Wickford, Runwell and Shotgate street names. (Part 1)

Searching for facts and theories about the origins of street names in our town. YOUR HELP IS NEEDED. If you able to throw some light onto the origins please add comments to this page.

Please note that none of the information here can be guaranteed to be correct or complete.  It is a work in progress and it would be very helpful if anyone can correct mistakes or add to the facts given. Some names could fit in more than one category.  These have generally been put in both categories in italics.  As regards some local information about Wickford in the past, particular thanks go to Maurice Wakeham and his book ‘Aspects of Wickford History’.  David De’Ath has supplied information about quite a few streets as well. Some comments which are just suggestions have been indicated with a question mark (?)

Names which indicate places to which the road leads or the direction in which it goes.

London Road (with London Mews leading off it) – A129 to west of Wickford centre

Nevendon Road – amalgamates with A132 south of Wickford centre and leads towards the village of Nevendon, on the other side of A127.  St Peter’s Church, Nevendon, behind Sainsburys, built in the 13th century, still stands and is in regular use.

Runwell Road (also Runwell Chase and Gardens) – A132 north of Wickford centre. Apparently Runwell Chase was originally a long narrow field where possibly deer used to be ‘chased’(?)

Southend Road /Lower Southend Rd – A129 to east of Wickford centre.  This road was divided when the bypass was built in the late 1970s.


Roads which are numbered.  These roads are all next to each other in Shotgate. For obvious reasons they are the only ones not in alphabetical order. The land on which they are built was part of the land sold by the Archer family in 1927 for the development of the Shotgate estate.

First Avenue    Second Avenue   Third Avenue   Fourth Avenue   Fifth Avenue

Roads which may be named after trees or flowers or plants.

Almond Avenue     Appletree Way     Azalea Avenue    Berry Close       Birch Green             Broad Oaks

Camomile Drive     Cedar Avenue        Cherry Lane        Elder Avenue/Way       Elm Road

Ivygate Close     Laburnum Avenue/Close     Laurel Avenue     Lavender Way      Lilac Avenue

Mapleleaf Gardens     Oak Avenue     Oak Chase     Oakhurst Drive/Close      Pine Close     Reeds Way

Rose Close    Rowans Way     Royal Oak Drive     South Beech Avenue    The Maples    West Beech Avenue/Close

Wick Beech Avenue

 Roads which seem to be named after birds.

Fulmar Way      Heron Avenue      Lapwing Road   Swallow Road     Puffin Close – There is also an island just off the coast of Anglesey in Wales called Puffin Island – so perhaps it should be in the islands section.      Swallow Rd.             The Kingfishers

Roads which are probably/possibly named after authors or famous people.   It seems fairly likely that the roads below may have been named after the suggested people – unless anyone knows different and can correct this.

Barrie Pavement – J. M. Barrie 1860 – 1937 was the author of ‘Peter Pan’

Balfour Close – The Rt. Hon Arthur Balfour was British Prime Minister from 1902-1905

Blyton Close – the famous children’s author Enid Blyton lived from 1897 to 1968 and wrote books including ‘The famous Five’ series.

Browning Drive – Robert Browning 1812-89 was an English poet and playwright. Among his works is ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’.

Chaucer Walk – Geoffrey Chaucer, lived about 1343 to 1400, wrote ‘The Canterbury Tales’

Eliot Close – George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, who lived from 1819 to 1880 and wrote books including’ Middlemarch’

Frerichs Close.  (possibility) Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs (1819 –1885)  was a German pathologist who apparently carried out research especially into kidney and liver diseases and multiple sclerosis.

Keats Way– John Keats, 1795-1821, was a poet, known for works including a number of ‘odes’ such as ‘Ode to Autumn’.

Kingsley Meadows – Charles Kingsley 1819-75 wrote books including ‘The Water Babies’.

Knox Court – John Knox, lived about 1513 to 1572, was a Scottish minister who was the founder of The Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Maugham Close – William Somerset Maugham, 1874-1965, was a British playwright and novelist whose works included ‘The Moon and Sixpence’.

Nesbit Close – Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924, was an English author who wrote many children’s books including ‘The Railway Children’

Orwell Court – George Orwell, was the pen name of Eric Blair, 1902-1950. He was an English writer whose works include ‘Animal Farm’

Ruskin Path – John Ruskin, 1819-1900, was a social thinker and philanthropist.

Shaw Close – George Bernard Shaw, 1856 – 1950, was an Irish playwright and political activist.  He wrote a number of plays including ‘Pygmalion’, on which the musical ‘My Fair Lady’ is based.

Sopwith Crescent – Thomas Sopwith was a founder of the company which manufactured the Sopwith Camel fighter aircraft in World War One.

Stevenson Way – Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 to 1894, was a Scottish novelist and poet.  Famous works include ‘Treasure Island’.

Thackeray Row – William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811 to 1863, was a British novelist and author who is probably best known for ‘Vanity Fair’.

Twain Terrace – Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835 to 1910, who was an American writer.  His works include ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’.

