Epping: Churches, schools and charities

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1966.

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, 'Epping: Churches, schools and charities', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5, (London, 1966) pp. 132-140. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol5/pp132-140 [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Epping: Churches, schools and charities", in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5, (London, 1966) 132-140. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol5/pp132-140.

. "Epping: Churches, schools and charities", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5, (London, 1966). 132-140. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol5/pp132-140.

In this section


The ancient parish church of All Saints, Epping, now the church of Epping Upland, is first mentioned in 1177, when its possession was confirmed to the canons regular of Waltham with other property formerly held by their secular predecessors. (fn. 1) In 1191 this church, inter alia, was assigned by Pope Clement III to the sacristy of the abbey. (fn. 2) In 1255 Pope Alexander IV exempted it from episcopal authority. (fn. 3) It thus came under the peculiar jurisdiction of the abbot of Waltham. (fn. 4) For this reason no institutions to the vicarage are recorded in the medieval bishops' registers, but the names of some vicars occur elsewhere. (fn. 5) At the Dissolution the rectory and advowson passed to the Crown. The next presentation to the vicarage, in 1545, was made by Clement Smith, apparently under a grant from the abbey. (fn. 6) After this the rectory and advowson descended with the manor, though the right of presentation was occasionally sold pro hac vice. (fn. 7) At the Dissolution the church again came under the jurisdiction of the bishop and the archdeacon. Institutions in and after 1545 were entered in the episcopal registers, and the bishop's jurisdiction was confirmed by the Crown in 1550. (fn. 8)

Under the Epping Church Act (1888) the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the town (fn. 9) became the parish church of Epping and the church of All Saints a chapel-of-ease. (fn. 10) In 1912 the parish was split into two. The urban part remained as the parish of St. John, Epping, while the remainder became the parish of All Saints, Epping Upland. (fn. 11) The advowson of Epping Upland was vested jointly in the bishop and in Mrs. Marter, a local landowner and benefactor. (fn. 12)

There appears to be no valuation of the rectory of Epping before the tithe award of 1840. The impropriator, Henry J. Conyers, was then granted an annual rent-charge of £400 in respect of the great tithes, excluding those of hay. The vicar, as owner of the small tithes and hay tithes, received a rentcharge of £820. (fn. 13) According to a writer of 1814 he also had the wood tithes, (fn. 14) but this is not mentioned in the tithe award, and in any case those tithes were probably worth little in Epping, where most of the forest land was tithe-free. How long the vicar had held the hay tithes is not clear. That arrangement may have gone back to the 16th century or earlier: a lease of 1570 refers to the 'parsonage [i.e. rectory] of Epping with all the tithes of corn and grain belonging to the same'. (fn. 15) Hay was not then mentioned.

The vicarage of Epping was valued at £17 6s. 4d. in 1535, (fn. 16) at £100 in 1650, (fn. 17) and at £230 in c. 1768. (fn. 18) In 1840 the vicar had the tithe-rent-charge already mentioned, and also 11 a. glebe. (fn. 19) The Epping Church Act (1888) provided that all the endowments of the parish church and vicarage of All Saints should be transferred to the church of St. John. The endowments included the tithes and glebe, and also Baker's and Reynolds's ecclesiastical charities. (fn. 20) The Act also provided that the charities or portions of charities, of Dean, Campion, Reynolds, and John Walkley, previously applied to the stipend of the chaplain of St. John's, should in future be used towards the stipend of an assistant curate. When Epping Upland became a separate parish in 1912 its vicarage was endowed with funds producing an annual income of about £220. (fn. 21) About one-third of this came from the charities of John Walkley, Dean, and Thomas Loft, which were transferred to Epping Upland by the Epping Chapel Endowment Scheme Confirmation Act (1911). (fn. 22) The charities of Campion and Reynolds remained with St. John's. Much of the remainder of the Epping Upland endowment came from the Marter family.

The original vicarage house of All Saints parish was immediately east of the church. (fn. 23) It was partly rebuilt about 1780 by Edward Conyers, vicar 1779– 1822, who is said to have spent some £2,000 on it during his incumbency. (fn. 24) In 1889 the vicar took up his residence in the town; the old vicarage was sold to Maj.-Gen. R. J. C. Marter and was re-named Walton. (fn. 25) The main block of Walton is a 19thcentury south range, but at the rear on the north and to the east end is part of a late-18th-century redbrick house, no doubt that built by Edward Conyers. After the formation of Epping Upland a vicarage for that parish was built at Epping Green.

Richard Ward, instituted in 1554, was deprived in 1556 for non-residence and negligence. (fn. 26) Under the patronage of Sir Thomas Heneage and his successors the parish had a series of distinguished incumbents. John Overall (1593–6) was subsequently Dean of St. Paul's, Bishop of Lichfield, and Bishop of Norwich. (fn. 27) Roger Dodd (1596–1607) became Bishop of Meath. (fn. 28) Valentine Cary (1607–9) was later Dean of St. Paul's and Bishop of Exeter. (fn. 29) Jeremy Dyke (1610–39) was a prominent Puritan and preacher. (fn. 30) He signed the petition to Laud on behalf of Thomas Hooker. (fn. 31) Thomas Holbeach, instituted in 1642, was ejected soon after, but was restored in 1660, and remained vicar until his death in 1681; he became a canon of St. Paul's and Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. (fn. 32) Henry Wilkinson, later Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, held the vicarage from 1643 to 1648. (fn. 33) He was succeeded by John Harper (1648–60), who was ejected at the Restoration but conformed and remained in the parish as an assistant curate, possibly serving the chapel of St. John. (fn. 34)

About 1750 services were being held once each Sunday in the parish church and once in the chapel. Catechism instruction was given in Lent. (fn. 35) In 1790 there was still one Sunday service in the church but there were two in the chapel. (fn. 36) In 1831 the accommodation in the church was 300, and in the chapel 650; at this time the population of the parish was 2,424. (fn. 37)

The church of ALL SAINTS, Epping Upland, consists of flint rubble nave and chancel in one unit, red-brick west tower, north vestry, and timber south porch. It was much restored in 1878 and few ancient features survive. (fn. 38)

