Friday, 14 December 2012

Havering-atte-Bower | Quaint British Village with a Royal Past.

Havering-atte-Bower is a quaint British village situated in a picturesque corner of the most scenic England, an enchanting small centre with a Royal Past of extreme relevance, definitely one of the shining hidden gems of the attractive County of Essex which transmits a very special charm delighting every traveller once reached its verdant boundaries.

Located on a green plateau called Orange Tree Hill completely surrounded by captivating forests in a very peaceful location boasting beautiful traditional cottages highlighted by well cared flowerbeds or small charming gardens, that very attractive site is located at just 25, 0 kilometres from London downtown, a further incentive to take in consideration for all those who are planning to visit that great European capital adding to to it in an organised tailor made tour other destinations like that.

That fascinating tiny agglomeration in the municipality of Romford is part of the district of Havering located in a great geographic position flanked by three beautiful parks such as Bedfords Park, Pyrgo Park and Havering Country Park which all together for their beauty and surface are a very striking frame encircling that site.

That village is undoubtedly a great heaven to enjoy relaxing walks in a magnificent uncontaminated huge intact natural environment highlighted by beautiful landscapes symbols of the most appealing English countryside where you can breathe the true, authentic atmosphere of the most appealing old England.

All there it is perfectly preserved and a great additional attraction is the chance to admire splendid panoramic views overlooking part of the County of Kent and a large stunning view of Greater London from a scenic bend along the main road leading to the core of that captivating little centre. 

Apart the proximity of the capital of Great Britain, you are pretty close from other beautiful places such as the enchanting Epping Forest, a stupendous large green lung, not far from historic centres such as Chelmsford, Colchester, the latter one of the most important settlements of the Imperial Rome in Britain since AD 43, well known to have been the oldest recorded town linked to the Roman colonisation when it was called Camulodunum is just 50 minutes away by car.

Havering-atte-Bower is certainly a site which also offers many opportunities to enjoy different kinds of tourism such as cultural, historic, rural with also the chance to practise outdoor activities such as cycling, mountain bike, visiting those immense green extensions and in all its surroundings you will be delighted by the presence of a notable flora and fauna, natural patrimony of the country.

That pleasant British hamlet is also particularly very important for its ancient and considerable historic past, according to archaeological excavations which took place in the 70's were discovered in its boundaries some relevant archaeological Roman rests consisting in an ancient Patrician Villa confirming that it was a consolidated base  in the old Anglia settled in those ancient times by a high noble sphere of that important Italic Empire.

Historically the former settlement reached a special relevance in the 6th century when the Saxons established in the current Essex one their Kingdoms originally called Eastseaxe, the Reign of Eastern Saxony founded in 527 in a territory  bounded to the south by the current County of Kent, the Thames river and at north by the Kingdom of East Anglia and the River Stour .

Since that time it became a notable crossroad leading to the current territory of Hornchurch in the immediate vicinity of the boundaries of Eastern London.
The presence of that former Germanic tribe as ruler endured until 825 when the last King of Essex, Sigered ceded his realm to the Monarch of Wessex. Egbert but those almost three centuries of presence left important marks including in its current name.

Archaeological excavations which took place in the 70's and mainly concentrated between 1972 and 1975 apart the previously mentioned Roman artifacts were also protagonists for  relevant findings of items, metal works,objects closely linked to that civilisation originally coming from the Northern Albingia corresponding to the current region of Holstein in Germany  situated between the  rivers Elbe and Eider.

Originally the village was called Hauering, a name which was recorded in 1272, a word derives from Haueringas meaning follower of Hauer, a figure who was probably a direct descendant of the first Saxon settlers in that English land  while the second part “atte bower” is a suffix meaning at the Royal Residence referred to Havering Palace which was elevated as a domain of the British Monarchy.

The history as a new defined and politically organised village corresponds to an era closely related to the late 11th century when that centre was named in the Domesday Book, also known in Latin as Liber de Wintonia as well as Book of Winchester.

It was a very important old manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of a large part of England and Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William I, edited in that period recording places of major relevance in the current United Kingdom. 

Definitely all that certified that Havering-atte-Bower was certainly a very important settlement considering those historic references included in that iconic archive which is in its kind a sort of distinctive memory of the chronological British history since the early Middle Ages currently held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

All that confirms that Havering-atte-Bower was an emblematic, historic symbols of that geographic territory in a district which included some Parishes with one established on its soil considered among the oldest in the entire county.

The relevance of the village is attested by the name of the current Havering Borough Council established on 1st  April 1965.

In addition to all those details of extreme historical resonance the presence in the past of several distinguished important mansions in its boundaries such as Pyrgo Palace and Havering Palace to mention some among the most important iconic buildings erected in that concrete area confirms an an indisputable site well known in the capital London because closely related to the highest aristocratic spheres including the Monarchy.

