​We are living in an age where it’s easier then ever to get information about the history of your area and the website Havering.Gov.uk has a lot of interesting documents

A document that got my attention this week was Havering’s ‘Place names of Havering‘ document Produced by Julie Johns (November 2000),

Although Havering has few old buildings, many local places have names with very old origins. This list deals with the place, street and house names lying within the London Borough of Havering.


Many are the conjectures as to how the village came by its name. Most of the recognised authorities on Essex history have advanced at least one theory on the subject including Palin, Morant and Salmon. John Audrey, the antiquarian was of the opinion Hornchurch got its name from the horns of a hart that happened to be killed by the King’s dog, near the church as it was being built and the horns were put in the walls of the church. Another explanation is that Hornchurch means the church of Horn, Horn being a personal name.

The conjecture by Palin that Hornchurch owes its name to its early currying and leather dressing industry whose sign is a pair of horns seems as near the truth as any. [Perfect : Ye olde village of Hornchurch]

On what occasion the name of Horn – church was given to this place we have no certain information. The origin of many names is undiscoverable and why this place should be called Hornchurch is what we are not able to make out. There is a tradition, though a groundless one, that Hornchurch was built by a female convert, to expiate her former sins and that it was called Hor-church at first, till a certain King riding that way (but it is not said who) nick-named it Hornchurch and caused a pair of ox’s horns, to be fixed at the east-end (Weavers Funeral Monuments). But it is much more probable, that the bull’s head affixed to the end of the chancel, was the coat or crest belonging to the religious house in Savoy, to which it was a cell [Muilman: A new and complete history of Essex]

The small hilltop where St Andrews Church now stands was probably a centre of preChristian worship, The Druids may well have celebrated their rites here, including the sacrifice of bulls. This may account for the incorporation of the word ‘horn’ into the name in the early medieval period. Further reinforcement of this symbol as a local icon occurred when monks from the St Nicholas and St Bernard monastery at Montjoux in Savoy were invited to set up a small Priory at Hornchurch in 1158/9, the mother house was designated Cornutem Monasterium or the ‘Horned Monastery’. It may even have been built on the spot where there had earlier been a temple to Diana, using the symbolism of the bull’s head. In the Middle Ages the village was becoming an important centre of the leather trade and this too would have been a factor in the use of the bull’s head and horns as local badge and symbol. [Evans: Bygone Hornchurch and Upminster]


This spot would appear to be named after St Ebba, the name being corrupted to St Abbs.

St Ebba founded a monastery of which she became Abbess at St Abbs, East Berwick Scotland in the 7th century (c A.D. 685). Exactly how Abbs Cross came by its name is lost in antiquity but there is little doubt that there is some connection between the early saint and the cross-roads [Perfect :Ye Olde Village of Hornchurch].


Marked as Hardley Green on the 1883 OS map, earlier Haleygrene 1514, Hardey Green 1777, named from le Haddeleye 1362, that is ‘heath clearing, clearing where heather grows’ from Old English haeth and leah, with the later addition of Middle English grene ‘village green’ [Mills: Dictionary of London place names]

BILLET LANE (Hornchurch)

Took its name from a former hostelry the Crooked Billet which had closed by 1870 and had been demolished by 1917 [Benton: Upminster and Hornchurch]

DURYFALLS (Wingletye Lane Hornchurch)

The name of this house is an extremely ancient one. The origin of the name has often been the subject of conjecture. One would naturally associate such a name with something of a waterfall but anyone who knows the position would hardly likely to suggest that any such had ever been in the vicinity. I think however a reason for the name may be found in the fact that one Durrifalls, is mentioned in the parish registers in the 16th century and it is therefore probable that Durrifalls lived in this house [Perfect: Ye olde village of Hornchurch]

The family ‘Doryval’ are also noted as residing in this area in the 14th century


The estate developer was William Carter of Parkstone, Dorset and the estate was named after his eldest son Emerson (b. 1878). [Benton: The changing face of Hornchurch]

FOUNDRY COTTAGE (Billet Lane, Hornchurch)

The Wedlake family had a foundry in Hornchurch from the early 19th century until about 1931. Although remnants of the foundry have long since disappeared, until well into the current century a visible reminder was the old Foundry Cottage in Billet Lane. This little cottage served as the foundry office [Benton: Changing face of Hornchurch]

GARDNERS CORNER (junction of Wingletye Lane, Hacton Lane and Upminster Road)

So called in the 1920’s because Thomas Gardner lived in Dury Falls [E.G. Ballard: Our old Romford and district]


