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History of Barking in 1862, Post Office Directory
With Rippleside - part 1
- part 1
Barking is a town and station on the London, Tilbury and
Southend railway, 7 miles from Whitechapel church, and 2 south from Ilford, on
the river Roding, which is navigable for barges from the Thames to Great Ilford.
It is in South Essex, Beacontree Hundred, Romford union, diocese of London,
London archdeaconry, deanery of Barking, and in the Romford county court
district. Barking in the Domesday Survey, is called “Burchingas”; it is stated
by one authority to derive its name from “berg”, a hill, and “ing”, in the
meadow; in the whole “berging” – the rising ground in the meadow. Morant prefers
the Saxon derivation from the words “beorce” and “ing” (a meadow planted with
birch trees). Mr Gough, however, affirms that Burg-hing (the fortification in
the meadow) explains the name. In support of this latter position, attention may
be drawn to the remains of the entrenchment about a quarter of a mile distant
from the town, on the Ilford road, which is somewhat confirmatory of the
assertion. Of the place, little or nothing is known until the foundation of the
abbey, about the year 670: it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is said to
have been the first monastery established for women in the kingdom. It was
founded by St Erkenwald, Bishop of London, in the reigns of Sebbi and Sigliere,
kings of the East Saxons; the founder was grandson of Uffa, the first Saxon King
of the East Angles, and was the first bishop who sat in the See of London after
the erection of St Paul’s by King Ethelbert. . The original charter of endowment
by Hodelied, father of King Sebbi, is among the Cottonian MSS, in the British
Museum; but the names of the estates or lordships are so changed that it is
utterly impossible to trace them. William the Conqueror confirmed the original
grants, as did also all the succeeding monarchs until Henry VII. The first
abbess was Ethelburgh, sister of the founder; and it is a fact worthy of note,
as showing the importance of the parish in past ages, that most of the abbesses
were of high rank, and several of them of the blood royal; one was Oswyth,
daughter of the King of Northumberland; another Ethelburgh, wife of Ina, king of
the West Saxons. Maud, wife of Henry I, at one time swayed the destinies of the
monastery, as did also the wife of King Stephen; and Henry II appointed Mary,
sister of St Thomas a Becket, abbess. During these periods kings have dwelt
within the abbey walls, and William the Conqueror is said to have taken up his
abode here during the building of his fortifications in London. The abbey was
surrendered to Henry VIII, on the 14th November, 1539, at which time its revenue
amounted to £1,084 per annum. The site of the monastery was leased by the King
to Sir Thomas Dennye; it then, in the reign of Edward IV, passed to Lord
Clinton; it was again vested in the Crown, and was granted by James I to
Augustine Steward, who died possessed in 1628: in 1747 it was purchased by
Joseph Keeling and is now the property of Mr William Thompson, of Ilford.
There is scarcely a vestige now remaining of the once magnificent abbey, nor have any of the buildings been standing for some centuries. Mr Lethieullier, when Lord of the manor, by digging about the ruins, procured a ground plan of it, or of some considerable portion of it. At the entrance to the churchyard there stands an ancient gateway, over which is the chapel of the Holy Rood; this, although erected long subsequently to the monastery, is sufficiently interesting, from the fact that within its walls the curfew bell is said to have tolled at eight o’clock; it is by some called the fire-bell gate and this may be so, for the curfew bell was as well a note of alarm as an indication of the hour of rest, During six months of the year one of the bells in the church tower is still tolled nightly at eight o’clock, and at five o’clock in the morning, merely as perpetuating an ancient custom. Here are the remains of an old gateway, leading into a kind of orchard; it consists of some rough and time-worn stones placed on each other, and forming an undoubted Saxon arch; close inspection will discover the traces of the zigzag devices of the Saxon era, but nothing very definite; it is affirmed to have been the entrance to the abbey, and certainly its appearance justifies such an assumption, the more especially when it is known that the apparent orchard was the actual site of the monastery, and is the spot on which the foundations were traced by Mr Lethieullier.
The manor of Barking, which is paramount all over the hundred, remained in the Crown till James I sold it to Sir Thomas Fanshawe. Since then it has been in the families of Humphrey and Gore; it was purchased of the latter by Smart Letheullier, Esq, and is now the property of Sir Edward Hulse, the present lord, in right of his wife Mary, the heiress of that family.
The church of St Margaret consists of a chancel, nave, a south aisle, and two north aisles, running parallel to each other the whole length of the building; at the west end is a lofty square embattled tower; the date of its erection is unknown; it was originally appropriated to the monastery. Previous to 1328 there had been two vicarages in the church of Barking, distinguished as St Margaret's on the North and St Margaret's on the South, but about this period they were united, although it was not until 1398 that they were legally consolidated. In the year 1452 several disputes had arisen between Catherine de la Pole, the abbess, and Sir John Greening, the vicar, and these were referred to arbitration: the award made in consequence, after settling many very trivial questions, awards the vicar “provisions every day in the convent for himself and servant, so long as he should not be of a litigious disposition, but if he should, without license of the abbess, hold any discourse with the nuns, for the first offence he should lose his diet for a week; for the second offence he should lose it for a month; and if he offended a third time he should be excluded the convent”: it was not then endowed with any of the great tithes. In the year 1536 an agreement was entered into between the then abbess and vicar for payment of £10 per annum in lieu of diet; this sum of £10 per annum is still paid to the vicar. The rectory, which in 1541 had been leased to Mary Blackenhall, consisted of all such tithes as had not been previously leased; it subsequently fell into the hands of the Crown, by whom, in 1550, it was sold (together with the advowson of the vicarage) to Robert Thomas and Andrew Salter; it afterwards passed to the executors of the will of William Pownsett, of Loxford (who had been steward to the last abbess), and who, being desirous of bestowing his substance on charitable objects, gave the rectory and advowson to the Warden and Fellows of All Souls College in Oxford, who are the present patrons. The living is valued at £767, with residence, and the Rev Henry Fortescue Seymour MA, of All Souls College, Oxford, is the present vicar. The earliest date of the register is 1558.
A considerable portion of the Hainault Forest is in this parish, within the limits of which formerly stood the renowned Fairlop Oak, the stem at three feet from the ground, measured 36 feet in girth, and the boughs extended over 300 feet in circumference of 300 feet. Under its shade, for many years, a fair was held on the first Friday in July; but the tree is gone; the ground on which it reared its mighty head is in the hands of the husbandmen, and Fair lives only in the records of the past.