A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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ECONOMIC HISTORY. (fn. 1)
In 1086 the manor of Havering, rated at 10 hides, included the whole of Havering, Romford, and Hornchurch, which in the 19th century comprised 16,100 a. (fn. 2) In relation to the area the number of hides was remarkably low. This was probably because the Havering hide was unusually large. (fn. 3) In Essex the hide normally comprised four virgates, each of 30 acres, making a total of 120 a. (fn. 4) In Havering, however, the virgate was normally 120 a., which would give a hide of 480 a. (fn. 5)
In 1066 the manor contained 41 villeins, 41 bordars, and 6 serfs, with 2 demesne plough-teams, and 41 belonging to the tenants. There was woodland for 500 swine, and 100 a. of meadow. In 1086 there were only 40 villeins, and 40 tenants' ploughteams; the other figures were unchanged. The stock then comprised a rouncey, 10 beasts, 160 swine, and 269 sheep, and there was a mill. It was stated that the manor had been valued at £36 in 1066, and at £40 in 1086, but that the sheriff of Essex received from it £80 rent and £10 in fines. These figures show Havering as a prosperous manor, with a well-balanced system of farming. It was not unlike the neighbouring manor of Barking. (fn. 6) Both manors extended north from the Thames, with successive belts of alluvium, valley gravel, and London clay. Barking was somewhat larger, in area and in population, and had a much higher proportion of arable and woodland. Havering had more than twice as many sheep.
The most striking feature of Havering's Domesday economy is perhaps the fact that it was being rackrented at twice its assessed value. This indication that the manor had a considerable productive capacity is borne out by its development during the next two centuries. In c. 1355 Havering contained some 430 messuages or cottages. (fn. 7) The total included former buildings that had been demolished, but there is no indication that there were many of those, and it thus seems likely that between 1086 and the earlier 14th century the number of households had increased fivefold. That had been made possible by the more intensive farming of the older tenements, by colonization of forest and waste, and by the alienation of the royal demesne.
The extent of 1250–1 states that there were 40 virgates, but actually lists 40¼, divided among 116 tenants. (fn. 8) That of c. 1355 states that there were 43½ 7/4 virgates, but lists a total of just under 40, (fn. 9) divided among 87. It is possible that the original 40 virgates represented the holdings of the 40 villeins of 1086. (fn. 10) The later history of the tenements of the Domesday bordars is more obscure. In 1250–1 there were seven tenants holding one cotland apiece. In c. 1355 there were 4 tenants holding one cotland each, and 7 with ½ cotland. Two of the cotlands comprised 60 a., one was 23½ a., and one 20 a. Four of the ½ cotlands were 20 a., and three were 10 a. The cotlands in Havering were thus no more than half a virgate, and usually less. They probably represented the holdings of some of the Domesday bordars. (fn. 11) If so the other holdings of the bordars must have lost their identity by 1250–1.
