Dagenham Parish: Church rate books, 1849-1865

Object number



1849 – 1865


6 bound volumes




This collection comprises church rate books of the Parish of Dagenham (1849, 1855, 1857, 1860, 1863 and 1865).


Becontree Heath was the meeting place of the Becontree Hundred, which was a court that governed on local matters until 1465. The Lord of the Manor had some jurisdiction also and Manorial Courts for the Dagenham Manors were held regularly here or in the Leet House at Barking. The Poor Law Act of 1601 set up the ‘Vestry’, the first unit of Local Authority. The members of the Vestry, later known as the Parish Council, were responsible for a number of local affairs put principally the care of the poor. Ecclesiastical and secular affairs came under the same body, and were carried on in this way for two hundred years. There were also other special bodies, such as Trustees of the Turnpike Roads and the Commissioners for the Levels. In 1836 the union of Parishes was enforced for the care of the poor and Dagenham elected members to the Romford Board of Guardians and ceased to keep a village workhouse. The poor rate was collected by the Vestry, and the earliest surviving rate book dates back to 1839. In 1840, the parish became part of the Metropolitan Police Area. The Local Board of Health was established in 1851. This body was responsible for local sanitary matters. Dagenham School Board was founded and five schools erected under the new compulsory Education Act of 1872. In 1902 the School Board was abolished and the management of schools in Dagenham was taken over by Essex County Council. During the same year a drainage scheme was undertaken, and then enlarged in 1910. The parish remained mainly rural until 1921, when the London County Council started to build the great Becontree Estate. Modern industries, notably the Ford Motor Works, soon followed the new population. Dagenham became an urban district in 1926 and a borough in 1938.

Conditions governing access

Open to research.

Conditions governing reproduction

At the discretion of the Borough Archivist.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Assistant Archivist in accordance with ISAD(G).

Belongs to:

« Dagenham Parish: Rate books, 1839-1925

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This material can be accessed by appointment in our reading room, which is situated in the Visitor’s Centre at Valence House Museum. To make an appointment please email: localstudies@lbbd.gov.uk or telephone 020 8227 2033

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Start date1849
End date1865