A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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North Ockendon was a small country parish of 1,709 a. (fn. 1) It lay 19 miles east of London, between Brentwood and Grays Thurrock. Its medieval name of Ockendon Setfountayns derived from the lords of the manor. In 1935 the parish was divided between two urban districts: the south-west corner was added to Thurrock, the rest to Hornchurch. (fn. 2) In 1965 Hornchurch became part of the London borough of Havering. (fn. 3)
North, east, and west of North Ockendon a succession of narrow parishes used to run southwards from a northern wooded slope, but North Ockendon, unlike them, was broader east to west and had a lower and more level terrain with a central plateau whose greatest height, east of Whitepost Farm, was 135 ft. The soil contains deposits of brick-earth and gravel. (fn. 4) For a short distance the Mardyke formed the parish boundary in the east. Until 1900 water supplies for the parish came chiefly from wells. (fn. 5)
The recorded population of North Ockendon in 1066 was 17; in 1086 it was 23. (fn. 6) In 1327 14 householders, and in 1523 26 householders, were named in the tax lists. (fn. 7) In 1670 North Ockendon had 33 houses. (fn. 8) There were 243 inhabitants in 1801, a number which rose, with fluctuations, to 351 in 1891 and thereafter declined to 291 in 1931. (fn. 9)
The pattern of settlement in North Ockendon was established in the Middle Ages and has changed little since; it consists of a nucleated village and outlying farms. Of the latter, Baldwins, in the south-west of the parish and formerly moated, is the oldest. It presumably took its name from the 14th-century lords of the manor, but the present building is a timber-framed house of the 16th century. (fn. 10) The main road or street from Brentwood to Grays divided the parish and was crossed by a road running east from Bulphan to Upminster and Romford. At this cross-road the village developed, and it still includes the 15th-century blacksmith's house and a 16th- and 17th-century house, now the post office. (fn. 11) From Bulphan to the village the road (Fen Lane) mattered less to the inhabitants of North Ockendon than to those of the parishes eastwards who wished to reach Romford market and London; hence the frequent complaints about its upkeep between 1589 and 1645. (fn. 12) A lane ran north from this road (fn. 13) past Home Farm to Brasenose Farm, which in 1513 was given to the Oxford college of that name by Sir Richard Sutton. (fn. 14) The western stretch of the road from the village towards Upminster was formerly known as Cole Street. (fn. 15) From it a lane ran south to the hall and church, and further west Pike Lane crossed it and continued south as Pea Lane. (fn. 16) Pea Lane divided at Dennises Corner, and both branches became Dennises Lane. One continued south into South Ockendon; the other turned west towards Aveley, Rainham, and Corbets Tey. In the Middle Ages a green lane may have run south from Cranham past Cranham Hall and Stubbers to Baldwins. The stretch between Cole Street and Dennises Lane survived as a road until 1814, when it was moved west to the parish boundary at the wish of John Russell of Stubbers. (fn. 17) In 1974 the lane to Baldwins was a farm-drive.
The only important bridge in the parish carried the road to Bulphan over the Mardyke. It was known as Kennetts (or Kynes or Kinyttes) bridge, and the lord of the manor of North Ockendon was charged with its maintenance. (fn. 18) Sir Thomas Littleton (d. 1710) rebuilt it 6 ft. wide, but in 1775 Richard Benyon established public responsibility for any further widening. (fn. 19)
In 1848 an omnibus ran daily to Romford to meet the trains. (fn. 20) The London, Tilbury and Southend railway's line from Upminster to Grays was opened in 1892; the nearest station was South Ockendon. (fn. 21) There was a post office by 1839. (fn. 22)
A friendly society at the White Horse was registered in 1818. (fn. 23) Richard Benyon built a reading room c. 1885 in Church Lane; in 1895 it had 40 ordinary members. (fn. 24) Vestry meetings were held there from 1906 to 1910. (fn. 25)