The system of virgates had survived in Havering largely because it was used in assessing the tenants' obligation to repair the pale of Havering park. In other respects it was out of date by the 13th century, but the detailed descriptions of it in 1250–1 and c. 1355 help to reveal a remarkable pioneering enterprise, sustained until the Black Death and stimulated by the Crown, which from the 12th century used the manor mainly for hunting and timber, while freely arrenting the demesne and the woodland waste. By 1250–1 the king had in hand, besides the park, only 223 a. of arable and 38 a. of meadow and pasture. There were altogether 272 chief tenants, of whom 42 were also subtenants, and 129 other subtenants, making a total of 401 landholders, apart from the king. 'New purprestures', totalling 975 a., were held by 184 of the chief tenants, of whom 136 held no other tenements. By c. 1355 the whole of the demesne farm had been arrented and the royal plough had gone out of use. Most of the larger farms consisted mainly of virgates, consolidated or fragmented, to which 'new lands' had been added by assarting and by arrenting the demesne. The most important exceptions were Hornchurch Hall, Suttons, and Redden Court, in Hornchurch, and Earls in Havering, which contained no virgates, but consisted entirely of former demesne or assarts. In all there were 1,748 a. of 'new lands', including 87 dwellings. Of the 'new lands' 1,089 a. were attached to the older virgate tenements, but the remainder had been formed into separate smallholdings, on which were 70 of the dwellings. Some of the 'new lands', in small parcels totalling about 256 a., had come from the royal demesne called Beryland. A few of the parcels were near Marshalls at Romford, and one or two others at Oldchurch. Most of the 'new lands', comprising about 1,491 a., had, however, been reclaimed from the waste. With 1,154 a. in the park Queen Philippa was still the largest occupier, but there were three other large estates. Hornchurch priory held about 900 a., mainly at Hornchurch. (fn. 12) Dagenhams comprised about 611 a., and Gidea Hall about 506 a. The whole manor of Havering, excluding the royal park and the commons, contained some 11,850 a. Of that cultivated land some 7,885 a. were held by chief tenants, and 3,965 a. by subtenants ('undersettles'). There were 190 chief tenants, of whom 100 were also subtenants, and 356 other subtenants, making a total of 546 landholders, apart from the queen. (fn. 13)
The above figures show that between 1250–1 and c. 1355 the 'new lands' had increased by 773 a., of which about 500 a. had been taken from the waste and the remainder from the demesne. The cultivated land had thus increased by about 4½ per cent. The number of chief tenants had fallen by 30 per cent, but the number of landholders of all kinds had risen by 36 per cent. It is clear that the manor was being much more intensively cultivated in c. 1355 than it had been a century earlier, and that the larger tenants were consolidating their holdings. Economic growth had recently been halted by the Black Death: it was stated in c. 1355 that because of the great mortality caused by the plague no one wished to take up an assart from the queen. In the long run, however, assarting was stimulated, from the 14th century onwards, by the exclusion of Havering from the forest of Essex. (fn. 14)
There are indications that Havering, like Barking (fn. 15) may have had open fields. Selions or strips, 40 perches long, lying in fallow fields in the manor, were mentioned in 1250–1, (fn. 16) and in c. 1355 holdings were in scattered parcels rather than compact blocks. Further evidence is provided by the field name Manland (common land), which in c. 1355 occurred in two places within the manor of Havering, both identifiable from later records. One was near Marshalls in Romford, (fn. 17) the other at Noak Hill. (fn. 18) In the early 17th century both of them were small inclosed fields. By that time, indeed, no open arable still survived anywhere in the manor of Havering.
In the south of the manor, at Hornchurch, marshland commons survived at least until the mid 19th century. In 1735 Havering level included 4 commons in the marshes: Smith Mead (21 a.), the Hassock (69 a.), Woolley Mead (30 a.), and Great Common (67 a.). (fn. 19) In 1850 the total area of common marshland was almost exactly the same, although there had been minor changes in the areas of the individual commons. The commons then contained 83 strips, divided among 14 owners, of whom the two largest between them held 54 strips, containing about 140 a. out of the total of 187 a. No common marshes remained in 1975. (fn. 20)
In addition to the common arable and common marshes there were the common woodlands or 'outwoods', which are more fully described elsewhere. (fn. 21) At the time of Domesday these must have covered much of the northern half of the manor. In the following centuries they were steadily reduced by the assarting already mentioned, and by the early 19th century they had dwindled to open commons at Collier Row, Harold Wood (the present Straight Road area), and Noak Hill. In 1814 those commons, comprising a total of 1,060 a., were inclosed under an Act of 1811. (fn. 22) Several small greens were inclosed at the same time. Most of those were in Hornchurch, and they included Redden Court green, Ardleigh green, Squirrels Heath, and two unnamed greens near the present Gaynes Parkway. The greens, with many roadside verges also inclosed, comprised 95 a. Havering green was allotted to the Crown, as lord of the manor, with the proviso that it should remain open for public use. After the break-up of the manor estate it was bought by Dr. Harold Smith, who gave it to Romford borough council in 1935. (fn. 23)
In Havering, as in Barking, the existence of these three types of ancient common combines with the Domesday particulars to show the early pattern of local agriculture. The ancient settlements in the centre of the manor, probably with arable fields near, were flanked on the north by forest pastures, and on the south by marshland pastures. Also in the north was Havering park, which existed by the mid 12th century, (fn. 24) and by Henry III's reign was playing an important part in the economy of the manor, in supplying bacon, venison, timber, and fish. (fn. 25) In c. 1355 it was stated that 550 beasts had anciently been pastured in the park, and that there were now 300. (fn. 26) In 1650 the park contained 200 deer. (fn. 27)
The labour services due from the tenants and subtenants of the manor of Havering were listed in detail in 1250–1. (fn. 28) For all the services a cash value was added, which suggests that commutation was not unusual. By c. 1355 all labour services seem to have been commuted, and most of them had disappeared from the record. This reflects the alienation of the royal demesne which has already been mentioned.
