Lambeth Walk, SE11

Place Name

This features as Three Coney Walk on John Rocque’s map of 1746. The name Lambeth was first recorded as Lambehitha in 1062. In the Doomsday Book of 1086, probably by a mistake, it was written as Lanchei. But two years later was spelt Lamhytha and later Lamhetha, and Lambhythe sometime around the middle of the 12thCentury, before settling on Lambeth in 1255. It comes from the Old English words lamb and hȳth meaning the quay where lambs were landed or possibly loaded from the River Thames. So the name, like many such landing places, would have reflected the principle commodity that was passed through the wharf. In the 11thCentury this was largely a marshland with a few dry fields. Daniel Lysons, in The Environs of London: County of Surrey published in 1792 writes: “The earliest historical fact on record relating to Lambeth, is the death of Hardicanute, which happened there in the year 1041, whilst he was celebrating the marriage-feast of a noble Dane. He died suddenly during the entertainment, some say of poison, others of intemperance. Harold, son of Earl Godwin, who usurped the crown after the death of Edward the Confessor, is said to have placed it on his head with his own hands at Lambeth.” Hardicanute today spelt Harthacnut was the last of the Danish kings. An alternative suggestion is that the name may be a reference to the loamy, muddy harbour – but this has been dismissed in recent years.

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