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Sir John Strange, a lawyer, lived at Leyton Grange House from 1735 and from 1737 was a member of parliament for West Looe as a member of Robert Walpole’s government.  From 1742 until his death in 1754 he was MP for Totnes 1.  

Samuel Bosanquet bought Forest House in 1743.  He and his descendants held leading commercial posts in the City of London.

In 1787 Gilbert Slater, an East India merchant and a director of the London Assurance Company 2 bought Knotts Green House.  

By 1790 Joseph Cotton had moved into Leyton House.  He had got rich as a ship's captain in the East India Company and became an elder brother of Trinity House, a director of the East India Company and the East India Docks Company, governor of the London Assurance Corporation and fellow of the Royal Society.     

The other occupants of the grandest houses spent a quiet life in Leyton.  Thomas Oliver bought the Great House in 1758.  His father had made money trading with Caribbean plantation owners.  Thomas Oliver the son was going to stand for election as a member of parliament for the City of London in support of John Wilkes, but gave illness as a reason for withdrawing, and took no further part in politics.  

Of the two manors in Leyton, the one northwest of the Fillebrook stream, which had once belonged to Stratford Langthorne Abbey, had been divided into three shares during the Civil War.  The other, Ruckholt, was sold by the Hicks family in 1720 to South Sea Bubble fraudster Robert Knight, swiftly disgraced.  There was therefore something of a power vacuum.

1727 accession of George II to
1793 execution of Louis XVI of France


1  History of Parliament, The House of Commons 1715-1754, Romney Sedgwick

2  Mile End Old Town by Derek Morris

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