East Ham: Churches

Pages 25-31

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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In 1086 Robert Gernon's estate in (East) Ham included 3 virgates which in 1066 had belonged to Edwin, a free priest. (fn. 1) This suggests the existence of a church there before the Conquest, though the present building of St. Mary Magdalene is thought to be no earlier than the first half of the 12th century. In 1254 the advowson was held by Richard de Montfitchet (d. 1267), a successor of Gernon, and there was a vicarage as well as a rectory. (fn. 2) The advowson descended along with the manor of East Ham to John de Lancaster, who in 1306 was licensed by the Crown to grant it to Stratford Abbey. (fn. 3) In 1309, after the resignation of Richard de Luthteburgh, the last individual rector, the abbey obtained the bishop of London's licence to appropriate the rectory. At the same time a vicarage was formally ordained, of which the bishop became patron. (fn. 4) The advowson remained in the hands of the bishop until 1864, when it was conveyed to Brasenose College, Oxford, the present (1966) patron, as part of an exchange scheme involving several benefices. (fn. 5)

The rectory was retained by Stratford Abbey until the Dissolution. In 1544 it was granted, along with the manor of East Ham, to Richard Breame. (fn. 6) It descended with the manor to Breame's sons Edward (d. 1558) and Arthur (d. 1602). In 1587 Arthur Breame and his son Giles conveyed the rectory to Richard Stoneley. (fn. 7) When Stoneley died in 1600 he was said to have held the reversion of the rectory, which was then in the tenure of his son-in-law William Heigham (d. 1620). (fn. 8) The rectory descended to Heigham's son Sir Richard, whose son Francis was holding it in 1650. (fn. 9) It subsequently passed to Francis's daughter Mary, wife of Robert Bendish, to her son Heigham Bendish (d. 1723) and his son Heigham Bendish (d. 1746). (fn. 10) Frances (d. 1798), widow of the younger Heigham Bendish and later wife of Dr. Richard Wilkes (d. 1760), succeeded to a life-interest in the rectory. About 1765 she sold this to Charles Hitch (d. 1781), whose widow Elizabeth carried it in marriage to her second husband David Davies, who held it until 1798. (fn. 11) On Mrs. Wilkes's death the rectory reverted to her husband's family, who appear to have sold it soon after. (fn. 12) Thomas Lewis held it in 1799–1801, Peter Firmin in 1802, and Thomas Flockton in 1811; some or all of these may have been lessees. (fn. 13) Shortly before 1814 the rectory was bought by Robert Wilson. Thomas Wilson was the impropriator in 1839, (fn. 14) and the Revd. R. F. Wilson in 1863 and 1874. (fn. 15)

In 1254 the estimated value of the rectory was £27 13s. 4d. and that of the vicarage £5. (fn. 16) In 1291 the equivalent figures were £20 and £1 13s. 4d. (fn. 17) When the vicarage was ordained in 1309 its value was substantially improved: the vicar was to have the tithes of gardens and curtilages, and all other tithes except those of corn, of hay, and of the windmill. He was also to receive £3 6s. 8d. a year from the corn tithes. (fn. 18) In 1535 the total value of the vicarage was £14 3s. 8d. (fn. 19) In 1650 the rectory was valued at £70 and the vicarage at £65. (fn. 20) About that time the vicarage was temporarily augmented by a grant of £50 from the Committee for Plundered Ministers. (fn. 21)

By 1839, when the tithes were commuted, those of the vicar were worth £1,001 and those of the impropriator only £320. (fn. 22) Between the 13th century and the 19th the vicarage of East Ham had thus been transformed from one of the poorest in Essex to one of the richest. How this had happened is not completely clear, but there are hints. In 1519, when John Grenyng was cutting down trees and brushwood at Hamfrith, in the north-west of the parish, the vicar, John Waggot, exacted a tithe-rent charge from him, and two years later, when Grenyng resisted a similar imposition, Waggot took him to court. (fn. 23) In 1632 it was stated that the vicars had long been accustomed to take tithe-rents for 'herbage or feeding' from all tenants of pasture, including gardens and orchards. These rents varied from 18d. an acre in the marshes below the parish church to 4d. an acre in the extreme north of the parish. There was also a customary rate of 2d. from each parishioner for the Easter offerings. (fn. 24) These references show that the vicars were pressing their tithe claims vigorously. The payments for 'herbage' on pasture land were the equivalent of hay tithes, which as great tithes normally belonged to a rectory, and which in East Ham had been expressly excluded from the vicar's income by the ordination of 1309. At the end of the 18th century about half the parish was pasture (mainly marsh) and another quarter market-gardens. (fn. 25) The tithe award, while it does not reveal exactly how tithes were computed, shows that those of the impropriator came mainly from arable land and those of the vicar mainly from pasture. According to a later statement the vicar also took the tithe of market-gardens. (fn. 26)

