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History of Romford in 1863 Whites Directory

Romford 1863 Whites Directory

ROMFORD, the capital of the Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, and the head of a large Union and Polling and County Court Districts, in the Southern Parliamentary Division of Essex, is an ancient market and well-built town, pleasantly situated on the small river Rom, and the high road from London to Colchester. It has a station on the Eastern Counties Railway, and is 12 miles E.N.E. of London; 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 6119 acres of land, of which .1260 acres are tithe free. It increased its population from 3179 in 1801, to 5317 in 1841, and to 6604 souls in 1861, many houses, etc, having been erected in the town and suburbs since the opening of the railway in 1843. David Mackintosh, Esq., of Havering Park, is lord of the manor and liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, but the soil of Romford parish is freehold, and a great part of it belongs to Sir Bichard Digby Neave, Bart., the Wardens and Fellows of New College, Oxford; Octavius Mashiter, Esq., Alfred Hamilton, Esq., Richard Reynolds, Esq., John Laurie, Esq., and several smaller owners. The parish includes the hamlets, etc,ofNOAK HILL, 4milesN.N.E.of the town; HARE STREET, 1 1/2 mile E. of the town; COLLIER ROW, 1 mile N; SQUIRREL HEATH, 1 1/2 mile E.by N.; and many scattered houses and neat villas. HARE HALL, 1 1/2 mile N.E. by E. of the town, is a handsome mansion of Portland stone, which was built in 1769, by the late J. A. Wallenger, Esq., and has well wooded grounds, extending to the railway and turnpike, and including some fine trees, one of which is the only cork tree in the county. This pleasant seat was .purchased by the Railway Company, but is now the property
and seat of Robt. Pemberton, Esq. Marks Hall, 2 miles W. by N. of the town, near Hainault Forest, was an ancient moated mansion, which, after being long in ruins, was taken down about 1808. It was long held by the Urswych, Hervey, and Mildmay families, the latter of whom sold the estate, a few years ago, to the Crown. It is supposed to have had its name from the Merc family. Priests is the pleasant seat of Octavius Mashiter, Esq.; and Stewards, on the north side of the town, belongs to Mr. Henry Lawrence. The latter is named after an ancient mansion, which was the seat of the Quarles family, in the 16th and 17th centuries, and in which was born Francis Quarles, the celebrated poet and author of the Book of Emblems, who lost much of his property by his adherence to the cause of Charles I. Marshalls, an old seat, with extensive pleasure grounds, on the north side of the town, belongs to Dd. Mackintosh, Esq., but is now unoccupied. DAGNAM PARK, on the verge of Romford parish, 3 1/2 miles N.E. of the town, is the pleasant seat of Sir Richard Digby Neave, Baronet. The park comprises about 100 acres, and is well-wooded. It was purchased in 1772, by Sir Richard Neave, who was created a baronet in 1795. He pulled down the old house, and erected the present elegant mansion, on a new site, commanding 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. His grandson is the third and present baronet. Arundell Neave, Esq., son and heir of the latter, was born in 1828. The park was anciently a seat of the Dagenham family, but it is commonly called Dagnam, to distinguish it from Dagenham parish, which is 8 miles S. of Romford. The house contains a fine collection of
paintings, chiefly of the old masters. The names and some remains of the ancient mansion, which, at an early period, clustered round the ancient Royal Palace of Havering, are to be found in many of the farmhouses in this, and adjacent parishes. The present Gidea Hall is now divided into two dwellings. It was built on the site of the old one, in the early part of last century, by Sir John Eyles, Kt. The ancient Hall was commenced by Sir Thomas Cooke, who was knighted in 1465, and had the royal license to build it as " a castle of stone and chalk, turreted, moated, and embattled." But the wars of the roses prevented Sir Thomas from completing the mansion, which was finished by his grandson, the famous Sir Anthony Cooke, Kt., father-in-law of the great Burleigh, and grandfather of the celebrated Lord Bacon. Sir Anthony was one of the preceptors of Edward VI., and his daughters were amongst the most learned ladies of the time. On the accession of Queen Mary he was committed to the Tower, on the charge of assisting Lady Jane Grey, who had resided at Gidea Hall, and received part of her education there. He was soon liberated, and resided as an exile in Germany till the accession of Elizabeth, when he returned to Gidea Hall, where Her Majesty honoured him with, a visit in 1568, and was entertained with great splendour. According to the old Elizabethan ballad of "The Blind Beggar's Daughter of Bethnal-Green," pretty Bessie, its heroine, was one of the romantic visitors at Romford, or Rumford, in the 13th century, when on her pilgrimage in search of a husband and fortune,

