The name of this place was anciently written Ealdham, i. e. the
old mansion or dwelling.
Extent of the land, and how occupied.
Market and fair.
Eltham lies in the hundred of Blackheath, at the distance of eight
miles from London, on the road to Maidstone. The parish is
bounded by Woolwich, Plumsted, and the extraparochial hamlet of
Kidbrook, on the north; by Bexley on the east and south east; by
Chislehurst on the south; by the extraparochial hamlet of Mottingham, on the south-west, and by Lee on the west. It contains about
2880 acres: of which about 360 are woodland; about 60 waste;
about three fifths of the cultivated land are arable (fn. 1) . The soil near
the town is principally gravel; in the more distant parts of the parish
(towards Shooter's Hill on the north, and towards Chislehurst on
the south), clay. The quota paid to the land-tax is 443l. 19s. which
is at the rate of 1s. 9d. in the pound. This place had formerly a
market on Tuesdays, and two fairs; one at the festival of the Holy
Trinity, and the other at that of St. Peter and St. Paul; both of which
have been long discontinued (fn. 2) .
Frederic Prince of Wales was created Earl of Eltham in 1726.
This title is now vested in his present Majesty.
An ancient coin was found here in 1751, which would not be
worthy of mention, but as it occasioned the publication of some conjectures by Mr. Clarke, of Baliol College, who endeavoured to prove
it to be a coin of Richard I., and an answer by G. North, M. A.
F. A. S. who contended that it was a piece of base money, called a
The manor of Eltham was, in the time of Edward the Confessor,
held under the Crown by Alwold. William the Conqueror gave it
to his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Baieux and Earl of Kent, under
whom it was held by Haimo, sheriff of the county (fn. 3) . About four
years after the survey of Doomsday was taken, Odo fell into disgrace, and all his estates were confiscated (fn. 4) . This manor belonged
afterwards partly to the Crown and partly to the Mandevilles. King
Edward I. gave his moiety of Eltham to John de Vesci (fn. 5) , who afterwards obtained, in exchange for other lands, Walter de Mandeville's
share (fn. 6) . William de Vesci, his son and successor, was a baron of
great note, and much in the King's confidence. He died in 1297,
having settled this manor, together with most of his estates, on his
natural son, William de Vesci, who was slain in battle at Strivelin in
Scotland, anno 1314 (fn. 7) . Leaving no issue, the manor of Eltham
with other estates, devolved (pursuant to his father's settlement) on
Sir Gilbert de Aton, as his right heir (fn. 8) . Sir Gilbert granted the
manor of Eltham Mandeville to Geoffrey le Scrope, of Masham (fn. 9) ,
who, in 1318, procured a confirmation of it from the Crown (fn. 10) .
Soon afterwards he gave it to Queen Isabel (fn. 11) . In 1444, the
manor of Eltham was granted to Robert Dauson, for seven years (fn. 12) ;
in 1522, by King Henry VIII. to Sir Henry Guildford, for
forty years (fn. 13) . King Edward VI. anno 1550, granted the manor
of Eltham, which had fallen into his hands by the death of Sir
Thomas Speke (fn. 14) , to Sir John Gates, for life (fn. 15) . He enjoyed it but
a short time, being executed for high treason in 1553. William
Cromer, Esq. held the manor of Eltham in 1568 (fn. 16) . Lord Cobham
had a lease of it in 1592 (fn. 17) . In Charles the First's reign the lease
was in the Earl of Dorset's hands. After the death of that monarch
the manor was seized by the Parliament, and having been valued (fn. 18) ,
was sold with the manor-house (Eltham palace), and a great part of
the demesne lands, to Nathaniel Rich, Esq. of Eltham (fn. 19) . After the
Restoration, Sir John Shaw, having purchased a subsisting term of this
manor, procured a renewal of the lease in 1663. The lease having
been several times renewed, is now vested in his descendant Sir John
Gregory Shaw, Bart. to whom it has been renewed for eight years
from April 1796, and again for seven years from 1804. The manor
of Eltham extends over the whole of this parish, the hamlet of Mottingham, and a part of Chislehurst. The tenants of this manor
have had various grants of privileges and exemptions (fn. 20) .
Residence of the Kings of England there.
Parliament at Eltham.
John King of France entertained there.
Leo King of Armenia.
Robert Earl of Essex resides there.
