A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1966.
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During the reign of Cnut, Tofig founded a church with two priests at Waltham. In 1060 Harold rebuilt or enlarged the church and placed there a college of secular canons under a dean. Henry II, in 1177, replaced the college by a priory of Austin canons regular, which became an abbey in 1184. (fn. 1) In 1255 the pope exempted the abbey from episcopal control. (fn. 2) The abbot's peculiar jurisdiction included the parish of Epping as well as that of Waltham Holy Cross. (fn. 3) A dean of Waltham, who in 1286 was acting under the abbot's orders, (fn. 4) was no doubt his commissary for the peculiar. The abbey was a royal free chapel during the Middle Ages. (fn. 5)
The people of Waltham used the abbey as their parish church, and paid their tithes and other dues to the canons. At the Dissolution the rectory passed with the manor of Waltham to the Denny family. (fn. 6) Since no vicarage had been ordained the benefice became a donative curacy, to which they appointed. (fn. 7) Edward Denny, Earl of Norwich, by his will proved in 1637, endowed the curacy with a house, already the curate's residence, and an annual rent-charge of £100 from the manor of Claverhambury. (fn. 8) The benefice became a titular vicarage in 1868. (fn. 9) After the Dissolution the parish came under the bishop's jurisdiction in spiritual matters, while remaining exempt from that of the archdeacon, (fn. 10) until the 19th century. (fn. 11)
The Earl of Norwich's will also provided that in future the appointment of the curate was to be made by six trustees (named) and directed that when three of the trustees had died the survivors were to fill the vacancies. During the next two centuries these provisions were sometimes neglected. In 1768 there was only one surviving trustee before the appointment of five others. (fn. 12) Some nominations to the benefice during the 18th century seem to have been made by the owners of the abbey site. (fn. 13) In c. 1814 the presentation was said to be vested in three families. (fn. 14) In 1835 there were three trustees. (fn. 15) About 1890 it was stated that after the appointment of F. B. Johnston as vicar in 1885 'there was experienced some difficulty in obtaining information respecting the trustees of the church property … it was found necessary to appoint new trustees'. (fn. 16) This suggests that Johnston was not presented by the trustees, and may be the reason for another statement by the same writer that 'the living, formerly in the hands of trustees, is now (c. 1888) under the control of the Bishop of St. Alban's'. (fn. 17) The advowson is now (1961) vested in trustees.
At the Dissolution all the tithes passed to the lord of the manor as impropriator. Some of them were later sold. In the 19th century some 5,100 a. in the parish were tithe free, as land formerly the demesne of the abbey. The impropriators, among whom the largest were Sir William Wake, lord of Waltham manor, and Capt. Charles Sotheby, lord of Sewardstone, held tithes commuted in 1842–7 for an annual rent-charge of £1,404. (fn. 18)
Before 1637 the curate of Waltham received a stipend of only £8 a year, paid by the impropriator. (fn. 19) The stipend of £100 provided by the Earl of Norwich was considerable in the 17th century, but the rent-charge remained fixed while the value of money declined and the benefice had again become a poor one by the end of the 18th century. Between 1794 and 1800 the curate, Isaac Colnett, was receiving aid from a clergy charity. (fn. 20) Early in the 19th century the Board of Ordnance began to pay the curate an annual allowance to hold a service every Sunday evening for the gunpowder workers. This was £50 in 1823 and £75 in 1902. (fn. 21) The average net income of the benefice in 1829–31 was £237. (fn. 22)
Waltham Abbey vicarage is a 17th-century building, timber-framed and plastered. It may be the house given by the Earl of Norwich, much altered in the 18th century and later.
Until their dissolution in 1548 there were two guilds in the parish, each with an endowment for a priest: the Brotherhood of Our Lady, and the Charnel Guild, whose priest was also the parish curate. (fn. 23) The former, which existed in 1375, (fn. 24) occupied the Lady Chapel in the parochial part of the church. The Charnel Guild, which occurs as 'the Sepulchre' in 1366, (fn. 25) probably used the crypt of the Lady Chapel.
