HANDBOOK FOR ESSEX, SUFFOLK, NORFOLK, AND CAMBRIDGESHIRE.
WITH MAP AND PLANS.
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 1870.
LONDON TO SOUTHEND, BY RAIL.
(LONDON, TILBURY, AND SOUTHEND RAILWAY.)
(Fenchurch Street Stat.)
[The steam-packet leaves the Hungerford pier daily for Southend and Sheerness ; and the Margate packets (daily during the season) call off Southend. Southend may also be reached by the old turnpike-road, through Brentwood, Billericay, Rayleigh, and Rochford. (See Rte.5.) The journey by rail, however, is made in less than two hours, and is by far the shorter.]
Passing the suburbs of Stepney and Bromley, and the village of Plaistow (at all which places there are stations. S. of Plaistow Stat. Plaistow Level stretches to the Thames), the line reaches
6¾ m. East Ham Stat. The river Lea, which is crossed between Bromley and Plaistow, divides Middlesex from Essex. Its banks, down to its junction with the Thames at Blackwall, are crowded with establishments of industry - manufactories of chemical products, Congreve rockets, and distilleries.
[About 4 m. N.W. of East Ham is West Ham (pop. of parish, in 1861, 38,331). The Great Eastern Railway Company have their works here ; and the parish, which extends along the Lea to the Thames, contains numerous large copperworks, flourmills, distilleries, breweries, &c. In the Ch. is an altar-tomb for Robert Rook, 1485. The ch. itself has been restored ; and in the course of restoration it was discovered that a Trans.-Norm. clerestory exists in the wall above the Dec. arcade. (Carlisle Cathedral affords a striking example of such under-pinning.) A short distance S.W. is the site of Stratford Abbey, founded in 1134 by William de Montfichet for Cistercian monks. (Stratford is one of the 3 wards into which the parish is divided. The village of Stratford extends along the London road as far as Bow Bridge). Of the abbey (the revenues of which at the dissolution were 511l. 16s.) there are no remains, with the exception of an archway (perhaps part of the cloisters) built up in the wall of the 'Adam and Eve' Inn. The district ch. of Stratford was completed in 1834 at a cost of about 23,000l.].
The Church of East Ham (dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, and given in 1319 by John of Lancaster to the Cistercian abbey at Stratford) is Norm., with much E.E. addition. It has a low tower (the upper part of which is modern), nave, and double chancel. The principal chancel has an elongated semicircular apse, lighted by lancet windows. The walls of the apse have been covered with patterns in red and green, and with figures of sacred personages above the arch opening from the chancel. The whitewash was removed from these wall paintings in 1850. They are apparently of the same date (the beginning of the 13th centy.) as the apse itself. Behind the altar is the monument with effigies of Edm. Neville and his wife, kneeling. This Edm. Neville, who is styled in the inscription Lord Latimer and Earl of Westmoreland, died in the first half of the 17th centy., and was grandson of Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, attainted in 1570 for his share in the 'Rising of the North.' Edm. Neville's titles, although assumed, were never allowed. His wife died in 1647. In the lower chancel are some Norm, arches with zigzag mouldings. The antiquary Dr. Stukeley, the "Archdruid of his age," as he was called, lies in the ch.-yd., by bis own desire, "under the smooth turf, without a headstone." Stukeley died in 1765, Rector of St. George's, Queen Square. He chose this place for his interment some time before his death, when on a visit to the Vicar of East Ham.
The great sewer of the North London system traverses the East Ham marshes. The Roman Cloaca Maxima was small compared to it, - that being a single channel 14ft. in diameter, built in dry masonry ; while this consists of 3 co-ordinate channels of 9ft. diameter, built of best bricks, and admirably cemented. In working it, about ¼ m. from East Ham Church, a stone Roman sarcophagus, and some Roman coffins of lead were found (they are now in the British Museum). It has been suggested that the site was that of a cemetery attached to a Roman camp) at Uphall (see post) ; and that troops were stationed in that camp whilst the adjacent marsh was in course of drainage by British serfs.
