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Title: Loughton, Essex: A brief account of the Manor and Parish

Author: William Chapman Waller

Release date: January 1, 2017 [eBook #53862]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1913 edition by David Price


Transcribed from the 1913 edition by David Price, email

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.


Decorative divider

(One hundred copies reprinted October, 1913).

Price: Six Pence.


p. 2‘Things are always ancienter than their names.’

Richard Hooker.

p. 3Loughton.  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, p. 4are 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 p. 5the 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 p. 6Wood 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 p. 7in 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 p. 8which 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 p. 9and 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 p. 10without 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.

p. 11Social 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 p. 12in 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 p. 13turbulent, 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 p. 14like 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 p. 15a 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 p. 16her 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 p. 17Stonard (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, p. 18converted 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, p. 19with 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 p. 20marriage, 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.