Among the notable people connected with North Ockendon were two members of the manorial family: Edward Littleton (b. 1626, fl. 1694), barrister, judge in Barbados 1670–83, and later agent for the island, published economic tracts; his nephew, Sir Thomas Littleton (d. 1710), was Speaker of the House of Commons, 1698–1700, and Treasurer of the Navy, 1701–10. (fn. 26) Of the rectors Robert Wilmot (fl. 1568–1608; rector, 1582–5) published a tragedy acted before Elizabeth I; Henry Tripp (d. 1612; rector, 1570–82) was an author and translator. (fn. 27) At Stubbers William Coys (d. 1627), the botanist, was renowned for his gardens, in which he grew in 1604 the first yucca in England. (fn. 28)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Before 1066 the manor of (NORTH) OCKENDON, which comprised the greater part of the parish, was held by Earl Harold as 2 hides less 40 acres. (fn. 29) William I took for himself almost all Harold's lands in Essex, but by 1075 he had granted North Ockendon and Feering to Westminster Abbey in exchange for the manor of Windsor (Berks.). (fn. 30) In the early 12th century North Ockendon provided 5s. towards the support of the monks, and in the 14th century a like sum went to the sacrist. (fn. 31) The abbey retained the overlordship of the manor until the Dissolution. (fn. 32)
In 1086 one hide of the manor was held of the abbey by William the chamberlain. (fn. 33) The manor was granted to Henry son of Wlvred in 1125 for a rent of £10 a year, which in later centuries was assigned to the cellarer. (fn. 34) William of Ockendon apparently held the manor c. 1155, when he yielded the church to the abbot of Westminster. (fn. 35) Between 1201 and 1203 there was litigation over a carucate of land in North Ockendon which Christine of Moulsham claimed as one of an unspecified number of sisters. Her opponent was Ralph of Setfountayns (de Septem Fontibus) of Chelsea (Mdx.). In the settlement Ralph received the carucate; in return Christine and her son Hubert were to hold of Ralph the lands in Ockendon previously held by her husband William son of Osbert. (fn. 36) This settlement seems to have been the basis of the Setfountayns possession of the manor, which in the 13th and 14th centuries was named OCKENDON SETFOUNTAYNS. Ralph died c. 1210. (fn. 37) He was succeeded at Ockendon and Chelsea by his son William who was still living in 1230. (fn. 38)
The manor descended in the Setfountayns family, until the end of the 13th century. Ralph of Setfountayns, son of William, held the advowson of North Ockendon in 1254 and was still alive in 1286. (fn. 39) He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who died in or after 1297 without issue, leaving as heirs his sisters Cecily and Isabel. (fn. 40) Isabel had married William (son of) Baldwin (d. 1316) who was in North Ockendon in 1305. (fn. 41) She died before the division of the family estates in 1315. Her heir was her son, Baldwin son of William (d. 1323), who took the manor of North Ockendon and the alternate presentation to the rectory. (fn. 42) Within two years of Baldwin's death his widow Emme married Nicholas of Brundish, and in 1329 they presented to the rectory. (fn. 43) Baldwin's heir was his son John de Baudechon (Bauchon, Bauchun), who seems to have died by 1373, leaving a widow Margaret. (fn. 44) She held the manor until her death in 1390 or 1391, when it passed to Poyntz Poyntz of Tockington (Glos.) in right of his wife Eleanor who was probably the granddaughter of William son of Baldwin. (fn. 45)
Poyntz Poyntz had died by 1412 when his son John held the manor. (fn. 46) John Poyntz (d. 1447) was succeeded by his son, another John (d. 1469 or 1470). (fn. 47) The manor then went in turn to the younger John's sons, Thomas and William: Thomas had died by 1481 when William and his father-in-law jointly presented to the rectory. (fn. 48)
William Poyntz (d. 1504) was succeeded by his sons John (d. 1547) and Thomas (d. 1562); Thomas's heir was his son (Sir) Gabriel (d. 1607), who devised the manor to (Sir) John Morris alias Poyntz of Chipping Ongar, the husband of his late daughter Catherine (d. 1603) and their heirs male, with remainder to Audrey, the daughter of his late son Thomas. (fn. 49) North Ockendon descended with the manor of Chipping Ongar until the death in 1643 of Poyntz Poyntz. (fn. 50) John Morris, nephew of Sir John Morris alias Poyntz then attempted to secure North Ockendon by methods which included forgery and an armed attack on North Ockendon Hall. (fn. 51) North Ockendon descended, however, in accordance with Sir Gabriel's will, to his granddaughter Audrey (d. 1648) and her husband, Sir Adam (Poyntz-) Littleton, Bt. (d. 1647). It then passed with the baronetcy until the death in 1710 of Sir Thomas Littleton, Bt., Speaker of the House of Commons, and later Treasurer of the Navy. (fn. 52) Sir Thomas, who left no issue, devised his estates to his kinsman, Capt. (later Vice-Admiral) James Littleton (d. 1723). (fn. 53) On the admiral's death North Ockendon passed, under the will of Sir Thomas, to Mrs. Elizabeth Meynell (d. 1726), a granddaughter of Sir Adam (Poyntz-) Littleton. (fn. 54) From this time the Hall was occupied by tenants.
