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Title: Loughton.  Essex. - A brief account of the Manor and Parish
Author: Waller, William Chapman
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1913 edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                            Loughton.  Essex.


  A brief account of the Manor
  and Parish, being the sub-
  stance of a paper read in 1903
  by William Chapman Waller,
  M.A., F.S.A.

                                * * * * *

                      [Picture: Decorative divider]

              (One hundred copies reprinted October, 1913).

                            Price: Six Pence.

                                * * * * *

    ‘Things are always ancienter than their names.’

                                                         _Richard Hooker_.



Loughton.  Essex.


_Foreword_.—Perhaps some apology is needed for reprinting this paper.  It
was read some ten years ago to the Club Literary Society, fully reported
in the ‘Loughton Gazette’ in March, 1903, and thereafter issued in
pamphlet form, one hundred copies being struck off.  But these copies
have long been dispersed, like many of the people who then lived in the
village, and it may be that a new generation will not be unwilling to
devote a few moments to the story of the place in which their lot is, at
any rate for the time being, cast.  To those whose interest may be
aroused I may indicate the existence of a fuller account, contained in a
volume (of which only twelve copies exist,) to be found in the Guildhall
Library, the British Museum, and a few other public libraries.

                                                                  W. C. W.



LOUGHTON BEFORE THE CONQUEST.


It is not always that the story of a parish reaches back to a period
beyond Domesday Book, but that of Loughton begins for us in the reign of
the Confessor.  In the year 1062, four years before the coming of the
Conqueror, King Edward, with the assent of his Witan, or wise men,
confirmed to the Monastery at Waltham a great gift of lands which had
been made to the Canons by their founder, Harold, the son of Godwin.  The
different estates are enumerated in the document, and the boundaries of
several are given—not in Latin, the language of the rest of the document,
but in Anglo-Saxon.  Among them are three—Lukinton, Tippedene, and
Ælwartun, which are incontestably to be identified with the places we now
know as Loughton, Debden, and Alderton.  The boundaries of Lukinton, or
Loughton, are unfortunately wanting.  Not, of course, that it would be
any longer possible to trace them; even in the case of Debden, where the
natural features are mentioned, it is doubtful of what extent the manor
was; in the case of Alderton none of the boundaries can be connected with
any names occurring in documents of a later date.



DOMESDAY BOOK.


When we come to Domesday Book we find no less than eight separate
entries, all of which apparently relate to Loughton.  The Canons are
found to hold Debden and Alderton, with two other manors merely described
as ‘Loughton.’  Peter de Valoines held two more, equally nameless, one
being his demesne, and the other held by an under-tenant called Ralph;
the latter was probably near North’s Farm on Buckhurst Hill; Robert
Gernon held 44 acres, his under-tenant being W. Corbun; and the King held
20 acres, which were seemingly a sort of perquisite of the royal Reeve at
Havering.  There appear, therefore, to have been six manors and two
extra-manorial holdings.  What ‘manor’ meant in that remote period is
still a moot point, but it is certain that the word was often applied to
much smaller areas than in later times.  A very learned modern writer
suggests that the manor implies a channel of payment, the owner being
liable for the Danegeld due not only from himself, but also from his free
tenants, whose tie to him was otherwise very slight.  And, in passing, we
may note that ‘tenant,’ in the Domesday sense, is almost equivalent to
our modern ‘freeholder.’  No mention is made of a church in Loughton, but
it is more than probable that one existed.



THE 12TH AND 13TH CENTURIES.


More than a century must be passed over in order to reach our next
fragments of documentary evidence.  These are gathered from charters, or
grants, made by Kings and Popes to the monks at Waltham, and are not
sufficiently important for us to dwell upon now, except to say that, in
1182, a church at Loughton is mentioned.

