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History of Dagenham in 1848 Whites Directory

History of Dagenham

Dagenham is a long and straggling village, extending westward from the small river Rom, and on the margin of the marshes, 2 miles N of the river Thames, and 3 miles S by W of Romford. Its parish has now about 2450 inhabitants, and 6069 acres of land, extending southward to the Thames, and from that river more than seven miles northward, including about 1000 acres of Hainault Forest, which, with a larger portion in Barking and other parishes, is thickly wooded, and contains many gigantic oaks, but that called Fairlop, was destroyed some years ago. The forest lands belong to the Crown, but in them the tenants of the adjacent parishes have certain rights of pasturage and underwood. The forest is from 3 to 5 miles north of Dagenham village, and the parish includes many scattered houses in Rippleside, 2 miles W , and East Brook End, Becontree Heath, Chadwell Heath, Marksgate, and Forest-side, stretching from 1 to 4 miles N N W of the village. Here is a station of the metropolitan police, attended by a sergeant and seven men. Sir Chas Hulse, Bart, is lord of the manor of Dagenham, which he holds with that of Barking, but most of the soil (exclusive of the forest), belongs to T Hankey Esq, Rev T L Fanshawe, the Marquis of Salisbury, Lady Mildmay, W Sterry Esq, Thomas Dutton, Mrs Gray, and several smaller owners. Thomas hankey Esq, of Brighton, is lord of the manor of Cockermouth, which comprises the south part of the parish. Valence House, 2 miles W S W, of Romford, belongs to Mr Samuel Seabrook, and is now the seat of J J G Cholmondeley Esq. It is an old cemented mansion, with a well wooded lawn, and was formerly held by the Valences, Earl of Pembroke, under the abbess of Barking. Parsloes, a large brick mansion, with an embattled pediment and turrets, stands in a small park, about a mile west of the village, and is the seat and property of the Rev T L Fanshawe. It was new fronted in 1816, and has been held by the Fanshawe family about 150 years. It was anciently held by the Bowes family, and afterwards by the Haywards. The Church (St peter and St paul) is a handsome brick structure, which was thoroughly repaired in 1806, and consists of a nave, chancel, and south aisle, with a stone tower, containing six bells, and crowned by a slated spire. In the chancel, is an elegant monument, of grey and white marble, in memory of Judge Alibon, who died in 1688. His effigy appears in the judicial robes, and over it leans a weeping female figure. Here are various monumental inscriptions belonging to the Bonham, Uphill, and other families. The church was anciently appropriated to barking Abbey; but the Rev Thos L Fanshawe, BA, is now impropriator of the rectory, and patron and incumbent of the vicarage, which is valued in KB at 19 10s, and in 1831 at 800. The glebe is 4 A 2 R, and the vicarial tithes were commuted in 1841, for 851 2s 6d per annum. The Vicarage House is a plain building, occupied by Captain More. At Marksgate, in the northern part of the parish, is an Independent Chapel, built in 1821. and having a Sunday school. On Chadwell heath is a large Infant School, built by Mr Francis Glenny, in 1844. In the village is a small Wesleyan Chapel, erected in 1846; and near the church is a National School, attended by 120 day and 180 Sunday scholars. Here are also large Free Schols, where 30 boys and 20 girls are educated and clothed. They were founded by Wm Ford, a farmer of the parish, who in 1825, left 10,ooo three per cent Bank Annuities, for that purpose, but 1000 of the stock was sold for the payment of legacy duty. In 1828, an order of the Court of Chancery established a scheme for management of the charity, and the schools were held in a hired building, till 1841, when about 1000, accumulated from savings of income, was expended in the erection of the present schools, and the dwellings of the master and mistress, which occupy the centre of the building. A yearly salary of 50 is paid to the master, and 30 to the mistress, and the rest of the income is spent in clothing the children, and in providing coals, stationery etc. The founder directed that no person in the name of Fanshawe should act as trustee, and that the schools should be conducted according to the principles of the Church of England, but not on the Bell, Lancasterian, or any other new system. Two justices of the peace, and five respectable parishioners, with the church wardens and overseers, are the trustees. The latter distribute dividends of 900, three per cent Reduced Annuities, left by the same donor, for clothing the aged poor parishioners, on the 16th December. There are several other Charities for the poor.

