Little Ilford

Pages 150-157

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 place was so called to distinguish it from Great Ilford, a hamlet of Barking, which is much more populous. Morant derives Ilford from the ill ford which was there before the bridge was built. As the name is written in ancient records Eleford, I should rather think that the true etymology is Eald-ford, i. e. the Old ford.



Quantity of land, and how occupied.



Little Ilford lies in the hundred of Becontree, at the distance of about six miles from London; a little to the south of the great road. The parish is bounded on the west, south, and north, by Eastham and Wanstead; and on the east by the river Rodon, which separates it from Barking. It contains about 670 acres of land, of which about 480 are arable, the remainder grass; about 120 acres of the arable are usually cropped with potatoes: about 110 acres of the grass land are in the marshes. The soil is, for the most part, a light gravel. This parish pays the sum of 72l. 4s. to the landtax; which, in the year 1795, was at the rate of about 1s. 2d. in the pound.

Manor of Ilford Parva.

The manor of Ilford (now called Ilford Parva) was, in the reign of William the Conqueror, the property of Goscelin Loremar (fn. 1). About the year 1213, it belonged to Haluit de Sifrewast (fn. 2). In 1235, Richard de Grey had a grant of free warren in Ilford; which had been Reginald Meander's and his wife Yselda's (mother of the said Richard (fn. 3) ). In 1335, William de la Pole appears to have been the proprietor (fn. 4). It was afterwards given (by whom is not known) to the abbot and convent of Stratford Langthorn; who were in possession of it about the year 1460 (fn. 5). After the dissolution of religious houses, it was granted, anno 1541, (with Beringers in Barking,) to Morgan Wolf, alias Philips; who left it, by will, to his eldest son Julinus, or Julian. In the year 1596, Edward Onley, son of Julian Morgan's widow by her second husband, being seised of this manor, sold it to Hugh, John, and Nicholas Hare. In 1605, it was purchased of the Hares by Bernard Hyde, Esq. from whom it descended to Humphrey Hyde; who, in 1701, sold it to Henry Wight, Esq. (fn. 6), whose grandson of the same name died in 1793; having devised his estates in the manner already described in the account of Gayseham's-hall in Barking (fn. 7).

Manor of Aldersbroke.

The manor of Aldersbroke in this parish was purchased by Lord Cromwell, of George Monox, Esq. for K. Hen. VIII. (fn. 8) It is probable that the King soon afterwards granted it to Sir John Heron, treasurer of his chamber; for it appears that by his will, bearing date 1520, he left it to his wife Margaret, if she continued single, with remainder to his son Sir Giles. On the attainder of Giles Heron his grandson, (who married Cecilia, daughter of Sir Thomas More,) it reverted to the crown; and in 1535, was granted for life to Anthony Knevett, Esq. (fn. 9) In 1544, it was granted in fee to Catherine Adington, widow, and her son Thomas (fn. 10). The latter, in 1553, conveyed it to John Traves (fn. 11), whose son and heir of the same name aliened it, in 1578, to Henry Earl of Pembroke (fn. 12); from him it passed, in 1580, to Nicholas Fuller (fn. 13); and soon afterwards from Fuller to Robert Earl of Leicester (fn. 14), who left it, by will, to his countess, till his natural son Robert Dudley should attain the age of twenty years. Sir Robert Dudley sold it, in 1595, to Edward Bellingham, Esq. (fn. 15), whose son Sir Edward died seised of it in 1636, when it was inherited by his first cousin Cecily, wife of Thomas West (fn. 16), whose son Richard, in 1655, sold it to Henry Osbaston, Esq. (fn. 17) Elizabeth, widow and executrix of Francis Osbaston, Esq. (fn. 18), aliened it, in 1694, to Sir John Lethieullier (fn. 19). It was many years the property of that family, who made the manor-house one of their principal places of residence. In the year 1786, Edward Hulse, Esq. (who married Mary, daughter and heir of Charles Lethieullier, Esq.) sold it to the late Sir James Tylney Long, Bart. (fn. 20) It is now vested in his son. The house was pulled down immediately after Sir J. T. Long's purchase, and a farm-house built on the site.

The church.

The parish-church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a small neat structure, consisting of a nave and a chancel. At the west end is a low tower and cupola.

