Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …
Romford, which lies approximately halfway between London to Colchester, was first recorded in Saxo-Norman times as Romfort, from the Old English “run”, meaning wide, and “fort”, ford (across the river known presently as the Rom, but previously as the Beam). The original settlement, now known as Oldchurch, was found to be prone to flooding, such that subsequent development took place on higher, drier ground to the north. In the later Medieval period, Romford was a small market town surrounded by agricultural land, but by the post-Medieval, it had become a centre of industry, in the form of brewing, metal-working, charcoal-burning, cloth-making and weaving. Further (sub)urbanisation and industrialisation took place in the eighteenth century, following the establishment of a coaching link to London, and, especially, in the nineteenth and twentieth, following the arrival of the railway.
Historically part of the county of Essex, the town has been part of the London Borough of Havering since 1965.
The church of St Edward the Confessor, or Romford Church, on Market Place, was originally built in 1410, and subsequently rebuilt in 1850.
The “Golden Lion” on the High Street dates back to 1440, although the present building is chiefly of sixteenth- and seventeenth- century construction. It is “a fine specimen of the old inns which [once] abounded in the town”; its stables “full of reminiscences of the days of the stage coach with its spanking team of horses”.