The nave probably dates from the early 13th century. Near its east end there is an aumbry on the north side, and an arched recess, which may once have contained a piscina, on the south; here probably was the chancel of the original church. The present chancel may have been added later in the 13th century; before the restoration of 1878 it contained lancet windows on the south side (see below), but both north and south walls have been rebuilt. A double piscina bowl of the 13th century has been re-set. The south porch was built in the 15th century and retains some of the original roof timbers and a door of that period. The brick tower of three stages was probably erected late in the 16th century; the tower arch in the nave is of moulded brickwork. In 1722 the church was restored at a cost of about £260, raised from Baker's charity. (fn. 39) Morant (1768) notes that the communion table was then still 'at a distance from the east wall of the chancel, with a rail quite round it; which is supposed to have been done by Jer. Dyke, vicar of this church'. (fn. 40) This puritan arrangement evidently came to and end before 1835, since Wright mentions it in the past tense. (fn. 41) Ogborne (1814) states that the church had 'lately been repaired at considerable expense'. (fn. 42) She wrote during the incumbency of Edward Conyers, and listed several recent monuments of his family then in the chancel. It is not unlikely that Conyers, whose extensive reconstruction of the vicarage has already been mentioned, also restored the church. Two engravings of the exterior, from drawings by a schoolboy, H. P. Griggs, were published in 1806. (fn. 43) The north view shows that there were then no windows in that side of the church. The south view shows two threelight windows and one single-light window in the nave wall, and also a dormer at the east end of the nave. There were two lancets in the chancel. Another view of the south side is given in Ogborne's History. This depicts three three-light windows in the nave, one lancet in the chancel, and the dormer. If these drawings of c. 1806 and c. 1814 were accurate the east end of the church must have been altered between those dates.

Epping Upland Church, Collecting Box

In 1878 all the windows on the south wall of the church were replaced by single lancets, and a matching series pierced in the north wall; the dormer was removed and the vestry built. The interior was completely reconstructed. The west gallery, mentioned in 1814, (fn. 44) was probably removed at this time. Some of the old fittings have survived. These include a 17th-century chair and table. The communion rails are probably of the late 18th or early 19th century. (fn. 45) In the nave are five oak benches of the early 16th century, and a small early-14thcentury font bowl. Hanging in the tower are some strips of oak bearing inscriptions, partly defaced, asking prayers for benefactors. These are said to have been formerly in the nave; (fn. 46) they may have been fixed to the west gallery. The church also has a wooden collecting-box dated 1626. (fn. 47)

There are six bells, of which one is dated 1611, four 1707, and one 1793. (fn. 48) Those of 1707 were made partly from three older bells. (fn. 49) The church has retained its old plate. A silver-gilt cup and paten were given under the will of Katherine Lady Wentworth (d. 1639), daughter of Sir Moyle Finch. (fn. 50) A silver-gilt paten, a flagon and an almsdish, made in 1739 for the chapel of Copped Hall, were given to the church in 1768 by Lady Henrietta Conyers. (fn. 51)

On the south wall of the chancel is a brass to Thomas Palmer of Gills (d. 1621). (fn. 52) In the tower are slabs to Edward Conyers, vicar (d. 1822), Helena Conyers (1795) and Matilda Conyers (1800). The last two were formerly in the chancel, together with other monuments to their family which have not survived. (fn. 53) In the nave, near the font, is the indent of a 15th-century brass of a man and wife with the symbol of the Trinity.

North of the church, on the opposite side of the road, is an 18th-century red-brick building, formerly the church house, By 1830 it had been converted into a public house, the 'Chequers'. (fn. 54) It is now a private residence.

The church of St. John the Baptist, Epping, originated in the 14th century or earlier as a free chapel belonging to Waltham Abbey. Like the church of All Saints the chapel was under the peculiar jurisdiction of the Abbey. (fn. 55) It was served by wardens, sometimes styled rectors, some of whose names have survived from 1367 onwards. (fn. 56) The dedication to St. John was mentioned in 1403. (fn. 57) Shortly before the Dissolution the abbey was granted the next presentation to the chapel to John Peryent of Hatfield (Herts.), who in 1541 presented Thomas Warren or Waryn, no doubt the former canon of Waltham of that name. Warren was instituted by the Bishop of London. (fn. 58) In 1545 he became also vicar of the parish. (fn. 59) The bishop's jurisdiction over the chapel was confirmed by the Crown in 1550. (fn. 60) Under the Chantries Act of 1547 the chapel came to the king, who granted it in 1550 to John Cocks of Broxbourne (Herts.), reserving to the inhabitants of Epping Heath its use for divine services. (fn. 61) In 1552 Cocks sold the chapel to Henry Archer, of Theydon Garnon, with the same reservation. (fn. 62) In 1559 Stephen, son of Henry Archer, sold to Henry Clark, of Theydon Garnon, the house called Chapel Hall, adjoining the chapel, but from this sale the chapel itself was expressly excepted. (fn. 63) Clark conveyed the Chapel Hall to Christopher Wilkin in 1572, and in 1573 Wilkin, Stephen Archer, and others conveyed both the chapel and the Chapel Hall to trustees for the public use of the inhabitants of Epping. (fn. 64) The trust was renewed in 1583 and at subsequent dates. (fn. 65)

From 1545 onwards the chapel appears to have been regarded as a chapel-of-ease to All Saints, and was served by the vicar, sometimes assisted by a curate. (fn. 66) In 1764 the vicar gave notice that he would no longer serve the chapel, and from that time the trustees employed a separate chaplain. (fn. 67) The vicar retained some control, and in 1784 he became exofficio a trustee of the chapel. (fn. 68) During the earlier 19th century, however, the chapel gradually became more independent. In 1824 it received grants from Queen Anne's Bounty, by virtue of which it was later said to have become a separate benefice, although no ecclesiastical district was assigned to it. (fn. 69) As stated above the chapel became the parish church of Epping in 1888.

