Highlands and Ilford Castle

It was Sir Charles Raymond who built the three-sided tower that was known as Raymond's Folly, Ilford Castle or Cranbrook Castle. Raymond purchased Valentines in 1754 and within a few years he acquired other property in the area. This included the estates of Cranbrook, Wyfields and Highlands between Cranbrook Road and the River Roding. Some of the fields he retained, others he sold on, but in 1765 he rebuilt Highlands House which he leased to his very good friend and business associate William Webber. After the death of Webber and of his own wife, probably around 1781, Raymond left Valentines to live at Highlands with the widowed Mrs.Webber, who was the sister of his dead wife.

He built the "castle", a crenellated tower, on the Highlands estate in 1765 as a mausoleum for his family. Apparently it had catacombs with fourteen compartments in the underground vault. Above this was a chapel, and above that a room where refreshments could be served.

However no one was ever buried there; instead Sir Charles Raymond and his wife Sarah were buried at St. Margaret's at Barking. According to George Tasker (Ilford Past and Present, 1901) a descendant of Sir Charles Raymond came across some documents relating to the mausoleum that stated that Raymond and the Bishop could not agree over certain points connected with the consecration, so the ceremony was not performed.

The documents also show that the building cost £420 and Tasker comments that the quality of the brickwork was very fine even after 130 years.

After Sir Charles Raymond died in 1788 his daughters sold Highlands to Sir James Long and it was merged into the Wanstead House estate. Highlands was demolished early in the 19th century but the castle survived to living memory.