By By F G Whitnall
The Essex Countryside (August 1967)
Introduction: Standing on the sea wall overlooking the Thames estuary and the distant Kent shore it is difficult to visualize the scene 300 years ago when a raiding party from a Dutch man-of-war stepped ashore at Hole Haven on Canvey Island and set about looting some of the farmhouses and barns lying close to the waterfront.
Incensed by the unprovoked attack, Sir Henry Appleton, of South Benfleet, himself a local landowner, wrote to the Secretary of State reporting that ” the Dutch have landed on Canvey Island and plundered it, damaging barns and eight houses, and taken several small boats.” In response to this protest a troop of Scots musketeers was hastily dispatched across the river from the battery at Sheerness to help the besieged islanders.
Fortunately the invaders did not stay long, and the inhabitants were left to recover as best they could from this ordeal. Some small comfort was gained, however, when it became known that the men in the raiding party were severely punished on return to their ship for undertaking such a foolhardy and hazardous adventure. Their escapade might well have affected plans for the events that followed.