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lot 7 auction map.jpg

Gooshays Farm

This farm was originally part of the manor of Dagenhams, and its farm house part of the original mansion or manor house. The manor of Gooshays, after the sale of 1754, was split into several small-holdings and farms. Its acreage had shrunk since 1820 when it consisted of 287 acres, according to a newspaper advertisement of that year for sale of the lease. The farm was then known as "Great Gooses", the manor of Gooshays was purchased by the Neaves in 1829 from William Sheldon the younger, it included Gooshays farm. The Watts had been tenants since 1908. In 1919, the tenants were Messrs. R. & H. Watt who paid an annual rent of £510; they subsequently brought the farm from the Neaves in that year. Some years later Mr. R. Watt sold the farm to Mr. J. Mallison of New Hall, The farm was compulsory purchased by the L.C.C. in 1946.

Scroll to the bottom for a more detailed history of Gooshays by G Clements.

And below that a 1910 postcard of Goose Hayes Chase looking up Gooshays Drive from what is now the A12. The Cottage on the left is descibed as the Lodge.

Lot 2. Gooshays, from the 1919 auction catalogue

The Georgian farm house.

Built from the remains of an old manor house and approached by a long avenue, and containing ; four attics, six bed rooms, one with panelled walls. Dining room, drawing room, study, kitchen, scullery, bake-house, used as dairy, and wood shed.

The farm buildings.

Comprising : nag stabling, coach house, coal store, and chicken house with granary over. Large barn used as fodder and mixing room with granary over, double cow stall for 47 cows, cooling room, eight-stall stable and chaff room, open hay barn, lean-to implement and cart sheds and open shed, cow shed for 12 cows, loose boxes and waggon shed, old cow stall for 18 cows, and chicken house, grain pit (built by tenant), lean-to open shed in garden.

A pair of modern cottages. (scroll down for photograph)

Each containing three bed rooms, living room and kitchen, with detached wood shed.

Water is laid on to the house, cottages and buildings.

The whole farm comprising : 266a. Or. 30p. Of arable, pasture and woodland.

Let as follows, 254a. 3r. 33p. Of arable and pasture at a rent of £310 per annum and lla. Or. 37p. Of woodland in hand (valued at £850. To be added to the purchase price).

The occupiers were Messrs. R. & H. Watt who were on a yearly tenancy.

The outgoings : tithe rent charge (commuted amount) £50 6s 8d.

Land tax: £13 16s 0d.

The purchaser was Mr. H. Watt, who paid £5,500 + £850 for the growing timber.

                            Map below from the 1919 auction catalogue

Lot 2 auction map.jpg

Gooshays Farm House earlier, maybe between the wars

map 26 inch gooshays 1896.jpg

Gooshays in 1896

Maybe a little later, post war ?

Gooshays later.jpg
Gooshays J Howell 1959-60.jpg

Gooshays Rear from Central Park in 1959/61.

On the right was a huge barn mostly of corrugated iron. Photo J Howell


The farmhouse known as Gooshays is situated on the eastern side Gooshays Drive but faces Petersfield Ave, a little distance to the south. As the surrounding land has been developed as a public park, the house retains something of its rural setting.
As regards the origin of the name Dr Reaney(1) suggests that in Essex the word "hay" formerly denoted a forest or wood. However, later names of this sort had a reference to farming. For example Cowey (place where cows are kept) Fairy (pigs) Oxney (oxen) Yorney (sheep) and Gooshays (place where geese are kept)

The Manor of Gooshays(2) was formed in 1334 being first mentioned as held by John de Dover of Queen Phillipa as part of her Manor of Havering He was succeeded by his son, Philip, who also held the adjoining lands of New Hall(3)

In 1445 Gooshays was the residence of John Chadderton. It then became the residence of Avery Cornborough, esq(4) of the body of King Edward 1V and King Richard 111. It was Avery Cornborough who built the Chantry House, now known as Church House, which stands next to St Edward's Church, Romford. During his life time he had erected in Romford Church a "stately tomb" Avery Cornburgh died at Gooshays in 1486 and was buried in his "stately tomb" no trace of which survives today.