The original vicarage house of East Ham was on the north side of Vicarage Lane. (fn. 27) In 1610 it had seven rooms. (fn. 28) It was said in 1683 to need underpinning and thatching. (fn. 29) By 1699 it was again in urgent need of repair. (fn. 30) During the 18th century there were periods when the vicars did not occupy the house. Sometimes this was because they lived outside East Ham, but at least two of them, Lewis Desbordes (1728–33) and John Vade (1733–56), although resident in the parish, found the vicarage unsatisfactory, and used other houses. (fn. 31) In 1832 the vicarage was rebuilt at a cost of £2,000. (fn. 32) It continued in use until about 1900 when East Ham House, adjoining the site of the new church of St. Bartholomew, was acquired as the vicarage. (fn. 33) In 1901 the old vicarage was converted for temporary use as the Vicarage Lane council school. (fn. 34) It was later demolished. (fn. 35) East Ham House served as the vicarage until 1962 when it was converted for other church purposes, and a new vicarage was built beside it. (fn. 36)

Nicholas Gouge, by his will proved 1528, left small sums of money to the brotherhoods of the Holy Trinity and of our Blessed Lady, both attached to East Ham church. (fn. 37) No other reference to these guilds is known.

Between the 16th century and the early 19th several vicars are known to have been non-resident, including Francis Haultain (1776–1827), who appears to have visited the parish rarely during his long incumbency. (fn. 38) The names of at least fifteen assistant curates have been noted between 1556 and 1817. (fn. 39) William Fairfax, instituted in 1626, was sequestrated in 1643. (fn. 40) He was later charged with having denied the sacrament to those not coming up to the rails, and with refusing to allow a lecturer to preach on Sunday afternoon 'except he might have £50 given him for the same'. (fn. 41) Subsequent ministers during the Civil War and Interregnum included Samuel Slater (1645), John Horne (1650), John Page (1653–5), John Watson (1655), and John Clarke (1656–59 or 60). (fn. 42) In 1660, shortly after the Restoration, Edward Rust was instituted as legitimate successor to Fairfax, who had died in 1655. (fn. 43) Richard Welton, instituted in 1710, was a non-juror; he was deprived of the living in 1716. (fn. 44) In 1711–13 he was employing as curate Robert Blakeway, who proved to be a zealous Whig. The bitter hostility which arose between them continued even after Blakeway had become rector of Little Ilford. (fn. 45)

William Streatfeild (1827–60) lived in the parish, as all his successors have done; and he died in the church while preaching. During his incumbency the church was restored, the vicarage rebuilt, and church extension was started by the foundation of the new parish of Emmanuel, Forest Gate, part of which was taken from East Ham. (fn. 46) Edward F. Boyle (1860–6) built the new chapel of St. John the Baptist, and John W. Knott (1866–9) was partly responsible for planning the church of St. John, North Woolwich. (fn. 47)

Samuel H. Reynolds (1869–93), was presented by Brasenose, his own college, when East Ham was still a village, and soon found himself facing the problems of a growing suburb. He was a scholar and journalist, with no previous parochial experience, and he found the work difficult. (fn. 48) Early in his incumbency he became involved in controversy concerning the place of the old church in the life of the parish. St. Mary's was far from the town centre and was poorly attended. In 1874 Reynolds was advocating its closure and demolition against strong opposition. For some years after this he was on bad terms with the people's churchwarden, John Dennison, and other parishioners, who accused him of neglecting St. Mary's. (fn. 49) In the 1880s Reynolds was partly responsible for the building of the new churches of All Saints, Forest Gate, and St. Stephen, Upton Park. In 1891 he commissioned an architect's report on St. Mary's, but with a view to restoration, and possibly even enlargement, rather than its demolition. (fn. 50) For many years after his retirement he was remembered with affection. (fn. 51)

The ancient parish church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE stands in a large churchyard near the south end of High Street South, and consists of nave, chancel, apse, west tower, and south and west porches. (fn. 52) The walls are mainly of coursed ragstone rubble containing some flint and Roman tile. The nave, chancel, and apse were built early in the 12th century, and have been relatively little altered. The tower probably dates from the early 13th century, but has been much restored.

In the nave the west and south doorways are both of the 12th century, and two windows of the same period survive, one in the north wall and another in the south wall, where there is also part of the internal head of a third, now blocked. The north wall of the chancel has a similar window, below which internally is a 12th-century intersecting wallarcade with chevron ornament. In the same wall is a small hatch with rounded head, probably the remains of an ankar-hold. There are also 12th-century vaulting shafts in the two eastern angles of the chancel. The wall arcade on the south wall of the chancel has been cut away except for part of one bay at each end. The east and north windows of the apse and the semi-circular arch dividing apse and chancel are of the 12th century, and some of the oak roof timbers may be of the same date. Externally the apse retains two flat pilaster buttresses.

East Ham, Church of St. Mary Magdalene

In the 13th century a recess was cut in the south wall of the nave, next to the chancel, evidently for a nave altar, since it contains a small piscina. Other alterations of that period include two narrow lowside windows, now blocked, pierced through the eastern and western bays on the south wall of the chancel, and on the south wall of the apse a doorway, also blocked, a window, and a large double piscina. In the apse are the faint remains of 13th-century wall-paintings. Other paintings, since obliterated, have been seen in many parts of the church during the past century. (fn. 53)

The tower also was probably built in the 13th century, and may be even older. The absence of weathering in the masonry of the west door of the nave suggests that it is not very much earlier than the tower which shields it. In the west wall of the tower at the second stage are two tall round-headed windows, much restored. The south-eastern stairturret contains a small lancet window, reset, probably of the 13th century. The tower was undoubtedly in existence by 1380, when the existing bell was cast.

