22. EAST HAM. (B.f.)
(O.S. 6 in. lxxiii. S.E.)
East Ham is a parish and suburb of London
lying between W. Ham and Barking. The Church
and Boleyn Castle are both important monuments.
(1). Roman coffins, tiles, pottery, etc., have
been found in various parts of the parish, especially
in the churchyard and in the peat 8 ft. to 9 ft. below
the surface of the tidal mud when the Albert
Dock was dug in the Plaistow and East Ham
levels in 1878–9. (Arch. Jour. XXI. 94, XLII.
275; C. R. Smith, Collect. Antiqua, VII. 191;
Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., N.S., X. 19; Proc.
Soc. Ant. 2nd Ser., III. 92. The finds are now
in the British Museum.) Similar finds occur all
along the marshes on both sides of the river, but
are rarely associated with definite architectural
remains, and appear to represent a widely scattered
working population living mostly in hut-circles
and sheds (see Sectional Preface, p. xxix).
(2). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene
stands in the S. part of the parish. The walls
are of rag-stone rubble coursed, except in the tower
which is plastered; the roofs are of tiles and slates.
The Apse, Chancel and Nave were built in the
first half of the 12th century. Early in the 16th
century the West Tower was added or re-built
and the chancel-arch and vault removed; a S.
porch was added perhaps at the same time. The
church was restored in the 19th century when the
South Porch was re-built; the West Porch is also
The church is interesting as a complete 12th-century building with an apse; among the fittings
the early 17th-century monument and font and
the 13th-century piscina and paintings are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Apse (Plate
p. 61) (10½ ft. by 13 ft.), has two flat pilaster
buttresses dividing it into three bays each with a
single-light window; those on the E. and N. are
of the 12th century with round heads; the
S. window has been enlarged into a lancet in the
13th century; W. of it is a mid 13th-century
doorway with inner order rounded, double chamfered
jambs and two-centred head and moulded rear-arch; it is now blocked. The 12th-century arch
across the chord of the apse is semi-circular and
of two plain orders interrupted by moulded imposts
returned along the W. face.
The Chancel (Plate p. 60) (22 ft. by 19 ft.) has
in the N. wall a 12th-century window with a
round head; further E. is a blocked archway
probably of early 16th-century date, with a
segmental head; the archway was not pierced
through the wall and communicated with the
chancel only by a small hatch with a rounded head
and remains of iron fastenings. This arrangement
seems to indicate the former existence of an ankar-hold outside the church; the lower part of the wall
has a 12th-century intersecting wall-arcade of round
arches with continuous cheveron ornament; the
arcade was originally of seven bays but the three
eastern have been partly destroyed by the former
doorway and by a monument; W. of the arcade
is an early 16th-century doorway with a three-centred head; it was probably the entrance to
the former rood-loft staircase and is now blocked.
In the S. wall is a 17th or 18th-century window of
three rounded lights in a square head; the former
wall-arcade on this side has been cut away except
for part of one bay at each end; the W. bay was
pierced in the 13th century by a narrow lancet
window, probably a 'low-side' and now blocked.
In the two E. angles of the chancel are 12th-century
vaulting-shafts, now plastered. There is no chancel
The Nave (53½ ft. by 23 ft.) has in the N. wall
three windows; the two eastern are modern,
the western window is a single 12th-century light
with a round head. In the S. wall are three
windows, the easternmost and westernmost are
modern; the middle window is uniform with the
western window in the N. wall; E. of the easternmost window is part of the internal head of a
12th-century window, now blocked; between the
two western windows is the 12th-century S.
doorway, much restored, with a round arch of
two orders, the outer roll-moulded and the inner
modern, the jambs are restored except for the
scalloped capital of the W. shaft; E. of the easternmost window is a 13th-century recess with a
moulded two-centred arch and label; it was
evidently cut to provide more space for a nave
East Ham, The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene.
The West Tower (13½ ft. by 14 ft.) is of three
stages, undivided externally, and has an embattled
parapet and buttresses enlarged or repaired with
brick. In the E. wall of the ground stage is the
12th-century W. doorway of the church with a
semi-circular arch of three moulded orders; the
inner order forms a half round; the jambs have
each three attached shafts with cushion capitals,
square moulded abaci and moulded bases. In
the W. wall is a round-headed doorway, probably
modern. The second stage has in the W. wall
two tall, round-headed windows entirely coated
with cement. The bell-chamber has in each wall
an early 16th-century window, originally of two
two-centred lights under a four-centred head with
a moulded label; the W. window has been altered
and the E. window re-built in the 18th century.
