Picture of church


Contents of chapter

Buildings may be notable either by reason of their architectural excellence, historical importance, or role in the life of the parish. At Cranham, it is mostly the latter two: the parish was missed entirely by Pevsner (162), although the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments did find some things that interested them (66).


Folkes Farm (TQ581887) is the largest farmhouse in the parish. It was part of the manor of Bishop's Ockendon, being referred to as Ffawkys Farm in 1510 (172). The origin of this name is thought to be with a tenant of c.1463, named Thomas Ffakys or Ffawkys. Its leasehold was £112 per annum in 1705. The freehold was sold by Gurney in 1866, separating the ownership from that of Cranham Hall for the first time. Some manorial dues remained payable after this sale, but were probably not enforced. The complex roof-line shows how this farmhouse has been extended in several stages, mostly since 1900.

Broadfields Farm lies to the east of Pike Lane. This was the second largest farm in the parish, and was also part of the Bishop's Ockendon estate. It usually had its own tenant. The name of this farm dates from at least 1469, when it was known as Broddefields (172). The farm was sold at the break-up of the Benyon estate, when it was also excused manorial dues, and it is owned by the Essex County Council, who now also hold the Lordship of the Manor that passed with this freehold (see Chapter 2).

There are now no traces of Beredens. This was a farm in the north of the parish, probably independent of the two Domesday manors, although the overlordship during the mediaeval era was usually with that for manors in Upminster or for Cranham Hall. This "reputed maner or capital messuage", as Morant described it, may represent further clearance of woodland in the parish during the later middle ages (see Chapter 4).

Tabrums Farm lies to the south west of Folkes, TQ580886. This, too, was another component of the Cranham Hall estate. The present house is not large, and appears to be modern. The origins of the name of Tabrums, and the disposition of its manorial dues are now forgotten.

Guyler's Farm stood near the junction of Front and Moor Lanes, on the site of the present London Transport depot (see Chapter 13). There are no surviving traces.


During the Georgian era, people would often brew and entertain the public in their own homes. This is the origin of the term Public House, now abbreviated to "pub". The inclusion of pubs on Ordnance Survey maps is a rather recent innovation, and the search for pubs in Cranham is more difficult than simply looking at the old maps.

The Ale House Recognizances for the county of Essex mention no public house in the parish between 1769 and 1826 (163). This is bureaucratic omission rather than true absence: from the Vestry minutes we know of at least one pauper in 1820 whose application for relief was denied after being observed the night before whilst dining rather well in a public house in the parish (see Chapter 9). The two oldest pubs in Cranham have a history that is intertwined.

The "Thatched House"

The "Thatched House" is an old building, standing at TQ579868. In 1829 it was inherited by Richard Boram from his father, Robert Kent, although the reason for them having different surnames is obscure (166). Kent, in his turn, had inherited the house from his own father, although we do not know when it started service specifically as a public house. In 1852, the house was sold to James Gates for £75; Gates needed a mortgage to complete the purchase, but interestingly was able to raise £100 on the property, giving himself £25 in cash from the deal. The wisdom of this investment was apparent within five years, when Gates sold the Thatched House, after renovations, for £600 to Samuel and R.G.Frances in 1857; it is possible that Gates believed that "The Plough" was an even better prospect for investment (see below). The two small bars at the Thatched House were knocked through in 1983, removing some of its charm as an unusual, surviving, Victorian, country pub. There has been another major renovation in 1996.

"The Plough"

"The Plough" originally stood on the east side of Front Lane, and north of its present site (TQ573874); Plough Rise commemorates the original location. Just after selling the Thatched House, James Gates bought "The Plough" from Isaac Piddick and Joseph Dutton for £755, and became its licenced publican in 1857 (164). There is no evidence that Gates's two predecessors used the building as a pub, nor that they were ever resident in Cranham. It is unclear why Gates had to pay so much more for "The Plough" than he did for the Thatched House just five years earlier; perhaps the business was much better. The original house was timber-framed, and stood on 2 1/2 acres (figure 38). In 1956, its last licensee was a widow, whose name is now forgotten; people remember that she was only allowed to sell wine and beer, but the reason why the magistrates did not trust her with a spirits licence is now forgotten (165). A photograph survives of the old Plough (266), with a sign outside proudly claiming that it sold "Seabrooke and Sons Fine Thorrock (sic) Ales and Stout". In the spelling chosen for Thurrock, it is tempting to hear an echo of the rural Essex accent that must have been spoken in nineteenth century Cranham.