Mrs. Meynell was succeeded by her son, Littleton Poyntz Meynell, who died in 1751 or 1752. (fn. 55) His successor was his son Hugh who sold North Ockendon in 1758 to Richard Benyon, the former governor of Fort St. George, Madras. (fn. 56) Benyon was already lord of the manors of Newbury, in Ilford, and Gidea Hall, Romford, and North Ockendon descended with Newbury until 1891. (fn. 57) In 1840 the manor comprised 1,135 a. (fn. 58)
Richard Benyon (formerly Fellowes) (d. 1897) was succeeded by his nephew, James H. Fellowes, later Benyon (d. 1935). (fn. 59) In 1937 Henry, son of J. H. Benyon, sold North Ockendon, together with the other Benyon estates in Essex, to pay death duties. (fn. 60) G. Gunary, the tenant, bought the Hall farm with 223 a. (fn. 61)
North Ockendon Hall lay within a moated enclosure immediately south of the churchyard. The redbrick house was of 16th-century origin with additions of the early 18th and the 19th centuries. (fn. 62) It was damaged by bombing in 1944 and later demolished. (fn. 63) The site is now occupied by modern bungalows, one of which incorporates a fragment of an old outbuilding. Several garden walls, probably of the 16th and 18th centuries, also survive. The northern arm of the moat has been filled in and partly built over; the east and outer west moats are little more than ditches; but the south and inner west moats are still wide and water-filled.
The manor of GROVES, which is to be distinguished from Groves manor in South Ockendon, lay on either side of Cole Street at the junction with Pike and Pea Lanes. Courts leet were held in 1518 and 1519 and recorded on rolls of the manor of North Ockendon, held of Westminster Abbey by the Poyntz family. (fn. 64) In 1570 (Sir) Gabriel Poyntz and his wife Audrey (d. 1594) were said to hold half of Groves manor for her life. (fn. 65) In 1608 Groves was regarded as a free tenement of the manor of North Ockendon, with which it descended. (fn. 66) In 1650 it was settled on William, the second son of Sir Adam and Lady (Audrey) (Poyntz-) Littleton, but in 1676 Dorothy, William's daughter and heir, sold it back to Sir Thomas Littleton, Bt. (fn. 67) Thereafter it remained with the North Ockendon estate, passing to the Meynells and Benyons. (fn. 68)
By 1774 the capital messuage of Groves was named Manor Farm. (fn. 69) It contained 130 a. in 1725 and 265 a. in 1775. (fn. 70) The present (1974) house, built c. 1900, stands SW. of the junction of Pea Lane and Ockendon Road.
