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the Anglo-Saxon period

1   P R Thrale and Peter Moore ‘Report On The Archaeological Excavations At Thorne Close, Avenue Estate, Leytonstone’ 2/8/95

The Scandinavian invaders

The Vikings who invaded England (Danes and Norsemen) have no recorded connection with Leyton.  Vikings stayed at Waltham Abbey and must have come up the River Lea past Leyton.  Traditionally the water channels through the Marshes were altered by the Saxon King Alfred to defeat the Vikings.  The Lea was the border between Alfred’s kingdom of Wessex and the Danelaw, putting Leyton in the latter.  This may have made our area a bit of a no-man’s land, too insecure for many people to choose it as a home.  King Cnut ruled Denmark, Norway and a united England, where he strengthened the taxation system 2.

Evidence has been found of people at this period living around what is now Knotts Green and digging ditches off Leytonstone High Road, now Thorne Close 1.  

2  Francis Pryor ‘Britain in the Middle Ages, An Archaeological History’

Leyton in Harold’s reign

By the reign of King Harold Leyton was divided into 3 manors.  One of 4 ½ ‘hides’ in size was owned by King Harold himself, one of over 3 ‘hides’ in size was held by Alfsi, and another of 3 hides was held by Swein Swart.  In addition, Tosti held 1 hide from the Abbot of Westminster Abbey, and another 3 hides were held by 8 free-men between them.

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