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History of West Ham in 1848
West Ham, a large village with many neat houses, gives name to a populous Parish and Union, and is pleasantly situated on the east side of the vale of the river Lea, near Stratford, and the Eastern Counties Railway Station, from 1 to 2 miles east of Bow Bridge, 2 miles N of the river Tames, and 4 miles E of Whitechapel. Its Parish contains 475 Acres £ R & P of land, extending southward to the confluence of the river Lea, or Bow Creek, with the river Thames, and divided into four wards, viz, Church Street Ward, which includes the neighbouring villages of West ham, Upton, and Forest Gate, and about 1600 acres of land; Plaistow Ward, which comprises the neat and pleasant village of Plaistow, on the Barking Road, 4 Ĺ miles E of Whitechapel, and about 2000 acres of land extending to the Thames; and Stratford Ward, which has only about 700 acres of land, on the east side of the Lea, opposite Bow, but contains the most populous and improving part of the parish. The population of the whole parish, in 1841, was 12,738, but it now amounts to more than 16,000 souls, the town and ward of Stratford having greatly increased since the opening of the eastern Counties Railway, and the other lines and branches which now diverge from it in this parish, as noticed with Stratford at a subsequent page, where it will be seen that, in ecclesiastical matters, Stratford is now a district parish, as is also Plaistow Ward, the south part of the parish, which comprises a large tract of low marshes, now much improved by draining, and traversed by the Thames Junction and North Woolwich Railways. (See Stratford). It is in contemplation to erect tow new district churches in the parish, one near Stratford Marsh, and the other at Forest Gate. The parish has Water and Gas Works, the latter established about two years ago, by the ďWest ham Gas Light and Coke CompanyĒ, at the cost of about £10,000. Mr Edw Thorman is the manager. West Ham Waterworks, on the river Lea, were established about 50 years ago, and supply Stratford, Bow, Bromley, and adjacent parts of Middlesex. On the banks of the river Lea are several extensive chemical works and distilleries, and near its confluence with the Thames are the largest establishments in the world for building iron and wooden ships. A branch or creek from the Lea is navigable for vessels of 150 tons burthen, to West ham Abbey, where there is an extensive silk printing establishment; and on the marshes is a large Congreve Rocket manufactory. The annual value of the lands and buildings in this populous parish, has so greatly increased by the construction of the railways, and other improvements, that the estimated rental, on which the county rate is levied, is about to be augmented from £31,747 to £65,185. The annual value of the three wards, as assessed to the property tax, in 1843, was as follows Ė West ham Ward, £20,462; Stratford, £25,467; and Plaistow, £10,622. West Ham Union, is already noticed at page 211.
West Ham had anciently a market, for which a charter was procured in 1253, by Richard Montfichet, but it has long been obsolete. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, most of the parish belonged to two free Saxons, called Alestan and Leured, but at the Conquest the parish was given to Robert Gernon and Ralph Peverel, and it was then divided into seven manors. Those of West Ham, East-West-Ham, and Wood Grange, belonged to Robert Garnon, whose posterity took the name of Montfichet. They now form the lordship or manor of West ham, which includes part of the parish of East ham, and was given to Stratford Abbey, in this parish, but is now held by Edward Humphreys, Esq, the fee of it having been purchased of the Crown, in 1805, by James Humphreys and George Johnstone, Esqrs. The lands in this manor descend according to the custom of gavelkind. Sir J H Pelly, bart, is lord of the manor of West Ham Burnels, with Plaiz, (Plaistow), which was long held by the Burnel, Playz, and other families. Cobhams is an estate belonging to Lord Henniker; and Samuel Gurney, Esq, Colonel Rawstorne, and many small owners have free and copyhold estates in the parish. Sir J H Pelly, who was created a Baronet, in 1840, resides at Upton, in a large cemented mansion, with pleasant grounds. Ham House, in Upton, is the seat of Samuel Gurney , Esq, and is a large brick mansion, in a small park. The mansion was enlarged and beautified at a considerable expense, in 1847, Upton Lane House, now the seat of H E Gurney, Esq, was the residence of that celebrated philanthropist the late, Mrs Fry, and is a neat brick structure of mixed architecture, with beautiful grounds, commanding a view of the Thames. There are many other neat houses at Upton, and also in Forest gate, the latter of which adjoins the southern extremity of Epping Forest, near Stratford, where there are still some fine old timber trees. In the parish are several boarding schools, fertile farms, and large market gardens and nurseries; and at the Abbey Arms Inn, are tea gardens, with a large room which will accommodate 100 visitors.