The estate called STUBBERS originated as a free tenement of the manor of North Ockendon. (fn. 71) It lay in the north-west of the parish and in Upminster south of Corbets Tey, and took its name from William Stubber, yeoman, who formed the estate in the years between 1439 and his death in 1484. (fn. 72) Elements of his estate derived from properties recorded in 1419, 1427, and 1436; and two deeds of 1334 and 1337 presumably indicate, although in a way not now clear, the earliest history of these acres. (fn. 73) After Stubber's death the estate passed to Nicholas Davy, who added to it, and then to John Davy (d. 1525). (fn. 74) In 1533 the latter's son, another John Davy, sold Stubbers to Robert Warren (d. 1544), merchant tailor of London. The estate then comprised 60 a. and was occupied by Thomas Butler. (fn. 75) Warren's son Jasper sold the estate in 1563 for £320 to his Welsh brother-in-law, Roger Coys of London. (fn. 76) Roger was succeeded by his son William (d. 1627), the botanist, and he by his son Giles. (fn. 77) The estate had grown, and in 1629 comprised 160 a., including 103 a. in North Ockendon. (fn. 78) In 1642 Giles Coys sold Stubbers for £2,000 to Bernard Hale, later Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge (d. 1663), and his sister Dionis; in 1647 it passed to her, with other property, on her marriage with Sir Thomas Williamson. (fn. 79) Williamson sold Stubbers in the same year to Edmund Hoskins of the Inner Temple, London, and Hoskins sold it in 1660 to Sir Benjamin Wright, Bt., of Cranham Hall, from whom it was bought in 1662 by John Meyrick (d. 1663), merchant of London. (fn. 80) In 1689 Meyrick's widow Isabella, with his son Francis, sold the estate to Sir William Russell, alderman of London. It then consisted of 207 a. (fn. 81)
Stubbers descended in the direct line from Sir William (d. 1705) to his son William Russell (d. 1727), his grandson William Russell (d. 1754), and great-grandson John Russell (d. 1787). (fn. 82) It then passed in turn to John's sons, William (d. 1810), John (d. 1825), and Joseph (d. 1828). (fn. 83) Their mother Mary had been the sister of Champion Branfill (II) (d. 1770) of Upminster, and Joseph Russell devised Stubbers, which in 1840 comprised 405 a., to the young Branfill heir, Champion (V), who took the name of Russell. (fn. 84) He died in 1887 and was succeeded by his son Champion B. Russell (d. 1945), whose younger son, John N. Russell, lived at Stubbers until the estate was sold to the Essex Education Committee in 1947 for use as a youth centre. (fn. 85) In 1965 ownership was transferred to the G.L.C. on the formation of the London borough of Havering.
Stubbers mansion, originally of the 16th century, was several times altered and enlarged in the course of the next 300 years. (fn. 86) Major alterations were apparently made in the late 17th century after Sir William Russell's purchase of the estate, and the north hall and main oak staircases of that date were retained in later schemes. In the late 18th century a formal north front was added. This was built of stock brick, with three storeys and seven bays, the central three bays having a raised parapet. It was given an elaborate Doric porch, and the skyline was enlivened by Coade stone urns. About the same time the south drawingrooms on the ground and first floors were modernized, the latter in Adam style; a stone balcony with iron balustrading was added to the first floor of the south front; and a dairy with vaulted ceiling and Adam decoration was built on the east side. An orangery, a dovecot (dated 1797), kennels, and stables were also built. It was at Stubbers that William Russell (d. 1810) kept the pack of hounds from which originated the Essex Union hunt. (fn. 87) The house was in good condition in 1923 but was rapidly decaying in 1954. In 1960 it was demolished. (fn. 88)
The gardens of Stubbers were famous among botanists in the time of William Coys, and Coys's walled gardens east and south of the house survived until c. 1800. They were then removed on the advice of Humphry Repton, who retained, however, Coys's avenue of limes which ran southwards to the east of the house. The present walled garden beyond the fishpond, with an additional north-south crinkle-crankle wall, presumably dates from this period. Repton's suggestion that the neighbouring road should be diverted further west was carried out in 1814. (fn. 89) It is doubtful, however, whether the scheme devised by Repton was completed. (fn. 90) The temple indicated by Repton as extant in 1796 south of the house is not to be found on Chapman and André's map or on the tithe map (1841), although they both give the icehouse on the eastern boundary of the estate. (fn. 91)
Stubbers cottage, of two storeys, thatched, and timber-framed with stock-brick infilling, dates from about 1800. In 1974 it was derelict. (fn. 92)
