The Hoy and Helmet Public House

Old and New Pictures

Margaret March

The Hoy & Helmet is a Grade II listed building, thought to date from the early 15th or 16th century.  It is a hall house with many later alterations and extensions; the building was listed in August 1952 by Castle Point Council.

It would appear that The Hoy was used as a public meeting place and coroners court room in the 19th century.  Reports in the ‘Chelmsford Chronicle’ dated around 1880’s refer to the coroner holding enquiries there into local deaths, it could be a body found in the River Thames or the suspicious death of a local woman by poisoning.  Auctions for the sale of land, houses and household goods were also held there.

It is rumoured that in the 19th century The Hoy was a centre for smuggling, and as such there are smuggling tunnels below the rear car park that are still there today, there are stories that they are connected to Benfleet Church at the rear of the pub. 

Until 1922 the pub was called The Hoy, however in 1922 its name was changed to The Hoy and Helmet. A hoy is the name for a broad boat or barge and the name helmet was the hard or foreshore where the boat was drawn up. The hard is thought to be the area in Church Creek to the side of the pub where the 'Fish Market' restaurant now stands, the creek was tidal and used for commercial purposes before the High Street was altered to go under the railway bridge.

Photo:In 1888 the landlord of The Hoy Inn was also a coal merchant. Bill for Mrs Thorington, from the then landlord Robert Francis

In 1888 the landlord of The Hoy Inn was also a coal merchant. Bill for Mrs Thorington, from the then landlord Robert Francis

Joan English (nee Phillips)


Photo:Original picture taken before 1914, after that time the room nearest Church Creek  had been rebuilt in brick.

Original picture taken before 1914, after that time the room nearest Church Creek had been rebuilt in brick.

Joan English (nee Phillips)

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Photo:Copy of original which shows details clearly.  The old smithy can be seen just up the hill, horses would be shoed in the open fronted part of the smithy next to The Hoy.

Copy of original which shows details clearly. The old smithy can be seen just up the hill, horses would be shoed in the open fronted part of the smithy next to The Hoy.

Joan English (nee Phillips)


Photo:Postcard sent in 1914

Postcard sent in 1914

Joan English (nee Phillips)


Photo:Reverse of postcard sent from The Hoy to son Harry serving on Her Majesty Hospital Ship 'Guildford Castle' at Southampton in 19.12.1914.  Harry was a steward he had been on board a ship that was torpedoed at Gallipoli.

Reverse of postcard sent from The Hoy to son Harry serving on Her Majesty Hospital Ship 'Guildford Castle' at Southampton in 19.12.1914. Harry was a steward he had been on board a ship that was torpedoed at Gallipoli.

Joan English (nee Phillips)


Reverse of postcard post mark December 1914

My dear Harry

Just a line to say we are alright our club shared out on Monday 21st at 22 shillings and 4d.  Hope you receive your Christmas present alright.

Love Dad


Old pictures of The Hoy

5 mins, changes to the buildings, description of the fireplace.

Photo:The Hoy date unknown, possibly late 1920's

The Hoy date unknown, possibly late 1920's

Joan English (nee Phillips)

Photo:The Hoy & Helmet 1940 's or 50's

The Hoy & Helmet 1940 's or 50's

Joan English (nee Phillips)

Photo:The fireplace with the picture of the paige to the left, date unknown.

The fireplace with the picture of the paige to the left, date unknown.

Joan English (nee Phillips)

Photo:The Hoy and Helmet in winter sun Dec 2011

The Hoy and Helmet in winter sun Dec 2011

Margaret March

Photo:The Hoy and Helmet sign date unknown. About 2014 the sign was sadly changed to a 'modern' black and white one.

The Hoy and Helmet sign date unknown. About 2014 the sign was sadly changed to a 'modern' black and white one.

Jackie Barnes collection

This page was added by Margaret March on 20/12/2011.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

The Old Parlour "Hoy Inn", Benfleet picture postcard was taken about 1912 by A.J.Padgett of Leigh-on-sea.

By Peter Gillard
On 02/01/2012

My grandfather Sidney Reed drew and painted the original sign. I have a vignette of the original.

By Doreen Chappell
On 12/07/2016
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