The curates of Waltham, from the Dissolution to 1887, have been listed in print. (fn. 26) Thomas Fuller, author of The Worthies of England, and of the first History of Waltham Abbey, was curate c. 1649–58. (fn. 27) Joseph Hall, curate from c. 1608, was later Bishop successively of Exeter and Norwich. A number of assistant curates, most of them in the 18th and 19th centuries, have also been listed. (fn. 28)
In c. 1735 services were being held in the parish church twice on Sunday, the Sacrament 'at the proper seasons', prayers every Wednesday and Friday, and on festivals and fasts as appointed, but congregations were small. (fn. 29) There was then a church choir of young men and women. (fn. 30) In the early 19th century there were three Sunday services, including the one in the evening for the factory workers. (fn. 31) In 1862 Holy Communion was celebrated monthly and attended by about 100. (fn. 32)
In the 17th century there were four churchwardens, one each for the town, Holyfield, Upshire, and Sewardstone. (fn. 33) In the early 19th century, before the formation of High Beech parish, there was one warden for the town, one for Sewardstone, and one shared by Holyfield and Upshire. (fn. 34)
The parish owned various lands, the income from which was used to maintain the church. Some of these were probably of medieval origin, since the 'church leases' are mentioned in 1542. (fn. 35) In 1624 the rents were £5 and in 1661 £23. (fn. 36) In 1782 the property, which included a house at Copped Hall Green and two in Elman Street, produced £43 rent. In 1844 6 a. near the 'Green Man' and 2 a. in Hither Common Field, both at Upshire, 10 a. at Copped Hall Green, 3 a. near Broomstick Hall Common, and a house in Sewardstone Street were leased for £107. (fn. 37) In 1827, after a dispute with the trustees of the church lands, the churchwardens gained control of the accumulated rents and spent them on repairs. (fn. 38) In 1959–60 the land was all converted to stock. (fn. 39)
The church of ST. LAWRENCE AND THE HOLY CROSS consists of a 12th-century nave, part of which is now the chancel, north and south aisles of the same period, 14th-century south chapel and west front, and 16th-century west tower. It is a fragment only of the great abbey church, at least two-thirds of which, to the east of the present building, have disappeared. (fn. 40)
Nothing survives from the church of Tofig, built between 1016 and 1035, or that of Harold, consecrated in 1060. (fn. 41) During the first half of the 12th century a new church was built, consisting of nave, apsidal chancel, and transepts with central tower. (fn. 42) The architecture of the nave, which alone survives from that period, was strongly influenced by that of Durham Cathedral, its most striking feature being the massive circular piers, with their incised spiral and zig-zag ornament. As noted above the Bishop of Durham was lord of the manor of Waltham in c. 1075–1100 and some links with Durham seem to have been maintained even after that. (fn. 43) But the rebuilding was probably carried out under the patronage of the royal family and especially that of Maud (d. 1118) and Adeliza (d. 1151), wives of Henry I, both of whom held the manor of Waltham and were benefactors to the abbey. (fn. 44) It has recently been argued that the east double bay of the nave was built later than the bays further west. Since medieval churches were usually built from east to west it is suggested that Harold's chancel and the east end of his nave were allowed to remain when a new nave was begun about 1100, and that the decision to renew the eastern parts was taken later. (fn. 45) This may be confirmed by a 12th-century account of the early history of the church, which mentions work going on, apparently in the choir, in 1125–6. (fn. 46)
When Henry II refounded the church in 1177 he immediately began to rebuild it. (fn. 47) Work started in the same year under the direction of William de Vere, a canon of St. Paul's and later Bishop of Hereford, and Walter de Gant, who became the first Abbot of Waltham in 1184. During the next eight years nearly £1,200 were paid to these men towards the building of the church, and a further £373 8s. 5d. were spent on the purchase and transport of stone, lead and timber. (fn. 48) After 1184 the royal payments ceased; it was presumably left to the canons to complete the work from their own revenues, which were augmented during the 12th century by a succession of royal grants, culminating in that of 1189. (fn. 49) A new chapel in the church was dedicated in 1188. (fn. 50) The rebuilding went on for over 50 years. Ships were bringing marble for the abbey in 1229. (fn. 51) The new church was finally dedicated in 1242. (fn. 52) Its vast scale was revealed in 1938, when excavations showed that the new building comprised a double cross, with two axial towers and two pairs of transepts connected by a choir 130 ft. long. Only the nave of the earlier building (the present parish church) appears to have been left standing. The builders evidently demolished the earlier chancel and added a new eastern arm, crossing and choir. (fn. 53) With a total length of over 400 ft. the new church was one of the largest in England.
In 1540 it was stated that since the refoundation of Waltham by Henry II the nave had been used for parochial purposes. (fn. 54) This seems to be true: in 1286 the parishioners of Waltham were asked by the abbot to undertake repairs of the church, (fn. 55) and these probably comprised the rebuilding of the west front and the two west bays of the nave, which date from c. 1300. The present Lady Chapel, with its undercroft, appears to have been added a little later in the 14th century.
The domestic buildings of the abbey lay north of the church. Few fragments survive above ground, but from these, and from recent excavations of the cloister, (fn. 56) it has been possible to make a conjectural plan of some of the buildings. (fn. 57) North-east of the cloister is a small vaulted slype or passage, probably of the late 12th century, known as the 'Midnight Chapel' and formerly the 'Potato Cellar'. (fn. 58) The surviving gatehouse, 90 yds. north of the existing church, and the bridge, about 150 yds. further north, are both attributed to the 14th century.