Mixed farming, without strong specialization, continued to be the pattern in Havering until the 19th century. Before the 15th century arable seems to have predominated on the larger estates, even on the lowlands of the manor, near the marshes. (fn. 29) In and after the 16th century the proportion of meadow and pasture was higher than before, and on some Hornchurch estates exceeded arable. (fn. 30) There is no evidence of large-scale commercial grazing in the 16th century. One reason for this was the survival of commons rights in the marshes, and the large numbers of small holdings there. (fn. 31) No less important was flooding, from which Hornchurch suffered almost as severely as Dagenham. (fn. 32)
In the early 17th century Havering had much parkland, not only in the royal park, but also at Pyrgo, Gidea Hall, Stewards, and Bretons. (fn. 33) The royal park was cut up into farms in the 1650s, and Stewards before 1696, but several other parks were formed in the 18th century. (fn. 34) While the main function of the parks was to provide a pleasant setting for country houses, they were a valuable source of timber. In 1748, for example, the timber on the Dagenhams estate was valued at £2,456, (fn. 35) and in 1815 that on the Gidea Hall estate at £5,335. (fn. 36)
Between 1770 and 1850 Havering was transformed into a region of intensive and scientific farming, by the enterprise of men like John Heaton (d. 1818) of Bedfords, James Ellis (d. 1845) of Havering Park farm, and Collinson Hall of Bower farm. (fn. 37) Heaton was prominent in promoting the inclosures of 1814. The new farm-land taken in then was rapidly exploited. About two years later it was already 'in a high state of cultivation, and great crops of corn and green food for cattle have been obtained'. Many buildings had been erected on the inclosures, and plantations made, and the improvements were thought to have caused Havering 'to assume an entirely new character.' (fn. 38) Heaton himself obtained much of Harold Wood common, and built there the model farm of Heaton Grange. Ellis and Hall both farmed land that had once belonged to Havering park, and had the advantage of being tithe-free. They were tenants of Hugh McIntosh, a rich contractor who had bought the Havering manor estate in 1828, and who in the following years carried out many farming improvements. (fn. 39) Ellis, who also farmed in Kent, is said to have become the largest hop-grower in the world. (fn. 40) His hop plantations at Havering were maintained until his death, but were ploughed up soon after. Collinson Hall, who was at Bower farm in the 1830s and 1840s, pioneered the use of the steam-plough, and was one of the first local farmers to provide milk for the London market. (fn. 41)
Farther south, at Hornchurch, the soil was especially suitable for market-gardening. Potato-growing had begun there by 1807, (fn. 42) and was well-established by 1830, when some of the farmers were involved in a bitter dispute over potato tithes with John Bearblock of Hornchurch Hall, lessee of the great tithes. (fn. 43) Bearblock was himself a large vegetable grower with a London connexion. (fn. 44)
Older types of farming, including large-scale grain growing, continued alongside market-gardening. In 1846 the titheable land in Havering and north Romford, which comprised about seven-eighths of the total area, included 3,129 a. of arable, 3,710 a. of meadow and pasture, 174 a. of woods and plantations, and 113 a. of orchards. (fn. 45) In 1849 the titheable land in Hornchurch and south Romford, comprising about nine-tenths of the total area, included 4,606 a. arable, 2,179 a. meadow and pasture, 44 a. wood, and 37 a. reeds. (fn. 46) At the date quoted Havering and north Romford had 34 farms of over 50 a.; 13 of those were between 50 a. and 100 a., 12 between 100 a. and 200 a., and 9 over 200 a. The largest of all was occupied by Collinson Hall, who by that time had acquired the tenancy of the whole of the Havering manor estate, comprising 1,339 a. In Hornchurch and south Romford the farms tended to be smaller. There were 49 over 50 a., including 15 between 50 a. and 100 a., and 7 over 200 a. The largest was Suttons farm, of 406 a.
