Outer London borough of northeast Greater London, including the districts of Hornchurch, Romford, Rainham, and Upminster; population (2001) 224,300. Notable features of the borough are Church House, in Romford; Bower House; and Havering Country Park.
The borough of Havering was created on 1 April 1965, comprising the former municipal borough of Romford and the former urban district of Hornchurch. The name was chosen because most of the newly established borough lay within the bounds of the Royal Liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, granted by charter in 1465. Largely agricultural until the 19th century, the area includes the commuter suburbs of Gidea Park, Mawneys, Redden Court, Nelmes, Bedfords Park, Cranham, and Upminster, all of which were once small villages.
Features The borough is home to the 15th-century Church House, Romford; St Andrew's, Hornchurch, the only church in England to have a bull's head and horns instead of a cross at the east end (hence Hornchurch); The Bower, at Havering-atte-Bower, a small medieval palace used by the wives of Henry VIII, and the official residence of queens of England until 1620, after which time it fell into decay and was sold during the Commonwealth (1649–60); the present Bower House (1729), a small country residence, which incorporates the old royal palace's coat of arms; part of the grounds of the medieval palace, which survive as Havering Country Park, and remains of the palace itself; and the church of St John, built in 1876 on the site of a palace chapel.
The Bower, built by Edward the Confessor, was used by later monarchs as a hunting-lodge for the neighbouring forest. The church of St Helen and St Giles at Rainham dates from 1160 and has a Saxon font. Parts of St Mary Magdalene, North Ockendon, and St Lawrence, Upminster, are also medieval. Rainham Hall, now a National Trust property, was built in 1729. Parkland areas include Bedfords and Raphael parks; and the botanical Langton Gardens, Hornchurch, now a registry office.
The rose grower J H Pemberton, propagator of the Alexandra rose, lived in the Round House in the early 20th century; the building, built around 1792, was reputedly constructed in the shape of a tea caddy.
Havering Council – Information and Services