At the Dissolution it was proposed that the abbey church should be made the cathedral of a new diocese, but this was never done. (fn. 59) The nave was retained as the parish church. The rest of the church, and all the domestic buildings of the abbey, fell or were pulled down. The great tower immediately east of the nave, which had been badly damaged a century before, (fn. 60) collapsed in 1553, wrecking the choir. (fn. 61) In 1556–8 the parishioners demolished the remains of this tower and built the present west tower, re-using some of the old materials. (fn. 62) In 1562 they demolished a further portion of the abbey — probably the ruins of the choir — and sold the materials to raise funds for 'roofing, flooring and finishing' the new tower. (fn. 63)
In 1641, when Charles I visited Waltham, the Earl of Carlisle asked him to grant a cattle toll towards the badly-needed repair of the church, but this scheme was thwarted by 'a great prelate' (no doubt Laud). (fn. 64) In c. 1645 iconoclasts destroyed a stained glass window, depicting Harold, in the north aisle. (fn. 65)
Repairs to the church were put in hand, with the aid of a brief, in 1668, and were still going on in 1680. They included work on the Lady Chapel, then used as a school house, and apparently also the construction of ceilings. (fn. 66) In 1778 the 'upper hall' of the tower was taken down and 'a paltry substitute of four stone walls with oblong holes set up by way of a belfry'. (fn. 67) The tower was restored in 1798. (fn. 68) In 1807 the roof of the church was lowered and new ceilings made. At the same time four square windows were inserted in the north aisle in place of two of the 12th and two of the 14th centuries. (fn. 69) In the 18th or early 19th century three galleries were put up, one along the south aisle, the others at the west end. (fn. 70)
In 1853 the west doorway was restored by Ambrose Poynter (fn. 71) and in 1859–60 a thorough restoration was carried out by William Burges. (fn. 72) The galleries and pews were removed, the two 14th-century windows in the north aisle were reconstructed and the plaster ceilings replaced by oak boards in the style of those in Peterborough Cathedral. The east wall was remodelled to incorporate an elaborately-carved reredos and a large rose window, with glass designed by Burne-Jones. A north vestry was built in 1874. (fn. 73) In 1876 the Lady Chapel was restored at the expense of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bt., by Burges and J. Arthur Reeve, who discovered there traces of 14th-century wall paintings. (fn. 74) Reeve also directed the restoration of the tower in 1905. (fn. 75)
The 14th-century Lady Chapel and its crypt have been put to a variety of uses. (fn. 76) The chapel was used by the Brotherhood of Our Lady mentioned above. The crypt was formerly called the charnel house. (fn. 77) The 'silver plate which was on the desk' there was sold in 1549. (fn. 78) This suggests that the room was used for ceremonial purposes, and it was probably the chapel of the Charnel Guild. From the 17th century to the 19th the chapel was used intermittently as a parish school. (fn. 79) Early in the 18th century it was serving as a wood store. (fn. 80) For many years before 1874 it was a vestry. (fn. 81) Later it housed a small museum of local antiquities. (fn. 82) The crypt was still a charnel house in c. 1814. (fn. 83) In 1728 half of it had been given to Richard Morgan, of Warlies, as a family burial vault. (fn. 84) It is said to have been used, during the reign of Charles II, as a prison for Quakers. (fn. 85) It now (1963) contains the local history museum formerly in the chapel above. (fn. 86)
A print of c. 1735 shows a small single-story building immediately east of the Lady Chapel, in the position formerly occupied by the south-west transept. It was then described as 'the burying-place out of the chancel' and belonged to the lord of the manor. (fn. 87) It was demolished about 1828. (fn. 88)
The fittings of the church include a Purbeck marble font of the 12th or 13th century, a 14th-century screen at the west end of the north aisle, a Tudor royal arms on the organ loft, and a 17th-century pulpit, now in the crypt of the Lady Chapel. The sawn-off ends of the rood-beam still exist above the second piers from the east. Figures of St. Mary and St. John were bought for the rood loft in 1554. (fn. 89) The loft was removed in 1558. (fn. 90) There are four 17th-century chests in the church. All are of domestic type and were bought shortly before 1913. (fn. 91)
The west tower of the abbey church contained eight bells, which were reserved for the canons; there was also one small bell for parish use. (fn. 92) In 1544 five of the abbey bells were bought by the churchwardens, who set them up in a frame in the churchyard. (fn. 93) These bells were subsequently sold to raise funds for the building of the new west tower, 'so that Waltham, which formerly had steeple-less bells, now had for some years a bell-less steeple'. (fn. 94) About 1603 four new bells were bought, (fn. 95) and in 1654–6 a new ring of six appears to have been cast. This was recast as eight bells in 1806. (fn. 96) Four new bells, to make a ring of 12, were added in 1914. (fn. 97)
A silver and gilt chalice, bequeathed to the parish by Robert Fuller, the last Abbot of Waltham, was sold in 1556. (fn. 98) After the dissolution of the guilds the parish was allowed to retain their ceremonial plate, and in 1551 sold this also. (fn. 99) The present church plate includes a cup of 1633, and three patens of 1561, 1674, and 1725, besides several later pieces. All the old plate was given to the church in 1883. (fn. 100)
The sepulchral monuments of Waltham have been fully described in print. (fn. 101) No trace has survived of the tomb of Harold, which is said to have been in the abbey church until the Dissolution. A fragment of marble, depicting the mask of a warrior, thought at one time to be part of the tomb, is probably of the early 16th century. (fn. 102) It has sometimes been doubted whether Harold was really buried at Waltham, but the evidence is strong. (fn. 103) According to Fuller the tomb was 'where now (c. 1655) the Earl of Carlisle's leaden fountain in his garden, then probably the end of the choir, or rather some eastern chapel beyond it.' (fn. 104)
The oldest surviving monument now in the church is the indent of a brass of an early-14th-century abbot, in the north aisle. Near it is a coffinlid of about the same period. In the south aisle is a brass to Thomas Colt (1559) and Magdalen his wife (1591). In the chancel is a wall monument to Sir Edward Denny (1600) (second son of Sir Anthony) and Margaret his wife. (fn. 105) Near this is an effigy of Elizabeth, Lady Greville (1619). The tomb of Robert Smith (1697) a sea-captain, is in the north aisle.
