Essex cottage life in Loughton

June 13th 2018
By: Melanie Hollidge

Essex is famous for its weatherboard cottages and barns, indeed Loughton has some particularly interesting historic Essex cottages called Britten's Cottages. Britten's Cottages only add to the rich history of Loughton originally known as Lukinton when mentioned in a 1062 charter of Edward the Confessor. 

By 1086, when surveyed for William the Conqueror's newly commissioned Domesday Book, Loughton was listed as Lochintuna and Lochetuna where it is the smaller of the three parishes of Alderton [Alwardtun - Ailward's Town] and Debden [Tippedene]. Later, in 17th century Deeds and Session Rolls Loughton is sometimes written as Lucton or Luction. 

One of the most picturesque and ancient areas in Loughton is the York Hill conservation area.  The row of weather-boarded Cottages at the corner of Pump Hill (previously known as Lyngs lane) and York Hill date to 1585 they are amongst the oldest surviving buildings from Loughton's long history. These historic buildings are of constructed of thick oak beams in a box frame, laid out in 3 bays. It may have originally been constructed as a barn, although the double storey construction appears to contradict this.

It was the Britten family (formerly Bretaigne) who first established themselves in the York Hill area of Loughton in 1585 when they leased the cottages at the junction of York Hill and Pump Hill, now known as "Britten's Cottages". The area at the time was ideal for the pottery industry because of the plentiful supply of clay, wood from the forest for the firing, abundant springs and streams all ready to supply the market in London. Several kilns were built in this area of Loughton, evidence of which has been discovered during excavation over the years. 

Loughton, Chigwell and Woodford may now be graced by much larger grander, properties and barn conversions as well as weatherboarded cottages but it is great to be in a county so rich with history.