In 1956, "The Plough" was rebuilt on the west side of Front Lane itself, near the southern junction with Moor Lane. It is a large building of brick, with three bars. The design is identical to "The Optimist" at Upminster, and doubtless many other large, managed, brewery houses' pubs of that era. Its sign was blown down in a storm in 1976, and this pub was the scene of a small "copycat riot" in 1979.

Newer pubs, and the north of the parish

The "Jobber's Rest" is an unremarkable brewery pub at TQ578868. Its car park occupies the site of the former workhouse, and its name is unique in England. An old resident relates that this pub dates from at least 1914 (190). The recent chinois extension is worth a visit. The present manager has kept goats in its large garden from time to time.

The "Golden Crane" was built for the Avon Road estate in 1954. The pub has two bars, and stands at TQ572880, just west of the Front Lane / Avon Road junction. The fallacy in the name of this pub has been discussed in Chapter 3. Its name is also unique in England.

There is no evidence for there ever being a public house in the north of the parish. Presumably the residents of Coombe Green went to the Thatcher's Arms just over the boundary in Great Warley.


Coombe Lodge stands inside the extreme north east corner of Cranham, at TQ581904. This house was built in stone for Mr.Edward Ind, the famous Romford brewer, in 1852-54, and was provided with a range of stables. Coombe Lodge commands the highest spot in the parish, and has fine views across the Thames to the North Downs in Kent.

Coombe Lodge faces east. This seems strange because the views are better to the South, and a North facing house would impress from the road. However, there is likely to be some good reason for this orientation (even if now forgotten) because Cranham Hall was also rebuilt facing east (see Chapter 2).

Edward Ind was the son of Mr.G.Ind, the brewery's founder (167, 168). Edward was born in 1829, and attended the Brentwood School. In 1852 he married Elizabeth Terry of Romford. They lived for a short while at High House, Upminster whilst Coombe Lodge was being built. Edward and Elizabeth had 5 children (figure 39).

Edward Ind was a prominent County man. He rode with the Essex hunt, and was a Governor at his old school. In 1874, he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace. In 1879, he was High Sherriff for Essex, and in 1884 he became Queen Victoria's Lieutenant in Essex i.e. the "Lord Lieutenant" of the County, a term commonly used, but technically inaccurate (276). In 1889 he was the unopposed Conservative candidate for the Brentwood, South Weald and Shenfield District of the Essex County Council. Wilson's scrapbooks contain a good engraving of Edward Ind.

Edward Ind, like others in his family, was prone to gout. Indeed, gout was certified as the cause of his death, at the age of 65 on March 21, 1894, by Dr.Quennell at Brentwood (169). The accuracy of this certification could be debated on medical grounds.

Ind's brewery encouraged its workers to attend his funeral. A half-holiday was given, a special train was run from Romford to Upminster, and a fleet of carriages was on hand to bring the mourners from Upminster Station to All Saints' church. Meanwhile, a hearse, with black-plumed horses, brought the body through the lanes from the north of the parish. The church overflowed. It took five clergy to conduct this grand funeral, these being the Bishop of Colchester, the Rectors of Cranham (Rev.C.J.R.Cooke, see Chapter 4) and Hornchurch, and the Vicars of South Weald and Dover (Kent); Ind's connexion with Dover is unknown. This was the last grand Victorian funeral to be held in the parish.

Edward Ind now lies under a memorial beside the church porch. Coombe Lodge, his home for forty years, is now used for residential care of the elderly.


These substantial dwellings are at the south east corner of the parish, at TQ585852. They have retained their names for at least a century and a half, although the present buildings are clearly more modern. In 1840, Cranham Place was occupied by Mr.Frances Samuel Richard Green, a farmer, and the lodge by a certain William Manning (18). Green served, at various times, as churchwarden at All Saints', parish constable for Cranham, and as both High Constable and Chief Constable for Essex (5). It is surprising that little else is known about this prominent Cranham man.