The lapse of nearly another century brings us to a considerable amount of
very curious and interesting information relating to the lands in the
parish, contained in certain MSS. of great antiquity formerly belonging
to the great Abbey at Waltham, and now, with so many other treasures,
stored in the British Museum.  The Canons at Waltham went on adding acre
to acre—sometimes by purchase, sometimes by the gifts of the faithful—and
the little ‘charters,’ or deeds of grant, were copied into a book, and
kept for reference.  And so it comes about that, six hundred and fifty
years afterwards, we can still put our fingers here and there on the
parish map, and say that, here or there, was such or such a man’s land.
Some of you perhaps know a little meadow on the left as you go to the
Tram Farm; it is still called Plum-tree Mead, and by a name but little
different (Plumtre Croft) it has always been known; about 1250 it
belonged to a man named Edward Reintot, who gave it to the Canons.  In
England’s-lane, again, there is a small freehold known as Marlcroft; this
was held of Richard de Munfichet by John Pyrle, who paid a half-yearly
rent, and three hens and a cock on St. Stephen’s Day, and when he went to
make payment at his lord’s court at Woodford or elsewhere, he and his
horse were duly fed by the lord.  After the lapse of centuries Pyrle’s
name has been revived, and stands on the Ordnance Map; it had survived,
but in the corrupt form of ‘Pole.’  Some may still be familiar with
Poles-lane, as old folk call Rectory-lane, and a field at the corner of
Rectory-lane called ‘Poles.’

But of all these early grants the most interesting is one relating to
Monk Wood, the story of which we will trace back from the time when the
Corporation of London acquired it, by purchase, from the lord of the
manor, sometime in the seventies.  Monk Wood you all know, and it may
have occurred to some to wonder why it differs from the rest of the
Forest round about it, from which it is not in any way separated.  The
fact is, that, although subject to rights of common of pasture, it was
the lord’s wood; and from time to time be exercised his right of lopping
in it.  In a plan of the manor made one hundred and fifty years ago Great
and Little Monk Wood are set out, with their bounds; and in a still
earlier survey (1612) the rights over them of the lessees of the manor
under the Crown are recognised.  About thirty years before that date
certain circumstances had led to the empanelling of a jury of the
neighbourhood, which, as part of its verdict, found that Monk Wood—_i.e._
the timber therein—had been three times sold within the memory of man:
one time by the Abbot of Stratford, and twice in Queen Elizabeth’s time.
This intrusion of the Abbot of Stratford into what was pre-eminently the
territory of his brother of Waltham, strikes one as a little singular,
and it is here that our charters come in to help us to the explanation.
We have already learned from Domesday that Peter de Valoines held two
manors in Loughton, and, from a somewhat later authority, we find that
among those holding of the Valoines barony in Essex were some subtenants
called de Snaring (so called from Snoring in Norfolk), and from them a
part of Loughton came to be called ‘Loughton Snarryng.’  In this part was
a certain wood of 56½ acres, once the joint undivided property (in
unequal shares) of Geoffrey Reyntot, Roger Fitz Ailmar, and Ralph de
Assartis (a subtenant of de Snaring), who had given his three quarters to
the Abbot and Monks of Stratford.  The remaining fourth part, with their
rights of cutting down and carrying away trees, and pannage, Geoffrey and
Roger gave to the Abbot and monks of Waltham.  To the 56½ acres seventeen
were afterwards added, and credited to the share of Waltham.  Trouble
arose, as might be anticipated, between the tenants in common, and
sometime in June, 1240—over six hundred years ago—the Abbots met at
Chelmsford, in the mother church there, and settled their differences.
The document containing the agreement they came to, doubtless after long
parleying, is illustrative of the elaborate methods of the time.  It was
agreed that when Stratford owner of three-fourths, wished to fell timber,
he was to send for Waltham’s bailiff, and then choose four trees of equal
value.  Of these Stratford had first chore as to two, Waltham next
choice, and the fourth tree remained to Stratford.  Vice versâ, if
Waltham wanted to fell timber, he was to send for Stratford’s bailiff.
If either Abbot did not want to fell his timber at the moment he was to
mark and leave it standing.  The feed in the wood was to be divided into
four pasts, of which Stratford was to have three.  The last provision
seems to indicate that the wood was then enclosed and not subject to
common rights of pasture.  In later times, however, this was overlooked,
and it seems to have been held that Monk Wood was only reserved to the
lord on the condition that his tenant farmers should be restrained from
lopping at large in the Forest and so infringing the privileges of
copyholders.  Monk Wood was lopped for the last time somewhere about
1840.  In 1767 the tenant of Alderton Hall had under his lease an
assignment from it of 1000 faggots yearly ‘to be made up as London ware,’
and 100 logs; in 1787 he had 500 faggots and 250 logs: all to be used on
the premises.  For this information I am indebted to a couple of old
leases kindly lent me by Mr. G. S. Gould.