Early in the 16th century the tower was partly rebuilt: the bell-chamber has in each wall a window dating from that period. Other early-16th-century features include a few timbers in the south porch, the external archway of the ankar-hold, and possibly the doorway to the rood-loft stair.

Early in the 17th century the roofs were altered and ceiled, a wooden cornice was placed around the nave walls, and wooden panelling in the chancel. The panelling still existed in 1921 but has since disappeared, probably as a result of the bomb damage of 1941. It was possibly in the 17th century also that the large brick south window of the chancel was inserted and the chancel arch was removed. Apart from the addition of a double-decker pulpit and box-pews, and the loss of three of the bells (described below) there seem to have been few alterations to the church in the 18th century. (fn. 54)

In 1810 the vestry decided to build a west gallery to accommodate children. (fn. 55) This was eventually done in 1820. (fn. 56) In 1830 the south porch was converted into a vestry, and a new west porch of yellow brick was built, opening into the tower. (fn. 57) A board listing the subscribers to these alterations is on the ground stage of the tower. The contribution of the new vicar, Streatfeild, included a sum for stained glass, which probably means that the two 'Decorated' windows in the south wall of the nave were then inserted, replacing earlier ones. In 1845–8 a further restoration was carried out, the main feature of which was the repair of the tower, which had been so dilapidated that its complete rebuilding was considered. (fn. 58) In 1852 two new windows were inserted into the north wall of the nave 'to correspond with the new ones on the south side'. (fn. 59)

A restoration scheme planned in 1891 was completed in 1896. (fn. 60) The west gallery was removed at this time. In 1908 the south porch reverted to its proper use, an additional floor being built in the tower to accommodate the vestry.

The church was completely restored in 1931, under the architectural direction of Philip M. Johnston. The ceilings of the apse and chancel were removed, the rood-loft stair was opened out, and the tower repaired and stripped of its external plaster. Bombing in 1941 destroyed the chancel roof and did other damage. Repairs were done in the same year, and by 1945 a permanent restoration of the nave had also been completed, which included the removal of the ceiling. A fuller restoration was carried out in 1950. (fn. 61)

The church was again restored in 1965–6, when the stonework of the tower and apse was renewed, the timbers treated, and much internal plaster replaced. During this work the piscina of the nave altar was discovered.

The stained glass in the church was destroyed in 1941. (fn. 62) The oldest piece, said to have contained the arms of the Allingtons, who were related by marriage to the Breames of East Ham Hall, was in the north-west window of the nave. In one of the south windows of the nave was glass by Henri Gerente, inserted in 1854. The white marble font was given by Sir Richard Heigham, the impropriator, in 1639. The pedestal is an addition of about 1700 and the metal cover is a memorial to the Revd. Samuel H. Reynolds (d. 1897). The plain oak pulpit and pews were installed during the 1890s to replace the 18th-century three-decker pulpit and box-pews. (fn. 63)

An organ was provided by the vicar in 1830. (fn. 64) Another, said to have come from St. John's church, Stratford, was acquired about 1850. This was originally a barrel organ, providing 45 tunes. It was fitted with a keyboard in 1882 and continued in use until 1897, when a small positive organ was purchased. (fn. 65) The present (1966) organ was installed in 1918, as a memorial to Vincent C. Boddington, a former curate.

There is one bell, cast about 1380. (fn. 66) In 1552 the tower contained four bells, and all appear to have survived until 1782, when three of them, which were cracked, were sent for recasting to Patrick & Osborn of London. (fn. 67) In 1784, before this work had been completed, the firm failed; the bells were never replaced, and the parish received only a token payment in compensation. (fn. 68) A new bell, by C. & G. Mears, was added in 1849. (fn. 69) This has disappeared since 1909.

The church plate includes a cup of 1563 with a paten-cover of 1574, and a cup and paten-cover of 1623, given by 'Lady Joan Boles'. (fn. 70)

In the apse is a fine wall-monument, with kneeling figures, to Edmund Neville, pretender to the barony of Latimer and the earldom of Westmorland, his wife Jane (1647), and their daughter Katherine (1613). (fn. 71) They are said to have lived at Green Street House. On the north wall of the chancel is a similar monument to Giles Breame (1621), lord of the manor of East Ham. A monument to William Heigham (1620) and Anne his wife (1612), flanked by standing cherubs, is on the south wall of the nave, having been removed from the apse in 1931. There are brasses on the floor of the chancel to Hester Neave (1610) and Elizabeth Heigham (1622), and on the wall of the apse is a brass recording the charity of Robert Rampston (1585). Among later monuments are tablets in the chancel to Heigham Bendish (1723) and his son of the same name (1746), impropriators, and Ynyr Burges (1792). William Stukeley (d. 1765), the antiquary, was buried in the churchyard without a monument. He is said to have chosen the site of his grave long before, when visiting East Ham. (fn. 72)

The parish of East Ham remained unchanged until 1852, when part of it, in the north-west, was assigned to the new parish of Emmanuel, Forest Gate. (fn. 73) In 1864 a small part of East Ham was similarly assigned to the new parish of St. Mark, Victoria Docks. (fn. 74) This East Ham portion of St. Mark's was in 1877 incorporated in the new parish of St. John, North Woolwich. (fn. 75) Within East Ham parish St. Mary's remained the only place of worship until 1866, when the chapel of ease of St. John the Baptist was built.

