From an article in the Chelmsford Gazette in 1992 by Keith Brown:
From barns to business, and cattle sheds to commerce. That is the metamorphosis undergone by the district of Shotgate. From medieval farmland to a thriving community of over 3,000 adults. In medieval times the land surrounding Rawreth was parcelled into plots, one furlong square (220yards or 203 meters square). Each area was called a shot and was divided into one acre strips. A track led from Rawreth to the shots and where it joined them was a gate… around which the hamlet of Shotgate developed, sat partly in the parish of Wickford and partly in North Benfleet. In May 1893, the Archer family, owners of Shotgate Farm (the name of which goes back to 1770), bought the land where Shotgate now stands. At that time it was recorded as being farmland with barn and cattle shed which stood on the corner of what is now Bruce Ave, while Fanton Chase and Fanton Walk follow the former farm track.
In 1924 there were just eight houses, today there are 3,200 adults on the electoral register which shows how quickly the area has grown. That development came after the Archer family sold land for building, the Shotgate Estate (in 1927).
The original estate, on land that was totally in the parish of Wickford, was planned with Bruce Grove running on the west–east axis with five avenues leading off. Bruce Grove was planned to continue round in line with the railway but that part of the plan was never implemented and the industrial estate now occupies that land.
The first two bungalows were built in Fifth Avenue. They were called Holmleigh and The Nest and were occupied by Mr and Mrs Wade and their parents, Mr and Mrs Wheeler. Those first residents were without electricity, gas, rubbish collections or hard surfaced roads.