LANDLORD AND TENANT IN THE MIDDLE AGES.


In addition to making copies of their deeds the Monastic owners of lands
frequently drew up what are known as ‘Extents’—_i.e._ detailed
descriptions of the services due from their tenants, the stock on their
farms, and a multitude of other matters into which we need not go.  It
can have been no joke to be a landed proprietor in those days; and
possibly it was a still more serious matter to be a tenant.  From such an
account of their manors here in Loughton which the monks had drawn up
somewhere before 1300, we had that Alderton (Aluertuna, Alwarton,
Alwardtun, ‘Ailward’s town’) was still the largest, the most populous,
and possibly the most lucrative, of the four manors said by Domesday to
belong to them.  Typeden (Debden) comes next, and Luketon (Loughton)
makes a bad third.  The explanation of this is probably that the manors
of Loughton were kept in hand and farmed, while the others had been
granted out to what may be roughly styled ‘copyholders.’  Of such
copyholders there were in Alderton 28, holding 371 acres, paying between
them something over 40s. a year in money, 47 fowls, and 424½ eggs.  In
Loughton were eight tenants holding 75 acres, and paying about 14s., and
9 fowls.  In Debden there were 24 tenants, who held 160 acres, and paid
about 23s., 17 fowls, and 26 eggs.  It is interesting to note that among
the names are found Achelard, from whom Allard’s Grove is derived;
Potman, whose name still cleaves to a field by Clays-lane, near Debden
Green; and Ralph Traps.  Memories must have been good in those days, when
but few could read or write; for, of the tenants, no two paid exactly the
same rent—and when I say ‘pay’ you must by no means conclude that money
is meant.  In rural economy at that date money played but a minor part,
as we shall see if we look at the complicated services due to the
landlord from, for instance, Arnold and William Ram, who held 15 acres in
Alderton; and no one held more than 15, although many held less.  Arnold,
we are told, paid 31d. a year and a ‘warpany’ (ward-penny) of 2d.; the
latter seems to have been in lieu of certain police services once
rendered.  Next he gave a hen and ten eggs.  When the great
boon-ploughing took place in winter, he came twice with his team and did
a day’s work.  In Lent he came to the boon-harrowing and brought a horse,
whether he owned one or not, and he worked till the ninth hour, getting
no rations; if, however, he worked on until evening he got some food, and
his horse a handful of oats and some hay.  If the lord of the manor
wished it, he had to come, with one scythe, to mow the meadow, and had
his rations.  He provided and fed a man to lift hay until all was
carried.  On two days he weeded from morn till eve and had two meals.  He
drew a load of hay and had his breakfast given him.  He sent a man to one
boon-day, when beer was not provided; and two men to three others.  If he
reaped oats on the great boon-day he bound them on another and got no
rations.  He had to send a man for one day to gather nuts till eve, and
the man had food given him; on another day, when he was to leave off at
the ninth hour, he got no food.  William Ram had to provide a day’s work
twice in each week, and did much else, with the details of which I will
not here trouble you; but a general statement of such rights and duties
as could apparently be described as common to the inhabitants of all
three manors or vills, is given and is worth recital.