Farming remained the main occupation in Havering until after the First World War. Marketgardening, especially in Hornchurch and south Romford, continued to be important, and during the later 19th century came to include fruit and flowers. (fn. 47) At that period George Rawlings, whose nurseries lay south of Romford station, was a dahlia-grower well known throughout Europe, (fn. 48) and the Revd. J. H. Pemberton of Havering was a noted rosegrower. (fn. 49) As late as 1917 market-gardening was still being carried on on a large scale at Hornchurch, which also had fine grain crops. (fn. 50) It could be said then 'the chief industry of Hornchurch remains on the soil,' but during the next twenty years most of the farm-land there and in south Romford was built over. In north Romford development was slower, especially in the Noak Hill area, where about 1,500 a. of farm-land survived until the Harold Hill estate was built after the Second World War. At Havering, where development was halted by the Green Belt policy, there are still several farms.
The industries of Hornchurch and Romford are treated under those places. In Havering village there was some tile-making in the 15th century and later, and in the 19th century there were brickfields in Broxhill Road. (fn. 51) There was a tanner at Pyrgo in 1441. (fn. 52) Some vanished industries are indicated by field names. In c. 1618 Mill field lay about ½ m. north of Bedfords. (fn. 53) In 1846 Windmill hill was on the boundary between Havering and Stapleford Abbots; Hopkiln hill was roughly where Hillrise Road is now; Brick Kiln corner was in Orange Tree Road. (fn. 54) An informal pleasure fair, held in the village on Ascension Day was in existence by 1771. (fn. 55) It was abolished in 1877, under the Fairs Act, 1871. (fn. 56)
FOREST. (fn. 57)
The forest of Essex, as defined in 1225, 1228, and 1301 included the whole of the royal manor of Havering. (fn. 58) The perambulation of 1301 recorded the Havering boundaries in detail. (fn. 59) In 1305 all the demesne lands of the Crown within the forest were declared to be free chases or warrens, reserved for royal use. (fn. 60) Even before that, however, Havering was in some respects separate from the rest of the forest. There had been a royal park there at least since 1157. (fn. 61) Until the later 13th century the custody of the park was held in fee by the steward of the forest of Essex. (fn. 62) In 1262 Henry III granted the park, with the manor of Havering, to his queen Eleanor. (fn. 63) Thomas of Clare, who bought the stewardship of the forest in 1267, was deprived of the custody of the park, apparently about 1280, for an offence committed against the queen by one of his parkers. The park was then appropriated by the queen, and was entrusted to one of her officials. (fn. 64) In 1306 Gilbert of Clare, son and heir of Thomas, tried to regain custody. (fn. 65) He seems to have failed, and no later steward of the forest is known to have had the custody until the 17th century. (fn. 66) At the forest eyre of 1324 a separate justice was nominated by Queen Isabel, who then held Havering manor, to hear pleas relating to 'Havering forest'. (fn. 67) The queen was to receive all the income from Havering pleas.
As a result of these developments between c. 1280 and 1324 Havering seems to have been disafforested and to have acquired the status of a forest purlieu. The inhabitants of the purlieus were not represented at the forest courts and they were exempt from all the forest laws except those protecting the king's game. (fn. 68) Those conditions existed at Havering by 1489. (fn. 69) and in 1594 its inhabitants were explicitly stated to be 'dwelling in the purlieus.' (fn. 70) Havering purlieu is nowhere defined. It presumably included the whole manor of Havering.