By 1903 there were 7 parish churches, 2 other large churches, and 5 mission halls, within the urban district. (fn. 76) In spite of this expansion East Ham then had a smaller proportion of Anglican worshippers than any other place in outer London except West Ham and Wealdstone (Mdx.). (fn. 77) In outer London as a whole the percentage of Anglican worshippers was about 46 and that of nonconformists 45, but at East Ham nonconformists were 63 per cent and Anglicans only 33. (fn. 78) An attempt is made elsewhere to explain why the nonconformists were then having more success than the Anglicans. (fn. 79) The slower initial progress of the Anglicans may have been partly due to the fact that in 1890, when rapid expansion of the town was beginning, both the vicar of East Ham (S. H. Reynolds) and the rector of Little Ilford (A. T. W. Shadwell) were old, (fn. 80) and lacking in experience of urban parishes. But their successors, J. H. Ware of East Ham (1893–1907) and P. M. Bayne of Little Ilford (1894–1913) (fn. 81) were energetic and able young men who came from east London curacies. The work of Ware and Bayne, by no means completed in 1903, included careful planning for the future development of the church in their districts. Equally important as a leader of church extension was E. N. Powell, vicar of St. Stephen's, Upton Park (1891–1908), which during his incumbency became the strongest Anglican church in East Ham.

Since 1903 Anglican development in the town seems to have been better sustained than that of the nonconformists. Between 1903 and 1939, while the nonconformists did little new building and closed several churches, the Anglicans went on steadily, completing churches already started and building new ones. Two new parishes were formed in the 1920s. Since 1939 four churches have been closed. The most important changes were precipitated by the war. St. Stephen's, St. Cuthbert's, and St. Michael's, Beckton, were wrecked by bombing and and were not rebuilt. St. Stephen's parish was subsequently merged with that of St. Edmund, Forest Gate, while St. Michael's mission district was reabsorbed into the mother parish of East Ham.

The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, High Street North, was built in 1866 as a chapel-ofease of St. Mary's. (fn. 82) It was a cruciform building of flint with stone dressings in a late-13th-century style. Unlike St. Mary's it was in the centre of the village, and it soon became the main focus of parochial activity. (fn. 83) In 1902, when St. Bartholomew's was built, St. John's became a church hall. It was demolished in 1925. (fn. 84) The site is now (1966) occupied by the London Co-operative Society.

The church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW, Barking Road, was built in 1902 to replace St. John's: £1,000 towards the cost was a legacy from Thomas Mathews, formerly chairman of East Ham local board. It is a large aisled building of red brick, designed in the Gothic style by Micklethwaite & Somers Clarke. (fn. 85) The south aisle, added in 1910, is a memorial to J. H. Ware. (fn. 86) The church was gutted by bombing in 1941. In 1942 a wooden hut, known as 'St. Bartholomew-in-the-ruins', was erected within the shell, and was used for services for the rest of the war. It was burnt down in 1947 and services were subsequently held in the vestry until 1948, when St. John's institute was taken into use as a temporary church. The south aisle of St. Bartholomew's was restored in 1949, and the remainder of the church in 1953. (fn. 87) For most practical purposes St. Bartholomew's has been the parish church of East Ham ever since it was built, though St. Mary's has retained the title.

The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, Beckton Road, was opened in 1883 as a mission of St. Mary's. (fn. 88) It was destroyed by fire in 1887, but was immediately rebuilt. (fn. 89) About 1906 the original iron building was replaced by a permanent church on a new site, built mainly with funds supplied by the Gas Light & Coke Co. (fn. 90) A separate mission district was formed about 1922. (fn. 91) The church was bombed in 1941 and was not rebuilt. (fn. 92) In 1952 the mission district was dissolved, its area being re-united with the parish of St. Mary, East Ham. (fn. 93)

The mission church of ST. MARK, Ferndale Street, Cyprus, was built about 1890, in connexion with St. Michael's, Beckton. (fn. 94) An iron hall was added in 1911 at the expense of the Gas Light & Coke Co. (fn. 95) It was closed in 1952. (fn. 96) The building was derelict in 1966.

