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 parish lies in the hundred of Becontree; and is bounded on the east by Eastham; on the north by Wansted and Leyton; on the west by the river Lea, which separates it from St. Leonard's Bromley, Stratford-Bow, and Hackney, in Middlesex; and on the south by the river Thames. The village, in which the church is situated, lies a little to the south of the high road, and four miles from Whitechapel. The populous hamlet of Stratford extends along the road towards London, as far as Bow-bridge. Plaistow, another large hamlet, is about a mile east of the church. Upton, another hamlet, lies nearly a mile north-east.
This parish is divided into three wards, called Church-street, Stratford-Langthorne, and Plaistow wards; each of which has a churchwarden and overseer. Church-street ward pays the sum of 529l. 12s. to the land-tax; Stratford-Langthorne ward, 546l. 10s.; Plaistow ward, 784l. 10s. The proportion in the pound is about 2s. in each ward.
The parish of Westham contains 4500 acres of land; of which about 1970 are arable, and 2530 meadow and marsh-land. About 500 acres of the arable are (on an average) annually cropped with potatoes, and about 200 with turnips. The soil, except in the marshes, is for the most part gravel; there is some loam in the neighbourhood of the forest.
There was formerly a market at Westham, on Tuesdays, and an annual fair, which lasted four days; the vigil and festival of St. Margaret, and the two following days. The charter was procured by Richard de Montfichet, in 1253 (fn. 1).
The Abbey of Stratford Langthorne, in this parish, was founded by William de Montfichet, in the year 1135, for monks of the Cistercian order: it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and All Saints; and endowed by the founder with his manor of Ham, (i. e. Westham,) and the manor which had belonged to Ranulph the priest; two mills, his wood of Buckhurst in the forest, and the tithe of pannage (fn. 2). "This howse," says Leland, "first sett among the low marsches, was after, with sore fludes, defacyd, and remevid to a celle or graunge longynge to it caullyd Burgestede, in Estsex, a mile or more from Billerica. Thes monks remainid at Burgstede untyll entrete was made that they might have sum helpe otherwyse. Then one of the Richards, Kings of England, toke the ground and Abbay of Stratford into his protection, and reedifienge it, browght the foresayde monks agayne to Stratford; where amonge the marsches they reinhabytyd (fn. 3)."
The abbot of Stratford Langthorne was summoned to parliament in 1307. At the suppression of religious houses, the annnal rental of this monastery amounted to the sum of 652l. 3s. 1¼d. A schedule of their principal possessions is given in the notes (fn. 4); together with references to all the grants relating to this monastery, which are to be found in the Calendars at the Tower (fn. 5). The convent was surrendered to King Henry VIII. by William Huddlestone, the last abbot, on the 29th of March 1538. The deed of surrender, which remains in the Augmentation-office, is signed by the abbot, the priest, the sacrist, the chanter, and eleven monks; one of whom was so illiterate as to be obliged to make his mark, which is called "the mark of John Wyght, which can not wrytte." The conventual seal, which is appendant, represents the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus, sitting under a Gothic canopy. The arms of this Abbey were, G. three chevronels O. over all a crosier in bend Argent.
In the year 1539, King Henry VIII. granted the conventual church, with Richard's chapel, the site of the monastery, and its appurtenances, to Sir Peter Mewtas, or Meautis (fn. 6), who had been Ambassador to the Court of France. About this time, Margaret Countess of Salisbury, who, two years afterwards, was beheaded for hightreason, resided within the precincts of the monastery (fn. 7). Henry Meautis, Esq. a descendant of Sir Peter, in the year 1633, sold the site of the Abbey, with 240 acres of land, the Abbey mills, &c. to Sir John Nulls (fn. 8); whose son, John Nulls, Esq. in 1663, conveyed the site of the Abbey to Thomas Meads, and others; from whom it passed to Mr. Richard Knight. It remained in his family till the year 1786, when it was sold, by John Dudlas Knight, Esq. to Mr. Thomas Holbrook, the present proprietor.
The Abbey stood at the distance of about three furlongs southwest from the parish church; the site of the precincts, which was moated, contained about 16 acres. The only remain of the buildings is a part of a chapel, with the doorway, adjoining to the public house called the Adam and Eve. The foundations of the convent were dug up and removed by the present proprietor; in doing of which no antiquities worthy of note were found, except a small onyx seal, with the impress of a griffin, set in silver, on which is the following legend: "Nuncio vobis gaudium et salutem;" perhaps the privyseal of one of the abbots. At a little distance from the Adam and Eve, towards the north, is a brick gateway, which was the entrance to the conventual precincts.
