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1540 - 1642, The Dissolution of the Monasteries to the Civil War

Leytonstone had three alehouses in 1579 Leyton one, a split which suggests that these establishments were mainly catering for travellers, because the High Road through Leytonstone carried more traffic than the road through Leyton.  The large houses in the parish would probably have each brewed their own ale, which was consumed in considerable quantities by everyone including servants, women and children 1.  Court records of the 17th century show that it was common in the area to brew ale without a licence, and also that drunkenness amongst the poor was of concern to those in authority.  But there was also an enduring concern that ale should be of good quality.  Leyton, like many places had an official ale-taster, recorded between 1509 and 1705 2.  The use of hops to flavour ale gradually spread 3 as it became more of a commercial product, brewed on a larger scale and becoming a speciality of some places.

1  Country House Brewing in England 1500-1900’ by Pamela Sambrook

2  Behind the Bar, The Licensed Trade in Waltham Forest - Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop

3  A 10th century Viking boat had a cargo of hops, so their use has a longer history than used to be thought (Francis Pryor ‘Britain in the Middle Ages, An Archaeological History’ p72)

1837 1860 contents 1642 1688 contents