Barking Abbey, which lies just to the north west of St. Margaret’s church, was
founded about 666AD by St. Erkenwald, Bishop of London. The present layout
records the 12th century building. By the time it was dissolved by Henry VIII
in 1539 it was the most important nunnery in England. The Abbey was
pulled down in 1541 and the building materials were recycled. The site
was investigated by the 18th century antiquary and Lord of the Manor, Smart
Lethieullier (1700-1760). Alfred W. Clapham and Charles J. Dawson
supervised archaeological excavations in 1910. This gave work to the local
unemployed. The outline of the Abbey was laid out in low stone walls.
The Curfew Tower is the only surviving Abbey building. It was built about 1460
and has been extensively repaired. It has two storeys. The lower floor forms a
gateway, originally into the Abbey precinct, but now the churchyard. Inside, on
the east wall, is a worn and damaged finely carved rood, or crucifix,
dating from about 1150AD. The Curfew Tower is an iconic Barking building
and figures in various coats of arms.
St. Margaret’s Church
This Grade 1 listed building dates from the 1200’s. The Church Centre was
erected in 1991. He produced an impression of the church and abbey in 1500;
another showing Captain James Cook’s marriage in 1762 and a drawing of the
church and Curfew Tower sketched in 1976. Frank’s love of the church is
clearly shown in his drawings which were reproduced as popular notelets and a
Frank had a long term passionate interest in Eastbury where he served as a tour guide for many years. The house probably dates from the 1550’s and was built for the mysterious Clement Sisley. The property was saved from destruction in the 1840's and again in 1918. Fortunately it was acquired by the National Trust who carried out extensive repairs to ensure the survival of this beautiful Elizabethan red brick house.
Barking Manufacturers’ Association
This 1958 sketch shows two, now demolished, mid-nineteenth houses at 16/18 Cambridge Road. The Association had 105 members in 1959.
Upney Lane, Barking
This charming sketch shows a row of nineteenth century cottages in Upney Lane, Barking. They survive but have been much disfigured with advertising hoarding and brash neon signs.