Becontree is a hundred in the south-west of the county of Essex. Its area has been entirely absorbed by the growth of the conurbation spreading out from London; with its name reused in 1921 for the large Becontree estate. It is by far the most populous of the hundreds, with a population, including the liberty of Havering, of 1,169,095 in 2011.
The name is first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Beuentreu, meaning tree of a man called Beohha. The original tree, at Becontree Heath, was the location that early hundred meetings took place. In 1465 the Royal Liberty of Havering was formed in the eastern part of the hundred, comprising the parishes of Hornchurch, Romford and Havering-atte-Bower. Excluding the area of the liberty, the hundred contains the parishes of Barking, Dagenham, East Ham, Ilford (also known as Great Ilford), Leyton, Little Ilford, Walthamstow, Wanstead and West Ham.
The southern boundary with the Blackheath hundred of Kent is for the most part the River Thames, except at North Woolwich where Kent trespasses over the river. In the east the Havering liberty borders Chafford Hundred; and to the north Waltham and Ongar hundreds. The River Lea forms the western boundary with the Tower division of the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. The River Roding runs roughly north to south through the area.
- John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, (1870-72)
- Mills, A., Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names, (2001)
- The hundred of Becontree: Introduction', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5 (1966). Date accessed: 11 January 2008.
- British History Online - Map of Becontree Hundred, (1973)
- British History Online - The Origin of North Woolwich, (1973)
|Hundreds of Essex|
Barnstable • Becontree (including Havering liberty) • Chafford • Chelmsford • Clavering • Dengie (including Maldon) • Dunmow • Freshwell • Harlow • Hinckford • Lexden (including Colchester) • Ongar • Rochford • Tendring (including Harwich) • Thurstable • Uttlesford • Waltham • Winstree • Witham