'Pyrgo', derived from Portegone, is found in records from the C14th, a manor on the northern edge of Havering. In 1518 it was occupied by the king’s steward, passing to Henry VIII in 1541, and in 1558/9 Elizabeth I presented it to Lord Grey, uncle of Lady Jane. It had a number of private owners and by 1828 comprised 460 acres. The C16th house was demolished by 1814 and in 1851/52 a new house was built on the site of a farmhouse but demolished in 1940, although the stable block remains. In 1863 the grounds were landscaped; parts of the terraces and steps survived into the 1950s. By 1919 the estate was 824 acres, but soon after was sold off piecemeal. Pyrgo Park House was bought with 158 acres in 1925 by Herbert Mitchell who sold it to developers in 1935. Pyrgo Park is now split between three farms. Two lodges at the north and south ends of the estate remain, together with the drive from the South Lodge.
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The name ‘Pyrgo’ is derived from Portegone and exists in records dating from the C14th although until the C16th it appears to have been applied to a district rather than a particular estate. The manor lay to the northern edge of Havering and at its furthest reaches extended into Stapleford Abbots and Navestock. Around this time 80% of the Havering parish was parkland. In 1518 the manor was occupied by the king’s steward, Sir Brian Tuke, from whom it passed to Henry VIII in 1541. The estate was managed by a succession of royal stewards until 158/9 when Elizabeth I presented it to Lord Grey, uncle of Lady Jane Grey. In 1860 the Revd. J Atkin with the aid of Mr James Newland successfully traced a subterranean passage that was said to exist in the grounds of the park: ‘the air was most foul but he persevered and entered the passage at a spot not far distant from the present ice house. It may be observed that it is in a direct line between the foundations of the ancient Royal abodes at Havering’ (Romford Records, 16 1984, ‘Pyrgo in the Victorian Reign’, M. Browne). Other Royal links exist in Pyrgo’s history. The Princesses Mary and Elizabeth stayed there in 1538 and the nearby Royal Palace of Havering (Havering Country Park q.v.) was held in turn by their respective mothers Catherine of Aragon and Ann Boleyn. Pyrgo remained intact during the interregnum and was not dissected into small farms unlike many other estates.
Sir Thomas Cheeke, Lieutenant of the Tower, acquired the manor in 1621. Although Thomas Cheeke himself was removed by James II in June 1687 due to his opposition to the Catholic King’s policies. In 1724 his daughter Dame Anne Tipping had a school for poor children erected on the Green at Havering-atte-Bower (q.v.), together with an endowment of £10 a year; the school was later demolished in 1808. The estate remained in Sir Thomas's family until 1790 and was then sold to Edward R Howe. By 1814 the Tudor house had been demolished and although the terracing of the site was still visible in 1921, excavations in 1972 were without significant result. An adjacent farmhouse to the south east of the Tudor house was used as the residence until 1852 when the owner at the time, Robert Field, built a new mansion on the site of the farmhouse. This was designed by Anthony Salvin and was later enlarged in 1862 by E M Barry, when it was described as 'Classical Italian' in style. In 1863 Joseph Bray employed Edward Kemp to landscape the grounds with gardens and a lake. A chapel was also built near the house. The sale catalogue of 1867 described the property as fit for 'a gentleman of rank and wealth, or for a merchant prince'. The house was eventually demolished in 1940 although the C19th stable block remains and in c.1950 parts of the C19th garden terraces and steps survived. Over the C19th the estate was enlarged a number of times, comprising 460 acres in 1828 and 600 acres by 1873 when it was in the ownership of Major-General Albert Fyche. However, the agricultural depression that followed led to his downfall and in 1887 Pyrgo was transferred by an order of mortgages to William Gibbs. The estate was developed again in the early C20th by the wealthy widow of Lord O’Hagan but after her death the 824 acres were sold off piecemeal. Pyrgo Park House was bought with 158 acres in 1925 by a Herbert Mitchell who in turn sold out to developers in 1935.
The present Home Farm situated to the south of the Tudor house dates from the C18th, and was enlarged in 1867. Two lodges at the north and south ends of the estate remain, together with the drive from the south lodge leading to the old stables and Home Farm. A public footpath across site was probably a medieval roadway, which provided a route to Stapleford Abbots from Broxhill Road used by local people. For a time this was deemed to be a private road 'only open to the public by courtesy'. Another public footpath leads from North Road near the Vicarage of to the site of the old mansion. Pyrgo Park is now split between three farms.
Victoria County History of Essex vii pp16/17; M Browne, 'Pyrgo in the Victorian Reign' in Romford Record 16, 1984; John Drury, 'Treasures of Havering', Ian Henry Publications, 1998