The History of St. PeterÕs
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A Forest, a Chapel and a Bridge

Complied by Ron Jeffries, with acknowledgement to the
late Frank Sainsbury for valued assistance.

There are three threads in the story of our Church of St. Peter and the Parish of Aldborough Hatch formed by a forest, a chapel and a bridge.

The Forest
Until the first half of the 19th Century, Hainault Forest came down to Aldborough Hatch and the word 'Hatch' itself denoted a hatch or gate into the forestland.

In 1851, an Act of Parliament 'disafforested' Hainault and 100,000 trees on Crown land were felled within two years. Large farms were laid out on the Plain with housing for labourers and the straight roads - Hainault Road, Forest Road and New North Road - were cut through.

The initials 'VR' (Victoria Regina) in the brickwork of the houses on Gerald Padfield's farm in Hainault Road remind us of the Crown connection and the Crown is Patron of St. Peter's living.

So St. Peter's was born of the need for a church to serve the expected increase in the local population as farms replaced forest. The Crown gave the land and the Government gave £1,000 towards the cost of the church's erection, and the list of other donors is a social directory of our neighbourhood 125 years ago.



(Above) Cary's map of the country around London was first published in 1776 and this appears to be a reprint dated 1800. Abury Hatch is marked and Henhault Forest stretched across the plain from Hog Hill to Abury Gate (the corner of Painters Road and Aldborough Road North).

(Left) A section of the Ordnance Survey map from a survey carried out between 1862 and 1871, revised in 1895 and reprinted in 1904. St. Peter's Church, in Aldborough Hatch, and St. James's Church, in Little Heath, are marked. The Chapel at Aldborough House is marked, but not named. The Vicarage shown near St. Peter's is the one that was demolished in the 1960s. The School forms part of the present day Church Halls.


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