The Parish Church, which stands in the village of West Ham, commonly called Church Street, is a spacious edifice, dedicated to All Saints, and consisting of a nave, chancel, side aisles and a square tower, rising to the height of 74 feet, and containing ten musical bells. It is about to be re-pewed and thoroughly repaired, and contains some fine old monuments. In the churchyard was interred Geo Edwards, Esq, FRS, who was born in Stratford, and became celebrated for his acquaintance with natural History, especially that of birds. Besides various papers in the Philosophical Transactions, he published seven quarto volumes on subjects in natural History, upwards of 600 of which have never been previously described. He died in 1773, aged 81 years. The benefice is a vicarage, valued in KB at £39. 8s 4d, and in 1831 at £875. it is in the patronage of the Crown, and incumbency of the Rev A J ram MA. The rectory is in the impropriation of Edward Humphreys, Esq, and the tithes are about to be commuted for a smaller rental than formerly, as the market garden grounds here have been charged 25s per acre, though they are only charged from 10s to 15s, in other parishes, contiguous to the metropolis. There is an Independent Chapel in West Ham, built in 1844, at a cost of £400, and now under the ministry of the Rev Rt Ferguson LL D. Here are also two other chapels belonging to the Baptists and New Connexion Methodists. The two district churches, at Stratford and Plaistow, and the chapels belonging to various sects, in those places, are noticed after the following account of the Schools and Charities belonging to this populous parish, which is in the Diocese and Archdeaconry of London, and in the Deanery of Barking.
Bonnellís School Ė in 1761, Sarah Bonnell left several large sums in the public funds, to be applied after the death of her brother in the foundation and support of a charity school, for clothing and educating poor girls. By an article of agreement between her brother and the trustees, confirmed by a decree of the Court of Chancery, the school was established in 1769, in the building formerly used as a workhouse. Its yearly income is now £292 12s 6d, derived from the dividends of the following stock, viz, £1785 Bank Stock; £18 5s 1d South sea Stock; £279 10s Old South sea Annuities; £1701 14s 11d New South Sea Annuities; £2700 three per cent Consols; £275 12s 6d three and a half percent Reduced Annuities; and £30 4s 6d three per cent Reduced Annuities. Part of the old workhouse was used as the parish School, but the whole was given up, about 1834, to the trustees of Bonnellís charity, in consideration of their agreeing that their schoolmistress and master should teach the 60 girls formerly educated by the parish, in addition to the 80 girls clothed and educated by Bonnellís charity. The teachers have both apartments in the schoolhouse, and are appointed by the vicar, church wardens, and overseers. The 140 girls are taught gratuitously reading, writing, arithmetic, and plain sewing and knitting, and 90 of them are now clothed by the charity. The mistressís yearly salary is £45; her assistantís, £20; and the masterís £25.
West Ham Boys National School was established in 1826, and is supported by subscription, and a small portion of the income arising from the under mentioned charities. It is attended by 120 boys; and there are several large National and British Schools at Stratford, Plaistow, Forest gate, and Upton, as noticed with those divisions of the parish.
Charities Ė In 1580, Nicholas Avenon gave 6 Acres 1 R 6 P of land, to provide for a distribution of 24 penny loaves every Sunday, at the church, among 24 poor people; and the surplus rent to be given to the vicar, for an annual sermon on Ash Wednesday. The land is now let for £21 a year, so that the vicar gets £15 16s for the sermon. In 1583, John Shipman left £6 a year for the poor of the parish of West ham; but it has been reduced to £4 10s 8d, paid in two rent charges, viz, £3 6s 8d out of 9 acres of marsh land at Leamouth; and £1 4s out of a house and orchard in Plaistow. In 1584, Thomas Spaight and Henry Stone gave to the poor parishioners a yearly rent of £4, out of 3 acres of land in the High Mead. They have also the following yearly rent charges, viz, £1 14s from Rampstonís Charity, (see Walthamstowe); £2 out of an estate here, belonging to Mr Cockfield, left by Lady margt Throckmorton, in 1591, for poor widows; 20s out of land belonging tp Mr Spenee, left in 1592, by Thomas Staples;£5 out of an estate belonging to Mr Gurney, left by Wm Rooke, in 1596, for weekly distribution of 2s worth of bread; £2 left by Oliver Skinner, in 1609, for 40 poor people, out of a house in West Ham lane; £5 left by Richard Pragell, in 1617, out of land in New Marsh and Breed Mead; 30s left by Mary Gwilliam, in 1633, out of a house in Plaistow, for six widows; 52s out of a house in Church Street, left in 1633, by Roger Harris, who also gave two copyhold cottages, in Little Lane, for the residence of poor people; £5 from the Grocersí Company, London, left by lady Middleton, £2 of it to the poor, and £3 for apprenticing a poor boy; £4 for the poor, and £1 for two sermons. Left by Wm faucet and Eliz Toppesfield, in 1631 and 1660; £4 out of land at Plaistow, left by Wm Davis, in 1679, to provide gowns for 12 poor women; £6 left in 1680, by Clement Pragell, out of an estate at Plaistow; £62 out of a house in Leadenhall Street, London, left by Daniel Ingoll, in 1690, for distribution in coals; £10 out of houses and land at Upton Place, left by Peter Bigot, in 1771; and £2 out of the house No 2 Great Knight Rider Street, Doctors Commons, left by Nathaniel Peckover. The poor of Plaistow have a yearly rent of 40s; out of land in New Marsh, left by Richard Hale, in 1728.
