The Osier Project.

20200611_135822preview (5)The start.

Dames Road Forest Gate. If I ever took the 58 bus from Markhouse Road to Green Street I’d wonder at the word “Dames”. Where Richard Dames lived is now Anna Neagle Close so they say. It’s a probable local history. Charles Richard Dames (1793-1862) was a sugar refiner and very wealthy. A sugar refiner and a landowner with properties in Forest Gate and Whitechapel. He had a freehold estate used for his sugar refinery in Lambeth Street, Whitechapel where he had cooperages and a steam sugar-house. stables and a pub called The Crown or Tne White Hart (The London Gazette 11th May 1877) Notice The London Gazette notice fifteen years after Dames died.


Research showed that the Dames family lived in Chingford and Forest Rise at Whipps Cross besides Forest House (Dames Road) in what was called West Ham.

Charles Dames was a millionaire wben he died leaving the wealth to his three sons and his daughter.

Slavery in Britain as in trading in slaves ended legally in 1833. Sugar and tobacco were coming into London ports. Sugar was white gold. In 1768 there were steam-powered sugar mills in Jamaica.

A sugar-boiler lived on Odessa Road in the late 1800s.



William Colegrave. He bought Cann Hall Manor just off from Dames Road and on a  clear route to Wanstead in 1671 and died in 1721 when he was buried with his wife and sons in St Sepulchre London.

Colegrave was a merchant (likely of wool) living in Ellingham, Norfolk, renting out Cann Hall to tenants so he was an absent landlord and we speculated why he would want Cann Hall area, farm and all. Buxton School is built on a site adjacent to Cann Hall Farm. We can visualise that carts could traverse the tracks across fields and  by other farms down by Dagenham Brook and reach Lea Bridge area. Author Claire Weiss advises us that those living nearer West Ham, Essex used the crossing of the River Lea at Bow whilst Lea Bridge Road area had its own history regarding getting traffic across the Lea.

Colegrave and Manby were related* . A Manby is recorded in Stratford Essex. There was definitely a Colegrave -Manby relatonship in 1840 and a Manby dynasty owned Denver Hall in Norfolk. A Thomas Manby-Colegrave was referenced in 1886. The Manby name goes back to Edward 1st’s reign.

A William Colegrave Esq. owned Downsell Hall in Essex hence Downsell Road in E10 where Cann Hall estate existed. * A Manby also at Downsell Hall married a Colegrave woman. An Edwàrd Manby-Colegrave had connection to slaving in Cuba. Slavery in Cuba was illegal by 1886. Details to follow. And dates.

Colegrave spent days in London at or near Lambeth Palace and that cultural venue was known as La Place.

(A John Manby in 1623 left the UK to go to Virginia.

A Richard Lee Manby was definitely a slaver.)

In his will William Colegrave of St Giles in the county of Middlesex said he wanted” to be buried  near his wife and where so many of his children and grandchildren lie”. Those sons he named as Henry, William and three (sic) daughters, Frances, wife of Edward Simpson; Mary Walmesley, and Barbara Mordaunt; also a nephèw John Savery (1712-1721).

In conclusion, despite deep research we could not link that rich “merchant” with slaving and plantations.  We have in Leytonstone a Colegrave Road.

As a breather, here are roads we used as starting points to suspected slavers:-

Dames Road

Vansittart Road

Manby Grove

Blackhorse Road

Vansittart Road

Ingestre Road

Cobbold Road

Colegrave Road

Maynard Road

Barclay Road

Greville Road

Warwick Road

Brooke Road

Overton Drive

Markmanor Avenue

Dyers Hall Road


Back to the stories.

In 1623 Sir William Batten (1601-1667) had Black House. He was a Merchant Taylor in 1623 and a Freeman of Portsmouth by 1638. It is probable that Batten’s wife’s family owned Black House or even Greville.

Sir Thomas Cooke (1648-1709) in 1697 was a Lord of the Manor of Hackney. He was an associate at the East India Company and the governor of the Bank of England. He had estates in American as in plantations. He belonged to the Royal African Company (slavers).

In 1671 Colegrave had Cann Hall Manor.

1673 Josiah Child (1668-1704) inherited Wanstead House. He married Cooke’s daughter in 1691. Cooke had been knighted in 1690. The wedding was at St John At Hackney.  Child was 23 years old. His father had been director at the East India Company.  Cooke was many things.  It looks like a mercantile economic marriage except Child never continued in his father’s work.

In his lifetime,  Cooke as a Lord of Hackney Manor, had control of the goings-on down Lea Bridge Road.

