Stifford - home parish of Palin, Thurrock's historian

The Reverend William Palin was the rector of the parish of Stifford between 1834 and 1882. In 1871 he wrote Stifford and its Neighbours – the first local history book devoted entirely to a part of Thurrock. The following year he wrote a follow-up, More about Stifford and its Neighbours.

Palin was born on 10th November, 1803. He studied at Oxford and was ordained as a deacon in 1833. He was curate of Stifford from 2nd June 1833. Following his ordination as a priest the following year, he became rector on 6th June 1834. He held the post for nearly 50 years. Palin married Emily Long and they lived in the rectory at Stifford with their four children. Around 1869 he became aware that church officials in nearby Little Thurrock had burned some of their no longer needed church records. He feared that valuable historical information might have been lost and decided to look in the parish chest of Stifford and most of Thurrock's other parishes and then record and publish what he found about their history. His first volume was published in 1871, and a companion volume was published the following year. The Essex Weekly News said ”Mr Palin has produced a model history of Stifford and its surrounding villages ”.

Following his death in 1883, he was described as ”a ripe scholar, a faithful friend, a diligent under shepherd ”. Unfortunately, the memorial window erected in his memory at a cost of 52 guineas was damaged in the 2nd World War and the inscription can no longer be read in its entirety. He is also remembered in the street name Palins Way in Stifford Clays. Panorama 32 contains a brief biography.


William Palin