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All Saints Church - - 160030.jpg
West front of All Saints' parish church
Laleham Abbey - - 344144.jpg
Laleham Abbey
Laleham is located in Surrey
Laleham shown within Surrey
Area 5.33 km2 (2.06 sq mi)
Population 4,782 (2011 Census) (area notionally includes Queen Mary Reservoir)[1]
• Density 897/km2 (2,320/sq mi)
OS grid reference TQ052689
• London 18.5 miles (29.8 km)
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district TW18
Dialling code 01784
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°24′25″N 0°29′17″W / 51.407°N 0.488°W / 51.407; -0.488Coordinates: 51°24′25″N 0°29′17″W / 51.407°N 0.488°W / 51.407; -0.488

Laleham is a village beside the River Thames, immediately downriver from Staines-upon-Thames in the Spelthorne borough of Surrey. Until 1965 the village was in Middlesex. One village sign and the residents' association call the village Laleham on Thames.

In its south is Laleham Park by the River Thames. Across green belt farmland to its north and south east are Ashford and Shepperton, to its east are woods then Queen Mary Reservoir. Penton Hook Lock is on the border with Staines and Laleham Burway is directly across the river. Centred 1 mile (1.6 km) south along the towpath or the humped river road is Chertsey Bridge, just within the boundaries of Shepperton, marking the easternmost point of the town of Chertsey. The north of the area has a number of sports fields, including the Staines and Laleham Sports Ground, and two family pubs, on the Laleham and Ashford Roads respectively.

Laleham is just over 3 miles (5 km) from three motorway junctions. The nearest railway station is Staines, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north, on the Waterloo to Reading Line, which has branch lines to Windsor & Eton Riverside and Weybridge. Two Surrey County Council bus routes run by Abellio serve the village.

The poet Matthew Arnold (1822–88) lived here, dividing his time between Laleham and Rugby School.


The toponym "Laleham" probably comes from lael meaning twig and ham meaning water meadow or village.[2]

There may have been a 1st-century Roman marching camp on the field which is now part of Matthew Arnold School.[2]

Iron Age spearheads from the 5th century have been found in the River Thames at Laleham Ferry. 10th-century charters record the village of Laelham.[citation needed]

The Middlesex section of the Domesday Book of 1086 records the village as Leleham. The manor was held partly by Fécamp Abbey from Robert of Mortain and partly by Estrild, the nun. Its Domesday assets were: 10 hides of land, 6½ ploughs, 5 ploughlands, meadow and cattle pasture. Its villagers and chief tenants rendered £5 per year to its feudal overlords.[3] The manor of Laleham was later held by Westminster Abbey.

The Church of England parish church of All Saints dates from the 12th century but was largely rebuilt in brick about 1600 and the present tower was built in 1780.[4] It is a Grade I listed building.[5] The church has a stained glass window by Wilhelmina Geddes.[6] In the 13th century Westminster Abbey had a grange and watermill on the banks of the Thames near the site of Laleham Abbey. In 1970 the nucleated village centre of Laleham was designated a conservation area. The traditional borders resemble Staines in being a long tract of land, rarely more than 1 mile (1.6 km) east–west.

Today, Laleham has a Church of England primary school, an archery club and Burway Rowing Club.


Laleham has 25 listed buildings. Church Farmhouse, next to All Saints' church, is an early 17th-century brick farmhouse with Georgian alterations. It is an example of a central chimney house with a standard layout for such a house.[7] On either side of the central chimney is a living room and the entrance is through a tiled two-storey porch, the stairs filling the space on the opposite side of the chimney. It once housed the Lucan's bailiff and was sold by in 1966[2] by the 7th Earl. Eight years later the 7th Earl was suspected of a murder, and disappeared in the early hours of 8 November 1974.[8]

Laleham Abbey[edit]