In spite of the great size of the parish there does not seem to have been any Anglican place of worship, except the parish church, before the 19th century. An 18th-century tradition that there had been an ancient church at Sewardstone (fn. 106) is not supported by documentary evidence. (fn. 107) In the 19th century an iron chapel, served by the curate of Waltham, stood for many years opposite Luther's at Sewardstone. (fn. 108) It still existed in c. 1870 but was evidently removed soon after. (fn. 109) Mission services, held in the schoolroom and elsewhere, were resumed about 1890. (fn. 110)
In 1836 the new ecclesiastical parish of High Beech was created from part of Waltham Holy Cross. (fn. 111) The benefice was a perpetual curacy (now a vicarage), in the gift of the Bishop of London (now the Bishop of Chelmsford). (fn. 112) The church of ST. PAUL was built at Blencowe Green. Capt. Sotheby, lord of Sewardstone manor, gave £1,000 towards its establishment and endowment. (fn. 113) It was situated at the bottom of a hill on a damp and inconvenient site, and by 1862 was in bad repair. (fn. 114) The present church of THE HOLY INNOCENTS was therefore built at the top of the hill, at the cost of Thomas C. Baring of Wallsgrove House, opened in 1873 and consecrated in 1883. (fn. 115) It was designed by (Sir) Arthur Blomfield (fn. 116) and is a stone building in the Early English style, consisting of apsidal chancel, nave, transepts, and north-west tower. It stands in a large graveyard, which is entirely surrounded by forest trees. The old church was demolished in 1885. (fn. 117)
From about 1870 services were being held in the village school at Copped Hall Green, Upshire. (fn. 118) The mission church of ST. THOMAS, Upshire, was opened in 1902. It was served from Waltham Holy Cross until 1956 when it was joined to High Beech parish. (fn. 119) The building is of roughcast brick with stone dressings and was designed by Freeman and Ogilvy (fn. 120) as a faithful reproduction of a small Essex church of the 15th century. It consists of nave, chancel, north aisle, and north vestry. The nave arcade is of timber and there is a timber-framed and weather-boarded bell turret at the west end. A mission was opened in an iron church at Holyfield about 1895. (fn. 121)
The church of ST. THOMAS MORE AND ST. EDWARD, Sewardstone Road, was opened in 1951. (fn. 122)
Waltham was an early nonconformist centre. In 1663 it was stated that there were 'daily great conventicles in the parish' and that on Whit Tuesday 300 persons had met in a house in Waltham Abbey. (fn. 123) The first permanent congregation was one of Quakers. George Fox preached in the town, in face of riotous opposition, in 1654. (fn. 124) The first meetings were held in a barn. In 1672 land was given for a burial ground, and a meeting house was later built there. (fn. 125) This was probably the building, erected by Josias Lovett, which was the subject of a presentment at Quarter Sessions in 1680. (fn. 126) The early Friends endured much persecution, some being imprisoned in the crypt of the Lady Chapel at the parish church. (fn. 127) From 1667 their meeting was part of the Ham and Waltham Monthly Meeting, and of the Essex Quarterly Meeting. (fn. 128) In 1691 it was transferred to Enfield (later Tottenham) Monthly Meeting, in the London and Middlesex Quarterly Meeting. (fn. 129) For some years before about 1680 there was a Friends' school in Waltham Abbey. (fn. 130) The meeting declined after 1700 and was closed in 1817. (fn. 131) The meeting house, which was in Quaker Lane, was later used by the British School, and was demolished in 1844. (fn. 132)
In 1690 William Woodward of Havering was licensed to preach at Waltham Abbey. (fn. 133) His denomination was not then stated, but a licence of 1696 described him as a Baptist. (fn. 134) There were later licences to Baptists in 1700, 1711, and 1713. (fn. 135) In 1729 a Baptist church was built in Paradise Row, Waltham Abbey, under the leadership of John Wright, a corn merchant. (fn. 136) During the pastorate of John Auther (1729–62) baptisms took place in the river. His successor, John Davies (1764–95) organized the building of a baptistery, a manse, and a vestry. Between 1786 and 1808 the church received many legacies, mainly for the support of the minister. (fn. 137) The election of Charles Keen as minister in 1824 was opposed by some of the members, who seceded to form what later became the Ebenezer Strict Baptist church (see below). Keen started a Sunday school, but this innovation caused further dissension, and he resigned in 1826. James Hargreaves, minister 1829–45, promoted the rebuilding of the church (1836), and the building of the British School, (fn. 138) and inaugurated many new activities. The church was supported at this period by (Sir) Morton Peto (Bt.) who lived nearby. In 1842 another group of members seceded. During the pastorate of Spencer Murch (1852–66) over 100 members were added, and a mission was started at Honey Lane (1863). (fn. 139) Under J. Baynard (minister 1867–73) there was a further secession, to form a new church at Enfield (Mdx.). William Jackson, brother-in-law of C. H. Spurgeon, was minister 1876–92. He directed the restoration of the church and the building of a new schoolroom (1876–80). In 1887 a building was erected for the Honey Lane mission. For a time, about 1888, there was also a mission hall at Monkhams Hill, Holyfield. In 1959 the church had 68 members and still maintained the Honey Lane mission. (fn. 140) The Baptist church of 1836, a rectangular building of yellow brick with Tudor-arched windows, still survived in 1963. The 18th-century manse, to the north of the church, was demolished in c. 1960.