The Kings of England had a palace at Eltham at a very early
period, a moiety of the manor having remained in the Crown till
granted away by Edward I. to John de Vesci. Henry the Third, in
the year 1270, kept a public Christmas at his palace of Eltham,
being accompanied by the Queen, and all the great men of the
realm (fn. 21) . Anthony Bec, Bishop of Durham, and Patriarch of Jerusalem, bestowed great cost, we are told, on the buildings at this
place, and died there on the 28th of March 1311 (fn. 22) , having, as it
is said, some time before given Eltham-house to Edward the Second, or, as some say, to Queen Isabel, reserving only a life-interest
for himself (fn. 23) . Edward frequently resided here. In 1315, his
Queen was brought to bed of a son in this palace, called, from that
circumstance, John of Eltham (fn. 24) . Edward the Third held a Parliament at Eltham in 1329, and again in 1375, when the Commons
petitioned him to make his grandson Richard, Prince of Wales (fn. 25) . In
1364, he gave a magnificent entertainment here to John King of
France. Lionel (son of Edward III.), being regent during his father's
absence, kept a public Christmas here in 1347 (fn. 27) . Richard II. kept
his Christmas at Eltham in 1384, 1385, and 1386 (fn. 28) . The last-mentioned year he gave a sumptuous entertainment to Leo King of Armenia (fn. 29) . Henry IV. kept his Christmas here in 1405; at which time
the Duke of York was accused of an intention of breaking into the
palace by scaling the walls, for the purpose of murdering the King (fn. 30) .
Henry kept his Christmas at Eltham again in 1409 and in 1412; he
was residing there when he was seized with the sickness which occasioned his death (fn. 31) . Henry V. kept his Christmas at this palace in
1414 (fn. 32) ; as did his successor Henry VI. with much splendor, in
1429 (fn. 33) . Edward IV. bestowed much charge upon the repairs of this
palace (fn. 34) . Here his daughter Bridget (who became a nun at Dartford) was born in 1480 (fn. 35) , and baptized in the chapel of the palace
by the Bishop of Chichester. In 1483, the King kept his Christmas
here with most magnificent entertainments, two thousand persons
being fed daily at his expence (fn. 36) . Henry VII. built the front of this
palace towards the moat, and frequently resided here (fn. 37) . Henry VIII.
preferring the situation of Greenwich, came seldom to Eltham. He
kept his Whitsuntide here in 1515 (fn. 38) , and his Christmas in 1526,
with few attendants, on account of the plague (fn. 39) ; it was called therefore the still Christmas. King Edward VI. on the death of Sir
Thomas Speke, made Sir John Gates keeper of Eltham palace and
park (fn. 40) . He was beheaded in 1553. Queen Elizabeth spent a few
days at Eltham in 1559 (fn. 41) . Sir Christopher Hatton was keeper of
the palace in her reign (fn. 42) ; and after him Lord Cobham, who had a
grant of that office in 1592 (fn. 43) . King James was at Eltham in
1612 (fn. 44) . I have not been able to find that it was visited by any of
the Royal Family at a later period. The palace was, during the
civil war, for some time in the occupation of Robert Earl of Essex,
the parliamentary general, who died there Sep. 13, 1646 (fn. 45) , and was
buried in Westminster Abbey. After the death of Charles I. the
manor-house was surveyed (fn. 46) , and valued at 2754l. for the materials.
It was sold with the manor to Nathaniel Rich, Esq. After the Restoration, the palace, with its appurtenances, reverted to the Crown.
It is included in Sir J. G. Shaw's lease, and the site is now occupied
as a farm. The manor-lodge in the great park, is now the manerial
Hall of Eltham Palace
Remains of Eltham Palace
Present state of Eltham palace.
The principal buildings now remaining on the site of the palace
are, the great hall, where the Parliaments were held, and the public
entertainments given (now used as a barn); and some of the
offices. The hall is 100 feet in length, 36 in breadth, and 55 in
height. It has a wooden roof, wrought with Gothic ornaments.
A ground plan of part of the ancient palace of Eltham, as taken
in 1509, was engraved for Hasted's History of Kent. A view
of the palace was published upon a very small scale, by Stent, in
1650. There are several prints of it in its present ruinous state.
The ordinances for the establishment of the Royal Household,
which contain precedents for the government of the King's house
to this day, were made at Eltham in 1526 (fn. 48) .
