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Romford 1848 Whites Directory

 History of Romford

ROMFORD, the capital of the Liberty of Havering atte Bower, and the head of a large Union, and of a Polling District, in the South Division of Essex, is an ancient and improving market town, pleasantly situated on the banks of the small river Rom, and on the high road from London to Colchester. It has a station on the Eastern Counties Railway, and is 12 miles E N E. of Whitechapel, 6 miles E N E. of Ilford, 6 miles W S W. of Brentwood, and 17 miles S W of Chelmsford. Its parish was assessed to the property tax in 1843, at 17,763, and contains about 6,119 acres of land, of which 1,260 acres are tithe free. It increased its population from 3,179 in 1801, to 5,317 souls, in 1841; and now contains nearly 7,000 inhabitants, many houses having been erected in the town and suburbs, since the opening of the railway. David Mackintosh, Esq, is lord of the manor and liberty,  but the soil of the parish is freehold, and a great part of it belongs to Sir Thos. Neave, Bart, Lady Mildmay, the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, Mrs. Alice Black, Octavius Mashiter, Esq, Mr W H Tolbutt, and several smaller owners. The parish includes the hamlet of Hare Street, from 1 to 2 miles E of the town; Collier Row, 1 mile N; and many scattered houses. Gidea Hall, a large square brick mansion, with a well wooded park, and small lake, about a mile east of the town, is occupied by Mrs Black and family, and belongs to Alfred Hamilton, Esq, and Mr Wm Neave, who derived it from the co-heiresses of the late Alex Black Esq. Sir Thos Cooke, who was deeply involved in the troubles of the wars of the roses, built part of the original castellated mansion, about 1465, and it was finished by his great grandson, Sir Anthony Cooke, who entertained Queen Elizabeth here, in 1568, in one of her "progresses" through the Eastern Counties. Sir John Eyles, Bart, pulled down the old hall, about the year 1720, and erected the present handsome mansion on its site. He also formed the lake, and greatly improved the park. The estate has been held by the Elmes, Bird, Hethersale, and Styles families. In 1745, it was sold to the late Richd Benyon, Esq, who resided here, and had been governor of Fort St George. Hare Hall, on the south side of the road, opposite Gidea Hall, is a handsome mansion of Portland stone, which was built by its late owner, J A Wallenger, Esq, in 1769; but is now unoccupied, and belongs to the Eastern Counties Railway Company. In the pleasure grounds is part of a petrified tree, brought from the Isle of Portland. Marshalls, an old seat on the north side of the town, is the property of David Mackintosh, Esq. Priests, is the pleasant seat of Octavius Mashiter, Esq; and the old manor house, called Stewards, belongs to Mr W H Tolbutt. The latter was the seat of the Quarles family, in the 16th and 17th centuries, and in it was born Francis Quarles, the celebrated author of the Book of Emblems, who lost much of his property by his adherence to the cause of Charles I. Marks Hall, about 2 miles W N W. of the town, near Hainault Forest, has been uninhabited for many years, and belongs to Lady Mildmay. It has been long falling to decay, and has been held by the Hervey, and other families. In Hare Street, is Repton Cottage, a tasteful dwelling, which was erected by the late Humphrey Repton, who attained great celebrity as a landscape gardener, and published several works on that subject.  Dagenham park, on the verge of the parish, 3 miles N E of Romford, is the seat of Sir Thos Neave, Bart.  The park comprises about 100 acres, and is well wooded.  It was purchased, in 1772, by Sir Richd Neave, who was created a baronet in 1795.  He pulled down the old house, and erected the present elegant mansion on a new site, which commands extensive views.  Sir Richard was governor of the Bank of England, auditor of the public accounts, chairman of the East India Merchants, etc, and died in 1814.  The park was anciently a seat of the Dagenhams, and afterwards passed to the Wright, Carteret, Clutterbuck, and other families.  It is sometimes called Dagonhams or Dagnam, to distinguish it from Dagenham parish, in Becontree Hundred.  The old manor houses of Cockerels, Goosehays, Mawbery, Gobions, East House, etc., are occupied by farmers.


