Hornchurch

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Hornchurch  was first recorded as Monasterium Cornutum in 1222, and as Hornechurche in 1231.  The name is thought to derive from the figure of a horned  bull’s head that was used on official seals in the town in the Medieval period.  Leather-working was an  important industry here as long ago as the thirteenth century, when  what is now the High Street was known as Pellestrate  (Pelt Street).

A short terrace of post-Medieval, seventeenth-century buildings still stands here.

Church of St Andrew

The church of St Andrew was originally built here in the fourteenth century (on the site of a priory dedicated to St Nicholas and St Bernard that had been built in the twelfth, in 1159).  It has been much modified subsequently (“each generation in turn having cared for it and added to or subtracted from it, …  to suit needs of the time”, as the web-site puts it).  The tower is believed to have been built by William of Wykeham (1320?-1404) in the fourteenth century.  Parts of the nave also date to the fourteenth century, and the ceiling to the fifteenth.

In the interior are a number of Medieval to post-Medieval memorials, including those to Boniface de Hart, Prior from 1323-25; Francis Rame, Steward to Sir Anthony Cook of Gidea Park, Tutor to Edward VI   (d. 1617); Thomas Withrings, Chief Postmaster (d. 1651); and Sir Francis Prujean, President of the College of Physicians (d. 1666).  In the sanctuary is  the interesting sixteenth-century Ayloffe table-tomb.

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