Church Monuments - London/former Essex

Essex in London - Church Monuments

The north-east boroughs of London were once part of Essex, and contain many ancient churches with monuments. In these churches we can see grand statues of the lords and ladies of the 18th Century, kneeling figures carved in alabaster of knights and merchants and black-garbed widows from the 17th Century, allegorical girls in white marble from the 19th Century, and a host of simpler tablets, often with carved ornaments of flowers, winged cherub heads, and symbols of time and death.

In 1965, the south-west part of Essex was transferred to London, along with pieces of Kent, Surrey and Herts, and the whole of Middlesex, which was abolished. This area – for which the term ‘Essex in London’ was coined by K. Neale in a 1970 book – contains about a score of ancient churches of interest to readers of this website, as while the area of Essex did not reduce by so much, the population of this area and hence the number of churches, was disproportionately high.

Five new London boroughs were formed:

  • West Ham and East Ham moved from Essex to become the London Borough of Newham. The ancient churches are All Saints, West Ham, and St Mary Magdalene, East Ham, and St John, Stratford: Stratford Abbey is not even a ruin – though a font and some other bits and pieces survive in West Ham.

  • Chingford, Walthamstow and Leyton became the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The churches of interest are All Saints Chingford and St Peter & St Paul Chingford, St Mary the Virgin, Leighton, and St Mary, Walthamstow. The famous Waltham Abbey, north of Chingford, remains within Essex, and Waltham Cross is just within Herts. Edmonton and Enfield to the west, across the reservoirs, do not feature here as they lie in the separate London borough of Enfield, which had not previously been in Essex.

  • Barking and Dagenham became the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Our ancient churches here are St Margaret, Barking, alongside the ruined foundations of Barking Abbey, and St Peter & St Paul, Dagenham.

  • Woodford, Wanstead, Chigwell and Ilford became the London Borough of Redbridge. The churches are St Mary, Little Ilford, also St Mary, South Woodford, and St Mary, Wanstead, replacing an older church and keeping the important monuments. Chigwell and Lambourne are excluded as they both fall just outside the borough to the north.

  • Romford and Hornchurch became the large London Borough of Havering. Here we have St John Evangelist, in Havering Atte Bower, St Edward the Confessor, Romford, St Andrew Hornchurch, St Laurence Upminster, St Mary Magdalene in North Ockenden, St Helen and St Giles, Rainham, and All Saints Cranham.

This page links to pages on the several churches within Essex in London whose monuments are described on this website.

In passing, here are links to a couple of other sculptural things in Essex-in-London: