East Ham: Manors and estates

Pages 8-14

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



The manorial history of East Ham is interwoven with that of West Ham. Ham is first mentioned in 958, when King Edgar granted to Ealdorman Athelstan of East Anglia 5 mansae there. (fn. 1) The bounds of the charter included the whole of East and West Ham. The subsequent descent of Athelstan's estate is not known. In 1086 there were three manors called Ham. One of them, comprising 2 hides held by Westminster Abbey, was undoubtedly in East Ham. (fn. 2) Another, held jointly by Robert Gernon and Ranulph Peverel, and comprising 8 hides and 30 a., was wholly or mainly in West Ham. (fn. 3) Before the Conquest it had been held by Alestan, a free man. Gernon alone also held a further 7 hides, which before the Conquest had belonged to Levred, a free man. (fn. 4) Three virgates which before 1066 had been held by Edwin, a free priest, had been subsequently added to the manor. Another 30 a. belonging to the manor were held in 1086 by a sokeman. The manor was all in demesne except for 40 a. held of Gernon by Ilger. This manor seems to have been mainly in East Ham. The fee of Robert Gernon thus included a considerable part of both East and West Ham. From it were derived the later manors of East Ham and East Ham Burnells and, in West Ham, the manors of West Ham, Covelee's, Woodgrange, Plaiz, West Ham Burnells, and East West Ham, part of Chobhams and possibly also of Bretts. From the fee of Ranulph Peverel were derived the manor of Sudbury and much of Bretts.

Robert Gernon was still living in 1118, but soon after that date his lands passed to William de Montfitchet. (fn. 5) In 1135 William founded the abbey of Stratford Langthorne, in West Ham, endowing it with land there, which became the nucleus of the manor of West Ham. (fn. 6) By 1189 his descendant, Richard de Montfitchet, had granted Woodgrange to the abbey. (fn. 7) The Montfitchets held the remainder of the fee until 1267. Parts of it were subinfeudated in or before the 12th century. Edmund the Chamberlain, who in 1166 held 1/5 knight's fee of Gilbert de Montfitchet, (fn. 8) had land in West Ham, (fn. 9) as later did his grandson Richard the Chamberlain. (fn. 10) Walter of Windsor held 1½ knight's fee of the Montfitchets in Wormingford, Great Maplestead, and Ham. (fn. 11) Between 1186 and 1189, when Windsor's lands were in the king's hands, the annual income from Ham was £2. (fn. 12) By 1189 Windsor, like his overlord, had given land in South Marsh to Stratford Abbey. (fn. 13) About 1200 Maud of Hesdin, daughter of Walter of Windsor, (fn. 14) granted the abbey, for 10s. a year, the land in South Marsh in Ham which Christine her mother gave her in dower. (fn. 15) Maud's descendant, Hugh of Hesdin, was still receiving this rent about 1242, when he died. (fn. 16) In 1203 Ginda, wife of William de Biskeley, quitclaimed to Stratford Abbey, for £6 13s. 4d., 40 a. land in Ham from her dower in the free tenement of Walter of Windsor, formerly her husband. (fn. 17)

Richard de Montfitchet, last of his family in the male line, died without issue in 1267. His heirs (subject to the life-interest in dower of his widow Joyce (d. 1274)) (fn. 18) were the descendants of his three sisters, Margery de Bolbec, Aveline de Forz, Countess of Aumale, and Philippa de Plaiz. (fn. 19) Aveline de Forz, granddaughter of the countess, and Richard (d. 1269) son of Philippa de Plaiz, each received onethird of the inheritance. The remaining third was shared between the four granddaughters of Margery de Bolbec: Philippa de Lancaster, Margery Corbet (d. 1303), Alice de Huntercombe (d. c. 1284), and Maud de la Val (d. 1281). Alice and Maud died without issue. After the deaths of their husbands, Walter de Huntercombe (1313) and Hugh de la Val (1302), their shares seem to have been divided between their sisters' heirs. (fn. 20) Aveline de Forz, who married Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III, was also childless, and when she died in 1274 her share was assigned to Philippa de Lancaster. (fn. 21)

The eventual result of this sequence of events was the division of the Montfitchet fee in East and West Ham into three unequal parts. The inheritance of Richard de Plaiz became the manor of Plaiz, while that of Margery Corbet became the manors of East and West Ham Burnells. The share of Philippa de Lancaster became the manor of EAST HAM or EAST HAM HALL. This lay mainly in the south of the parish; the manor-house adjoined the church to the north-east, and the lords of the manor originally held the advowson of East Ham. The name was first applied to the main part of Philippa's holding which passed to her on the death of Aveline de Forz. Philippa's lands were held in her right by her husband Roger de Lancaster until his death in 1291. (fn. 22) She herself died in 1294 holding East Ham manor in chief for ¼ knight's fee. It was then some 200 a. in area. (fn. 23) Her son and heir John de Lancaster inherited further properties in East Ham and West Ham after the deaths of Hugh de la Val and Walter de Huntercombe.

