The map shows the boundaries
of the Hainault section of the Forest of Essex following the perambulation
in 1641 for Charles I. To the South is the road from Ilford towards
Romford via the Whalebone and to the West and North is the River Roding
from Ilford to Passingford Bridge, with stones and the Bourne Brook
marking the Eastern boundary.
The Forest Bounds Stone, not
mentioned in the survey of 1641 is positioned between the Marks Stone and
the Havering Stone.
Brian Ecott from W.R.Fisher (1887) The Forest of Essex.
Commemorative plaque, placed at the foot of each of the stones in 1909
when the stones were located and reset by The Essex County Council and The
Essex Field Club.
of the Forest of Waltham, 8th September 1641 (17th Charles I).
One of the Forest Meer or Boundary Stones set up by authority of the
Commissioners appointed under the Great Seal."
Photo: © V.E.George.
The Normans enjoyed the hunt, and
after the conquest they set up areas known as Forests in which the Deer
were protected. These were not just wooded areas, as we think of Forests today,
but embraced towns, villages, farms and hamlets. They introduced Forest Laws to
control the forest and protect the King's Deer and its habitat. In doing so,
they were far ahead of their time, forming a structure something akin to modern
conservation concepts, in realising that survival of the species was linked to
the protection of its environment.
Hainault Forest was originally part
of the Forest of Waltham and Essex, which at one time embraced the whole County.
The boundaries varied, but eventually became properly defined in 1301. Fines for
breaches of the forest laws were a good source of revenue for the Crown, and
Charles I. after abolishing Parliament, expanded the forest boundaries in order
to increase this revenue. The laws were the cause of a great deal of unrest to
the ordinary people and landowners and after the reintroduction of Parliament in
1640 (which came to be known as the Long Parliament) the King agreed to the
resetting of the old boundaries. A Commission was set up in 1641 and witnesses
were questioned as to the earlier boundaries which had existed some twenty years
before in the reign of King James.
The new restricted boundaries were
thus established with the old Roman road from Stratford (Bow) to Romford forming
the southern boundary, the River Lea forming the western boundary and various
hedges and purlieu banks formed the northern boundary. As no obvious natural
indicators existed to the east, stones were erected to mark the eastern side.
These stones, erected in 1641 still exist. In 1909 the Essex Field Club sought
assistance of the Essex County Council and restored the stones, some of which
had been damaged or fallen over, and mounted a small plaque at the base of each
stone, to commemorate the event. Sadly several of these stones are no
longer in place.
ref: TQ 519 969
This is the most
northerly of the stones. It is located in a corner of the common at
Curtismill Green. it is best approached from the northern end of the
Common, turning left off the main track and crossing an open field
to the furthest corner of the wood, close to the M11. It is
Photo: © V.E.George
Map ref: TQ 520 963
Follow the path heading
south and bordering the woodland. Skirting some houses at the other
end of the wood, follow the lane until you reach the main track.
Turn left through a metal gate. The stone is located in a small
field on the right. This is private land and the stone can only be
viewed with permission.
Photo: © Brian Ecott
PARK CORNER STONE
Map ref: TQ 490 915
From the Navestock Stone
the Forest boundary follows the Bourne brook in a southerly
direction and the Park Corner Stone is located in the corner of the playing fields
formerly attached to Forest Lodge School, Lodge Lane, Collier Row.
The school has now been completely demolished (27.4.04). Permission may be needed to view
the stone, which was hidden under a tangle of thorns and bramble.
The commemorative plaque is missing. The letters in the close up
picture show part of the original inscription, shown in red below.
COLLIER ROW STONE
Map ref: TQ 489 911
This stone is situated
by the side of the B174 next to a Coal Duty post and close to a row
of cottages on the boundary between Redbridge and Havering. The
original stone could not be found and a dummy stone was erected in
1909. A lamp post is also alongside which was digitally removed!
Map ref: TQ 487 895
in a field 200yds east of the Mark's Stone, the stone was discovered
in 1894 broken and was re-erected by the Essex County Council and
the Essex Field Club in 1909. On its west face was an
inscription Sept 8 164.. It was broken off at the base in
1959, restored, and again recently damaged.
It has been
brought to Valence House, Dagenham and is
currently in the care of the Museum archivist.
No photograph at present.
Map ref: TQ 485 895
There are two stones at
this location, the left
is the stone erected in 1641. The other stone,
more decipherable, is of 18th century origin being placed
there in 1772. They are situated in a hedge
on the east side of Whalebone Lane North.
Photo: © Brian Ecott
FOREST BOUNDS STONE
Map ref: TQ 484
The stone is not
mentioned in the Perambulation of 1641 but is marked on Chapman &
André's Map of Essex (1777) and on Carey's Map of 1786.This
double stone (shown here with a Coal Duty post) was
inadvertently removed and destroyed
in 1993. It was
positioned south of the A12 Eastern Avenue in Whalebone Lane by the
corner railings of the Warren School near the entrance to a golf
driving range. The Coal post is at Valence House Museum Dagenham.
Photograph taken from George
Tasker's "Country Rambles around Ilford" (1910). Published
by South Essex Recorders. Photo taken just
after the stones had been re-erected by The Essex County Council and
Essex Field Club in 1909.
Map ref: TQ 489 882
The last of the stones
is located in the High Road at Chadwell Heath, going towards Romford, on
the left where the buildings end and the fields begin. The stone
currently has a low railing protecting it. An
1861 Coal Duty Act
post and a listed 19th century
disused roadside water
pump stand opposite, across the road. A couple of hundred yards
further on is St. Edwards School.
Colour photographs: © Brian Ecott
Anon (1892) Perambulation of the Forest
of Waltham in Essex in 17CharlesI (1641). Essex Naturalist vi
Anon (1909) Inspection of the Boundary
Stones of the old Forest of Waltham. Essex Naturalist pp
Anon (1993) Boundary Stone Puzzle, Shock
after 350 year old monument goes missing. Ilford Recorder Nov.18.
Campion F.W. & Campion H. (1908) The Old
Boundary Stones of Waltham Forest. Antiquary iv pp 171-174
Clifford T. (1992) Barking and Dagenham
Buildings Past and Present p25. Barking & Dagenham Libraries
De Caux H. (1971) in Romford Record No. 4 The Forest
Boundary Stones. Romford & District Historical Society.
Meldola R. (1895) The Eastern Boundary
Stones of the Forest of Waltham. Essex Naturalist ix pp 1-10
Meldola R. (1908) The Eastern Boundary
Stones of the Forest of Waltham: Supplementary Note. Essex
O'Leary J.G. (1949) Book of Dagenham.
Tasker G. (1910) Country Rambles around
Ilford. Published by South Essex Recorders.