Our Church & Our Services


The town centre Parish Church of St. Margaret of Antioch was built in the grounds of Barking Abbey early in the 13th century and is situated a short walk from the Town Hall and main shopping centre. An excellent stop over for many visitors to the community on tours.

Barking Abbey was founded by St Erkenwald in 666AD and his sister St. Ethelburga became the first Abbess. The Abbey was endowed with land and property across an area whose boundaries were similar to the former municipal Boroughs of Barking, Dagenham and Redbridge making it one of the wealthiest in England until it was dissolved by order of Henry VIII in 1541.

The Patronage of the Parish was then transferred from the Abbey to William Pounsett of Loxford (now in the Parish of St Luke, Ilford) upon whose death the Patronage was given to All Souls College Oxford. Today the Patronage lies with All Souls and the Bishop,

At the entrance to the Churchyard is the “Grade 2*” Listed Curfew Tower (or Fire Bell Gate), the only part of the Abbey still standing.


In 2005/06 this was the subject of a conservation project with financial help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The Abbey ruins and the Churchyard, with the area surrounding the Church and Church School, were designated a Conservation Area in 1975.




The Churchyard is maintained by the Local Authority as a public open space under a lease signed in the 1930’s.

Staffing & Lay Involvement


At present we have a non- stipendiary assistant priest Revd. Elwon John and a Parish Reader (PTO) Canon Pat Nappin


A  Choir Master/Organist over sees the Sunday Worship music.


The Church office is run by one/two Parish Administrators assisted by volunteers.


The Church Centre Tea Rooms is run by a team of volunteers.




There are three Churchwardens (Town, Country and Vicar’s) ably assisted by Assistant Wardens, licensed Eucharistic ministers, Sacristan and Sidespersons.

Lay people are involved in administering the Chalice at Holy Communion Services, reading lessons, leading intercessions and worship.

St. Margaret’s has a robed RSCM affiliated choir and a Guild of Servers.


Lay people are also involved in assisting in the Church Office and Church Centre.    






On the Sunday before Christmas the morning service  “Family Carols”are enjoyed by both regular members and visitors including family members on holiday.

The evening service is one of “Nine Lessons and Carols by Candlelight”.  The Deputy Lord Lieutenant and his wife, the Mayor and Mayoress of Barking and Councillors are invited but do not always attend. Both services often average over 200 people.

Robes are worn by Choir, Clergy and Servers at all services. It has been our tradition that the Rector wears a Cope for Civic occasions and the main services on the Patronal Festival and at the Festivals of Easter and Christmas.