Brentwood station was opened on 1 July 1840 as a temporary terminus by the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) on what was to become the Great Eastern Main Line, until 1843, when the line was extended towards Colchester. The Great Eastern Railway (GER) took over in 1862 and renamed the station as Brentwood & Warley for Billericay in 1882, shortened to Brentwood & Warley in 1889. After the grouping of 1923 the station passed to the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which quadrupled the number of tracks passing through in 1934. In 1969 the station's name was changed back to Brentwood. On 19 September 1850, nine workmen were killed when they were struck by a train at Brentwood station in dense fog. The ECR was criticised by the coroner's jury for not adequately protecting the men. The name was assumed by antiquaries in the 1700s to derive from a corruption of the words 'burnt' and 'wood', with the name Burntwood still visible on some 18th-century maps. However, "brent" was the middle English for "burnt". The name describes the presumed reason for settlement in the part of the Forest of Essex (later Epping Forest) that would have covered the area, where the main occupation was charcoal burning. An alternative meaning of "brent" is "holy one", which could refer to the chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket, for the use of pilgrims to Canterbury.
People began to settle there and, because it was on the crossroads of the old Roman road from Colchester to London and the route the pilgrims took over the River Thames to Canterbury, it grew into a small town. During the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, Brentwood was the meeting place for some of the instigators, such as John Ball and Jack Straw. They, apparently, met regularly in local pubs and inns. The first event of the Peasants' Revolt occurred in Brentwood, when men from Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford were summoned by the commissioner Thomas Bampton to Brentwood to answer as to who had avoided paying the poll tax. Bampton insisted that the peasants pay what was demanded of them. The peasants refused to pay and a riot ensued as Bampton attempted to arrest the peasants. The peasants moved to kill Bampton, but he managed to escape to London. The rioters then, fearing the repercussions of what they had done fled into the forest. After the event, the peasants sent word to the rest of the country and initiated the Peasants' Revolt.
The station is sited at the bottom of a bank which ascends to the east towards Shenfield. This presented a significant climb to down-steam trains. Until 2001, embankment ladders were present to allow workmen to access the tracks but these were replaced with a walkway along the tracks. In 2010, National Express East Anglia, then the operating company for the line, commenced an improvement programme at the station, including the expansion of the entrance and ticket hall, refurbishment of waiting rooms and provision for the installation of customer lifts to the platforms. In 2017 new Class 345 trains will enter service as Crossrail partially opens. The route will be extended through central London to London Heathrow Airport and Reading in 2019. The platforms at Brentwood will be extended from their current length of between 184 metres (201 yd) and 187 metres (205 yd) to accommodate the Crossrail trains which will be over 200 metres (220 yd) long. New lifts, signage, help points, customer information screens and CCTV will also be installed. The station has payphones, wi-fi, cash machines, toilets, help points, a car park and waiting room.
Connections: National Rail. Bus routes 9(Mon-Fri),71(Mon - Fri), 80A/80C(Sun), 81(Mon-Sat), 261(Mon-Sat) and 351(Mon-Sat) serve the station on Mondays to Fridays. In addition numerous school routes run on schooldays.