In 1824 11 members seceded from the Paradise Row Baptist church, held meetings in a house in Green Yard and later rented a building in Church Street, near Baker's Entry. (fn. 141) They were joined in 1842 by others from Paradise Row. In 1845 a chapel called Bethel was built on the Church Street site by W. Webster, who let it to the members. In 1868, after receiving notice to quit, they built Ebenezer Strict Baptist church in Fountain Place. William Winters, pastor 1876–93, was also a bookseller, religious journalist, and historian of Waltham Abbey. (fn. 142) In 1879 the church was enlarged. It was closed in 1918 and later converted into a sausage factory. It was demolished in 1962.
After the building of Ebenezer, in 1868, Bethel chapel was regularly used for services, although no church organization was created. (fn. 143) Worship there appears to have ceased between 1906 and 1912. (fn. 144)
In 1716 Quarter Sessions were asked to license a house in Waltham Holy Cross for Presbyterian worship. (fn. 145) A Presbyterian church, with a minister, existed at Waltham Abbey in 1772–3. (fn. 146) In 1810 there were said to be a Congregational meetinghouse and also one for Presbyterians. (fn. 147) One of these must have been in fact the Paradise Row Baptist church. The other may have been the church mentioned in 1772–3, and was possibly the small Independent chapel in Mead Lane which existed early in the 19th century, apparently in connexion with a church at Cheshunt (Herts.). (fn. 148)
There was a small Wesleyan Methodist congregation at Waltham Abbey in 1810. (fn. 151) A few years later a band from Loughton held services first in the Old Market Hall, then at Farm Hill House, and later in a building in Romeland. In 1816 a chapel, possibly the small building in Mead Lane mentioned above, was purchased from the Independents (fn. 152) and in the following year the Waltham Abbey Wesleyan circuit was formed, with Charles Cook as its first minister. (fn. 153) In 1823 the society bought a house at the top of Quaker Lane, Sewardstone Street (fn. 154) and in 1824 opened a chapel accommodating 280, with a gallery. (fn. 155) A debt remained on this building until 1871. (fn. 156) There were said to be about 350 Wesleyans in Waltham Abbey in 1829. (fn. 157) New schools and vestries, fronting on Sewardstone Street, were added in 1879. (fn. 158) The present church, seating 750, was erected in Monkswood Avenue, at a cost of £6,600 in 1902. (fn. 159) It is now (1962) part of the Waltham Abbey and Hertford circuit.
A house at Copped Hall Green was licensed for Wesleyan worship by Charles Cook in 1816. (fn. 160) In 1829 the Waltham Abbey circuit included a society near Copped Hall and another at Sewardstone. (fn. 161) No more is known of them. There was a small Methodist church at Sewardstone by 1931, in the Waltham Abbey and Hertford circuit. (fn. 162) It is still (1962) in that circuit, but preachers from the Chingford circuit take services on alternate Sundays. (fn. 163) About 1876 Wesleyan services were started at High Beech, and about 1878 a small chapel was built at Lippitts Hill. (fn. 164) This was placed on the plan of the Wanstead and Woodford circuit in 1879. (fn. 165) It was closed c. 1922. (fn. 166)
From c. 1886 to c. 1894 a Presbyterian congregation was meeting in the school at Sewardstone. (fn. 167) The Salvation Army first appeared at Waltham Abbey in 1885; they met at first in Quaker Lane, and in 1909 built a hall in Sewardstone Street. (fn. 168) A community of Plymouth Brethren, formed before 1877, met first in Quaker Lane and later in Silver Street. (fn. 169) A Gospel Hall, in Broomstick Hall Road, has existed since 1937 or earlier. (fn. 170) An Elim Four Square church, in Sewardstone Street, was licensed in 1950. (fn. 171)
The secular canons of Waltham maintained a school in the 12th century. (fn. 172) There was a schoolmaster's room in the abbey at the Dissolution. (fn. 173) School Street (now Silver Street) occurs in 1342. (fn. 174)
From the 16th or early 17th century there was a school, maintained by the churchwardens, in the Lady Chapel of the parish church. (fn. 175) Repairs to the school house are mentioned in 1625 and 1667–8. (fn. 176) In c. 1735 teaching had ceased for want of a master, (fn. 177) but the school was revived later in the 18th century.
