Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Leyton  was first recorded in c. 1050 as Lugetune, meaning farmstead or estate on the River Lea.

Walnut Tree House

A parish church was  built here at least as long ago as the late twelfth century, and a manor house probably around the same time.  The manor house was replaced in the fifteenth century by the  timber-framed Essex Hall, which  still stands, albeit in much modified form (it is now known as Walnut Tree House).

The area began to be built up after the arrival of the railway in 1840.  Leyton became incorporated into the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 1965.

Church of St Mary

The  parish church of St Mary was originally built here at least as long ago as 1182, and possibly even earlier, there being a  reference in the Domesday Book of 1086 to two priests in the manor.  It was subsequently rebuilt in phases in the seventeenth century, in 1610, 1656-58 and 1693-95, and partially rebuilt again in the eighteenth and nineteenth.

Only a small fragment of stonework survives from the twelfth-century church, the rest having been obliterated by later rebuilding.   The font dates back to the fifteenth century.

The interior contains a number of seventeenth-century and later memorials, perhaps the finest being those in the Hickes Chapel to  Sir Michael Hickes (d. 1612), sometime Chief Minister to Elizabeth I , and his wife (d. 1635).  John Strype, the author of “A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster”, published in 1720, was the vicar of St Mary’s from 1669-1737.


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