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History of Barking in 1886, Kellys Directory, part 1 - part 2

History of Barking

Barking is a town and station on the London, Tilbury and Southend railway, 7 miles from Whitechapel church, 2 south from Ilford and 6 south west from Romford, on the river Roding, which is navigable for barges from the Thames to Great Ilford; it is a parish in the Southern division of the county, Becontree Hundred and petty sessional division, Romford union and county court district, rural deanery of Barking, archdeaconry of Essex, diocese of St Albans and is under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan police; it is separated from East and West Ham and Little Ilford by the river Roding, from Dagenham by the Rom, having the Thames on the south and is divided into four wards; Barking in the south west; Ilford or Great Ilford in the north west; Chadwell in the north east; and Ripple in the south east. At the mouth of the Roding creek on the Thames are gunpowder magazines. The town is governed by a local board of nine members, who have recently sewered the town at a cost of £18,000; there are main and intercepting sewers, with an outfall on land at Lady’s Marsh, where there are precipitating tanks of concrete, each holding 300,000 gallons, the effluent passing into the Thames. In May 1885, a portion of the new line of the London, Tilbury and Southend railway from this place to Pitsea was opened for traffic.

Barking is called in the Domesday Survey “Burchungas”. Of the place little or nothing is known until the foundation of the Benedictine abbey, about the year 670, by St Erkenwald, bishop of London, in the reigns of Sebbi and Sighere, kings of the East Saxons: the founder being grandson of Uffa, the first Saxon king of the East Angles and the first bishop who sat in the see of London after the erection of St Paul’s by King Ethelbert; this abbey was dedicated to the Virgin, and is said to have been the first religious house established for women in the kingdom. 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 the succeeding monarchs down to Henry VIII. The first abbess was Ethelburga, 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 at high rank, and some of them of the blood royal; one being Oswyth, daughter of  Edifrith, King of Northumberland and another Ethelburga, wife of Ina, king of the West Saxons. Mud, wife of Henry I, at one time swayed the destinies of the monastery, as did also another Maud, wife of King Stephen; in succession to whom Henry II appointed Mary, sister of St Thomas a Becket, as abbess: during these periods several kings are related to have dwelt within the abbey walls, and William the Conqueror is said to have taken up his abode here during the building of his fortress in London. In 1376 a great inundation broke down the banks of the Thames at Dagenham, the repairs of which greatly impoverished the nuns; Eleanor (de Bohun), widow of Thomas Plantagenet (of Woodstock(, duke of Gloucester, retired hither on the death of her husband in 1397 and here she died 3rd October 1399; here are Edmund and Jasper Tudor, sons of Catherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI of France and wife of Sir Owen Tudor, were educated: the abbesses were appointed by the king till 1200 and held baronial rank by virtue of their landed possessions. The abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII, on the 14th November, 1539, at which time its revenues amounted to £1,084 per annum, an annual pension of 200 marks (£133 6s 10d) being granted to Dorothy Barley, the last abbess. The site of the monastery with its demesne lands was leased by the king to Sir Thomas Dennye and not long afterwards granted by Edward VI, to Edward Fynes, Lord Clinton, who immediately transferred it to Sir Richard Sackville; subsequently it was again vested in the Crown, and was granted by James I to Augustine Steward, who died seised of this property in 1628: in 1747 it was purchased by Joseph Keeling and is now held by Sir Edward Hulse bart, of Breamore House, Salisbury: there is scarcely a vestige now remaining of the once magnificent abbey, nor have any of the main buildings been standing for centuries. Mr Lethieulier, when Lord of the manor, by digging about the ruins, procured a ground plan of the abbey, or of some considerable portion of it: in 1876 the foundations of the Ladye Chapel and the skeletons of two abbesse, buried in front of the altar, were discovered in the grounds belonging to the National Schools, a part of the site which does not appear to have been excavated by Mr Lethieullier: at the entrance to the churchyard is an ancient gateway tower of two storeys, with an embattled parapet: the upper stage formed the chapel of the Holy Rood; this tower, although erected in the Decorated period long subsequently to the foundation of 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 and in the morning at five o’clock, merely as perpetuating an ancient custom; another gateway, leading into the precincts of the abbey, was pulled down in 1881.

The church of St Margaret, a structure chiefly of Perpendicular date, with some Norman and Early English features, consists of a chancel, nave, south aisle, two north aisles running parallel to each other for the whole length of the building and a lofty embattled western tower containing 8 fine toned bells; it was originally appropriated to the monastery and previously to 1328 there had been two vicarages in the church of Barking, distinguished as St Margarets on the North and St Margarets 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, daughter of Sir Michael de la Pole, and Sir John Greening, the vicar, which being referred to arbitration, the vicar was awarded “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 and for the second offence he should lose it for a month and if he offended a third time he should be excluded the convent”: the church 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 the payment by the former of £10 yearly in lieu of diet, and this sum the vicar still receives: among the fine monuments in the church is one to Sir Charles Montague, of Cranbrook, representing his death on the field of battle; and there is a mural tablet to Sir Orlando Humfreys: in the chancel are brasses to Thomas Broke and Alice, his wife, 1493, with a son and daughter; to John Tedcastell, gent and Elizabeth, his wife, 1596, with nine sons and seven daughters and one of a priest, in academic dress, with chalice, the inscription gone, c 1480: in the nave and south aisle are brasses to Elizabeth Hobart, widow, 1590; Christopher Merell, citizen and goldsmith of London, 1598. et 60 and his sister Anne Yardley, a widow, 1579 and an inscription, c 1530: the chancel retains several aumbries: there are sittings for 930 persons. The registers date from the year 1558. 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 it was sold in 1550 (together with the advowson of the vicarage) to Robert Thomas and Andrew Salter; the greater portion of it afterwards passed to the trustees of the will of William Pownsett, of Loxford, steward to the last abbess), who being desirous of bestowing his substance on charitable objects, gave the rectory and advowson to the warden and Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent charge £716, with 6 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of All Souls College, Oxford and held since 1882 by the Rev John Richardson MA of Trinity College, Dublin, and diocesan inspector of schools for Barking deanery.




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