"Shee kept on her journy untill it was day,
And went on to Rumford along the hye-way;
Where at the Queen's Armes entertained was shee,
So faire and wel favoured was pretty Bessee."


Romford had its name from an ancient ford which crossed the small river Rom, where there is now a good bridge, on the London and Chelmsford road. Dr. Stukeley considers it of Roman origin, and, on the authority of Richard of Cirencester, calls it the Durolitum of Antoninus. Lethiellies supposes its name to be a contraction ofRomanford, 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 having a station here. The parish of Romford was formerly one of the wards of Hornchurch parish, but, by an act of parliament for regulating the poor, in 1786, it was recognised as a separate parish, and incorporated with other parishes for the support of the poor,
under 30 guardians, who built a workhouse here at the cost of 4000.
ROMFORD UNION, formed under the new Poor Law in 1836-7, comprises ten parishes, of which the following are the names, with their population in 1861, viz.:-Romford, 6604; Barking, 10,920; Hornchurch, 2227; Dagenham, 2682; Upminster, 1342; Rainham, 924; Great Warley, 1215; Havering-atte-Bower, 429 ; Cranham, 385 ; and Wennington, 130 souls. The whole Union contains about 48,000 acres of land, and had 19,521 inhabitants in 1831; 22,216 in 1841; and 26,858 in 1861. Its annual expenditure amounted to 8209 in 1838; to 9130 in 1840; and to 15,032 in 1846. The Union Worltliouse, which stands on five acres of land half-a-mile S. of the town, was finished in 1838, at the cost of about 9500, and has room for about 500 paupers. William Hy. Clifton, Esq., is the union clerk; and Edmund Griffin, Esq., is the superintendent registrar. Mr. George G. and Mrs. Johnson are master and matron of the Worhhouse. Messrs. Alfred Sherman and Thomas William. Capron are the relieving officers; and Messrs. Robert A,
Bowers and J. J. Macaldin are the registrars of births and deaths. Eight surgeons are employed by the Union; and the Rev. George Bailey is the chaplain.

The Town is well built, lighted, and paved, and its principal thoroughfare forms one wide and long street, lined with good houses, inns, and well stocked shops. It has been much improved and extended since the opening of the railway, and recently by the erection of an eastern suburb called Laurie Town. It has now a Local Board of Health, to which Mr. Thomas Bourne is clerk, and George Fitch inspector of nuisances. The market, for which a charter was granted by Henry III., in 1247, is held every Wednesday, and is one of the largest in the county for corn, cattle, sheep, calves, swine, poultry, etc. A large fair for cattle, etc, is held here on June 24th. In 1854, a building formerly used as a bank was purchased and converted into a Corn Exchange, which was rebuilt on a larger scale, in 1861, by Messrs. John and Frederick Wallen, the owners. Adjoining it is a large show-room for agricultural implements and machinery. The town was formerly famous for the. manufacture of leather breeches, whence arose the common saying,
"go to Romford to be new bottomed." It is now noted for the large Brewery of Messrs. Ind, Coope, and Co; and has near it the large Iron Foundry and Agricultural Machine and Implement Works of Messrs. Wedlake and Co. Near the Station the Great Eastern Railway Co. have a factory employing about 80 hands in the manufacture of waggon covers, sacks, etc The market and fair tolls belong to David Macldntosh, Esq., as lord of the manor. The GAS WOKKS were established in 1825, by Mr. G. M. Bell, who sold them in 1846 to a company of proprietors for 8000, but their expended capital is now 10,500, raised in 5 shares. Mr. P. Brennen is the manager; and gas is sold at the rate of 5s. 6d. per 1000 cubic feet. In 1862, it was proposed to supply the town with water from the South Essex Water Works, at Grays. The TOWN HALL (or Court House) was rebuilt in 1826, at the cost of about 4000, and in it are held the quarter and petty sessions, the court of ancient demesne, and the other courts of the Liberty of Havering atte-Bower, which has its own magistrates and public officers. The Liberty Gaol is under the Town Hall, but it is only used for the temporary confinement of prisoners. The Cavalry Barracks, erected in 1795, on the west side of the town, were taken down in 1825, and their site is now occupied hy cottages, etc The Havering or First Essex Rifle Volunteers have their headquarters here, and C. B. Russell, Esq., is their captain.

