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Dorina Parsons Letter

Lady Dorina Neave's daughters

Dorina Neave Sketch, 1928.jpg
Dorina Neave wedding, The Bystander July 15th 1936.jpg
Renee Neave wedding 1938.jpg

Dorina Parsons nee Neave             Corresponds !

Essex Countryside.JPG

Below a transcript of the A Kilby letter published in February, 1981 in the Essex Countryside Magazine. Beneath that is Dorina Parson's reply from Jan 1982 in full. I have transcribed it as it was written. There is one exception, Dorina Parsons, (daughter of Dorina Neave) always used a squiggle instead of "and", my keyboard does not have a suitable squiggle, so I have taken the liberty in all cases of replacing the squiggles with the word "and". Thanks to Ernie Herbert for providing me with a photcopy of the original letter and to Don Tait for filling in a few gaps (the words I could not decipher).

Del Smith


''In your December issue Mrs C. Curie wanted information on Dagnams Mansion, and its location. She is probably living right on it, depending which end of Bridgewater Road [sic] she lives in.
The earliest records show that in 1335 Philip deDover held the manor belonging to William Dakenham at a rent of thirteen shillings a year and his son, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, held the manors of Dagenham and Cockerells of the then King until his death in 1454; In 1495 Sir William Husee was holding what had now become Dagnames, which was owned by Elizabeth, Queen of King Henry VII as part of her manor of Havering-atte-Bower. In 1517 another change in name tells us that the estate was being held by one Peter Christmas and it was now Daggenham and Cockerells.
The original owner was one De Dagenham and the letter "S" on the end of the name indicates a neighbouring parish. Then came William Turk followed by Thomas Legatt who seems to have held nearly all of what is now Noak Hill, South Weald, Kelvedon Hatch and Brook Street and it passed on to his son Thomas in 1555.
By the early 1600s the name Dagnams had come to be firmly established and the manors of Dagnams, Wrights Bridge, Cockerells and others were held by Lawrence Wright MD, physician to Oliver Cromwell and the Charterhouse who died in 1657. His son Henry married Anne the daughter of John, first Lord Crewe of Stene and sister of the Bishop of Durham, and was created a baronet a few years before his death in 1664.
It was during the next year, the year of the dreadful London plague, that the stately mansion of Dagnams, in which resided Sir Henry Wright's widow and her two children, Henry and Anne, was frequently visited by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys who went there as often as he could to escape the plague, which had spread far beyond London and was even rife in the Romford area.
As many as 4,000 are said to have died in one night in London and in Romford there were ninety burials in 1665. One of the servants at Dagnams was smitten with the plague and it was arranged to convey her to the pest house in Collier Row Lane. Going along a narrow country lane the pest coach was met by the coach of Sir Anthony Brown of Weald Hall who was accompanied by his young brother and some friends.
The young man, seeing the curtains drawn close and thinking there was some young lady within thrust his head into the carriage and with a shock saw somebody looking very ill and in a "sick dress" and in the words of Samuel Pepys "stunk mightily".
Seeing who it was put the young gentleman into a fright and a fear of the plague which nearly cost him his life. As every schoolboy knows the Great Fire of London in 1666 ended this horrible disease.
Dagnams passed on to Sir Henry Wright who died in 1681. As he was unmarried it went to his sister Anne. From her it went to Edward Carteret, uncle to the late Earl of Granville, who died in 1739 leaving it to his two daughters, Bridget who was maid of honour to Queen Caroline, and Anne Isabella wife of Admiral Cavendish. They jointly sold the estate to Henry Muilman in 1748. In 1772 he sold Dagnams to a Mr Neave who pulled down the old house and erected a new Dagnams on a different site, so Mrs Curie, if you are not sitting on the Dagnams that was demolished when Harold Hill Estate came into being you could be somewhere near the site of the original one.

North Road

Dear Mr Kilby,

A friend has today sent me a copy of February's Essex Countryside with your letter on “Dagnams” and I would like to correct the following point. There were three Dagnams!

No 1 was the moated Tudor building and was sited at the southern end of the wood called Great Hatters and about 150 yds from the Home Farm House and buildings and your stories about it are correct. 1936 was the last time I walked up Great Hatters and Dagnams 1 and you could still see the mounds and depressions beside the pond (all that remained of the moat) which we were told was the side of No 1. When No 1 burnt down.

No 2 was a Charles II low red brick house ( my brother Sir Arundell Neave did or does possess a picture of it) with a large stable block and 3 acre walled garden- all this was sited about ½ mile north of No 1 and east of Gt Hatters Wood. It was bought as you say by Sir Richard Neave 1 st Bt . He retained the east wing of No II, which contained the kitchen and servant's quarters, pulled down the rest and built a Georgian block in yellow brick which he imported from Norfolk; where we originally came from.

In 1940 my father Sir Thomas Neave (5th Baronet) died and the house and grounds were requisitioned and soldiers billeted in it and all their transport was under the trees in the park. The house was hit by a bomb, right at the end of the war, which just hit the edge of the roof and cracked the wall at the front of the house. When emergency repairs were done, they found the walls were 2 ½ bricks thick, which was why it hadn't collapsed. The house had cellars and a barrelled sloped damp course, you could easily crawl along the whole way round the house – I can't recall if these foundations were Dagnams II or III. After the war, the London County Council compulsorily bought the property for £60,000 – I have never and will never return. When the LCC bought, they said they were going to repair the house and use as a club centre, and put in a caretaker. I've been told he diligently stripped the lead off the roof, an easy task, you got up through a trap door and could walk all round inside the parapet and scramble into a sort of well in the centre, about 20ft by 15ft, all lead covered. Where we as children could hide or later on sunbathe. Once the lead was stripped off the rain got into the bomb cracks etc and I believe the house was demolished, I've often wondered if the stables and garden walls still stand? On the south side was a large lake and on the west side the largest Cork Ilex in England, heavily propped. There was a drive leading from Noak Hill which passed between the house and stables and garden and continued in a straight line to the main Romford – Brentwood Rd. Mr J H Eborn's picture of Dagnams, now called Dagnam Park is what I have, it shows Sir Richard's Georgian pile and the brown part is Dagnams II which was nearly obscured by a high Yew hedge, i.e servants were not supposed to gaze on the front lawns!! I've a vague idea Dagnams II was built by a Carteret. Mrs Curle might be amused to know the Woolwich Drag hounds had a line across the top of the park from Gallow's Corner and Ingrebourne Brook and the Essex Hounds used to draw our woods and I, in the 20's used to hunt with the Essex Union over Upminster and surrounding country.

Yours Sincerely

Dorina Eileen Parsons (Mrs)


Umberleigh Devon


076-94 236

Jan 28th

Dorina Neave wedding, The Bystander July 15th 1936.jpg
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