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Leyton is translated in the Domesday Book as Leintun, the settlement (tun) on the River Lea, when the population is 43.



Walthamstow Slip (Yellow band)

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Early references to Walthamstow slip (east of Lea Bridge Road), a portion of land dividing north and south Leyton, which might be 12th Century and associated with the manor of Ralph de Tony and his wife Alice. The Slip appears to terminate below Lea Bridge on the east bank, at the site of the former Horse and Groom and the possible location of a ford across the river.


The idea that certain rivers were public and free goes back to the Magna Carta, but from the time of Edward I was certainly only applicable to the greatest rivers. The situation was further complicated by the fact that a tidal river, as far as the tide rose, belonged to the Crown and so like a highway was free and common to all, but a non-tidal river belonged to the riparian owners and was as much private property as the land either side.[1]


Post medieval well at 122 Lea Bridge Road, along with ‘palaeolithic levallois flake’ and ‘rolled flint flake’.[2]


In the 19th Century, an old reservoir was backfilled, south of Lea Bridge, which was thought may be as old as the 15th Century.[3]


An Act of Parliament was passed for added improvements to the river’s navigability, which had been an issue for centuries.


Mill Field Lane named as Mill Lane, later Marsh Lane.[4]


Present crossing place of the river at Lea Bridge was known as ‘Lockbridge’. Foot and horse traffic crossed the Lea to Hackney by the bridge and the adjoining ford where the river was still tidal to Clapton.[5] Lockbridge is mentioned in 1486–7.[6] This was the busiest crossing.[7]


[1] The Navigation of the River Lee (1190 – 1790). Occasional Paper New Series No. 36. J.G.L.Burnby and M.Parker. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. 1978

[2] Greater London Sites and Monuments Record (SMR)

[3] Essex Wharf, Lea Bridge Road, Clapton, An Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Steve Preston, Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd

[4] A History of the County of Middlesex Volume 10: Hackney: Communications, pp. 4-10, Fn 43. T.F.T. Baker (Editor). 1995

[5] The Road to Jeremy’s Ferry. Oral history of “Leyton Gateway” Lea Bridge Road. Norma Crooks. 2003

[6] A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6: Leyton: Introduction, pp. 174-184, Fn 68. W.R.Powell (Editor). 1973

[7] The Navigation Of The River Lee (1190 – 1790). Occasional Paper New Series No. 36. J.G.L.Burnby and M.Parker. Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. 1978

Recollections, comments, contributions and corrections

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leabridge.org.uk December 2012