ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS AND CONSTITUTIONS OF ENGLAND.
REPORT TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
1. May it please your Majesty.
We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the
Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative
of the contemporary culture, civilization and conditions of life of the people in
England, excluding Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714, and to
specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, humbly submit to Your
Majesty the following Report on the Monuments in the eastern division of the county
of London, being the thirteenth Interim Report on the work of the Commission since
2. We tender to Your Majesty our respectful thanks for the gracious message
which accompanied Your Majesty's acceptance of our Inventory of the City of
3. We have also to thank Your Majesty for the appointment of the Rev. Edward
Earle Dorling under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated 10th June 1929 to
be a member of the Commission in place of our late colleague Sir Hercules Read,
4. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our enquiries into the eastern
division of the county of London, an area containing 244 monuments in 12 boroughs,
with an average of 20 monuments per borough. This Report is the fifth and final
Report on the Monuments of the County of London.
5. Following our usual practice, we have prepared an illustrated volume containing the full Inventory of the monuments in this area which, under the advice of
the Lords Commissioners of Your Majesty's Treasury, will be issued as a separate
6. As in the case of the analogous area of West London, the monuments have been
grouped under boroughs, but otherwise the order and method follow the lines adopted
in the County Inventories previously published. The detailed Inventory is introduced
by the usual Sectional Preface and by a series of general articles on certain special
aspects of the art, architecture and monuments of the County.
7. As in the previous volumes, the descriptions of monuments have been referred
for revision to the incumbents of each parish, and to the principal owners of civic
or domestic buildings, and we are satisfied that no important monument dating from
the earliest times to the year 1714 has been omitted.
8. Our special thanks are due to Mrs. K. A. Esdaile for her contribution on the
monumental sculpture of London as well as to Dr. James, Mr. Dorling, Mr. Lucas,
Mr. Mill Stephenson, Mr. Clapham and Mr. Bloe for their special contributions on
various aspects of London antiquities, which are introduced by a short statement by
9. We wish also to acknowledge our indebtedness to Mr. Arthur D. Sharp, the
London Survey Committee and many others whose published works on individual
monuments have been of material assistance in the compilation of the Commission's
descriptions. The plans of the Tower of London, the Hall of Eltham Palace, Greenwich Hospital and the Queen's House, Greenwich, are based on those of H.M. Office
of Works, and the plans of Well Hall, Eltham, Colfe's Almshouses, and Boone's Chapel
on those of the London County Council. We are likewise indebted to Sir Arthur W.
Blomfield, Mr. F. C. E. Erwood and Mr. Frank Green for their courteous permission
to make use of their plans of Southwark Cathedral, Plumstead Church and Morden
College. Photographs for reproduction have also been lent by the Royal Naval
College and the Rector of Greenwich.
10. We humbly recommend to Your Majesty's notice the following monuments
in East London as "especially worthy of preservation":—
(2) Parish Church of St. Mary Rotherhithe, begun in 1714, a good example
of brick building.
(1) Parish Church of St. Alfege, built
1711–14, and an important Renaissance building.
(2) Parish Church of St. Nicholas Deptford., A late 17th-century church
with interesting fittings.
(3) Parish Church of St. Luke Charlton.
An early 17th-century church with
(4) Boone's Chapel, the chapel of an almshouse founded c. 1680–3.
(1) Cathedral Church of St. Saviour.
The church of an Augustinian Priory,
dating mainly from the 13th century
with interesting monuments and
(1) Parish Church of St. Dunstan,
dating from the 13th century, with
(6) Royal Hospital Greenwich, dating
from 1662, with an early 16th-century undercroft. A fine example
of English Renaissance with painted
ceilings by Thornhill.
(7) The Queen's House. A Palladian
building, begun from the designs of
Inigo Jones about 1618 and containing fine modelled and painted plaster
(8) The Royal Observatory, a work of
Sir Christopher Wren, built in 1675–6.
(9) Charlton House, a fine Jacobean
mansion begun about 1607 and
containing a fine series of fireplaces.
(10) Morden College, a large almshouse,
built in 1695–1702, from the designs
of Sir Christopher Wren.
(20) Manor House, Croom's Hill, a good
example of a house of the end of the
(21) The Presbytery, Croom's Hill, an
interesting brick building of c. 1630.
(2) St. John's Institute, a house of the
first half of the 16th century with a
considerable amount of panelling.
(3) Brooke House, the much altered
remains of a large double courtyard
house of late 16th-century date.
(5) Colfe's Almshouses, a range of brick
almshouses, built in 1664–6.
(6) The Vicarage, Lewisham, a good
example of a house built c. 1692–3.
(6) George Inn, a late 17th-century building and now the only surviving
example of a galleried inn in London.
(8) The Tower of London, perhaps the
most complete surviving mediæval
fortress in England.
(9) Trinity Hospital, Mile End Road,
built 1695, and an excellent example
of its date and type.
(4) Eltham Palace, remarkable remains
of a mediæval palace with 15th-century hall and bridge.
(6) Eltham Lodge, a fine and largely
unaltered house built 1663–5 with
handsome staircase and ceilings.
11. We offer our grateful thanks to Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A., for the revision
of the descriptions of Brasses; and to Mr. F.S. Eden for his descriptions and illustrations of Ancient Glass.
12. We desire to express our acknowledgment of the good work accomplished
by our Executive Staff in the persons of Mr. A. W. Clapham, O.B.E., F.S.A.; Mr.
J. W. Bloe, O.B.E., F.S.A.; Mr. E. A. R. Rahbula, M.C., F.S.A.; Mr. G. E.
Chambers, F.S.A.; Mr. P. K. Kipps; Mr. A. T. Phillips, M.C.; Miss V.M. Dallas,
and Mr. F. T. A. Power, M.C.
13. We regret that in the City Volume no reference was made to the fact that
the figures relating to the building accounts of Wren's churches were taken from a
paper contributed to Archœologia by Sir Lawrence Weaver, who had extracted
them from documents discovered by him in the Bodleian Library.
14. It will be noted that owing to their outstanding archœological importance
we have included at the end of the Inventory some additional illustrations of the
mediæval wall paintings in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, many of which
were only dimly visible when reported on by the Commission; owing to the surfacecleaning recently undertaken by the Office of Works, they are now clear and precise.
15. The next Inventory of the Commission will deal with the Southern portion
of the County of Hereford.
16. In conclusion, we desire to add that our Secretary, Sir George Duckworth,
C.B., F.S.A., continues to advise the Commission with discretion and to direct the
staff with judgment.
All of which we submit with our humble duty to Your Majesty.
CRAWFORD & BALCARRES (Chairman).
J. G. N. CLIFT.
E. J. HORNIMAN.
ARTHUR J. EVANS.
M. R. JAMES.
D. H. MONTGOMERIE.
C. R. PEERS.
E. V. LUCAS.
E. E. DORLING.
GEORGE DUCKWORTH (Secretary).
29th October, 1929.