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The combined LBWF Archaeological Priority Zone and the LB Hackney Archaeological Priority Area.


A reconstruction of the c.950  boat found near Springfield Park, held at the Hackney Museum


The preserved boat at Hackney Museum

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.

Local policy

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.

Notable finds

Sarcophagus, Clapton

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.

(Reference: 404488)

Prehistoric flint flake, Lea Bridge Rd

A single prehistoric flint flake was discovered in 1995 at 122 Lea Bridge Road amongst 17th - 18th century agricultural soils.

(Reference TQ3544 8648 MOLAS)

Handaxes, Hackney Marsh

Four Lower Palaeolithic handaxes were found at Hackney Marsh in an area of Alluvium geology.


Roman Sarcophagus discovered near Rushmore Road, Clapton. © Museum of London.

(Reference: TQ 38 NE 96)

Spear Heads, Lea Bridge Waterworks

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 1500-1599, Lea Bridge

Weapons and spurs found preceding construction of Lea Bridge Leyton

(Reference  959831)

Bronze Age Structures, Millfields Road

A series of post holes, stokeholes structures and two parallel ditches were discovered indicating prehistoric occupation.

(Reference MLO99033)

Early medieval or dark ages boat, Hackney Marshes

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.

(Reference 080122/00/00)

Oak dugout

An 3.73m long oak dugout boat was found near Springfield park c950.

(Reference XX)

Roman Road, Lea Bridge Road

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 )

15th Century Wooden Causeway, Lea Bridge

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)

Low Hall Manor, Low Hall Lane

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)

Recollections, comments, contributions & corrections

Do you have something to add? Please use the box below to comment. Go to the feedback page to forward material to be added. Photographs, family histories and personal recollections are particularly welcome.

© leabridge.org.uk December 2012