Tag Archives: Dagenham

Dagenham revisited

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

Dagenham was first recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 677 as Daeccenham, from the old English personal name Daecca, and ham, meaning homestead or village.  Throughout much of its later history, it remained essentially rural, only beginning to become  (sub)urbanised and industrialised in the early  twentieth century.  It is now part of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, created in 1965.

Valence House

The Manor of Valence was first recorded as long ago as 1269.  There was evidently a manor house here at or around that time, which further records indicate was occupied by Agnes de Valence after the death of her third husband in 1291 (*).  The estate was sold to St Anthony’s Hospital in London in 1435, and then granted by Edward IV to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor in 1475.  It was rented out to a succession of tenants in the post-Medieval and later periods, including the Bonham family in the seventeenth century, the Mertons in the eighteenth, and the Mays in the nineteenth, before being acquired by Dagenham Urban District Council in 1926.

1 - Distant view of exterior, including moat.JPG

2 - Close-up view of exterior.JPG

3 - In situ fragment of Medieval wall.JPG

4 - Medieval wattle and daub.JPG

The surviving manor house, which is now  home to the Valence House Museum, shows evidence of building or rebuilding activity from every century from the fifteenth onwards.

5 - Model of Valence House.JPG

The museum features a number of fine displays on the history of the local area, including one on Valence House itself …

6 - Model of Barking Abbey.JPG

7 - Moulded stones from Barking Abbey.JPG

… and another on  Barking Abbey, which lay approximately three miles to the south-west.

 

 

It also houses a famous collection of portraits of the Fanshawe family (Lords of the Manor of Barking for many generations).

(*) Agnes de Valence was of noble birth, being the grand-daughter of Isabella of Angouleme, wife of King John.

 

Dagenham

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

Dagenham was first recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 677 as Daeccenham, from the old English personal name Daecca, and ham, meaning homestead or village.  Throughout much of its later history, it remained essentially rural, only beginning to become  (sub)urbanised and industrialised in the early  twentieth century.  It is now part of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, created in 1965.

cross-keys

The only surviving relics of the one-time Medieval village are the timber-framed Cross Keys Inn, dating to 1500 or earlier, and the chancel and north chapel of the parish church.

Dagenham Parish Church (St Peter and St Paul)

general-view-of-exterior-of-church

porch

contrasting-architectural-styles

churchyard

The church of St Peter and St Paul was originally built – in imported Kentish Ragstone – in the the late twelfth to early thirteenth century (*), and extended in the late fifteenth, when the North Chapel was added.  It had to be repaired in the early sixteenth century, with financial assistance from the Fanshawe family, after having been despoiled during the Reformation, and repaired again in the late eighteenth, having by that time started to become structurally unsound.

It was subsequently substantially rebuilt – in brick and salvaged stone – in the early nineteenth century, after the tower collapsed on the morning of the second Sunday of Advent in 1800, destroying the nave and south aisle (**).  The architect of the rebuilding was one William Mason, whose work here Ian Nairn has memorably described as “marvellous nonsense” and “pure froth, without a care in the world”.

(*) In part to serve the spiritual needs of the tenants of the adjacent land owned by Barking Abbey.

(**) Providentially, the service that should have been taking place at the time had been delayed by the late arrival of the vicar, who it seems had been searching for his missing keys!