The abbey lands are charged with the repair of a bridge and causey on the great road, near Stratford (fn. 9).
The manor of Westham, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, was the property of Alestan, a freeman; when the survey of Doomsday (fn. 10) was taken, it belonged to Ranulph Peverell and Robert Gernon. When William de Montfichet founded the Abbey of Stratford-Langthorne, anno 1135, he endowed it with all his lordships and demesne lands in Westham (fn. 11). The manor of Westham seems. afterwards to have been again in lay-hands: for, in 1446, Thomas. Bernwell obtained the King's licence to give it to the abbot and convent of Stratford, in exchange for some lands in Havering (fn. 12). It was parcel of the possessions of that monastery, when it was dissolved in 1539, and then came into the hands of the crown. In 1610, it was settled upon Henry Prince of Wales (fn. 13). In 1616, it was granted to Sir Francis Bacon and others for 99 years, in trust for Charles I. then Prince of Wales; this lease, in 1629, was assigned to the trustees of Queen Henrietta Maria, as a part of her jointure. On the sale of the crown lands, during the usurpation, this manor (with the prison in Stratford and a meadow called Lower Ward) was purchased for the sum of 3147l. 11s. (being about 32 years' purchase (fn. 14),) by Silas Taylor, on behalf of himself and other creditors of the Government. At the Restoration, the Queen-mother became possessed again of this manor; which was afterwards granted to Queen Catherine (consort of Charles II.) for her life. It was leased by her (anno 1691) to Sir Richard Sandys, for 14 years and a half from June 1707. In 1702, another lease, for 11 years and a half in reversion, was granted to the trustee of Mrs. Catherine Bland. In the year 1693, the manor of Westham was granted to George Booth, Esq. for 99 years, from the decease of Queen Catherine, which happened in 1705. That part of the manor which lies in Stratford ward was sold by Mr. Booth, in 1733, (for the remainder of his term,) to the trustees of Sir John Blount; whose estates being seized by the South Sea Company, the lease was assigned by them to the Tylney family; and is now vested in Sir J. Tylney Long, Bart. The other division of the manor was bequeathed by Mr. Booth, with his other estates, to Mrs. Hester Pinney, who conveyed it to Azariah Pinney, Esq. The lease afterwards passed through the hands of ——Smart, Esq. and Mr. Brown; the latter of whom assigned the remainder of the term to John Henniker, Esq. (now Sir John Henniker, Bart.) in whom it is still vested.
The manor of East Westham in this parish was granted to Sir Roger Cholmeley in the year 1553 (fn. 15). It has since passed through the same hands as those of Eastham Burnels, Westham Burnels, and Playz. Since the account of Eastham Burnels was printed, I have learned, that, in 1627, one of the moieties of these manors belonged to Francis Hervey, Esq. the other to Carew Mildmay, Esq. (fn. 16) They both afterwards became vested in the Mildmays, and were not again separated till about the year 1720; when Sir John Blount's estates having been seized by the South Sea Company, they were sold to the two branches of the Smyth family (fn. 17). The one is the property of Sir Robert Smyth, Bart.; the other was sold, about the year 1755, or 1756, to Stephen Comyn, Esq. (fn. 18), father of Stephen Comyn, Esq. the present proprietor.
The manor of Playz took its name from Hugh de Playz, who married Philippa, sister and coheir of Richard de Montfichet (fn. 19). Sir Richard de Playz, in the year 1353, gave it to the abbot and convent of Stratford-Langthorne (fn. 20). On the suppression of that monastery it became vested in the crown, and was granted, anno 1553, to Sir Roger Cholmeley (fn. 21). Its history from this period is the same as that of the manors of East Westham, &c. (fn. 22)
The history of the manor of Westham Burnels corresponds entirely with that of Eastham Burnels, which has been already given (fn. 23).