North Ockendon has always been a purely agricultural community, increasingly occupied with arable farming. There were eight ploughs on the manor in 1086: two on the holding of William the chamberlain, two on Westminster Abbey's demesne, and four belonging to the men. No meadow or pasture was recorded, but there were 110 sheep on the demesne. There was woodland enough for 300 swine, but in fact the woods held only 30. In 1066 the manor had been worth £4; in 1086, including William the chamberlain's holding, it was worth £12. (fn. 93) The Domesday figures must, however, be used with caution. The abbey's estate of 22/3 hides was exactly a quarter the size of (South) Ockendon manor; yet in the 19th century the parish of North Ockendon was three-fifths of the size of South Ockendon. (fn. 94) The most striking figure relating to the abbey's manor is thus that of the swine pastures: in 1086 the abbey's manor, though small, was evidently densely wooded. The woodlands, however, disappeared early. By the 14th century the manor of North Ockendon was usually said to have no more than 10 a. of woods. (fn. 95) In 1868 there were less than 11 acres of woods out of 1,709 acres in the whole parish. (fn. 96)
No early figures for arable have been found, but in 1731 1,022 a. out of the 1,137 a. of North Ockendon manor were arable. (fn. 97) The parish contained 1,257 a. of arable in 1840, 1,482 a. in 1868, and 1,019 a. in 1916. (fn. 98) A single landowner controlled most of the parish from the 11th century to 1937; the community therefore consisted largely of tenant-farmers. In the mid 1750s the tenants of the manor estate were said to pay their rents more promptly than any others in Essex. The net annual income was £941; the estate was valued for sale at the high figure of 30 years purchase; and the price suggested was more than £30,500. (fn. 99) In 1829, however, 5 of the 6 Benyon farms were in poor condition for lack of manure and from bad cropping. A six-year rotation of crops was therefore recommended: barley or oats; beans or peas; wheat; clover; wheat; a year of fallow ploughed four times, with turnips at the tenant's option. (fn. 100) In the later 19th century wheat, beans, and peas were the chief crops. (fn. 101)
In 1840 there were 11 holdings over 20 a. held by 9 farmers. Four farms had between 209 a. and 328 a., three between 119 a. and 199 a., the other two about 20 a. each. Only 271 a. out of 1,558 a. in cultivation were meadow or pasture. By 1916 meadow and pasture had increased to 523 a., 162 a. of the arable were market-garden land, and there were 8 farms. Two had about 40 a., the rest between 198 a. and 332 a. Of the 1,550 a. then in cultivation, 666 a. were farmed by members of the Eve family, which then farmed also at Cranham and Rainham. In the 1960s the parish still had no manufacturing industries, but the acreage used for market-gardening had increased, and some gravel-pits had been opened. (fn. 102)
The existence of a windmill is first indicated in 1610 when John Cramphorne paid £20 a year for the mill, a cottage, and 16 a. (fn. 103) There are references to millers in 1626 and 1690, and the windmill in 1643. (fn. 104) Millers can be identified almost continuously from the 1720s to 1840, but in the latter year the mill, a post mill, was pulled down. (fn. 105) In the 18th and 19th centuries it had stood south of Fen Lane. (fn. 106)
Agrarian discontent in North Ockendon in the early 19th century has left no clear evidence behind, but in 1830 the tenant-farmers feared incendiaries, and one farmer kept five men on watch nightly. (fn. 107)
In the north of the parish there are deposits of brick-earth. There were perhaps brickworks there in 1574, when there is a reference to a brick-maker. (fn. 108) In 1840 there were two enclosures called Brick Clamps, a Brick Land field, a Sand Pit field, and four other pits in the parish. (fn. 109)
The abbot of Westminster in 1273 or 1274 claimed gallows and the assize of bread and of ale in North Ockendon manor. (fn. 110) The manor also had view of frankpledge and a court leet, but only a few court rolls for the period 1506–1623 have survived. (fn. 111)
Among the parish records are churchwardens' accounts (1787–1922) which include vestry business and parish appointments; overseers' rates (1771, 1828–87) and accounts (1745–1873); and surveyors' rate books (1833–95), accounts, and bills (1828–95). (fn. 112) The vestry met in the parish church, and its meetings were normally attended by five or six farmers, who shared the parish offices between them. From 1745 to 1773 and again from 1787 to 1793 there was often a vestry dinner at Easter. There was a vestry clerk in 1791 and from 1796 to 1829.
North Ockendon had two churchwardens in 1637, (fn. 113) but there was only one from 1787 to 1823. The assistant curate appointed one of the churchwardens in 1825, 1827, and 1828, and the return to two wardens in 1823 probably marked the introduction of a rector's warden. (fn. 114) Normally North Ockendon had one overseer, but in the years 1823–4 and 1825–7 the account was submitted in the name of two. In one year, 1824–5, the overseer claimed a salary. There was a single constable 1788–1813; thereafter there were two, the junior in 1813–15 being termed the headborough. The constables did not submit separate accounts, but recovered their expenses from the churchwardens or overseers. There were normally two surveyors, striking their own rates.
