West Tilbury is a village situated on the top of a river terrace overlooking the river Thames. The original part of the village, around the old church of St. James, has been a site of human habitation for many hundreds if not thousands of years. Further inland a settlement was formed in 1257 when a 'fair green' was laid out for use as a market. West Tilbury is also a parish in the unitary authority of Thurrock, Essex, England.
Queen Elizabeth I reviewed her troops here in 1588, delivering her Speech to the Troops at Tilbury (Many have mistakenly assumed that the Tilbury mentioned as the site of the speech refers to the town around the docks about a mile and a half to the south west. This is not the case as Tilbury town was not built until the docks were constructed in the late 1800s on what was open marshland.) It is believed that the main Spanish attack was expected in Essex, but ships were used to construct a bridge allowing troops to cross the river and prevent the attacking Spanish army from capturing London if it landed in Kent.
West Tilbury is one of seven conservation areas in Thurrock.
In the eighteenth century, water from West Tilbury was bottled and sold for its medicinal properties.
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