Search

Heritage: Names are all that’s left of Havering’s old churches

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:25 22 July 2018

Upminster Windmill in 1900 - Upminster's original Congregational church stood opposite. Picture: Brian Evans

Upminster Windmill in 1900 - Upminster's original Congregational church stood opposite. Picture: Brian Evans

Brian Evans

Prof Ged Martin takes a lightning tour of the borough’s vanished places of worship

Romford’s original church stood half a mile south of the town. Its location gradually became inconvenient.

In 1406, King Henry IV authorised a new church, St Edward’s, on the north side of Romford Market.

The original chapel probably stood near Homebase. The area’s still called Oldchurch.

During the Middle Ages, there was a private chapel at Suttons, a farm which stood where Suttons Lane meets Airfield Way, Hornchurch.

At Berwick Farm at Rainham, now a hotel, a chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of Berwick” existed from 1315 to 1525. Carved stones and tiles have been found nearby.

A medieval chapel at Upminster Hall (now a golf club) was probably connected with the Abbots of Waltham Abbey who owned the property from 1062 to 1540. It contained a baptismal font, given to Upminster church in the 18th century, when the building was demolished.

Bones have been found nearby, suggesting a graveyard.

All Saints’ chapel shared Rainham’s churchyard with the parish church. It was endowed in 1348, possibly to say prayers against the Black Death. By 1521 the income was so small that no priest would take it on. It was demolished about 1548.

A parish church was a financial asset, because the faithful made gifts, called “oblations”. In 1267, John de Dover was forced to close a chapel he’d built on his manor, Dovers in South Hornchurch, remembered in a Rainham roundabout. The prior of Hornchurch, who controlled St Andrew’s parish church, objected to the competition.

In 1344, Pope Clement VI launched an investigation from Italy into claims that another John de Dover, perhaps a grandson, had also opened an unauthorised oratory.

A deal was struck in 1345. John’s chaplain was forbidden to minister to Hornchurch people. The prior claimed two third of the oblations. How long the oratory lasted, nobody knows.

In this case, history repeated itself. In 1967, Rainham’s Catholic church, Our Lady of La Salette, was built on the site.

The London Loop footpath crosses Pyrgo Park, site of a Broxhill Road mansion. The aristocratic Grey family had a chapel and private burial ground here from 1564.

The building was demolished about 1770, and the coffins removed to St John’s church at Havering-atte-Bower.

St John’s served the villagers of Havering. Another chapel, inside the royal palace, was for the king’s private use. Unfortunately, the buildings fell down around 1650.

Harold Wood’s first church, a prefabricated building erected in 1871, was replaced in 1939 by St Peter’s, on a new site in Gubbins Lane. That’s why Harold Wood has a Church Road with no church.

Two Havering churches were destroyed in World War Two. Bombed in 1941, All Saints’ Squirrels Heath (near Gidea Park Station) was moved to Ardleigh Green in 1957.

In 1944, a V1 flying bomb destroyed the Hall Lane chapel, near Tylers Common. Although later rebuilt, it was demolished about ten years ago.

Built in 1800, Upminster’s original Congregational church stood opposite the windmill. In 1911, worshippers relocated to Station Road. The old building is now part of Sacred Heart of Mary’s School.

A small chapel in Park Corner Road, Hacton, has become a children’s nursery.

Missionaries from Grays founded a Primitive Methodist church in Victoria Road, Romford, in 1875 (“primitive” referred to their pure principles). Rebuilt in 1950 after wartime damage, it’s now home to Havering’s Learning Disability Society.

Near Roneo Corner, the original burial ground of Romford’s Congregationalists faces Upper Rainham Road. In 1877, a new Congregationalist church was built in South Street. It included a family clubhouse, which even had a smoking room!

Rather than undertake costly modernisation, the building was sold, and a new church (now United Reformed) built in 1965 in Western Road. (Santander Bank occupies the old site.)

Reckoning that Romford people had made South Street real estate a bonanza, the Congregationalists shared their windfall, helping to start the Samaritans telephone helpline.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

Readers may not have heard of Sadiq Khan’s planned expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), but it is set to have a detrimental impact on the hundreds of thousands of people who drive inside the North and South Circulars every day.

Christmas, the time of year when we are pressured to buy things no one wants for people we don’t want to buy for at prices we’re not happy with.

Yesterday, 11:38

Police tasered a man in Collier Row after he threatened officers with a meat cleaver.

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Yesterday, 08:00

The discovery that a man who had been jailed for using his position as a police officer to prey on vulnerable women could have been allowed to work at Queen’s hospital without a compulsory background check is worrying both for staff and patients.

Fri, 17:05

A market trader from Newbury Park has been found guilty of torching a £260,000 Ferrari during an arson attack in Emerson Park that was revenge for a business deal gone wrong.

Fri, 16:18

Two of the three teenagers accused of taking part in a fatal knife attack which killed a 15-year-old outside a party in Collier Row have claimed they played no role in the incident.

Fri, 16:00

Whether visiting friends and family or going for that bargain in the sales, the rail network helps a lot of people to get around over the festive period.

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now