A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1966.
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The earliest known reference to the church of Dagenham was in 1205, when Baldwin 'the chaplain' was involved in a dispute concerning church land. (fn. 1) Architectural evidence suggests that the church of St. Peter and St. Paul was built early in the 13th century. By c. 1254 it had been appropriated to Barking Abbey and a vicarage ordained. (fn. 2) The abbey held the rectory and advowson until 1539, though the last presentation before the dissolution was by Edward North and George Hadley for one turn, early in 1539. (fn. 3) In 1540 William Pownsett, of Loxford in Ilford, (fn. 4) presented for one turn. Subsequent presentations, up to 1557, were made by the Crown. In 1558, shortly before her death, Mary granted the advowson to the Bishop of London, as part of a scheme for augmenting poor benefices. (fn. 5) The scheme evidently lapsed on the accession of Elizabeth I, and the advowson was subsequently granted along with the rectory and the manor of Cockermouth (fn. 6) to Sir Anthony Browne. The advowson descended with Cockermouth until the end of the 17th century. (fn. 7) Only one of the lords of Cockermouth presented to the vicarage before the Civil War: William Nutbrowne in 1579. Ralph Ward presented for one turn in 1617. In 1637, and twice in 1641, the bishop presented, perhaps because of the lunacy of John Darcy, lord of Cockermouth, and the minority of his successor (Sir) Thomas Darcy. During the Interregnum presentations were made by Sir Thomas Honeywood, as guardian of (Sir) Thomas Darcy, and later by Darcy himself. (fn. 8) The advowson was held by Darcy until his death in 1693, and later by his son Sir George (d. 1698). It was sold about 1700 by Sir George Darcy's three sisters and co-heirs, apparently to Samuel Kekewich, vicar of Rainham, who presented in 1704. (fn. 9)
The next presentation was made in 1719 by William Blackborne, who is said to have inherited the advowson from the Revd. John Brett. Blackborne presented again in 1737 and 1739. (fn. 10) The next presentation, of Edward Chaplin in 1798, was made by Thomas Thoreton. (fn. 11) Chaplin later acquired the advowson and sold it to Mrs. Sarah Bonynge, a relative of the Fanshawes of Parsloes. (fn. 12) On her death in 1832 she left it to her nephew, Thomas L. Fanshawe, whom she had presented to the vicarage in 1816. (fn. 13) In 1854 the advowson was bought from Fanshawe by a sister of the Revd. Robert Bewick, who presented him in 1857. (fn. 14) Before 1861 it was again sold, to the Revd. John Farmer, who presented himself in that year. (fn. 15) In 1876 Thomas C. Moore presented his son, the Revd. John J. S. Moore. (fn. 16) The advowson descended to John J. S. Moore's son Stewart, who sold it in 1918 to George W. Bennett. Bennett sold it in the same year to the Church Association (now Society) Trust, the present (1962) owners. (fn. 17)
In 1538 Barking Abbey leased the rectory of Dagenham, along with the manor of Cockermouth, (fn. 18) to Nicholas Howe. Between 1560 and 1564 Sir Anthony Browne (d. 1567) acquired the rectory and the manor. By his will he left the rectory to his foundation of Brentwood School, providing that the then lessee, his servant John Lytell, should pay £24 rent for 20 years, after which the school was to have absolute possession. (fn. 19) The will was proved in 1567, but the school had to obtain a Chancery decree before gaining possession of the property, in 1573, from Sir Anthony's heir, Wistan Browne. (fn. 20) The school continued the practice of leasing. From 1647 until 1823 the lessees were successive members of the Fanshawe family of Parsloes. Until 1803 they paid small annual rents and large fines on the renewal of leases. In 1803 the Tower family, as patrons of Brentwood School, began to rack-rent the great tithes. In 1811 they became involved with the Fanshawes in a long legal battle concerning the tithes of vegetables. (fn. 21) The cause of the dispute seems to have been twofold. During the previous twenty years there had been a considerable growth of market gardening in Dagenham. The tithes of vegetables thus became valuable, and the Towers claimed them as great tithes. The Fanshawes, if they had been merely lessees of the great tithes, would have had no reason to oppose this claim, but they were also lessees of the small tithes and, more important, patrons of the vicarage. In 1816, while the battle was still going on, Thomas Fanshawe became vicar. Between 1811 and 1840 the Towers brought a series of unsuccessful suits against the Fanshawes.