On the north wall of the chancel is a monument (with the effigies of the deceased in kneeling attitudes) to the memory of William Waldegrave, Esq. who died in 1610, and of Dorothy his wife, ("of "the honorable family of the Conyers' of the North",) who died in 1589. Edward, one of their sons, was agent for King James to the Elector Palatine, and the consederate princes of Germany. On the same wall is the monument of Francis Osbaston, Esq. (fn. 21), who died while high sheriff for the county, anno 1678. On the south wall are the monuments of Mrs. Anne Briscoe, 1739; Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Robert Peck (fn. 22) of London, 1741; and Nathaniel Lambert, Esq. (fn. 23), gentleman pensioner to Queen Anne, George I., and George II. 1745. On the floor is a brass plate (with the figure of the deceased) in memory of Thomas, son and heir of Sir John Heron, who died at Aldersbroke, anno 1517; and the tombs of Henry Osbaston, Esq. 1669, and Fuller his sixth son, 1660. On the north wall of the nave is a monument in memory of Thomas Gowland, Esq. 1779; Emma Elizabeth his first wife, (daughter of Edmund Chamberlayne, Esq. of Maugersbury in the county of Gloucester,) 1770; and Anne his second wife, daughter of John Harriott, Esq. 1778. On the floor are the tombs of William, son of Bernard Hyde, Esq. 1614; Anne his daughter, 1630; and Mrs. Susan Comyns, 1745. At the west end of the church is the monument of Robert Doughty, Gent. 1774.

Smart Lethieullier.

At the north-west corner of the church is the burial-place of the Lethieullier family, which, with the room over it, was built by a faculty in the year 1724. In this room, which is connected with the church, are several handsome monuments of white and veined marble, in memory of John Lethieullier, Esq. (eldest son of Sir John Lethieullier of Lewisham,) 1737; Elizabeth his wife, (daughter of Sir Joseph Smart of Theydon Bois,) who died in consequence of being overturned in her coach, 1724; Charles Lethieuller, Esq. (fn. 24), 1759; (he married Mary, daughter of William Gore, Esq. of Tring, by Lady Mary Compton;) Smart Lethieullier, Esq. (fn. 25), 1760; Margaret his wife, daughter of William Sloper, Esq. of Woodhay, Berks, 1753; and Benjamin Smart, Esq. bencher of the Middle Temple, 1761.

The rectory.

The church of this place is a rectory in the diocese of London, and in the deanery of Barking. It is valued in the King's books at 11l. 13s. 9d. It was reported to the commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, anno 1650, that Ilford Parva was a rectory worth 55l. per annum, and that Humphrey Richards, an able preaching minister, was the rector (fn. 26). The patronage has always been vested in the lord of the manor.

Sir John Heron, who died in 1521, gave five marks per annum (3l. 6s. 8d.) payable by the Fishmongers' Company to the rector of this parish and his successors (fn. 27). The glebe belonging to the rectory is about 40 acres.

Thomas Newton, rector.

Thomas Newton, instituted to this rectory in 1583, was a native of Cheshire. After a short residence at Oxford, he removed to Queen's College in Cambridge, where he finished his education, and became particularly noted for the excellence of his Latin poetry. When he first left the university, he practised physic at Macclesfield; but afterwards kept a school there, which he removed to Ilford upon his obtaining that benefice. His works are numerous and various: The History of the Saracens; a book of approved Medicines; "The Death of Delia, with the Tears of her Funeral, being a poetical excusive Discourse of our late Queen Elizabeth, 1603; a pleasant new History, or a fragrant Poesie made of three Flowers, Rose, Rosalind, and Rosemary:" and several translations, among which is one of Seneca's Tragedy of Thebais (fn. 28). He is supposed also to have been the author of the Herbal of the Bible (fn. 29). Mr. Newton died in 1607, and was buried in the church of Little Ilford, to which he left a legacy for ornaments.

The present rector is the Rev. Hugh Price, M. A. instituted in 1787, on the resignation of John Chaunler.

Parish register.

The register of baptisms, burials, &c. begins in the year 1539.

Comparative state of population.

Average of Baptisms. Average of Burials.
1540–9 1 1/10 1 4/5
1580–9 1 9/10 1 4/5
1630–9 1 3/10 (imperfect)
1680–9 2 3/10 2 4/5
1730–9 1 3/5 4 2/5
1780–9 3 1/10 7
1790–4 2 4/5 5 4/5

Many of the burials of late years have been from other parishes.

It was reported to the commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices, in 1650, that the parish of Little Ilford contained only ten or twelve families, part of which were on the north side of the great road, and very proper to be joined to Wanstead; the jurors recommended that the church should be pulled down, and the materials used for building another in the parish of Barking, in the forest (fn. 30). This church was built (fn. 31), but that of Little Ilford was not pulled down. The present number of houses in this parish is fifteen.

Plague years.

In 1603, there were four burials, and as they were all out of one family, it may be presumed that the persons interred died of the plague. In 1625 there were six burials.


