In Chapter 61 there is a reference to Lord Cecil Facey's estate at Havering-atte-Bower and Adrian Drewe's marriage at the church. Although not stated in the book, the estate I was referring to is the Bower House, which is halfway up Orange Tree Hill (see the photo below).
Every day for around five years, as a young child, I walked past the Bower House on my way to Dame Tipping School and back home again. My mother sometimes worked at the Orange Tree Pub nearby. Children were not allowed inside of pubs in the early 1970s and during the holidays we often had to sit outside the pub or play nearby. I recall going to the gate house of the Bower House where a lovely couple lived, who would give me biscuits and lemon squash. I was only once shown the Bower House and thought it extremely grand. When my family moved away from Havering the Bower House was being sold to the Ford Motor Company as a training centre.
The photo to the right shows me outside the church at Havering-atte-Bower. It was a traditional English church made of flint. On the green outside the church is a very old oak tree. When I was growing up I heard stories of how the village got its name. One story was that Edward the Confessor had a country retreat or ‘bower’ near the village and while staying there he was approached by a beggar who asked for alms. Edward replied: “I have no money, but I have a ring,” which he gave to the beggar and that is how Havering got its name. The beggar later met some pilgrims and passed the ring to them and said: “Give this to your king, and tell him that within six months he shall die.” Edward apparently did die within that time frame. The story is a complete fabrication, yet the ring in question retains a central position on the borough’s coat of arms to this day. The man on the far left of the photograph is my grandfather who had fought on the Somme.