Romford had its name from an ancient ford which crossed the Bourne brook, or small river Rom, where there is now a good bridge.  Dr. Stukeley considered it of Roman origin, and on the authority of Richard of Cirencester, called it the Durolitum of Antonius.  Lethieullies supposes its present name to be a contraction of Romanford, but Lyson says it is pure Saxon, signifying broad-ford.  The ford was no doubt used by the Romans, but there is no evidence of their ever having a station here.   The parish was formerly one of the wards of Hornchurch parish, but by an act of parliament for regulating the poor, in 1786, it is recognised as a separate parish for the maintenance of its poor, under 30 guardians, who built a workhouse at the cost of 4,000, for this and other parishes.  The town consists chiefly of one wide and long street, well paved, and lighted with gas, and the houses are generally well built.  The market, for which a charter was granted by Henry III., in 1247, is held on Wednesday, and is one of the largest in the county, for corn, cattle, sheep, swine, calves, poultry, etc.   Here is also a large fair, for cattle, etc. on the 24th June.  The Corn Exchange was a bank, but was purchased and altered for its present use, in 1845.   It has 54 stands, and is lighted from the roof.  The town was formerly famous for the manufacture of leather breeches, whence arose the common saying, "go to Romford to be new bottomed".  The two iron foundries and machine works at Hornchurch, are in the vicinity of the town, and on market days there is usually a large auction of horses, carriages, etc.  The market place and tolls were purchased of the Crown, some years ago, by H Mackintosh, Esq.  The Town Hall and Market House were repaired at the expense of the Crown, in 1763; but the former was rebuilt during the present century, at the cost of about 4,000.  In this hall are held the quarter and petty sessions, the court of ancient demesne, and the other courts of the Liberty of Havering atte Bower.  Under it is the liberty goal, consisting only of four cells, now used only for the temporary confinement of prisoners, who, if sentenced to hard labour, etc., are sent to the county goal at Springfield.  The separate jurisdiction, courts, magistrates, and officers of this Liberty, are already noticed at pages 371-2. The Essex County Court, for Romford District, is now held here monthly.  W. Gurdon, Esq, is the judge; Mr. Alfred Ward, clerk; and Mr. Samuel Southey, bailiff.  In 1795, Barracks, for six troops of Cavalry, were erected on the west side of town, but they were taken down in 1825, and their site is now occupied by about 200 cottages, etc., called New Romford, or Waterloo road, New road, etc.  The Gas Works were established in 1825, by Mr G M Bell, the present manager, who sold them in 1846, to a company of proprietors, in eighty 100 shares.  The Excise Office is at the Sun Inn, and Mr J H Acott, is the supervisor.

The Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Edward the Confessor, is a spacious building of stone and flint, with a nave, chancel, north aisle, and a tower at the west end, containing six bells and a clock.  It is commonly called the Chapel, and appears to have been built about the year 1407, when a Pope's bull was obtained, empowering the inhabitants to bury their dead in the cemetery here, instead of carrying them a distance of five miles, to the ancient mother church, at Hornchurch. In the east window is a representation of Edward the Confessor, in painted glass, which was renewed in 1707.  Against the south wall is an alabaster monument to the memory of Sir Geo Hervey, Kt, and his lady, whose effigies are represented kneeling.   On the north side of the aisle is the monument of Sir Anthony Cooke, of Gidea Hall, with effigies of himself and lady in kneeling attitudes, and several Latin inscriptions, supposed to have been written by his daughters.  A verbose epitaph, in 42 lines of English rhyme, records the virtues of the "Right Worshipful Sir Anthony Cooke, Kt", who died in 1576.  Another handsome monument, is in memory of Alex. Black, Esq, who died at Gidea Hall, in 1835.  In catholic times, a Guild and Chantry were founded in this church; the former valued at 4 10s 2d., and the latter at 13 per annum, at the Dissolution.  Before the erection of the present church, there was a small chapel at Noke hill, built about 1323, nearly half a mile south of the town.  When the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, as appropriators and patrons of the Liberty of Havering atte Bower, granted parochial rights to Romford, in 1407, they reserved to themselves all the tithes, and their peculiar jurisdiction, throughout the whole liberty; but from time to time, and entirely at their opinion, they grant to the perpetual curate, a lease of the vicarial tithes of this parish; the benefice having no ecclesiastical endowment, and being valued in 1831, at only 54, arising from Easter offerings and surplice fees.  The living is now styled Romford Vicarage with Noke hill Curacy, and valued at 540.  It is held by the Ven. Anthony Grant, DCL, archdeacon of St. Albans; and is in the patronage of New College.  The tithes have been commuted for rent charges.  The town having greatly increased its population, during the last twenty years, the want of additional church room has long been felt, and about four years ago, the inhabitants opened a subscription, for the erection of a Chapel of Ease, at the south end of town; but after expending about 400 in raising the foundation walls, etc. they abandoned the work, because their subscription were not aided by grants from Government and the Church Building Society.   Havering Well Chapel, which belongs to the Independents, has a small endowment, and was founded about 1794, and rebuilt in 1812.  The Rev S H Carlisle is the minister.  In North Street, is another Independent Chapel, erected in 1847, at the cost of about 500. The Rev J Morison is its first minister.   Here is also a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1827; and a Baptist Chapel, erected in 1847.  The latter cost about 900, and is under the ministry of the Rev E Davis.  Day and Sunday schools are attached to several of the places of worship, and the wealthier parishioners subscribe liberally to various religious and benevolent institutions.  The parish has also several endowed Charities, as noticed below.