Wm Armestead, in 1657, left for the poor of this parish, a yearly rent charge of 2 out of Hay Street farm, in Hornchurch. It is distributed at Easter with the two following charities:- viz, 5 per annum left by Wm Witham out of Want Farm; and the dividends of 26 5s three and a half per cent Annuities left by Mrs Wepler, in 1820. The church wardens distribute 1s worth of bread weekly from a yearly rent charge of 2 12s left by John White in 1671, out of the Two Acre Piece. In 1716, Richard Uphill left, for apprenticing poor children, two annuities, which expired in 1803, but there is now belonging to the charity 5000 three per cent Consols, purchased with savings out of former income. Two Justices of the Peace and four inhabitants are the trustees, and apply the dividends in apprentice fees of 15, with poor boys and girls; and in gratuities of about 3, given with them on going out to service. In 1756, Thos Waters left 100 New South Sea Annuities for the instruction of five poor children, chosen by the vicar. In 1757, Richard Comyns gave a house to the parish in trust, that 40s a year should be distributed among poor widows not receiving parochial relief.

Dagenham Breach:- On the banks of the Thames in this parish, a very destructive breach was formed by the violence of the wind and tide in the winter of 1707. It was occasioned by the blowing up of a small sluice, that had been made for drainage of the land waters, and being at first neglected, an opening was formed, in some places twenty feet deep, and one hundred yards wide. Through this channel, the rush of waters was so great, that upwards of 1000 acres of rich land, in the levels of Dagenham and Havering were oberflowed, and nearly 120 acres washed into the Thames; where a sand bank was formed about a mile in length, and reaching nearly across the river. Various attempts were made by the landholders to repair the breach; but, after several years ineffectual labour, the design was relinquished as impracticable. The danger, however, resulting to the navigation of the river, occasioned an application to Parliament; and an Act was obtained to continue the work, a small tax being at the same time laid on every vessel coming into the port of London, for the purpose of defraying the expense. The business was then undertaken by one Boswell, on a contract for 16,500, but, after the trial of various schemes, he was found unable to complete the undertaking; and a new agreement was entered into with Captain Perry, who had been employed by the Czar Peter, in building the city of Veronitz upon the river Don. This gentleman commenced his work in April, 1718, at which period the breach had been worn into several large branches like the natural arms of a river, by the force of the reflux water from the marshes on every turn of the tide. The longest of these branches extended upwards of a mile and a half, and was in some places between 400 and 500 feet broad, and from twenty to forty deep. By extraordinary exertions, by driving dove-tail piles in a particular manner, and by various other expedients, Capt Perry at length succeeded in stopping the breach; but not before the works had been three times nearly destroyed, and washed away by the strength and rapidity of the tides. The expense of this important undertaking amounted to 40,472 18s 8 d, only 25,000 of which was allowed by the original contract; but 15,000 was afterwards voted, by Parliament, to Captain Perry, who was thus ungenerously left to defray a part of the charges, and without any remuneration for upwards of five years anxiety and care. Within the embankment is yet a pool of 44 A, where the earth had been carried off by the tide; and near it is a small circular thatched building, called Dagenham Gulf or Breach House, kept by the subscriptions of a number of Lonfon gentlemen, who form parties to fish in the pool, which belongs to Sir Chas Hulse, and is surrounded by 27 A of reeds, While the works were carrying on, a very extensive stratum of Moorlogg, or rotten wood, of various kinds, was found about four feet beneath the surface of the marshes. This stratum was about ten feet in depth, and appeared to consist of whole trees and brushwood, with but very little intermixture of earth. Among the trees were many Yew and Willow; the former were mostly undecayed. Some oak or horn-beam was also found, together with large quantities of hazel nuts. Several stags horns were met with, lying above the Moorlogg.



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