TENANTS’ DUTIES.


‘Every tenant of the three vills aforesaid (Alderton, Debden, and
Loughton) shall come with his team to the boon-ploughing twice in winter.
Every tenant of five acres shall come and harrow twice in Lent, if he has
horses, and shall have his food.  Every tenant of 10 acres, whether he
has horses or not, shall come in like manner.  So all shall come to mow,
to lift hay, to weed, and to gather nuts.  If, owing to bad weather, they
have to give up work, they shall return on the morrow to finish.  If any
man’s daughter is seduced while in his house, her father shall pay a fine
to the lord.  No one may marry his daughter without the lord’s licence.
No one may sell horse or ox, except such as he himself has bought,
without showing it to the bailiff.  No one may sell a tree.  The lord may
appoint anyone to be his reeve, and can take tallage (tax) at his will.
Everyone belonging to Luketune or Tipeden shall bind the oats he reaps
without having food found him; they of Alwartune shall bind only those
which they reap at the great boon-day; and every brewer of that vill owes
an offering of beer from each brewing.  William de Broc and Kathale, who
are from Alwartune, owe carrying service, and it should be known that the
men of each vill engaged in harrowing, are to have in the field a handful
of oats; but if they carry it away they are liable to punishment.’  Just
imagine what it must have been for the steward who had to exact, and the
tenant who had to remember to render these services.  Others there were
whose services were still more complicated; and if their days were spent
in working, their nights must have been passed, one would think, in a
sleepless endeavour to remember where and how the next day was to be
employed.  Certain days, called boon-days, were supposed to be given to
the lord at his request, and not under compulsion—and these again were
divided into ‘dry’ and ‘beery,’ according to whether beer was provided or
not.  Acorn-gathering, weeding, harrowing, hay-carrying, and a host of
other employments are specified.  One tenant in Debden paid thirty feet
of candle by way of rent—at least such appears to be the meaning of the
mediæval Latin in which the service is mentioned.

Certain provisions relating to timber and carriage lived on.  I have in
my possession a licence, dated November 6, 1851, to cut down 20 pollards
to use on the premises, and five ash trees to be sold, one-third of the
proceeds to be paid to the lord ‘according to the custom of the manor,’
with a receipt for 19s. 4d. in the margin.  And the tenant of Alderton,
in 1832, still undertook to do two days’ carting yearly with a good team.



SOCIAL LIFE IN THE 13TH CENTURY.


You will ask me, perhaps, where and how all these people lived.  It is
probable that there were clusters of rude hovels round Debden Green,
Loughton Hall, and Alderton Hall, and that the tillers of the soil dwelt
there.  Some few copyholders, if such they can be called, may have lived
on their own small estates away from the villages.  But the strip system
of cultivation probably prevailed, though the traces of it in later times
are very slight.

Before passing on, I must just mention that, by some curious accident,
one or two Court-rolls of very early date have been preserved.  13th
century rolls of that sort are rare—and this is dated 1270.  The entries
are brief and mainly concerned with land; but they tell us that one man
insulted the official in the court; that another thievishly took of the
lord’s corn in the lord’s barn; and that Walter Linge stole sheep all
over the country and was seen at the lord’s fold; ‘and when the shepherds
would take him, he fled from them.’



ORIGIN OF SOME LOCAL PLACE-NAMES.