The name of this mansion occurs under a variety of forms, not unlikely derived from ged – pike and ea – water. The word is not very likely to mean as some have thought giddy or frolicsome [Terry: Memories of Old Romford]

Gidea park – ‘park at Giddy-Hall ie foolish building’. Although the name may refer to the unwisdom of a building enterprise, rather than particular features of the hall itself, giddy used elsewhere seems more likely to allude to unsteadiness of construction rather than to a building normally known as a folly. No certainty seems possible without other evidence about the exact sense of Giddy in Gidea Park [Field: Place-names of Greater London]


‘(Earl) Harold’s Wood’. This is part of the Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower which was held by Harold until his death in 1066 [Field: Place-names of Greater London]

At the time of the Conquest and earlier the whole hinterland of Essex was covered by dense forest. Place names in the immediate area point to its former presence. Havering became a favourite retreat for Edward the Confessor and at his death to King Harold. The place names Harold Wood and Hill are derived from this connection [Lingham: Harold Hill and Noak Hill] ‘Harolds Wood’ Earl Harold held Havering in 1066 [Reaney: Place-names of Essex]

HARROW LODGE (Hornchurch)

Earlier site of Harrow Farm 1777, but no certainty is possible as to the origin or interpretation of the name [Field: Place-names of Greater London]

HYLANDS PARK (Hornchurch)

Ernest J. Little, architect and surveyor of Kilarney, Brentwood Road was the son of John Little of Hylands, Brentwood Road. Between 1896 and 1899 he bought around 24 acres of land from O.S.D. Osborne with the intention of developing the Hylands estate. This development site on Globe Road, which no doubt took its name from his father’s house or some other family connection, remained essentially undeveloped on its owner’s death in 1911 and later became Hylands Park. [Benton: The changing face of Hornchurch]


Ingre is corrupt. Erkwall in his ‘English river-names’ suggests that the first element may have been Ingan from Inga, a personal name found in Inworth or from Ininga-, from the personal name Ine. Thus ‘the stream of Inga or of the people of Ina’. [Reaney: Placenames of Essex]

LANGTONS (Hornchurch)

The present building dates in part from the 18th century, but the name is much older appearing as Langedune (the home of Thomas de Langedun) in the 13th century, later as Langtonsland in 1514 and Langton in 1777, so originally ‘the long hill or down’ from Old English lang and dun [Mills: Dictionary of London place names]


The Manor of Lee Gardens was on the east side of Wingletye Lane. In 1919 it was put up for sale as an estate of 167 acres. Part of it was subsequently developed for housing in Wingletye Lane, Lee Gardens Avenue and neighbouring roads. [Victoria county history of Essex, vol.7]

MENDOZA CLOSE (Hornchurch)

Bears the name of a local celebrity (Daniel Mendoza came to the Dell, Hornchurch to defend his heavyweight title in 1795. Mendoza was the 16th heavyweight champion of the old prize ring and had defeated about 32 opponents before this fight. The fight was won by Mendoza’s opponent, ‘Gentleman John Jackson’) [Celebration of Havering]

NELMES (Hornchurch)

Manor house dating from the 16th century, demolished in 1967. The name is probably associated with the family of John ate Elms who is mentioned in a document of 1333. Means a family living near an elm tree [Celebration of Havering]


Robert Beard was an increasingly prominent figure in Hornchurch throughout the 1930’s. Born in Dagenham, he came to Hornchurch around 1910 and opened a bakers and confectioners business, later expanding the business with shops in Romford and Rainham. He played an active part in the community serving variously as a local councillor, including chairman of Hornchurch Urban District Council, a county councillor, a JP as well as participating in voluntary organisations. Among his contributions to the area was the Jubilee Youth Centre and his name is appropriately commemorated in the Robert Beard Youth Centre [Benton: Changing face of Hornchurch]


The town of Romford eventually grew up on the old Roman road and at a spot where it crossed a little stream. The crossing-place was wide and called the roomy ford and thus Romford obtained its name [History of Havering]


Junction of South Street and Hornchurch Road. The Neostyle Manufacturing Company, later Roneo Ltd opened works there in 1908 [Victoria history of the county of Essex vol 7]


The name almost certainly derives from a family who are mentioned in 13th Century documents as Scurell and Esquirrell [Evans: Romford]

WYKEHAM AVENUE (Hornchurch)/WYKEHAM HALL (Market place Romford)

After William of Wykeham (1324-1404). He became bishop of Winchester and chancellor of England. He founded Winchester College and New College Oxford. In 1391 he bought the lands of the former Hornchurch Priory and gave them as an endowment to New College [Celebration of Havering]

For more information, check out the full document on the Havering Gov website