The church of ST. ANDREW, Roman Road, also a mission of St. Michael's, Beckton, was built in 1934 on a site given by J. Stokes & Sons. It was closed in 1952, and in 1957 it was sold for £450, which was given to the bishop's appeal for Essex churches and schools. (fn. 97)

Two other churches which started as missions of St. Mary's later became independent. The church of ST. PAUL, Burges Road, in the east of the town, was built in 1907, on land given by Col. Ynyr Burges. A new parish was formed in 1924, the advowson of the vicarage being vested, in 1932, in the bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 98) In 1933 a new church was erected beside the original building, which became the church hall. (fn. 99) The furnishings of the church were paid for by the diocesan Girls' Friendly Society. (fn. 100)

The church of ST. GEORGE AND ST. ETHELBERT, Burford Road, originated about 1912, when a site was bought on the Greatfield Estate with money provided by the bishop of St. Albans' fund and Sir John (later Lord) Bethell. By 1914 a temporary mission hall had been erected on the corner of Boston Road and Masterman Road. (fn. 101) It remained attached to St. Mary's until 1923, when a separate parish was formed. (fn. 102) The present church was erected in 1936–7, over half the cost being met from funds raised by the diocese of Hereford. (fn. 103) The advowson of the vicarage was in 1936 vested in the bishop of Chelmsford. (fn. 104)

About 1880 the development of the Woodgrange estate at Forest Gate was met by the erection of an iron mission church, within Emmanuel parish. In 1886 this was replaced by the permanent church of ALL SAINTS, Romford Road, Forest Gate, to which a new parish was assigned in the same year. (fn. 105) It is a cruciform building of flint in the Early English style, with crossing turret. The advowson of the vicarage was vested in the bishop of the diocese. (fn. 106)

Farther south at Forest Gate the Red Post Lane mission district, within All Saints parish, was formed in 1895, and a temporary church was erected. (fn. 107) In 1901 a new parish was established, and the church of ST. EDMUND, KING AND MARTYR, was opened in Halley Road. The advowson of the vicarage was vested in the bishop of the diocese. (fn. 108) The building was completed in 1932 by the addition of the clerestory. (fn. 109) This church has a ritualistic tradition going back to its early years. (fn. 110)

At Upton Park mission services were started in 1881, in a cottage in Crescent Road. A schoolchurch was built in 1882, in 1887 a new parish was formed from parts of the parishes of East Ham, West Ham, and St. Mary's, Plaistow; the advowson of the vicarage was vested in the bishop of St. Albans. The first part of the church of ST. STEPHEN, Green Street, comprising nave and north and south aisles, was also opened in 1887. In 1891 the first vicar, W. G. Trousdale, was succeeded by E. N. Powell, who developed the work vigorously. The church was completed in 1894 by the addition of chancel, north chapel, choir, south chancel aisle, and vestries, bringing the total accommodation to 1,150. (fn. 111) Some years later it was said to be the largest church in the diocese of St. Albans. (fn. 112) St. Stephen's, like the Upton Park Primitive Methodist church, conferred upon itself the distinction of being a memorial to Elizabeth Fry. It is said to have been built largely with money subscribed by evangelical churchmen: this statement comes from a Church Association tract of 1892, which attacks Powell for introducing ritualism. (fn. 113) The tract singles out St. Stephen's, from among all the churches of the diocese, as its principal target, and it is clear from other evidence also that the parish was then regarded as a mission field of especial importance. During Powell's incumbency over £20,000 were spent on purchasing sites and erecting mission churches. At one time he had 6 curates on his staff. (fn. 114) (Canon) Charles E. Butterfield, who joined Powell as a curate in 1901, succeeded him as vicar and remained at St. Stephen's until his death in 1951. (fn. 115)

St. Stephen's was renovated in 1938, but in 1940 it was wrecked by bombing. After the war the Diocesan Reorganization Committee decided that it should not be rebuilt, and in 1953, after some local opposition, the parish was united with that of St. Edmund, Forest Gate. The remains of St. Stephen's were demolished in 1954. A bell from it was placed in the church of St. Stephen, built in 1956 to serve the new housing estate built by East Ham at Ingrave, near Brentwood. (fn. 116)

The first of the three mission churches opened in connexion with St. Stephen's was that of St. Alban, for which a separate parish was later formed (see below). Second was the church of ST. MICHAEL, Rutland Road, which originated in 1895, with services held in Saxby Villas, Red Post Lane (now Katherine Road). An iron church was opened in Rutland Road in 1898. A permanent church was opened on an adjoining site in 1912. This building was the subject of a notable battle between its architect, E. Douglas Hoyland, and the borough council. The design, of terracotta blocks on a steel framework, was advanced for its time, and was at first rejected by the council, but Hoyland successfully appealed to the Local Government Board, which persuaded the council to alter its building by-laws to permit this type of construction in a public building. (fn. 117) After the bombing of St. Stephen's its congregation moved to St. Michael's, which on the amalgamation of the parishes was attached to St. Edmund's, Forest Gate. (fn. 118) The third mission church founded by St. Stephen's was that of ST. CUTHBERT, Florence Road, opened in 1902. (fn. 119) It was bombed during the Second World War and was not rebuilt. The site was sold to the borough council after the war and was used for flats. (fn. 120)

The church of ST. ALBAN, Upton Park, was founded about 1889, when an iron building was opened in Boleyn Road. (fn. 121) A small brick church was opened in 1897 in Wakefield Street, on the corner of Friars Road. (fn. 122) A new parish was formed in 1903 (fn. 123) and in the same year the nave and aisle of the present church were completed, on the opposite side of Wakefield Street; the chancel, Lady chapel, and vestries were added in 1934. (fn. 124) It is a brick building in the Early English style with an aisled and clerestoried nave and apsidal chancel. The church was damaged by bombing in 1940; repairs were completed in 1949. Miss Mary Dalloway, who came to Upton Park in 1900, at the request of the first vicar, remained there until her death in 1932, and was largely responsible for the church's growth. For many years she had charge of a small church settlement in Victoria Avenue, and it was on her initiative that a Church Army centre was opened, about 1914, in Hartley Avenue.

