Loughton history runs deep

May 23rd 2018
By: Melanie Hollidge
Loughton history runs deep

Living in Loughton, Woodford or Chigwell with such proximity to London means that history runs deep. Loughton is in the district of Epping Forest, where once the Kings and Queens of England came to hunt. Within the present parish of Loughton, there are three villages that were mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 – Lukintune (Loughton), Tippendene (Debden) and Alrewarton (Alderton). 

Loughton started to grow after 1615 when a road was built Northwards from London which became the main route from the city to Newmarket and Cambridge. By 1730, this road was turnpiked, so this saw the proliferation of inns, smithies and shops to cater for travellers. A couple of hundred years later in 1856, the railways replaced roads and it became possible to live among the woods and hills of Loughton and work each day in London.  Something much appreciated by modern commuters.

Loughton includes three conservation areas on the forest edge to the west of the town and there are 58 listed buildings, many of which have Essex weatherboard. The most significant building in Loughton is Lopping Hall, it can be found in the middle of the High Road, built in 1884. The story behind the building of Lopping Hall became famous in English rural law. 

In the 1860s a local family, the Willingales, resisted the enclosure of the Forest by the Lord of the Manor. The action of this family led to a stay of execution for the Forest. Eventually, the City of London fought a legal action to preserve the Forest and when they were appointed as Conservator of the Forest, the Lopping Rights were bought out and part of the compensation was used to build the Lopping Hall on Loughton High Road.
As part of the history of Loughton many famous people have been associated with or have lived in Loughton; for instance, Ben Jonson, Lady Mary Wroth, Rudyard Kipling, writers Arthur Morrison, W.W. Jacobs, Hesba Stretton, Sarah Flower Adams, sculptor Jacob Epstein and actor Alan Davies.