In 1306 John de Lancaster granted to Stratford Langthorne Abbey, in free alms, 2 a. land in East Ham, with the advowson. (fn. 24) This seems to have been the first step in a process, continuing until 1338, by which the abbey acquired the whole manor from Lancaster and his tenants. In May 1317 Lancaster granted the monks a further 40 a., and in 1319 he conveyed to them the reversion of the manor, after his death and that of Annora his wife. (fn. 25) Even before those grants, however, Stratford was holding the manor, for in April 1317 it was said to be on lease from the abbey to Terry of Almain. (fn. 26) In 1313 Thomas de Pernestede had granted the abbey a messuage and 100 a. land in East Ham, not held in chief, (fn. 27) and it is likely that he was a sub-tenant of John de Lancaster. In or before 1317–19 the abbey also acquired lands belonging to Walter of Yarmouth, at least some of which had been held of John de Lancaster. (fn. 28) Yarmouth's estate, comprising about 100 a. in West Ham and 50 a. in East Ham, can be traced back to 1248, when it was granted by Ralph Fitz Urse to John de Middleton and Maud his wife. (fn. 29) In 1278–9 Middleton conveyed it to Sir William de Monterville, in return for corrodies for himself, his son Thomas, and Thomas's wife. (fn. 30) Monterville conveyed it in 1285 to Walter of Windsor, who granted it in 1290 to Adam, son of William of Lincoln of Great Yarmouth. (fn. 31) Adam, who later used the surname of Yarmouth, was still alive in 1308, (fn. 32) but by 1314 had apparently been succeeded by Walter of Yarmouth. (fn. 33) The abbey seems to have acquired only Yarmouth's East Ham lands; his West Ham lands became part of the manor of Chobhams.

John de Lancaster died in 1334 and his wife Annora in 1338. (fn. 34) On her death the abbot assumed full control over the manor. He appears to have done so without due process in Chancery, and in 1373 one of his successors was fined £20 for that trespass. (fn. 35) In 1342–3 East Ham Hall was valued at 40 marks. (fn. 36) It was probably the ¼ knight's fee for which the abbot answered in 1346. (fn. 37) In 1343–4 the abbey also acquired from Peter de Chaumbre a a tenement in East Ham worth £5. (fn. 38)

At its dissolution in 1538 the abbey was holding East Ham manor, farmed at £20 18s. 10d., and other lands in the parish, farmed at £35 10s. 2d. (fn. 39) In 1544 the king granted the manor with other lands to his servant Richard Breame. (fn. 40) In 1545 Breame was licensed to alienate certain marshlands in East Ham. (fn. 41) He died in 1546 holding East Ham manor, together with Stonehall in Ilford. (fn. 42) East Ham descended, like Stonehall, to his infant son Edward (d. 1558) and subsequently to Edward's brother Arthur. (fn. 43) Arthur Breame sold Stonehall, but retained East Ham, which appears to have descended at his death in 1602 to his son Giles (fn. 44) who made a conveyance of the manor in 1607. (fn. 45) Giles, who died in 1621, left most of his estate to be sold for the building and endowment of alms-houses in East Ham, naming as executor his kinsman Sir Giles Allington. (fn. 46) In 1632 Allington sold the manor to Sara, Lady Kempe, widow. (fn. 47) Lady Kempe appears to have suffered sequestration as a Papist recusant in 1643. (fn. 48) She was succeeded by (Sir) Thomas Draper (Bt.), her son by her first marriage, who was holding East Ham by 1650, and died in 1703. (fn. 49) Draper's daughter and heir Mary carried the manor in marriage to John Baber. (fn. 50) In 1764 Mary's son Thomas Draper Baber sold East Ham to John Henniker (d. 1803), who in 1781 succeeded to a baronetcy, and in 1800 became Baron Henniker in the Irish peerage. (fn. 51) The manor descended with the peerage until the middle of the 19th century. The East Ham Hall estate, as mapped in 1764, c. 1775, and 1829, comprised about 400 a. in the centre and east of the parish. (fn. 52) In 1839, however, the Hennikers held only some 250 a. in East Ham, (fn. 53) and during the next 40 or 50 years this also seems to have been sold. (fn. 54)

East Ham Hall stood on what was probably an ancient site, but nothing is known of its early history. There is no evidence that it was ever more than a farm-house. It was rebuilt, probably in the earlier 19th century, as a small plain building of two storeys with a frontage of three bays. It was demolished in 1931 or 1932. (fn. 55)

The manor of EAST AND WEST HAM, or HAWELOOWES, or BURNELLS FEE, later called the manors of EAST HAM BURNELLS AND WEST HAM BURNELLS, originated at the end of the 13th century in the lands which came to Margery wife of Nicholas Corbet, as one of the heirs of Richard de Montfitchet (d. 1267). (fn. 56) These lands were widely scattered. In the 18th century the courts of these manors had jurisdiction over tenants in most parts of both parishes, and especially in Stratford, Plaistow, and the marshes (West Ham) and at Plashet and North End (East Ham). The manors had formerly included also Hamfrith in East and West Ham. The location of the original demesne is not known. Nicholas Corbet died in 1280, holding about 130 a., mainly marsh, in East and West Ham, in right of his wife. (fn. 57) Margery subsequently married Ralph fitz William of Greystoke (Cumb.). (fn. 58) In 1282–6 she and Ralph granted their lands in East and West Ham to Robert Burnell, bishop of Bath and Wells, from whose family these manors eventually took their name. (fn. 59) The bishop augmented his estate by other purchases. In 1287 he acquired all the lands in East and West Ham belonging to Sir Richard Battail, (fn. 60) whose family had been there since the reign of Richard I, (fn. 61) and in 1292 Gilbert le Jeuene granted 10½ a. in East Ham to the bishop. (fn. 62) Burnell also acquired the life interest of Hugh de la Val in the property in East and West Ham which he held by courtesy of England in right of his deceased wife Maud, sister of Margery Corbet. (fn. 63)