In the earlier 17th century the Crown tried to bring Havering back into the forest. James I, soon after he came to the throne, began to levy retrospective fines on those holding unauthorized inclosures in the forest. (fn. 71) When he extended those claims to Havering he met strong, and apparently successful resistance from the local landowners. (fn. 72) The widespread resentment roused by such exactions led to a statute of 1624 which restricted the king's right to 'concealed' lands by providing that he must prove that he had title to them within the past 60 years. (fn. 73) This left unresolved the question of the forest boundaries, and in 1634–5 the Crown, by intimidating the jury at the forest eyre, extended the boundaries to take in much of Essex, including Havering. (fn. 74) In the following years, at least until 1640, Havering was treated as part of the forest, (fn. 75) and was apparently included in West Hainault 'walk', of which Sir Robert Quarles was keeper. (fn. 76) In 1641, however, the previous boundaries were restored by Act of Parliament, (fn. 77) followed by a perambulation which recorded, among other landmarks, the ancient boundary stones on the eastern side of the forest. (fn. 78) Those stones, or some of them, were renewed in 1642. (fn. 79) In 1908 they were repaired and re-fixed. Six of them were on the Havering boundary. Four of those are known to have been moved at some time, before or after 1908, but in 1975 all six survived, more or less in their ancient positions.
In 1086 Havering had woodland sufficient to feed 500 swine. (fn. 80) That figure, though considerable, is not large enough to indicate a high density throughout the manor, and it is likely that then, as later, the woodland lay mainly on the northern uplands. Throughout the Middle Ages Havering park, which formed the NW. corner of the manor, was well wooded. (fn. 81) South and east of it lay the outwoods (bosci forinseci): West (or Lowe) wood, Harold's wood, and Crocleph (or East wood). These provided common pasture for the tenants of the manor, and also for those of Navestock, Stapleford Abbots, and South Weald. Remnants of them eventually became open commons, which survived until 1814. (fn. 82) West wood, which lay south of Havering park, became Collier Row common. Harold's wood became Romford common, which extended north from the present Gallows Corner. Crocleph (later Havering wood) became Havering plain, at Noak Hill. During the three centuries after Domesday there was much clearance of woodland. (fn. 83) Romford wood, which in the early 13th century was providing pasture for the king's cattle, became the nucleus of the manor of Romford, or Mawneys. (fn. 84) By 1306 most of that manor was arable or pasture, and the wood was devastated. (fn. 85) Forest clearance was systematically exploited by the Crown, which granted assarts from the outwood on payment of rent. (fn. 86) It also occurred in other ways. In 1389 the farmer of Hornchurch rectory was found to have caused waste during the past three years by felling some 500 trees at Beam Land. (fn. 87) That reference is also notable in showing that there was then woodland within half a mile of the marshes.
By the early 17th century no large woods survived in Hornchurch, though there were several groves and many individual trees. (fn. 88) A small part of Harold's wood remained at the northern end of Romford common. Collier Row common, formerly West wood, was by then open grassland, but Havering wood survived at Noak Hill, where there were also several smaller woods. At that time Havering park was still partly wooded, but during the Interregnum it was cut up into farms, which were allowed to remain at the Restoration. By the later 18th century little ancient woodland survived in Havering liberty, though there were several post-medieval parks. (fn. 89)
The manorial government of Havering has been treated above. (fn. 90) Havering, like Romford was originally a chapelry of Hornchurch. (fn. 91) In the 16th century it was treated as one of the wards of 'Romford side', (fn. 92) but by the early 17th century its chapel vestry seems to have been largely self-governing in civil, as distinct from church matters. (fn. 93)
There are vestry books for 1677–1748, and 1786–1926, together with chapelwardens' accounts, 1705–1811, and bills, 1745–1836, overseers' accounts, 1683–1836, (fn. 94) and a few other records. (fn. 95) Further information is provided by the vestry books of Romford, 1660–1849, which include extracts from earlier books, 1489–1660. (fn. 96)
In the late 17th century the vestry usually met only once or twice a year. From 1706 the frequency tended to increase, often reaching three or four, and occasionally, as in 1747, six a year. Meeting places are rarely stated. Attendances, as indicated by signatures to the minutes, were usually between 5 and nine. In 1727 it was agreed that expenditure on refreshments at meetings other than the Easter vestry should be limited to 4d. a head. In the early 18th century the vestry was paying a small salary to its clerk, who was once (1731) instructed to collect it 'from house to house'. From 1731 the chaplain of Havering. Mark Noble, was acting as clerk; in 1743, after his death, his daughter succeeded to the post.
