St Margarets and Captain Cook
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St Margarets and Captain Cook

This is where Captain James Cook was married.


This is the church where intrepid explorer and navigator Captain James Cook got married.

Barking Abbey was founded on this spot by the Saxon Lord Erkenwald in 666AD, who later became the Bishop of London, and the abbey became very rich and influential because of its royal patronages.

It was closed in 1539 and demolished soon after. Today only the Curfew Tower remains standing and an outline of some of the buildings are also faintly visible.

The area is maintained as a green public open space by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch is situated here in the grounds just to the south of the Abbey's ruins.

The last Steward of the Abbey, William Pounsett was given the right to appoint the Vicar of St Margaret's a right now shared by All Souls College, Oxford, the Bishop of Chelmsford and our Churchwardens.

Three marble slabs on the Wall of the North porch give the names and date of appointment of all the recorded Vicars of Barking from 1315 to now.

The oldest part of the present building is thought to be the Chancel which was built in the early 1200's during King John's reign. The church began life as a chapel for the local people and worship was lead by a chaplain from the Abbey.

The Bell Tower was added in the late 1400's and houses a Peal of 8 bells. In 1772 the ceilings of the Nave, Chancel and Sanctuary were covered in plaster, which was removed from the Nave in 1842.

The church has a number of interesting memorials and benefaction boards. These record the lives of many local people both from Barking and the surrounding areas of Beehive, Ilford, Parsloes and Dagenham, reminding us that the influence of the Abbey covered a wide area. These provide us with information about the churches links with the City of London, in particular the Poulters Livery Company, and of the fishing industry that flourished in Barking until the railways came.

Location: Abbey Road, Barking