The bishop (d. 1292,) was succeeded by his nephew Philip Burnell, who wasted his estates. (fn. 64) When Philip died in 1294 his lands in East and West Ham, comprising 150 a. held in chief, 58 a. held of Giles de Plaiz, and 7 a. held of Stratford Abbey, were in the hands of a creditor, Adam de Creting. (fn. 65) Philip's heir was his infant son Edward, the wardship of whom was granted in 1295 to Hugolin de Wichio, subject to arrangements for discharging the debt on the estate. (fn. 66) In 1302, when Hugh de la Val died, Edward Burnell became entitled to the permanent possession of half his lands in East and West Ham, while legally bound to relinquish the other half, which he held only for Hugh's lifetime. In 1313 Burnell similarly became entitled to half the lands which Walter de Huntercombe had held for life in right of his deceased wife Alice, another sister of Margery Corbet. (fn. 67) Whether the de la Val and Huntercombe lands were partitioned exactly according to title is not certain. John de Lancaster, who should have inherited the other half shares in those lands, was evidently dissatisfied with the division, for in 1321 he brought an assize of mort d'ancestor against Edward Burnell's heir. (fn. 68) Burnell, who was summoned to Parliament as a baron in 1311–14, died in 1315, holding some 260 a. land and £21 rent in East and West Ham. The heir was his sister Maud, wife of John de Haudlo. (fn. 69)

In 1339–40, after several earlier family settlements, John and Maud de Haudlo entailed East and West Ham upon their second son Nicholas, (fn. 70) giving him priority in the succession, contrary to law, not only over his elder brother Edmund Haudlo, but also over John Lovel, Lord Lovel, Maud's son by a previous marriage. (fn. 71) In 1336 John de Haudlo granted a house and 50 a. land in East Ham to Stratford Abbey. (fn. 72) He died in 1346 and was duly succeeded by Nicholas, who assumed the surname of Burnell, by which he was summoned to Parliament as a baron. (fn. 73) Nicholas (d. 1383) was succeeded by his son Hugh Burnell, Lord Burnell (d. 1420), who in 1412 was holding Haweloowes (i.e. Haudlo's) manor in East and West Ham, worth £20 a year. (fn. 74) Hugh's son and heir Edward Burnell had been killed at Agincourt, leaving three daughters, of whom Margaret, wife of Sir Edmund Hungerford, succeeded to the manor, subject to the rights in dower of Edward's widow Elizabeth. (fn. 75) In 1460–1 Hungerford's manor of Burnell's Fee had among its free tenants Barking Abbey and the priory of Stratford Bow. (fn. 76) Sir Edmund died in 1484 and Margaret in 1486. (fn. 77) It was stated after her death that the manors of East Ham Burnells and West Ham Burnells had been given to them in fee by William Lovel, Lord Lovel, Burnell and Holand. Lovel (d. 1455) was a descendant of John Lovel, Lord Lovel, already mentioned, (fn. 78) and the reference shows that the settlement made by John and Maud de Haudlo in 1339–40 had not extinguished the Lovel rights to Maud's lands. The legality of that settlement had in fact been successfully challenged by the Lovels after the death of Lord Burnell in 1420. In the case of East and West Ham Burnells they had evidently agreed to allow the Hungerfords to remain in possession, no doubt at a price. (fn. 79)

Thomas Hungerford, son of Margaret, succeeded her. About 1519 John Hungerford, then lord of the manor, began to clear some 60 a. of forest waste in Hamfrith wood, in the north-west of East Ham. (fn. 80) Shortly before 1548 Sir Anthony Hungerford, in return for payment by Sir William Sharyngton, conveyed this land to Henry VIII. (fn. 81) It was thus united with a smaller part of the same wood lying farther west, in the manor of West Ham, and subsequently descended along with that manor. (fn. 82) The remainder of East and West Ham Burnells remained in the Hungerford family until 1557, when Sir Roger Cholmley bought these manors from Anthony and John Hungerford. (fn. 83) Cholmley had already acquired the manors of East West Ham and Plaiz, both in West Ham. He had been chief justice of King's Bench in 1552–3 and was M.P. for Middlesex in 1554–9. (fn. 84) When he died in 1565 the manors were divided between his two daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Sir Leonard Beckwith and later of Christopher Kenn, and Frances, wife of Sir Thomas Russell. (fn. 85) The halves descended separately until the 18th century. In the later 16th and earlier 17th century, before and after the partition, there were various leases and sub-leases of the manors, some of which gave rise to litigation. (fn. 86)

Elizabeth Kenn (d. 1583) was succeeded by her son Roger Beckwith (d. 1586), whose heirs were his sister Frances, wife of (Sir) George Hervey, and his niece Frances, wife of Henry Slingsby, who was the daughter of another sister. (fn. 87) By a subsequent agreement Beckwith's lands in East and West Ham were assigned to the Herveys. (fn. 88) Sir George Hervey (d. 1605) bought Marks in Dagenham, and his wife's half of the Burnells manors descended along with Marks until 1718, when Carew Hervey alias Mildmay sold it to Henry Edwards of Little Waltham. (fn. 89) In 1720 Edwards sold it to John Gore, (fn. 90) who about the same time conveyed it to Sir John Blount, Bt., a director of the South Sea Company. (fn. 91) After the South Sea Bubble this property of Blount's, along with his Hamfrith lands, (fn. 92) was sold, probably to James Smyth of Upton, brother of Sir Robert Smyth, Bt. (d. 1745), owner of the other half of the Burnells manors. James Smyth, who was closely associated with his brother, (fn. 93) built up a large estate in Essex. (fn. 94) He died in 1741, leaving all of it, including his manors (so styled) of East and West Ham Burnells, to his nephew (Sir) Trafford Smyth (Bt.), son and heir of Sir Robert. (fn. 95) The halves of the manors thus seem to have been reunited, but about 1754 one half was sold to Stephen Comyn. (fn. 96) Comyn, and later his son of the same name, retained it until 1798, when both halves were bought by William Bentham. (fn. 97)