In 1547 the stipend of the warden of the chapel was £2. (fn. 70) In the late 16th century the chapel's only endowment seems to have been the Chapel Hall and garden adjoining it. (fn. 71) In 1634 the trustees acquired Assefield in Theydon Bois, under the will of George Campion. (fn. 72) The chapel also benefited from Reynolds's charity (1647). (fn. 73) In 1784 the total income from endowments was £4 16s. (fn. 74) How much was provided from other sources before 1764 is not clear. When the first separate chaplain was appointed in 1764 the trustees contracted to pay him £40 a year, raised by public subscription, in addition to the income from Assefield. (fn. 75) From 1784 funds were raised by pew-rents: £66 in that year rising to £94 in 1830. (fn. 76) In 1791 John Walkley left £2,000 to the chapel. This produced an income of about £60, half of which was put towards the salary of the chaplain. (fn. 77) From 1802 onwards the chaplain was paid a gratuity of £10 a year, in addition to his stipend from Walkley's endowment. The gratuity was discontinued for some years after 1820, but was later resumed. (fn. 78) In 1824 the chapel was augmented by £600 grants from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 79) In 1831 it was stated that the chaplain's income was £120. (fn. 80) Further small endowments were received by bequests from Edward Dean (1838) and Thomas Loft (1873). (fn. 81) The financial arrangements made in 1888, when St. John's became the parish church, and in 1912, when the parish of Epping Upland was formed, have been described above.

Until the 19th century the administration of the sacraments in the chapel was restricted in deference to the rights of the parish church. In 1784, when a Bill (which never became law) was drafted for the purpose of making the chapel into a donative, it was noted that it had long been customary to baptize such children as the inhabitants found convenient to bring there. (fn. 82) Entries of baptisms were copied into the parish register at intervals until 1839, when the bishop directed that the chapel's register should be distinct from that of the parish church. (fn. 83) Burials did not usually take place in the chapel, but in 1791 John Walkley was buried there. (fn. 84) Celebration of Communion began about 1810. (fn. 85)

The chapel (now church) of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST was enlarged in 1622, restored in 1784, and rebuilt in 1832 and 1889. The original building appears to have been on a N.E.-S.W. axis. Before 1622 it consisted of 'but one aisle that next the road': presumably nave and chancel only. (fn. 86) In that year it was enlarged by the addition of a north-west aisle, built on the site of the Chapel House (probably the Chapel Hall previously mentioned) (fn. 87) which was demolished for the purpose. (fn. 88) According to Morant another aisle was added in 1662 (fn. 89) but this may be an error. In 1731 the wall of the chapel next to the road (presumably the south-west wall) was rebuilt. (fn. 90)

In 1780 the trustees contemplated rebuilding the chapel and commissioned plans from John Hagger. (fn. 91) This scheme, estimated to cost £1,498 (fn. 92) was abandoned for lack of funds; instead a limited reconstruction, costing about £500, was carried out in 1784–6. (fn. 93) A print of 1822 shows a plain building very different from Hagger's original plans. (fn. 94) The small clock-turret may have been erected in 1784, since the belfry was stated in 1780 to be ruinous, (fn. 95) but the portico on the south-west front probably dated from 1731. Further repairs were carried out in 1822–3, when a singers' gallery was erected. (fn. 96)

In 1832 the chapel was rebuilt to the designs of S. M. Hubert. (fn. 97) The south-west front was crenellated and had a central tower surmounted by a small belfry. (fn. 98) In 1846 the trustees received £900 under the will of Susannah Archer Houblon for the purpose of 'enlarging and improving' the chapel. (fn. 99) This money was eventually spent on a two-story porch, designed by Thomas Hopper, which was built on to the south-west front and provided additional seating in the gallery. (fn. 100)

In 1889, the year in which the chapel became the parish church, it was demolished and replaced by a building, designed by Bodley and Garner, consisting of nave, chancel and south aisle, in 14th-century style. A north aisle was added in 1908 and in 1909 a south-east tower, also by Bodley, was erected, at the expense of E. J. Wythes. (fn. 101) The building is on a N.W.-S.E. axis.

Before the erection of the present tower there was only one bell. This was given to the chapel in 1650 by William, Lord Grey, and was retained at successive rebuildings. (fn. 102) In 1911–13 the old bell was re-cast and 7 new ones added. (fn. 103)


The church of THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, Church Hill, was founded in 1932. The present building was erected in 1954. (fn. 104)


It has been suggested that the Congregational church at Lindsey Street was founded by Jeremy Dyke, vicar of Epping from 1610 to 1639. (fn. 105) There is no contemporary evidence of this, and it is most unlikely, since Dyke remained vicar until his death. (fn. 106) A statement that the first deed of the church is dated 1653 is based on a misreading: the actual date of the document is 1693. (fn. 107) In 1672 Nathaniel Ball of Epping was licensed as Presbyterian minister, and his house as a conventicle; in the same year the house of Richard Haylies at Epping was licensed for Congregational worship. (fn. 108) Ball, who had been ejected from the rectory of Barley (Herts.), died in 1681. (fn. 109) In 1690 William Smith was licensed to hold an Independent meeting in a house at Epping. (fn. 110) In 1692 William Stace, yeoman, conveyed to William Nutton, barber surgeon, a piece of freehold land 'now fenced out to be built upon' in Lindsey Street. (fn. 111) In 1693 Stace further conveyed to Nutton a small piece of copyhold land adjoining 'the meeting house'. (fn. 112) In the same year a Presbyterian meeting at the house of William Nutton was registered by its minister, Henry Dent. (fn. 113) Dent, who had taken out a similar licence in 1691 without naming the meeting place, (fn. 114) was being assisted in 1690–3 out of the Presbyterian and Congregational common fund. (fn. 115) It is thus clear that the original church in Lindsey Street was built in 1692–3, that Nutton was a prominent member of it, and that Dent was the minister. A congregation, meeting in private houses, may have existed continuously since 1672. In 1774 the church was demolished and rebuilt on the same site. (fn. 116) In 1845 a school-room was built, which was used as a British School until 1875. (fn. 117) In 1887 the church was enlarged and re-fronted. (fn. 118) It had a graveyard, which was closed in 1889. (fn. 119) There has usually been a resident minister, though many of the pastorates have been brief. About 1730, when Samuel Bourne was minister, the congregation was said to number 300. (fn. 120) In 1829 it was given as 350. (fn. 121) In 1960 the membership was 44. (fn. 122) The building, set back behind the former graveyard, is faced with whitepainted stucco. Its central feature is the Gothic front to the church, erected in 1887, which is flanked by a schoolroom and a vestry with 19th-century 'Tudor' windows. The graveyard is bounded to the southeast by the school building of 1845 and in front by elaborate cast-iron railings.

