Before the stone church was built here in the 12th century, it appears to have been the site of an earlier Saxon-Norman timber church. Originally called Ilford, the parish was later renamed Little Ilford to distinguish it from Great Ilford. The small church of St Mary the Virgin was rebuilt in the early 18th century and stands on a corner site with a clinker and brick wall on Church Road and a low concrete post fence on Winifrede's Avenue, planted with a may hedge. The churchyard has a number of mature horse chestnuts and the gravestones in their original positions are set in grass, including a number of railed chest tombs such as that of Thomas Smith and family, and the 18th century sarcophagus for the Hatch family of Claybury Hall, Woodford Bridge. An area of flower beds has been laid out as a small memorial garden.
St Margaret's has stood in Barking since 1215.