In 1824 payment of tithes was again in dispute. The Towers' patronage of Brentwood School was challenged by Capt. Charles Combers, who claimed it himself as heir to Sir Anthony Browne. Both parties appealed to Dagenham landowners and the parish vestry resolved to request the Lord Chancellor to appoint a third party to receive the tithes until the dispute was settled. Thomas Twyford of Triptons, a prominent vestryman and supporter of the Towers' claims, asserted that the landowners were taking advantage of the dispute to withhold tithes. (fn. 22) The Towers remained in control of the school until its reform in 1851. (fn. 23)
In c. 1254 the rectory and vicarage were together valued at £20. (fn. 24) In 1291 the rectory was valued at £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 25) In 1567 the great tithes were being leased for £24. (fn. 26) The rent was subsequently increased to £28 (by 1627), and to £40 (from 1647), at which figure it remained until 1764, when it was raised to £140. (fn. 27) Even in the 17th century these rents were much less than the full value of the tithes. In 1650 the rectory was valued at £90. (fn. 28) By the end of the 18th century the rent represented only about one-eighth of the full value. By then the lessors were taking much of their profit in the form of fines, of which little is known, for renewal of the leases. (fn. 29)
The vicarage was valued at £2 in 1291 and at £19 19s. 10d. in 1535. (fn. 32) In 1650 it was valued at £80, of which £26 10s. represented tithes and the remainder the house and 3 a. glebe. (fn. 33) About that time the vicarage was temporarily augmented by the Committee for Plundered Ministers, which arranged that John Fanshawe, lessee of the great tithes, who was a royalist 'delinquent', should be excused part of his fine on condition that he settled £40 a year for 21 years on the vicarage. (fn. 34) In 1829–31 the average gross income of the vicarage was £800. (fn. 35) In 1844 the small tithes were commuted for £850. There were then 5 a. glebe: (fn. 36) this, which lay north of the church, is now a sports field. (fn. 37) The vicarage house, in Crown Street, is a timber-framed building, the rear part of which dates from the early 17th century. The front was rebuilt in 1665, the date being placed on the porch. A painting of 1879 shows the house before modern alterations. (fn. 38)
In or about 1536 Thomas Hunting or Huntingdon gave a rent-charge of £3 6s. 8d. to support a chantry priest in Dagenham for 19 years. This chantry was dissolved in 1548. (fn. 39) Dagenham also benefited from the occasional services of the priest of Cornburgh's chantry at Romford, established in 1486. (fn. 40)
Between the Reformation and the early 19th century the vicars of Dagenham were often nonresident, sometimes because they were pluralists. (fn. 41) An assistant curate is recorded occasionally before the 17th century and frequently in the 18th. (fn. 42) Charles Trew, instituted in 1641, was ejected in 1643. (fn. 43) The Committee for Plundered Ministers proposed to replace him by John Bowyer, who since 1642 had been lecturer at Dagenham, (fn. 44) but after local opposition appointed Henry Coleman. In 1645–6 Coleman was in trouble with the committee for failing to pay Mrs. Trew the 'fifths' to which she was entitled. He appears to have left Dagenham in 1647, and was succeeded by Bowyer (d. 1650), George Walker (d. 1651), and Jonathan Lloyd (d. 1654). Lloyd was followed in 1655 by Frederick Tilney. By that time Charles Trew was dead. Tilney therefore retained the vicarage at the Restoration, and he conformed in 1662.
The ancient parish church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, in Crown Street, consists of nave, chancel, north chapel and west tower. The chancel and chapel are all that remain of the medieval building. The tower collapsed in 1800, destroying the nave and south aisle. The tower and nave were rebuilt between 1801 and 1805.
The chancel was built early in the 13th century. It has three lancet windows of that period in the east wall and two others, much restored, in the south wall. Two other south windows, and the north arcade, are of the 15th century. The north chapel also dates from the 15th century. It was probably the 'new aisle or chapel' mentioned in 1475. (fn. 45) Its east wall was rebuilt in the 18th century. A painting of the church from the south-east, made about 1770, shows a crenellated west tower with square corner turret, and 15th-century windows. The east window of the south aisle had 13th-century lancets similar to those in the chancel. There was a square-headed window, possibly of the late 15th century, in the south wall of the aisle. (fn. 46)
Substantial repairs and alterations to the church were carried out between 1580 and 1630. (fn. 47) These included the conversion of the north chapel into a vestry which was called the 'rector's chancel'. For more than a century after that there were only minor repairs. About 1770, however, the church, and especially the tower, was found to be dangerously decayed. After spending over £1,100 on ineffective repairs the vestry decided, in 1797, to rebuild the tower and parts of the south aisle. The work was delayed and late in 1800 the tower fell, wrecking the nave and south aisle and damaging the chancel arch. The rebuilding of the nave and tower was immediately put in hand, but owing to financial difficulties was not completed until 1805. (fn. 48) The new work was carried out in stone rubble, using old material, and brown brick. The nave, from which the former south aisle has been omitted, has quatrefoil and pointed windows and, like the tower, an unusual curved and embattled parapet. The tower, said to be 'of the most ignorant and entertaining Gothick', (fn. 49) originally had a spire, but this was removed in 1921. (fn. 50) The semi-circular west porch, supported on clustered stone shafts, is flanked by pointed niches and surmounted by an arch inscribed 'Wm. Mason Archt. 1800'. An internal restoration of the church was carried out in 1878. A 13th-century piscina and an altar slab found during the restoration were replaced in the chancel. (fn. 51)
