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.

Postal district: E4