The manor of Bretts was the property of John Ferrers, Esq. who died in 1478 (fn. 24). The reversion was then vested in Edward Earl of Warwick, (son of the Duke of Clarence,) who being executed for high-treason in 1499, his estates became forfeited to the crown: this manor was settled by Henry VIII. anno 1519, with other lands, on Catherine of Arragon (fn. 25). It appears to have been afterwards given to Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Clarence, who was created Countess of Salisbury by Henry VIII.: for by her attainder in 1541, it became again vested in the crown (fn. 26), and was granted to Sir Peter Meautis and his wife Jane, for life (fn. 27). In 1576, Queen Elizabeth granted it in see to Sir Thomas Heneage (fn. 28), who, in 1583, aliened it to Roger Townsend, Esq. (fn. 29) By him it was conveyed, the next year, to Edward Earl of Oxford (fn. 30), who died seised of it in 1604. His widow sold it, in 1610, to Henry Wollaston, Esq. (fn. 31), who died seised of it in 1619 (fn. 32). In 1624, it was the property of Sir William Courten (fn. 33), whose son William sold it, anno 1637, to Jacob Garrard, Esq. for 3100l. Sir Francis Bickley, Bart. who had married Alithea, daughter and coheir of another Jacob Garrard, son and heir apparent of Sir Thomas Garrard, Bart. became in her right possessed of this manor, and sold it, in 1711, to Peter Courtney, Esq.; who, in 1719, bequeathed it to his sister Elizabeth, wife of William Beauchamp, Esq.; from whom it has descended to Joseph Beauchamp, Esq. the present proprietor.
Sir Adam Francis, who died in 1417, was seised of the manor of Cobhams, alias Chobhams, in Westham, held under the abbot and convent of Stratford, and Hugh Burnel (fn. 34). From this period till after the grant of Sir William Compton, in 1513, the history of this manor corresponds with that of Ruckholt in Leyton (fn. 35). There was a grant of this manor to Tipper and Dawe in 1589 (fn. 36). On the 31st of Jan. 1596, it was granted to Thomas Spencer and Robert Atkinson (fn. 37), who, a few days afterwards, conveyed it to Robert Wiseman (fn. 38). Mr. Wiseman died seised of it in 1618 (fn. 39). About the beginning of the present century it was the property of John Hiett, Esq. In 1782, it was purchased of Mrs. Jane Hiett, or her executors, by Sir John Henniker, Bart. the present proprietor (fn. 40).
The manor of Woodgrange, with a portion of the tithes (fn. 41), parcel of the possessions of the dissolved monastery of Stratford-Langthorne, together with divers privileges and immunities enjoyed by that convent, was leased, anno 1535, to Morgan Philips, alias Wolfe, for 60 years. Queen Elizabeth granted a reversionary lease of it to Robert Earl of Leicester for 70 years, to commence at the expiration of the former lease (fn. 42). George Earl of Totness was in possession of the lease (then valued at 210l. per annum) as early as the year 1605. In 1627, he procured the reversion of this manor in fee, subject to a rent of 27l. 2s. per ann. (fn. 43) After the death of the Countess of Totness, who survived the Earl, Peter Apsley, Esq. who inherited under his will, as right heir (fn. 44), after certain remainders, sold it (anno 1637) to Charles Frankland, Esq. who, in 1649, aliened it to Thomas Cambell, Esq. (afterwards a baronet). Sir Harry Cambell died without male issue, in 1699, seised of this estate, leaving a daughter Ann, married to Thomas Price, Esq. whose son Cambell Price, Esq. sold it, in 1738, to John Pickering, merchant. Mr. Pickering, by his will, bearing date 1754, left it to his niece Mrs. Ann Machin, with remainder to her daughter Mary Machin, who is the present proprietor, and now the wife of Mr. John Peacock.
Robert Christendom, in the year 1443, bequeathed his manor in Westham, Stratford-Langthorne, Eastham, Leyton, Barking, and Dagenham, and all his rents, lands, and services in those parishes, to be sold and distributed in masses, and gifts to the poor, for the good of his soul, and the souls of his ancestors (fn. 45). There was an ancient mansion (now pulled down) at Plaistow, called Christendom-house. It was, in the last century, a seat of the Brydges's, and afterwards belonged to Mrs. Batilhey, who died in 1702 (fn. 46).
A farm called New Barnes, near Plaistow, being parcel of the manor of Westham, was assigned, anno 1629, by the Prince's trustees, to Simon Fanshaw, Esq. for 99 years, at the reserved rent of 40l. The same year the reversion was granted, in fee, (subject to the same rent,) (fn. 47) to the trustees of Sir Thomas Fanshaw; from whose family it passed to Nathaniel Manlove. It was purchased, in 1706, of Mr. Manlove, by the Coopers' Company (fn. 48), in trust, for a hospital at Egham.
A mill, at Stratford, in this parish, called St. Thomas's Mill, belonged to the hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, and was granted, with certain lands and tenements, anno 1549, to Gerard Hermans, goldsmith of London (fn. 49). It lately belonged to the Grenville family. The present Marquis of Buckingham sold it, a few years ago, to Mr. Jones.
