The History of Brittens Cottages, Pump Hill (orig. Lyngs Lane) Loughton, Essex
Compiled by Matthew Geyman


Loughton is first mentioned in a 1062 charter of Edward the Confessor, shown as Lukinton. The word 'Loughton' derives from an Enclosure e.g. Settlement, Farm or Estate associated with Luhha. For example "Luhha's farm". By 1086, when surveyed for William the Conqueror's newly commissioned Domesday Book, it is 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 it is sometimes written as Lucton or Luction.
To learn more about the origin of the name Loughton and other local place names, please click here

We can conclude with some certainty that the area was to some extent inhabited much earlier due to the close proximity of Loughton Camp, an Iron Age settlement which lies half a mile to the North West of Brittens Cottages and Ambresbury Banks, similarly only a short hike through the forest, which would have covered much more of the surrounding area at that time.

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

The land appears to have once been referred to as the 'Ryddons' or 'Reddens' a tenement of about 9 acres. At times it appears that just the dwelling and one close (2 acres) of land were sold and then rejoined as a 6 acre tenement.

The cottages still retain original features such as the carpenters numerals (from the Fraymngplace where it would have originally been created), Wattle and Daub and old Laths.

Brittens Cottages (click for a location map)
shown before and after their refurbishment in 1892 as referred to by WC Waller

From the Hills Amenity Society's Discovery Trail of the area, published
The Britten family (formerly Bretaigne) first established themselves in the York Hill area in 1585 when they leased the cottages at the junction of York Hill and Pump Hill, today known as "Brittens Cottages". The area was ideal for the pottery industry they subsequently established, because of the plentiful supply of clay, wood from the forest for the firing, abundant springs and streams and, one presumes, a ready market for the wares in London. Several kilns were built, evidence of which has been discovered during excavation over recent years

Jump to:
Timeline of Brittens Messuage & Land ownership / occupation
Research / Local Records (Sessions Rolls / Deeds etc)
Notes (jottings to follow up on research)
Local Historical Observation (i.e. Waller Diaries etc)
Definitions (explanations of language used in the Sessions Rolls / Deeds)
Bibliography (List of Research References)


Approximate Brittens Cottage and Land Timeline:
(notes - incomplete / inaccurate and in progress)

  • 1585: Bretagne / Bretton / Britten Family
  • 1602: William Britten ['Cottage and 2 pieces of land']
  • 1615: (?) Robert Dauges / Dawgs / Dawges (Senior) ['3 closes (6 acres) - part of Ryddons land']
  • 1619: Thomas Dawges [Redden's tenement and adjoining land (9acres)]
  • 1653 : (?) Thomas Dawges - Robert Dawges (Junior) - [messuage and 7 Acres]
  • 1698 : John Eyres (from Uncle Robert Dawgs)
  • 1717 : Samuel Remington
  • 1880 : ? 'Bustler' Free
  • 1974 : St Mary's Church (purchased from Reverend Vine)
  • 1974 (Dolly Hudson was a tenant of 22 from Church)
  • 86 / 92 David Keating owner of 22 Pump Hill
  • 1992 Amanda Ravenscroft sold to David Edward Keating (?)
  • 1997?: Mr & Mrs Richard Sinfield
  • 2002 : Matthew / Catherine Geyman

Research / Local Records:

Pertinent info from Loughton Sessions Rolls & Deeds etc (Essex Records Office)
Research carried out in 2005 (full notes here). Copies taken of original documents. Not all records pertain directly to Brittens, but are supporting research relating to the owners other interests etc.
See Definitions Below for explanations of language.

Epiphany 1583 (Session Rolls 83/36) Hundred of Ongar Petty Sessions
Held before Thomas Luther and John Collen, high constables.... Loughton. John Elimente and John Bretton, sworn.

14 July 1602 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/38)
Admission (With translation) of William Britten, upon surrender of his father John Britten... Cottage and two pieces of land, copyhold Manor of Loughton.

