The ease of fording the river here probably accounts for the establishment of a settlement and the name indicates a homestead where withies or coarse grass grew. Laleham is situated by the River Thames between the bridging points of Staines and Chertsey.
All Saint’s Church dates from the 12th century, with an arcade and columns of this period. Externally it is much restored and appears mostly 19th century.
The Manor of Laleham was mentioned as one of the four possessions of Staines in the Charter of Edward the Confessor granting and confirming lands to Westminster Abbey. It remained as such until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1802 it passed to the 2nd Earl of Lucan who built the present Laleham House.
Between 1819 and 1828, before going to Rugby as Headmaster, Thomas Arnold lived and ran a school at Laleham preparing pupils for university. His eldest son Matthew, poet and critic, was born here in 1822 and is buried in the churchyard. Facing the river between Vicarage Lane and Blacksmith’s Lane is the old Laleham Wharf, still marked by posts bearing the City of London Arms. Arnold’s possessions were taken from here by barge to Rugby.
Gradual infilling of the historic settlements since the latter half of the 19th century has left many sections of brick wall which are such important features of the locality, and with the junctions and bends of the road pattern produce attractive views within the village.
Did You Know?
A Later Iron Age (100 BC – 43 AD) farmstead was found during excavations at Fairylands Caravan Park, Laleham before redevelopment of this site. We know there were roundhouses at the site from postholes and a drainage gully made to catch drips from the roof.