At Plaistow there is an ancient mansion called Hyde-house, (now in the occupation of Mr. John James,) which is said to have been inhabited by the monks of Stratford after the dissolution of that convent. Over a gateway is the date 1579 (fn. 50); and, on a wall near the house, that of 1559. In the windows are several coats of arms, in stained glass (fn. 51). I suppose it to have been the same house which, in 1605, was held by Richard Tailor, doctor of physic; it is described, in an ancient survey of the manor of Westham (fn. 52), as a great mansion in Plaistow, with certain lands, among which is mentioned, a parcel of ground called Le Hide. In the last century it was the seat of Sir Thomas Foot, and afterwards of the Onslows (fn. 53).
Sir Thomas Lodge, Alderman of London, who died in 1583, was seised of an estate in Westham (fn. 54).
The parish church, dedicated to All Saints, is a spacious building, consisting of a chancel, with two aisles, and a nave of considerable length, which has also two aisles. At the west end is a square tower, 74 feet in height, with a ring of 10 bells.
On the north wall of the chancel is a handsome monument, with the effigies of the deceased and his lady (fn. 55), to the memory of Sir Thomas Foot, Knt. and Bart. (fn. 56), who was Lord Mayor of London in 1650, and died in 1688, aged 96. On the south side is the monument of Mr. James Cooper (fn. 57), with his effigies in white marble, as large as the life, well executed. He is represented standing, with a book in his hand. On the same wall are the monuments of John, eldest son of Robert Faldo, Esq. (fn. 58), 1613; Francis, his fifth son, 1632; and John Fawcit (fn. 59), Gent. who married Jane, his daughter, 1625. On the floor are the tombs of Elizabeth, daughter of Cornelius Drebbelt, 1621; Elizabeth, wife of George Seabroke, minister, 1647; Daniel Pratt, citizen of London, 1666; Jane, his widow, aged 92, 1709; John Pratt, Gent. (son of Daniel,) 1699; Rebecca, (his daughter,) wife of William Wickins, rector of Eastling, Kent, 1684; Mr. Richard Hervey, 1693; John, an infant son of Thomas Sandes, merchant, by Ann, daughter of Michael Rolls, 1704; Dame Priscilla Rolle, 1708; Sarah, widow of Richard March, merchant, 1716; and Susannah, relict of Mr. George Marishall, 1747.
In the wall between the vestry and the chancel is an ancient tomb, with Gothic ornaments. There is no inscription; but on the side towards the vestry, which is the only part of the tomb now visible, are some coats of arms (fn. 60).
In the north aisle is the monument of Robert Rooke (fn. 61), Esq. 1630; a table tomb in memory of Sir Philip Hall, 1745; Dame Sarah, his wife, 1742; Henry Hall, 1730; and Stephen Hall, M. D. 1731. There are also the tombs of Sarah, wife of Benjamin Milner, daughter and coheir of Smart Goodenough, Esq. 1724; Edward Towne, Esq. 1744; Sarah, his wife, daughter of Benjamin Milner, 1730; Lydia, his second wife, 1750; Mrs. Elizabeth Tollet (fn. 62), 1754; Rev. Hugh Wyat, vicar, 1762; William Vere, Esq. 1765; Mrs. Anne Marsh, 1769; Abraham Whitaker, Esq. 1773; Jane, wife of Charles Jackson, Esq. 1780; and Hugh Smith, M. D. (eminently distinguished for his professional abilities (fn. 63),) 1790.
In the south aisle of the chancel is a handsome marble monument to the memory of Sir James Smyth, some time Lord Mayor of London, 1706; Elizabeth, his first wife, daughter and coheir of Arthur Shurley, Esq. of Sussex, 1689; Sir James Smyth, Bart. (fn. 64), 1716–7; and Mirabella, his wife, daughter of Sir Robert Legard, 1714. On the north wall of the same aisle is a monument of alabaster, with columns of black marble of the Corinthian order, to the memory of William Fawcet, Gent. (fn. 65), who died in 1631: over the tablet is the effigies of the deceased recumbent, and above, those of his wife and her second husband William Toppesfield (by whom the monument was erected) kneeling at a desk. In this aisle also is the monument of Lieut. Col. Scott (fn. 66), 1737; and another in memory of the Rev. Nicholas Buckeridge, M. A. some time fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, and rector of Bradwell juxta Mare, 1727; his son Amhurst Buckeridge, M. A. fellow of St. John's College, 1710, and others of his family, with the effigies of the deceased in white marble. On the floor are the tombs of James Wittewrongle, a Fleming, (ancestor of the Wittewronges, baronets,) 1622; William Tuder, citizen, and merchant-taylor, 1653; Elizabeth Clark, his sister, 1654; Sir Robert Smyth (fn. 67), Bart. 1669; Judith, his wife, 1653; Jane, wife of John Pyott, and daughter of Sir Robert Smyth, Bart. 1684; Sir Robert Smyth, Bart. 1744; Lady Louisa Carolina Isabella, daughter of John Earl of Bristol, and wife of Sir Robert Smyth, 1770; Sir Robert Smyth, 1783; Elizabeth, wife of William Dudley, Esq. 1670; Zachariah Taylor, mariner, 1711; William King, Esq. 1748; and Jane, wife of William Talbutt, 1785.
