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Low Hall Manor House

Low Hall Manor, Low Hall Lane

Remains of a medieval manor house in Walthamstow (© MoLAS)

 Details

Ownership

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Date or period

1397-1944

Current Designation

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Architectural Merit

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Low Hall Manor was a fourteenth century manor house with moat and bridge that stood between Markhouse Lane and the Dagenham Brook.

Many manor houses outside central London were moated, both for defence and to serve as fish ponds.

The manor comprised a main hall and solar (upper chamber) with a service range at one end. Surviving parts of the bridge were found during a recent excavation and dated to 1344. The house was subsequently extend by the addition of a second wing.

In the 17th-century it was described as a two-storey timber-framed building, brick-fronted, with a tiled roof, with later additions on the south-east side.

Walthamstow local board bought Low Hall farm and built sewerage outfall works from 1875-7. The Low Hall works were enlarged in 1885.

The remaining farmhouse buildings (probably much reduced from the  17th-century manor) were destroyed by a V1 flying bomb in August 1944. The remains of the bomb and its crater were later found in the courtyard in front of the house during archaeological investigation.

Remains of the V1 flying bomb which destroyed Low Hall Manor in 1944 (© MoLAS)

8½ acres  of land adjoining Low Hall Farm was levelled and enclosed to form St James' Park in 1910. The work was carried out by the  unemployed, under local distress relief schemes, supervised by the local board. 

Low Hall Lane may have formed a part of an older route crossing the Lea Valley, possibly via a ferry or ford at  either Lea Bridge or High Hill. A bridge was formed across the East London Waterworks Aqueduct at Leyton Marsh in order to maintain the connection in the nineteenth century.

Low Hall Manor was formerly known as Walthamstow Frances (or Fraunceys) or Bedyke. The manor was carved out of the original Walthamstow Manor, later called  Toney (or Toni) and High Hall.

The manor played little part in parish government, although there was a copyholders' customary court, for which court books exist from 1693 to 1883.

The history of the manor can be traced back to 1397, but the landholding can be traced to  2 carucates held by Adam de Bedyk (d. 1302), the king's tailor, in 1285.Notable holders of the manor have included Simon Fraunceys, a city merchant who was twice lord mayor (d1358) and Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (d. 1401).

The manor was once owned by Warwick the Kingmaker who in 1461 helped depose Henry VI and bring Edward IV to the throne.

The lease was held by Ralph Sadler from 1541- 1560. Sadler was born in Hackney and may have been a member of the household of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's  chief minister. Sadler rose to become a 'Gentleman of the Kings Privy Chamber' (a courtier). Thomas Cromwell held Brook House at Clapton around 1536. Sadler is one of the major characters in Hilary Mantel's 2009 novel Wolf Hall, which gives a fictional portrayal of Sadler's youth and early manhood in the household of Thomas Cromwell.

The adventurer, Sir Samuel Argall (d. 1626), held the property. In 1742 the property was held by the Bosanquet family and comprised 219 a. demesne, 63 a. copyhold, and about ½ a. of small leaseholds.


References

London's archaeological Secrets- A Wold City Revealed, Ed. Chris Thomas. Museum of London 2003.

'Walthamstow: Manors ', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 253-263. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42778 Date accessed: 19 May 2013.

'Walthamstow: Local government and public services', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 275-285. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk

Reference TQ3635 8806

17th cent - 18th cent: registers and other records of Low Hall manor, deeds and legal records rel to title of Low Hall (Waltham Forest Archives) NRA Ref. 37971.

Manor of Walthamstow Toney and High Hall. NRA Ref. 37932 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/onlinelists/GB0093%20W%2035%2021.pdf

© leabridge.org.uk December 2012
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