In the chancel are two 17th-century funeral helms and two pairs of gauntlets, one of which holds a sword. There is a 17th-century chest in the north chapel. In the nave are tablets recording Waters's charity and Ford's endowed school. Details of the parish charities are also recorded in the west gallery. The west gallery and font date from the rebuilding of 1801–5. (fn. 52) Before 1800 there were five bells. A peal of six were cast (or re-cast) in 1804 by Thomas Mears. These were re-cast and re-hung in 1933. (fn. 53) The church plate includes a silver gilt cup of 1598, probably given to the church after 1683. There are also a cup and paten of 1678, a flagon of 1755, an almsdish of c. 1700, and another of 1729. (fn. 54)
On the north side of the chancel is the altar tomb of Sir Thomas Urswick of Marks (d. 1479), (fn. 55) with brasses of him and his wife and nine daughters, and an indent once containing his four sons. (fn. 56) On the south wall of the chancel is a slab to Jacob Uphill (d. 1662) and members of his family, erected in 1707. (fn. 57) In the north chapel are an elaborate marble monument to Sir Richard Alibon (d. 1688), (fn. 58) and slabs to James Hervey (d. 1627), and Jonathan Lloyd, vicar (d. 1654). (fn. 59)
Nathaniel Rogers, by his will proved in 1884, left £20 for the repair of his grandfather's and greatuncle's tombstones, any surplus to be spent on other tombstones and on books for divine service. (fn. 60)
Although Dagenham was a large and scattered parish there was apparently no Anglican place of worship, other than the church, until the end of the 19th century. (fn. 61) About 1880 the vicar, J. S. Moore, began to hold services at Chadwell Heath, and in 1886 the church of ST. CHAD was opened there as a chapel-of-ease to the parish church. In 1895 the new parish of Chadwell Heath was formed, comprising Chadwell Heath and Marks Gate, in Dagenham, and part of Chadwell Street in Ilford. The advowson of the vicarage was vested alternately in the vicars of Dagenham and Great Ilford. (fn. 62) The building, of red brick with stone dressings, consists of aisled nave, chancel, and embattled north-west tower. In 1956 the church of ST. MARK, in Rose Lane, Marks Gate, was built as a district church of Chadwell Heath; (fn. 63) it is designed for use also as a church hall. There was a mission room at Becontree Heath in c. 1890–4. (fn. 64)
The first church built for the Becontree estate was that of St. Thomas, Burnside Road, Ilford. (fn. 65) The parish assigned to St. Thomas's in 1922 comprised the whole of the estate, in Dagenham, Ilford, and Barking, but this was subsequently sub-divided as other new parishes were formed. The church of ST. MARTIN, Goresbrook Road, was opened in 1925; the present building, dating from 1931–2, is of red brick in a modern 'Perpendicular' style and consists of aisled nave, chancel, Lady chapel, porches and vestries. (fn. 66) The advowson of the vicarage is held by the Bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 67)
The church of ST. MARY, Grafton Road, was opened in 1927. In 1935 a permanent building was erected and to this were transferred the endowments of Ram's episcopal chapel, Homerton (in Hackney, Mdx.), together with the organ and communion plate from the chapel. The church, designed by Welch, Cachemaille-Day and Lander, is a roughcast building with brick window-tracery, consisting of nave, north aisle, and uncompleted central tower, the base of which is now used as a chancel. The advowson of the vicarage is held by the Church Pastoral Aid Society. (fn. 68)
The church of ST. GEORGE, Rogers Road, was opened in 1929. The present building, erected in 1935 when a new parish was formed, is of brown brick and consists of a nave with passage aisles and a chancel flanked by chapels. The advowson of the vicarage is held by the Bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 69)
The church of ST. PETER, Warrington Road, was opened in 1931. A new brick chancel, with Lady chapel and vestries, was erected in 1958 and the old roughcast building now forms the nave of the church. The advowson of the vicarage is held by the Bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 70) The churches of St. Alban, Urswick Road, St. Cedd, Lodge Avenue, St. Elisabeth, Wood Lane, and St. John, Goresbrook Road, all of which serve the Becontree estate, are treated under Barking. (fn. 71)
ROMAN CATHOLICISM. (fn. 72)
The Roman Catholics were the first religious body to begin work on the Becontree estate. Their first church, that of St. Vincent, was at the northern end of the estate, in Ilford. (fn. 73) In 1926 the Revd. J. Petit, now Bishop of Menevia, established the mission of ST. PETER, in Goresbrook Road, for south Dagenham. This was taken over in 1928 by the missionaries of La Salette. The present church hall was in use for worship by 1929 and a permanent brick church, built on a basilican plan, was opened in 1937. A mission for the central area of the estate was established in 1928, and the church of THE HOLY FAMILY, Oxlow Lane, was opened in 1934. The Barking side of the estate is served by the churches of St. Thomas More and St. Anne. (fn. 74) Hainault is served by the church of The Assumption, in Chigwell. (fn. 75)
Puritan activity in Dagenham during the Commonwealth (fn. 76) does not seem to have led to the formation of any nonconformist congregation there after the Restoration. Individual dissenters certainly existed. In 1665 a Dagenham man was prosecuted in the archdeacon's court as a Quaker. (fn. 77) He may have been a member of the Barking meeting. (fn. 78)
Churches founded before 1921.