In the nave are the monuments of Baynbridge Buckeridge, Esq. (fn. 68), 1732; and William Ravenscroft (fn. 69), merchant, 1718. On the floor are the tombs of William Wight, 1683; John, his son, 1704; Richard Wight, 1713; Major John Wicks, 1728; Peter Hartopp, Esq. 1742; and John Pickering, Esq. 1755.
In the north aisle of the church are the tombs of William Millington, who with Joan his wife, Henry his son, and Susan his daughter, all died on the 20th of August, 1683; Catherine, his daughter, wife of Daniel Ingole, 1689; Daniel Ingole, 1691; Capt. John Ely, 1701; Thomas Haynes, attorney at law, 1715; Edmund Mountague, Esq. Deputy Governor of Fort St. David's in the East Indies, 1730; Thomas Hewlett, Gent. 1775; and Thomas Garner, Esq. 1781.
In the south aisle is an altar tomb in memory of Nicholas Avenant, merchant-taylor, (a benefactor to this parish,) 1599; and the monuments of Henry Colchester, Esq. (fn. 70), 1701; Esther, wife of John L'Archevesque, 1723; Martha, his second wife, 1749; Charles Spearman (fn. 71), 1725; Anne, relict of John Mighells, Admiral of the Blue, (who was buried at Lowestoffe, the place of his nativity, in 1733,) 1741; Mary Anne, wife of Rear Admiral John Gascoigne (fn. 72), 1748; the Rev. John Finch, LL. B. 1748; and the Rev. Jonathan Reeves (fn. 73), 1787. On the floor are the tombs of Thomas Cooke (fn. 74), 1701; Thomas Reynell, Gent. 1705; Richard Blackmore, Gent. 1721; Alexander Ward, 1729; Jeremiah Dummer (fn. 75), 1739; Edward Flower, 1747; Mrs. Jane Lodge, daughter of John Lodge, merchant, 1752; Benjamin Rutland, Esq. 1768; Susannah-Newell, wife of Richard Keys, Esq. 1787; Major William Butler, 1790; and Mr. Thomas Shirley, 1793.
Weever, in his Funeral Monuments (fn. 76), records several tombs in this church, of which no traces are now to be discovered: John Eglesfield, 1504; Henry Kettleby, servant of Prince Henry, 1508; Margaret, wife of John Kettleby; John Hammerton, Esq. serjeant at arms to Henry VIII. who, with Edith his wife, Richard Hammerton of Fedston in Yorkshire, with John and Richard his sons, all fell sick in an hour, and died in an hour (fn. 77), A. D. 1512; Walter Froste, Esq. sewer to Henry VIII.; his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Caley, Esq. merchant of the Staple at Calais, 1527; and Valentine Clerke, 1533. Strype, in the Circuit Walk annexed to Stow's Survey, mentions the tombs of Henry Amcot, 1583; John Shipman, 1583; Thomas Rookes, Esq. 1630; and Henry Fallowfield, merchant, 1656. The inscriptions on these tombs have been either defaced, removed, or covered by pews, as well as on those of the following persons, of which Mr. Holman took notes in 1719:—Thomas Staples, 1592; Johan Caspoel de Lovanio, 1622; Thomas Wilmer, Gent. (fn. 78); George Wilmer, Esq. (fn. 79), 1626; Thomas Salter, citizen, and mercer (fn. 80), 1640; Robert Ratcliffe, 1672; Elizabeth, wife of Robert Knight, 1678; William Brookes, 1679; William Davies, 1681; Sherwin Clarke, 1683; William Wright, 1683; John, his son, 1704; Susan, wife of John Hudson, 1685; Mr. Thomas Hawkes, 1689; Richard Hodgkin, 1693: Elizabeth, his daughter, wife of Thomas Butler, 1701; Mrs. Mary Batilhey, alias Shirley, 1702; Mr. Henry Francis, 1704; Thomas Farnalls, Gent. 1711; and Capt. William Pinckett, 1713 (fn. 81).