6 March 1615 (Calendar of Essex Assize File held at Chelmsford 418/86/63)
Indictment of Thomas Britten of Loughton labourer,11 Sept, there stole "xij peeces of mitton" worth 20shillings, belonging to an unknown man. Pleads not guilty; acquitted. Witnesses: Richard Rogers, Thomas Kinge.
[Thomas Britten is possibly a son or brother of John Britten]

20 April 1615 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/41)
Admission (with translation) of Robert Dauges, upon surrender of John Britten Three closes (6a.), part of Ryddons land, abutting N. upon Lyngs Lane and S. And E. upon Loughton Street, copyhold of Manor of Loughton
[It appears likely that following conveyance of his cottage to his son, John Britten has sold his remaining land to Robert Dauges[sic] who is acquiring Ryddons in its entirety. Loughton Street is now, I believe, Church Hill]

18 November 1615 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/42)
Admission of Robert Dawgs upon Surrender of William Bretton
Cottage and toft called Tylekill and land (2acres) abutting North and East Upon Lings Lane, Copyhold of Manor of Loughton
[William Britten has probably sold his cottage and 2 acres to Robert Dawgs at the same time] It is not clear if the Cottage and Toft and land are one entity or if they are separate. The toft could indeed be referred to as TyleKill as it may have provided the clay. There was a 'TileKiln' at the bottom of York Hill some distance away, however the use of the word toft could suggest that it is not this being referred to. I believe that with the transfer of the land here and above and subsequent Admission of Thomas Dawgs to the Reddens tenement and adjoining 9 acres, this is in fact Brittens Cottage and the toft on which it sits plus the land. abutting North and East upon Lings, in can be no other].

25 May 1619 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/43)
Admission of Thomas Dawgs upon Surrender of his father Robert Dawgs
Redden's tenement and adjoining land (9acres)
and 1 acre meadow in Lucton Mead, copyhold of Manor of Loughton

25 May 1619 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/44)
Messuage called Tylekill, parcel of Meadow (1a.) in Lushons Mead, close called Clay Croft With two cottages built thereon, and tenement called Bench House and land called Burtons Field (5a.), all copyhold of Manor of Loughton
[see also 1615 Tylekill]

Michaelmas 1623 (Sessions Rolls 242/40)
Presentment by the Grand Jury.  Tho. Bretton of Loughton for being a common drunkard and alwhouse haunter and for not coming to church, but is a nightwalker and lewd in all blaapheming,awearing and frinking out of all good order
[see 1615 entry - it seems Thomas Britten was wayward]

Midsummer 1637 (Sessions Rolls 297/123)
Geo[rge?] England, Robert Dawges, both of loughton, and Thomas Everd of Walthamstow, yeoman; England to answer for begetting a male child of Margaret Ray singlewoman, which is non chargeable to Loughton and to do what the Court shall enjoin.

10 September 1642 (Sessions Rolls 318/92)
Recognizance of Robert Dawgs carpenter and John Stocke yeoman, both of Loughton; Dawgs to appear.

19 September 1642 (Sessions Rolls 318/29)
Inquisition At Leyton, before William Conyers and Thomas Coks esqs., on the oaths of Thomas Wickes, William Ongly, John Stondon, all of Lambourne, yeomen, John Maultus, John Bell, Edward Trapps, all of Chigwell yeomen, Henry Serridge of East Ham, Daniel Wall of West Ham, John Sheppard of Great Ilford, Thomas Hunt of Wanstead, John Mynns and John Newman, both of Chingford, yeomen, who say that George Eves yeoman, John Bening jun., labourer, Robert Dawges and Thomas Meade labourer, all of loughton, together with 3 unknown malefactors, 5 Sept., about the hour of 3 in the afternoon, at Loughton, broke into Waltham Forest, and "did shoote off a handgunn charged with a bullett" at a doe

Midsummer / July 1647
(Sessions Rolls 333/12)
Presentment by highway surveyors of Loughton. Labourers that refuse to do their highway work this year 1647 "from Goldings Hill to Trapce hill" for one half of the Parish:- ...George England, .. Robert Dawgs carpenter, ..William Britten...  The cart cannot be returned because there is no gravel "digged".

16 November 1652 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/46)
Admission of Robert Dawgs of Loughton, gentleman, upon surrender of William Dawgs.  property as in 194/44, excepting Bench House and Burtons Field

19 October 1653 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/47)
Surrender of Thomas Dawges of Chigwell, tanner, to use of himself and w. Eliza. for their lives, then to use of his [son]. Rob[er]t. and his heirs for ever Messuage at upper end of lings Lane and adjoining close (Part of Reddens lands), copyhold of Manor of Loughton Upon condition that said Robert should pay out specified legacies to brothers Thomas and Edward and sisters Eliza., Martha and Sarah

23 October 1654 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/48)
Admission of Thomas Dawges, wife Elizabeth and son Robert. Property as in 194/47

23 October 1654 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/50)
Admission of Joseph Dawges, upon surrender of Thomas, Elizabeth and Robert as in 194/48.
Messuage and three closes called Reddens, copyhold of Manor of Loughton