Samuel Wilson (d. 1727), minister of a Presbyterian chapel at Havering Well, in Romford, lived at Dagenham. (fn. 79) Some of his congregation probably did also. In 1766 there were said to be 'many Presbyterians' in the parish, (fn. 80) and in 1794 the house of Samuel Waters was licensed by E. Cornell for Independent worship. (fn. 81) The first permanent congregation was, however, one of Wesleyan Methodists. According to local tradition this originated about 1770, (fn. 82) but the first certain reference to it was in 1800, when the house of James Richardson was licensed for Independent worship. (fn. 83) Other evidence shows that this was a Methodist meeting and that it was due to the initiative of Henry Attely, a wheelwright, whose religious activities were opposed by the local squire, J. G. Fanshawe of Parsloes. (fn. 84) By 1829 there were two Methodist societies in the parish. The larger, with 46 members, met in a newly-built chapel at Becontree Heath. The smaller, which used a licensed house, probably in Dagenham village, had 16 members. Both were in the Romford section of the Spitalfields circuit. (fn. 85) The Becontree Heath chapel was visited in 1831 by Elizabeth Fry. (fn. 86) It was certainly the first Methodist chapel in Dagenham, and the society there probably goes back to the work of Attely in 1800. A map of c. 1844 shows the chapel on the south side of Wood Lane. (fn. 87) By 1852 Becontree Heath had seceded from the Wesleyan connexion and was included in the Wesleyan Reform Third London Circuit. (fn. 88) This chapel, like Ebenezer in Bull Street (see below), later joined the United Methodist Free Church. The two chapels were closely connected: in 1860, on the same day, new licences were taken out for them both. Those two licences were cancelled in 1875, when a new U.M.F.C. chapel was opened at Becontree Heath. (fn. 89) It is therefore probable that in 1875 the two congregations united in the new building, now Becontree Heath Methodist church, which stands on the north side of Wood Lane, and that Ebenezer was then closed.
Ebenezer chapel, in Bull Street (now Rainham Road South) was built in 1846 and licensed by Thomas Smith, in face of opposition from the vicar, T. L. Fanshawe. (fn. 90) About 1850 it seceded from the Wesleyan connexion in sympathy with the Wesleyan Reformers. (fn. 91) Those continuing to support the old connexion therefore left Ebenezer, under the leadership of George Flowers, a baker, and built another chapel nearby (see below). The probable later history of Ebenezer, up to 1875, has already been described. The building appears to have been used, after 1875, by a mission which gave rise to the Dagenham Free church (see below). It is a small yellow-brick building on the west side of the road, opposite the present Methodist church. (fn. 92)
Those who remained in the old Wesleyan connexion in c. 1850, and therefore left Ebenezer, worshipped at first in cottages, but by 1854 had built a chapel opposite Ebenezer, in the same street. This was rebuilt in 1888. (fn. 93) It was demolished for road-widening in 1958: a new building, to the south of the former church hall, was opened in 1962. (fn. 94) It is called Old Dagenham Methodist church.
In 1821 a house at Chadwell Heath was licensed for Wesleyans. (fn. 95) There are no later references to this. A Wesleyan church was built at Chadwell Heath in 1907. It was closed and sold in 1939. (fn. 96)
A chapel at Marks Gate, which was at first Independent (Congregational) and later Methodist, was built in 1821 by the Village Itinerancy Society to serve the 'poor and demoralized skirters of the forest'. (fn. 97) In its early years it had a Sunday school. (fn. 98) In 1882 it was reported that the recent opening of a Wesleyan chapel at Marks Gate had caused a decline in attendance at the Congregational chapel. (fn. 99) Soon after, and certainly not later than 1891, the Wesleyans took over the old chapel. Services there were suspended at the outbreak of war in 1939 and were never resumed. (fn. 100) The chapel, which is now (1962) disused, is a brown-brick building, with a cottage attached, at the junction of Billet Lane and Whalebone Lane North. The site of the original Wesleyan church at Marks Gate is not known.