The Society of Friends have had a meeting at Epping since 1667 or earlier. It was part of the Ham and Waltham Monthly Meeting from 1667 to 1691, of the Enfield (later Tottenham) Monthly Meeting from 1691 to 1871, and was then transferred to the Ratcliff and Barking Monthly Meeting. (fn. 123) A meeting-house was built at Theydon Grove about 1700. About 1845 this was acquired by the owner of Theydon Grove and the present meeting-house on the adjoining site in Hemnall Street is said to have been built at his expense. (fn. 124) The building is of gault brick with a round-headed window at each gable end; the entrance was altered c. 1957. The earlier meeting-house, a small red-brick building with a hipped roof, still stands in the grounds of Theydon Grove. A Quaker school is mentioned below. (fn. 125)

An Independent chapel, associated with that at Lindsey Street, was opened in 1834 at Epping Green. (fn. 126) In 1862 this building was converted into cottages, and a new one was built a little to the south of it, and opened as a Union chapel under the leadership of Noah Heath, and John Gingell, both Baptists. (fn. 127) Gingell, who had probably been associated with the earlier chapel also, (fn. 128) remained pastor until his retirement in 1885. (fn. 129) after which the chapel was for some years again under the care of the minister at Lindsey Street. (fn. 130) It is still (1962) a Union chapel.

Baptist work was done at Epping in 1848 by Samuel Chancellor from Hayes (Mdx.). (fn. 131) Baptist services held at Epping Green in 1862 resulted in the formation of the Union chapel already mentioned. About the same time a small Baptist chapel was built in the town, on a 'cottage site' between High Street and Hemnall Street. (fn. 132) In 1893 the congregation of this chapel moved to a new building in St. John's Road, given by William Cottis, a prosperous ironfounder. (fn. 133) In 1918 this was put in trust for the Strict and Particular Baptist Society. (fn. 134)

In 1815 a house at Epping was registered for worship by Charles Cook, (fn. 135) a Wesleyan Methodist minister then at Loughton, and in 1817 at Waltham Abbey. (fn. 136) This society appears to have been shortlived. In 1874 Wesleyan services were started in the old National School in Hemnall Street. An iron church, erected in 1878, was replaced in 1887 by a brick building, the present church in High Street. The society was in the Wanstead and Woodford circuit from 1879 until 1955, when it was transferred to the Harlow Mission. In 1933 a manse was purchased for a resident minister. (fn. 137)

A meeting of Plymouth Brethren was founded in or before 1894. (fn. 138) Its hall is between High Street and Hemnall Street near the water tower, and is probably the building erected by the Baptists about 1862 (see above).


In 1798 there was a school of industry at Epping, maintained by a 'Society for bettering the conditions and increasing the comforts of the poor'. (fn. 139) School dinners were provided at 6d. a week. No other reference to this school has been found. In 1818 the parish only had two Anglican Sunday schools, with 100 pupils in all. (fn. 140) About six years later Dr. Burrows, chaplain of St. John's, set up a girls day school in the market house, High Street, which in a few months was overcrowded. With the aid of a grant from the National Society a new school was built on a site given by the lord of the manor. (fn. 141) This was probably the National school in Theydon Garnon parish which in 1833 was attended by 70 girls from Epping, and to which the people of Epping were 'large contributors'. (fn. 142) At that date most Epping children were attending private schools, or the Congregational school. There was no Anglican boys school in the town except a Sunday school. (fn. 143)

In 1836 a National school for boys and girls was built with the aid of a government grant in Hemnall Street, on the site of the present Literary Institute. (fn. 144) By 1846–7 there were 243 children there, under two teachers. (fn. 145) A separate infants' section had been established by 1859. (fn. 146) In 1861 a new National school, with accommodation for over 500, was built in St. John's Road, on a site given by Claremont Whitemore. The old building in Hemnall Street was later used by the Wesleyans. (fn. 147) The new building, unlike its predecessor, was in Epping parish, and the trust deed safeguarded the right of attendance by children from the Theydon Garnon part of the town. The vicar of Epping and the Rector of Theydon Garnon were trustees. (fn. 148) The school, although built when the town's population was decreasing, was well planned and provided plenty of room for expansion. An inspector reported in 1862 that the buildings were among the best that he had ever seen. (fn. 149) The children paid 2d. a week. (fn. 150) In its first decade on the new site the school made good progress. (fn. 151) In 1872 the government declared that the accommodation there, together with that in the British school and the school at Epping Upland, was sufficient to ensure universal elementary education. (fn. 152) Nevertheless, the formation of a school board was seriously considered at that time. As early as 1862 there had been a petition in favour of a nonsectarian school. (fn. 153) The managers of the National school, for their part, were in financial difficulties, and in 1873–4 decided to continue it only after long deliberation. (fn. 154) Attendance rose from 188 in 1867 to 445 in 1899, (fn. 155) an increase partly caused by the closing of the British school. The school continued on a voluntary basis, but it was relieved of responsibility for infants in 1903 and for juniors in 1932, by the building of new council schools (see below). It was given Controlled status in 1949. As the St. John's Church of England secondary (modern) school it was transferred in 1961 to new buildings in Tower Road. (fn. 156)

The Epping county infants school was built in 1903 on a site adjoining the church school in St. John's Road. In 1953 it was transferred to new buildings in Coronation Hill. The Epping county junior school, built beside the infants school in 1932, is still (1962) in St. John's Road. (fn. 157)