Green Street House (J. Morley, Esq.) is a fine old mansion with a lofty tower, occupied at times, it is said, by Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn. Rt., at North Woolwich, on the Thames bank, is the terminus of the branch railway from Stratford ; with a pier and a steam-ferry across the Thames to Woolwich.
The rly., leaving East Ham, crosses a low district of rich meadow land and market-gardens, bordering on the Thames. It is reputed aguish, but has been, in this and other respects, somewhat improved even by its present imperfect drainage.
7 m.. Barking Stat. (Pop., in 1861, 5076). Barking stands on the Roding River, here called Barking Creek, 2 m. N. of the Thames. Barking Creek is no pleasant water-way. The mud banks along it, constantly increasing, obstruct the flow of the sluggish stream. Various factories adjoining add their charms of sight and smell, and the Northern Outfall of the London sewage, drained into the Thames at the mouth of the creek, by no means improves matters. Billingsgate fishmarket was until late years chiefly supplied by Barking smacks, which, sailing in fleets of 15 to 30, used to fish off the Dutch coast, in the North Sea, and as far as Orkney, for cod, bringing home the fish preserved in wells below. At least 1000 men and boys were employed in this fishery. But railways interfered with the fishing trade ; the sanitary conditions of the place are entirely neglected ; fever is frequent ; and, from the increase of mudbanks, Barking is no longer able to receive vessels of the tonnage which formerly came up the creek. Hence the town is in indifferent condition, although in the neighbourhood still remain large market-gardens, 600 acres are devoted to potatoes, and nearly 200 to cabbages, for the supply of London. The Ch. of St. Margaret is Norm, and Perp. In it is a monument for Sir C. Montagu, died 1625, brother to the first Earl of Manchester. He is represented in a tent. The Norm, piers remain in the nave, and the ch. was well restored in 1848 during the incumbency of the Hon. and Rev. E. Liddell. It is said that Captain Cook the circumnavigator stood sponsor in this ch, for a girl who he then declared should be his future wife ; and he did afterwards marry her.
The Northern Outfall Reservoir, at the mouth of Barking Creek, is 11¼ m. below London Bridge, Its construction cost 172,222l. It covers an area of about 10 acres, and is capable of containing 39 million gallons of sewage. Its depth is about 17 ft. The whole of the North London sewage is poured into this reservoir, and thence is discharged into the Thames, through culverts carried into its bed, within two hours of high water, so that it is diluted by the full volume of the stream, and carried downward by the full strength of the tide. There are 3 great sewage systems for North London. The Northern High Level commences at Hampstead, and takes the drainage of all the neighbouring district. The Middle Level begins at Kensal Green, and joins the high level at Victoria Park. The Low Level begins at Millbank, skirts the Thames to the Tower, and then diverges to West Ham. From West Ham the 3 great drains are carried, mainly on arches, over the peat to Barking Reach.
This Northern Outfall was completed and opened in July, 1864. The engineer was J. W. Bazalgette. The outfall (exclusive of the reservoir) cost altogether 669,761l. The work, as has been before remarked, is more than Roman in its scale, and in the thorough massiveness of its construction.
A small portion of the sewage has been turned to account in the cultivation of the Lodge Farm at Barking ; and with excellent results. Very large crops of rye grass, of turnips, of cabbages, and of mangold wurzel have been obtained, and 2 acres of strawberries produced in one year 150l., the quality of the fruit being attested by the award of the bronze medal at the Royal Botanical Society's Exhibition.