In 161, Peter Blower gave for the poor parishioners an acre of land in Raikes Lane, and it is now let for £4 per annum. In 1633, Roger Harris left two cottages in Little Lan, as almshouses for poor people; and a yearly rent charge of 52s, out of a house in Church Street, to be divided among 12 poor men or widows. In 1735, Sir Richard Fenn left two cottages here, and directed the rents to be distributed in weekly doles of bread. Six cottages were built on the site of these, by Mr Thomas Burn, and they were let on lease to his widow, in 1779, for 57 years, at the annual ret of £10, but are now let for £50 a year. In 1636, John Newman left two cottages and gardens, on the east side of the churchyard, and their site is now occupied by ten almshouss, of two rooms each, built by the parish, and occupied by 20 poor women, who have divided among them, yearly, £39, arising from £1300 New South Sea Annuities, derived from the will of Thomazin gouge, in 1751. They have also £21 a year from £700 three per cent Consols, left by John Snelgrave, in 1807; amd £8 a year from Vachellís Charity. A yearly rent of £5, left by Wm Tudor, in 1653; and the sum of £60, left by Peter ward, in 1667, were given in 1699, for the purchase of 5 Acres 13P of marsh land, at the bottom of Green lane, Plaistow, now let for about £20 a year. Tudorís charity is for the poor of Stratford, and wardís is for those of the three wards of the parish. Sir Jacob Barrardís Charity, left in 1649, consists of 12 acres of meadow land, called Ox Leas, in High Mead, Stratford, now let to the East London Waterworks Company, at the yearly rent of £70, on a 99 years lease, dated 1830. The rent is applied yearly, as follows :- £9 in apprenticing poor children, 26s 8d to the vicar, 3s 4d to the clerk, and 2s to the sexton of West Ham; £3 each to the parishes of East Ham and St Benetís, in Gracechurch Street, London; and the residue is distributed among the poor of the three wards of this parish, in equal portions. From Footís Charity, the poor of Plaistow ward have £1 10s 5d yearly. In 1686, Sir Wm Himble left £60, to be invested in land, for a weekly distribution of bread among the poor parishioners of West Ham, and it was laid out in purchase of one acre of marsh land, near Pelly Wall, now let for £4 per annum. In 1701, Mary Battailhey, alias Sherley, left out of a house and lands in Plaistow, a yearly rent charge of £10, to be applied as follows:- 30s for a sermon on Good Friday; 20s fro repairing her vault; 40s for the master of Plaistow Sunday school; 40s to the master of West Ham Charity School, where 160 children are educated; 20s for the poor attending Plaistow chapel, in bread; an £2 10s to eight widows in Plaistow, and eoght in West ham, on Good Friday. In 1719, John Hiett left £5 a year, out of Cobham farm, for apprenticing the son of a poor protestant dissenter of Stratford ward. The minister of Brickfield chapel is the trustee. In 1733, Samuel Shepherd left £50 Reduced three per cent, in trust, to distribute the dividends in coals among the poor parishioners of West ham. He also left dividends of £200 Old South Sea Annuities, to be distributed among the sick poor by the vicar. In 1754, Sarah Bonnell left £200 three per cent Annuities, and the dividends are applied yearly as follows :- £2 10s in gowns for five poor widows of Church Street, on the 25th January; 10s 6d for schooling a poor child; and £2 10s 6d in coals, among the poor of Church Street ward. In 1777, Margaretta Hodshon left £200, to be vested for apprenticing sons of honest and industrious parishioners. This legacy was invested in the purchase of £339 three per cent Reduced Annuities. In 1807, John Snelgrave, who left £700 to the 20 almswomen, alo bequeathed £200, to provide for a yearly distribution of clothing, coals, or bread, among the poor parishioners, The latter was laid out in the purchase of £164 7s 10d new three and a half per Cents. In 1831, Samuel John Vachell left £200 for the poor parishioners, and it was vested in the purchase of £228 11s 6d three and a half per cent Reduced Annuities. The dividends are given to the poor women in the almshouse. The poor parishioners have the dividends of £50 three and a half per cent Reduced Annuities, purchased with £20 given by Penelope Colchester; £10 by Wm Winn, and £20 given by the inhabitants. James Cooper, by will of an unknown date, left £600 South Sea Annuities, and directed the dividends to be applied yearly as follows:- £7 10s to 30 poor house keepers of Plaistow; £7 10s in coals, for 20 almswomen and the poor of Plaistow; £1 2s 6d in bread for the Plaistow poor; 15s for the poor of Church Street; 15s to the vicar, for a sermon on New Years Day; and 3s 9d each to the clerk and sexton.