The half share of the manors which in 1565 came to Frances, Lady Russell, descended to her son (Sir) Thomas Russell. (fn. 98) It remained in the Russell family until 1649, when it was held by Sir William Russell, Bt.; in 1650 it was in the hands of Christopher and James Clitherow. (fn. 99) It seems to have been acquired about 1650 by (Sir) Robert Smyth, Bt. (d. 1669). (fn. 100) Sir Robert also bought the Rooke Hall, later called Ham House, estate in West Ham. (fn. 101) His son was holding half the Burnells manors by 1684. (fn. 102) This half descended with the baronetcy until 1798, when Sir Robert Smyth, Bt. (d. 1802), joined with Stephen Comyn in selling both halves to William Bentham. (fn. 103)

The Ham House estate had been sold separately from the manor, about 1761, and the property bought by Bentham comprised manorial rights without demesne. (fn. 104) He sold them in 1799 to William Holland, by whom they were conveyed in 1807 to Edward Holland. (fn. 105) In 1810 Edward sold them to Henry Hinde Pelly for £5,500. (fn. 106) No land was then mentioned: the value of the manors evidently lay in the income from the courts baron, quit-rents, and fines, which in 1780–98 had been producing about £250 a year. (fn. 107) Pelly's purchase was thus a substantial investment as well as a title of dignity. In 1780 he had inherited a large estate at Upton, in West Ham, and his service as captain of an East Indiaman had no doubt given him the means to increase this. (fn. 108) He died in 1818 and was succeeded in turn by his son (Sir) John H. Pelly (Bt.) (d. 1852), and his grandson Sir John H. Pelly, Bt. (d. 1856). (fn. 109) The manorial rights continued to descend in the Pelly family until the statutory abolition of copyhold tenures. The last manor courts were held as recently as 1925, although most of the copyholds had been enfranchised by the end of the 19th century. (fn. 110) The development of the Upton estate for building began in the 1850s. (fn. 111)

Although they were always under the same owner East Ham Burnells and West Ham Burnells were treated, at least from the 16th century, as having separate identities. The tenements coming under the jurisdiction of the manor court of East Ham Burnells were in the area lying between Green Street and the present High Street North. Those under the court of West Ham Burnells were mainly at Stratford and Plaistow, but also in several other parts of West Ham, including the marshes. (fn. 112)

An early-17th-century note on the customs of the manors of East and West Ham Burnells mentions partible inheritance, with choice for the youngest, an arrangement similar to the Kentish gavelkind. (fn. 113) Morant [1768] records another ancient custom, then still observed, by which the tenants of East Ham Burnells were obliged to 'treat and entertain' those of [East] West Ham, West Ham Burnells, and Plaiz. This duty was said to have been laid upon them as a punishment for failing to contribute towards a relief for the ransom of their lord when a prisoner in France. (fn. 114) This custom, of which no earlier evidence is known, was discontinued before 1796. (fn. 115)

The site of the manor-house of Burnells is not known. Morant states that it was 'near the London road' and implies that the house still existed, (fn. 116) but there is no doubt that it had disappeared by the early 17th century. Documents of 1653 and 1677 show that the site of the manor was then called Hawlers, in East Ham; (fn. 117) this is clearly identical with Hallers, which in 1623 was being let for pasture. (fn. 118) The name, which occurs again in 1718, (fn. 119) sounds like a corruption of Haweloowes. No later references to it have been found, but the site may have been in the field which in 1764 was called Burnels Downs, lying on the north side of Vicarage Lane. (fn. 120) The field was by then part of the manor of East Ham Hall. It was later called Bonny Downs. (fn. 121)

The estate called GREEN STREET or BOLEYN CASTLE appears to have been built up in the 16th century, all or most of it being copyhold of the manor of East Ham Burnells. It lay near the southern end of the street from which it took its name.

The estate may have been formed by Richard Breame (d. 1546), who was described in the probate of his will as 'of Green Street'. (fn. 122) His connexion with the house possibly inspired the tradition, of which there is no contemporary evidence, that Anne Boleyn lived at Green Street. Breame was a servant of Henry VIII from whom, in 1529–31, the king rented a house at Greenwich, nominally for the use of Anne's brother, Lord Rochford. (fn. 123) It was in 1531 that Henry VIII finally deserted Katharine of Aragon, and the legend connecting Anne with Green Street may have originated in a boast by Breame or his descendants that it was in his house that Henry courted his second queen. (fn. 124) In 1544 Breame bought from the king the manor of East Ham, but he may have been living at Green Street before that date.