The vestry always provided out-relief for the poor. In addition there was a 'parish house', first mentioned in 1761. In 1769–70 a new house was built south-east of the village, but it was soon too small. In 1786 there were reckoned to be 85 poor within the parish and another 35, belonging to the parish, resident in South Ockendon. Five years later there were 96 in the parish and 47 outside. In 1789 some of the poor were sent to Great Warley workhouse. North Ockendon poorhouse was enlarged in 1791. From that year to 1797 the master of the workhouse and his wife received 4s. a day, and the parish paid for the maintenance of the poor. After 1797 the master provided their food and clothing, at first for 3s., but by 1813 for 5s., a week per head. Numbers in the workhouse between 1797 and 1799 varied from 13 to 21; then they dropped until the period 1808–14, when they were between 14 and 23. From 1819 or 1820 the parish apparently adopted a system whereby several persons received money for the care of the poor. In addition paupers were sent to South Ockendon workhouse between 1823 and 1825. From 1825 there were once again paupers at the North Ockendon workhouse under a master or mistress. When North Ockendon became part of Orsett union in 1835, the parish retained the former workhouse, converting it into six dwellings, one of which was in 1840 assigned rent-free to a pauper family. (fn. 115)
The parish also helped the poor in other ways. Between 1746 and 1808 sixteen children of the poor were apprenticed. 'Club' contributions were paid from time to time between 1778 and 1829, and in 1819 the parish therefore received a 'club' payment for a parishioner.
At first the poor received only casual medical aid, but in 1765 and from 1777 a doctor was retained by the parish. Casual payments to doctors continued, however, and in March 1820 the parish doctor received, in addition to his retainer, the large sum of £40 for attending the parishioner whose 'club' payment had earlier gone to the parish.
The cost to the parish of the poor was diminished by the income from a farm in Horndon-on-the-Hill, bought in 1647 with a bequest from Richard Poyntz (d. 1643). (fn. 116) In 1745–52 a 6d. rate produced a little less than £20 and was enough, with the farm's rent, to take care of the poor. After revaluation, c. 1755, 2s. rates producing about £95 a year were used for the next 30 years. Thereafter the income from rates rose: for a decade it was about £150, and in the 40 years from 1795 to 1835 it averaged £318 a year. (fn. 117)
A church, attached to Westminster Abbey's manor of (North) Ockendon, existed by 1075, and it was then said that the judgment of fire and water was held there by ancient custom. (fn. 118) The specification of a particular church is most unusual, and its meaning uncertain. (fn. 119) In 1212 the abbot of Westminster acknowledged that the advowson belonged to William of Setfountayns, tenant in demesne of the manor. (fn. 120) The advowson descended with the manor until 1315. At the partition of the Setfountayns estates in that year, Baldwin the son of Isabel of Setfountayns and William (son of) Baldwin, and his aunt, Cecily of Setfountayns, widow of Richard de Heyle, agreed to present to the rectory alternately. This arrangement was confirmed by the Court of Common Pleas in 1347, and was observed by the descendants of the two sisters, or their nominees, until 1526. Isabel's descendants held the manor of North Ockendon, Cecily's heirs and successors the manor of Chelsea (Mdx.). (fn. 121) After 1526 the advowson rested solely with the lords of North Ockendon manor until the 20th century. A presentation was sold in the 18th century, and in the 19th century kinsmen of Richard Benyon de Beauvoir (d. 1854) presented to the rectory. (fn. 122) In 1954 the advowson passed from H. A. Benyon to the Bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 123)
The value of the rectory was 15 marks in 1254, and £10 5s. in 1291. (fn. 124) In 1535 it was £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 125) By the 18th century it had risen to £160. (fn. 126) Its gross annual value c. 1830, was £557. (fn. 127) In 1840 the tithes were commuted for £500. (fn. 128) The glebe, reckoned to be 30 a. in 1610, consisted of 39 a. in 1840. (fn. 129)
The rectory house, which faces south to the church, was rebuilt c. 1750 in brown brick with red dressings. (fn. 130) The principal front, of 5 bays with a central doorway, was given 3 storeys but the rear had only two. Additions in the 19th century included a third storey in the rear, a two-storeyed service block to the north, and bay-windows on the west. (fn. 131) The house was damaged by bombs in 1944. (fn. 132) In 1958 the upper storey of the north wing was removed and the top storey of the main house adapted as a separate flat. (fn. 133) The Church Commissioners sold the rectory in 1976. (fn. 134)
As a small country parish with only moderate revenues North Ockendon often had non-resident rectors. John Palmer, rector 1526–31, was already rector of Langdon Hills; Henry Tripp, rector 1570– 82, was rector of St. Stephen, Walbrook (Lond.), 1572–1601; Robert Wilmot, rector 1582–1608, was also vicar of Horndon-on-the-Hill; and Edward Herbert, rector 1658–97, was also rector of Cranham from 1669. Assistant curates were appointed occasionally in the 16th and 17th centuries, and regularly after 1730. (fn. 135)