Bernard Hyde, Esq. by a deed bearing date 1630, gave 1l. per annum to the poor of this parish, which is paid by the Salters' Company.

Mart for cattle.

A great mart for cattle, from Wales, Scotland, and the north of England, is held annually, from the latter end of February till the beginning of May, on the flat part of the forest of Waltham, (commonly called Epping Forest,) within the parishes of Ilford, Eastham, Westham, Leyton, and Wanstead. A great part of the business between the dealers is transacted at the Rabbits in this parish, on the high road.


  • 1. It is thus described in the survey of Doomsday.—Goscelin Loremar holds Ilford. In King Edward's time, two freemen held it for a manor of three hides wanting 30 acres: there were then two ploughs on the demesne lands, now one only; the tenants then employed two ploughs, and had half employment for a third; they now employ only one: there were then seven villans, now four; then four bordars, now six; then one slave, now none: there is pannage for 20 hogs; 20 acres of meadow; a mill, and a fishery. It was always valued at 4l.
  • 2. Lib. Ruber, f. 16. See Morant.
  • 3. Cart. 23 Hen. III. m. 6. Morant has given the reference to this record, and stated its substance very erroneously
  • 4. By a record in the Chapter-house at St. Paul's, (intitled Lib. Statut. Maj. Eccl. de St. Paul.) it appears that he was then patron of the advowson; which has been always annexed to the manor.
  • 5. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII. pt. 5. Feb. 11.
  • 6. The account of this manor, from the grant of Hen. VIII. till it came into the Wight family, was obligingly communicated by R. Barnes, Esq. of Ryegate.
  • 7. See p. 82.
  • 8. Morant, vol. i. p. 26.
  • 9. Pat. 27 Hen. VIII. pt. 2. Sept. 18.
  • 10. Pat. 36 Hen. VIII. pt. 9. April 26.
  • 11. Cl. 7 Edw. VI. pt. 3.
  • 12. Cl. 20 Eliz. pt. 10.
  • 13. Pat. 22 Eliz. pt. 1. Sept. 1.
  • 14. Morant, p. 27.
  • 15. Pat. 37 Eliz. pt. 8. Sept. 2.
  • 16. Morant.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. This Francis Osbaston put in his claim for himself and his heirs to manerial rights in Aldersbroke; a right of having rabbitwarrens, free pasture, &c. in the forest, as his predecessors had enjoyed. Mr. Holman's MSS. in the library of Thomas Astle, Esq. F. R. A. S.
  • 19. Mr. Lethieullier's MS. History of Barking.
  • 20. From the information of Mr. Hulse.
  • 21. On this monument is the following memorandum: "Erected by Henry Osbas"ton, tho' his wife executrix." See p. 90. The arms on Osbaston's monument are, Arg. a mascle Sab. between three pellets.
  • 22. Arms—Arg. on a chevron G. three crosses formeé of the first, impaling Arg. three greyhounds current in pale G.—Briscoe.
  • 23. Arms—Lozengy Arg. & Sab. impaling G. a cross flory Arg.
  • 24. His only daughter, the heir-general of the Lethieullier family, married Edward Hulse, Esq of Portman-square; eldest son of Sir Edward Hulse, Bart.
  • 25. Inscription—"To the memory of Smart Lethieullier, Esq. of Aldersbroke, a gentleman of polite literature and elegant taste; and encourager of arts, and ingenious artists; a studious promoter of literary inquiries; a companion and friend of learned men; judiciously versed in the science of antiquity, and richly possessed of the curious productions of nature; but who modestly desired no other inscription upon his tomb, than what he had made the rule of his life—an admonition to the reader, by example, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God.—Born Nov. 3, 1701; deceased without issue, Aug. 27, 1760."—Mr. Lethieullier, although he never published any thing except some papers in the Archæologia and the Philosophical Transactions, left some very valuable MSS. which he appears to have intended for publication; particularly a History of Barking, to which I have been indebted for much interesting information relating to that parish; descriptions of the most remarkable and curious marbles, (with coloured drawings,) and various itineraries into most parts of the kingdom: they are now the property of Mr. Hulse. Mr. Lethieullier's collection of English fossils, of medals, and other antiquities, was very large and valuable.
  • 26. Parliamentary Surveys, Lamb. MS. Library.
  • 27. From the information of the present rector Mr. Price, to whom I am indebted for assistance in other inquiries relating to this parish.
  • 28. Ant. Wood's Athen. Oxon. vol. i.; and Lives of Illustrious Men educated at Cambridge. Harl. MSS. Brit. Mus. N° 7177.
  • 29. Pulteney's History of Botany, vol. i. p. 108.
  • 30. Parliamentary Surveys at Lambeth.
  • 31. See p. 98.