In the churchyard are inscriptions in memory of William Pragell, 1579; John Pragell sen. 1590; Richard Pragell, 1618; Ursalin, wife of Capt. John Pragell, Governor of Berwick, and Chief General under Queen Elizabeth for the North, 1616; John Pragell jun. 1633; Clement Pragell, 1680; Joan, wife of Thomas Pragell (daughter of John Hill); Richard Gregory, Gent. 1658; Nathaniel Wickham, M. D. 1727; Mr. Robert Watts, 1730; John Tennant, merchant, 1737; Mr. Jacob Gouyin, 1738; John Henniker, merchant, 1749; Dame Anne, wife of Sir John Henniker, Bart. (buried in Rochester cathedral,) 1792; Mrs. Thomasine Gouge, widow, 1755; Henry Turner, Esq. ("married 50 odd years,") 1758; Elizabeth, wife of William Vere, Esq. 1759; Middleton Howard, Gent. 1759; Joseph Ball, Esq. barrister at law, 1760; Mary, wife of John Rankin, Esq. 1763; John Newe, Esq. 1763; Theodore Hodshon jun. Esq. 1768; Theodore Hodshon sen. Esq. 1769; John Davy, Esq. 1769; Mary, widow of the Rev. John Baptist Denis, 1772; George Edwards, F. R. S. (fn. 82), 1773; Mrs. Sarah Jennings, aged 95, 1773; John Wall, Esq. 1774; John Oxenford, Esq. 1780; Edward Waldo, Esq. 1783; William Palmer, Esq. 1786; Miss Priscilla de Hobe, 1791; Robert Harrison, Esq. 1792; the Rev. Charles Cropley, M. A. fellow of King's College, Cambridge, 1794; and Anne, widow of Ferdinando Warner, rector of Barnes (without date).
The church of Westham, which is in the diocese of London and in the deanery of Barking, was given by Gilbert de Montfichet to the abbot and convent of Stratford-Langthorne (fn. 83); to whom the great tithes were appropriated, a vicarage being at the same time endowed. Since the dissolution of monasteries, the tithes have been divided into two portions; one of which has passed with the manor of Woodgrange (fn. 84); the other, having been for many years vested in the crown, was granted to the ancestors of the present proprietor Sir Hervey Smyth, Bart.
In the year 1516, the abbot and convent of Stratford, having obtained the authority of the church of Rome for so doing, set aside the endowment of the vicarage, and, in lieu of it, settled upon the vicar, and his successors, an annual pension of 39l. 13s. 8d. (fn. 85); which, after the rectory became vested in the crown, was paid out of the Exchequer, and formed nearly the whole income of the vicarage, till the year 1638; when William Blower, father and predecessor of Peter Blower, then vicar, having purchased the existing lease of the vicarial tithes, the latter procured from the crown a renewal of the old endowment, in lieu of the said pension of 39l. 13s. 8d., which then ceased (fn. 86). The commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, in 1650, found, by their inquest, that the vicarage of Westham was then worth 60l. per annum (the glebe being valued at 24l. the tithes at 36l.). Mr. Yates, the incumbent, was reported to be an able, pious, honest minister (fn. 87). The vicarage is now become of considerable value. The patronage has been vested in the crown since the dissolution of monasteries.
Thomas Rose, who was instituted to this vicarage in 1551, experienced a great variety of fortune, before the final establishment of the reformed religion. In 1533, when some persons, out of their zeal against popery, stole the rood out of a church, Rose was suspected of being privy to the robbery, having been seen to burn some of the vestments which were taken away with it. On this suspicion he was committed to prison, where he lay several days and nights, with his body on the ground, and his feet in a high pair of stocks. He was afterwards removed to Lambeth, where he remained till Cranmer procured his liberty. Edward VI. gave him this vicarage. Queen Mary deprived him of it, and committed him to the Tower, whence he contrived to make his escape, and to get over to the continent. Upon Queen Elizabeth's accession he returned, and took possession again of the vicarage of Westham, which he resigned in 1563, for the living of Lutenhoo in Bedfordshire, where he died at a very advanced age (fn. 88).
