First recorded as Clayhyll in 1524 and in 1636 as Clayhillgate. It featured on a Tithe Map of 1754. Given that the area was festooned with brick fields using the local clay this could be taken as a literal description that is a hill with clay soil. David Mills in A Dictionary of London Place Names offers up a second possible explanation: “The local name Claysmore, earlier Clayes More Grove 1610, is to be associated with the family of William atte Cleye 1274, John Clay 1420, so that even the name Clay Hill may derive from the surname rather than from the word clay.” The stretch next to the Rose and Crown pub was also known as Bridge Street, which was still in use, albeit only occasionally, up to the early 19thCentury.
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