When we pass to the 14th century material becomes more scanty and we turn
to the ancient tax-rolls.  One of these, written in 1320, tells us that
the tax-payers numbered nine—William Smith, John Traps, William Woodward,
John Goldyng (Goldings-hill), Geoffrey Algor (Algers-road), Sewall
Renoit, Godfrey Bigge, Richard Brown, and Stephen Shepherd—who among them
contributed 23s.—equivalent it may be to £23 and more nowadays.  Six
years later 19 people contributed just under 25s.  Of these John de
Hatfield has left his name behind him.  Theobald of Loughton seems
identical with a Theobald Poleyn, who was Serjeant of the Chancery Rolls,
and in that capacity had a warrant from the King to the Abbot of
Stratford in 1333, calling on him to provide a pack-horse and groom, for
carriage of the rolls to York.  He also did a little business as a
money-lender, and our rector in 1324–5, Henry de Sutton, was in his debt
for 40s.  It is noteworthy that, though the spelling of Loughton about
this time is Loketon on the tax-rolls, on the Close Rolls it is Lughton.

The first poll-tax was granted in 1376, and about that time our parish
numbered 44 assessed souls, husbands, wives, and widows, John Ruddok
being the only bachelor.  At the same time Chigwell had a population of
136.



A WINDMILL IN THE FOREST.


It was in this century that the Abbot got into trouble for erecting a
windmill in the Forest.  Though, so far as I know, all memory of the
mill’s existence has passed away, we are still able to say where it
stood.  In 1739 the hill near The Warren (Mr. McKenzie’s) was still known
as Mill Hill and as such it appears in Chapman’s map in 1772.  That there
was in the parish a water-mill, belonging to P. de Valoines, we know from
Domesday Book, and evidence of its existence is still to be seen about
Loughton Bridge.  Needless to say that there were quarrels about the
water with the great de Veres, Earls of Oxford, who then owned Wolston
Hall, and had a mill there; but these disputes were amicably arranged in
1273, after a bit of a riot, when certain men came to the Abbot’s bridge
and mill-pond, broke both down, and carried off the timber of the bridge.
The bridge was then called ‘Hynekesford Bridge,’ a name which never
re-appears.



THE PEASANTS’ RISING.


Of the effects of the Peasant Rising and the Lollard movement during the
latter half of the 14th century we have no evidence in our own parish,
but the beginning of the 15th was turbulent, and our predecessors caught
the infection.  Some of them took to cutting down the trees and underwood
of the Abbot, and then conspired to kill the Abbot and his servants.  On
the Sunday about St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1410, they broke into the Abbey,
insulted the Abbot and Sheriff, and struck the latter.  Moreover, they
broke down the bridges used by the whole country-side.  As is so often
and so vexatiously the case, the story can only be imperfectly pieced
together from scanty materials, and in this case a quaint Norman-French
petition for mercy, with a schedule attached, is our principal authority.
It is pleasant to know that the pardon sought was granted.  From the
number of the rioters and the names of those given, it looks as though
the Abbey tenants were dissatisfied with some action on the part of the
Abbot, and took, as was not by any means unusual in those days, violent
means to express their views and get redress for their grievances.



ALIEN IMMIGRATION IN THE 15TH CENTURY.


The tax-rolls which helped us in the 14th are defective in the 15th
century, and the only detail of interest, such as it is, that one could
glean from them was that, in 1442, one Peter, a Frenchman, kept an inn in
our village, and, being a foreigner and an innkeeper, had to pay a
poll-tax of 8d. every half-year.  The trade seems to have been largely in
foreign hands, for other foreigners are reported at Theydon, Stapleford,
Lambourne, and Fyfield.  Foreign servants there were, too, here and at
Chigwell, Navestock, and Epping.



THE REFORMATION.


We now enter on the period of upheaval which marked the 16th century.
From the Conquest down to the reign of the eighth Henry the Abbots of
Waltham had held quiet possession of Loughton.  Twice a year, perhaps
oftener, during something like five hundred years, a cavalcade, in the
coarse of its progress from manor to manor, had come to Loughton Hall,
tenanted by the ‘farmer,’ as he was called—lessee, as we should style
him.  There the Cellarer, Steward, and Receivers of the Monastery, with
their servants and horses, were entertained for two days, while they held
the Court of the Manor.  At this Court transfers of the copyhold estates
were effected; offenders were fined, whether for offences against the
manor or the customs of the Forest; small criminal matters and civil
disputes were settled: and nuisances were ordered to be abated.  It is
probable that such a Court held in April, 1539, was the last the Abbots
ever held, and, at it, we learn, the question of a pillory and
cucking-stool was raised.  The latter was a low car on two wheels, for
ducking a culprit in pond or river.  The instruments were again lacking
in 1582.

