Leyton, Low (St. Mary)

LEYTON, LOW (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of West Ham, hundred of Becontree, S. division of Essex, 6 miles (N. E.) from London; containing 3274 inhabitants. This place derives its name, which appears to be a contraction of Lee town, from its situation on the river Lea. It is supposed by Camden and others to be the site of the ancient Durolitum; and it is evident here was a Roman station; various pavements, foundations of buildings, consular and imperial coins, and other Roman antiquities, having been discovered, particularly near the manor-house. The rural district of the parish contains about 1700 acres, of which 150 are marsh, about 250 waste, and nearly the same number in the occupation of nursery-men and market-gardeners; the remainder is all profitable land in a high state of cultivation: the soil is gravelly, and the grounds abound with fine springs of water. The village, which consists of a single street, extending nearly from Epping Forest to Stratford, and lighted with gas, is situated on a gentle slope reaching to the western bank of the river Lea; the hamlet of Leytonstone now comprises nearly onehalf of the inhabitants of the parish. The Eastern Counties railway passes through the parish, and at the Lea-Bridge road is a station on the line; the bookingoffices form a handsome elevation in the Italian style.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 12.; net income, £534; patron, and impropriator of one-third of the rectorial tithes, J. Pardoe, Esq.; impropriators of the remaining twothirds of the rectorial tithes, the Executors of R. James, Esq. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £369. 14. 6., and the vicarial for £399. 15. The church, a plain brick edifice with a tower at the west end, was repaired and enlarged in the seventeenth century, and again in 1822. The chancel contains some elegant monuments of the family of Hickes, and of that of Sir Robert Beachcroft, lord mayor of London in 1721; also a monument of Mr. John Wood, who travelled over several parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America; and one to the memory of the antiquary and biographer, John Strype, who was vicar of Leyton from 1669 till his death, which took place in 1737, at the age of 94: he rebuilt the vicarage-house, and was a liberal contributor to the church and parish. A chapel of ease erected at Leytonstone, in 1750, by subscription, has lately been made the church of the district parish of St. John the Baptist: the living is in the Vicar's gift. Within the parish are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. In 1697, Robert Ozler bequeathed £300 for the erection, and a rent-charge of £12 for the endowment, of a free school for a certain number of children of Leyton and Walthamstow; and there are national schools at Low Leyton and Leytonstone. Almshouses for eight widows were founded in 1653, by John Smith, who endowed them with £20 per annum, to which other benefactions have been added. Sir Thomas Rowe or Roe, an able statesman and ambassador, was born at Low Leyton about the year 1580; and Edward Rowe Mores, Esq., a distinguished antiquary, lived long in a house called Etloe Place, now occupied by Charles Morley Robison, Esq.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.