The history of the ancient parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Little Ilford, is described in another section. (fn. 125) St. Mary's remained the only church in that parish until 1894 when a mission hall was opened in Romford Road (St. Michael and All Angels). Another hall (St. Barnabas) was opened in 1897 in Browning Road, and a third (St. Mary's mission) in 1899 in Southborough (now Grantham) Road. (fn. 126) St. Barnabas's became a separate parish in 1901. St. Michael's, and St. Mary's mission, remained attached to St. Mary the Virgin. Hugh Guy (rector 1913–18) was an ineffective successor to the vigorous Bayne. (fn. 127) E. Maughan Ettrick (1918–38) was a controversial figure who in 1921 was inhibited from duty for 12 months by the bishop (confirmed on appeal to the High Court), after various charges had been brought against him. (fn. 128) In 1928 St. Michael's was formed into a separate mission district, with a priest in charge under the direction of the bishop. This arrangement continued until 1939, when, after Ettrick's death, Little Ilford parish was re-united and re-arranged: St. Michael's became the parish church, with St. Mary's as a chapel of ease. (fn. 129)

The original church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, Romford Road, was an iron building. In 1898 this was replaced by the nave and aisles of a permanent red-brick church, designed in the Perpendicular style by Charles Spooner, to which the chancel was added in 1906. (fn. 130)

St. Mary's mission, Grantham Road, was opened in 1899, in an iron room erected to serve a crowded district in which there were no other places of worship, and where the people were said to be in danger of drifting into 'heathenism of the worst kind'. A permanent mission church was dedicated ten years later. (fn. 131)

The church of ST. BARNABAS, Browning Road, originated in 1897, when an iron building was opened. (fn. 132) The first part of a permanent church was opened in 1900, and it was completed in 1906 and 1909. This was one of the first churches designed by (Sir) Ninian Comper. It is of red brick in perpendicular style. A separate parish was formed in 1901, the advowson of the vicarage being vested in the bishop of the diocese. (fn. 133) Since 1946 this church has been the setting for a liturgical experiment designed to enable the congregation to participate more actively in worship. Great emphasis has been placed on parish communion, and the altar has been brought into the nave.

In 1914 part of Little Ilford was transferred to the new parish of St. Gabriel, Aldersbrook, which is treated under Wanstead.