In 1833 the Congregational Church at Lindsey Street was maintaining a day school attended by 80 children, (fn. 158) and in 1845 a British school was built beside the church, on land belonging to it, with the aid of a government grant. (fn. 159) In 1872 it had accommodation for 135. (fn. 160) After financial difficulties (fn. 161) it was closed about 1875. (fn. 162) The building, a singlestoried structure of gault brick, standing at right angles to the road, has since been used for church purposes. (fn. 163)

In 1825 an Anglican day school was set up at Epping Green; in 1833 there were 80 pupils. (fn. 164) Attendance subsequently declined. (fn. 165) A new building, with accommodation for 63 children, was erected in 1862. (fn. 166) The school does not appear to have received a government grant until after 1893. (fn. 167) By 1904 there were 75 children, and accommodation for 100. (fn. 168) In 1940 the school was re-organized for juniors and infants. It was granted Controlled status in 1950 and in 1953 was moved to new buildings in Carters Lane. (fn. 169)

There have been many private schools in Epping. A return of 1833 mentions, in addition to the Anglican and Congregational day schools, four infant schools, four other day schools, and three boarding schools. (fn. 170) Two of the boarding schools were connected with the Quakers; one of these, established about 1800 by Isaac Payne, had an excellent and enduring reputation. (fn. 171)


In 1863–4 the Charity Commission drew up two complementary schemes for the administration of the charities of Epping and Theydon Garnon. (fn. 172) These provided that Baker's charity should be united with that of Reynolds, and Wentworth's charity with those of Elizabeth Walkley and Chapman. All these five charities were placed under the same trustees. The schemes further provided that 1/10 of Wentworth's charity should be reserved for the church; and also that the Epping portion of Baker's charity, previously applied generally to the poor, should in future be used for educational purposes and for the provision of almshouses. A scheme of 1898 separated the ecclesiastical charities of the parish from the non-ecclesiastical. (fn. 173) Another scheme, of 1901, placed all non-ecclesiastical charities under a single body of trustees. (fn. 174) In 1957 the combined incomes of Campion's, Elizabeth Walkley's, Wentworth's, Chapman's, Searle's, and Loft's charities for the poor were spent mainly on Christmas gifts. (fn. 175)

The purposes of the charities relating to St. John's chapel were regulated by two statutory schemes. Under the Epping Church Act (1888) the chapel charities of Dean, Campion, Reynolds, and most of John Walkley's charity were to be applied to the stipend of an assistant curate. (fn. 176) Under the Epping Chapel Endowment Scheme Confirmation Act (1911) the chapel charities of J. Walkley, Dean, and Loft were to be applied to the stipend of the vicar of the new parish of Epping Upland. (fn. 177)

By will dated 1518 John Baker left the profits of Stonards Farm, Theydon Garnon, to be used for repairing the highway between Harlow and London and for other charitable purposes in Epping and Theydon Garnon. The income from Ryddens Grove, also in Theydon Garnon, was to be divided equally between the churches of Theydon Garnon and Epping. (fn. 178) In 1637 the Commission for Charitable Uses decreed that no more than £20 a year should be spent on the highway. In 1768 the road came under the care of the Epping and Ongar Highway Trust and in 1780 the Lord Chancellor directed that in future all the profits of Stonards should be applied to the poor. (fn. 179)

In 1832 the total income from Stonards, including that from Mill Field, which was let separately, was £107. The Epping share of funds raised from the sale of timber had been invested in stock amounting to £145, the income from which was spent on apprenticing the poor boys. In 1862 the rent was £140; of the Epping moiety £40 was given to the poor of Epping town in money and clothing, £10 to the poor of Epping Upland, and the remainder was re-invested. (fn. 180) By the scheme of 1863 part of the Epping share of the income from Stonards was diverted to educational uses. After deduction of £15 a year for the Epping British School, 9/14 were to go towards the education of poor children, provided that the managers of the schools concerned remitted the school pence. The remaining 5/14 were to accumulate until there was enough money to build almshouses. (fn. 181) The educational part of the charity became a separate endowment in 1903. (fn. 182) The almshouses were built in The Plain (now Thornwood Road) in 1877; (fn. 183) they consist of three double-fronted cottages, built of red brick, with front gables and pointed windows. Shortly before that time part of Stonards was sold and the money invested. In 1957 the total income from this charity was £68, of which £24 were applied to the almshouses and the remaining £44 were used for educational purposes. (fn. 184)

Ryddens Grove, which provided the ecclesiastical portion of Baker's charity, was sold in 1865 for £1,200, which was invested. (fn. 185) Under the Epping Church Act (1888) the income from the Epping moiety of this endowment was allotted to the new parish church of St. John. In 1911 the capital was divided between the churches of Epping and Theydon Garnon, each receiving £793. (fn. 186) The income is applied to general church purposes.

By will dated 1615 George Campion left a small field called Assefield, in Theydon Bois, to the trustees of St. John's chapel, the bequest to take effect after 21 years. Half the annual rent was to be given to the poor of Epping town, and half for the maintenance of a minister at the chapel. (fn. 187) In 1634 Day Spranger, widow, of North Weald, bought the unexpired term of years and gave it to the trustees, thus making it possible for the charity to become effective in that year. In 1784 the income from the field was £6 10s. (fn. 188) In 1864 the field was sold for £533 which was invested. (fn. 189) In 1888, as stated above, it was provided that the income from the ecclesiastical half of the charity should be put towards the stipend of an assistant curate. Since the division of the parish in 1912 it has been used for the general purposes of St. John's. (fn. 190) The other half of the charity was in 1957 applied as stated above.

Katherine, Lady Wentworth (d. 1639), daughter of Sir Moyle Finch, left £400 to buy land worth £20 a year, of which £18 were to be given to the poor of the parish and £2 to the preacher of a sermon. After prolonged legal proceedings the legacy, including arrears of £200, was paid in 1718, and Searle's Farm, Harlow, was bought for £600. In 1832 the farm was let for £46 10s. a year, of which £2 were paid to the vicar and the remainder to the poor. By the scheme of 1863 the vicar was to receive 1/10 of the income. (fn. 191) In 1920 the farm was sold for £1,050, which was invested. By the Epping Church Act (1888) the ecclesiastical portion was allotted to the vicar of St. John's, to whom it has since been paid. In 1957 the income of the non-ecclesiastical portion was spent as stated above.