A special mention linked to that is that in the boundaries of Havering-atte-Bower was elevated an important Royal Manor which hosted in several occasions Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England descendant of the most nobles families of Anglia and Normandy, an iconic character the history of the Royalty of Great Britain crowned on 3rd April 1043 in Winchester Cathedral canonised by Pope Alexander III in 1161.

That emblematic figure is also well known to be regarded as the last Sovereign of the House of Wessex so famous to have commissioned the project of the elevation of the first Norman Romanesque Church in Westminster, London originally developed to be a Royal burial temple. 

That notorious character loved so much that land, that large green woodland was chosen by King Edward to spend his free time forgetting for a while the political and military operations of his Reign more than perfect to enjoy some of his favourite passions such as horse riding and hunting.  

That area populated by numerous deer and foxes on the gentle hill on which was established the village became for that Sovereign a sort of paradise for the peaceful atmosphere which bewitched him who ordered  to build a hunting lodge with a stable later transformed in a palace called Bower.

That tranquil and calm haven was undoubtedly a beloved pleasant oasis of serenity for that famed figure who riding could cross the local territory in direction of the current Havering Road and Chase Cross reaching in just some minutes the borders of Bedfords Park, currently forming a a fantastic parkland.(If you are interested I wrote a post about that place)
According to historic documentations that Anglo-Norman King, son of Ethereld the Unready and Emma of Normandy died in that hunting lodge and after that event he was buried with all the honours in Westminster Abbey, London.

Also the famed Monarch Henry VIII had a palace in the proximity of that place consisting in a famous and legendary historic building called Pyrgo Palace disappeared due to a notable decay, demolished in the 18th century.

Including another Sovereign, James I King of England and Ireland well known as James VI King of Scotland first Stuart successor of  Queen Elizabeth I last Tudor Royal member of that House in the British Royal history frequented many times Havering-atte-Bower since the early 17th century.

All that more than notable presence attests which kind of immense historic relevance has that quaint village extremely linked to an important Royal past. Those golden ages endured until 1650 after the death of King Charles I when that verdant, charming land was divided and sold.

The heart of the village is Havering Green in which you can see a whipping post and stocks built in 1966 consisting in perfect replicas of the original established in 1670  placed inside a large space surrounded by fascinating, stylish houses which complete a very captivating scenery.

That site was originally much larger than that you can see nowadays because its surface was reduced in all the cardinal points except in its western side. 

The commons enclosure Act dated 1811 decreed that Havering Green had to remain as a local distinctive symbol but it had a notable reformation in size, including the Duckling Pond was separated by the established road from that the rest of that area.

Immediately walking on the left side of that very inspiring corner is situated the Horse riding complex next to the beautiful and majestic St. John the Evangelist Church.

That imposing Religious construction erected in 1874, consecrated in 1878 was established in that place after the demolition of the former Church of St. Mary which was elevated on previous built in the 12th century.

The architect who led the operations was Basil Champneys, a prominent talented figure from Whitechapel, London well known for the elevation of other important buildings in the United Kingdom such as Newman College, Cambridge, Manchester´s  John Rylands Library and Mansfield College, Oxford among others.

That impressive Neo-Gothic structure was originally developed using brick as main material with faced flints with a high bell tower surrounded by charming stained glass windows placed all around the perimeter of the main body of the Ecclesiastic complex.

The wide nave is a sublime hymn to those outstanding Religious structures developed in Great Britain in that period, a magnificent architectural representation depicting a perfect replica of the most typical British Gothic architecture in all its elements, details but also height and volume.

Absolutely great are in addition the extraordinary loyal reproduction of the exterior decorations visible in the exterior layout highlighting the excellent artistic level of a traditional school able to reproduce a perfect revival simply fascinating and superb.

The Church was provided by bells in 1897, an organ in 1902 restored after the Second World War due to some German bombings in the 40's. 

 Despite that today it is very well conserved, its image is in perfect harmony with the surrounding buildings encircled by a green natural environment and highlighted in addition by  a large virgin forest immediately crossing the road facing it.

Among the several aristocratic houses and buildings dated 18th and 19th centuries, one of the great highlights is definitely Round House situated along Broxhill Road, consisting in a magnificent three storey noble mansion erected between 1790 and 1807 by William Sheldon bought by William Jakobs who after his death left that property to his niece Mary.

That stylish building is greatly highlighted by a stylish series of eight large windows on each level, its layout is completed by a touch of Neoclassical and Renaissance influences with two fine Ionic columns, a beautiful porch formed by two scenic pillars and refined Tuscan pilasters.

It is certainly  a very advanced and eclectic construction in its kind, pretty admired in that time considering an architectural spirit more oriented to other styles than the traditional used in Great Britain in that period making it an absolute attraction.

It said that all those stunning arrangements were commissioned by the former owner who was a wealthy Tea Trader who ordered the construction of a structure resembling a sort of  Caddy-Tea to remember his fortune and successful business gained with the commerce of that herbal product which became one of the beverage and infusions most famous in Great Britain and in the world.

