The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.
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This village lies in the hundred of Becontree, about six miles from London and a mile from Barking. The parish is bounded by Barking, Little Ilford, Wanstead, Westham, and Woolwich (fn. 1). It contains about 2000 acres of land; of which about 900 are marsh, about 60 upland pasture, and about 1040 arable. In the years 1794 and 1795, about 450 acres of the latter were cropped with potatoes, and 120 with cabbages and other garden vegetables. The soil, except in the marshes, is a light gravel. This parish pays the sum of 627l. 8s. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of about 2s. 3d. in the pound.
The manor of Eastham, as early as the reign of Edward the Confessor, belonged to Westminster Abbey (fn. 2). It is not certain when it was alienated from that convent; but it appears, that in 1226, it was the property of Ralph le Moigne, who held it by grand serjeanty as caterer of the King's kitchen (fn. 3). It was soon afterwards vested in the Montfichets. Margery, sister and one of the coheirs of Richard de Montfichet, the last heir male of this family, brought the manor of Eastham in marriage to Hugh de Bolebec (fn. 4); whose descendant of the same name left four daughters, coheirs (fn. 5). Upon a partition of his estates, Eastham became divided into two manors. John, son of Philippa de Bolebec, who had married Roger de Lancaster, in the year 1319, granted the reversion of one of these manors, (now called Eastham-hall,) after the decease of himself and his wife Annora, to the abbot and convent of Stratford (fn. 6). After that monastery was dissolved, King Henry VIII. granted it, anno 1544, to Richard Breame (fn. 7), in whose family it continued till the death of Giles Breame, Esq. in 1621; after which it came to the Alingtons (fn. 8). About the beginning of the present century, it was the property of Sir Thomas Draper, Bart., whose daughter and heir Mary married John Baber, Esq. Their son sold it, about thirty years ago, to John Henniker, Esq. (now Sir John Henniker, Bart.) who is the present proprietor (fn. 9). The manor-house, which is near the church, is now occupied as a farm.
Soon after the manor of Eastham was divided between the coheirs of Hugh de Bolebec, it appears that a moiety came by purchase to Robert Burnel, Bishop of Bath and Wells. This formed a new manor, known since by the name of Eastham Burnels (fn. 10). The Bishop's great-nephew Edward Lord Burnel died seised of it in 1316 (fn. 11); Maud, his sister and sole heir, was married first to John Lovel, and afterwards to John de Handlo. Sir Nicholas Handlo, brother to Maud's husband, enjoyed this estate (by virtue of an entail) after his brother's family became extinct. He took the name of Burnel, and died in 1382 (fn. 12). His son Sir Hugh Burnel died without surviving issue, in 1420 (fn. 13). Sir Edward Hungerford, who married Margery Burnel, his cousin and one of his coheirs, died seised of this manor in 1484 (fn. 14). It continued in the same family till the death of John Hungerford, Esq. which happened in 1559 (fn. 15). Sir Roger Cholmeley died seised of it in 1563. His grandson Roger Beckwith (fn. 16), who died in 1586, was seised of a moiety of Eastham Burnels, which his sister and coheir Frances brought in marriage to her husband George Harvey, Esq. (afterwards Sir George Harvey) (fn. 17) : their daughter Margaret married William Mildmay, Esq., in whose family the said moiety continued till the year 1716, when it was sold by Carew Mildmay, Esq. to Henry Edwards, Esq. Mr. Edwards conveyed it, in 1718, to John Gore, Esq. who sold it, the same year, to Sir John Blount, Bart. (fn. 18) Soon afterwards it became the property of the Smyth family, and is now vested in Sir Robert Smyth, Bart.
The other moiety was inherited by John Russel, Esq. as coheir of Sir Roger Cholmeley (fn. 19) : he married Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph Sheldon, Esq. who survived him, and held this estate during her life (fn. 20). This moiety is now the property of Stephen Comyn, Esq.; but I have not been able to ascertain its descent. Formerly, when a court was held for this, and some other adjoining manors in Westham, the tenants of Eastham Burnels were obliged to treat those of Westham Burnels and Plaiz; a custom, which is said to have originated from their predecessors in ancient times having refused to contribute towards the ransom of their lord, when a prisoner (fn. 21). This custom has been discontinued within the memory of persons now living.
