DEPTFORD, St. PAUL's.
Nature of the soil.
This parish, which was constituted in the year 1730, is
bounded by Deptford—St. Nicholas, Greenwich, Lewisham,
Camberwell, Rotherhithe, and by the river Thames. It contains
about 1800 acres of land, of which about 500 are arable; about the
same quantity occupied by market gardeners (fn. 1) ; the remainder marsh
and pasture. The soil on the hills, towards Brockley, is clay; in
other parts, sand or gravel. At Loampit-hole, in this parish, is a
large chalk pit, in which are found various kinds of extraneous
The Ravensborne, which separates this parish from Greenwich,
and falls into the Thames here, rises on Keston common. Its banks
are under the superintendence of a commission of sewers. The
bridge over this river, at Deptford, was formerly of wood, and was
repaired by the inhabitants of the hundred (fn. 2) . Previous to the battle
of Blackheath, there was a skirmish between Lord Dawbeney's army
and "certeyne archers of the rebelles, whose arrowes, as is reported
"(says Hall), were in length a full yerde (fn. 3) ." Deptford-bridge was
rebuilt in 1570 (fn. 4) ; again, in 1628, at the sole expence of King
Charles I (fn. 5) .
In Hasted's History of Kent is an engraving of the head of a
Janus, found (in this parish) on the road to New Cross, near St.
The Deptford pink.
The caryopbyllus pratensis, which abounds in this part of Kent,
was called by the old botanists, who found it in this parish, the
In this parish stands one of the newly-invented telegraphs, which
communicates intelligence between Dover and the Admiralty (fn. 6) .
Manor of Brockley.
Monastery at Brockley.
The manor of Brockley, partly in this parish and partly in that
of Lewisham, was granted by Wakelin de Maminot the younger,
about the beginning of the thirteenth century, to Michael de Turnham; who, soon afterwards, sold it to Juliana Countess of Norfolk, wife of the said Wakelin, to the intent that the might
found a religious house here; the site of which was confirmed to
the convent, by the Countess, and by Geoffrey de Say, who was
the lord paramount (fn. 7) . Not long afterwards, Robert de Turnham,
nephew of Michael, gave these monks an estate at Begham in
Sussex, whither they removed themselves. He confirmed to them
also this manor of Brockley (fn. 8) . In 1328, they had a grant of
free-warren on their lands here (fn. 9) . The convent at Begham being
dissolved, upon the suppression of the smaller monasteries, in 1538,
Cardinal Wolsey procured a grant of its revenues for his college at
Oxford (fn. 10) . Upon the Cardinal's fall, they were seized by the crown.
A lease of that part of the manor of Brockley which lies in this
parish was granted, in 1568, by the name of the capital messuage
of the manor of Brockley, to Philip Conway for 21 years (fn. 11) . This
estate, which is situated near New Cross turnpike, and called Upper
Brockley-farm, was, about the time of the Restoration, vested in
Sir John Cutler, Bart.; who, by deed, in 1692, settled it (after
his death) on Edmund Boulter, Esq.; who, by will, in 1707, left
it to his brother William. In 1709, William Boulter, Esq. made a
settlement, by which it passed to his grandson Richard Wilkinson,
and afterwards to William Wickham, Esq. and Mary his wife, sister
of the said Richard. It is now vested in John Drake, LL.D. and
Thomas Drake Tirwhit, Esq. in right of their wives, daughters of
William Wickham, Esq. and grandaughters of William Wickham
above mentioned (fn. 12) .
Manor of Deptford Strond.
No part of Mr. Way's estate, though called the manor of Deptford Strond, and described in Queen Mary's grant as lying in the
parishes of Deptford, Camberwell, and Rotherhithe, is now esteemed
in this parish (fn. 13) .
Manors of Hatcham and Bredingburst.
The manor of Hatcham, on the contrary, though formerly
esteemed to be in Camberwell, is wholly in this parish. It has been
described in Vol. I. of this work (fn. 14) . Bredinghurst, in Peckham, was
formerly esteemed in the county of Kent also, as appears by ancient
records. It has been described under Camberwell (fn. 15) . It must be
observed, that the county of Surrey, as its bounds are now known
and defined (fn. 16) , extends to New Cross turnpike, and comprehends a
great part of this parish.
In the year 1547, Thomas Bassingburne held Skinner's-place, in this
parish, with certain lands formerly parcel of the possessions of St. Thomas's Hospital in Southwark; Skinner's-place afterwards belonged
to Richard Stonely; and, in 1568, to Anne Lady Parry (fn. 17) .
Church of St. Paul's.
The parish church of St. Paul's, Deptford, was built under the
power of certain Acts, passed in the ninth and tenth years of Queen
Anne, for the building fifty new churches in and near London. It
was finished before 1730, but not consecrated or dedicated till the 30th
of June that year, when that ceremony was performed by Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London. It is a handsome stone structure, consisting of a
chancel, nave, and two aisles; supported by columns of the Corinthian
order. The pews are of Dutch oak. At the west end is a taper spire.
On the east wall, to the north of the altar, is a monument, by
Nollekens, to the memory of James Sayer, Esq. Vice Admiral of
the White (fn. 18) , who died in 1776: on the north wall is the monument
of Mary, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Finch, wife of Richard
Hanwell of Oxford, Gent., 1754: and on the south wall, that of
Matthew Finch, Gent., 1745.
Tombs in the churchyard.
Mrs. Hawtree, a famous midwife.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Martha, wife of Richard
Leake, Esq. (son of Sir John Leake), 1732; Elizabeth Blake,
(sister of Richard Leake,) 1734; Thomas Hawtree, aged 95, 1757;
Margaret, his wife (fn. 19) , 1734; Thomas Stanton, Esq. 1762; Mrs.