There is a Quakers' meeting at Plaistow in this parish; a Roman Catholic chapel at Stratford; and a meeting, with a cemetery, belonging to the Methodists, in Brickfields. There is a meeting-house at Stratford, which belonged to the Presbyterian diffenters; but it has been disused for some years.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
The return of the King's surveyor of houses and windows, in 1762, states, that there were then 700 houses in this parish; of which 455 were mansions, 245 cottages. The houses and inhabitants having been numbered in the month of March this year (1796), it was found, that there were then 1057 houses (fn. 89), and 5806 inhabitants; the average number of inhabitants to a house being 5 521/1057;, which is very nearly 5½ (fn. 90).
Richard, son of Samuel Jebb, M. D. and Jane his wife, baptized Oct. 30, 1729." It appears by this entry, that Dr. Samuel Jebb resided at Stratford in Essex, and not at Stratford-Bow, (as stated in vol. iii. of this work (fn. 91), on the authority of the Anecdotes of Bowyer,) and that his son Sir Richard Jebb, the late celebrated physician, was born there.
John Atkins, buried Dec. 12, 1757." Mr. Atkins, who had been a surgeon in the navy, resided, during the latter part of his life, at Plaistow, where he died, at the age of 73. He published a book called "the Navy Surgeon," and "Voyages to Africa and America," both which works were very favourably received.
The celebrated poet and dramatic writer Aaron Hill, when he withdrew himself from public life, in 1738, retired to Plaistow in this parish; where he devoted himself to study, to the education of his family, and the culture of his garden. In this solitude he wrote several of his poems, and adapted to the English stage the tragedy of Merope, which was the last work that he lived to complete (fn. 92).
A charity-school was instituted in this parish as early as the year 1723, at first for 10 boys only, but by degrees it became extended to 30 boys and 30 girls. The number of girls has been since reduced to 20, and that of the boys increased to 40. Benefactions, to the amount of above 3000l. have been left to this school by various persons (fn. 93). The children are both taught and clothed, and the boys, on leaving the school, at the age of 14, receive 5l. each, as an apprentice-fee. The expences are defrayed with the interest of the capital, aided by voluntary subscriptions, and the collections at an annual charity-sermon.
Mrs. Sarah Bonnell, by her will, bearing date 1761, gave the sum of 3000l. in various stocks, for the purpose of building and endowing a school for poor girls. After Mrs. Bonnell's death, which happened in 1766, some doubts arose respecting the validity of some part of this donation, and a suit was instituted in Chancery. In the month of Dec. 1769, a decree was pronounced, by which the sums of 1500l. Bank stock, 18l. 5s. 1d. S. S. S. 279l. 10s. O.S.S.A. and 1701l. 14s. 11d. N.S.S.A. were vested in trustees, who were directed to pay the dividends to James Bonnell, Esq. brother of the deceased, during his life, and afterwards (the money necessary for building a school-house and settling the law expences having been deducted) to apply the interest as follows:
|To the school-mistress,||20l.|
|— the writing-master,||15l.|
|— paper, pens, ink, &c.||5l.|
|— coals and candles,||5l.|
|— wearing apparel for the scholars,||100l.|
The remainder to be appropriated in augmentation of the charity. A building, which had been erected in 1752, as a school of industry, was, in 1769, given by the treasurer and trustees of the charityschool, to the trustees of Mrs. Bonnell's school: forty girls are clothed and educated by Mrs. Bonnell's charity; the school-mistress and writing-master are chosen annually by the trustees.
On the east side of the churchyard are ten alms-houses for poor persons, to whom Mrs. Thomasine Gouge, anno 1755, left the sum of 1000l. 3 per cent. and the residue of her monies unbequeathed, which amounted to 300l. more in the same stock.
