Cutler Lynch was a highwayman who rode into Leigh-on-Sea on his horse Bess. Bess was a chestnut horse without any ears, so easily recognised. Cutler claimed he was a gentleman and befriended the high society of the area. Once ensconced within the right social circles he decided to build a large manor house, which he would call “Leigh Hall”
The builders set to work on the house, which was positioned south of the London Road between Leigh and Hadleigh. The local tradition says that when a new house was ready for its last brick, the owner would stand a round of beers to all the builders where a toast was made prior to the last brick being laid.
Cutler arrived to see the last brick being laid and the builders called “Where’s the beer, where’s the beer?” to which Cutler replied get my house finished, I wouldn’t buy you lazy buggers a beer, you can all lap water until its finished. The builders were really annoyed and once finished they called the house “Lapwater Hall” as a retort. Cutler lived in the hall for the rest of his life.
After some years, on a still cold night there was a noise outside and a maid went to look, she saw Cutler with a gunshot wound and his horse Bess had a set of wooden ears on to disguise her. Cutler went and hid as customs officers came in the yard to search for him. He was eventually found dead in his pond, having bled to death. No one knows what happen to Bess, but they say on still nights you can still hear the cry’s from Cutler, gunshots and galloping hoofs…..
One of the first interviews we did for this project was with local author and novelist Syd Moore, who was a wealth of local knowledge and folklore. She has conducted extensive research connected to Essex witches and Matthew Hopkins and recounted a lot of stories on these topics, which we were very grateful for.