Gooshays continued as a royal possession, part of the Royal Liberty of Havering, until 1659 when Lord Dudley purchased the estate and built a house there. This house was subsequently occupied by the Mead family. George Fox(5) 1624-1691, the founder of the Quakers used to occasionally stay at Gooshays with his stepson William Mead.
In his journal George Fox variously refers to the estate as "Gooseys", "Gosse's" or "Gooses" near Romford and this delightfully rural name "Gooses" appears on Norden's map of 1595. The estate is similarly styled on maps of the next three centuries, for example, Speed, 1610, Chapman and Andre, 1777, Walford, 1882.


The following curious entry appears in Romford Parish Register(6) :-
1622. Dec 8. Anne………. Dau. Of a poor wom: at Goosis.
In 1717 Sir Nathanial Mead of Gooshays is mentioned in connection with the use of the Quarles family(7) vault at Romford. Again, there is no trace of this tomb today.
During the eighteenth Century the Manor became part of the Neave family's estate of Dagnams. In 1895 James Black(8) was the tenant. He was followed by the Watts family who were there until after the 1939-45 war. In 1946 Gooshays was taken over by the London County Council in connection with the development of Harold Hill. The 1659 house has long since disappeared(9) it is only the servants' quarters and offices which have been in use as a farm house and remain today. However, this surviving portion is possibly of a slightly later date.
The internal appearance(10) certainly bears out the suggestion that it was merely offices of a larger mansion. Apart from a rather fine kitchen facing north, all the rooms are small. There is no proper hall, merely a central passage way. The main staircase is completely enclosed, access from the passage being through an arched doorway on the right hand side. Although the house is at present being used as a community centre, decay and vandalism have taken such a heavy toll that restoration will be impracticable. The house is scheduled for demolition in 1961 or at the beginning of 1962. The large timber thatched barn north of the farm house was demolished in 1958 after being severely damaged by fire. Fortunately the London County Council retained the name "Gooshays Drive" when developing the former farm road. Thus the site will be remembered for a long time to come.

1 Essex Review, Vol.53. p14.
2 Cornell Manuscript (circa 1910) in the custody of Romford Branch Library.
3 A very early reference to New Hall. The Georgian House of that name was converted to the "Morris Dancers" Public House when Harold Hill was developed.
4 Memories of Old Romford, G. Terry, p76-81.
5 Essex Review, Vol. 44. P172. Sir Gurney Benham, F.S.A. Companion into Essex, Herbert. W. Tompkins, p237
6 Memories of Old Romford, G. Terry, p253.
7 Francis Quarles, author of the "Emblems" was not buried at Romford.
8 Kelly's Directory of Essex. 1882-1933.
9 Memories of Old Romford, G. Terry, p248. Also mentioned by Cornell.
10 Visited by the writer 15th October 1960.

G. J. Clements, Chelmsford. 7th January 1961.

1910 postcard of Goose Hayes Chase looking up Gooshays Drive from what is now the A12. The two cottages descibed as the Lodge were sold in the 1919 auction within Lot 3, New Hall Farm.

Goose hayes chase 1910 lodge (1).jpg
Gooshayes Drive from Gubbins Lane 1980's D Tait.jpg

This image below is a small section of an aerial photo taken in October 1951 whilst Harold Hill was under construction. The full photo can be downloaded here. The long timber, thatched barn in the centre was burned down on Guy Fawkes night in 1958. The Dutch Barn was a steel structure, clad in corrugated iron sheeting. It was completely open on one side and had a high arched roof. It was obviously erected after 1896. It in turn was removed in the early sixties as was the Gooshays Farmhouse which made way for the new Harold Hill Community Centre.One end of Dewsbury Rd can be seen and obviously the Council offices were a priority as Harold Hill was being built at a rapid rate. Harold Hill's first RSPCA clinic was sited to the front between the two barns

Gooshays 1951 aerial annotated (1).jpg
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