History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of East London

by Peter Kessler, 20 June 2010



Barking & Dagenham Part 9: Churches of Dagenham

Vicarage Road Full Gospel Church

Vicarage Road Full Gospel Church occupies a plot on the western side of Vicarage Road in the heart of Dagenham. Although there is not much available data on the church, it was one of two in the district. Opened about 1931, the red brick Vicarage Road Gospel Church preceded that at Albany Road, Chadwell Heath, by about four years. Unlike the latter, Vicarage Lane no longer serves as a church but has found a new use as a community centre.

Dagenham Community Church

Dagenham Community Church is on the south-east corner of Charlotte Road and Richardson Gardens. A small mission existed in Dagenham village before 1921. Initially, it appears to have used the former United Methodist Free Church in Bull Street (Ebenezer Chapel, below). It gained many new members during the next ten years and in 1931 moved to a new building in Charlotte Road as the Dagenham Evangelical Free Church, where it remains.

Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul

The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul sits on the south-eastern corner of Crown Street and Church Lane, with the graveyard spreading to its south. Dagenham ('Daecca's settlement') was probably one of the earliest Saxon settlements in Essex, with the name being first recorded in a charter of AD 687. The earliest known reference to the church itself was in 1205, when Baldwin 'the chaplain' was involved in a dispute concerning church land.

Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul

The church was probably built early in the thirteenth century. By about 1254 it had been appropriated to Barking Abbey, which held it until 1539. It consists of nave, chancel (thirteenth century), north chapel (before 1475) and west tower. Substantial repairs were carried out between 1580 and 1630. The chancel and chapel are all that remain of the medieval building. The tower collapsed in 1800, destroying nave and south aisle. The tower and nave were rebuilt in 1801-1805.

Ebenezer Chapel

Ebenezer Chapel lay on the western side of Rainham Road South (formerly Bull Street). The small yellow-brick chapel was built in 1846. About 1850 it seceded from the Wesleyans in sympathy with the Reformers, becoming a United Methodist Free Church. Those opposed to reform left and built another chapel opposite (see below). After 1875 the building appears to have been used by a mission which gave rise to Dagenham Free Church (above) before being demolished.

Old Dagenham Methodist Church

Old Dagenham Methodist Church is on the eastern side of Rainham Road South, close to the corner with Manor Road. Wesleyans opposed to the Reformers left Ebenezer Chapel (see above) about 1850, and at first worshipped in cottages, By 1854 they had built their own chapel opposite Ebenezer Chapel. This was rebuilt in 1888, but was demolished for road-widening in 1958. The present building, to the south of the former church hall, was opened in 1962.

In Depth
In Depth


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