|St Peter's Churchyard, Aldborough Hatch||Redbridge|
Aldborough Hatch was once part of the lands of Barking Abbey, later owned by the Crown. The need for a new parish arose when the hamlet's population expanded following deforestation of the Crown lands in Hainault Forest, permitted under an Act of Parliament in 1851. The Crown provided the land for a church, with funding provided by the Government and an appeal to wealthy local landowners. A small chapel attached to Aldborough House had existed since at least the C18th and was used as a chapel-at-ease until St Peter's Church was built in 1862/3. Portland Stone from the old Westminster Bridge was used in the church construction. The church and its peaceful churchyard retains its rural aspect, entered through a timber lych gate. To mark the new Millennium, a Memorial Wall was built in the south-west corner of the Garden of Remembrance.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
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Aldborough Hatch, on the edge of Hainault Forest and Fairlop Plain, was once part of the lands of Barking Abbey (q.v.), which became an estate with two farms following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and then in 1668 divided in two. In 1828 the Crown purchased part of the estate, later purchasing the remainder in 1929. The derivation of 'Hatch' is a hatch or gate into the forest. This area of Hainault Forest began to be populated following an Act of Parliament in 1851 whereby deforestation of the Crown lands here was permitted. This led to large farms being established and housing for farm workers, and new roads such as Hainault Road, Forest Road and New North Road were built. As a result the need arose for a place of worship for the increased population, who were predominantly 'composed of the Labouring Classes' (Church Building Fund Appeal leaflet). The church cost £2,000 to build, with the Crown providing the land, the Government giving £1,000, with the balance raised through an appeal to wealthy local landowners.
There was already a small chapel attached to Aldborough House, a house built c.1728 for Colonel Martin Bladen, although the chapel may have pre-dated the house since a Presbyterian congregation is known to have met in the area in the early C17th, possibly in this chapel. In 1746 Col Bladen's wife Frances made a bequest of £20 a year for the support of a clergyman for the chapel. Aldborough House was demolished in the early C19th to be replaced by a more modest building in the 1850s built by the Crown. The chapel continued to be used as a chapel of ease for Aldborough Hatch, Little Heath and Padnall Corner until St Peter's Church was consecrated in 1863.
Portland stone from the old Westminster Bridge, which dated from the C18th and was being replaced at the same time, was used in the building of St Peter's because the building contractor was working on both projects. The small ragstone church was designed by Arthur Ashpitel and still retains a rural aspect, with a peaceful churchyard. The timber lych gate was restored in 2010 and dates from the 1950s, donated by Revd. Lawrence Pickles, who was vicar from 1951-62. In the early 1960s a statue of 'Rebecca at the Well' was installed at the west end of the churchyard, in memory of Rose Jacobs (d.1961). To mark the new Millennium, a Memorial Wall was built in the south-west corner of the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated by the Bishop of Barking in January 2000. In 1989 St Peter's Churchyard Fund was established to maintain the churchyard grass and gardens.
St Peter's Church website History pages www.stpetersah.org.uk; Bridget Cherry, Charles O'Brien, Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 5: East', Yale University Press, 2005 p322/3; Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); Ron Jeffries, 'From Westminster Bridge to Aldborough Hatch, A History of St Peter's Church', St Peter's Church Council, 2007