A Baptist chapel, with a congregation of 50 and S. Kendall as minister, existed in Dagenham parish in 1829. (fn. 101) This was almost certainly at Chadwell Heath, where in c. 1844 there was a Baptist chapel, on the south side of the High Road. (fn. 102) It was probably founded by Baptists from the High Road church at Ilford, during the ministry there (1808–34) of James Smith. (fn. 103) In 1847 T. Kendall, from Ebenezer Baptist church, Ilford, (fn. 104) became minister at Chadwell Heath. In 1860 Aenon chapel was built in Chadwell Heath Lane. The present church, on the south side of High Road, was built in 1905. (fn. 105)
In 1844 Francis Glenny built a meeting-house and school (fn. 108) for Plymouth Brethren at Chadwell Heath. (fn. 109) This continued in use until 1928 when a new building was opened in Wangey Road. (fn. 110) The original meeting-house is a yellow-brick building now (1962) used as a warehouse. It lies at the end of Chapel Lane, about 100 yds. east of Station Road. The yard in front of the building was formerly a burial ground. (fn. 111)
A small mission existed in Dagenham village before 1921. It appears to have used the former United Methodist Free church in Bull Street (see above). It gained many new members during the next ten years and in 1931 moved to a new building in Charlotte Road as the Dagenham Evangelical Free church. (fn. 112)
Churches founded since 1921.
Thus, when building started on the Becontree estate there were 8 nonconformist churches in Dagenham parish: 4 at Chadwell Heath, 2 in Dagenham village, one at Becontree Heath, and one at Marks Gate. The last of these was two miles from Becontree. Those at Chadwell Heath, though nearer, were remote from the greater part of the estate, and like those at Goodmayes, in Ilford, (fn. 113) were unattractive to most of the new inhabitants of Becontree since they were thought to be middle-class institutions. There were thus only three nonconformist churches, none of them large, that were well-placed to serve the estate.
The Wesleyan Methodists were the first denomination to provide new churches. (fn. 114) In 1925 they opened Becontree Central Hall in Bennetts Castle Lane, Ilford. (fn. 115) In the same year a small iron church was opened in Heathway which in 1930 was replaced by Dagenham Central Hall. These great central halls were designed for a wide range of social functions, and were a notable feature of early Becontree.
The Baptists, mainly through the initiative of their Essex Extension Committee, built four churches: in Chaplin Road (1928), Becontree Avenue (1929), Wood Lane (Halley Memorial) (1933) and Oxlow Lane (1939). The Wood Lane church was given by Mrs. Halley in memory of her husband. In 1961 those in Chaplin Road, Becontree Avenue, and Oxlow Lane joined in a federation under the leadership of a senior minister. (fn. 116)
There is one Congregational church at Becontree: the Osborne Hall, Osborne Square, founded in 1930 by the London Missionary Society and the London Congregational Union. The present building was erected in 1931. (fn. 117)
The Salvation Army built two halls, in Becontree Avenue and Dagenham Avenue, both in 1928. (fn. 118) The London City Mission also has two halls. One of these, the Dawson Hall, Hedgemans Road, is in Barking. (fn. 119) The other, Bethel Hall, Bennetts Castle Lane, originally used the premises of the old Robin Hood public house. The present building was erected about 1934. (fn. 120) In 1942 the London City Mission took over a third hall, in Dagenham Road. This had been built by W. N. Williamson in 1937. The Mission carried on the work there until 1960. The hall was then sold and the money used to buy a site on the Harold Hill L.C.C. estate at Romford. (fn. 121) The Christian Temple, Green Lane, was opened in 1932 by the Four Square Gospellers after a tent campaign. (fn. 122) There are Full Gospel churches in Vicarage Road, Dagenham (opened about 1931), and Albany Road, Chadwell Heath (about 1935). (fn. 123) A hall belonging to the Brethren was opened in Manford Way, Hainault, in 1956. (fn. 124)
The Hainault and District Synagogue, Huntsman Road, was founded in 1951. (fn. 125)
At the time when the first school board was formed for Dagenham, in 1874, (fn. 126) there were 5 elementary schools in the parish, of which two were charity schools on Ford's foundation, two belonged to the Church of England, and one was probably connected with the Plymouth Brethren. (fn. 127) Two were in Dagenham village, two at Chadwell Heath, and one at Collier Row. During the next 30 years the school board built 5 more schools, at Dagenham village, Becontree Heath, Chadwell Heath, Hainault, and Marsh Green. In the same period two of the older schools, at Dagenham village and Chadwell Heath, were closed, so that when the county council took over control there were 8 schools in the parish. The council built a school in Whalebone Lane (1907) and closed its Hainault school (1911). In 1921, when the building of the Becontree estate began, the parish was thus being served by 8 village elementary schools, 5 of them council schools. The growth of Becontree laid upon the county council the unprecedented task of providing schools for a child population that rose within 15 years to about 25,000. (fn. 128) The first part of the estate, built in 1921–4, was mainly in north Dagenham, between Longbridge Road and Chadwell Heath railway station. Only 4 of the existing schools — three at Chadwell Heath and one at Becontree Heath — were near enough to serve this area. These schools were soon crowded with children from the estate. Others attended a temporary school in the church hall of St. Thomas, Burnside Road, on the Ilford side of the estate, but many remained without schooling during this period. The first permanent new school on the estate was opened in 1923, in Green Lane. The second period of the estate (1924–9) began with pressure on the old schools in south Dagenham, and a temporary school was opened in the Dagenham Drill Hall (1924–6). By 1929, however, the county council had built a total of fifteen new schools, two of them for seniors, on the Dagenham part of the estate, and another had been built by Ilford Borough Council. Many of the children on the estate were by then reaching senior school age. At the same time the county council was planning to re-organize all its schools on the lines of the Hadow Report. The main feature of that re-organization was the building of separate schools for children over 11. Dagenham, because of its special needs, was the first place in the county to be so re-organized, by a scheme completed in 1935. (fn. 129) In 1930 an intermediate (senior selective) school was opened at Romford, which in 1932–3 was drawing half of its intake from Dagenham. In 1936 a secondary (technical) school was opened in the same buildings as the new South East Essex Technical College, which is situated in Barking on the western edge of the Becontree estate. (fn. 130) In the same year a county high school was opened in Dagenham. Meanwhile, between 1929 and 1935, several new elementary schools had been built by the county in Dagenham, and by Barking Borough Council on its part of the estate. During the same period three Roman Catholic elementary schools were also built, two in Dagenham and one in Ilford.
