Bulphan - St Mary the Virgin

St Mary the Virgin, Bulphan

The Saxon word 'fan' or 'fann' has changed over the years to 'fen', meaning low, marshy land or a low-lying district. Bulphan has retained the sound 'phan' although it is sometimes spelt Bulvan. At the time of the Domesday survey it was called Bulgenen meaning marshland in a fortified place. The land at Bulphan belonged to the Abbey of Barking.

The first parson was Peter de Elm 1290 to1292 and the first Rector was Reginald de Gatcomb 1303. The present church of St Mary the Virgin was built in the 15th century. Christopher Harrold in his book 'Exploring Thurrock' describes the church as follows: 'built of flint and rubblestone; there was major restoration in 1874/5. The south porch has some fine wood carving of Tudor roses and evangelistic symbols. Inside the door there is a panel depicting the Royal arms of the first Hanoverian period (1714-1801). The fine oak screen was not designed for its present position but its 15th century origin is unknown. There is modern glass in the north-east window of the nave in memory of Rev. Theodore Alphonse Teitelbaum, Rector 1903-1946. At the west end stands the impressive belfry constructed entirely of heavy timber.'

The hall stood east of the church and further east the Manor House known as the Wick, where lived Edward Bury, gentleman of the Kings Bedchamber and Justice of the Peace. In 1540 under Henry VIII Bulphan's fertile grassland was transferred to him. Along Fen Lane is Brandon Hall, the former Rectory, in Victorian Gothic red brick. Bulphan is rich in moated houses. On Ingrave Road are Garlesters and Appletons Farm (15th century) (now Ye Olde Plough House Motel) and Spring Farm on the Orsett Road which is moated on 3 sides.