Romford Charity School is of unknown origin, but in 1727 it had acquired several hundred pounds, from savings of contributions and legacies.  In that year, the trustees gave 150 for a piece of land, upon which they built a school house, for the reception and education of 45 boys and 20 girls, and for the residence of the master and mistress.  In 1730, Joseph Bosworth bequeathed to the school a freehold messuage in Romford, now consisting of two cottages, let for 20, and a plot of ground, let on a building lease for 12 per annum.  The charity also possesses 1,027 1s 6d, three per cent Consols, and 50 new 3 per cents, derived from gifts and legacies at various periods.  There are about 60 annual subscribers of one guinea each; and the charity also derives about 50 a year, from collections after two sermons at the parish church, swelling the total yearly income to about 170.  Pursuant to a decree of the Court of Chancery, new trustees were appointed in 1833, and a new scheme was established for the future regulation of the charity; whereby it is provided "that the governors should have power to admit an additional number of children, residing in or belonging to the parishes of Hornchurch, Romford, and Havering, for the purpose of education in the principles of the Christian religion, as taught and professed in the Church of England;"-"that the number of trustees should not exceed 18, and that they should be chosen from the governors; that every annual subscriber of one guinea, or upwards, should be a governor, as well as the vicar and curate for the time being; and that the surplus income might be applied in enlarging the school house, etc."  The present Boy's School is a large room, built in 1835, and attended by about 140 boys,- the old charity school having been combined with a National School, to which the national scholars pay 1d each per week.  The benefits of the charity have been extended to 60 boys, who are gratuitously educated, and 45 of whom are also clothed by the governors.  The Girl's School is the room formerly used as the boy's school, and is attended by 80 girls, 30 of whom are on the foundation, and 20 of that number are clad by the charity.  The present Boys' school was built at a cost of 550, raised by subscription, except 230, granted by Government and the National School Society.  The master has a yearly salary of 70, and three tons of coals yearly.  The schoolmistress has an annual salary of 40, and a yearly allowance of two tons of coals.  They both reside in the school house, rent and tax free.  About one-fifth of the charity scholars are sent from Havering, and the remainder from Romford and Hornchurch parishes.  For apprenticing, yearly, from this charity school, two poor boys of Hornchurch and one of Romford, Mary Hide, in 1714, left 200, which was vested in a yearly rent charge of 10, out of a house and land at the Gores.  In consequence of the non-appropriation of this charity, for many years, there is now belonging to it 425 three per cent. Consols.  The rent charge and the dividends of the stock are given in apprentice fees of 10 each.  Mr T Mashiter and others, are the trustees.  A National School was built in Collier Row Ward, in 1848, and an Infant School at New Romford, in 1842.


REEDE'S ALMSHOUSES, for six poor men of Romford, Hornchurch, and Dagenham, and the widows of deceased inmates, were founded in 1482, by Roger Reede, who endowed them with several tenements, and 146A 1R 16P of land, in the three above  named parishes, now let for about 410 per annum.  The founder built the Almshouses, which consist of six tenements for men, and a centre house for widows.   Each tenement has a garden; and the almspeople are appointed by the trustees, from among such poor of the three parishes as have seen better days.  One of the men is appointed as ruler, and has a yearly salary of 48 15s, including the rent of Ridden Field, which was specifically given by the founder to the "ruler," for his trouble in keeping the accounts, and preserving order in the almshouses.  The other men have yearly stipends of 26, and the widows, of whom there are generally 2 or 3, have each 16 per annum.  They are all clothed, and supplied with coals and medical aid, at the expense of the charity.  A decree of the Court of Chancery was obtained in 1824, for the better regulation of the charity, and the appointment of new trustees, consisting of Sir Thos Neave, Digby Neave, and Messrs Mashiter, Surridge, Cooper, Truston, and others.  When there is any surplus, after paying all the expenses of the almshouses, etc., the trustees are required, by the decree, to distribute it in clothes and provisions, among the poor of the above-named parishes.