At Greenstreet in this parish, about a mile north-west of the church, is an ancient mansion, supposed to have been the residence of the Nevils. It was afterwards Sir Francis Holcroft's, and at a later period belonged to the Garrards. After the death of Sir Jacob Garrard, Bart. it came to Sir Jacob Garrard Downing, Bart. and is now the property and residence of William Morley, Esq. There is a tradition, which deserves no credit, that Anne Boleyne was confined in a brick tower adjoining to this mansion, which is evidently of more modern date.
The parish-church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, stands at some distance from the village, not far from the river Thames. It is built of stones and slint, and consists of a nave and two chancels: at the west end is a low square tower. The high chancel or upper chancel (in which is the communion table) is circular at the east end, and has narrow pointed windows. On the south side is a piscina with a double drain, divided by a column forming two plain Gothic arches, between which is a bracket for a lamp. Behind the communion table is a handsome monument (with the effigies of the deceased and his lady in kneeling attitudes) to the memory of Edmund Nevil (fn. 22), styled in the inscription "Lord Latimer, and Earl of Westmorland, being the seventh of that family who had enjoyed the title." Beneath is an altar-tomb, covered with a slab of black marble, to the memory of Lady Katherine Nevil, their daughter, who died unmarried, at the age of twenty-three, anno 1613. I suppose, that Edmund Nevil here buried was the same who obtained a general pardon from Queen Elizabeth in 1585 (fn. 23). It is probable that he was grandson (by one of his younger sons) of Ralph Earl of Westmorland, and cousin-german of Charles, the sixth Earl, who was attainted about the year 1570, and died in Flanders, anno 1584. Edmund Nevil having assumed the title of Earl of Westmorland, notwithstanding the attainder, was several times summoned to appear before the Lords Commissioners, for executing the office of Earl Marshal. On the 2d of March 1605, he appeared before them at Whitehall by his attorney, who prayed for farther time; upon which the hearing of his cause was put off till the Wednesday in Easter week ensuing (fn. 24). The farther proceedings are not recorded, but it is certain that his title was not allowed; in allusion to which his epitaph has the following lines:
I have not found the date of his death. Jane, his widow, died at Mile-end, in the year 1647. In her will she styles herself Dame Jane Nevil, Countess of Westmorland, relict of the Right Honorable Edmund Nevil de Latimer, claiming of right to be, and generally reputed to be, Earl of Westmorland. She directs that her body should be decently buried at Eastham; and that a hearse of velvet should be put up in the church, and covered with escutcheons. She bequeaths 100l. per annum, out of the pension granted her by King James, to her daughter Dame Dorothy, wife of Arthur Hill, Esq.; who appears to have been her only surviving child.
In the upper chancel at Eastham are the monuments also of William Heigham, Esq. (fn. 25), (third son of Sir Clement Heigham, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer,) 1620; Ann, his wife, daughter of Richard Stonely, Esq. 1612; and Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Heigham, 1621. On the floor are the tombs of Hester, wife of Francis Neve, citizen of London, 1610; and Bedingfield Heigham, merchant, 1705.
On the south wall of the lower chancel are some Saxon arches, with zigzag ornaments, which appear to have extended into the nave. In this chancel are the monuments of Giles Breame, Esq. (fn. 26), (son of Arthur Breame, Esq. by Anne, daughter of Robert Alington, Esq. of Horseheath in the county of Cambridge,) 1621; Elizabeth, wife of Richard Heigham, Esq. (fn. 27), 1622; Heigham Bendish, Esq. 1723; Heigham Bendish jun. (fn. 28), 1746; and Charles Hitch, Esq. 1781. On the floor are the tombs of Elizabeth, daughter of James Harvey, Esq. of Dagenham, and wife of Richard Heigham, Esq. 1622 (with effigies, in brass, of the deceased); Mary, daughter of Samuel Coleman, Esq. and wife of William Johnson, Esq. 1634; Audrey, wife of Heigham Bendish, Esq. (and daughter of Richard Harrison, Esq.) 1741; John Knapp, Esq. 1746; and Mrs. Cecilia Bendish, 1766. In the north window of this chancel are the arms and quarterings of Alington (fn. 29).