In 1766 John Edmondson gave two cottages, the rents of which were to provide an elementary education for 5 poor boys in the town school house. This gift was made to implement a legacy for the same purpose made by Arabella Jones by her will of 1756, but subsequently declared void under mortmain. (fn. 178) By his will of 1814 John Halfhide left £200, half the income from which was to go to the parish Sunday school. (fn. 179) With the aid of these legacies, and by their own considerable efforts, Churchmen had by the early 19th century constructed an ample and varied system of education in the parish. In 1818 this comprised a day school, a Sunday school and a night school in the town, a day school at High Beech, two dame schools in Sewardstone and two in Upshire, and Sunday schools in each of the last three places. In addition to income from school fees and endowments, the parochial committee which supervised these schools received about £100 a year in voluntary subscriptions. (fn. 180) By 1833 there were, besides the Church schools, Leverton's School (see below), about a dozen private schools, a Wesleyan and a Baptist Sunday school. (fn. 181)
In c. 1814 the town day school still met in the Lady Chapel, and was using the small barn-like building immediately east of the chapel. (fn. 182) The school, which by 1816 was in union with the National Society, had 102 pupils in 1818. (fn. 183) In 1833 there was also an infant school with 133 pupils, (fn. 184) later discontinued. (fn. 185) In 1845 the National School was in High Bridge Street. (fn. 186) The Lady Chapel (or vestry), however, continued to be used for some classes until 1874. (fn. 187) In 1850 the girls were being taught there. (fn. 188) In 1858 the school contained 104 boys, 59 girls and 71 infants. (fn. 189) In 1862 the girls class was meeting in High Bridge Street, the boys in Quaker Lane and the infants apparently in the Lady Chapel. (fn. 190)
In 1872 a school board was formed for the parish. (fn. 191) In the same year the Education Department declared that 866 school places were needed to ensure universal elementary education and that 510 places were already available. The National School Committee had decided to provide 90 more places in Waltham Abbey but the Department maintained that the existing boys school was unsuitable for extension and urged that it should be rebuilt on a different site. Since it could not meet this requirement, the committee closed the schools and committed responsibility for educational provision in the town to the school board. (fn. 192)
Leverton's School, Waltham Abbey, was a charity school for 20 boys and 20 girls, founded as the result of a legacy in the will of Thomas Leverton, proved 1824. (fn. 193) The legacy took effect on the death of his widow Rebecca, which did not occur until 1833. Meanwhile, however, she had already established and maintained a school on the lines intended. In 1825 the executors of George Faubert, who had been empowered to assist public charities in this way, bought two houses in High Bridge Street for the school and the teacher's residence. A master was appointed in 1826. (fn. 194)
The Faubert gift, while facilitating the foundation of the school, also burdened Leverton's trustees with the maintenance of buildings, which does not seem to have been part of the founder's plan. In the 1830's the endowment seems to have been sufficient, (fn. 195) but in 1872, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton described the school as a 'nasty little charity' with insufficient income, and suggested that it should be closed and the money used to provide free places at the board schools. (fn. 196) In 1898 there were still 40 pupils at the school; the master and mistress were then receiving £100 a year between them, half of which was provided by Mr. Baring (presumably H. H. J. Baring of High Beech). (fn. 197) In 1899 the school buildings were sold to the urban district council for road widening. In 1900 Leverton's was using the buildings of the disused National School. (fn. 198) In 1906 it was in Paradise Row. (fn. 199) In 1922 the master and mistress were teaching only 15 boys and 15 girls. (fn. 200) The school was closed in 1942 and the premises have since been demolished. (fn. 201)
In 1840 a British School was established in connexion with the Paradise Row Baptist church. (fn. 202) It used the former Quaker meeting house in Quaker Lane until 1844, when a new school was erected on the same site. (fn. 203) By 1845 there were 105 children on the books. Fees were then 2d. a week. (fn. 204) In 1873 the trustees handed over the school to the newly-established school board. (fn. 205)
The board made many additions and alterations to the original buildings. In 1878 a separate infants department was built and in 1882 a new boys school, in Milton Street. (fn. 206) In 1890 the total accommodation in the board schools in the town was 941, and the average attendance 611. (fn. 207) Attendance increased to 814 in 1914. (fn. 208) In the early years of the Second World War the schools were taken over by the military authorities. In 1952 they were reorganized as the King Harold County Secondary (Modern) School and the Waltham Holy Cross County Primary School. (fn. 209) In 1959 the secondary school was transferred to new buildings at Paternoster Hill. (fn. 210)
In 1816 there were two mixed dame schools in Sewardstone hamlet, attended by 67 children. They were in union with the National Society and were supervised by the local clergy. This arrangement continued until at least 1820, but subsequently the connexion of the dame schools with the National Society, and probably also with the church, was discontinued. (fn. 211)
