The Hall Farm was a sizeable farm in local terms, stretching from Church Creek to Cemetery Corner and covering just over 163 acres. This breaks down into 54 acres, 2 rods and 32 perches devoted to grassland, 93 acres, 1 rod and 22 perches to arable farming and 15 acres, 1 rod and 9 perches to other uses. These included walls, saltings, cottages and gardens. The absentee owner in 1841 was Jeremiah Rosher and the local tenant was William Barnes.
It was a farm that changed hands several times before and after 1841. In addition the size of the farm contracted from 197 acres in 1812. The sale posters in this article testify to changes in 1787 and 1812 and both use the old spelling ….Bemfleet and Southend is still South-End. that is to say the south end of Prittlewell. The fact that South Benfleet and Jarvis Hall are on the same sale poster is further evidence that these two manors had a single owner at this time
Despite the location of Benfleet Hall (The Manor House) within the farm and its appearance on 1923 and 1938 Ordnance Survey maps, I have not been able to trace a picture or a photo of it. Some of the barns however have been recorded, with the great tithe barn being particularly impressive. An issue of The Graphic in 1923 lists the Benfleet tithe barn as being the second largest in England. Peterborough possessing the largest
Sadly a fire in January 1939 destroyed all the farm buildings. Newspaper reports (Chelmsford Chronicle and the Essex Weekly News are attached to this article) dwell on the rescue of the horses belonging to Howard’s Dairy by “Tornado” Smith. The wall of death rider was living on site in a caravan at the time while he built a boat to sail around the world. Unfortunately the almost completed boat did not survive. However there is no mention of the fate of Benfleet Hall. By this stage much of the remaining farm was being sold off for building plots or used for storage, Leigh Building Supply being another firm in residence.
It seems to me to be as much a mystery as the Benfleet Hall in Surrey. If anyone can shed light on the matter, or possesses a photo or painting of the Hall, please do get in touch. To add to the confusion another building in Brook Road came to be referred to as Benfleet Hall and yet another building in the conservation area was known as the Manor House.