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St Peter and St Paul's Churchyard Barking & Dagenham
   

St Peter and St Paul's Churchyard

St Peter and St Paul's Churchyard, November 1999. Photo: S Williams

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St Peter and St Paul's parish church dates back to the early C13th and was in the heart of Dagenham Village, one of the earliest Saxon settlements in Essex. The churchyard was originally c.1 acre but was extended to the south in the C19th. It was in use for burials until the 1990s, and has numerous tombs, including twenty dating from the C17th. The area around the church is neatly tended, while the area beyond is in a more natural state as the churchyard has been maintained for wildlife since the 1990s.
   
Previous / Other name: Dagenham Parish Churchyard
Site location: Church Lane, Dagenham
Postcode: RM10 9YX
Type of site: Churchyard 
Date(s): Late C12/early C13
Designer(s):
Listed structures: LBII*: Church
Borough: Barking & Dagenham
Site ownership: Chelmsfield Diocese
Site management: Managed by the London Wildlife Trust on behalf of LB Barking & Dagenham; Friends of Dagenham Parish Churchyard
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: Information area, displays
Events: Various events (churchyard history & natural history)
Public transport: Tube: Dagenham East (District), then walk/bus. Bus: 145, 103.
St Peter and St Paul's Churchyard, with to the left the Cross Keys Pub, November 1999. Photo: S Williams
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St Peter and St Paul's Churchyard, War Memorial, November 1999. Photo: S Williams
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2002
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.wildlondon.org.uk; www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk

Fuller information:

The old parish church of Dagenham Village, St Peter and St Paulís Church, and its churchyard date back to the early C13th, although all that remain of the medieval building are the C13th Chancel and C15th north chapel. Inside the church is an altar tomb to Sir Thomas Urswyck (d.1479), Lord of the Manor of Marks and Baron of the Exchequer, who was instrumental in Edward IV's accession to the throne. After the collapse of the tower in 1800, which also destroyed the nave and south aisle, the church was largely rebuilt in 1800-1805 by the architect William Mason in Strawberry Hill Gothic style, including a spire, which was later removed in 1921. The graveyard was probably in use for over 800 years, and in 1904 Rev J P Shawcross estimated that over 11,000 burials had taken place.

The churchyard was still in use in the 1950s but closed to burials in the 1990s, when the Council became responsible for its maintenance. It was decided to manage it as a nature reserve and since 1997 the churchyard has been maintained by the London Wildlife Trust. The area nearest the church is more formally kept, with the area beyond this wilder, with meadows, long grass and trees around the gravestones. The Church and nearby Vicarage, built in 1665 with a large garden, and the C15th Cross Keys pub are all that remain of Dagenham Village, one of the earliest Saxon settlements in Essex. The pub was originally the house of the Comyns family, tanners by trade, who founded almshouses nearby in the C18th which have since been demolished. It became a pub in 1680, in 1708 was called the Queen's Head, and then in the C19th became the Cross Keys.

Among the monuments in the churchyard is an obelisk to police constable George Clark who was murdered on 29 or 30 June 1846, his murderers never brought to justice despite an investigation that lasted into the late 1850s. The former Archibishop of Canterbury, George Carey, lived in the area and his parents are buried in here.

Sources consulted:

Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993) p 226, 785; 'Book of Dagenham' pp95-97; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1972); Sue Curtis, 'Dagenham and Rainham Past' (Phillimore, 2000)
Grid ref: TQ500844
Size in hectares: 0.88
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Dagenham Village
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Local Importance
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation:
   

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