Sewardstonebury, Epping Forest, Essex

A wealthy (in parts, fabulously wealthy) hamlet nestling in a quiet corner of Epping Forest

Sewardstonebury - a house and two luxury cars on Bury Road
Just another house in Sewardstonebury

Although admin­is­tra­tively outside Greater London, Seward­stonebury is included in Hidden London because it falls within the E4 postal district, which is a conse­quence of its historic links with Chingford. Seward­stonebury, Seward­stone and the ‘scout city’ at Gilwell Park are the only places anywhere in the home counties to have a London postcode.

In the 19th century this was an inac­ces­sible hamlet. Barbara Ray, in her history of Chingford, records one occasion on which a pupil-teacher who lived at Seward­stonebury arrived at Chingford infants’ school so wet and muddy that there was no alter­na­tive but to send her home again.

Now there are luxury houses strung along the length of Bury Road (the main thor­ough­fare) and in the private estate to the west. Hornbeam Lane is, by local standards, posi­tively modest.

Every second property in Seward­stonebury seems to have artisans at work – remod­el­ling or extending the house or land­scaping the grounds. Whole new palaces regularly replace insuf­fi­ciently grand mansions.

Seward­stonebury has no shops, church or pub but there are golf courses to the north and south. The West Essex course, created by James Braid in 1900, was designed to make full use of Epping Forest’s natural attrib­utes. With undu­lating fairways and small, sloping, quick greens, it is reckoned a chal­lenging par 71.

Even out here in rural Essex several bombs fell during the Second World War – but they merely added some extra holes to the West Essex golf course.

In the early hours of New Year’s Day 2021 a woman was fined £10,000 for organising a party for 100 people in a house on Bury Road, Sewardstonebury. At least 25 fixed penalty notices were handed out to partygoers.

Postal district: E4