This lane is said to have led to a field called Shillingshaw, or Chargeables, on account of the fact that the owner had to pay towards the maintenance of the flood defence wall (a Chargeable Wall) at Leamouth, hence the name of the field, and the lane. The West Ham ‘level’, as defined in 1563, comprised an area of 1,747 acres. Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries more than half the land in that level had belonged to Stratford Abbey, which had the main responsibility for land drainage and sea defences. In the 14th and 15thCenturies West Ham occasionally suffered from floods, though these were probably less severe than at East Ham. Flood prevention was sometimes hampered by the complexities of feudal tenure, which could make it difficult to assign responsibility to small landowners, this however made it clear that the landholder was responsible.
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