On March 3rd. 1540, the Abbot and Canons resigned all their possessions
into the King’s hand, and Loughton became a royal manor.  Things probably
went on much the same for a time.  The lease of the ‘farmer’ was
confirmed, and he paid to the Kings Treasurer his annual rent of £46,
less certain outgoings, including the repair of the water mill; and other
tenants of the manor did the same.  For Hatfields Henry Mynce paid £2
14s. 8d.  Included in the various rents are 34 hens, valued at 2d. each.
These hens, handed down as we have seen, from very early times, were
sometimes called ‘smoke hens,’ just as we read of ‘smoke-silver.’  And it
is probable that they were originally something in the nature of a
hearth-tax.  It is particularly interesting to note that the England
family—from whom England’s Lane has its name—paid two hens and a cock so
late as 1675, just as five hundred years earlier our friend John Pyrle
paid the same rent for the same freehold land.

For a brief period during the reign of Edward VI. the manor ceased to be
royal; but Lord Darcy held it for little more than a year, and it was
then given to Princess Mary.  She, however, about two months afterwards
became Queen, and by her the manor was incorporated into the Duchy of
Lancaster, with the accounts of which it is always thenceforth
associated.  It will be convenient here to trace in outline the
subsequent descent of the property.

John Stonard, the lessee under the last Abbot, left a son Robert, who
secured a fresh long lease.  To him in turn, a son John succeeded, and
his daughter and heiress Susan, married the eldest son of Sir Thomas
Wroth, of Enfield.  Old John Stonard, a wealthy man, bought Luxborough in
Chigwell, where he built a good house.  On his death.  Sir Robert Wroth
and Susan, his wife, entered into the inheritance.  To them succeeded
their eldest son, also Sir Robert, and he, in 1613, bought the fee-simple
of Loughton manor from King James I.  In his time there were gay doings
at Loughton Hall, which he rebuilt, and where he entertained, as Ben
Johnson tell us, all sorts and conditions of men.

    “The rout of rural folk come thronging in,
       (Their rudeness then is thought no sin)
    Thy noblest spouse affords them welcome grace;
       And the great heroes of her race
    Sit mixt with loss of state, or reverence
       Freedom doth with degree dispense.
    The jolly wassal walks the often round,
       And in their cups their cares are drown’d.”

Sir Robert Wroth died no 1614, leaving great debts and an infant son.
The son survived him but two years; the Lady Mary, his widow, lived on
for many, and her extravagance seems to have kept her in perpetual
turmoil.  It is quaint, in these democratic days, to read how, year by
year, she received from the King protection-orders, by reason of her
birth and quality, and the earnest intention she expressed of immediately
satisfying her numerous creditors.  She was a niece of Sir Philip Sydney,
himself a strangely lavish and impecunious person, and, like him, she
wrote a book—a big book, which made a stir at the time, less perhaps by
reason of its merit than of certain slanders it contained.  It was
suppressed and is now forgotten, though occasionally one of the poems,
with which it is interspersed, is quoted in some modern anthology.  The
death of her husband gave the succession to his property—sadly diminished
since his father’s day, when the family owned from Luxborough to
Lambourne—to his brother John.  After him came a nephew, John the second,
who died at Luxborough in 1661, leaving a young son, John the third, who
married a daughter of Lord Maynard (the ancestor of Lady Warwick), and by
her became father of John Wroth the fourth.  John the fourth married a
cousin, Elizabeth Wroth, and died childless.  On the death of his widow,
in 1738, a descendant of one of her sisters, William, Earl of Rochford,
became possessor of the manor and advowson, which, in 1745, he sold to
Alderman Whitaker, of London; in 1770 the Alderman’s daughter, Anne,
succeeded her mother, and, in 1825, the estate passed to Mr. John
Maitland, of Woodford Hall, the great-grandfather of the present owner
(1913).



