Alluding to the River Thames nearby, the area around this street is known as Thames View, seemingly for obvious reasons aside for the fact that there isn’t actually a view of the river from here at ground level. The origins for the name of the Thames have long been lost, giving rise to numerous theories. It almost certainly has the same Celtic or even pre-Celtic root as many other British river names such as Thame, in Oxfordshire; Tame in Yorkshire; Tavy, in Devon; Tamar, in Cornwall; Team in Durham; and Teme in mid-Wales. All of which probably meant dark, referring to the muddy waters. Writing about the river in AD51, Julius Caesar referred to Tamesis, by AD115 it was recorded as Tamesa, Temis in AD683, and Times in AD843. Up until the 1950s (when Barking Borough Council began developing it) this area was marshland covering a total area of 1,276 acres. In medieval times Barking Abbey owned about 706 acres of that, and despite providing the nunnery with a huge income flooding was such a constant problem that by 1409 it had cost the abbey over £2000. While responsibility for maintaining flood defences sat jointly with the abbey and its marshland tenants, the latter seemingly needed reminding of their obligations as evidenced from numerous interventions from the Crown from the 13thCentury. Eventually King Henry VIII passed the Statute of Sewers in 1532 making the powers of these interventions permanent. Shortly after that, Barking Abbey was dissolved as part of the king’s land grab against the church. The land was sold off to wealthy merchants who used it for fattening stock for the London meat market, creating something of a local boom.
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