Barking Abbey, once noted for its wealth, was founded in 670, by Erkenwald, afterwards Bp. of London, for Benedictine nuns. (See Bede, H. E., iv., c. 6-10, At the same time Erkenwald founded the monastery of Chertsey, where he was himself the first abbot. His sister, Ædilberga, was the first abbess of Barking, which place, under her rule, and afterwards, became famous for visions and miracles, duly recorded by Bede). Barking Abbey was destroyed by the Northmen in 870, but was rebuilt and re-endowed by Edgar towards the middle of the following century. The abbess, often of royal or of noble blood, had the precedency of all other abbesses in England, and was one of four (the others were Wilton, Shaftesbury, and St. Mary Winchester) who ranked as baronesses. The state maintained here was great; and the annual value of the house at the dissolution was 1084l. 6s. 2¼d. (Speed). The nuns seem to have fared not uncomfortably. On the feasts of the Assumption and of St. Ædilberga, the cellaress was bound to provide half a goose for each lady ; and "a lyverey of sowse at Martinmas, - a whole hog's sowse to serve three ladies." Among the abbesses was Mary, sister of St. Thomas of Canterbury, said to have been appointed by Henry II. after the archbishop's murder, as an atonement for the banishment of all Becket's relatives. Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, retired to Barking Abbey after the murder of her husband in 1397, and died here in 1399.
The only part of the building left is the Fire-bell Gate, a Perp. gatetower, between the town and the ch.-yd., whence the curfew-bell was formerly rung. It has a large octangular turret at one comer, and a niche over the gateway. The principal chamber was the chapel of the Holy Rood ; and traces of a crucifix may still be seen in relief on the wall. The abbey ch. stood just within the N. wall of the ch.-yd.
After the Conqueror had been crowned at Westminster (Christmas, 1066), he retired to Barking, whilst the fortifications, before commenced by him on the site of the present Tower, were completing. Many English swore fealty to him at Barking, among whom, according to one writer (William of Poitiers), were the Northern Earls, Eadwin and Morkere. At Uphall, on the l. bank of the Roding, a short distance N. of Barking, are some great earthworks, which, it has been suggested (although probably of Roman origin), may have served as the Conqueror's camp. The form of the entrenchment is not regular, though tending to a square. It is 1792 yds. in circumference, and contains an area of more than 48 acres. N., E. and S. it is single trenched. W., parallel to the Roding, and a short distance from it, is a double trench and bank. At the N.W. corner was an outlet to a fine spring of water, guarded by an inner work, and by a high keep or mound of earth. No Roman relics have been found here.
LONDON TO IPSWICH (RAIL).
Great Eastern Stat.
From the Bishopsgate Stat. - very inconveniently situated, and very remote from the W. end of London - the line passes on a viaduct of 160 arches for 1¼ m. through Bethnal Green, level with the red-tiled roofs of a multitude of small houses, chiefly inhabited by weavers, and provided with wide windows. In these ill-drained, dingy dwellings, in the midst of smoke and dust, satins are woven of the costliest material, and the most graceful and delicate patterns and colours. Here also are the Almshouses of the Trinity Board for aged mariners and their widows. A few of the viaduct arches are let as warehouses, and one is fitted up as a school. A branch rly. has been formed from Barking road to the E. In. Docks, crossing the Lea by a swing bridge.
Mile End Stat., a suburb over which the railway passes, is so called because distant 1 m. from Whitechapel Church, the old standard measuring point for the eastern roads. Rt. the North Woolwich Ely. branches off.
4 or 5 branches of the Lea River, dividing Middlesex from Essex, are crossed at Fairfield, not far from (l.) the reservoirs of the E. London Waterworks, which are fed from the New River ; and beyond is the
3½ m. Stratford Stat, in Angel Lane. The station and other buildings erected here by the Railway Company cost nearly half a million. The engine factory occupies nearly 20 acres, and the engine room alone has an area of 1½ acre. About 1000 men are employed by the company. From this point the line to Cambridge and Norwich (Rte. 11), and the line to Loughton and Ongar (Rte. 10), diverge l. The line to Southend (Rte. 1) is seen rt.
Ilford House of Correction just precedes, at
7 m. Ilford Stat. Ilford was once famous for its great spoon, holding above a quart. In Kemp's 'Nine Days' Wonder' a 'Daunce from London to Norwich,' he says that at Ilford he was "offered carowses in the great spoone .... but being afraid of the olde proverb,' he had need of a long spoone that eats with the devil,'I soberlie gave my boone companions the slip."