The great park at Eltham contained 596 acres, according to the
survey taken in 1649; Patrick Maule, Esq. Groom of the Bedchamber, was then Ranger and Master of the Game. The little
or middle park contained 333 acres; Horne, alias Lee park, in
Eltham and Lee, 336 acres. The deer in all these parks had
been destroyed by the soldiery and common people. In the three
parks, 3700 trees had been marked for the Navy (fn. 49) . A book called
the Mysteries of the Good Old Cause, published in 1660, says,
"Sir Thomas Walsingham had the Honour of Eltham given him,
which was the Earl of Dorset's, and the middle park, which
was Mr. White's; he has cut down 5000l. worth of timber, and
hath scarcely left a tree to make a gibbet." Sir Theodore
Mayerne, physician to the King, had been for many years chief
ranger and master of the game of Horne park, and resided in the
lodge (now a farm-house) during the reign of Charles the First;
before 1649 he had removed to Chelsea; and left an underkeeper in
the lodge; as is stated in the survey (fn. 50) .
Manor of Henleys.
The manor of Henle, or Henleys, was, in the early part of
Edward the Third's reign, the property of John de Henley; who
dying without issue, it was given by William de Brantingham, his
feoffee, to the King; and has been annexed ever since to the manor
of Eltham (fn. 51) .
Manor of West-Horne.
The manor of West-Horne, being part of the ancient demesnes of
the Crown, was inclosed by King Edward the Third (fn. 52) ; since which
time it has been called Horne-park, alias Lee-park. It is included
in Sir J. G. Shaw's lease.
Corbye-hall, in this parish, was, at an early period, the property
of a family of that name (fn. 54) . In the reign of Edward VI. it was in
the Crown, and was included in the grant to Sir John Gates (fn. 55) ; it
was afterward granted, with the manor, &c. to Lord Cobham (fn. 56) ; and
is now a part of Sir J. G. Shaw's estate.
Manors of East-Horne, and Well-hall.
The manors of East-Horne and Well-hall (or Well-hawe) were, in
the year 1100, the property of Jordan de Briset (fn. 57) . In the reign of Edward I. Matthew de Hegham held this estate (fn. 58) . In 1346, it was the
property of John de Pulteney (fn. 59) . In 1386, Thomas Conduyt, clerk,
brother and heir of Nicholas Conduyt, citizen of London, deceased,
granted the manors of East-Horne and Well-hawe to Gilbert Purneys, Esq. and his heirs (fn. 60) . In 1432, John Foxholes, clerk, released
to William Basket, citizen of London, all right in these manors,
lately the property of Margery, relict of Nicholas Sernefelde (fn. 61) . Soon
afterwards (probably by purchase) they came to John Tattersall,
who died in 1446, leaving two daughters coheirs (fn. 62) . Margery married John Roper, Esq. who, in her right, became possessed of these
manors; John, his eldest son, who succeeded him in this estate,
was Attorney-General to Henry VIII. From him it descended to
Edward Roper, Esq. whose daughter, Elizabeth, married Edward
Henshaw, Esq.; and on the death of her brothers without issue,
became sole heir to her father. Mr. Henshaw left three daughters;
Catherine, married to William Strickland, Esq.; Elizabeth, to Sir Edward Dering, Bart.; and the third daughter, to Sir Rowland Wynne,
Bart. These coheirs sold the manors of East-Horne and Wellhall, about the year 1733, to Sir Gregory Page; by whom they
were bequeathed to Sir Gregory Page Turner, Bart. who is the
Picture of Sir Thomas More's family.
At Well-hall was formerly one of the celebrated pictures of Sir
Thomas More's family; which was removed into Yorkshire by Sir
Rowland Wynne, in 1731. Sir Thomas More's amiable daughter,
Margaret, married William Roper, Esq. Prothonotary of the King's
Bench, and proprietor of Well-hall.
Park-place-farm, which had been the seat of Mrs. Sarah Nunn,
was purchased of Lord Harry Pawlet, (afterwards Duke of Bolton,)
who married her daughter, by Sir William James. It is now the
property of his widow, and in the occupation of Sir Benjamin
At Southend, a hamlet of Eltham, (about a mile from the village, on the road to Maidstone,) is an ancient seat, which was the
property of Sir William Wythens, High-Sheriff of the county in
1610; from him it descended to Sir Francis Wythens, Knt. Serjeant
at Law, who died in 1704 (fn. 63) . It soon afterwards became the property of Sir Comport Fitch, Bart.; whose daughter and sole heir,
Alice, married Sir John Barker, Bart. Sir John Fitch Barker, Bart.
dying without issue, in 1766, left it to Robert Nassau, Esq. (fn. 64) It
was sold a few years ago by George Nassau, Esq. to Joseph Warner,
Esq. the present proprietor, who resides there.
Sir Anthony Vandyke. John Philipott.
Sir Anthony Vandyke had a summer residence at Eltham (fn. 65) .