In the 16th and early 17th centuries there seem to have been two chapelwardens (fn. 97) By the later 17th century, however, there was only one, and that remained the normal custom until 1849. (fn. 98) From 1596 the Romford vestry was appointing a warden for Havering. (fn. 99) Havering later controverted that practice, but in 1683 Romford's right to enforce it was upheld in the archdeacon's court. (fn. 100) After that time the same man was usually appointed as sole warden by agreement between the two vestries, though there were occasionally rival candidates. (fn. 101) Romford did not nominate after 1790. (fn. 102)
A collector of the poor for Havering was appointed by Romford vestry in 1561. (fn. 103) In the earlier 17th century Romford was nominating an overseer of the poor for Havering, (fn. 104) while the Romford surveyors of highways had joint responsibility for the whole of Romford side, including Havering. (fn. 105) From c. 1680, however, Havering nominated its own overseer and surveyor, for formal appointment by the justices of the liberty. A petty constable for Havering ward was appointed under ancient custom in the court leet. (fn. 106) By 1677, however, that appointment also was apparently initiated by nomination in the vestry.
From the later 17th century separate churchrates and poor-rates were being levied, but there was much overlapping between the churchwarden's and the overseer's accounts. In the early 19th century there were separate constable's rates. They included the liberty rates, which sometimes, as in 1816–17, amounted to as much as a fifth of all parochial charges.
Poor-relief in this small village followed a simple pattern. In 1709 the vestry was renting a house at Havering Green, and one at Collier Row, for lodging the poor. 'The little house, lately Wrights'' was in similar use in 1713. In 1740 the vestry leased a house at Havering for £4 a year. For the next 50 years the rent, probably for the same house, remained the same. (fn. 107) In 1792 a cottage was leased from Thomas Neave, and it was used as the poorhouse, sometimes called the workhouse, down to 1836. (fn. 108) It had five rooms and a kitchen. (fn. 109)
From the 17th century to the early 19th the vestry was paying weekly doles to the aged poor, the sick, widows, and orphans. The total number receiving doles at any one time during that period was usually between 4 and 7 until 1818, after which it rose to 10 or more. Out-relief was also given in kind, by payments for rent or lodging, medical care, apprenticing orphans, or buying the tools of trade. In the 19th century the vestry had a regular contract with a succession of doctors for treating the poor. In 1736 it resolved that a poor child should be lodged on the 'roundsman' system, and in 1745 it passed a general resolution to the same effect. In 1800 and the following years small payments were made to the poor for spinning. In 1813 the vestry paid the large sum of £20 to meet the fine and gaol fees of a man charged with killing a deer. (fn. 110)
Before 1700 the total annual cost of poor-relief varied from about £15 to £25. It later rose, with considerable fluctuations, to reach about £60–90 in the 1740s, and to an average of £188 in the years 1783–5. (fn. 111) After 1800 it kept fairly steady, usually between £200 and £300. (fn. 112) These figures, in relation to the population, suggest that there was less poverty in Havering than in the other parts of the liberty, or in neighbouring parishes like Stapleford Abbots or Stapleford Tawney. (fn. 113) The parish records contain little information concerning the work of the surveyor of highways, for which the records of the liberty quarter sessions are a better source. (fn. 114) Statute highway labour was still being performed in the 18th and early 19th centuries. (fn. 115) Havering, like other places in the liberty, made an annual payment to the Middlesex and Essex turnpike trust for mending the main London-Colchester road.
Havering became part of Romford poor-law union in 1836, and was later in Romford rural district until 1934, when it was annexed to Romford urban district. (fn. 116)