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 Five Manors of Kirby-le-Soken|
|A Look at the Village Today|
|The Kirby-le-Soken Spring Water Supply|
|Kirby Pubs - Past and Present|
|The History of the Kirby-le-Soken Village Fete|
|The Burgess Family - Kirby's Wheelwrights|
|Kirby Remembered - a recollection of Kirby at the beginning of the 20th Century|
|The Oxborrow Family - Blacksmiths and Engineers|
|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.|