Barking and Dagenham, London Borough Genealogy

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Guide to London Borough of Barking and Dagenham history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Barking Abbey.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Borough of Barking and Dagenham coat of arms
Barking and Dagenham Borough location in Greater London
Logo of Barking and Dagenham Borough

As with most of the other London Boroughs, the British Government action of 1965 destroyed all traces of the original settlements from the point of view of Family History. Researchers should instead consider researching the original Barking and Dagenham townships in their original county of Essex.

Barking's name came from Anglo-Saxon Berecingas, meaning either "the settlement of the followers or descendants of a man called Bereca" or "the settlement by the birch trees". In AD 735 the town was Berecingum and was known to mean "dwellers among the birch trees". By AD 1086, it had become Berchingae as evidenced by the town's entry in the Domesday Book.

Barking was a large ancient parish of 12,307 acres (49.80 km2) in the Becontree hundred of Essex. It was divided into the wards of Chadwell, Ilford, Ripple and Town. A local board was formed for Town ward in 1882 and it was extended to cover Ripple ward in 1885. In 1888 Ilford and Chadwell were split off as a new parish of Ilford, leaving a residual parish of 3,814 acres (15.43 km2). The parish became Barking Town Urban District in 1894 and the local board became an urban district council. The urban district was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Barking in 1931. It was abolished in 1965 and split, with the majority merged with the former area of the Municipal Borough of Dagenham to form the London Borough of Barking. In 1980 the borough was renamed Barking and Dagenham.

The manor of Barking was the site of Barking Abbey, a nunnery founded in 666 by Eorcenwald, Bishop of London, destroyed by the Danes and reconstructed in 970 by King Edgar. The celebrated writer Marie de France may have been abbess of the nunnery in the late 12th century. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, Barking Abbey was demolished; the parish church of St Margaret, some walling and foundations are all that remain. The parish church is an example of Norman architecture; Captain James Cook married Elizabeth Batts of Shadwell there in 1762, and it is the burial place of many members of the Fanshawe family of Parsloes Manor.

A charter issued between 1175 and 1179 confirms the ancient market right. The market declined in the 18th century but has since been revived. [1]

Dagenham first appeared in a document (as Dæccanhaam) in a charter of Barking Abbey dating from 666 AD. The name almost certainly originated with a small farmstead, the "ham" or farm of a man called Daecca, as Dæccan hamm in Old English means home of a man called Dæcca.

In 1205 Dagenham was large enough to have a chaplain – and the first incarnation of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul was probably built at that time. The main street, called Crown Street, ran east from the church and crossed the valley of the Wantz stream. For several hundred years the appearance of Dagenham village did not change significantly.

St Peter and St Paul’s tower collapsed onto the nave in 1800, and all the church except the 13th-century chancel and late-15th-century north chapel had to be rebuilt. William Ford school was founded in 1841 and continues to thrive despite the social difficulties of its catchment area. Dagenham Common survived longer than much of the heathland in the London area, but was enclosed after 1862.

After 1921 the village was rapidly hemmed in to the south by industrial development on Dagenham Marshes – notably in the form of the Ford Motor Company’s factory and then to the north and west by the huge Becontree estate. The residential area was very poorly served by rail connections until the extension of the electrified District Railway to Upminster in 1932. Dagenham’s population increased more than threefold between the wars.

After the Second World War the council began to pull down decaying buildings and by the early 1970s almost every vestige of the old village had been replaced by municipal housing, while cottages on Church Street were demolished to invent a village green. The only ancient structures are the parish church, 17th-century vicarage and Cross Keys public house, which began its existence as a hall house in the early 15th century.

With the exodus of heavy industry from swathes of the Dagenham Dock and Chequers Lane area, south Dagenham has the potential to become a major new township – but it may be some while before anything much happens on this brownest of brownfield sites. [2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Eastbrookend Cemetery
Dagenham Rd
Dagenham, Romford RM7 0SS
Phone: +44 20 8270 4740

Rippleside Cemetery
3 Meadow Cl
Barking IG11 9QE
Phone: +44 20 8270 4740

Marks Gate Cemetery
19 Rams Grove
Dagenham, Romford RM6 5LB
Phone: +44 20 8590 3280

Romford Cemetery
3 Crow Ln
Romford RM7 0EL
Phone: +44 1708 434433

City of London Cemetery and Crematorium
Aldersbrook Rd
Manor Park, London E12 5DQ
Phone: +44 20 8530 2151

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

St Margaret's
Church address:
The Broadway, North St
Barking IG11 8AS
Phone: +44 20 8594 2932

Becontree Church
Church address:
330 Hedgemans Rd
Dagenham, RM9 6BX
Phone: +44 7595 303023

Dagenham Parish Church
Church address:
Church Ln
Dagenham, RM10 9UL
Phone: +44 20 8215 2962

St Mary's
Church address:
191 Valence Wood Rd
Dagenham RM8 3AH
Phone: +44 20 8592 2822

St Chad's
Church address:
73 Eric Rd
Dagenham, Romford RM6 6JH
Phone: +44 20 8597 8076

St Mary's Becontree
Church address:
Grafton Road/Valance Wood Road
Dagenham, London, RM8 3BA
Phone: +44 20 8592 2822

St Patrick's
Church address:
Blake Ave
Barking IG11 9SQ
Phone: +44 20 8594 8754

St Michael and All Angels
Church address:
Abbey Wood Road
Abbey Wood, London, SE2 9DZ
Phone: +44 20 8311 0377

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Other Christian and non-christian groups follow:

  • Baptist
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • First Church of Christ Scientist
  • Ichthus Christian Fellowship
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Methodist
  • Plenitude church
  • Presbyterian
  • Roman Catholic
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Tamil Church
  • Thames View Christ Church
  • Unitarian

Non Christian groups that meet regularly in Barking and Dagenham Borough include:

  • Buddhist
  • Hare Krishna
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the UK government, from July 1837 to the present day. Proor to that it will be necessary to review independent records kept by Church of England parishes, and other religious groups.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Barking and Dagenham is a blue collar area of London, and is one of the poorest of the new London Boroughs, and in 2017, the borough lay at the bottom of most of London’s leaderboards. As manufacturing moved offshore in the latter half of the 20th Century, established firms shut down, and nothing came in the fill their places. So this Borough became a bedroom city for London, albeit for the more mundane jobs such as domestic helpers, shop workers, and clerks.

The Borough has a lot of empty land for development and is reaching out to UK "Think Tanks" to try to develop these areas, and attract new companies to the area. One example is the attraction of a major TESCO distribution center for the east of London markets. A second stream of activity is to attract small and medium shipbuilding groups to the waterways north of the Thames. [3]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Barking" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_London, accessed 18 August, 2018.
  2. HIdden London, "Barking" in Dagenham,, accessed 18 August, 2018.
  3. Barking and Dagenham Post,, accessed 21 August, 2018.