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Romford, with the villages of Hare Street, Dagenham, Havering Atte Bower, Rainham, Wennington and Neighbourhoods.
Romford is a populous market town in
the liberty of Havering Atte Bower, about 12 miles N E from London; situated on
the main road leading to Chelmsford, Colchester, Harwich, Ipswich, Norwich and
Yarmouth, and consequently is a place of great thoroughfare. The earliest notice
we find of this manor is in a record dated 1299, at which period it belonged to
Adam de Cretinge, of whom Henry de Winchester, a jewish proselyte, held it. The
town consists chiefly of one long and spacious street, which is well paved, and
lighted with gas. The market house stands near the centre of the town, as also
does the court house, or town hall, in which are held the quarter sessions for
the liberty. The Eastern Counties railway passes close to the town, and from
this locality will issue the Thames haven and Dock railway. Romford, Hornchurch
and Havering constitute the liberty of Havering Atte Bower. Edward the Confessor
granted it a charter, and vested the government in a high steward, a deputy
steward and one justice of the peace; these are elected by the inhabitants of
the liberty, and exercise magisterial authority; they are a corporate body, and
have the privilege of trying every class of offences, treason not excepted – but
this extensive right has not recently been assumed. The sessions are held on the
Friday after the county quarter sessions.
Romford is a polling station at the election of members to represent the southern division of the county. This is not a manufacturing town, nor does it possess any peculiar commercial advantages; but its abundant an well attended market, added to its thoroughfare situation, renders its local business flourishing.
The church (or more correctly chapel, for it is under Hornchurch), is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Edward the Confessor; of the latter there is a full length portrait in the east window of the chancel: the living is in the nature of the vicarage, in the patronage of the warden and fellows of New College, Oxford. The other places of worship are for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. A school for sixty boys and thirty girls, and alms houses for six poor men and the like number of women (the latter founded by Roger Reed), are the most noted charities; the parishes of Romford, Hornchurch and Dagenham have the alternate right of nomination to the alms houses, as vacancies occur. The market is held on Wednesday, and a fair on the 24th of June for horned cattle and horses. The parish, at the census of 1831, contained 4,294 inhabitants.
About a mile from Romford, on the main road to Chelmsford, is Hare Street, a hamlet to the former town. Many families of distinction reside in the surrounding district, the soil of which is remarkably rich and productive. Hare Hall is an elegant mansion of Portland stone, and on the opposite side of the road is Gidea Hall, a capacious square brick structure, in the occupation of Mrs Alice Black.
Two miles and a half from Romford, between that town and the Thames, near to the high road leading from Barking to Rainham, and in the hundred of Becontree, is the village and parish of Dagenham. The Thames, in the winter of 1703, made a most destructive breach on this parish, and laid one thousand acres of valuable land, in the levels adjoining its banks, under water; a new embankment was subsequently constructed, at an expense of £40,472; of this sum the original contract allowed only £25,000, but £15,000 were afterwards added by parliament, and the spirited contractor, Captain Perry, supplied the deficiency. The church dedicated to St Peter ad St Paul, was thoroughly repaired, and the windows and angles of the tower faced with brick in 1800; it is a very handsome edifice: the benefice is a vicarage, of which the Rev Thomas Lewis Fanshawe is the patron and incumbent. In 1828, Mr William Ford endowed a free school here for thirty boys and twenty girls. The population of the parish, in 1831, amounted to 2,118.
Havering Atte Bower is a village in the parish and liberty of its name, and in a district celebrated in monkish legends. In a most delightful situation, commanding rich and extensive prospects, are the remains of an ancient palace, the erection or repair of which tradition ascribes to the Confessor. The church, dedicated to St John the Evangelist, is very ancient, with a steeple of wood of singular appearance; it originally was the chapel of the palace: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of Charles Ellis Heaton, Esq; the Rev R Rowland Faulkner is the present incumbent. Mrs Anne Tipping, in 1724, founded and endowed a charity school here, which in 1827 was rebuilt and enlarged by voluntary contributions. The Saxon kings included the liberty of Havering Atte Bower in their personal demesnes, and it received many marks of distinction from the Norman dynasty: hence this district became possessed of some peculiar privileges, which Henry IV embodied in a charter, and succeeding monarchs confirmed. The number of inhabitants in this parish, according to the census of 1831, was only 332, but the entire liberty contained 6,812.
Rainham, a village and parish in Chafford hundred, near the river Thames, is about five miles south from Romford – the parish bounded on the west and south by extensive marshes. The church, dedicated to Saint Helen and Saint Giles, is an ancient building, and contains a few monuments of some antiquity, in the Norman style; the living is a vicarage, of which major J C G Crosse is the patron, In 1779 a charity school was founded here for the instruction of poor children. The population, by the last returns, consisted of 671 persons.
In the same hundred as Rainham, about midway between that place and Purfleet, lies the small village and parish of Wennington. In the parish are continuous marshes, stretching southward and westward to the Thames. The church is dedicated to St Peter; the benefice is a rectory, in the presentation of the bishop of London.
Post Office, Market Place, Romford, William Henry Attwell, Post Master – Letters from London arrive (by the two penny post) every forenoon (Sunday excepted) at half past eleven and evening at six, and are despatched every morning at nine and afternoon at four; also letters from London arrive (by the Norwich mail) every night at half past nine, and are despatched every morning at five – Letters from Chipping Ongar arrive (by mail cart) every night at eight, and are despatched every morning at six – Leyyers from Horndon on the Hill and Grays Thurrock arrive (by mail cart) every evening at seven, and are despatched every morning at half past six – Letters from Dagenham arrive every evening at seven, and are despatched every morning at half past six.
Post, Rainham, Receiving House at Robert Ennevers – Letters from Romford arrive every forenoon at eleven, and are despatched every afternoon at two.
All call at or go from the White Hart except the Mail
To London, the Royal Mail (from Norwich) calls at the Post Office, every morning at five - a Coach, every morningat half past eight, except Suday, when it goes at six - the Ockendon, every morning (Sunday excepted) at nine - and another Coach, every afternoon (Sunday excepted) at half past two, and on Sunday at five.
To Bury St Edmunds, a Coach, every forenoon (Sun ecepted) at eleven
To Chelmsford, a Coach, every forenoon at half past eleven, and evening at a quarter past five.
To Colchester, a Coach, every morning at half past ten.
To Harwich, a Coach, every afternoon at a quarter before four.
To Maldon, a Coach, every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon at one.
To Norwich, the Royal Mail (from London), calls at the Post Office, every night at half past nine.
To London, John Chapel, from his house, and Henry Lexford, from his house, every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - and William Stephenson from his house, every
Tuesday & Thursday.
Besides the above, there are other Coaches and Carriers to and from London and certain places in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, which pass through Romford daily, & call at the White Hart.