THE CHURCH OF ST. NICHOLAS.


Returning to the Reformation period we will pause to regard the site on
which the Memorial Chapel now stands.  The church itself, of which one or
two illustrations are in existence, was unfortunately pulled down in
1847, when the new one was built.  The first recorded church is mentioned
in the second half of the 12th century, temp. Hen. II., and it seems as
though some remains of that building were to be found in that which
existed in 1846, if we may trust the illustration which shews two
round-headed doorways on the north aisle.  That it was added to in the
16th century, we know, from the will of George Stonard (proved in 1558),
for he expresses a desire to be buried near his late wife ‘in the new
chapel within the Church of Loughton.’  He it was who gave the large sum
of £40—equivalent to some £300 nowadays—for a new frame for the hanging
up of the bells: the nature of the frame can be judged by anyone who
examines that in Chigwell Church.  The brasses to the memory of George’s
father, and his two wives, are still in the Memorial Chapel: and it is
not improbable that yet another brass commemorates George himself, his
wife and children, some of whom predeceased their parents.  The stones
belonging to the brasses are still _in situ_ in the old churchyard.  Mr.
David Powell, writing in 1790, says that there was nothing remarkable
about the church.  Archdeacon Hamilton, who became rector in 1804, and
undertook a restoration in 1820, took out one of the stone windows in the
chancel and replaced it by another with a framework of iron—which seems
to give the measure of his artistic and antiquarian aptitudes.  As time
went on and the population increased, the old church came to be regarded
as too small, and inconveniently distant from the bulk of the population,
and a movement was initiated which resulted in the erection of the
existing parish church of St. John Baptist, with the church-house
adjacent.  The old church, picturesque as it was and in good repair, was
condemned to destruction, a part being left standing, or rebuilt, to
serve as a mortuary chapel.  Part of the materials of the old church were
used in building the church-house, and the rest was sold by auction.
Later on, in 1876, the mortuary chapel was replaced by the new Memorial
Chapel of St. Nicholas, familiar to you all.



LOUGHTON HALL.


Hard by the church stood the old Hall, an ancient structure, which about
the year 1600 was said to be in sad decay.  Soon afterwards Sir Robert
Wroth brought it, and, at great cost, converted it into the imposing
mansion of which an old water-colour drawing gives some idea.  It will be
seen that the facade is Jacobean, while what lies behind it wears a
familiar Tudor air.  This house, and apparently its contents too, were
sold with the estate, and all was kept by Miss Whitaker much as the
Wroths left it.  Mr. Maitland, on his accession, carried out considerable
alterations; for, among other inconveniences, many rooms were accessible
only through others, corridors and passages being details with which our
ancestors seem to have been able to dispense.  Unfortunately, as too
often happens, the new wine proved too strong for the old bottle, and
just after Mr. Maitland and his family had settled in their new home, a
fire broke out at night owing to a beam in the library chimney having
ignited.  The story goes that the beam fell on a wire, which set a bell
in the butlers room a-ringing.  He gave the alarm and all the inmates of
the house escaped.  It was winter and a cold night: the ponds were frozen
and little or no water was obtainable, so that the house, the pictures,
and 10,000 printed books and MSS. perished, but not before many valuable
objects had been rescued.  For many years the site lay vacant behind the
great iron gates, until, some five-and-twenty years ago (1879), the new
Hall arose upon it, and the road was diverted to its present course.



A PLURALIST RECTOR.