John Benson, rector 1546–54, was deprived by Bishop Bonner for having married. (fn. 136) William Jackson, rector 1619–57, was suspended for flippancy in 1636, but became a member of the Chafford classis in 1645 and in 1650 was described as learned and resident in the parish. (fn. 137) A 'register' was appointed in 1653 in accordance with the statute of that year. (fn. 138) In 1688 the rector, Edward Herbert, not only read James II's declaration of indulgence but penned a defence of his action. (fn. 139)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALEN, Church Lane, comprises chancel with north vestry and Lady chapel, nave with north aisle and south porch, and a west tower. (fn. 140) Its walls are of ragstone and flint with dressings of Reigate stone. The nave and chancel were built in the later 12th century but the south doorway is the only surviving feature of that date. A north aisle was added in the mid 13th century; it has the unusual feature of a normal arcade of three bays to the east and a plain arch piercing the nave wall to the west, but the reasons for this are unknown. The north chapel, which has an arcade of two bays to the chancel, was added c. 1300. The chancel may have been remodelled at or soon after this time. The north aisle was given a new doorway and windows in the later 14th century. In the 15th century the tower was added; (fn. 141) the chancel arch and part of the arcade were rebuilt; at least one new window was put into the nave; and the whole building was reroofed.
In 1840 the church was restored and an organ gallery built. A more complete restoration involving the renewal of much of the exterior stonework including the windows, was carried out in 1858; the vestry was added and probably the porch which replaced a timber-framed structure of unknown date. The cost of the restoration was met by Richard Benyon (formerly Fellowes, d. 1897), lord of the manor, and the work was supervised by Richard Armstrong, the architect who later rebuilt Cranham church for Benyon. (fn. 142)
Repairs to the interior were necessary in the earlier 17th century, and in 1685 the communion table was ordered to be set altarwise under the east window and railed off. (fn. 143) During the 19th-century alterations some of the monuments and furnishings were lost. (fn. 144) The font which dated from c. 1200 was replaced by another. (fn. 145) The medieval glass, which was at first rejected, was re-set and later replaced in the windows: an unidentified female saint dates from the 13th century, and a Magdalen from the 15th. (fn. 146) Their elaborate canopies are of the 14th century, as are the heraldic shields now in the west window of the tower.
The church has some fine monuments. There are 16th-century brasses to William Poyntz (d. 1504) and his wife Jane (d. 1502), to Thomasyn Ardall (d. 1532), the wife of first Robert Latham and then Roger Badby, and to John Poyntz (d. 1547); a modern brass commemorates Edward F. Evans, rector 1919–30 (d. 1933). Early indents to William (son of) Baldwin (d. 1316) and Baldwin son of William (d. 1323), and a fragment to John Bauchon (d. 1373?) are now concealed by the floors of the chancel and Lady chapel. The other monuments, chiefly to members of the Poyntz and Littleton families, include a series erected by Sir Gabriel Poyntz (d. 1608) to himself, his son (d. 1597), and his Poyntz predecessors at North Ockendon. Larger and more elaborate, but of similar form, was the monument erected by Sir Gabriel to his daughter and son-in-law; its style is virtually duplicated by the monument to Sir James (d. 1623) and Richard Poyntz (d. 1643). Most elaborate and largest of them all is the monument to Sir Gabriel and his wife. (fn. 147) The neighbouring monument to Sir Thomas Littleton, Bt. (d. 1710), is of white marble with a bust over a lengthy inscription framed by composite columns; the segmental pediment supports two cherubs and an achievement of arms. The chancel monuments include a bust of John Russell (d. 1825) by William Behnes, and a medallion of his widow Elizabeth (d. 1838) by Thomas Smith. (fn. 148)
In 1552 the church had four bells. There are now six: four were cast by Miles Graye in 1621; the fifth was by Philip Wightman in 1695; the treble, by Mears and Stainbank, was hung in 1934. The 15th-century ladder-stairway to the bell-chamber has solid treads and chamfered runners. (fn. 149)
The plate includes two chalices and patens. The older pair are of 1561; the newer of 1646. The latter were bought with a bequest for the purpose by Richard Poyntz. (fn. 150) The two large flagons, which matched them and were presumably also of 1646, were sold in 1842 to buy 'permanent ornaments' for the church. (fn. 151)
The church chest has a panelled lid; the front is inlaid with the initials W.P. and M.P. and the date 1557. The organ, for which a gallery was built in 1840–1, was replaced in 1908. (fn. 152)
An application was made in 1725 for the house of John Mayes, blacksmith, to be licensed for Presbyterian meetings. (fn. 153) There is no later record of organized nonconformist activities in the parish. In 1856 many of the inhabitants were said to be Dissenters; (fn. 154) presumably they attended the chapels in South Ockendon.