Jane Susanna Desboro, 1766; John Paul Elers Scott, M. A. 1777;
Captain Stephen Dryden, 1779; Mr. Archibald Hutton, 1780;
John Barron, Esq. of Woolacre in this parish, 1786; Richard
Conyers, LL. D. rector, 1786; Thomas Mitchell, Esq. Assistant
Surveyor of the Navy, 1790; and Thomas Hicks, Esq., 1795.
By an Act of Parliament, passed in 1730, the sum of 3500l.
(out of the duty on coals) was allotted for the maintenance of the
rector of the new church at Deptford, (afterwards dedicated to St.
Paul,) to be laid out in the purchase of lands or other heredita_
ments in fee-simple. It was enacted also, that the churchwardens
of this parish (in whom four acres of glebe, taken out of the old
parish, are vested) should pay the sum of 70l. per annum, as a
farther maintenance for the rector, in lieu of fees for vaults and
burials, except when the service is read in the church. These endowments, together with other surplice dues and Easter offerings,
form the whole income of the rectory. By the said Act, William
Norton, D. D. then vicar of St. Nicholas, was to be the first rector
of the new church; and to hold both benefices during his life.
After his death, the first presentation of this rectory was given
to the crown; and the perpetuity of the advowson vested in the
Wickham family, (as patrons of the old church,) to whom it still
belongs. The rectory is not to be held in commendam.
The present rector is John Eaton, LL. D. who succeeded Richard
Conyers, LL. D. in 1786.
There are several meeting-houses in this parish; one belonging
to the Quakers, in Butt-lane; the Independents have two, one in
Church-street, and one in Butt-lane, with a cemetery adjoining, in
which are memorials for Mr. John Creasy, deacon, 1777; Josiah
Whiting, deacon, 1792, and others. In Church-street there is a
meeting-house belonging to the Anabaptists, which has a small endowment; service is performed there only once a fortnight. There
are two meeting-houses belonging to the Methodists.
The parish register begins in July 1730.
Comparative state of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The present number of houses in the parish of St. Paul is
Instances of longevity.
The following instances of longevity are recorded: "Margaret
Haley, widow, aged 100 years and upwards, buried Mar. 20,
1739–40; Thomas Hawtree, aged 95, Oct. 9, 1757; Mrs. Mary
Magdalen Paillet, widow, aged 99 years, Jan. 26, 1755; Hannah
Woodward, aged 90, Nov. 20, 1782; Jane Mills, of Churchstreet, widow, aged 94, Dec. 23, 1785; Catherine Lester, widow,
from Rotherhithe, aged 98, May 5, 1788."
Boulter's alms-house near Oxford.
Edmund Boulter, Esq. by his will, bearing date 1707, gave the
parish of Deptford a right of presenting one pensioner to a certain
alms-house which he directed should be built near Oxford. They
were not built till since the year 1780. The pensioners have 7l. per
annum, and a good warm gown with a silver badge. This benefaction has been determined to belong exclusively to the parish of
St. Paul, on account of its connection with the Brockley estate.
This parish has a moiety of all the benefactions left to St. Nicholas's before the separation of the two parishes; and of some of those
left since that date.
Benefactions left exclusively to this Parish.
||Sir John Evelyn, Bart.
||Land, now let at 6l. per an.
||Interest of 20l.
|Interest of 200l.
||To clothe and educate six poor boys. This legacy was refused, as inadequate to the purpose.
||Interest of 100l. 3 per cents.
||Six poor housekeepers.
In this parish stands the Victualling-house, on the site of a large
range of storehouses, formerly called the Red-house, which was burnt
down in July 1639, and all the stores consumed. It was afterwards
rebuilt, and was included in the grant to Sir John Evelyn in 1726,
being then described as 870 feet in length and 35 in width. These
premises were for some time rented by the East India Company; the
Crown having re-purchased them of the Evelyns, a Victuallinghouse was built there in 1745; in 1749, it was burnt down by an
accidental fire, which consumed a great quantity of stores and provisions. It was afterwards rebuilt, and has been since enlarged with
new storehouses of various kinds; it contains also a windmill for grinding corn, an extensive cooperage and brewhouse, slaughtering-houses,
houses for curing beef, pork, &c.; bake-houses, and other buildings,
besides dwelling-houses for the superintendants and inferior officers.
Near the Victualling-house is Deadman's Dock-yard, the property
of Sir Frederic Evelyn. It is described in the grant to Sir John as
having a great depth of water, and as being the best private dock upon
the river. Men of war of 74 guns are sometimes built here.
Project of making a harbour at Deptford.
During Cromwell's usurpation a project was set on foot by Sir
Nicholas Crispe, of making a mole at Deptford, for the harbour of
200 sail or more to ride in 17 or 18 feet of water, without cable or
anchor. The demesne lands of the manor (being about 200 acres,
lying now within the parish of St. Paul) were purchased for that
purpose at the price of 6000l. and a considerable sum of money was
expended in erecting storehouses, and setting up a sluice. After the
Restoration Sir Nicholas Crispe, joining with the Duke of Ormond,
the Earl of Bath, and others, who were embarked with him in this
undertaking, petitioned King Charles II. to grant them the land so
purchased in fee-farm; it was stated in the petition that Sir Nicholas
Crispe had formed this project principally with a view of ingratiating
himself with the then ruling powers, that he might the better watch
a favourable opportunity of bringing about his Majesty's restoration.
Sir Charles Harbord, the King's surveyor, to whom the petition was
referred, advised his Majesty by no means to grant the land in feefarm, but to offer a lease of 31 years, at a rent of 160l. per annum,
with a fine of 2000l. (fn. 20) These terms, it is probable, were not accepted, for it does not appear that the projectors proceeded any farther with their design.