By deed dated 1648 John Reynolds gave Trapps Lands in Theydon Mount in trust for the benefit of Epping and Theydon Garnon. (fn. 192) For Epping £4 a year were to be paid to the poor of Epping Street, 20s. to the preacher of a sermon in St. John's chapel, and 5s. to the sexton. Similar payments were to be made to Theydon Garnon, and any residue was to be shared between the poor of the two parishes. In 1832 the Epping portion of the income was £7 10s. In 1865 the land was sold for £840, which was invested. (fn. 193) In 1888 it was provided that the ecclesiastical portion of the charity should be used as part of the stipend of an assistant curate. Since the division of the parish in 1912 it has been paid to the Vicar of St. John's. The income from the non-ecclesiastical portion amounting to £10, was in 1957 applied to the almshouses.

By will dated 1688 Edward Searle of Chambers left a rent-charge of 52s. on Gibbons Bush farm to provide bread for poor people attending church. In 1957 the income was spent as stated above.

By will dated 1791 John Walkley left £2,000 to the trustees of St. John's chapel. From the annual income of £60, £30 were to be paid to the chaplain, £8 to the chapel-clerk, £8 to the choirmaster, £5 to the sexton, £4 to the clerk to the trustees, and £1 to the chapel-cleaner; the remaining £4 were to be spent on an annual dinner for the trustees. (fn. 194) In 1888 it was provided that the payments formerly made to the chaplain, chapel-clerk, and choirmaster should be put towards the salary of the assistant curate of Epping. In 1911 the whole of John Walkley's charity became part of the endowment of the vicarage of Epping Upland.

Elizabeth Walkley (d. 1813), widow of the above John, left £100 to provide bread or coal for 12 poor widows. (fn. 195) In 1957 the income was applied as stated above.

By will dated 1832 Ann Chapman left £300 to provide bread, coal, or clothing for the 8 oldest poor widows or widowers of the parish, or for other poor persons. In 1957 the income was applied as stated above.

By will dated 1838 Edward Dean left £450 for the repair of his children's tombstones at Epping and for the minister of St. John's chapel. (fn. 196) In 1888 the bequest for the tombstones was ruled to be bad in law, (fn. 197) and it was provided that the whole income should be put towards the salary of an assistant curate. In 1911 the charity became part of the endowment of the vicarage of Epping Upland.

By will dated 1873 Thomas Loft left £750 for apprenticing poor boys of the parish. He also left £300 to the chapel trustees, who were to use £3 of the annual income for the chapel and the rest for the poor. (fn. 198) In 1901 the income of the apprenticing charity was £20. It was then becoming difficult to find suitable beneficiaries, and by a scheme of 1905 it was provided that, failing apprentices, the income of the charity might be used to provide scholarships to technical colleges. (fn. 199) In 1957 the income of £18 was carried forward. (fn. 200) In 1911 £120 of the capital of Loft's chapel charity was used to endow the vicarage of Epping Upland. The remainder of the charity income continues to be used for the poor, and in 1957 was spent as stated above.

By will proved 1902 Walter Tweed left £500 for providing benches, bells, and a clock for St. John's church, and also £1,800, the income from which was to be used as follows: £20 for adult members of the church choir, £10 to the Epping Provident Society, £5 to the Epping District Visiting Society, £5 to the Epping soup kitchen, and £5 to the almshouse fund. (fn. 201) The will provided that, if any of the beneficiary bodies ceased to exist, its share should be divided proportionately between the others. The soup kitchen had closed by 1925 and the Charity Commission then ordered the division of its share. By 1953 the provident and district visiting societies had also ceased and the income was therefore being paid to the choir (£38) and the almshouses (£9). For some years the payment to the choir had not been fully spent because there were few adult members. The Charity Commission agreed that the accumulated balance should be used for tuning the organ (£220) and for the almshouses (£57). No change was made in the terms of the trust.

Emily Field (d. 1939) left £1,000 to the Epping Cottage Hospital to establish a bed for the use of poor persons, and £2,000 to build cottages, to be called Pelham Cottages, for poor widows over 65. (fn. 202) The cottages have not yet (1962) been built and the income is accumulating. (fn. 203)

In 1939 a society, financed by John H. Silley, was formed to provide homes for aged persons with incomes not exceeding 15s. a week. Eight houses for married couples and twelve single dwellings were built, let at 2s. 6d. and 1s. a week respectively. The Epping Urban District Council, in return for half the shares of the society, undertook to make good any deficit. In 1958 the rules relating to incomes and rents were altered to meet new economic conditions. The society was confirmed in possession of the houses, which are in Margaret Close and Margaret Road, off Lindsey Street. (fn. 204)

The Epping and North Weald Comforts Fund was established in 1950 from the balance of between £500 and £600 left when the District Nursing Association was terminated. The fund is used to help the sick. (fn. 205)


