Canvey had been a separate civil and ecclesiastical parish since 1881. The civil parish of Canvey Island was converted into an Urban District Council in 1926. In 1929, Thundersley and Hadleigh joined together to form the Benfleet Urban District Council. The Canvey Island Urban Distric Council was granted armorial bearings in 1971. In 1972 an Act of Parliament saw a reorganisation of local government and in 1974 the Canvey Island Urban District Council joined Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley to become part of Castle Point District Council. The name was chosen from almost a hundred entries in a competition that gave residents the opportunity to suggest a name. The name chosen incorporated two local landmarks, Hadleigh Castle and Canvey Point.
On 12th October 2005, representatives of a Canvey Island campaign group presented a petition to Castle Point Borough Council containing nearly 3,500 signatures, together with a letter addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister seeking the constitution of their own parish council.
During the week commencing 12th December 2005, a consultation document was sent by the Borough Council to each of the 15,699 households on Canvey Island to gauge public opinion about the formation of a parish council. On 2nd December 2006, the Secretary of State, made an Order for the constitution of the new Canvey Island parish council with effect from 1st April 2007. The Council elected its first members on 3rd May 2007 and resolved to change its name to Canvey Island Town Council. The community now has its ‘own’ statutory body, recognised within the established democratic framework and constituted to represent its needs and interests.
Ex Mare Dei Gratia (Canvey Island Town Council Crest)
In October 2007, the Town Council applied to the College of Arms for the official transfer of the Canvey Island Urban District Council’s ‘armorial bearings’. The completion of the transfer was reported in May 2008 when the Council was officially able to use the coat of arms.
The coat of arms is officially described as follows: ‘Wavy white lines on a blue background signify the River Thames that constantly laps the Island’s shores, whilst the snow-white droplets allude to the early salt extraction. The Island itself is fashioned as a green diamond lozenge, with the fat-tailed sheep that provided for the cheese-making industry in the centre. Oyster shells stand at the four corners referring to another past industry. The sea walls are represented by the inner golden escutcheon; the inside is embattled to show the reinforcement of them. They are divided into seven equal parts, referring to the seven main drainage sluices that had previously been present. Finally, on the crest stands the Dutch Cottage and the motto ‘Ex Mare Dei Gratia’ meaning, ‘From the sea by the Grace of God’ .