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Barking is adjacent to Ilford, East and West Ham and Dagenham. "…a parish in the hundred of Becontree, county of Essex, comprising the market town of Barking and the wards of Chadwell, Ilford, and Ripple, and containing 6374 inhabitants, of which number, 2580 are in the town of Barking, 23 miles (S.W.) from Chelmsford, and 7 (N.E.) from London. The name of this place, formerly written Berking, is by some considered to be derived from the Saxon words Beorce, a birch tree, and Ing, a meadow; by others from Berg-Ing, signifying a fortification in the meadows, probably from an ancient intrenchment about a quarter of a mile on the road to Ilford, of which there are still considerable vestiges. It appears to have been of an irregular quadrilateral form, enclosing an area of more than forty-eight acres, defended on the north, south, and east sides by a single, and on the west side, by a double, intrenchment, and having on the north-west an outlet to a spring of fine water, defended by a high mound of earth. The town derived its ancient importance from a very extensive abbey founded there, in 670, by Erkenwald, bishop of London, for nuns of the Benedictine order, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was governed by a long succession of abbesses, of whom many were of noble, and some of royal descent. In 870 Barking was burnt by the Danes, the abbey destroyed, and the nuns (many of whom were massacred) dispersed. The abbey was afterwards rebuilt, about the year 970, by Edgar, whose queen Elfrida presided over it after his decease: at the dissolution, its revenue amounted to £1084. 6. 2-3/4. Of the conventual buildings there remains only the gateway, over which is the chapel of the Holy Rood; the arch is finely pointed and enriched with deeply receding mouldings; above is a canopied niche under a fine window of three lights, the whole forming a square embattled tower with an octagonal turret at one of the angles. It is called the fire-bell gate, from its having anciently contained the curfew. Among the ruins of the abbey, were found a fibula and a gold ring, on which were engraved the salutation of the Virgin and the letters I.M. Soon after the conquest, William retired to this town, till the completion of the tower of London, which he was then building to keep the citizens in subjection, where he was visited during the preparation for his coronation by the Earls, Edwin of Mercia, and Morca of Northumberland, with many of the English nobles, who swore fealty to him on the restoration of their estates. The town is situated on the small river Roding, which, after flowing in two branches, unites with the Thames about two miles below. The inhabitants are principally occupied in the fishery, having a number of vessels which they send to the Dutch and Scotch coasts, and, on their return, the fish is sent to Billingsgate in smaller vessels: there is a convenient wharf at Barking creek, which is navigable to Ilford for ships of 80 tons' burden, by which the neighbourhood is supplied with coal and timber, and near it is a large flour mill, formerly belonging to the abbey: many hundred acres of land in the vicinity are appropriated to the cultivation of potatoes for the London markets. The market is on Saturday; the fair is on October 22nd. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates; a court leet is held, at which constables and officers for the town are appointed, and a court under the lord of the manor is held every third Saturday for the recovery of debts under 40s. The town-hall is over the market house, an ancient building, chiefly of wood, erected in the reign of Elizabeth, to which is attached a small prison. Sir James CAMPBELL, in 1641, bequeathed £666. 13. 4. for founding and endowing a free school; with this sum a rent charge of £20 per annum, on lands in the county of York, was purchased; the school house, having become ruinous, was taken down and a workhouse erected on its site, in which the children of the poor are taught by a master and mistress to whom the £20 per annum is paid. In 1686, John FOWKE, Esq. bequeathed certain estates for the maintenance of eight boys in Christ's Hospital, London, two of whom are to be ehosen from this parish. National schools, for boys and girls, are supported by subscription, in which a few of each sex are also clothed. An infant school, in which there are one hundred children, has been recently established. There are two unendowed alms houses, one containing four, the other six tenements…" (Lewis…, 1831)

[between 1337 and 1558] Chancery Court records. C 1/1153/78. "Robert RYGBY, cousin and heir of Harry RYGBY, v. Richard ROBERDES and Agnes his wife: Detention of deeds relating to a messuage and land in Barking: Essex." (Combs &c. of the PRO)


See Agnet ROBARDES under whom one Robert COMBE served an apprenticeship as a Draper in London between 1558 and 1567. Not known if same.

13 Dec 1587 SP 46/34/fo 289. Letter from Ambrose DUDLEY, then Earl of Warwick, to FANSHAWE, in which he thanks FANSHAW for his "kindness to EDGEWORTH, Warwick's brother's chaplain ; to help his brother end his troubles for Barking." Leicester Howse; 13 Dec. 1587. (Combs &c. of the PRO)

Warwick's brother was Robert DUDLEY, then Earl of Leicester. Ambrose died the following February and Robert followed him in September. EDGEWORTH was Edward EDGEWORTH, Prebendary of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1565; Vicar of Kirby Green, Lincs in 1571; Prebendary of Lincoln in 1575; Rector of of St Anne Aldersgate St in 1579-80 (and 1581-7); vicar of St Albans, Herts in 1579 and vicar of Barking, Essex from 1584 to 1587. By 1586, he was back in Ireland, as Rector of Carrickfergus in 1590; and as Bishop of Down and Connor from 1593 to 1595. He died in 1595 at Dublin and was buried at St Michan's in that City (Venn's Cambridge-Alumnienses , Cooper, II. 176.). EDGEWORTH may have been (research in progress) the maternal uncle of Frances O'MORE, wife of Christopher LOVETT, whose nephew Archdale COMBE was apprenticed to him as a draper in 1656 (See also Mr. Lovett Out of Iorland).

15 Jul 1616 Calendar of Essex Assize File (ASS 35/58/2) Assizes held at Chelmsford 15 July 1616. Reference Code: T/A 418/199/69. Essex Record Office. Indictment of Leonard COMBE of Barking labourer, 20 August 1 James II [sic], had ten pieces of counterfeit money called "King Charles the First his shillings" and two other pieces called "King Charles the First halfe crowns" and with Francis VARNE and Henry SHELTON deceitfully paid and uttered them. Pleaded guilty. Witnesses: Francis VARNE, Henry SHELTON, Anne BYSHOPP. [ASS 35/126/3/69]

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