On the north wall of the nave is the monument of George Higginson, Esq. (fn. 30), 1763; and on the south wall, that of Ynyr Burgess, Esq. (fn. 31), (put up by his daughter and sole heir Dame Margaret Smith Burgess, wife of Sir John Smith Burgess, Bart.) 1792. On the floor are the tombs of Mr. George Crowder, 1722, and Mr. Samuel Hunton, ætat. 90, 1750.
In 1719, there was in the chancel a brass plate (since removed) in memory of Margaret, wife of Richard Breame, Esq. 1558 (fn. 32).
In the churchyard are the tombs of Alexander Henderson, clerk, 1702; Richard Borneford, Esq. 1702; Capt. Thomas Symonds, 1705; Samuel Twisden, 1726; William Twisden, merchant, 1728; Mr. Alexander Marshall, 1727; Thomas Smith, Esq. 1735; Arthur Bettesworth, bookseller, 1739; Mr. Thomas Hinchliffe, 1741; Mr. Richard Heming, 1741; Catherine his wife, daughter of Arthur Bettesworth, 1758; Mr. Thomas Science, 1742; Thomas Science sen., 1750; Margaret, wife of Capt. John Kemble, 1745; Ynyr Lloyd, Esq. (put up by his great niece Lady Smith Burgess), 1746; Mr. James Dargent, 1747; Amelia, daughter of John Hope, Esq. and wife of Edward Page, 1747; Mary his second wife, daughter of John Haggard, Esq. 1755; Mrs. Elizabeth Elmes, 1756; James Bernard, Esq. 1759; Charles Hitch, Esq. 1764; Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Arthur Bettesworth, 1777; John Whiteside, Esq. 1767; the Rev. Joseph Sims, vicar, 1776; Mr. Straw, apothecary, 1778; Mr. William Stepple, 1781; Thomasine his wife, daughter of Arthur Bettesworth, 1777; Rev. Paul Hitch, rector of Horton (Glouc.), 1786; John Cowell, Gent. 1788; Mrs. Jane Hall, 1788; John Wickham, Gent. 1789; William Ward, Esq. 1790; John Howard, Gent. 1792; and John Gearing, Esq. 1794.
Eastham is a vicarage in the diocese of London and in the deanery of Barking. John de Lancaster, in the year 1307, gave the rectory and advowson to the abbot and convent of Stratford (fn. 33), who soon afterwards obtained a licence to appropriate the great tithes. At the same time a vicarage was endowed with a pension of five marks per annum, a house, and all the tithes excepting those of corn, hay, and windmills (fn. 34). The patronage of the vicarage was on this occasion vested in the Bishop of London and his successors, to whom it still belongs. The vicarage is rated in the King's books at 14l. 3s. 9d. per annum.
After the dissolution of monasteries the great tithes were granted, anno 1544, to Richard Breame, Esq. (fn. 35) His grandson Giles sold them to William Heigham, Esq. (fn. 36), whose grandson Francis left an only daughter married to Robert Bendish, Esq.: they are now, during the life of Mrs. Wilkes, who was relict of — Bendish, Esq. the property of Mr. David Davies, second husband of the widow of Charles Hitch, Esq. who had purchased Mrs. Wilkes's life-interest. After her death they will revert to the Bendish family.
