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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone
from . dot to … dots – with plenty of spaces
the Anglo-Saxon period
In 793 King Offa of Mercia founded a monastery at St Albans (photo to left is of the later, Norman abbey), dedicated to the Romano-British martyr St Alban. This suggests that Offa aimed at strengthening the loyalty of the British, non-Anglo-Saxon, population to his kingdom. Offa is famous for having a ditch and bank built between England and Wales (well, at least from Rushock Hill, Herefordshire to Llanfynydd, Flintshire 8).
Known precious metal find locations have clusters opposite the east side of the Isle of Wight, in east Kent, east of Ipswich, and south and east of Wash, and in the London area where tributaries like the Lea met the River Thames. These are thought to have been trading places with good access by boat, and Barking is one such 'productive site' for finds. Kings accumulated status possessions (some were found recently in a rich burial at Prittlewell near Southend), as did religious communities, but it is thought that even in the 8th c goods were being exchanged in trade, not just as an exercise of power, with a trading network linked to that of the Carolingian, Byzantine and Abbasid empires 9.
Barking was a Saxon town with a rare glass factory, and an abbey in the 7th c that had both nuns and monks 10. Barking was the largest parish in Essex (it included Ilford), with a large manor which was given by the East Saxon royal family to the abbey which could draw on resources from the River Thames to Hainault Forest. What the effect of that strong neighbour was on Leyton we do not know. >>