The town of South Woodham Ferrers in Essex achieved some degree of notoriety when Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings films were released. The national media cottoned on to the fact that, stuck for names, the local council had named a large estate after people and places in Lord of The Rings. This entry concerns the origins of the names of some of the roads in the town.
Three of the town's main roads relate to the nearby towns. Other smaller roads relate to surrounding landmarks:
Ferrers Road - Ferrers Road forms a U-shape around the northern half of the town. It runs from Burnham Road in the north-east corner down to the east of the town, then south of the town centre and back up the west side of the town to the Burnham Road. It obviously gets it name from the town of South Woodham Ferrers.
Burnham Road - B1012 road that runs around the north of the town is named after the sailing centre of Burnham-on-Crouch, about ten miles east along the river Crouch.
Hullbridge Road - The road that runs through the heart of the town from north to south is named after the village of Hullbridge. Hullbridge lies south of the River Crouch. Hullbridge Road is one of the oldest roads in the town and before the newer estates were built it ran all the way to the river where a ferry operated to Hullbridge.
Old Wickford Road - This used to be the route of the main road into South Woodham Ferrers from Wickford. Some parts of the road were removed when the B1012 was uprated and the A132 was built. The sections of the road that linked it straight onto the Burnham Road and also onto towards Wickford in the other direction no longer exist.
Fennfields Road, Fengates and Fenn Close - These are near to The Fenn, one of South Woodham Ferrers's nature reserves.
Clements Green Lane and Clements Place - Clements Green Creek branches off the River Crouch to the east of the town.
Saltcoats - The sports fields and collection of lakes and marshes to the east of the town are called Saltcoats. This is probably to do with the Roman salt works whose remains, in the form of mounds of earth, can still be seen on some of the low-lying fields.
Redhills Road - The remains of the nearby salt works are small red hills.
Creekview Road - The road looks out over Clements Green Creek.
Some of the roads relate to nearby buildings:
Marsh Farm Road - This was the southernmost stretch of Hullbridge Road, leading to the River Crouch. It is named after Marsh Farm, an open farm and one of South Woodham Ferrers' leading tourist attractions.
Edwin Hall View - Edwin's Hall was the home of Edwin Sandys, former Bishop of London and Archbishop of York in the 16th Century. His second son, Edwin Sandys, was a major player in the founding of the Virginia colony in North America. The Hall sits at the top of Bushy Hill and is not actually visible from Edwin Hall View. Edwin's Hall Farm is actually just about visible.
Station Approach - When Woodham Ferrers1 station was a much bigger station, this led to the back of the station yard. Now it stops on the other side of a set of trees from the disused extension to the station car park. People can walk via a footpath to the station, but there is no vehicular access.
Tutors Way - The two church primary schools, St Mary's and St Joseph's have entrances on this road. It also close to William De Ferrers Secondary School.
Scholar's Walk - This is a footpath from the north of the town to the town centre. It runs alongside William De Ferrers Secondary School and reaches the town centre near one of the school's entrances.
Hamberts Road - Hambert's Farm lies just to the North, over the Burnham Road.
Chipping Row - It is probably a coincidence that this little street in the town centre was home to a number of chip shops and takeaways.
Champions Way - Relates to the local manor house, Champions Hall. The parish council refers to itself as the Lords of the Manor of Champions.
Manor Road - This is very close to Champions Hall.
Trinity Square - This is the square outside the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Merchant Street - This leads to the town centre and all its shops.
Market Square - Unsurprisingly, this is where the town market is held.
There are a few references to the royal family:
Albert Road - This road that links Hullbridge Road and Ferrers Road and is named after Prince Albert, the former royal consort of Queen Victoria.
Victoria Road - This cul-de-sac runs roughly parallel to Albert Road and is named after his wife, Queen Victoria.
Coberg Place - A little joke by the parish council, this runs off Albert Road towards Victoria Road. Prince Albert's family were the dukes of Saxe-Coberg and Gotha.
Helena Court - Princess Helena was one of Queen Victoria's children.
Charlotte Court - Queen Charlotte was Queen Victoria's grandmother. Victoria's aunt was Princess Charlotte.