It has been suggested that in the late 16th and early 17th centuries Green Street belonged to the Nevilles (fn. 125) whose monument is in St. Mary's church. In the 1630s and 1640s the estate seems to have belonged to Sir Henry Holcroft (d. c. 1651) a Parliamentarian prominent in Essex during the Civil War, and later to his widow. (fn. 126) It was acquired about 1653 by Sir Jacob Garrard (Bt.), a London merchant of royalist sympathies who founded an apprenticing charity. (fn. 127) Green Street House descended with the baronetcy until the death in 1728 of Sir Nicholas Garrard. Cecilia, widow of Sir Nicholas, retained it until her death in 1753, when it passed to his grandnephew Sir Jacob Downing, Bt. (fn. 128) In 1755 Downing conveyed the estate, then comprising about 160 a., to James Barnard or Bernard. (fn. 129) Bernard (d. 1759) appears to have been succeeded by Mrs. Whiteside, who was probably his daughter. (fn. 130) The estate was partly broken up about this time.

In 1788–9 Maurice Bernard sold Green Street House and grounds, totalling 17 a., to William Morley. (fn. 131) Morley, a London corn merchant, lived there until his death in 1832. (fn. 132)

The house was subsequently bought by Mr. Lee, for his daughter Mrs. Morley, who was not related to the former owner. (fn. 133) In 1839 James Morley, presumably her husband, owned and occupied the house. (fn. 134) In 1863 the house and grounds, then comprising 30 a., were advertised for sale. (fn. 135) They do not appear to have changed hands then, but in 1869 they were bought from the Morleys by Cardinal Manning, for use as a Roman Catholic reformatory school. (fn. 136) After the reformatory was closed the southern part of the site was used for a Roman Catholic church and primary school. The house, after being used c. 1907–12 as a maternity home, was leased, with some adjoining land, to the West Ham United football club, which sub-let the house to the Boleyn Castle social club. (fn. 137) The social club occupied the house until the Second World War. (fn. 138) In 1955 the house, which had become very dilapidated, was demolished. (fn. 139)

Green Street House, a red-brick building, mostly of two storeys, was erected about the middle of the 16th century, possibly by Richard Breame. (fn. 140) It originally comprised a great hall at right angles to the street with a long range at its west end and a kitchen block at the east end, south of which was a staircase wing, with a three-storeyed tower east of that. At the north end of the west range, fronting Green Street, was an arched gateway. (fn. 141) In the late 17th century the upper parts of the hall, the west range, the kitchen, and staircase wing were partly rebuilt. In 1662 the house was taxed on 20 hearths; the figures for 1670 and 1674 were 16 and 18 respectively. (fn. 142) This suggests that alterations were then in progress, during the ownership of Sir Jacob and Sir Thomas Garrard. In the 18th century a wing was added east of the tower, and a later addition was made east of the kitchen. Inside the house there was panelling of the late 16th or early 17th century, and the main staircase was of the same period. In the garden, south of the west wing, was a detached tower which overlooked the street and was the best-known feature of the house. This was an octagonal building of red brick with crenellated parapet and stair-turret. It was built about the middle of the 16th century, and may originally have been balanced by another tower at the south-east corner of the garden. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt by William Morley about 1800. (fn. 143) Until the 18th century a room in the tower was hung with leather embossed with gold, but Morley's predecessor, Mrs. Whiteside, is said to have burnt these hangings and sold the gold. (fn. 144) The sale catalogue of 1863 lists all the rooms in the house and its outbuildings, and describes the gardens, which contained several fine cedars. When the Roman Catholics bought the house they demolished the gateway and erected a range of buildings along Green Street. (fn. 145)

The manor of HAMMARSH lay in the marshes of East Ham, adjoining the Thames. From the Conquest or earlier until the 19th century it belonged to Westminster Abbey. In 1086 the abbey's manor in Ham comprised 2 hides, worth £3. (fn. 146) When and how Westminster had acquired it is uncertain. Charters of Edward the Confessor and of King Edgar, purporting to confirm it to the abbey, are forgeries, though possibly embodying some authentic information. (fn. 147)

In the time of Abbot Gervase (c. 1137–56) the abbey confirmed to Alger the Clerk the land in Ham formerly held by his grandfather Puncelin, to hold for as long as he should serve faithfully, at an annual rent of £3. (fn. 148) There was probably a connexion between this estate and 'Algoresland' which occurs in 1338 as a field name in the Gallions Reach area of North Woolwich, adjoining East Ham. (fn. 149) John Flete, the 15th-century chronicler of Westminster, accuses Gervase of alienating abbey lands to his friends in perpetuity subject only to fee-farm rents, and cites the grant to Alger as an example. (fn. 150) In 1291 and 1381 the abbey's total income from East Ham was given as £3, (fn. 151) which was probably the rent paid by Alger's successors. This might be taken to mean that Alger had acquired all Westminster's land in the parish, but in fact the abbey did keep in hand a small estate there. In 1306 the abbot authorized payment of 55s. 'for one cask of wine with the carriage of our provisions sent to Ham' (fn. 152) which suggests that this land was being farmed in demesne. In 1530 the abbey's manor of 'Hammarsh juxta Barking' was leased to Thomas Chamberlayne of East Ham for 29 years at an annual rent of £4. (fn. 153) The absence of earlier references to an income from Hammarsh, apart from Alger's fee-farm rent, is not surprising. During the Middle Ages, when flooding was frequent, this small property, lying wholly in the marshes, may well have been a liability rather than an asset.