  • 1. V.C.H. Essex, i. 515.
  • 2. E.A.T. N.S. xviii. 17.
  • 3. Cal. Close 1272–9, 244; Cal. Pat. 1301–07, 482.
  • 4. Reg. Baldock (Cant. and York Soc.), 98–100, 105–6.
  • 5. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 301–2; Lond. Gaz. 12 July 1864 (pp. 3487–8).
  • 6. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix(1), pp. 373–4.
  • 7. C.P. 25(2)/133/1704.
  • 8. C 142/166/81; Morant, Essex, i. 15.
  • 9. H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 249.
  • 10. Morant, Essex, i. 15–16.
  • 11. Ibid.; Lysons, London, iv. 146; E.R.O., D/P 156/8/1–3 (rate assessments); D.N.B., Ric. Wilkes.
  • 12. E. Ogborne, Essex, 31, cf. Lysons, London, iv. 146 and Suppl. (1811), 349; E.R.O., D/P 156/8/3.
  • 13. For the sale of the year's great tithes in 1802, see E.R.O., Libr. File, E. Ham.
  • 14. E.R.O., D/CT 159.
  • 15. White's Dir. Essex, 1863, p. 639; E.R.O., D/AEM 1/6 (letter 16 Nov. 1874 from Revd. S. H. Reynolds).
  • 16. E.A.T. N.S. xviii. 17.
  • 17. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 22, 24.
  • 18. Reg. Baldock, 105–6.
  • 19. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 435.
  • 20. H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 249.
  • 21. Ibid. 209, 212, 214.
  • 22. E.R.O., D/CT 159.
  • 23. G.L.C., DL/C/207, ff. 85, 89–90. For 'herbage' see also Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 610.
  • 24. G.L.C., DL/C/232: Fairfax v. Wall, 3 Apr. 1632.
  • 25. Lysons, London, iv. 138.
  • 26. E.R.O., Sage Coll. no. 860.
  • 27. Chapman and André, Map of Essex, 1777, sheet xxi.
  • 28. Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 301.
  • 29. E.R.O., D/AEV 12, f. 1a.
  • 30. Ibid. D/AEV 16, 24 May 1699.
  • 31. Guildhall MS. 9550.
  • 32. White's Dir. Essex, 1848, p. 230; E.R.O., D/AEM 2/6; Rep. Com. Eccl. Rev. H.C. 54, p. 648 (1835), xxii.
  • 33. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1898; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Map, 1901.
  • 34. E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 19 Feb. 1901.
  • 35. E.H.L., Photos. (Houses): it had two storeys and attics.
  • 36. Inf. from Revd. P. J. Langford.
  • 37. E.A.T. N.S. i. 177.
  • 38. E.R.O., D/AEV 1 f. 3v; ibid. 16, 24 May 1699; G.L.C., DL/C/253, f. 105r–113v; Guildhall MSS. 9550, 9558, 9560; E.R.O., D/AEM 2/3.
  • 39. B.M., Harl. Ch. 43 I. 14; E.R.O., D/AEV 4 ff. 1r, 27r, 61r, 87v, 100r, 178r; ibid. D/AEV 29; ibid. D/AEM 2/3; G.L.C. DL/C/253, f. 105r; Guildhall MS. 9550.
  • 40. E.A.T. N.S. xvii. 25; H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 111, 123.
  • 41. Davids, Nonconformity in Essex, 233.
  • 42. H. Smith, Eccl. Hist. Essex, 193, 403 (cf. index); ibid. 161, 209, 212, 335, 351.
  • 43. Ibid. 351.
  • 44. Lysons, London, iv. 146; D.N.B.
  • 45. R. Blakeway, Epitome of my Sufferings as delivered to a Lady in Pall Mall [1716].
  • 46. Stokes, E. Ham, 236.
  • 47. Ibid.
  • 48. E.R. vi. 69–71; D.N.B. He was staff leader-writer on The Times 1873–96.
  • 49. E.R.O., D/AEM 1/6 and 1/2.
  • 50. J. T. Micklethwaite, Report on the Parish Church of East Ham.
  • 51. Stokes, E. Ham, 123, 207.
  • 52. Unless otherwise stated this account of the church building is based on the following sources: R.C.H.M., Essex, ii. 58; J. T. Micklethwaite, Report on Parish Church of E. Ham (1891); J. B. Carlos, E. Ham Parish Church (1922, 2nd edn. 1928); P. M. Johnston, St. Mary Magdalene's Church, E. Ham (1930); M. O. Hodson, E. Ham Parish Church (1937).
  • 53. E.A.T. i. 72–4; ii. 102–11; E.R. ix. 182–5; Arch. Jnl. xxiii. 63–5.
  • 54. For the pulpit and pews in 1894, shortly before their removal, see E.R.O., Godman Coll., Pencil drawing.
  • 55. E.R.O., D/P 156/8/3.
  • 56. Ibid. 156/8/4.
  • 57. Ibid.
  • 58. Ibid.; cf. E.R.O., Sage Coll., No. 860.
  • 59. E.R.O., D/P 156/8/4.
  • 60. E.R. vi. 70.
  • 61. E. Ham Vestry, etc., Mins. 1941, 1945, 1950, 1951.
  • 62. E.H.L., TS. Account of St. Mary's Church by Miss W. L. Holman.
  • 63. A. P. Crouch, Silvertown and Neighbourhood, 18; cf. Micklethwaite's Report.
  • 64. Inscription in tower.
  • 65. Stokes, East Ham, 238–9.
  • 66. Ch. Bells Essex, 276.
  • 67. E.R.O., D/P 156/8/2: 1 July 1782.
  • 68. Ibid. 16 Nov. 1784; ibid. 156/8/3: 22 Sept. 1786.
  • 69. Ch. Bells Essex, 276.
  • 70. Ch. Plate Essex, 4. Possibly identical with Joan, wife of Sir George Bolles (Lord Mayor of London 1617–18): G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, ii. 47.
  • 71. For Neville (d. 1618) see D.N.B. For the monument see F. Chancellor, Anc. Sepul. Mons. Essex, 352.
  • 72. Lysons, London, iv. 147–8; Stukeley's coffin was accidentally dug up in 1886: A. P. Crouch, Silvertown, 21.
