Title Logo
View of the Church

It seems the word Kirby is formed from two words of Norse and possibly Norse/Saxon origin - "Kirk" (church), whose origin is almost certainly Norse and "By" (dwelling or habitation, township or village), which could be Norse or Anglo Saxon. The translation seems to result in the rather mundane "village by the church" but this suggests that Viking raiders arrived to find an established community centred on the church and stayed long enough to leave their mark.

"Le Soken" seems Norman in origin but the concept of a soke is possibly Danish, as it seems to occur in areas where Danes help power. It denotes an area that has some special privilege granted to it - above that of a manor and indeed the land comprising a soke does not have to be together in one piece. The lands of local sokes were held by St. Paul's back beyond Domesday and although the status has been diluted down the years as the laws of the land changed the name remains.

So - the origins of the name are definitely open to interpretation but we know it was fused from the strands of the words of those early villagers back in the mists of time - an idea that somehow seems to fit the landscape.

Today Kirby-le-Soken is a small village in North East Essex, an agricultural and increasingly residential corner of the county. Although the village has managed to stay distinct and separate from the growing conurbations of Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze (formerly Walton-le-Soken), it is a developed and working village, not a time capsule.

  • The first mention of a church at Kirby-le-Soken is in 1297, it was delapidated by 1833 and a major rebuild left only the tower and part of the north wall and chancel from the original church.

arrow link motif The Five Manors of Kirby-le-Soken
arrow link motif A Look at the Village Today
arrow link motif The Kirby-le-Soken Spring Water Supply
arrow link motif Kirby Pubs - Past and Present
arrow link motif The History of the Kirby-le-Soken Village Fete
arrow link motif The Burgess Family - Kirby's Wheelwrights
arrow link motif Kirby Remembered - a recollection of Kirby at the beginning of the 20th Century
arrow link motif The Oxborrow Family - Blacksmiths and Engineers
arrow link motif Links to other sites of interest

This site, depicting Kirby-le-Soken both past and present, is being slowly populated. It is maintained by Richard Oxborrow in spare time with contributions from far and wide. All communications regarding Kirby-le-Soken are welcome.

The Kirby-le-Soken History Pages © 2000-2017 the authors - all rights reserved.