Roads which are believed to be/may be named after people with a local connection.

Barnet Park Road and Browns Avenue – Apparently Mr Barnet and Mr Brown were partners in a building firm in the 1920s and bought land for building from the Thomas Kemble estate. It seems they tried to re-sell some of the land to the parish council for a park at £14 per acre. Thomas Kemble was a local ‘squire’ and the Toby carvery in Runwell

Road used to be called The Thomas Kemble.  There used to be a park at the end of the road which led down to the river.

Brunwins Close – Samuel Brunwin was apparently a tenant and later owner of Stilemans, one of the 2 main manors of Wickford, on the Runwell Rd, in the 19th century.

Carruthers Close/Drive – apparently Mr Carruthers was a Runwell parish councillor

Clare/David/Keith Avenues –? it is believed these were the children of either the builder or the landowner – can anyone say who exactly?

Donald Thorn Close

Franklins Way – Franklins was a well-known local butcher’s business in Wickford for many years.

Hodgson Way/Court – Named for Pilot Office William Henry Hodgson DFC who, in August 1940 was piloting a Hurricane which was severely damaged.  He chose not to bail out, because he was over a heavily populated area, and had a forced landing in a field near Shotgate.  There is a memorial to him near the scene.  This is also believed to be the derivation of Hurricane Way.

Hyde Way – there is an article elsewhere on the Community Archive about Sir Bernard Hyde Jones, a local resident and high-ranking civil servant connected with the RAF.  Does his name have anything to do with the road?

Kershaws Close – Apparently there was a shop called Kershaws in Wickford at some time, and also a Mr Kershaw owned a charabanc used for some local outings.

Larkswood Walk – there is an article elsewhere on the Community Archive about a Mr John Lark, a local resident who was awarded the Meritorious Medal around 1930.  Does his name have anything to do with the road?

Pearmain Close – after a Runwell parish councillor

St Clere’s Crescent –St Clere was not a saint, but the name is apparently derived from the name Sinclair.  There was a noble family named St Clere in Danbury, and there is school of this name in Stanford-le-Hope.

Silva Island Road – probably named for Silva Lesley Bewers Carter, one of the founders of Carter and Ward, who built many houses and bungalows in Wickford.

Sugden Avenue – There was an Edwin Sugden Goodspeed who lived at Friern Farm, Wickford.  This is not too far from Sugden Avenue, so could possibly have something to do with it?  He is connected with Goodspeed’s fishmongers which used to be just off Billericay High Street.

Sutcliffe Close – there is a request for information elsewhere on the Community Archive about a Jim Sutcliffe, who lived in Wickford in the 1950s. Did his name have anything to do with the road?

Terence Webster Road – understood to be named for Flight Lieutenant John Terence Webster DFC, who died when his Spitfire crashed in Laindon in September 1940. He bailed out but did not survive.

Veolia Path (in Shotgate Park) – Presumably named for the Veolia company, which sometimes helps with funding for local community projects.

Victor Mew Close

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  • With reference to the road name of Terence Webster Road:
    The road was in fact named after Pilot F/Lt. John Terence Webster, DFC, RAF, of 41 (F) Squadron. The squadron was at the time using RAF Hornchurch as its forward base and RAF Rochford as its satellite station. On the 5th September, 1940, F/Lt. Terence Webster was involved in a mid-air collision over Bonvilles Farm, just off the A127 Southend Arterial Road. A Hurricane of 73 (F) Squadron, being flown by F/Lt. Reginald E. Lovett, DFC, was hit by return fire from a German Junkers JU88 over the Thames. In pulling away and down Lovett collided with Webster, who had just begun his climb into the attack.
    Terry, as he was known, took to his parachute, as did Lovett. Lovett descended to earth and came down near Rawreth, near the public house the Carpenters Arms. Webster’s lifeless body was discovered beside the A127 Arterial Road, almost opposite what was then known as Nevendon Police Houses.
    His Spitfire is said to have crashed at Laindon, a gross mistake. The Spitfire Mk.1a, RAF Serial number R6635, fell on land then covered at the time by heavy scrub and thickets, and today is part of the open farmland that borders the exit road from Nevendon Road, Wickford, leading up to the underpass on the A127 Southend Arterial Road, very close to where the pilot’s body was discovered. At the time the Spitfire lay almost complete amongst heavy scrub and thicket unseen from public gaze. It was located by school children exploring and looking for their wartime souvenirs that littered the surrounding fields. When discovered they set about removing several choice and targeted items on the aircraft that deemed unsuccessful in attempt. However a young girl had her pocket sewing kit on her and using a small implement managed to unscrew an ammunition chute from one of the Spitfire’s eight Browning machine-guns in the wings. This was only possible because a portion of the wing was missing leaving it broken off and exposing one of the machine guns. Stencilled atop the ammunition chute was five red digits R6635, the serial number of F/Lt. John Terence Webster, DFC, Spitfire.

    By Trevor Williams (02/02/2020)

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