabeth Thackwell, and Margaret Ellis) were burnt at the stake. Two other residents (Joan Potter and James Harris) were tortured for their faith during the reign of Queen Mary.
Images sourced from www.billericayhistory.org.uk
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