Bellevue was a late Georgian or early Victorian house, just north of Beredens, on the western side of Front (now Beredens) Lane. The early Ordnance Survey maps (238) show the arrangement of this house and its outbuildings (Figure 40). No visible trace survives.


Part of the Beredens estate is known as Millfield. There was a mill in 1442, but it had gone by 1463 (12). There is no substantial water course in the area, and this date would be early for a windmill; the most likely explanation is that this was a mill powered by animals.


Pigeons are free-flying, and their cultivation is a skill very different from the management of poultry. There is about 2 oz. of breast meat on a six week old fledgling, and if fed on good corn, then pigeons will continue to reproduce year-round. These birds were a valuable source of fresh meat, especially in winter, and their eggs were also eaten. Pigeon droppings were used as an excellent fertilizer before the modern era. Dove cotes were a common feature of Essex manors.

At Cranham Hall Farm the dovecote was on the northeast corner of the yard, facing the churchyard (Figure 42). Although there are now no birds, and the louver has been removed from the top, this building may still be seen at TQ571861.

It was built in 1820 (171), a relatively late date, although the structure nonetheless bears the tell-tale signs for an Essex dovecote (or, in the Essex dialect, a "duffus") (277). There is a door giving access to the cote without having to enter the farmyard itself. It is supposed that this was to give access to the servants of the Lord of the Manor, the dovecote's owner.

The Cranham Hall dovecote is built of yellow brick (Figure 41). It is 15 feet north to south, by 12 feet east to west. The ground floor is a storage area, and the cote above was entered by a ladder, through a trapdoor on the first floor. The nests were boarded, rising nine feet above the floor, and only on the north, east and west walls. There were 12 ranges on each wall, each 9" high. There were nine nests to a range on the north wall, and 14 to a range on the other two walls. This total of 424 nests were all 12 inches deep.

The unique feature of this dovecote was the way that the louver was supported (Figure 43). Roughly speaking, it was as if a small four-post, roofed, timber structure had been pushed through the pyramidal roof, so that half was still visible above the tiles. The four corner posts of the louver extended two feet down into the loft, and the connecting timbers were structural, as well as serving as perching places. The louver's roof was again pyramidal, and the whole structure supported by a single central post resting on the floor of the first storey. The four lights of the louver were boarded, except in their lower third to give access to the birds.

There was a weathervane to crown the whole contraption, but this was removed in 1935. Today, the louver has also been removed, the main pyramidal roof has been completed, and a new weathervane installed. There have been no birds since 1920.


The modern development of the parish created a need for a social hall after the Second World War. The Ratepayers' Association constantly petitioned the Hornchurch UDC for this type of building from 1950 onwards, but without result. Eventually, Mr.A.J.Moss built the hall that bears his name, and rented it to the Ratepayers' at peppercorn rent. Due to the running expenses and the somewhat obscure location, the Ratepayers' withdrew in 1957. The hall is now owned and occupied by a non-conformist church.


Cranham has not been graced with much elegant new building. The Social Centre in Front Lane dates from 1968, and is in constant use for weddings, polling, and dancing classes. There is probably a need for more facilities of this type, and much resource seems to be wasted by not opening the schools in the parish for other uses in the evenings. Cranham Court, now a home for the elderly, is Edwardian, and stands at TQ580870.

The oldest standing houses now seem to be those on the north side of Front Lane, which would have stood close to the original site of "The Plough", and date to the 1870s; they are accompanied by Cranham's oldest surviving shop, until recently a fishmongers. Just a little further south is another free-standing shop, presently used for the sale of car tyres, but which was Cranham's second post office (see Chapter 13). The proliferation of housing since about 1930 has also been discussed in Chapter 13.

The southeastern most pair of shops at the Moor Lane / Front Lane junction are oldest, and were originally a butcher's (Mr.Evenett), and a hardware shop (Mr.Penny). A haberdashers of similar age stood to their north. The parade of shops on the west side of Front Lane, just south of "The Plough" came next in about 1955, followed by those lining the southern end of Moor Lane, completed in the early 1960s. Modern rows of shops at the eastern end of Avon Road were planned and built at the same time as the housing estates to the west.