ROMFORD COUNTY COURT DISTRICT comprises the parishes of Romford, Aveley, Barking, Chadwell, Great Ilford, Cranham, Chigwell, Dagenham, Havering-atte-Bower, Hornchurch, Lamhourne, North and South, Ockendon, Rainham, Stapleford-Abbots, Stapleford-Tawney, Stifford, Upminster, and Wennington. The court is held monthly, and William Gurdon, Esq., is judge; Thomas Gripper, Esq., treasurer; William Henry Clifton, Esq., registrar; and Me. Charles Godfrey, high bailiff. The County Oourt Hall is a neat building, erected in 1858, at the cost of about 3000.

ROMFORD PARISH CHURCH (St. Edward) is a large and elegant structure, which, was built in 1849-50, on the site of the old one, at the cost of more than 7000, raised by subscription and grants from the Church Building Society, and the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford.
It is in the decorated style, and has a tower and spire rising to the height of 152 feet. The tower contains eight bells and a good clock. The interior is neatly fitted up and has 1102 sittings, of which 506 are free. The east window is filled with beautiful stained glass, representing the
Crucifixion, and inserted by Lient. Col. Graves, in memory of his late wife. The pulpit is of Caen stone, and at the west end is a circular stained glass window, presented by Mrs. Grant. Among the old monuments preserved in the new church, are those of Sir Anthony Cooke, and
Sir George Hervey. The old church was commonly called Romford Chapel, and was erected about 1407, when a Pope's bull was obtained, empowering the inhabitants of Romford to bury their dead here, instead of carrying them a distance of 2 1/2 miles to the ancient mother church at Hornchurch. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Edward the Confessor, and was a stone and flint fabric with only 720 sittings. When it was taken down its foundations were widened for the present more spacious edifice. A guild and chantry founded here in Catholic times, were valued at the dissolution, the former at 4.10s. 2d., and the latter at 13 per annum. Before the erection of the old church there was a small chapel of ease at NOAK HILL, in this parish, four miles N.N.E. of the town, where there is now a small brick chapel (St. Thomas'), erected in 1841, by subscription. When the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, as appropriators of the tithes and patrons of the Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, granted parochial rights to Romford, in 1407, they reserved to themselves all the tithes; but from time to time they granted the perpetual curate of Romford, beneficial leases ,of the vicarial tithes of the parish, but in 1831 his benefice was valued at only 54. Since then it las been constituted a Vicarage, with Noke or Noak Hill curacy annexed. It is now valued at 700 per annum, paid out of the tithes by the patrons and appropriators. Since 1838 it has been in the incumbency of the Ven. Anthony Grant, LLD., archdeacon of St. Alban's, canon of Rochester, etc. His curates are the Rev. S. W. Phillips and W, J. Sowerby. Miss Lucas is the organist; Mr. C. Bamford, clerk, and Wm. Wheatley, sexton. ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH was erected in 1861-2, for a district embracing about 3000 souls, in the south-western parts of the town and suburbs, where the want of church accommodation had long been felt. It cost about 4000, raised by subscription and grants; about one-third being munificently contributed by Octavins Edw. Coope, Esq., who laid the first stone, August 2nd, 1861. It is in the early English style, built of Kentish, rag stone, with Bath stone dressings, and having a slated roof, and at the west end a bell turret, crowned by a slender spire. It has about 850 sittings, and the benefice is a perpetual curacy, endowed by the patrons - the "Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, -with 100 a year. The Rev. Wm James Skilton is the first incumbent. In 1844 a Subscription was opened for the erection of a chapel of ease at the east end of the town, but after the foundation walls had been erected, the work was abandoned for want of funds. In 1849 the foundations were taken up, and the site and precincts, about one acre, converted into a new parochial Burial Ground, which was much wanted.
CHAPELS. -The Roman Catholic Church, at Laurie Town, is a neat Gothic structure, built in 1856, at the cost of about 2000. The altar is of Caen stone, elaborately carved. The Rev. J. B. Colomb is the priest. The Independent Chapel, in North street, was built in 1818, and is now under the ministry of the Rev. Aaron Buzacott. Havering Well Chapel, about a mile S. of the town, belongs to the Independents, and was founded in 1794, and rebuilt in 1820. It has a small endowment and a burial ground. The Baptist Chapel, in London road, was erected in 1847, at the cost of about 900. The Rev. John Gibbs is its minister. The Wesleyan Chapel, in High street, was built in 1827. Day and Sunday Schools are attached to several of the places of worship, and the parishioners subscribe liberally to various religious and benevolent institutions.