  • 1. Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 63.
  • 2. B.M. Harl. MS. 391, f. 132.
  • 3. Ibid. f. 164.
  • 4. See also p. 170.
  • 5. B.M. Cott. MS. Tib. c. ix, f. 212 (Thomas, c. 1235); Reg. Winchelsea (Cant. and York Soc.), 930 (William de Allington, 1299); Feet of F. Essex, iii. 118 (John of Norwich, 1357).
  • 6. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 247–8.
  • 7. Morant, Essex, i. 53; Edmund Waller presented in 1753.
  • 8. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 247–8; Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 172.
  • 9. See below.
  • 10. 51 & 52 Vict. c. 102 (local act).
  • 11. Lond. Gaz. 25 June 1912, 4549.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. E.R.O., D/CT 131.
  • 14. Ogborne, Hist. Essex, 207.
  • 15. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1547–80, 389.
  • 16. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 435.
  • 17. H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 276.
  • 18. Guildhall MS. 9556, f. 60.
  • 19. E.R.O., D/CT 131.
  • 20. See pp. 138–9.
  • 21. Char. Com. File 38156.
  • 22. See p. 139.
  • 23. See pl. f.p. 117.
  • 24. E.R.O., D/AEM 2/6.
  • 25. Local inf.; cf. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1890.
  • 26. L.C.C., DL/C/331, ff. 219–22.
  • 27. D.N.B.; Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 248.
  • 28. Newcourt, ibid.
  • 29. Ibid.; D.N.B.
  • 30. Ibid.
  • 31. Davids, Nonconformity in Essex, 157 n.
  • 32. Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 164; ii. 248; H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 118.
  • 33. H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 93.
  • 34. Ibid. 357.
  • 35. Guildhall MS. 9550.
  • 36. Ibid. 9558, f. 140.
  • 37. Rep. Com. Eccl. Rev. H.C. 54, p. 644 (1835), xxii; V.C.H. Essex, ii. 352.
  • 38. R.C.H.M. Essex, ii. 63; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1906.
  • 39. Morant, Essex, i. 52; E. R. xiv. 41.
  • 40. Ibid.
  • 41. Wright, Essex, ii. 646.
  • 42. Ogborne, Essex, 204.
  • 43. Gent. Mag. 1806 (1), 313.
  • 44. Ogborne, Essex, 204.
  • 45. Cf. Pevsner, Essex, 159.
  • 46. R.C.H.M. Essex, ii. 63.
  • 47. See below; cf. E.R. vii. 207.
  • 48. Ch. Bells Essex, 246.
  • 49. E.R. xiv. 40.
  • 50. Ch. Plate Essex, 101; E.R. xvii. 208–11.
  • 51. Ibid.
  • 52. Ogborne, Essex, 205 states that this was then on the floor of the chancel.
  • 53. Ibid. 204–6.
  • 54. E.R.O., D/DPn T22.
  • 55. E.R. xxxv. 149–50.
  • 56. Reg. Sudbury, ed. Fowler, i. 256; E.R. xxxv. 149–50; B.M. Add. MS. 5825; Harl. MS. 6952, f. 14; Cal. Pat. 1413–16, 181; S.C. 2/171/72; Cal. Pap. Lett. 1447–55, 178.
  • 57. S.C. 2/171/72.
  • 58. London Episc. Reg. Bonner, f. 133–4; V.C.H. Essex, ii. 170.
  • 59. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 248.
  • 60. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 172.
  • 61. Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 223.
  • 62. B. Winstone, Ancient Chapel of St. John the Baptist Epping, 38.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Ibid. 38–39.
  • 65. Ibid. 42–48.
  • 66. L.C.C., DL/C/342, f. 53b; Winstone, St. John's Chapel, 59.
  • 67. Winstone, St. John's Chapel, 59, 62, 97 f.
  • 68. Ibid. 90; E.R.O., D/Q 19/1.
  • 69. Epping Church Act, 1888.
  • 70. E 301/19/9; ibid. 20/13 and 30/13.
  • 71. Winstone, St. John's Chapel, 39.
  • 72. Ibid. 42–43; and see p. 139.
  • 73. See p. 139.
  • 74. Winstone, St. John's Chapel, 42 n.
  • 75. Ibid. 62; cf. 59–61.
  • 76. E.R.O., D/Q 19/24.
  • 77. Char. Com. File 65226; and see p. 139.
  • 78. E.R.O., D/Q 19/15.
  • 79. Epping Church Act, 1888.
  • 80. Guildhall MS. 9560.
  • 81. See p. 139.
  • 82. Winstone, Chapel, 69.
  • 83. Ibid. 97–98.
  • 84. Ibid. 100.
  • 85. E.R.O., D/Q 19/24: purchase of Communion table; Ogborne, Hist. Essex, 215, states that Communion had only recently begun.
  • 86. Winstone, Chapel, 39.
  • 87. The term 'Chapel Hall' also seems to have been applied to the land adjoining the chapel: ibid. 45.
  • 88. Winstone, Chapel, 39, 48. For the alignment of the aisle see ibid. 66. The chapel was on a N.E.-S.W. axis.
  • 89. Morant, Essex, i. 52.
  • 90. Winstone, Chapel, 44.
  • 91. Ibid. 68, 78 and plans.
  • 92. E.R.O., Q SBb 300/6.
  • 93. Winstone, Chapel, 84–87.
  • 94. Ibid. f.p. 87.
  • 95. Ibid. 66.
  • 96. Ibid. 104.
  • 97. Ibid. 105–6; E.R.O., D/Q/19/30.
  • 98. Ibid. pls. f.pp. 105 and 108 [the second view is pl. f.p. 122 in the present volume].
  • 99. E.R.O., D/Q 19/15.
  • 100. Ibid. D/Q 19/32 and 33. For Hopper see E.R. xxiii. 145.
  • 101. N. Pevsner, Buildings of Essex, 158; Guide to St. John's Church [c. 1958].
  • 102. Ch. Bells of Essex, 247.
  • 103. Guide to St. John's Ch. [c. 1920].
  • 104. Brentwood Dioc. Year Bk. 1953; Gen. Reg. Office, Worship Reg. 1954.
  • 105. B. Winstone, St. John's Chapel, Epping, 116; C. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, 59 and Appendix II.
  • 106. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 248.
  • 107. C. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, 58 and Appendix IV, Deed No. 1.
