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