11 Facts About River Lea


Name of the River Lea was first recorded in the 9th century, although is believed to be much older.

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The whole of the River Lea was used as the boundary between English-ruled territory to the west and the Danelaw, established in the late 9th century, to the east.

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Between 1889 and 1965, the lower River Lea was the eastern boundary of the County of London with Essex.

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Stort, the most important tributary of the River Lea, joins a short distance from Hertford at Feildes Weir, and is itself navigable as far upstream as Bishops Stortford.

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River Lea was historically tidal as far as Hackney Wick, but now the tide is held back by Bow Locks between Bromley-by-Bow and West Ham.

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The lower Lea was at that time a wide, tidal and unchannelised river, so the construction of the bridge allowed a far greater degree of social and economic integration between Essex on one side, and Middlesex on the other, than had been possible before.

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Improvements were made to the river from 1424, with tolls being levied to compensate the landowners, and in 1571, there were riots after the extension of the River Lea was promoted in a private bill presented to the House of Commons.

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New River was constructed in 1613 to take clean water to London, from the Lea and its catchment areas in Hertfordshire and bypass the polluting industries that had developed in the Lea's downstream reaches.

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Somewhere between 878 and 890 the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum was drawn up that amongst other things used the course of the River Lea to define the border between the Danes and the English.

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River Lea only held the castle for a relatively short time as he lost the war soon after.

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River Lea contains fish and other wildlife such as the occasional seal.

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