During the Second World War nursery classes, for children between 3 and 5, were opened at four schools in Dagenham. These continued after the war. (fn. 131)
Under the Education Act (1944) the Borough of Dagenham exercised its right to become an Excepted District, within the county's system of divisional administration. (fn. 132) Between 1945 and 1962 6 new county schools were built in Dagenham. (fn. 133) One of these is secondary (technical), two secondary (modern), and one a special school. Three of the new schools serve post-war housing estates, two at Marks Gate and one at Hainault. During the same period two Roman Catholic secondary (modern) schools have been built. Rush Green College of Further Education was opened in 1961, in Dagenham Road.
All the primary schools in Dagenham, except two Roman Catholic ones are now separately organized for juniors and infants. This means that in many cases what was originally a single school has become a pair of schools, often on the same site and with a common name.
In the following chronological sections the account of each school is placed according to the date of its original foundation. Since there has been much re-building and re-organization the information in a section overlaps the dates contained in the heading.
Elementary schools founded before 1921.
There are said to have been a boys school and a girls school in Dagenham between 1690 and 1700. (fn. 134) How long these survived is not known. Two educational charities founded in the 18th century are mentioned below. (fn. 135) In 1787 a Sunday school was established which later came into union with the National Society. A Church day school seems to have been held between 1817 and 1820 but to have been closed by 1822. (fn. 136) In 1835 a school was built near the church on land given by the vicar, T. L. Fanshawe, and with aid from the government and the National Society. (fn. 137) It was closed about 1878, (fn. 138) probably as a result of the building of the infants board school (1874) and the re-organization of Ford's school (1877).
The Independent chapel at Marks Gate, built in 1821, (fn. 139) had a schoolroom attached, in which a Sunday school was held. Whether there was ever a day school there is not certain.
Ford's endowed junior school (Church Elm Lane). Ford's school was founded by the will, proved 1826, of William Ford, a Dagenham farmer, who left £10,000 in trust to the churchwardens and overseers to establish a school for 30 boys and 20 girls of the parish. Education was to be on Church principles. No person related to the Fanshawe family was to act as trustee. The charity was regulated by a Chancery scheme of 1828, under which a school was opened in a rented building near the church. The boys attending were between 8 and 14 years of age, the girls between 8 and 12. In the following years part of the charity income was saved, and this surplus, having accumulated to about £1,000, was used in 1841 to build a permanent school, and a teacher's house. (fn. 140) In 1854 the trustees built a branch school, with about 80 places, in Whalebone Lane, Chadwell Heath (fn. 141). By 1863 the numbers attending the Church Elm Lane school had risen to 35 boys and 22 girls. (fn. 142)
Under a Charity Commission scheme of 1877 both the schools on Ford's foundation were to be conducted as public elementary schools. Fifty free places, equally divided between boys and girls, were to be provided. A board of governors, consisting of the vicar and churchwardens, local representatives and co-opted members, replaced the trustees. The teachers were required to be certificated and to be Churchmen. (fn. 143) Under these conditions the school qualified for a government grant, which it was receiving by 1880. (fn. 144) As provision was made for the accommodation of other children besides the free scholars, attendance increased rapidly, and in 1909 the teacher's house was rebuilt as a school hall. In 1932 the school was re-organized for juniors. It became Aided in 1951. (fn. 145) The Chadwell Heath branch school was rebuilt in 1885 and later enlarged, but in 1935 it was closed. (fn. 146)
Sarah Stone (d. 1852), a niece of William Ford, left £200, the income to provide Christmas dinner for the children of Ford's school. The scheme of 1877 provided that the income was in future to be used for school prizes. (fn. 147)
In 1844 Francis Glenny built an infants school at Chadwell Heath. The building was also used by the Plymouth Brethren (fn. 148) with whom the school was probably connected. The school appears to have ceased between 1882 and 1890. (fn. 149)
The Oaks Church of England junior school (Collier Row Road) was formerly called the Hainault Forest school. It was built in 1847–8 with the aid of public subscriptions and a government grant, (fn. 150) and was enlarged in 1913–14. It was reorganized for juniors and infants in 1936, and for juniors only in 1957. It became Controlled in 1949. (fn. 151)
The Village county infants school (Church Elm Lane) was opened as an infants board school in 1874. It has been several times enlarged. (fn. 152)