Carisbrooke Drive - Carisbrooke Castle is a royal castle on The Isle of Wright and was home to Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's daughter.
Connaught Place - Queen Victoria gave her son Arthur the title of Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. The land of Connaught, now known as Connacht, is in the west of Ireland.
King Edwards Road - This is probably named after King Edward VII.
Queen Elizabeth II Square - In the early 1980s, the Queen visited the town to officially open various bits of it. This square in the middle of the town centre was named after her.
Some of the areas of South Woodham Ferrers have themed street names:
The 'Middle Earth estate' is interestingly based around two 'feeder' roads, Gandalfs Ride and Celeborn Street, although it is said that Celeborn Street was originally to have been called Gollums Reach. This would have made sense, as the two main influences of The Lord of The Rings are Gandalf's ride to muster the armies for the War of the Ring, and Gollum's reach for the One Ring. Anyone who has read the trilogy will know the final result of Gollum's reach, and it is little wonder that the street was renamed.
So, to the streets themselves:
Arwen Grove - Arwen was an Elven princess, the half daughter of Elrond, who married Aragorn following the War of the Ring.
Bree Hill - Bree was the main village of Breeland, at the crossroads of The Great East Road and the North Road, most famous for its inn, The Prancing Pony, a place where travellers met to rest and catch up with news and gossip.
Buckland Gate - Buckland was one of the regions of the Hobbit's home in the Shire.
Bucklebury Heath - The hobbits were nearly ambushed by the ring wraiths at Bucklebury ferry on their departure from the Shire.
Butterbur Chase - Barleyman Butterbur was the landlord of The Prancing Pony - an inn in the village of Bree.
Bywater Road - Bywater was a village in the Shire, where the Hobbits came from. It was renowned for its village pub - The Green Dragon - and also the site of the final battle of the War of the Ring, where the evil wizard Saruman was finally defeated.
Celeborn Street - Celeborn (pronounced Keleborn) was the Elven King of Lothlorien, married to the fair Lady Galadriel.
Elronds Rest - Elrond was a half-elven prince, married to Celebrian, the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel. Elrond's home at Rivendell was known as 'the last homely house east of the sea' and was the venue for the council which led to the formation of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Galadriel Spring - The Lady Galadriel was the Elven queen of Lothlorien. Tall, blonde and beautiful, she was the wearer of one of the three Elven rings of power.
Gandalfs Ride - Gandalf was one of the last and greatest of the wizards of Middle Earth, also known as Mithrandir, elvish for 'grey pilgrim'. He was a friend to the hobbits, a master of fireworks and instrumental in gathering the armies for the War of the Ring.
Gladden Fields - These were the marshlands of the Gladden river, and many years before the events of The Lord of The Rings, a great battle took place causing the One Ring to become lost, until eventually found by Smeagol, who degenerated into Gollum.
Goldberry Mead - Goldberry was the daughter of the River-woman of the Withywindle; she was married to Tom Bombadil, who rescued the Hobbits when they encountered Old Man Willow.
Great Smials - A village in the shire, home of the Hobbits.
Hobbiton Hill - Hobbiton was the most famous village in the Shire, the home of the Hobbits. Bag End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, was situated on Hobbiton Hill.
Lorien Gardens - Lorien, in ancient times before the events described in The Lord of the Rings, was a vast, beautiful garden, which in turn gave its name to Lothlorien, where the Elves lived, under their rulers Celebron and Galadriel.
Meriadoc Drive - Meriadoc Brandybuck, also known as 'Merry' was one of the hobbits who accompanied Frodo Baggins on their quest. After the War of the Ring he became Master of Buckland.
Rivendell Vale - Rivendell was a refuge built in the mountains by the elves. It was the site of the House of Elrond, where Bilbo Baggins resided for many years after leaving the Shire.
Rohan Court - The kingdom of Rohan (meaning Horse Land) was homeland of the Rohirrim, skilled horsemen who played a key role in the battles of the war of the Ring.
Shirebourn Vale - The Shire was the peaceful, historic homeland of the hobbits.
The Withywindle - This was a small river which flowed through the Old Forest, to the east of the Shire, home of the hobbits.
Thorins Gate - Thorin is a name shared by several kings of the dwarves. Thorin Oakenshield was killed in The Hobbit which preceded the events of The Lord of The Rings.