  • 73. See p. 120.
  • 74. See p. 120.
  • 75. Lond. Gaz. 13 Feb. 1877 (p. 682–3).
  • 76. Mudie-Smith, Relig. Life Lond., 357, who omits St. Mark's, Cyprus.
  • 77. Ibid. 442.
  • 78. Ibid. 447, 357–9.
  • 79. See p. 32.
  • 80. For Reynolds see D.N B.; for Shadwell see E.R. iii. 8.
  • 81. For Ware see Stokes, E. Ham, 274; E.R. xvi. 43; for Bayne see Stokes, op. cit. 277–8; Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1890, p. 389.
  • 82. Stokes, E. Ham, 236, illus. f. p. 272.
  • 83. Churches of Barking Deaneries (1898), 20.
  • 84. Stokes, E. Ham, 236.
  • 85. Cf. Pevsner, Essex, 166.
  • 86. Inscriptions on church; E.R. x. 237.
  • 87. E. Ham Vestry, etc., Mins., 1941–9; E. Ham Par. Mag. Oct. and Nov. 1953.
  • 88. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1886, p. 376; Stokes, E. Ham, 275.
  • 89. K. Fry, E. & W. Ham, 262; E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Aug. 1887.
  • 90. Stokes, E. Ham, 275; E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 19 Jan. 1906; Stratford Express 6 Oct. 1906.
  • 91. Chelmsford Dioc. Year Bk. 1926 s.v. Duckworth, Wm.
  • 92. Inf. from Revd. P. J. Langford; E.H.L., Photos. (Second World War).
  • 93. Inf. from Revd. H. F. Godwin.
  • 94. E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. Nov. 1889.
  • 95. E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 26 Sept. 1911.
  • 96. Inf. from Revd. H. F. Godwin; cf. Char. Com. File G. 21.
  • 97. Stokes, E. Ham, 275; Chelmsford Dioc. Chron. June 1934, p. 88; Char. Com. File 138473; inf. from Revd. H. F. Godwin.
  • 98. Stokes, E. Ham, 275; Lond. Gaz. 22 Feb. 1924 (p. 1563); ibid. 14 June 1932 (pp. 3864–5).
  • 99. Inf. from Revd. G. F. Raggett; Chelmsford Dioc. Chron. July 1933, p. 102; Aug. 1933, p. 116.
  • 100. Chel. Dioc. Chron. Dec. 1935, p. 187.
  • 101. E. Ham Vestry, etc., Mins. 1912–14; O.S. Map 25", Essex LXXXVI. 6 (1920 edn.).
  • 102. Lond. Gaz. 10 July 1923 (p. 4781).
  • 103. Foundation stone; Chel. Dioc. Chron. Feb. 1936, p. 23, May 1937, p. 73.
  • 104. Lond. Gaz. 6 Nov. 1936 (p. 7093).
  • 105. Chs. Barking Deaneries, 28; Stokes, E. Ham, 279; Lond. Gaz. 20 Aug. 1886 (p. 4075).
  • 106. E.R.O., D/CP 6/9.
  • 107. Chs. Barking Deaneries, 28; E.H.L., E. Ham U.D.C. Mins. 19 Nov. 1895; E.H.L. Pamphlets, 'Whistland' Bazaar Programme of St. Edmund's, 1903).
  • 108. E.R.O., D/CP 6/11.
  • 109. Stokes, E. Ham, 279; Lond. Gaz. 13 Dec. 1901 (p. 8828); Chelmsford Dioc. Chron. June 1932, p. 96.
  • 110. R. Com. Eccl. Discip. [Cd. 3069], p. 316, H.C. (1906) xxxiii; St. Edmund Parish News, Oct. 1965: list of services.
  • 111. Chs. Barking Deaneries, 73; Stokes, E. Ham, 275–6; Lond. Gaz. 3 Jan. 1888 (p. 4); E.H.L., Churches File, Papers relating to St. Stephen's.
  • 112. Wilson and Whitworth's West Ham Almanac, 1910, p. 84.
  • 113. E.H.L., Churches File: Ritualism Rampant in the Diocese of St. Alban's. These papers were discovered when the church was demolished in 1954.
  • 114. Crockford's Cler. Dir. 1895, p. 1674; for Powell see Chel. Dioc. Chron. May 1928, p. 76.
  • 115. Chel. Dioc. Chron. Mar. 1951, p. 23.
  • 116. E.H.L., Churches File: Papers re St. Stephen's; inf. from Revd. A. E. Cordell; Essex Churchman, Mar. 1955, Mar. 1956.
  • 117. E.R. xxii. 94; inf. from Revd. E. G. H. Turner; E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 1910–11, nos. 1365, 1774: 1911–12, nos. 316, 439, 1151.
  • 118. E.H.L., Churches File: Papers re St. Stephen's.
  • 119. Stokes, E. Ham, 276–7.
  • 120. Inf. from Revd. E. G. H. Turner.
  • 121. Unless otherwise stated this account is based on: E. J. Chambers, Hist. St. Alban's, Upton Park (1953); for the Boleyn Rd. church see E.H.L., E. Ham Loc. Bd. Mins. June 1889.
  • 122. Stokes, E. Ham, 276; E. Ham U.D.C. Map, 1901: this building still survives (1965) though no longer used for church purposes.
  • 123. Lond. Gaz. 13 Oct. 1903 (p. 6222).
  • 124. Chelmsford Dioc. Chron. Dec. 1934.
  • 125. See p. 171.
  • 126. Stokes, E. Ham, 278–9; E.R. vii. 4, 72; Churches of Barking Deaneries, 65.
  • 127. W. J. Brown, One Man's Life, 25–30.
  • 128. The Times, 4 Dec. 1920, 15 and 16 Apr. 1921.
  • 129. Chel. Dioc. Year Bks. 1928–39; E.R.O., D/CP 9/14; inf. from the Rector of Little Ilford.
  • 130. Pevsner, Essex, 166.
  • 131. Little Ilford Par. Mag. May 1899; Stokes, E. Ham, 279.
  • 132. E.R. vi. 131; Hist. St. Barnabas, Little Ilford; Stokes, E. Ham, 278–9; Lond. Gaz. 15 Mar. 1901 (p. 1846); E.H.L., E. Ham B.C. Mins. 12 June 1906, 26 Jan. 1909; Essex Churchman, Dec. 1962, Mar. 1964.
  • 133. E.R.O., D/CP 9/12.