In the 1750s the vestry was paying for the education of poor children at a dame school. (fn. 155) In 1786 there was a Sunday school for 10 poor children. (fn. 156) It seems to have survived until at least 1819, when 30 or 40 attended. There were 5 dame schools in the parish in 1819, with some 70 pupils. (fn. 157) A new Sunday school was opened in 1826 by the assistant curate. (fn. 158) By 1833 the earlier dame schools seem to have closed, but two others existed in 1839 when the Sunday school, with 37 children, was maintained by local Churchmen. (fn. 159) In 1840 there was also a private night-school. (fn. 160)
St. Mary's Church of England school, Church Lane, originated in 1842 when a day-school and teacher's house were built by subscription on land in Church Lane owned by Richard Benyon de Beauvoir (d. 1854), lord of the manor. (fn. 161) Benyon and his successors remained the owners of the school. By 1846–7 the school had 55 pupils. (fn. 162) It received annual government grants from 1871. (fn. 163) It was enlarged in 1869 and 1881, and in 1902 was rebuilt by James Benyon for 80 children. (fn. 164) In 1936 the school was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants. (fn. 165) It was damaged by bombs in 1944. (fn. 166) In 1947, when there were only 30 pupils, the county council suggested its closure. (fn. 167) It remained open, however, and in 1955 was granted Aided status. (fn. 168)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR. (fn. 169)
Richard Poyntz of Barningham (Suff.) son of Sir James Poyntz of North Ockendon, by his will proved 1644, left £200 for the poor of North Ockendon. (fn. 170) In 1647 the legacy, supplemented by £24 belonging to the parish, was used to buy about 40 a. of land called Steeden (or Sticking) Hills at Horndon-on-the-Hill. (fn. 171) The annual income, which fluctuated between £25 in 1787 and £50 in 1877, was used to provide clothing, coal, bedding, and money for the poor. (fn. 172) From 1887 to 1890 the land was unlet and uncultivated. In 1912 the land, then 48 a., was sold for £960. In the 1920s the income was distributed in money and coal.
Sir William Russell of Stubbers (d. 1705), by his will, left a £3 rent-charge from a house in Water Lane (Lond.) to provide £1 to the minister of North Ockendon for a sermon on St. Simon's and St. Jude's day, 5s. to the clerk, and £1 15s. to be distributed to the poor with the advice and consent of Russell's descendants living at Stubbers. (fn. 173) In 1835 eight years' income, received in arrears, was used to provide clothing and blankets for the poor. By 1837 the income was being given in bread on the sermon day. The sermon seems to have lapsed during the Second World War, but was revived in 1975.
Daniel Russell (d. 1788) left £500 in trust, the income to be distributed to the poor by the Russell family. By 1837 the annual income of £15 was being used to provide clothing for the poor, and in 1869–70 bread was distributed. (fn. 174)
Remembrance Cottages, Church Lane, North Ockendon, were conveyed to trustees in 1930 by Champion Branfill Russell of Stubbers, as almshouses. (fn. 175) Memorial Bungalows, Fen Lane, were built in 1971 as alms-houses by Pamela and John N. Russell in memory of their parents. (fn. 176)
In 1937, after local complaints about the administration of the charities, the Charity Commission drew up a Scheme regulating the use of the charities of Richard Poyntz, William Russell, and Daniel Russell. After payment for a sermon, the income was to provide for money and medical care for the poor. In 1975 the income was spent on the upkeep of Remembrance Cottages and Memorial Bungalows, and for gifts of money to the old and needy.