 In that street is also situated the Water Tower built in 1934 by the company South Essex Waterworks

Despite its contemporary elevation you will notice that imposing building is a splendid inspiration linked to the medieval defencive Norman towers consisting in a high construction erected on a circular plan with three different blocks with the latter as terminal reminiscent a polygonal turret covered by a scenic pyramidal roof.

Along Orange Tree Hill you can admire the famous Bower House one of the historic and emblematic buildings, patrimony of the village, Essex and England

It is a beautiful majestic two-storey villa elevated in 1729 by Henry Filtcroft, a distinguished architect very active in the 18th century in London, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire who executed that magnificent work commissioned by John Baynes, an important lawyer also well known for his political activity  in that time.

That construction shows a magnificent Palladian style inspiration, reminiscent a Villa Veneta for architectural canons, design, lines very similar to those stunning marvels elevated by Andrea Palladio, great master of the Republic of Venice so famous in the 16th century for his outstanding, superb masterpiece of those distinguished mansions which delight millions of art and architecture lovers.

Filtctoft was very inspired by those works by that superb artist from Padua, including he also respected the use of materials using for the development of that stunning building the rests of the former Havering Palace. 

In the 19th century that beautiful structure was enlarged adding the west and east wings while one century later the main room established on the western side was largely modified.

Notable is the perfect symmetry of two lines of rectangular windows, the use of pediments, a huge one established on the top in correspondence of the roof while another much smaller was placed above the doorway at the entrance, including the marked outlines are so close for execution to many Palladian works

During its history despite it was originally a private house until 1976 that villa changed some owners becoming a property of the famous cars company, Ford and currently it hosts a training headquarter of the Amana Trust, a Christian Charity foundation.

The Blue Boar Hall is one of the oldest buildings of Havering-atte-Bower erected in the early 17th century. It  was originally a timber-framed house which was largely modified in the 19th century with the addition of a brick front side which changed its former architectural image but greatly highlighted by symmetrical windows placed on two levels with a long sloping roof. 

That site was since 1712 an Inn despite it had the official license fifty years later and it said that it got its name after an archer shot a blue boar in that place. That man according to a narration affirmed that the scared animal took that colour when it saw his arrow ready to shoot it.

That quaint village also boasts important sporting traditions, behind the Church you can see a famous Horse Riding Complex which organises equestrian exhibitions, horse riding lessons and important Polo competitions

A further is a national and traditional iconic English sports : the Cricket played in that site since 1860, seat of a historic Cricket Club with over 150 years of history linked to that popular sport born and bred in England part of the national culture with a large number of fans. 
During your visit you can also enjoy two excellent traditional gastropubs offering a delicious cuisine such as The Orange Tree located in Orange Tree Hill and the Royal Oak situated in North Road

In both it is possible to taste apart a wide range of cool beers many local specialities as different kind of delicious, traditional pies, a tender and tastefully Roast Beef, the typical Fish and Chips and many other excellent delights.

They are two very good and suggested gastronomic establishments and you will have the chance to be delighted in a lunch or a dinner by the typical and distinctive atmosphere of those traditional taverns, emblematic symbols of Great Britain.

It is very simple to reach Havering-atte Bower from London by A12 Motorway in direction Ilford taking the exit in correspondence of Havering Road crossing the municipality of Romford, once there you have to follow the indications to to Orange Tree Hill.

By train from Liverpool Street or Stratford London Stations until Romford Railway Station, the journey endures approximately 20/25 minutes and once there you can take a local bus directly taking you to Havering-atte-Bower.

The proximity of Stansted Airport situated just 40 minutes away driving can be also a great idea to choose that destination as a stage and stay during a tailor made tour in a Fly & Drive tour if you are planning an itinerary in Great Britain with a very easy, comfortable drop off of the vehicle after the last overnight in that area which also offers excellent accommodations.

That destination is simply great to know a site which reflects with its image the magnificent surroundings of that European Capital. I added some links could be helpful to know it more if you are interested with some nearest suggested accommodations.

Visiting that place is definitely a great chance to discover an enchanting environment, certainly an incentive for the relevant historic value of that village linked to the British Monarchy with that considerable Royal past related to emblematic Kings of Great Britain. 

It is undoubtedly a very suggested place to those who love history who are planning significant routes which can include iconic, distinctive sites like that next to wonderful parks, enchanting forests, a great option to combine historic, cultural tourism delighted by a splendid nature enjoying splendid huge green lungs and a picturesque, scenic English countryside.

For all those reasons and much more that oasis of serenity which offers beautiful attractions is more than suggested, a piece of history of England is also on that hill in that quaint village called Havering-atte-Bower, a shining British hidden jewel so great  to discover, know and remember with extreme pleasure.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in the surroundings
Premier Inn Romford Central Hotel 
Premier Inn Romford West Hotel 

Recommended Restaurants /Pubs
The Royal Oak
The Orange Tree

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Thanks a lot to read and note.