At first glance South Benfleet may give the appearance of being part of the typical South East Essex commuter belt that grew up around a railway station after the Second World War.
However this is deceptive. Throughout its history Benfleet has been the home to a fascinating array of people starting with the first Saxon and Vikings settlers. The Normans, then the Tudors came and they too left their mark.
There was also the rector who left a legacy full of music and a saintly vicar who looked after people in times of illness. In 1621, local man Sir Henry Appleton sought the help of Dutch entrepreneur Joas Kroppenburg to get the first Canvey Island flood defences built, and the Appleton School which today is a specialist business and enterprise college carries forward the Appleton name.