Hainault Forest Website

The Old Forest Boundary Stones



The map shows the boundaries of the Hainault section of the Forest of Essex following the perambulation in 1641 for Charles I. To the South is the road from Ilford towards Romford via the Whalebone and to the West and North is the River Roding from Ilford to Passingford Bridge, with stones and the Bourne Brook marking the Eastern boundary.

The Forest Bounds Stone, not mentioned in the survey of 1641 is positioned between the Marks Stone and the Havering Stone.

Adapted by Brian Ecott from W.R.Fisher (1887) The Forest of Essex.

Commemorative plaque, placed at the foot of each of the stones in 1909 when the stones were located and reset by The Essex County Council and The Essex Field Club.

The plaque reads:

 "Perambulation of the Forest of Waltham, 8th September 1641 (17th Charles I).   One of the Forest Meer or Boundary Stones set up by authority of the Commissioners appointed under the Great Seal."

Photo: © V.E.George.

Introduction by 

Vic George

The Normans enjoyed the hunt, and after the conquest they set up areas known as Forests in which the Deer were protected. These were not just wooded areas, as we think of Forests today, but embraced towns, villages, farms and hamlets. They introduced Forest Laws to control the forest and protect the King's Deer and its habitat. In doing so, they were far ahead of their time, forming a structure something akin to modern conservation concepts, in realising that survival of the species was linked to the protection of its environment.


Hainault Forest was originally part of the Forest of Waltham and Essex, which at one time embraced the whole County. The boundaries varied, but eventually became properly defined in 1301. Fines for breaches of the forest laws were a good source of revenue for the Crown, and Charles I. after abolishing Parliament, expanded the forest boundaries in order to increase this revenue. The laws were the cause of a great deal of unrest to the ordinary people and landowners and after the reintroduction of Parliament in 1640 (which came to be known as the Long Parliament) the King agreed to the resetting of the old boundaries. A Commission was set up in 1641 and witnesses were questioned as to the earlier boundaries which had existed some twenty years before in the reign of King James.


The new restricted boundaries were thus established with the old Roman road from Stratford (Bow) to Romford forming the southern boundary, the River Lea forming the western boundary and various hedges and purlieu banks formed the northern boundary. As no obvious natural indicators existed to the east, stones were erected to mark the eastern side. These stones, erected in 1641 still exist. In 1909 the Essex Field Club sought assistance of the Essex County Council and restored the stones, some of which had been damaged or fallen over, and mounted a small plaque at the base of each stone, to commemorate the event. Sadly several of these stones are no longer in place.



 Map ref: TQ 519 969

This is the most northerly of the stones. It is located in a corner of the common at Curtismill Green. it is best approached from the northern end of the Common, turning left off the main track and crossing an open field to the furthest corner of the wood, close to the M11. It is well maintained.

Photo: © V.E.George


Map ref: TQ 520 963

Follow the path heading south and bordering the woodland. Skirting some houses at the other end of the wood, follow the lane until you reach the main track. Turn left through a metal gate. The stone is located in a small field on the right. This is private land and the stone can only be viewed with permission.


Photo: © Brian Ecott


Map ref: TQ 490 915

From the Navestock Stone the Forest boundary follows the Bourne brook in a southerly direction and the Park Corner Stone is located  in the corner of the playing fields formerly attached to Forest Lodge School, Lodge Lane, Collier Row. The school has now been completely demolished (27.4.04). Permission may be needed to view the stone, which was hidden under a tangle of thorns and bramble. The commemorative plaque is missing. The letters in the close up picture show part of the original inscription, shown in red below.

Photo: © B.S.Harris


Map ref: TQ 489 911

This stone is situated by the side of the B174 next to a Coal Duty post and close to a row of cottages on the boundary between Redbridge and Havering. The original stone could not be found and a dummy stone was erected in 1909. A lamp post is also alongside which was digitally removed!


Photo: © B.S.Harris








Map ref: TQ 487 895

Originally in a field 200yds east of the Mark's Stone, the stone was discovered in 1894 broken and was re-erected by the Essex County Council and the Essex Field Club in 1909. On its west face was an inscription Sept 8 164..  It was broken off at the base in 1959, restored, and again recently damaged. It has been brought to Valence House, Dagenham and is currently in the care of  the Museum archivist. No photograph at present.


Map ref: TQ 485 895

There are two stones at this location, the left one shows MARKS STONE, and is the stone erected in 1641. The other stone, more decipherable, is of 18th century origin being placed there in 1772. They are situated in a hedge on the east side of Whalebone Lane North.

Photo: © Brian Ecott




Map ref: TQ 484 887

The stone is not mentioned in the Perambulation of 1641 but is marked on Chapman & André's Map of Essex (1777) and on Carey's Map of 1786.This listed double stone (shown here with a Coal Duty post) was inadvertently removed and destroyed in 1993. It was positioned south of the A12 Eastern Avenue in Whalebone Lane by the corner railings of the Warren School near the entrance to a golf driving range. The Coal post is at Valence House Museum Dagenham.


Photograph taken from George Tasker's "Country Rambles around Ilford" (1910). Published by South Essex Recorders. Photo taken just after the stones had been re-erected by The Essex County Council and Essex Field Club in 1909.





Map ref: TQ 489 882

The last of the stones is located in the High Road at Chadwell Heath, going towards Romford, on the left where the buildings end and the fields begin. The stone currently has a low railing protecting it. An 1861 Coal Duty Act post and a listed 19th century disused roadside water pump stand opposite, across the road. A couple of hundred yards further on is St. Edwards School.

Colour photographs: © Brian Ecott



Anon (1892) Perambulation of the Forest of Waltham in Essex in 17CharlesI (1641). Essex Naturalist vi pp12-16.

Anon (1909) Inspection of the Boundary Stones of the old Forest of Waltham. Essex Naturalist  pp 111-114

Anon (1993) Boundary Stone Puzzle, Shock after 350 year old monument goes missing. Ilford Recorder Nov.18.

Campion F.W. & Campion H. (1908) The Old Boundary Stones of Waltham Forest. Antiquary iv pp 171-174

Clifford T. (1992) Barking and Dagenham Buildings Past and Present  p25. Barking & Dagenham Libraries Dept.

De Caux  H. (1971) in Romford Record No. 4  The Forest Boundary Stones. Romford & District Historical Society.

Meldola R. (1895) The Eastern Boundary Stones of the Forest of Waltham. Essex Naturalist ix pp 1-10

Meldola R. (1908) The Eastern Boundary Stones of the Forest of Waltham: Supplementary Note. Essex Naturalist..

O'Leary J.G. (1949) Book of Dagenham.

Tasker G. (1910) Country Rambles around Ilford. Published by South Essex Recorders.