Opposite the rly. stat., and on the S. side of High-st., is situated St. Mary's Hospital, an institution of venerable antiquity. It was founded by Adeliza, Abbess of Barking, in the reign of Stephen, for a prior, a warden or master, two priests, and thirteen lepers. The buildings - a chapel, six cottages for six poor men, and a chaplain's residence - occupy three sides of a small quadrangle. The chapel is 90 ft. long, and 16 ft. wide, and affords accommodation for one hundred people. It bears the marks of some alterations, but its massive walls and general style seem to belong to the period of the foundation of the institution. The Hospital continued to be a house of lepers for more than two hundred years, for there is extant a set of statutes which were drawn up for this establishment in A.D., 1346, by Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, enacting, among other things, that the original number of thirteen lepers should be kept up, and that each one of these, at the time of his admission, should take an oath of obedience to the Abbess of Barking.
At the Dissolution the Hospital was seized by the Crown.
Queen Elizabeth made a grant of the site and revenues to Thomas Fanshaw and his heirs, with the proviso that they should appoint a master to keep the Chapel in repair, that they should nominate and maintain a chaplain to perform divine service, that they should provide apartments for six paupers, and pay them each the annual sum of 2l. 5s. The Hospital estates thus charged, after passing through various hands, were purchased in A.D. 1739 by the Gascoign family, from whom they have descended to the Marquis of Salisbury, the present Master.
In Little Ilford Ch. (1½ m. S. W. from Ilford Stat.) is the brass of Thomas Heron, son and heir of Sir John Heron, private treasurer of the king, d. 1517, aged 14. He is portrayed as a schoolboy, with penner and inkhorn suspended at his girdle. (Compare the brass of an Eton scholar, 1512, in Wyrardisbury ch., Bucks, and that of a Winchester boy, 1420, at Headborne Worthy, Hants).
LONDON TO CAMBRIDGE, BY WALTHAM AND BISHOP'S STORTFORD.
(SAFFRON WALDEN ; AUDLEY END).
(Great Eastern Ely.).
From the Shoreditch terminus to the branching point at
3¾ m. Stratford Stat., the line is common with that to Ipswich. (Rte. 2.)
[From Stratford, where our line turns abruptly N., as far as Broxbourne, this rly. ascends the valley of the Lea, which rises near Dunstable, in Bedfordshire, and falls into the Thames at Blackwall. This stream is rich in associations ;
"The sedgy tresses of the gulfy Lea"
are sung by Pope; and Spenser tells of
"the wanton Lea, that oft doth lose its way."
Upon its level banks are laid the opening scenes of Walton's 'Complete Angler;' and in more ancient days (A.D. 896) the Danish "army" under Hæsten, "towed their ships up the Thames and then up the Lea," where they "wrought a work," 20 m. above London. This work was attacked by the Londoners and "other folk," who were defeated, and 4 king's thanes were slain. In harvest time King Alfred encamped near London, so that the corn might be safely reaped; and afterwards he caused the river Lea to be obstructed by two "works," wrought on either bank, so that the "heathens" were unable to bring down their ships. They accordingly abandoned their stronghold, and the Londoners carried off such of the Danish ships as were "stalworth." - ('Sax. Chron.' ad ann.) Wherefore, says Drayton -
"Thus the old Lea brags of the Danish blood."
The victories of Alfred drove back the Danes to the territory called the Danelagh, of which the l. bank of the Lea, from its source, formed one of the boundaries. The Lea, like the Thames, has had its swans, as appears by a 'Tale of two Swannes,' written by W. Vallans, temp. Eliz., and printed by Hearne, in his edition of Leland's Itinerary. The poem describes the voyage of two swans down the Lea, with the places by which they pass.]
The line passes on rt. the engine depot, on l. Temple Mills, and crosses for 3 m. the marshes bordering on the Lea.