In 1556 Westminster's estate in East Ham, described as 'a cottage and a marsh' was on lease to Thomas Eaglesfield. (fn. 154) Between 1732 and 1841, for for which period a continuous series of leases is recorded, Hammarsh was still being let at £4 a year. Leases were usually renewed every 7 years, but the details of fines for renewal are not stated. (fn. 155) The last lessees were William Meredith and Edward Moss (1834, renewed in 1841). Their holding, incorrectly entered in the tithe award of 1839 under the name of 'Moss, William and Edward', comprised 50 a., lying in the tongue of East Ham which separated the two parts of North Woolwich. (fn. 156) In 1846 the abbey sold 34 a. of Hammarsh to the North Woolwich Railway Co. for £6,000. (fn. 157) The portion sold was bounded on the south by the Thames and on the north by the remainder of the manor. The remaining 16 a. were probably sold soon after. (fn. 158) Part of the land bought by the railway was later acquired by a company which in 1852–3 developed it as the Victoria Gardens. (fn. 159)

The YNYR BURGES estate was built up by Ynyr Burges, Paymaster of the East India Company, between 1762 and his death in 1792, at a total cost of £20,700. (fn. 160) He was succeeded by his daughter Margaret (d. 1838) wife of (Sir) John Smith-Burges (Bt.), a director of the East India Company. In 1799 the estate comprised 422 a., with a rent-roll of £1,217. Smith-Burges died in 1803 and in 1816 his widow married John Poulett, Earl Poulett (d. 1819). Lady Poulett, who was childless, was succeeded by John Ynyr Burges, grandson of her father's elder brother. In 1838 the estate, then about 410 a., produced an income of £1,549, but by 1840 this had been increased to £2,471. An estate map drawn in 1881, which includes details of recent and later changes, shows that most of the property lay near the present town centre. There were substantial blocks of land on both sides of East Ham Manor Road (now High Street South) and another to the north of Barking Road, with outliers at Beckton. One piece of land at Beckton had been sold in 1880.

John Ynyr Burges (d. 1889) was succeeded by his son Col. Ynyr Henry Burges. Col. Burges was largely responsible for developing the estate for building. He had started to do so, on his father's behalf, about 1887, and continued until his own death in 1908. The process involved buying land as well as selling. An estate map of 1892 shows he acquired in that year 98 a. adjoining the parish church in High Street South. This included the site of the ancient manor house of East Ham. With this exception the Burgeses do not appear to have acquired any important part of the manor of East Ham, whether land or manorial rights, in spite of statements to the contrary. (fn. 161) Col. Burges was succeeded by his grandson, (Major) Ynyr A. Burges, who completed the development of the estate during the 1920s.

Ynyr Burges (d. 1792) lived at East Ham for most of his life. As a boy he was adopted by his uncle, Ynyr Lloyd, deputy secretary of the East India Company, who had a house in Wakefield Street. (fn. 162) In 1764 Burges bought from George Higginson a newly built copyhold house, to which in 1774 he added a 30-foot wing on freehold land. The 1881 map shows that this house was behind the west side of High Street South, opposite Market Street, and that the copyhold part of it was enfranchised in 1854. A water-colour of 1788 shows an imposing mansion with a central block crowned by an octagonal lantern. (fn. 163) After 1792 the house was usually let, but by about 1840 it was unoccupied and dilapidated. A surveyor's report of 1853, in connexion with the enfranchisement, lists the mansion, and also the Clock House, and 'two tenements, a shop, orchard and sundry outbuildings, yard and land abutting on East Ham Street'. It is clear from this and other references that the mansion and the Clock House were not identical: the Clock House was probably the stable block. Both buildings seem to have been demolished soon after 1854. (fn. 164) The iron gates at the entrance to the drive from High Street South were left standing until the 1870s or later. (fn. 165) On the opposite side of the same street was Clock House farm, which also belonged to the Burgeses, and which survived until early in the 20th century. It was a square three-storey brick building of five bays, dating from the earlier 18th century. (fn. 166)