Took Drive - Peregrine Took, also known as 'Pippin', was a hobbit, and a companion of Frodo Baggins in the Fellowship of the Ring. Following the War of the Ring he became ruler of the Shire.
Treebeard Copse - Treebeard was an Ent, or Tree Shepherd, who lived in the old forest of Fangorn. He and his fellow ents destroyed Saruman's fortress at Isengard.
Westmarch - Like Buckland, Westmarch was part of the Shire, the historic home of the hobbits.
White Tree Court - The White Tree was ancient, even in the times described in the Lord of the Rings, the line of saplings could be traced back to pre-history and was a symbol of the continuing line of the men of Gondor.
Sadly, Shepherd Neame did insufficient research when they opened their pub, The Curlew, on Gandalfs Ride. Whilst it's true that Curlews nest in the wetlands near the pub, a little more research would have suggested The Prancing Pony or The Green Dragon - both of which feature in the books.
The roads in the south east corner of South Woodham Ferrers lie near the River Crouch and Clements Green Creek:
Clevis Drive - A clevis is used in the fastening of rigging on boats.
Taffrail Gardens - A taffrail is the rail around the stern (rear) of a ship.
Cringle Lock - A cringle is a small hole in the edge of a sail for passing rope through.
Halyard Reach - A halyard is a rope used to hoist a sail.
The Spinnaker - A spinnaker is a sail designed for sailing when the wind is behind the boat.
Anchor Reach - An anchor is the large lump of metal dropped from a ship to moor it.
The Bight - A bight is a large bay. Listeners to the shipping forecast will be familiar with German Bight.
Windward Way and Leeward Road - Windward is the nautical term for up-wind, the direction from which wind is blowing. Leeward is down-wind, the direction where the wind is blowing.
Just to the north of the nautical roads are roads named after famous Generals and Admirals:
Cornwallis Drive - Was named after General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis. He was a British Commander in the American Revolutionary War.
Troubridge Close - Admiral Sir Ernest Troubridge was a naval commander in World War I.
Collingwood Road - Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood, was a second-in-command at Trafalgar. He commanded the one line of ships and Nelson commanded the other. He took over command after Nelson was killed. Collingwood School lies on Collingwood Road. The four main primary schools in South Woodham all have Wood in their names, so it was rather helpful to the town planners to name the road and school after the Admiral.
Anson Close - Admiral George Anson led 14 Ships of the Line2 against a French convoy of 30 ships in the 1st Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1747. He also took a rather sorry squadron of ships to attack the Spanish in South America in 1740. He lost a few of the ships, but plundered enough gold to make him a rich man for life when he returned after circumnavigating the world. He was also made First Lord of the Admiralty.
Merton Place - Admiral Nelson purchased Merton Place in what was then Surrey for £9,000 in 1802.
Bickerton Point - Richard Bickerton had fought in the Seven Years War and American Revolutionary War before he made Admiral and served a variety of roles including port admiral at Plymouth.
Elliot Close - Named after Admiral Sir Charles Elliot who was the first Administrator of Hong Kong and held a number of Governor posts.
Beatty Rise - When David Beatty was made Rear Admiral in 1910 he was the youngest officer of flag rank3 since Nelson. He became Winston Churchill's Naval Secretary before taking command of the Battlecruiser4 Squadron in 1913. He attacked the German High Fleet at the Battle of Jutland, holding them at bay until the main British Fleet arrived. He was promoted after the battle to full Admiral and received the surrender of the German High Fleet at Rosyth in 1918. He was made First Sea Lord in 1919.
A few streets in the north of the town are named after wetland birds that are resident on the Essex coast:
Brent Avenue - Brent Geese are small black and white geese.
Redshank Crescent - Redshanks are long billed wading birds.
Dunlin Close - Dunlins are small, common waders.
Four roads leading off Inchbonnie Road into the town centre take their names from feudal ranks:
Baron Road - The lowest rank of nobility.
Knight Street - Originally professional warriors who fought for a Baron or Lord, now an honour.
Squire Street - A squire is a knight's servant and normally an apprentice.
Heralds Way - Heralds were messengers for Royalty and nobility.