Feature: A royal past is revealed in borough’s place names

10:01 30 January 2013

The Queen was visiting Drapers

The Queen was visiting Drapers' Academy, Harold Hill.

(c) copyright

Drapers Academy was officially opened by the Queen last year and the school hall was renamed the Diamond Jubilee Hall in the Monarch’s honour. Here Safira Ali looks at other places in Havering with royal links, and how they got their names.

People in Upminster were split on whether they preferred to talk about Corbets Tey or Corbets Tye for 200 years after 1700.

Places with the name Tye were common across Essex, and generally referred to hamlets away from the main villages.

Corbets Tey, was a hamlet outside Upminster with 177 people living there in 1841.

According to historian Philip Morant, Corbets Tey’s name came from the ancient owner of the area. But a more popular explanation is that Queen Elizabeth I travelled through the area on her way to Tilbury to review the fleet which was threatened by the Spanish Armada in 1588.

She visited the area and gave an inspiring speech to her troops. It is believed she rode through a settlement near Upminster and a raven landed on her hand. A name for a raven was corbet; and as it went to fly away she commanded “Corbet stay”.

An alternative is that Corbet was the name of one of her servants – and there was a Corbet family living in Upminster during the 16th century, so the idea is likely.

The Harold Hill estate, which was originally known as Dagnam Park, was renamed because it could be confused with Dagenham.

It was therefore named after Saxon King Harold II, who used to visit the area. which was classed as one of his royal domains.

Harold Wood was also named after King Harold, who hunted deer in the forest that covered the area in the ninth century.

But he wasn’t the only royal who visited Harold Wood. It was also a favourite place for Edward the Confessor.

Havering-atte-Bower’s name is believed to have come from Sir John the Evangelist visiting the area under the guise of an old beggar and asking alms of Edward the Confessor.

The King gave him a ring from his finger. Some years after St John sent the ring back by two pilgrims with notice that he would die in six months. They delivered the message and ring to him here at his bower, from which the place is said to have received its name Have-ring. It was named Bower from some fine bower or shady walk.

In the early 13th century documents mention “the King’s chamber” at Havering, in the sense of the King’s house.

The borough had strong connections with royalty throughout the Middle Ages with many monarchs staying and living in Havering.

Among those who hunted in the area were John, Henry III, Edward III and Edward IV.

Matthew Abel, exhibitions team leader at Havering Museum, said: “Havering has had such a long and fascinating relationship with royalty, yet so few traces of this rich history remain today.

“It still amazes me to think that this area was once home to not just one, but two royal palaces, visited by such iconic monarchs as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.”


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