ROCHFORD, a town in the south-eastern parliamentary division of Essex, England, 39 m. E. by N. from London by the Southend branch of the Great Eastern railway. Pop. (1g01) 1829. It lies on the small river Roach, near the head of a long estuary. The town has a Perpendicular church (St Andrew), a corn exchange and some agricultural trade. Rochford Hall, a picturesque gabled mansion of various dates, belonged once to the Boleyns, and it has been stated that Anne Boleyn, the unfortunate queen of Henry VIII., was born here, but this is in no way proved. Near Rochford the Lawless or Whispering Court, a remarkable survival of unknown origin, is held by a manorial tenure on the Wednesday following Michaelmas Day, beginning at midnight. No light is permitted, nor may voices be raised above a whisper. Nearly 3 m. N.W. from Rochford is Ashingdon. This is generally accepted as the scene of the fight of Assandun in 1016 between Canute and Edmund Ironside, in which the English were defeated through treachery in their ranks. Earthworks, of this or an earlier date, remain.
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