Epping (All Saints)

EPPING (All Saints), a town and parish, and the head of a union, chiefly in the hundred of Waltham, but partly in that of Harlow, S. division of Essex, 17½ miles (W. by S.) from Chelmsford, and 16¾ (N. E. by N.) from London, on the road to Newmarket; containing 2424 inhabitants. This place, which is of some antiquity, was given by Henry II. to the monks of Waltham Abbey, but, reverting to the crown, became afterwards a part of the duchy of Lancaster. The town is pleasantly situated near the extensive forest to which it gives name, and consists of two parts, one near the church, called Epping-Upland, and the other almost a mile and a half to the south-east of it, called EppingStreet, in which the market is held: the latter is a spacious street, nearly a mile in length, having in the centre a building called the market-house, much decayed. The houses are irregularly built; but being a great thorough-fare and place of traffic, the town possesses some good inns. It is celebrated for its butter, of which large quantities are sent for the supply of the London market, where, from the excellence of its quality, it maintains a superiority in price; the pork and sausages of this place are also in high estimation. The market is on Friday: the fairs are, on the Tuesday in Whitsun-week, which is but thinly attended; November 13th, a very considerable fair for the sale of stock; and October 11th, a statute-fair for hiring servants. There are courts leet and baron annually, under the lord of the manor; and the petty-sessions for the division are held every Friday.

The parish is about 30 miles in circumference: the soil is generally a strong wet loam, and a large portion of the land is in pasture. Epping Forest is a royal chace, anciently called the Forest of Essex, subsequently Waltham Forest, and at present deriving its name from the town. Its original limits have been gradually contracted, many thousand acres having been thrown into cultivation, and numerous handsome villas erected, among which, Copped Hall, built on the site of a structure raised by the monks of Waltham Abbey when they had possession of the manor, is a noble edifice, in the centre of a fine park of nearly 4000 acres, planted with forest-trees, including a cedar of Libanus of extraordinary beauty. The forest is under the jurisdiction of a lord warden, whose office is hereditary in the family of the late Sir James Tylney Long, Bart., and four verderers, who are elected by the freeholders of the county, and retain their office for life: the forest rights vary according to the particular tenure prevailing in the different manors included in the district. The living of Epping is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £17. 13. 4., and in the gift of Henry John Conyers, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £1216. 18. 6., of which £400 are payable to Mr. Conyers, and £816. 18. 6. to the vicar, who has 11 acres of glebe. The church is situated on elevated ground, commanding an extensive view of the surrounding district, and is an ancient edifice consisting of a nave and chancel. At Epping-Street is a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which has been enlarged by 370 sittings: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £120; patrons, certain Trustees. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends and Independents, the former of which, though bordering on the town, is in an adjoining parish. The poor law union comprises 18 parishes or places, and contains a population of 15,987.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.