Josiah Child had married the daughter of a slaver. When he died he was living in Hackney. His wife Elizabeth survived another thirty odd years after him in Hackney.

I moved from Burwell Road up to The Lanes in Forest  Gate. My house is from 1860 and has the scullery, narrow stairs and outside WC typical of old stock railway workers’ two-up  two-down dwellings built to line the new railway tracks in Victorian Britain. The house was built by John Cobbold and the Earl of Shrewsbury who stated in the deeds that no water closet should be built. Wasn’t me, gov. I had nearly bought a house in Cobbold Road Leytonstone and had researched the area at the time (2017).  I’d found the sites of Cobbold School and Cann Hall Lane School . I’d climbed to the roof of old Tom Hood School and seen on a ground level wall the stone wall plaque  commemorating the Wanstead Board of Education elementary Cobbold School 1901. Cobbold was on my radar.

John Cobbold and The Earl of Shrewsbury by name of John Talbot were members of Parliament and of the Conservative Land Society.  The Society bought up land next to the railway over Vansittart Road and built homes for the people moving out of Whitechapel and Hoxton in a bid to house rail workers and get party votes.

Vansittart was the first Chancellor of The Exchequer.  There’s Talbot Road, Ingestre, Bective  and many where further research will outline the political lives behind the celebrity names. Alton Towers comes into the colourful  background.

Cobbold was a pioneer in the creation of the local GOBLIN railway and further. He came from a line of Ipswich brewers now known as Tolly Cobbold which has since around 2005 been swallowed up by a bigger brewery.

There is great joining line between the Parliament groups in 1860 and the Royal African Company.  Any business with the Atlantic Slave Trade had been outlawed by the British government in 1833. Compensation was then paid to the plantation owners by the British government and the debt was finally paid off by British tax-payers in 2015.

Cobbold has no found personal link to slaving. He sat on committees where many had financial business in slavery.

Vansittart belonged to a company to decolonise and repatriate freed slaves. It was seen by some as a ploy that furthered the principles of slavery in that it assisted bereft slavers and was of no benefit to Africans. Liberia is now the name of that country for that intended de-colonisation. The British colonialists rather repatriated freed slaves to Sierra Leone.

Miscellaneous: Ingestre voted with the West India interest into the sugar duties 12th Sept. 1831.

Back  to Lea Bridge Road. Author Claire Weiss describes in her admirable and fascinating research about Blackmarsh and Lea Bridge Farm the silk dyers at the farm.

John Peck in 1739 had built four dwellings for widowed dyers of Bethnal Green. There is a Dyers Hall Road off Grove Green Road Leytonstone. It was in the 1700s part of a plant nursery approached from Leytonstone High Road.

John Peck was on the board of the Worshipful Company Dyers of London. Dyers worked with cloth merchants. ‘Merchant’ is a suspect word a bit like ‘trader’. He came from Ipswich.

Sir Robert Ladbroke (1713-1773), very much involved in the Hugeonot  circles,  married Peck’s granddaughter called Elizabeth Brown. Ladbroke was a banker and a distiller in Lombard Street and Lord Mayor of London. His and Elizabeth’s son called Robert, a banker, distiller and politician, married a Kingscote, a banker’s daughter, in Walthamstow Essex in 1769. Walthamstow! There werè estates of land inherited by every generation. The banking interest was taken in by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1841.

Definitely Peck’s granddaughter by marrying into a banker’s dynastical enterprise had married into the financiers of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Was Peck alive?


So far, not much money filtering down to the workers and peasants of the land by Lea  Bridge Road except in the form of presumably free board for the Dyers Hall Road widows’ refuge home. I would assume that the widows were of Hugeonot descent.


William Morris. Talking of Ladbrokes in Walthamstow.

William Morris ( 1834-1896)

Morris worked on copper plating. Copper comes from mines. He visited the Duke of Bedford’s mines to buy that copper. Now where did the Dukes of Bedford wealth originate? Touchy here because Morris is Waltham Forest’s darling after Hitchcock. Or before, depending on the season. The  extremely rich Russell family holders of the Duke of Bedford title since Henry v11 had amassed wealth from the Empire’s business trading in the Americas and the East. The Duke Morris dealt with collected  royalties paid by  the Cornish Devon copper-mines on his land in Tavistock which he owned. Now our socialist rich craftsman Morris must have smelt that wealth. Morris senior had shares in the mine and with five other investoŕs owned it. The copper was shipped to the Americas. William Morris of wallpaper fame was a director of the company owning the copper mines. Nice and rich, he then became a socialist. You couldn’t make it up.

