Map 1050

Saxon Newham.

The map

Katherine Fry's conjectural map of Ham in the time of Edward the Confessor from her History of the parishes of East and West Ham. It is based on her study of the entries in the Domesday Survey and can only be one historian's idea of the time and place. Note: Stratford's "street by the ford" - before Bow Bridge the crossing was at Old Ford; The mills on the waterways Stratford are marked; The predominance of forest to the north and east; The land of "Edwin the free priest" - possibly in the vicinity of the present St. Mary Magdelene, East Ham; The land belonging to Westminster Abbey, half of which is now covered by Norrth Woolwich Gardens. Note, however, that she is wrong in the use of 'The Ilford'. Great and Little Ilford derive their names from the ford over the River Hywel - the Saxon name for the Roding. The crosses marking the Saxon churches are problematical. 

What happened to the Saxon lords Alestan and Leured? Did they fall at the Battle of Hastings? Or were they just dispossessed of their lands after the Norman Conquest?


The vacuum left by the Romans was, in time, filled by successive invasions of Angles, Saxons and Jutes who began invading and settling between AD 500 and 600.  Angles and Jutes came from modern-day Denmark and the Saxons came from Germany. The Saxons settled large areas of Britain. Mainly a pastoral people they settled and worked the land and begun one of the first forms of local government.

The Saxon kingdom of Essex covered a much larger area than the modern county. One of the main administrative districts was that of the Hundred. So today's Newham was in the Hundred of Becontree. This also comprised much of modern-day Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Walthamstow, Wanstead and Woodford.  The hundred would hold its own court, which met monthly, to handle civil and criminal law.

There were two Saxon manors within Newham - then called simply Hamme - meaning "low-lying pasture". One manor was that of Alestan and the other manor of Leured. In the south, along part of the Thames was land belonging to Westminster Abbey, given to them by the late King Offa. This is now part of where Royal Victoria Gardens are located.

Remains of Saxon settlement in Newham have been uncovered - notably on the Olympic site. See also the image on this website of a Saxon bead found in Newham over 100 years ago.




Map 1050