23 March 1668/9 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/30)
Admission of Joseph Lingwood by Richard Shelly, his guardian, upon surrender of John Bruce, potter Edwards Fields (5a.) and land (2a.) in the common mead, copyhold of Manor of Loughton alias Luction

28 September 1677 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/19 &21)
Conveyance (Feoffment) for £50; Bond to perform covenants; receipt for purchase money
Joseph Lingwood (of Loughton, potter) to Robert Dawgs senior. Property as in 194/11

12 December 1682 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/31)
Admission of Elizabeth Dawges, Widow Robert Dawges (deceased), upon surrender of Joseph Lingwood
Edwards Field (5acres), copyhold of manor of Loughton alias Lucton

17 May / Midsummer 1692 (Sessions Roll 473/17)
Recognizance of Robert Dawges of Loughton esq.; to answer for refusing to excecute the office of constable of "the parish of Loughton" for the year amusing being legally presented "at a COurts Losts for the said Manner".

13 December 1698 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/54)
Admission of John Eyres, upon death of his uncle Robert Dawgs
Messuage called Algars, land called Hardings (9a.), Home Thistle Field (14a), Long Field alias Long Croft (40.), New Mead (6a.), Grove Croft (7a.) Clerkes Field (5a), Clerkes Mead (10a.), land in the Common Mead (11a.), land in lushers Mead (5a.), little Grove Croft (5a.), Farther Thistley Field (12a.), messuage called  Brittens and land (7a.) and messuage called Slyders and land (3a.), all copyhold of Manor of Loughton
Also copy admission of John Eyres, upon surrender of John Bale, gent.
Messuage called Pottkilne, copyhold of Manor of Loughton
[is PottKilne the York Hill messuage?]

27 April 1717 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/22)
Abstract of title, 1568-1717, of Samuel Remington to messuage called Buckhurst near Buckhurst Hill and lands (48a.) in Loughton Recites 194/1-21 and twelve further deeds; deed of 1717 also refers to mesuage called Brittens, copyhold Manor of Loughton

29 April 1717 (Deeds of Loughton and North Weald Bassett 194/55)
Abstract of title, 1602-1698, of John Eyre to property copyhold of Manor of loughton; recites 194/28-54 Endorsed: sold and Surrendered by Mr. Eyre to Mr. Saml Remington, 29 April 1717 [194/38-55 formed one bundle]


Local Historical Observations:

Lyngs Lane 1906

Brittens Cottages & Gardeners Arms (from William Chapman Waller's diaries)
The corner opposite the pump [Britten’s Cottages] is a rookery. I offered to buy it from Free and he asked £500 for the block, which was valued at £210 as a fair price. The cottages were made originally out of an old barn and are back-to-back. However, we don’t seem to develop any more disease there than elsewhere, though I hear there is a good deal of overcrowding.
The Gardeners’ Arms is well managed by Hughes, who has been there now many years. The shop next door [and cottage, later 101, now part of the pub car park], which his predecessor built for his daughter and then found that the site was copyhold, was a great nuisance to me, inasmuch as it cut off the view and was the only spot on which anything could be built without my consent to overlook us. And it is hideous — perhaps that is too strong a word, however. Below it are several cottages built at different times by G Hughes, who unfortunately employed the poorest architect at first, or none, and disfigured the bill for ever
  Cottages Condemned [and reprieved] (from William Chapman Waller's diaries)
Some old picturesque cottages have been condemned – one group opposite the Crown, another in the Hole, and another at the corner on the top of Pump Hill. The latter [Britten’s Cottages], 5 cottages back-to-back, are now (Mar 30) being patched up by Greenaway for old “Bustler” Free, the upper part, which was daub, being replaced by feather-edge board.
30th March 1892




Explanations of the language used in Session Rolls / Deeds etc


Various Documents from the Essex Records Office
A History of the County of Essex: volume IV
William Chapman Waller (1850 - 1917) 'Loughton's Historian' by Richard Morris
Notes to William Chapman Waller's diaries edited by Chris Pond
Epping Forest With Maps Edward North Buxton - 4th Edition
A Brief Account of the History of the Manor and Parish, from Domesday to 1900 by William Chapman Waller (edited by Richard Morris OBE)
Loughton a Hundred Years Ago (William Chapman Waller) edited by Richard Morris and Chris Pond
This is Essex website
Domesday Online
British Records Assosciation
Webster's Dictionary 1913
The Timber Frame House in England, RW Brunskill