The Roof of the S. porch incorporates some early
Fittings—Bell: one; inscribed in Lombardic
capitals, "Dulcis Sisto Melis Vocor Campana
Gabrielis," c. 1380. Brasses: In apse—(1) inscription recording bequest of Robert Rampston,
1585; (2) loose inscription to William Johnson,
1631, broken slab belonging to this brass with
indents of shield, swaddled infant and inscription
plate; (3) to Mary (Coleman), wife of William
Johnson , achievement of arms, incised
inscription in stone and indent of plate. In chancel
—(4) of Elizabeth (Harvey), wife of Richard
Heigham, 1622, figure of woman and two shields
of arms; (5) of Hester, wife of Francis Neve,
1610, figure of woman and shield of arms. Chairs:
In chancel—two; with carved and pierced backs
turned legs and shaped rails, probably late 17th-century. Font: (Plate p. xxxii), white veined
marble bowl, circular with shield of arms and
inscribed, "The Gift of Sir Richard Heigham
Knight to the parish of Eastham, Ao. Dni. 1639";
baluster stem, later. Glass; In nave—in N.W.
window, shield of arms, reversed, and fragments
of scroll work, late 16th or early 17th-century.
Helm: In chancel—on S. wall, funeral helm with
visor and Heigham crest, c. 1600. Monuments and
Floor-slabs. Monuments: In apse—(1) of Edward
Nevill, Lord Latimer and Earl of Westmoreland,
Jane, his wife , and Katherine, his daughter,
1613, combined altar-tomb and wall-monument,
altar-tomb with figures of three sons and four
daughters in front, wall-monument with kneeling
figures of man in armour and cloak and lady at
prayer-desk all in an enriched and arched recess,
flanked by carved pilasters supporting an entablature on which stand two figures of Hope and
Prudence and an achievement of arms, elaborate
heraldry; round tomb, wrought iron railing with
ornamental standards, early 17th-century; (2)
to William Heigham, 1620, and Anne (Stoneley),
his wife, 1612, tablet with enriched marble frame
flanked by cherubs and supporting an achievement of arms, three other shields of arms; on S.
respond of arch, (3) to Marie, daughter of Sir
Richard Heigham, 1621, black and veined marble
tablet with lozenge of arms. In chancel—on E.
wall, (4) to Elizabeth (Harvey), wife of Sir Richard
Heigham, 1622, tablet with scrolled and carved
frame and three shields of arms; on N. wall,
(5) of Giles, son of Arthur Breame, 1621, wall-monument with kneeling figures of man and wife
in two arched recesses flanked by Ionic pilasters
supporting entablature and two obelisks, five
shields of arms; on E. and N. walls, two cherub
heads and a cartouche of arms, fragments of
monuments, early 17th-century. In churchyard
(6) to Thomas Huthed, 1657, and Ailse, his wife,
head-stone; (7) to Thomas Symonds, 1705, table-tomb; (8) Alexander Henderson, 1702, low table-tomb; (9) to Thomas Rake (?), 1697, head-stone;
(10) to Richard Borneford, 1702, and to Katherine
Harris, 1702, table-tomb with shield of arms.
Floor-slabs: In nave—(1) to Warnewood, daughter
of Thomas Johnson, 1678; (2) to Samuel Hunton,
c. 1700, with shield of arms. Painting: In apse—
wall masoned with red lines, each section in upper
part with small flower, original window openings
with border of sham voussoirs, early 13th-century.
On soffit of apse-arch and round chancel walls
at ceiling level, running ornament of conventional
foliage, part concealed by ceiling, early 13th-century. In nave—other paintings visible in
1863 now obliterated. Panelling: In chancel—
on S. wall, dado of oak, upper panel with strapwork ornament, early 17th-century. Piscina:
In apse—double, with moulded jambs and trefoiled
heads resting on a central shaft with moulded
capital and base, all set in a moulded, two-centred
outer order having shafted jambs with moulded
capitals and bases, in the tympanum, a square
bracket on a scalloped capital with a head corbel
under it, quatre-foiled drains, mid 13th-century,
bracket and capital, late 12th-century, re-used.
Plate: includes cup of 1563, cover-paten of 1574;
large cup and cover-paten of 1623, given in 1624.
Condition—Good, except parts of tower.
