Canewdon is a large parish, which extends for several miles along the southern side of the River Crouch. The name is derived from the Saxon “hill of Cana’s people” and is not named after King Canute. However, there is a connection to King Canute as the valley between Canewdon Parish Church and Ashingdon Parish Church is the site of the battle of Assandun between Edmund Ironside and King Canute in 1016. Remains of entrenchments between the village and the river are thought to mark the site of Canute’s camp.
Evidence of much earlier settlements have been found in the area including bronze age artifacts, Roman red hills and a paddle dated around 1000 BC found in the river bank.
The Parish Church of St Nicholas with its impressive tower is a landmark for many miles around and was used as an observation and signalling post during the First World War. It stands on a ridge overlooking the Crouch estuary on an ancient site in a large churchyard. The Church’s impressive tower is said to have been erected by Henry V in thanksgiving for his victory in Agincourt.
Its site at the end of the village High Street is typical of a Saxon village with the Church “tacked on” at one end, suggesting the village layout was completed before the Church was founded.
To the east of the Church is the old village lock-up and stocks. These used to be located adjacent to the pond in Lambourne Hall Road.
Canewdon played a key role during the Second World War being the fourth Transmission and Receiver site for RADAR to be built and was part of a chain of stations around the coast.
The modern day Canewdon offers a wide range of housing within a close knit village community. Also included in the area is the island of Wallasea, a very popular centre for sailing and now being managed by the RSPB as a wetland sanctuary for wildlife.