In 1874 the Waltham school board built a school at Sewardstone with about 100 places. (fn. 212) By 1886 there were some 113 pupils. (fn. 213) After the First World War attendance declined and in 1939 the school was closed. The juniors and infants were transferred to the new Yardley Lane School, Chingford, and the seniors to Chingford Senior School. (fn. 214)
There was a small Church school at High Beech in 1818, in union with the National Society. (fn. 215) In 1833 it had 24 pupils. (fn. 216) In 1839–40 a new school was built, with the aid of grants from the government and the National Society, on a site north of the church of St. Paul, given by Capt. Charles Sotheby. (fn. 217) In its early years the school had an annual income of about £50 a year, mainly from subscriptions. Geography and history were taught, in addition to the three basic subjects. In 1846–7 there were a mistress, a pupil teacher, and about 40 children, mostly girls. (fn. 218) After 1851–2 the school declined in standard. In 1858–9 an inspector reported that the children knew 'next to nothing'. (fn. 219) The state of the building was also poor. Like the church it was at the bottom of a hill, on a site liable to flooding, and in 1865 the vicar reported that the pupils were often absent because of illness caused by the damp atmosphere. (fn. 220) In 1881–2 Thomas C. Baring, of Wallsgrove House, erected a new building on his estate and lent it for use as a Church school. This arrangement has continued until the present day, the Baring family retaining ownership. (fn. 221) At the end of the 19th century average attendance was about 60. (fn. 222) In 1950 the school was re-organized for juniors and infants as the High Beech Church of England Primary School. It was given Controlled status in 1954, when there were 27 children and two teachers. (fn. 223)
In 1816 there were two dame schools at Upshire, attended by 76 children. They were in union with the National Society and supervised by the local clergy. This arrangement continued at least until 1820, but the connexion of the schools with the society and the church seems subsequently to have ceased. (fn. 224)
In 1853 Miss Banbury of Warlies gave land at Horseshoe Hill, Upshire, for a school and teacher's house. (fn. 225) Soon after this Sir Thomas F. Buxton became owner of Warlies. He appears to have built the school and maintained and managed it until 1877, when it was transferred to the Waltham school board, of which he was chairman. (fn. 226) There were 70 children in 1858–9. (fn. 227) By 1904 average attendance was 148. (fn. 228) Before 1910 the school was enlarged to provide 197 places. (fn. 229) In 1939 it was transferred to new premises. In 1951 it was re-organized for juniors and infants as the Upshire County Primary School. (fn. 230)
There have been many private schools in Waltham Abbey. For some years before about 1680 there was a Quaker school there. (fn. 231) Among schools existing in the 19th century were the Waltham Academy, Sewardstone Street, the Young Ladies Boarding School in Sun Street, and a school in Fountain Place kept for many years by 'Old Dame' Parker. (fn. 232)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
By a scheme of 1894 all the surviving charities for the poor of the parish except that of Leverton were included in a general scheme. All funds were to be invested together and administered by a single body of trustees. The bread and money doles were to continue as before. (fn. 233) In 1960 the total dividends of the united charities amounted to £196. Most of this was spent on the almshouses. (fn. 234)
Almshouse Charities founded before 1894.
In 1782 there were 14 houses in the parish 'appropriated for the use of the poor'. (fn. 235) Four of these, at Copped Hall Green, are not known to have been charitable gifts. Four were Green's almshouses at Waltham Abbey, and three, at Lippitts Lane End, were Bishop Hall's almshouses (see below). The other three houses were at High Beech; one of them had been built by Richard Munday, who gave it to the parish in 1759. (fn. 236) Shortly before 1819 these three houses at High Beech were burnt down, and in that year the site was sold to W. St. J. Arabin. (fn. 237)
The houses at Lippitts Lane End appear to have been given to the parish early in the 17th century by Joseph Hall, curate c. 1608 and later Bishop successively of Exeter and of Norwich. (fn. 238) In 1890 they were sold for £150, which was invested in trust for Green's almshouses. (fn. 239)
In 1626 Francis Green gave the parish four almshouses, with a barn and orchard adjoining, in High Bridge Street, for four widows. (fn. 240) It became the custom to let the barn and orchard and to divide the rent between the almswomen. The rent was £4 4s. a year in 1782 and £25 in c. 1830. (fn. 241) Robert Mason (d. 1808) left £500 stock, subject to life interests, for rebuilding these almshouses. Owing to a legal dispute the legacy was not paid until 1818, when it was used, with about £200 from the parish, for the purpose mentioned. The new almshouses were of two stories and accommodated eight widows. (fn. 242) By the will of Mowbray Woollard, proved in 1826, £1,350 stock was left to give weekly doles to four of the almswomen and to ten of the inmates of the parish workhouse. (fn. 243) The endowment of the almshouses was increased in 1864 by £67 from the sale of the 'Poor's Land', (fn. 244) in 1890 by £150 from that of Bishop Hall's almshouses, already mentioned, and in 1894 by part of the income from Pearce's charity (see below). Green's almshouses were destroyed by a German bomb in 1945 but were subsequently rebuilt and by a scheme of 1953 were let to four almswomen at rents of 5s. a week. (fn. 245)
Other Charities for the Poor founded before 1894.