Dr. William Fairfax was ejected from the vicarage of Eastham, during the civil war, by the committee for plundered ministers. When the commissioners appointed by parliament, in 1650, examined into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, they found that there was no settled minister: the rectory was valued at 70l. per annum; the vicarage at 65l. a fifth part of which was allowed to Dr. Fairfax's wife (fn. 37). In 1651, a pension of 50l. per annum was voted to John Horne, then minister of Eastham (fn. 38). In 1655, John Page was presented by Cromwell (fn. 39); and in 1656, John Clarke (fn. 40).
Richard Welton, who was collated to this vicarage in 1710, was a nonjuror, and distinguished himself as a politician. He was deprived of this benefice in 1716; and having rendered himself obnoxious to government by seditious practices, he was obliged to fly to Lisbon, where he died in 1726. A volume of sermons, and several of his single discourses, are extant. Henry Topping, his successor, published several single sermons. Joseph Sims, who was collated to this vicarage in 1756, had been chaplain to the English factory at Lisbon. He printed a sermon on the rebellion in 1745; and a volume of his discourses was published after his death.
It appears by the return made by the King's surveyors of houses and windows, in 1762, that there were then 94 houses in this parish, of which 37 were cottages. The present number of houses is about 150 (fn. 41).
"The Rev. Dr. Stukeley, late rector of St George's, Queen-square, buried Mar. 9, 1765." This celebrated antiquary was born at Holbech in Lincolnshire, Nov. 7, 1687. He received his education at Bennet College in Cambridge, where he took his degrees in physic. He first began to practise at Boston, in his native county; but, in 1717, removed to London, where he became a fellow of the College of Physicians, of the Royal Society, and of the Society of Antiquaries, to which he was secretary for many years. In 1726, he left London and retired to Grantham, where he practised with great success. In 1729, by the encouragement of Archbishop Wake, he entered into holy orders, and the same year was presented to the living of All Saints in Stamford. In 1747, the Duke of Montagu gave him the rectory of St. George, Queen-square, which he held till his death. He was buried, by his own desire, at Eastham, in a spot which he had long before fixed on, when on a visit to Mr. Sims the vicar. By his own request the turf was laid smoothly over his grave, without any monument. Dr. Stukeley's publications were, "An Account of Arthur's Oon in Scotland, and Graham Dyke," (about 1720); a History of the Spleen, 1723; Itinerarium Curiosum, 1724; (this was reprinted, with additions, after his death;) a Treatise on the Causes and Cure of the Gout, 1734; Explanation of a curious Silver Plate, found in Derbyshire, 1736; Palæographia, or Discourses on the Monuments of Antiquity that relate to Sacred History, N° I. 1736; an Account of Stonehenge, 1740; Palæographia, N° II. 1746; Poems, 1749; Papers on Earthquakes, and a Sermon on the same subject, 1750; a Sermon on the healing of Diseases, as a Character of the Messiah, 1750; Palæographia, N° III. 1751; besides various papers in the Philosophical Transactions (fn. 42).
"Sr Robert Ralph Foley (fn. 43), Bart, (from London,) buried Mar. 11, 1782."
Giles Breame, Esq. who died in 1621, founded an alms-house at Eastham for three poor men of this parish, and three of Botisham in Cambridgeshire, endowing it with an estate, now let at 49l. 4s. per annum. The alms-house was rebuilt in 1791. The profits of the estate are divided between the two parishes; but the tenements are all inhabited by parishioners of Eastham, a certain rent being paid for three of them to the parish of Botisham.
|Date.||Donors Names.||Nature and present Value.||Use.|
|1585||Robert Rampston.||Rent-charge of 1l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1604.||Sir John Hart.||Rent-charge of 4l. per ann.||Bread and coals.|
|1620.||Wm. Heigham, Esq.||Two acres of marsh, let (1796) at 6l. 17s. 6d. (fn. 44)||Ditto.|
|1641.||Jane Countess of West-morland.||1l. 10s. 0d.||Poor.|
|10s. 0d.||A sermon.|
|5s. 0d.||Repair of monument.|
|1653.||Sir Jacob Garrard.||3l. per ann.||To apprentice a boy.|