Becontree Heath county junior and infants schools. Becontree Heath board school was opened in 1877, in Wood Lane, and was enlarged in 1893. It was re-organized for juniors and infants in 1935. The juniors are still (1962) in Wood Lane, but a new infants school was opened in Frizlands Lane in 1950. (fn. 153)
St. Chad's county infants school (Japan Road) was opened in 1883 as the Chadwell Heath infants board school. It was enlarged in 1897 and 1907. (fn. 154)
Hainault board school (Hog Hill) was opened in 1885. Attendance was always low and in 1911 the school was closed. The building is now (1962) used by the Hainault Golf Club. (fn. 155)
Marsh Green county junior and infants schools (New Road). Marsh Green board school was opened in 1902. A new senior department was built in 1927. The school was re-organized in 1935 for juniors and infants. (fn. 156)
The Warren county junior school (Whalebone Avenue) and Furze county infants school (Bennett Road) both at Chadwell Heath. The Whalebone council school (Bennett Road) was opened in 1907. It was re-organized in 1935 for juniors and infants. The building was destroyed by bombing in 1940 and the school was then accommodated in the Warren secondary schools (see below). In 1949 Furze school was built on the Bennett Road site for the infants. (fn. 157) The juniors received permanent accommodation in the Warren girls school when the two secondary schools were amalgamated in 1958. (fn. 158)
Elementary schools founded between 1921 and 1939. (fn. 159)
All the schools mentioned in this section, except the Roman Catholic schools, were built by the county council. One elementary school subsequently re-organized for seniors is included in the following section.
The Henry Green (formerly Green Lane) schools were opened for juniors (1923) and infants (1924). Thomas Arnold (formerly Arnold Road), opened in 1925, Charlecote (Road) (1926), Godwin (formerly Finnymore Road) (1926), Valence (Bonham Road) (1926), Grafton (Road) (1928), and Rush Green (Dagenham Road) (1933) schools, were all reorganized for juniors and infants in 1935.
Richard Alibon (formerly Alibon Road) schools (1927) and Hunters Hall (Rockwell Road) schools (1928), were re-organized for juniors and infants in 1933.
Beam schools (Oval Road North) (1933) were reorganized for juniors and infants in 1951, when the juniors were given new premises.
Fanshawe (Crescent) school, opened in 1928, was re-organized in 1929 for senior boys, mixed juniors, and infants. Parsloes school (Spurling Road) (1928) took senior girls, mixed juniors, and infants. These two schools were re-organized for juniors and infants in 1945. The Fanshawe infants school was closed in 1962.
Southwood junior and infants schools (Keppel Road) were opened in 1928 and Five Elms (Wood Lane) junior and infants schools in 1929.
St. Peter's Roman Catholic primary school (Goresbrook Road) was opened in 1933 and reorganized for juniors and infants in 1947. St. Joseph's R.C. primary school (Connor Road) was opened in 1935 for juniors and infants. These two schools became Aided in 1951.
Senior and Secondary Schools founded between 1921 and 1939.
Unless otherwise stated all the schools mentioned in this section were founded as senior county schools and became secondary modern schools under the 1944 Act.
Halbutt (Street) boys and girls schools were opened in 1928. Lymington (Road) school, opened in 1928 as an elementary school, was re-organized in 1935 for mixed seniors. Goresbrook (Road) mixed school was opened in 1929, Park (Rectory Road) mixed in 1932, and Eastbrook boys and girls schools (Dagenham Road) in 1934. Marley (School Road) opened as a mixed school in 1934. It was reorganized in 1937 into separate schools for boys and girls, which were again amalgamated in 1960. Triptons boys and girls schools (Green Lane) and Warren boys and girls schools (Whalebone Lane North) were opened in 1935. In 1958 the two Warren schools were amalgamated, and the building previously used by the girls became the Warren junior school (see above).
In 1945 the senior departments of Fanshawe school (boys) and Parsloes school (girls) became separate schools. In 1959 the Fanshawe and Halbutt boys secondary schools were amalgamated, in the Halbutt buildings, under the name Beverley.
Dagenham county high school (Parsloes Avenue), a mixed grammar school, was opened in 1936.
Primary schools founded since 1945.
The county council built the John Perry junior and infants schools (Western Avenue) (1952), Leys (Avenue) infants school (1953) and Marks Gate (Lawn Farm Grove) infants school (1957). (fn. 160) The Furze infants school (1949), which replaced an earlier school, has been mentioned above.
Secondary schools founded since 1945.
The county council built Kingswood (Harbourer Road, Hainault) mixed secondary (modern) school in 1952, (fn. 161) John Preston (Rose Lane, Marks Gate) mixed secondary (modern) school (1961), and Robert Clack (Wood Lane) secondary (technical) school (1955).