  • 1. C. Hart, Early Charts. Essex: Saxon, p. 14; P.N. Essex, 94.
  • 2. V.C.H. Essex, i. 444.
  • 3. Ibid. 515, 527.
  • 4. Ibid. 515.
  • 5. I. J. Sanders, English Baronies, 83 gives the descent of Gernon's honor.
  • 6. See p. 68.
  • 7. See p. 73.
  • 8. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 351: the 1166 charter is mistakenly in the name of William de Montfitchet (d. bef. 1156).
  • 9. Feet of F. Essex, i. 21.
  • 10. Bracton's Notebk., ed. Maitland, iii. 408.
  • 11. Red Bk. Exch. 730, 733; Morant, Essex, ii. 231–2, 277; Pipe R. 1186 (P.R.S. xxxvi), 12.
  • 12. Pipe R. 1186, 12; ibid. 1187 (P.R.S. xxxvii), 122; ibid. 1188 (P.R.S. xxxviii), 31; ibid. 1189 (Rec. Com.), 21.
  • 13. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 312.
  • 14. Pipe R. 1206 (P.R.S. N.S. xx), 41; Red Bk. Exch. 136, 139.
  • 15. B.M. Harl. Ch. 51G. 41; E. Angl. N.S. vi. 345–6.
  • 16. Ex. e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i. 97, 386; Cal. Inq. p.m. i, pp. 287–8.
  • 17. Feet of F. Essex, i. 32.
  • 18. Cal. Close 1272–9, 81–2, 86.
  • 19. Sanders, English Baronies, 83–5; cf. V.C.H. Essex, iv. 227; Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 235 (Maud de la Val).
  • 20. See p. 10.
  • 21. Cal. Close 1272–9, 244; Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 508.
  • 22. Sanders, English Baronies, 85.
  • 23. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 106.
  • 24. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, 482.
  • 25. Ibid. 1313–17, 653; 1317–21, 318; Feet of F. Essex ii. 193.
  • 26. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, 634.
  • 27. Ibid. 39.
  • 28. Ibid. 611; ibid. 1317–21, 317–18.
  • 29. Feet of F. Essex, i. 173.
  • 30. Cal. Close 1272–9, 509, 562–3.
  • 31. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 41, 69.
  • 32. Ibid. 123.
  • 33. Cal. Close 1313–18, 207.
  • 34. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 419; ibid. viii, p. 105.
  • 35. Cal. Fine R. 1369–77, 128–9; Cal. Pat. 1370–4, 322.
  • 36. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, p. 307.
  • 37. Feud. Aids, ii. 176.
  • 38. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii. p. 307.
  • 39. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. v. 588.
  • 40. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xix(1), pp. 373–4, 645.
  • 41. Ibid. 672; ibid. xx(1), pp. 129, 282.
  • 42. C 142/84/62.
  • 43. C 142/122/55; cf. V.C.H. Essex, v. 210.
  • 44. Lysons, London, iv. 139, 143–4; Morant, Essex, ii. 251.
  • 45. E. Angl. N.S. ix. 174.
  • 46. E. Ham Ch., Mon. to Giles Breame. For the almshouses see below, p. 42.
  • 47. C.P. 25(2)/416 Mich. 8 Chas. I.
  • 48. B.M. Add. MS. 5505, f. 44a.
  • 49. Complete Baronetage, iii. 35; C.P. 43/272, m. 7.
  • 50. Lysons, London, iv. 139.
  • 51. Ibid. 139, 650; E.R.O., Q/RSg 3; C.P. 25(2)/1306 Hil. 5 Geo. III; Complete Peerage vi. 437.
  • 52. E.R.O., T/M 18 (1764); ibid. 21–5 (c. 1775); ibid. 10 (1829).
  • 53. E.R.O., D/CT 159.
  • 54. Complete Peerage, vi. 437; in 1883 Lord Henniker held no Essex estates.
  • 55. E.H.L., E. Ham Reg. Parl. Electors, Oct. 1931, Oct. 1932; ibid. Photos. (Houses).
  • 56. See p. 9.
  • 57. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 508.
  • 58. I. J. Sanders, English Baronies, 84.
  • 59. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 36, 50, 57; B.M., Lansd. Ch. 93.
  • 60. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 218.
  • 61. Cur. Reg. R. viii. 319; B.M., Cott. Ch. xxvii. 133.
  • 62. Feet of F. Essex, ii. 71.
  • 63. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 47.
  • 64. D.N.B. Robert Burnell.
  • 65. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 119; Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 468; Cal. Close 1288–96, 375.
  • 66. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, 158.
  • 67. B.M., Lansd. Ch. 93; Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 303–4.
  • 68. Cal. Close 1318–23, 308.
  • 69. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 390–1; Complete Peerage, ii. 434–5.
  • 70. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, 612; 1330–4, 75; 1338–40, 302; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 21, 41, 56.
  • 71. Cal. Fine R. 1337–47, 477.
  • 72. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 342–3; B.M., Add. Ch. 8049.
  • 73. Complete Peerage, ii. 434–5.
  • 74. Ibid.; Feud. Aids, vi. 435.
  • 75. Complete Peerage, ii. 434–5; Cal. Pat. 1416–22, 374; Cal. Close 1419–22, 155; C 138/54/116.
  • 76. E.R.O., D/DMs M3.
  • 77. C 141/6/25; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, iii, p. 362–3.
  • 78. Complete Peerage, viii. 217.
  • 79. Ancestor, viii. 167 f.
  • 80. G.L.C., DL/C/207 f. 85.
  • 81. Cal. Pat. 1547–8, 401–2.
  • 82. See p. 68.
  • 83. C.P. 40/1169 rot. 536.
  • 84. D.N.B.
