The Lower Lea Valley has been more or less continuously occupied since the end of the last Ice Age c. 12,000 years ago. Traces of human activity from all periods have been found in the ground: from Neolithic farms to Roman roads, from Saxon fish ponds to medieval monasteries.
Waltham Forest UDP Proposals map designates an archaeological priority zone whilst Hackney’s Core Strategy designates an Archaeological Priority Area. The combined areas are indicated on the plan opposite.
A sarcophagus containing an inhumation was found in 1867 during construction behind the London Orphan Asylum at Clapton. It is now in the Guildhall Museum. No lid was found with the coffin, although there was evidence of clamps at each end. It was ornamented on one side with fluting, and a central bust above an inscription was only partly decipherable. A Roman coin was found near it.
A single prehistoric flint flake was discovered in 1995 at 122 Lea Bridge Road amongst 17th - 18th century agricultural soils.
(Reference TQ3544 8648 MOLAS)
Four Lower Palaeolithic handaxes were found at Hackney Marsh in an area of Alluvium geology.
(Reference: TQ 38 NE 96)
Hoard of bronze leaf-shaped spear heads of a pegged leaf shape with fillet decoration was found in 1885 during the construction of the No. 1 Well. One of the spearheads was loaned to Vestry House Museum by G. Lomax.
(Reference: TQ 38 NE 22 or 060836/00/00)
Weapons and spurs found preceding construction of Lea Bridge Leyton
A series of post holes, stokeholes structures and two parallel ditches were discovered indicating prehistoric occupation.
A boat was found in 1830 embedded in clay whilst digging a canal and reservoir. The possibly 20 foot long boat was 6 foot wide, clinker built with a pointed bow. Some suggest this was an early ferry across the Lea, others that it was a Danish ship from the fleet of 859AD.
An 3.73m long oak dugout boat was found near Springfield park c950.
Unspecified works in the grounds of "the cottage" close to the prince & princess pub reported on by f. clarke revealed a "roman road" or gravel metalling. There are various other theories and suggested locations/alignments for a Roman Road crossing the Lea Valley from east to west. A gravel deposit, possibly Roman, was found at 142 Lea Bridge Road.
(GLHER Reference 060861/00/00), (Reference: TQ 35562 86508 MoLAS )
Documentary evidence reveals that a wooden causeway comprising 12 footbridges led from blackbridge over the marshes to lockbridge. The causeway was built or repaired by monoux before 1544 and was subsequently repaired by laxton c 1580. The bridges were reported as "in disrepair" by 1611-13 and by 1694 only "the ruins remained". The wooden piles were apparently still visible in the 19th century.
(GLHER Reference: 060738/00/00)
Fourteenth century manor house with moat and bridge. The remaining farmhouse buildings were destroyed by a V1 flying bomb in August 1944. The remains of the bomb and its crater were found in the courtyard in front of the house.
(Reference TQ3635 8806)
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