Robert Rampston of Chingford, by will proved 1585, left to the poor of the parish of Waltham Holy Cross 40s. charged on lands in (Great?) Dunmow. In 1834 the income from this charity and those of Browne, Catrow, Weylett, Grub and Dane (see below) was being carried to the churchwardens' general account, and used to supplement a collection made in church on Christmas Day, in providing bread. (fn. 246)
Robert Browne, by will dated 1587, left to the poor of the parish 30s. a year charged on the Cock Inn. (fn. 247)
Robert Catrow, by will dated 1597, left 20s. a year, charged on three houses in High Bridge Street, to provide bread. (fn. 248)
Henry Wollaston, draper of London, by will dated 1616, left 52s. a year, charged on Fisher's Farm, Holyfield, to provide bread. (fn. 249)
At a date unknown, and already forgotten in 1735, Robert Dane gave 10s. a year, charged on a house in Sewardstone Street to provide bread. (fn. 250)
George Weylett, fishmonger of London, by will dated 1691, left 40s. a year, charged on land in Yardley (Herts.) for the poor of Waltham parish. (fn. 251) In 1857 the rent charge was redeemed for £66, which was invested. (fn. 252)
Robert Grub, by will dated 1708, left 40s. a year, charged on land in Holyfield, for bread. (fn. 253)
John Pearce, by will proved 1735, left 30s. a year for the occupants of an almshouse to be built by him, £3 for doles to the industrious poor, 40s. to teach poor children to read and sew, 40s. towards maintaining a workhouse, and 40s. to a dissenting schoolmaster. The projected almshouse does not appear to have been built. When Pearce's charity was included in the scheme of 1894 it was provided that the first two rent charges should be paid to Green's almshouses and the other three should be divided between the Anglican and nonconformist Sunday schools of Waltham Abbey. (fn. 254)
Arabella Jones, widow, by will dated 1756, left £5 a year charged on her property to teach five poor boys of the parish. This legacy was declared void under mortmain, but in 1766 John Edmondson placed the rent charge on property near the corn market, and applied it to the support of the church school at Waltham Abbey. (fn. 255) After that school closed in 1872 the rent charge was used to provide free places at the Waltham Abbey Board School. (fn. 256) The income of the charity now (1962) consists of the interest from some £724 stock, which is used to provide prizes at local Sunday schools and day schools. (fn. 257)
John Halfhide, by will dated 1814, left £200 stock; half the income was to go to the Church Sunday school, and half to poor widows. (fn. 258)
Jane Dobson of St. Pancras (Mdx.), by will proved 1825, left £500 stock (reduced by charges to £389) for doles to the poor of Waltham Abbey, especially those not receiving parish relief nor members of benefit clubs. (fn. 259)
Thomas Leverton of Bedford Square (Mdx.), by will proved 1824, left £6,000 stock (later reduced by charges to £5,378) subject to the life interest of his widow Rebecca (d. 1833). The annual dividends from this bequest were to be used as follows: £80 for teaching and clothing 20 poor boys and 20 poor girls, £10 for school books and stationery, £30 to a master for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, £20 to a mistress for teaching reading, needlework, and housework, £5 to apprentice 2 boys or girls, and £1 each to five of the children who had behaved well 'in their first servitude'. The will suggested that 'an able housekeeper' (preferably the curate), should act as master and a 'competent female housekeeper' as mistress, teaching in their own houses or elsewhere at the discretion of the trustees, and taking no other pupils. The children were to wear uniform and to attend all services at the parish church. The will also provided that £12 should be spent each year on clothing for six poor men and six poor women, £5 on bread and £3 to maintain his monument in the church. (fn. 260) The foundation of the school, in buildings given by the executors of George Faubert, and its later history, are described elsewhere. (fn. 261) Since the school closed the income of the charity has been accumulating and a new scheme is now (1962) under consideration. (fn. 262)
Mary Woollard, by will dated 1836, left £800 stock, £20 of the annual income to be spent on bread and the remainder on doles or clothing for the poor. (fn. 263)
The Benevolent Fund was created by declaration of trust in 1852. The vicar and other trustees were to hold £200, the income to be given to the poor or to charity schools or other voluntary parochial schools. (fn. 264)
Charities founded since 1894.
In 1873, when the British school at Waltham Abbey was taken over by the school board, the British school trustees retained the freehold of the site, and charged rent for it. In 1909, under a Board of Education scheme, this rent, which was not to exceed £30 a year, was formed into a charity called the Waltham Educational Foundation. It was to provide prizes for religious knowledge, and exhibitions and maintenance grants to children at schools, or other institutions, providing secondary or higher education. (fn. 267)
Mabel Warburton, by will proved 1958, left to the trustees of the united parochial charities Welcome Cottage, Honey Lane, as a home for old people, and £5,000 for its maintenance. (fn. 268) The house is now (1962) in the process of conversion for this purpose. (fn. 269)
Lady Burghley (d. 1589) left £80 in trust to the Haberdashers' Company of London to be lent, interest free, to tradesmen of Hoddesdon and Cheshunt (Herts.) and Waltham Abbey. The payment lapsed after 1670. (fn. 270)
Margaret Gidney, widow, of London, by will dated 1579, left 40s. a year charged on a house and land in Sewardstone, half to eight poor widows or families in that hamlet, half for the upkeep of the roads there. (fn. 271) This charity is mentioned in the Report of 1834, and still existed in 1839. (fn. 272) There is no later trace of it.