  • 108. G. L. Turner, Original Recs. Early Nonconformity, i. 551, 522.
  • 109. A. G. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 25.
  • 110. Gen. Reg. Office, Rtns. Noncf. Meeting Houses before 1852.
  • 111. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, Appendix IV.
  • 112. Ibid.
  • 113. Gen. Reg. Office, Rtns. Mtg. Houses before 1852.
  • 114. Ibid.
  • 115. A. Gordon, Freedom after ejection, 251.
  • 116. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, 60 and pl. f.p. 63.
  • 117. Ibid. 64; Char. Com. File 123407.
  • 118. Nonconformity in Epping, 64–65; see pl. f.p. 123 in the present vol.
  • 119. Ibid. 114–18.
  • 120. Dr. Williams's Library, Evans MS.
  • 121. E.R.O., Q/CR 3/2.
  • 122. Congr. Year Bk. 1960.
  • 123. Friends' House, Cat. of Records.
  • 124. C. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, 65–66; inf. from Mr. P. W. Bartlett.
  • 125. See p. 138.
  • 126. Wright, op. cit. 66–67; White's Dir. Essex, 1848; Gen. Reg. Office, Rtns. Noncf. Mtg. Houses before 1852; E.R.O., D/CT 131 (No. 296).
  • 127. W. T. Whitley, Baptists of London, 219; White's Dir. Essex, 1863; for Heath and Gingell see V.C.H. Essex, iv. 36.
  • 128. In 1840 John Gingell was the occupier of the chapel: E.R.O., D/CT 131 (No. 296).
  • 129. Wright's Nonconformity in Epping, 66–67.
  • 130. Ibid.
  • 131. Whitley, Baptists of London, 219.
  • 132. Ibid.; for the site see O.S. Map 6" (1873–4), sheet 1.
  • 133. Wright, Nonconf. in Epping, 67–68; Whitley, Baptists of London, 219.
  • 134. E.R.O., T/Z 8.
  • 135. Gen. Reg. Off., Rtns. of Noncf. Mtg. Houses before 1852.
  • 136. Hall's Circuits and Ministers (1896 edn.), 319.
  • 137. Wright, Nonconf. in Epping, 68; Records of Wanstead and Woodford Methodist Circuit: inf. provided by Mr. G. Harrington.
  • 138. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1894.
  • 139. E.R.O., T/P 13, vol. iv, f. 1.
  • 140. Rtns. Educ. Poor, H.C. 224, p. 254 (1819), ix (1).
  • 141. Inf. from National Society; Nat. Soc. Rep. 1832, p. 49.
  • 142. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62, pp. 274–5 (1835), xliii.
  • 143. Ibid.
  • 144. Min. of Educ. File 13/108; for the site cf. E.R.O., D/CT 350 (No. 367), T/Z 46, p. 10, and later maps.
  • 145. Nat. Soc. Enquiry into Church Schs. 1846–7, pp. 8–9.
  • 146. Reps. on Schs. in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, 1858–9, p. 20.
  • 147. See above.
  • 148. Min. of Educ. File 13/108.
  • 149. Char. Com. File 54760.
  • 150. E.R.O., T/Z 46, p. 9.
  • 151. Essex Weekly News, 20 June 1873.
  • 152. Chelmsford Chronicle, 2 Aug. 1872.
  • 153. Char. Com. File 9081.
  • 154. Essex Weekly News, 20 June, 26 Dec. 1873; 30 Jan. 1874.
  • 155. Rep. of Educ. Ctee. of Council, 1867 [4051], p. 635, H.C. (1867–8), xxv; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1899.
  • 156. Inf. from Essex Educ. Ctee.; see pl. f.p. 123.
  • 157. Inf. from Essex Educ. Ctee.
  • 158. Educ. Enquiry Abstract (1835), p. 274.
  • 159. C. Wright, Nonconformity in Epping, 64.
  • 160. Chelmsford Chron. 2 Aug. 1872.
  • 161. As in 1862: Char. Com. File 54760.
  • 162. Rep. Educ. Ctee. of Council, 1875 [C. 1513–1], p. 532, H.C. (1876), xxiii.
  • 163. See pl. f.p. 123.
  • 164. Educ. Enquiry Abstract (1835), p. 275.
  • 165. National Soc. Rep., 1838, p. 78; Nat. Soc. Enquiry into Church Schs. 1846–7, pp. 8–9.
  • 166. Min. of Educ. File 13/110.
  • 167. Rep. Educ. Ctee. of Council, 1893 [C. 7437–1], p. 714, H.C. (1893–4), xxix.
  • 168. Essex Educ. Ctee. Handbk. 1904, 146.
  • 169. Inf. from Essex Educ. Ctee.
  • 170. Educ. Enquiry Abstract (1835), pp. 274–5.
  • 171. Wright, Essex, ii. 457; E.R. xiv. 57; xvi. 155.
  • 172. Char. Com. Files 10206, 10207; cf. V.C.H. Essex, iv. 274.
  • 173. Char. Com. File 65226.
  • 174. Ibid. 10207.
  • 175. Char. Com. Files, Epping Accounts and Corresp.
  • 176. 51 & 52 Vict. c. 102 (local act).
  • 177. 1 & 2 Geo. V, c. 177 (local act).
  • 178. Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), H.C. 216, pp. 253–7 (1835), xxi (1). Unless otherwise stated all information in this section is from this source. For Baker's charity see also E.R. xiv. 36f.
  • 179. B. Winstone, Epping and Ongar Highway Trust, 85.
  • 180. Char. Com. File 54759.
  • 181. Ibid. 10207. The British School closed about 1875.
  • 182. Char. Com. File 10207.
  • 183. Ibid. 10207; 65226.
  • 184. Char. Com. Accounts File 238.
  • 185. E.R. xiv. 43.
  • 186. Char. Com. File 75809.
  • 187. B. Winstone, St. John's Chapel, Epping, 42 f.
  • 188. Ibid. 42 n.
  • 189. Char. Com. File 11458.
  • 190. Char. Com. Files, Epping Accts. and Corresp.
  • 191. Char. Com. File 54760.
  • 192. Winstone, St. John's Epping, 10.
  • 193. Char. Com. File 12324.
  • 194. Winstone, St. John's, Epping, 14.
  • 195. Ibid. 16.
  • 196. Char. Com. Files 65226, 54760.
  • 197. Ibid. 38156.
  • 198. Ibid. 10207.
  • 199. Ibid. 75809.
  • 200. Ibid. Epping Accts. and Corresp.
  • 201. Ibid. 77035.
  • 202. Char. Com. File 122519.
  • 203. Inf. from Mr. S. H. Whisker.
  • 204. Char. Com. File 129379; inf. from Epping U.D.C.
  • 205. Ibid. 131517.