Bishop Ward (Wood Lane) Roman Catholic secondary (modern) school was opened in 1954 as a mixed school. It was re-organized for boys in 1962, when the Sacred Heart Convent (Goresbrook Road) R.C. secondary (modern) school for girls was opened.
The Bentry special school, Heathway (formerly the Heathway school), for physically handicapped and educationally subnormal children, was opened by the county council in 1934 and extended in 1937.
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
By a scheme of 1929 the charities of Armstead, White, Witham, Comyns, Bennett, Wepler, Widows' Wood, and Arnold were united under one body of trustees. A scheme of 1931 further provided that the income from all these charities, except that from White's and Widows' Wood (which was to be paid, as before, to widows), was to be used to support the almshouses. In 1960 the income from the united charities amounted to £293, which included donations and profits from entertainments. Of this, £245 was spent, mainly on repairs to the houses, and on gift vouchers. (fn. 162) The balance in hand at the end of the year was £1,186.
William Armstead, by will proved 1657, left £2 rent-charge from a farm at Harold Wood, in Hornchurch, for the relief of the poor. In 1835 it was being distributed in doles along with Witham's and Wepler's charities. (fn. 163) In 1956 the rent-charge was redeemed for stock. (fn. 164)
John White, by will proved 1673, left £2 12s. rent-charge to provide bread every week for seven widows or other poor persons. (fn. 165)
William Witham, by will proved about 1692, left £5 rent-charge for the poor. It was redeemed for stock in 1908. (fn. 166)
Richard Uphill (d. 1718), left two annuities, one of £50, expiring in 1791, the other of £40, expiring in 1803, to apprentice the children of poor parishioners not receiving alms. The legacy became effective on the death of his sister in 1724 or 1725. By 1803 £5,000 had been saved from the annuities and invested to form a permanent endowment. It was then decided that the income should be used to pay apprenticing premiums, to provide clothes for children going into domestic service, and for Christmas gifts for children. (fn. 167) In 1826–32 this charity was often used to relieve poor families with children. (fn. 168) By a scheme of 1911 £25 of the income was to be used for educational purposes, and the remainder for apprenticing or other assistance to children starting work. (fn. 169)
Thomas Waters (d. 1756) left £100 stock to educate poor children. In 1835 the income was being paid to the wife of the Sunday schoolmaster to teach girls chosen by the vicar. (fn. 170) It has since been used for the Sunday school, (fn. 171) and for the payment of evening school fees. (fn. 172)
In 1757 John Comyns settled a building called Wrights, in Dagenham, in trust to provide £2 a year for the poor. In 1810 Wrights was converted into a parish workhouse and the vestry undertook to pay £2 a year to a baker to provide bread for widows. (fn. 173) In 1847 the building was repaired at parish expense and converted into almshouses. (fn. 174) By 1874 all the trustees were dead and the almshouses were dilapidated and occupied by squatters. In 1877 new trustees were appointed and the houses put in order. (fn. 175) Because there was no endowment repairs remained a problem. This was met by the scheme of 1931 (see above) which also provided that the trustees might borrow £500 from the Roger Reede charity to repair Comyns' almshouses, and might charge the tenants a small rent. In 1960 there were 8 tenants. (fn. 176) The almshouses are contained in a twostoried red-brick range standing at right angles to the road on the north side of Crown Street. The building appears to be largely of 19th-century date.
In 1820 Mrs. Wepler, of Furze House, Marks Gate, left £30 to buy stock, the income to be given to the poor. (fn. 177)
By his will proved 1826 William Ford left £1,000 stock to provide clothing for poor members of the Church of England not receiving parish relief. (fn. 178) In 1960 the income was applied according to the terms of the trust. (fn. 179)
In 1817 Alexander Bennett left £400 stock, subject to certain life interests, to maintain the tombs of his family and for the relief of the poor. This charity became effective in 1851. (fn. 180)
By ancient custom each poor widow within Hainault Forest received from the Crown on Easter Monday a load of wood or 8s. in lieu. (fn. 181) When the forest was disafforested in 1851 £82 was invested to provide doles of fuel for poor widows of the parts of the parish formerly within the forest. (fn. 182) This is the Widows' Wood charity.
J. Arnold, by will proved 1857, left £100 stock to keep his tomb in repair, and for the poor. (fn. 183)
Dagenham shared in Roger Reede's almshouse charity, founded 1482, which applied principally to Romford. A scheme of 1821 further provided that £10 a year from that charity should be given to the poor of Dagenham. In 1940 this was increased to £20. (fn. 184)
James Symonds, vicar of Dagenham (d. 1719) left £20 for schooling poor children. This charity was mentioned in 1786 but had disappeared by 1835. (fn. 185)
William Ford's endowed school, and Sarah Stone's charity connected with it, are described above. (fn. 186) Nathaniel Rogers's charity for the church is described above. (fn. 187) Several non-funded charitable legacies have been listed by Shawcross. (fn. 188)