Laleham is a village in the borough of Spelthorne, in the county of Surrey in South East England and is close to Staines. It has a wildlife park called Laleham Park by the River Thames. Penton Hook Lock is nearby and the historic town of Chertsey is across the river on the other side of Chertsey Bridge.
The word Laleham probably comes from ‘lael’ meaning twig and ‘ham’ meaning water meadow or village. Concentric earth work enclosures, believed to be of medieval origin, have been excavated beneath the playing fields of Matthew Arnold School (the site is now backfilled). Although 18th century speculation that they were of Roman origin has been disproved, the site is still known locally as “Caesar’s Camp”. Iron Age spearheads from the 5th century have been found in the River Thames at Laleham Ferry. 10th Century charts record the village of Laelham.Laleham appears on the Middlesex Domesday Map within the Domesday Book of 1086 as Leleham. It was held partly by Fécamp Abbey from Robert of Mortain and partly by Estrild, the nun. Its domesday assets were: 10 hides. It had 6½ ploughs, meadow for 5 ploughs, cattle pasture. It rendered £5. The foundations of the parish church of All Saints date back to the 12th century. Records show that in the 13th century the monks of Westminster Abbey had their ‘Grange’ and watermill on the banks of the Thames very close to the site of Laleham Abbey. In 1970 Laleham village was designated a Conservation Area.
Laleham contains many fine and listed buildings notably Laleham Abbey. In the past this was owned by one of the Earls of Lucan. The hatchment in the north aisle of All Saints Church also belonged to the Lucan family and in the eastern part of the cemetery is the grave of Field Marshall Lord Lucan who gave the order for the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava.
Notable poet Matthew Arnold was born in the town, and is buried in All Saints’ Churchyard.
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