What did the poor of Walthamstow get from Morris? Servants’  jobs at The Water House.

That castle in “Downton Abbey” was the home of the Russell dynasty, the Dukes of Bedford. The current owner of their Highclere Castle which is indeed a manor house, Russell, has a a list of titles and it was his great grandfather who used his wealth or his wife’s to employ Carter to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun. That senior Russell died from a mosquito bite.

Sir Fisher Tench owned a plantation in Virginia, America. He was sub-governor of The Royal African Company. Strype follwed him around like a scribing shadow. Tench lived in tbe Leyton Great House. He had an ostentatious funeral all stage-managed at his death and his coffin is entombed at St Mary’s Church Leyton E 10 as in Essex of yore and that burial plot showcases an enormous head stone. Tench’s father Nathaniel was the first governor of the Bank of England. Sir Fisher was an MP, an associate of the East India Company, a baronet and the High Sheriff of Essex in 1711.

He converted his slaves to Christianity.

We needed to find out how his inherited and accumulated enormous wealth from being a City of London financier and having a say in many companies benefited  the population of rural Leyton. Still searching.

S for Slaver.


That Maynard legacy examined.

Henry Maynard.(-) Lord of The Manor of Walthamstow sold the land by St Mary’s Church Walthamstow which now houses a museum and before that a police station for £6 in 1726 for it to be a workhouse for the parish poor. A Thomas King and his wife were the workhouse governors. The purpose was for the Vestry (church) committee of elders to be relieved of maintaining the paupers in the village. Paupers became inmates.

We did find that Sir Charles Maynard the second Viscount and the fifth baronet (1751-1824) did in 1820 repair the ferry crossing near Black House. It arose from the question about who funded parish workhouses. In Walthamstow, the church.

We looked into the upkeep of the infrastructure in Essex and by Blackmarsh Farm. In the C18th there was a Public Works Loan Scheme for the maintenance of bridges and public amenities such as wells, roads and bridges. The landowners as in Lords of tne Manors controlled the works on anything needing mended. The treasury through the Bank loaned money to the magnates  who were never held accountable for its whereabouts. Depositors feared that the Bank would collapse so they took out their money. Merchants who relied on the Bank for mortgages and else were being bankcrupted. The alternative which happened was to tax the population for parish repairs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, opposed the PWLB scheme 1779. (Estate Acts 1600-1830).


Francis Greville (1719-1773) Slaver 1771 Tobago. 1st Earl of Warwick. Lord Brooke then Earl Brooke. No connection to Leyton or Walthamstow. The road is named after another Francis Greville who was Lord Lieutenant of Essex and wealthy from his slaving ancestors. Q E D.  We can find nothing to establish the Greville’s value to the osier gatherers down by Lea Bridge Farm.

All those rich landowners about but no paid work for the peasants. Scientifically speaking, we wòuld need to compare Walthamstow Essex with other Essex parishes. Remember this is a desk-top primary research project as an eye-opener for seniors based in Leyton. It is a motivation to use digitally registered information and current technology.

We  thank Claire Weiss of Leyton, Bill Bayliss, Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society, E7 Now and Then, Wikipaedia, History Matters at Sheffield University and more to reference as we remember or see from scrappy notes.

We find no connection from the lineage of the celebrated Maynards to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Their history is Walthamstow. We did find a Maynard with an estate in Jamaica and we will return to clarify that.



The Mill-owners.

By Blackmarsh Farm there were mills. There was Lea Bridge Mill by the Cowbridge and Coppermill by Walthamstow Common Mead and the osier beds parallel to the Black Path. Further afield, literally, along the River Lea towards Stratford were the Temple Mills. Williams, the owner of Temple Mills from 1788, made the copper linings for the slave ships.

By 1720 the mills were turned over from corn-milling to interests in woollen manufacture and the workers are never referred to as millers. Black House Lane in Saxon times was the route from the common lands of Higham Hill to the nearest mills plural at what is now called Lea Bridge (area). Nothing to do with slavers here that we could find and no evidence that Lords of The Manor owned the mills.

Conclusion. It was a very knowledge laden introduction to desk-top primary research. Most of the volunteers on the project had no access to the internet and all relinquished their interest after week two.

Barnham and I finished our intense research after one month.

It is now June 11th 2020. The world is in uproar demonstrating about the colossal legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Author Gillian Lawrence

Contributors Mary Barnham Gillian Lawrence

January 2020 to March 2020

Please credit the author in any lifting of text.