51°24′11″N 0°29′19″W / 51.4031°N 0.4887°W / 51.4031; -0.4887 (Laleham Abbey/House)
Laleham Abbey was once called Laleham House until 1928. Designed by J.B. Papworth, it was wholly rebuilt in 1803–06 as the British country seat of The 2nd Earl of Lucan, an Anglo-Irish peer, and altered, again to Papworth's designs, in the 1820s and 30s. It is a Grade II* listed building.[9] Its park covered 83 acres (34 ha), some of which is now Laleham Park, the largest park in Spelthorne. The house is neoclassical with a Doric portico. Inside are marble floors and columns, a semi-circular staircase and a cupola. Maria II of Portugal stayed here for her English stay, touring three European courts during Miguel of Portugal's 1826–1834 insurrection.[10] The house was divided into apartments in 1981.[2]


Laleham Methodist church

All Saints' Church, is an evangelical Anglican Church, it has a hatchment of the Earls of Lucan in the north aisle; east of the vestry in the churchyard is the Lucan gravesite.

Laleham has a Methodist church in Edinburgh Drive. An Elim Pentecostal Church, Kingdom Living Church, also meets at the Methodist church.

Notable people[edit]

The poet and critic Matthew Arnold was born in the village and is buried in All Saints' parish churchyard. A local county-supported comprehensive school is named after him. His father Dr Thomas Arnold was headmaster of Rugby School, travelled widely and settled his family in Laleham.[11]

Graves of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Earls of Lucan

In 1803 Richard Bingham, 2nd Earl of Lucan bought the manor from William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale.[2] Both Arnold and Lucan family names are prominent in All Saints' parish church, with memorials to various generations of those families. Lord Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan (1800–88), the Field Marshal who reluctantly passed on the order for the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 is buried in the churchyard; along with Charles Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan, George Bingham, 5th Earl of Lucan and their countesses. One of the village pubs was called the Lucan Arms pub for many years until it was renamed in the late 1990s.

Gabrielle Anwar, actress and star of the Fox television series Burn Notice was born in Laleham and attended Laleham C of E Primary and Middle School 1975–82.[citation needed]

Other notable family names are Buckland and Honor and the four houses at Laleham school are Buckland (Red), Arnold (Blue), Honor (Yellow) and Lucan (Green). The Reverend John Buckland was Matthew Arnold's uncle; Buckland School in Laleham was named after him.

The Reynell Baronets, originally from Devon, were substantial landowners at Laleham.

Coal and mining administrator, Alfred Robens, Baron Robens of Woldingham lived at with his wife at Laleham Abbey after his retirement in 1982.

Demography and housing[edit]

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
Spelthorne 007A (north) 86 234 220 83 0 0
Spelthorne 009A (north-west) 163 436 23 16 0 9
Spelthorne 012A (south and
Littleton west and north)
186 236 149 76 7 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
Spelthorne 007A (north) 1,537 623 34.5 38.8 71
Spelthorne 009A (north-west) 1,701 638 48.7 45.3 41
Spelthorne 012A (south and
Littleton west and north)
1,544 619 39.4 38.1 421

The proportion of households in the town who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).


  1. ^ a b c Neighbourhood Statistics; Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density] United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Ashford makes up 2011 lower output areas Spelthorne 003, 005 and 006. Note: the towns and villages in Spelthorne have one ward each which covers part of a neighbouring town or village. Laleham is the exception which covers less than two wards but gives its name to half of both. Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e "Laleham Village – Around and About". Spelthorne Borough Council. 
  3. ^ "Surrey Domesday Book". Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. 
  4. ^ "Church History". All Saints' Laleham. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Historic England. "Church of All Saints  (Grade I) (1298923)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Gordon Bowe, Nicola. "A window with a punch". Apollo. [dead link]
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church Farmhouse, The Broadway  (Grade II) (1187019)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Lord Lucan "officially dead"". BBC. 27 October 1999. 
  9. ^ Historic England. "Laleham Abbey  (Grade II*) (1187014)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Wyld's South Western London and Southampton Railway Guide Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands...containing a topological...account of the country and of the towns and villages within 10 miles of the railway Publ. W. Clowes and Sons, London, 1839. Retrieved 2 March 2015
  11. ^ Penrhyn Stanley, Arthur (1845) [1844]. "2, Life in Laleham". The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold. London: Fellowes. pp. 25–82. 

External links[edit]

EnglandSurrey.png Surrey portal Media related to Laleham at Wikimedia Commons