A dead body was reputedly found on the banks of the Lea, which the inhabitants of Leyton refused to bury. The inhabitants of Walthamstow carried the body across the Marshes eastwards. By custom, they claimed the land over which the body was carried.
Another tradition claims that the path of a funeral cortege becomes a public right of way in perpetuity.
It is claimed that a group of mourners deliberately walked eleven abreast at arms length in order to claim rights over the strip.
London Lore: The Legends and Traditions of the World's Most Vibrant City. Steve Roud