|Date.||Donors Names.||Nature, and present Value.||Use.|
|1583.||John Shipman,||Rent-charge of 6l. per an. now only 4l. 10s. 8d.||Poor.|
|1585.||Robert Rampston,||Rent-charge of 2l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1591.||Margt Lady Throgmorton,||Rent-charge of 2l. per ann.||30 poor widows.|
|1592.||Thomas Staples,||Rent-charge of 1l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1596.||William Rooke,||Rent-charge of 5l. per ann.||Bread.|
|1599.||Nicholas Avenant,||6 acres and a half of marshland, now 18l. per ann.||5l. 4s. for bread, the remainder for the vicar.|
|1609.||Oliver Skinner (fn. 94),||Rent-charge of 2l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1616.||Peter Blower,||An acre of land, now 2l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1618.||Richard Pragell,||Rent-charge of 5l.||Poor.|
|1628.||Richard Hales,||Rent-charge of 2l.||Poor of Plaistow at Christmas.|
|1631.||William Fawcet,||Rent-charge of 2l. 10s.||2l. poor, 10s. a sermon.|
|1633.||Roger Harris,||Rent-charge of 2l 12s.||Coals for 12 poor persons.|
|1635.||Sir Richard Fenn,||Two houses, now let at 10l.||Bread.|
|1645.||Anne Lady Middelton,||Rent-charge of 5l.||3l. to apprentice a child, 2l. for the poor.|
|1653.||William Tuder,||Land, now let at 4l. 5s.||Half to be given in bread, half in money.|
|1653.||Sir Jacob Gerrard,||Lands, now let at 30l. per ann.||9l. to apprentice children, one of each ward. 1l. for a sermon (fn. 95). 12s. reader, clerk, and sexton. 13l. 8s. (being the remainder, after deducting a rent-charge of 3l. each to the parishes of Eastham and Gracechurch, London,) in equal shares to the poor of each ward.|
|1658.||Eliz. Toppesfield (fn. 96),||2l. 10s. per ann.||Six waistcoats for poor wom.|
|1679.||William Davis,||4l. per ann.||Waistcoats for 12 poor wom.|
|1680.||Clement Pragell,||6l. per ann.||5l. poor, 1l. repair of tomb.|
|1684.||Thomas Speight, and Hen. Stores,||Marsh-land, now 4l. per ann.||Poor.|
|1688.||Sir Thomas Foot,||1l. 10s. 4d. (fn. 97) per ann.||Poor.|
|1697.||Daniel Ingole,||Rent-charge of 10l.||Fuel for 10 poor of Stratford ward; 5 of Churchstreet; and 5 of Plaistow.|
|1702.||Mrs. Mary Batilhey,||10l. per ann.||
1l. 10s. for a sermon on Good Friday.
1l. repair of vault.
2l. to teach children of Plaistow.
2l to teach children of Stratford.
2l. 10s. 8 poor widows of Plaistow and Church-str.
1l. bread to the poor of Plaistow.
|1703.||Sir William Humble,||60l. laid out in lands, now 2l. 9s. per ann.||Bread.|
|1719.||John Hiett, Esq.||5l. per ann. charged on Cobhams,||To apprentice a diffenter's child born in Stratford ward; in default of which, any poor protestant child.|
|1726.||Mrs. Sarah Bonnell (fn. 98),||By deed, the interest of 200l. 3 per cents.||
2l. 5s. gowns for 5 poor widows of Church-str. ward.
10s. 6d. for instructing a poor fatherless boy of the same ward.
2l. 19s. 6d. for coals.
Interest of 200l. O.S.S.A. (6l.)
Interest of 50l. (2l.)
|Sick poor. Coals.|
|1743.||James Cooper,||Interest of 600l. S. S. A. (18l.)||
5l. poor housekeepers of Plaistow.
9l. coals to alms-houses and poor of Plaistow.
2l. 10s. bread, Plaistow and Westham.
1l. sermon. 10s. clerk.
|1767.||Peter Bigot, Esq.||Rent-charge of 10l. per an.||Shoes, stockings, and money, for poor women.|
|1777.||Jeremiah Atkinson,||Reversionary legacy of the interest of 300l. reduced ann. not yet dropped, in||Coals.|
|1779.||Margt Hodshon (fn. 99),||200l. laid out in 339l. E. I. annuit. the interest 10l.||To apprentice a boy.|
|Unkn.||Peter Ward,||Land, now 8l. per ann.||Poor.|
|—||Mary Gwillims,||Rent-charge of 1l. 10s.||Six poor widows.|
|—||Nicholas Peckover,||Rent-charge of 2l.||20 poor widows of Stratford.|
|—||William Winn,||The interest of 10l. (fn. 100),||Poor at Christmas.|
Westham waterworks, which were established in the year 1745, supply the villages of Stratford, Bromley and Bow, Stepney, Bethnal-Green, and the lower part of Whitechapel: the property is divided into four shares. They are worked by a steam-engine, and water-engine. The proprietors have a reservoir at Mile-end.
There are two calicoe-printers in this parish, (Mr. Wagner and Mr. Williams,) who employ about 260 hands. Mr. Foster of Bromley has lately taken some premises near Angel-lane, for the same manufacture.