|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Great Burstead is a village, and with South Green, was a parish situated in the heart of Essex, England to the south of Billericay. In ancient times,Great Burstead was part of the Barstable hundred.The parish of Great Burstead, abolished 1934, also covered Billericay. It formed part of the Billericay Rural District from 1894 and Billericay Urban District from 1934. The district was renamed Basildon Urban District in 1955 and became part of the present-day Basildon district in 1974. It is the oldest part of Billericay, and part of the District of Basildon. There have been settlements here since Saxon times, possibly earlier. The village of Great Burstead is first recorded, about 975, as 'Burgestede' meaning 'stronghold-site'. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is recorded as 'Burghesteda'. The adjacent village of South Green was first recorded as 'Southwood Greene' in 1593. In 1777 it was recorded as 'South Green'. By tradition, the origins of the church at Great Burstead are linked to St Cedd around 653; he was a missionary monk, trained by the Celtic Saint Aidan at Lindisfarne. Cedd's original chapel at Bradwell-juxta-Mare still stands. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, a Grade 1 listed building, is undoubtedly the central feature of Great Burstead. Dating from the 12th century, it was the original parish church for the whole Billericay area, and its churchyard was the burial ground for residents of the Billericay area and beyond.
Christopher Martin, one of the Pilgrim Fathers,married the widowed Mrs. Mary Prower here on 26 February 1606/7.He was a churchwarden here and there is a memorial tablet in the Churchyard and the Mayflower window in the church.
During the Great War, on the night of the 24th September 1916, Zeppelin L.32 was shot down, killing the German
airmen on board. They were buried in the churchyard,but later re-interred in the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, along with the crews of the
three other Zeppelins shot down.
(text by Geoffrey Gillon)