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 40 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 1027. 1s. 6d. three-per-cent. consols, and 50 new 3 1/2 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 1834, 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 Since then the Charity School has been combined with the NATIONAL SCHOOLS attached to the Parish Church, where about 150 boys and 150 girls are instructed. Forty of the boys, and 20 of the girls, are free scholars, and the others pay from 1d to 3d. each per week. The present Boys' School was built at the cost of 550, raised by subscription, except 230 granted by Government and the National School Society. The girls occupy the old school room. The master and mistress have houses rent-free, and are supplied with coals.
The former has a yearly salary of 50, and the latter 30, in addition to part of the school fees. For apprenticing 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. There is now belonging to this charity 425 three-per-cent consols, arising from unapplied income. The rent-oharge and dividends are given in apprentice fees of 10 each. There are small National Schools at Noak Hill and Collier row; an Infant School in Waterloo road; and a British School in St. Andrew's road. The latter was built in 1851, and has about 100 scholars.

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 36, 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 two or three, have each 20 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, now consisting of Sir B. D. Neave, Bart., T. & O. Mashiter, Esqrs., the Vicar, and eight 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 Robert Ballard, for repairing the highways, were let, in 1824, for 61 years, at the 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, ont of Lyon Mead, a tenement in Collier row, and Golden Lion farm, three rent-charges, viz.: -4 for apprenticing poor boys of Romford; 20s. for repairing the church footpath; 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 Robert 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 rstable, Chafford, and Ongar, and the Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, was established in 1817; and in November, 1860, it had deposits amounting to 74,136, belonging to 2645 depositors, 63 Charitable Societies, and 12 Friendly Societies.
ThThe erection of the bank building, and purchase of freehold premises, a few years ago, coat 1000, paid out of the surplus fund. Romford Literary and Mechanics' Institution was established in 1848, and has a good library of about 1000 volumes. Its reading room is well supplied with magazines, reviews, newspapers, etc First class members pay 21s. per annum; second class, 3s. per quarter; and third class, 2s. per quarter. It has about 100 members, and occupies a building called Laurie Town Hall, built by John Laurie, Esq.

The POST OFFICE is in High street, and Mr. Josiah Garnett is the postmaster. It is in the London Eastern Suburban District (E). Letters are despatched to London four times a day ; to Colchester, Suffolk, Norfolk, etc, at 8 night; and to Hornchurch, Dagenham, and surrounding
villages, every morning. Money Orders are granted and paid from 9 morning till 6 evening, and here is a Savings' Bank. There are sub-post offices at Noak hill and Squirrel Heath.

CONTRACTIONS FOR NAMES OF STREETS.-Bgd for Barrack Ground; Cmn Romford Common; Crw Collier row; Hrd Hornchurch road; Hst High street; Htg Hill Cottages; Lrd London road; Mkp Market place; Mtr Martin's terrace; Nkl Noak hill; Nst North street; Sqh Squirrel heath ; Srd St. Andrew's road; Sst South street; and Wrd for Waterloo road.

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