If you wander along that broad avenue of Tesco Value Dubai that is post-Olympics Stratford High Street, you might spy a relic from the deep past.

What is a weather worn stone doing here intruding into this modern world?

It’s a parish marker from a time when parishs were sometimes vast and had lots of land. So here in Stratford you are standing within land once owned by a church several miles away, in Rotherhithe.

It’s a listed stone, and was moved to its current location during the construction of the new residential block of flats that encroach upon it.

That does mean then, that the wording on the parish marker is no longer correct, but then again parish boundaries are not as legally enforcable as they used to be, so an update is not needed.

Which is just as well, as despoiling the historic stone would be a shame.

“SMR 1731, this estate belongs to St Mary Rotherhithe. Extends 5ft 3 inches northwards from this stone”

It’s possible that the parish sold the land when a new church was built on the other side of the road in 1852, Christ Church Stratford Marsh.

Taking photos of the stone was doubly difficult as I turned up when the sun was unforgiving, but also because a local resident of the tower gave me stern glares. When approached seemed surprised that the stone existed, having lived her for some months and never noticed this outcrop of heritage right by his front door.


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  1. Alan Huntley says:

    I never knew of this and I lived in E15 for my first 13 years being born in 1950. Would be interested in any other Straford related items as have not been there for over 25 years. Not likely to either as not as I would have remembered it. No bomb sites, quiet empty roads, thriving Angel Lane market and Boardmans!

  2. Richard Woods says:

    It’s a parish boundary marker shewing simply that, the parish boundary, just like the signs that say ‘Hampshire’ or ‘Kent’; nothing to do with ownership, and the land would not have been ‘sold’ but the boundaries redefined,or new parishes created as populations grew.
    Parish boundaries were importantbecause of residence for the purpose of Poor Law administration, marriage and burial.

    • Ian Visits says:

      It’s not a parish boundary as it refers to the estate not the parish, but also it’s several miles from the church and on the other side of the river, and even in the 18th century, parish’s weren’t that large.

  3. GT says:

    Parishes could be very large …
    There’s a whole bundle in the Holland county of Lincolnshire, which are each about 1-2 km wide (ish), but 22km long
    ( Weston, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach, Fleet, Gedney, Sutton )

    Talking of unremarked memorials, how many people even notice the (quite large) Martyrs’ Memorial by Statford Church, right in the middle of the Broadway?

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