The Vicar, Churchwardens, and overseers are trustees, or have the distribution of all the before named charities, except Hiettís. Since the formation of Stratford into a district parish, in 1845, the inhabitants of that ward have applied to the Court of Chancery fro a new scheme for the administration of the charities of West Ham parish, and it is expected that this will shortly be granted, and that a due share of the annual income will be placed at the disposal of the minister and churchwardens of that populous district. The above account of these charities is abridged from the late Commissionersí Reports, published about 1833, and since then the following benefactions have been left for the poor parishioners, viz, the dividends of £1000 three per cent Consuls, left by Mrs Isabella Wilson; and of £450 of the same stock, left by Mr Joseph Watts. West ham Union is noticed at page 211. Exclusive of schools and almshouses, the charity property belonging to the parish yields about £485 per annum, of which £91 9s 1-d is received by the vicar, and applied by him to the use of the poor, according to the wills of the donors, except 20s for repairing a vault, and £17 6s for sermons. The remaining portion of the yearly income (about £393) is distributed by the Churchwardens, in coals, bread, money, and clothing, among the poor of the several wards of the parish, except £3 1s 8d for sermons, 20s for repairing a vault, and 12s 10d for the clerk and sexton.
Plaistow, one of the three wards of West ham parish, is a large village on the Barking Road, 5 miles E of Whitechapel, and comprises about 2000 acres of land, including a level tract of mashes on the north side of the Thames, now traversed by the North Woolwich, and the Stratford and Thames Junction Railways, as noticed at a subsequent page. It has many good houses in Balaam Street, Greengate Street, and other parts of the ward. Barking Road crosses the river Lea, by an iron bridge, built in 1810, and on which foot passengers are charged Ĺ d each. Near this bridge is the Barking Road Station, on the line traversing the north side of the Thames, from the Docks to North Woolwich. During the last three years, about 100 houses have been built near this station, and others are now in course of erection. Plaistow District Church (St Mary), is a handsome building in the Tudor Gothic style, erected in 1829-30, at a cost of £4800, raised by subscription, and a grant from the Church Building Society. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the vicar of West ham, and incumbency of the Rev R W B Marsh MA, whose income is derived from the seat rents, which can never amount to more than £173 per annum, at the rents fixed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The clerk has a salary of £10 a year, out of the seat rents of Stratford church. Here is a neat Friendsí Meeting House, built of white brick, in 1844, at a cost of £1500; and in the ward is an Independent Chapel; and also National and British Schools, as noticed with the parish Charities, at pages 234 to 236. The latter, now called Plaistow Public Schools, have been conducted on a new system since 1844, and are attended by about 160 boys, girls, and infants, who pay from 1d to 4d each per week. The Rev John Curwen, minister of the Independent Chapel, is the secretary. The Boys National School, was built in 1831, by subscription, to which Mr John Oliver gave £100. It is attended by 50 boys; and Schools for Girls and Infants were added in 1836, and are now attended by 60 of the former and about 100 of the latter. Here is likewise a Temperance Hall, built in 1840, at the cost of £200. Plaistow had its name from the Playz family, who were anciently lords of the manor, now held by Sir J H Pelly, Baronet. Barking Road Station, and the new Canning Town are in the Plaistow Ward.