The parish has 100, left by Lady Burleigh, to be lent, free of interest, to five poor tradesmen. Two houses, given at an early period, by Robt Ballard, for repairing the highways, were let in 1824, for 61 years, at a yearly rent of 20,- the lessee covenanting to lay out 500 in rebuilding the houses.  The churchwardens apply the rent in preserving the highways and paths, by the erection of wooden posts and rails, to prevent mischief being done by cattle on market days.  In 1669, Lewis Betts left, out of Lyon Mead, a tenement in Collier Row Ward, and Golden Lion farm, three rent charges, viz:- 4 for apprenticing poor boys of Romford; 20s. for repairing the church foot path; and 2 for equal division among eight decayed husbandmen of Collier Row and Town wards.  The poor of Romford have distributed among them, at Christmas, 19 13s 6d, arising yearly, as follows:- 40s. out of a farm at Hay Green, left by Wm Armstead; 7 from an acre of land, purchased with the legacy of Robt Palmer; 3 out of two tenements, on the east side of the White Hart Inn, left by Andrew Reynolds, in 1626; 3 13s 6d from Navy five per cent Annuities, left by Hannah Richardson; and 4 from Webster's Tile Kiln, which lets for 8 a year, half of which belongs to the poor of Hornchurch.  Several lost charities are mentioned in the parish register.


ROMFORD SAVINGS' BANK, for the Hundreds of Barnstable, Chafford, and Ongar, and the Liberty of Havering atte Bower, has cashiers at Brentwood, Billericay, Ongar, and Orsett.   It was established in 1817; and in Nov 1846, it had deposits amounting to 71,802, belonging to 2,421 depositors, several Charitable Societies, and 7 Friendly Societies.  O Mashiter and Benjamin Graves, Esqrs, are two of the trustees; Thos Weston, Esq, is manager; Mr. O Adams, actuary; and Mr. J R Ward, clerk.  Mr Jas Monkhouse is actuary at Brentwood; and Mr T S Richardson, at Ongar.


ROMFORD UNION comprises the ten parishes of Romford, Barking, Hornchurch, Dagenham, Upminster, Rainham, Great Warley, Havering, Cranham, and Wennington, which contain an area of 59 square miles, and had 19,521 inhabitants in 1831, and 22,216 in 1841,- consisting of 10,967 males, and 11,249 females.  The average annual expenditure of the district, on the poor, during the three years preceding the formation of the Union in 1836, was 11,958.  In 1838, the total expenditure was 8,209; in 1840, 9,130; and in 1846, 15,032, including salaries, county and police rates, etc.   The Workhouse, which stands on five acres of land, half a mile south of the town, was finished in 1838, at the cost of 9,500, and has room for 460 inmates.  The able-bodied paupers are employed in grinding corn, cultivating the garden ground, etc.   Mr W H Clifton is clerk to the Board of Guardians; Mr Edmund Griffin, of Great Ilford, is superintendent registrar; Messrs. John Benj Miller and Richd Parker, relieving officers; Rev Thos Donkin, chaplain; and Mr T and Mrs Sellars are master and matron of the Workhouse.  Charles Godbold is the miller; Walter Easton, schoolmaster; Martha Howman, schoolmistress; and Wm Hawes, porter.  Eight surgeons are employed by the Union.  Mr R A Bowers is registrar of births and deaths, for Romford; and Mr R W Quennell for Hornchurch district.  A Medico-Chirurgical Association, for the Unions of Billericay, Romford, and Orsett, was formed in 1847, and holds quarterly meetings in the above-named towns, and at Brentwood, alternately.

POST OFFICE, Market place; Wm Henry Attwell, postmaster.  The Box closes for London at before 9 morning, and at a before 4 afternoon.  Letters despatched to Colchester, Chelmsford, Suffolk, Norfolk, etc, at 9 night; to Orsett, Upminster, Hornchurch, etc. at past 6 morning, and to Dagenham, Rainham, etc. at past 11 morning.  Letters are delivered in the town at 8 and past 11 morning, and at 6 evening.  Money Orders granted and paid.

Trains, to London, Colchester, etc., 8 times a day. Mr Edw Tolbutt, station master.

From White Hart to London, daily, at 9 morn, and past 3 aftn

From the Sun, and other Inns, on Wednesdays, to surrounding parishes.
To London every Tuesday & Friday, John Chappel and Henry Luxford, from High Street.


And Last updated on: Sunday, 22-Nov-2020 14:14:34 GMT