(3). Boleyn Castle, house, tower and garden
wall, about 1¼ m. N.W. of the church. The House
is generally of two storeys; the walls are of red
brick and the roofs are covered with tiles and
slates. The building is of very irregular plan but
practically the whole of it appears to have been
built about the middle of the 16th century and
to have then consisted of a Great Hall (1) (now
the Billiard room) with a long range at the W. end
(2) and a Kitchen block on the E. (3 and 4), a
staircase wing (5 and 6) (now staircase and Bar)
extending S. of the Kitchen block, and a three
storeyed tower (7) on the E. of it. Late in the 17th
century the upper parts of the Hall, W. range
and staircase wing were partly re-built and the
Kitchen block refronted or entirely re-built. In
the 18th century a wing was added E. of the tower
and there is a modern addition E. of the Kitchen
The house has interesting remains of the 16th
and 17th century, and the staircase is noteworthy.
Elevations—The S. Front towards the garden
has in the original parts an inserted plain brick
band between the storeys except in the Hall
block where there is a moulded string-course,
both of the 17th century; below these courses
the brickwork is original, while above them the
wall appears to have been partly re-built. The
S. end of the W. range and the whole of the staircase wing have eaves-cornices; the Hall block
has two added gables. The S.E. angle of the W.
range is splayed off but is brought to a square
below the band-course by original brick corbelling.
The tower, of three storeys, is entirely original and
has a square projecting turret at the S.W. angle
and a plain parapet on oversailing courses with
brick blocks; the parapet of the turret rests on
small three-centred arches. All the windows are
of the 18th century. At the E. end of the Hall
block are traces of a former opening, perhaps
the original entrance to the 'screens.'
The W. Elevation has an original wall to the
ground storey with black brick diapering; the
upper storey has plaster pilasters of the 17th
century irregularly disposed and an eaves-cornice.
The doorway and windows are of the 18th century.
The N. Elevation is largely covered by adjoining
buildings, but the Kitchen block has a late 17th-century front with two gables, one curvilinear
and finished with a pediment and the other re-built;
below them runs a moulded cornice and between
the lower storeys is a moulded band. On the
first floor are the heads of two late 17th-century
windows, one with a three-centred and one with a
square head; both have key-blocks and are now
blocked. The two late 17th-century chimneystacks on this side have arched panels in each
face with key and impost-blocks.
The E. Elevation is covered by later buildings
except the side of the tower which has a parapet
similar to that on the S. front and a chimney-stack with crow-stepped offsets, and the flank of
the Kitchen block which has a gable similar to that
on the N. front and an early 17th-century doorway
with a stop moulded frame.
Interior—The former Hall (1) has four chamfered
ceiling-beams, probably of the 17th century, and
two late 17th-century doorways with eared architraves and panelled doors. The early 17th-century
doorway to the kitchen (4) has a stop moulded
frame and a doorway opposite has an eared frame.
The main staircase (5) is of c. 1600 and has moulded
rails and strings, heavy turned balusters and
square newels surmounted by high turned vases
and finished with turned pendants; the rails,
newels and balusters are repeated against the
walls. The room S. of the staircase (6) has a
late 17th-century door and doorway surmounted
by a broken pediment with three shaped
terminals; the room itself and that in the
ground floor of the Tower are lined with early
18th-century panelling, and the fireplace of the
former has a moulded marble architrave (7). On
the first floor the main staircase has an opening
in the N. wall, fitted with early 17th-century
flat-shaped balusters. The main corridors are
lined with late 16th or early 17th-century panelling
and there is similar panelling in three rooms;
two rooms have early 18th-century fireplaces
with bolection-moulded architraves. There is one
16th-century doorway with a stop moulded frame
and one late 17th-century doorway. In a projection on the N. side of the Hall block (8) is an early
17th-century staircase with masoned strings
turned balusters and square newels surmounted by
carved terminals of varied designs.
The Tower (9) is a detached building S. of the
house and is of three stages. It is of red brick with
an embattled parapet and an embattled stair-turret
rising above it. The tower was built about the
middle of the 16th century and probably formed
a feature at the S.W. angle of the garden and perhaps balanced by another tower at the S.E.
angle, now destroyed. The top stage and the
parapet of the turret project on oversailing courses
ornamented with brick blocks. The windows are
set in projecting brick architraves and are of
late 17th-century date with moulded wooden
frames. The N. doorway has a late 17th-century
frame with eared architrave and a fan light.
Inside the building are two original doorways
with four-centred heads.
The Wall connecting the tower and the house
is of mid 16th-century date and of red brick with
black brick diapering. It is continued S. of the
tower by a 17th-century brick wall.
Condition—Of house, poor; of tower, fairly