  • 85. E.R.O., D/DHt T121/2; ibid. D/DMs T7/1–16.
  • 86. Ibid. D/DMs T7/1–16 and E21/1–4; ibid. D/DM T43/2–4 and L4.
  • 87. C 142/223/73.
  • 88. E.R.O., D/DM L4.
  • 89. V.C.H. Essex, v. 276; E.R.O., D/DMs T8.
  • 90. C.P. 25(2)/1013 Hil. 6 Geo. I.
  • 91. Morant, Essex, i. 17.
  • 92. See p. 68.
  • 93. e.g. acting as his manorial steward in West Ham: E.R.O., D/DPe M15–17.
  • 94. Morant, Essex (Colchester), 138; ibid. i. 412, 430, 473 494.
  • 95. E.R.O., D/DU 126/126.
  • 96. Ibid. D/DPe M18; cf. Lysons, London, iv. 252.
  • 97. E.R.O., D/DHt E8; ibid. D/DPe M21–25; Wright, Essex, ii. 490.
  • 98. C 142/239/124; E.R.O., D/DMs T7/2, 10 and E 21/1–4.
  • 99. E.R.O., D/DPe M1.
  • 100. B.M., Add. Ro. 58414.
  • 101. See p. 72.
  • 102. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, iv. 9–10; E.R.O., D/DC 41/163.
  • 103. E.R.O., D/DHt E8 (sale cat.); ibid. D/DPe M 2–5, 18, 21–5; ibid. D/DC 27/78; Wright, Essex, ii. 491.
  • 104. E.R.O., D/DHt E8.
  • 105. Lysons, London, (Suppl.) (1811), 348.
  • 106. E.R.O., D/DPe T1.
  • 107. E.R.O., D/DHt E8.
  • 108. K. Fry, East and West Ham, 228–30.
  • 109. Ibid.; Burke's Peerage &c., 1913 edn. p. 1522.
  • 110. E.R.O., D/DPe T1 and M15–27.
  • 111. K. Fry, East and West Ham, 230. For this estate see below, p. 73.
  • 112. E.R.O., D/DPe M52.
  • 113. Ibid. D/DMs M4.
  • 114. Morant, Essex, i. 15.
  • 115. Lysons, London, iv. 141.
  • 116. Morant, Essex, i. 14.
  • 117. E.R.O., D/DM T43/8 and 9.
  • 118. E.R.O., D/DMs E22.
  • 119. Ibid. D/DMs T8.
  • 120. E.R.O., T/M 18.
  • 121. Ibid. T/M 13.
  • 122. E.A.T. N.S. vi. 307; P.C.C. Wills, 1383–1558, i. 77.
  • 123. L. & P. Hen. VIII, v, p. 754.
  • 124. This is suggested by Mr. C. G. Parsloe: P.L.A. Monthly, May 1938, 523–4.
  • 125. Lysons, London, iv. 141.
  • 126. E.R.O., D/DPe M15: Ct. Bk. of E. Ham Burnells, rental 1694 and list of beadles; Visits. of Essex (Harl. Soc.), 421; E.R. xxxiii. 149 f.; Morant, Essex, i. 15, names Sir Francis Holcroft as owner.
  • 127. Complete Baronetage, iii. 255; see below, p. 43.
  • 128. E.R.O., D/DPe M15, admission of Sir Nic. Garrard, 1690; D/DPe M18, ff. 309–11.
  • 129. E.R.O., D/DPe M18, f. 343.
  • 130. E.R.O., T/P 196 (King MSS.), Eccles. Essex, ii. 305; New Display of Beauties of England (1777), i. 57.
  • 131. E.R.O., D/DPe M52, no. 162; E.H.L., Deeds, E/EAS/333.33.
  • 132. G.M. 1832(1), 372.
  • 133. Stokes, E. Ham, 126.
  • 134. E.R.O., D/CT 159.
  • 135. E.R.O., Sage Coll., Sale Cats. vol. 7/4.
  • 136. Stokes, E. Ham, 126; see below p. 42.
  • 137. Kelly's Dir. Essex, 1908, p. 550; 1910, p. 568; 1912, p. 606; E.R.O., T/P 57.
  • 138. E.R.O., T/P 57.
  • 139. E.H.L., Pamph. E/EAS/728.
  • 140. Unless otherwise stated this description is based on R.C.H.M., Essex, ii. 60; for illustrations see E.H.L., Photos. (Houses); K. Fry, E. and W. Ham 272, Stokes, E. Ham, f. p. 144; and plate below, f. p. 14.
  • 141. Trans. E.F.C. iv, p. cxlii.
  • 142. E.R.O. Q/RTh 1 and 5; E 179/246/22.
  • 143. G.M. Libr. Eng. Top. iv. 106–7.
  • 144. Ibid.
  • 145. Trans. E.F.C. iv, p. cxlii.
  • 146. V.C.H. Essex, i. 444.
  • 147. C. Hart, Early Charts. Essex: Saxon, pp. 30, 17.
  • 148. Westminster Abbey Domesday, f. 496b.
  • 149. Cat. Anct. D. vi, No. C. 5756.
  • 150. J. Flete, Hist. Westminster Abbey, ed. J. A. Robinson, 89.
  • 151. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 25b; J. A. Robinson, Gilbert Crispin, Abbot of Westminster, 45.
  • 152. Docs. Illustrating the Rule of Walter de Wenlock, ed. B. Harvey (Camden 4th Ser. ii), 230.
  • 153. Westm. Abbey Lease Bk. ii, f. 263; cf. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 414; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. i. 328.
  • 154. Cal Pat. 1555–7, 353–4.
  • 155. Westm. Abbey Lease Bk. xxxiv, f. 559 and later Bks. to lxiii, f. 276 (full details in MS. index).
  • 156. E.R.O., D/CT 159.
  • 157. Westm. Abbey Lease Bk. lxiv, f. 331b.
  • 158. Inf. from Church Commissioners.
  • 159. Cf. Fry, E. and W. Ham, 4; Stokes, E. Ham, 103.
  • 160. Unless otherwise stated this account is based on the Family Papers of Major Y. A. Burges, Catsfield Manor (Suss.), on Major Burges's Burgesaga (copy in E.R.O., T/G 104), and on information supplied by him. The estate seems never to have had a name, other than that of its owner.
  • 161. e.g. by K. Fry, East and West Ham, 144.
  • 162. E. H. L., Photographs, Col. Y. H. Burges's Ho.
  • 163. See plate.
  • 164. The Clock House appears, as an empty building, in the rate book for 1850, but is not included in that for 1855: E.R.O., D/P 156/11/29–30. The mansion cannot be identified in either of these assessments, unless the name Clock House, in 1850, includes both buildings.
  • 165. A. Stokes, E. Ham, 122; cf. E.H.L., A. Stokes's Panoramic Map of E. Ham.
  • 166. E.H.L., Local Coll., Photographs, 1908; Stokes, E. Ham, 122.