Mr. Hamilton, who became Rector in 1804, as already mentioned, affords a
somewhat startling instance of the pluralism which was common less than a
century ago.  In addition to being Rector here, when the tithe was still
uncommuted, he was also Archdeacon of Taunton, Canon Residentiary of
Lichfield, Rector of St. Mary-le-Bow, Chaplain-in-Ordinary to the King,
Librarian of St. Martin’s Library, and, to cap it all, Parish Clerk of
St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields—a post worth £334 a year, with duties, as you
may imagine, invariably performed by deputy.  His son, Walter Kerr
Hamilton, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, was of another mind, and, being
a Canon of Salisbury at the time of his father’s death, declined the
offer of Loughton, though he would (says Dr. Liddon) gladly have enabled
his widowed mother to live on in her old home, if his conscience had
permitted him to accept it.  Kerr Hamilton, in his younger days, got into
trouble in the parish for making friends with the dissenting minister.

The Hamilton family came first to Loughton, it would seem, in 1746, when
Alexander Hamilton married, as his third wife, Charlotte Stiles, a niece
and co-heiress of Ady Collard, whose ancestors had held land in the
parish, at any rate since the 16th century.  Through that marriage Debden
Hall and Holyfield Hall (in Waltham) came into the Hamilton family.  Mr.
Alexander Hamilton, we may note in passing, was an uncle of the famous
‘Single Speech’ Hamilton.  By his second wife he left a son, William, who
succeeded him at Debden Hall, where one of his daughters, who married Mr.
Nicholas Pearse, afterwards lived.  To her memory there is a window in
the chancel of the parish church, and it is in illustration of her works
of charity that the subject of it is Christ surrounded by little
children.  Of Alexander Hamilton’s great-great-grandsons one succeeded in
establishing his claim to the ancient Scotch barony of Belhaven and
Stenton; and another is the well-known friend of the late Mr. Gladstone.
On the whole the Hamiltons have been our most distinguished family.

There was, however, until a few years ago, a family whose hereditary
connexion with Loughton had remained unbroken for well-nigh three hundred
years.  I will not weary you with a long pedigree, but will merely tell
you that Robert Dawges paid taxes here in 1546; that by a marriage his
estate passed to the Eyres a century or so later; that a century after
that, by another marriage, it passed to the Whalley’s, with whom a part
of it remained until 1866.  The Eyres owned Uplands, or Slyders as it
then was called: the land last remaining to the Whalleys was Algors House
and the fields on the other side of the main road.

Until the coming of the railway these small copyhold and freehold estates
remained in much the same condition as in earlier times.  Then the
speculator saw his chance, and the immemorial elms and oaks—mainly
pollards these latter, and in some cases of enormous size—came down,
hedge-rows were levelled, and roads laid out.  The village would have
been an ideal site for a ‘garden-city,’ and models of domestic
architecture were not far to seek—Algors House, The White House, Alderton
Hall, and others outside the parish but not far off, might have served.
But it is only now that people are beginning to realise that a plain,
roomy, old-fashioned cottage is better art than a smart new villa: and
even now, after all that Ruskin and Morris have done, it is only among
the more highly cultivated that saner views are beginning to prevail.
But they will filter down, for on every side we see signs of awakening
among the members of the architectural profession, though the process is
often retarded by the necessity of satisfying inartistic clients.

We in Loughton owe more than all of us perhaps recognize to an architect
who has left his mark strongly impressed on our village.  I refer, of
course, to Edmond Egan, and I am glad to have the occasion to pay this
tribute to his memory.  Each year now sees some often undesired change,
and one can almost forsee the time when ‘long unlovely streets’ will have
replaced almost wholly the green meadows which have hitherto gladdened
the eyes and hearts of us Forest-folk.  The Forest we shall always have:
but a Forest girdled with coal-smoke will not be the same Forest.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                 WILES & SON, TRINITY PRESS, COLCHESTER.





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