The local history society for the Leyton & Leytonstone area of east London

Members’ area

Thanks to committee member David Chapman our Society has issued two new publications in its ‘Great Houses of Leyton & Leytonstone’ series, booklets .

‘Lea Hall, Capworth Street and the forger Joseph Hunton’ has been written by David.  It has of course the best illustrations of the house that can be found.  The one on the front cover, thought to be from the 1840s, shows a view over lawns between mature trees and bushes.  The one on the back cover, dated 1840, shows large, and rather unattractive, greenhouses next to the house, and trees which may have been supplied from a nursery not long before the drawing was made.  On page 30 is a drawing or engraving of the building about 1880 when it was known as Cambridge House, showing both the greenhouses and mature trees.  The house was three storeys high, with eight windows on each floor, grouped into five on the left and three on the right, which may indicate that one end was an extension.  However the windows are of identical, rectangular design.  The appearance is of extreme regularity.  The house was demolished in 1894, replaced by Lea Hall Road.

The best authority we have for the history of Leyton is John Kennedy’s ‘A History of the Parish of Leyton, Essex’, published in 1894.  Kennedy says Lea Hall was built in 1626.  The huge mansion shown in the three drawings is of a later design and almost certainly much larger than Lea Hall could have been in 1626.  Leyton became a place for businessmen to have a home within easy reach of their City of London work activities, and had its heyday in the 18th century.  There were several large houses along Capworth Street, each set in its own grounds.  The first person thought to have lived in Lea Hall was Hugh Williams, who had to make a living as a teacher after 1650 when his views were held to be insufficiently Puritan for him to remain minister at St Mary’s, Leyton.  Williams cannot have had much money and his home would have been basic even if it had space for boarder pupils.

Publications about Lea Hall and Moyer House