Barking, Essex

Historical Description

Barking or Berking, a town and a parish in Essex. The town stands on a rich flat tract, on the river Roding, 2 miles N of the Thames, and 7 E of London. Its name is a corruption of Burg-ing, signifying the " fortification in the meadow," and seems to allude to an ancient entrenchment, enclosing upwards of 48 acres, and still traceable. The town rose to importance in 670, by the founding at it of an extensive abbey for Benedictine nuns, and it was the residence of William the Conqueror during the erection of the Tower of London, and the place where the Earls of Mercia and Northumberland and many other nobles swore fealty to him on the restoration of their estates. The abbey was founded by Erkenwald, Bishop of London; destroyed in 870 by the Danes; rebuilt by King Edgar; governed after his death by his queen, and at other times by a long series of royal or noble ladies; served throughout all its duration as a prime seminary of the gentry of England; and passed at the dissolution to Edward, Lord Clinton. Nothing now remains of it except a gateway at the entrance to the present churchyard, a square embattled structure, with an octagonal turret at one corner, whose upper part is a room, formerly called the Chapel of the Holy Rood, having large windows in Perpendicular English. The parish church, which stands near the site of the abbey church, is built of Kentish rag, and possesses some Norman and Early English features. It has numerous fine monuments and brasses, some lancet lights in the chancel, and a curious niche in the NW of the nave. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of St Albans; net value, £302 with residence, in the gift of All Souls College, Oxford. A new church, dedicated to St Paul, was erected in 1893. The market-house or town-hall is a timbered edifice of the time of Queen Elizabeth. The town has a station on the London, Tilbury, and Sonthend railway, a head post, money order, and telegraph office, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Brethren, Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels, eight schools, and charities worth about £300 a year. The weekly market, formerly held on Saturday, is now almost extinct; and the fair, which used to be held on 23 Oct., has been abolished. The inhabitants are chiefly market-gardeners, gas workers at Beckton, artisans whose work is in London, and labourers at the chemical manure works in the neighbourhood. The creek of the Roding bears the name of Barking Creek, and has a convenient wharf and a magazine.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Essex
Ecclesiastical parish Barking St. Margaret
Hundred Becontree
Poor Law union Romford

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Barking from the following:


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Newspapers and Periodicals

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