His botanic garden. Dillenius.
Cedar of Le-banus.
John Philipott, Somerset Herald, who collected the materials for
the Survey of Kent, and is said to have written it (fn. 66) , was of
Eltham; as was his son Thomas, who published that work, and
assumed the merit of it to himself. That eccentric character John
Lilbourn, who offended all parties, being pilloried by one, and shut
up in the Tower by another; who had been a captain in the Parliamentary army, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Brentford;
at last turned Quaker, and settled at Eltham; where he held forth
to his brethren of that persuasion (fn. 67) . He died at this place, Aug. 28,
1657 (fn. 68) . His corpse was removed to the Quakers' meeting in
Aldersgate-street, where there was some disturbance about putting a
velvet pall over his coffin, which the Quakers would not suffer.
He was interred in the burial-ground near Moorfields, the funeral
being attended by an immense concourse of people (fn. 69) . Dr. James
Sherard, an eminent physician in the early part of the present century, formed a botanical graden at Eltham; in which he was assisted
by Dillenius, who spent much of his time here (fn. 70) ; and published a
catalogue of Dr. Sherard's plants, in two volumes, in folio, under
the title of Hortus Elthamensis. A new edition of it was published
at Leyden, in 1775, with the Linnæan names. Dr. Sherard died
at Eltham, Feb. 12, 1738–9 (fn. 71) . His house is now in the tenure of
John Dorington, Esq. Some of the exotics planted by Dr. Sherard
still remain, among which is a fine cedar of Lebanus, close to the
house: its girth, at three feet from the ground, is nine feet.
The parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, consists of
a chancel, nave, and two aisles. At the west end is a spire.
On the east wall of the chancel are the monuments of Richard
Peter, vicar, 1748; and Peter Pinnell, D. D. vicar of Eltham, and
prebendary of Rochester (fn. 72) , 1783. On the north wall is one to the
memory of Ann, wife of Richard Owen, D. D. vicar, 1653, and
some of his children (fn. 73) ; there are inscribed achievements also to the
memory of "Susanna, widow of John Philipott (fn. 74) , Somerset Herald,
designed Norroy, daughter and sole heir of William Glover, Esq.
by Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Henry Herlackenden, Esq."
1664; and Thomas Trenchfield (fn. 75) , 1670. On the floor is the
tomb of John, son of Edmund Colleton of Milverton, Somersetshire, 1635.
In the nave are the tombs of Katherine, wife of John Bowles,
merchant, 1670; Mr. Phineas Bowles, 1718; Rebecca Lady Henley, his daughter, 1743; Charles Bowles, Gent. 1727; Elizabeth
de Bert, widow (no date); Elizabeth de Bert, her daughter, aged
95, 1759; Henry Smith, Gent. 1757; Elizabeth, his wife, greatgrandaughter of Mrs. de Bert, 1750; Nicholas Smith, Esq. 1718;
Reverend Clement Hobson, 67 years vicar, aged 91, 1725; Mrs.
Ann Peake, 1742; and Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Smith, and
wife of Calverley Bewicke, Esq. 1762.
At the east end of the south aisle, which was enlarged in 1766,
are the monuments of Robert Bright, 1785; and Joseph Middleditch, merchant, 1788. On the south wall are those of Mrs. Amy
Barton (fn. 76) , relict of George Cooke, merchant, and wife of the Rev.
Dr. Samuel Barton, prebendary of Westminster, 1738 (erected by
her brother Andrew Osborne); Elizabeth Dodson, 1749; and Elizabeth, daughter of Anthony Hodges, Esq. and wife of Godschall
Johnson, Esq. (fn. 77) , 1788. At the west end is a monument in memory
of John Cox, Gent. 1721; John Cox, 1766; Anne, wife of George
Cradock (fn. 78) , daughter of John Cox, 1772; and Gilbert Burton, 1785.
On the floor are the tombs of George Cooke, merchant, 1699; John
Stanyan, Esq. 1714; and Mrs. Susan Stanyan, his daughter, aged
The north aisle was built in 1667, by Sir John Shaw, Bart. who
had a faculty for that purpose. Whilst the vault was digging under
this aisle, the roof of the nave fell in, June 24, 1667; after this accident, it was rebuilt, new pewed, and a new pulpit was given, all
at the expence of Sir John Shaw. In this aisle is the monument of
Mr. John Parker of Frenches near Ryegate, 1720.
There were formerly memorials in this church for Thomas Pierle,
1369; John Pasley, yeoman—porter to Henry VIII. 1509; Margery, wife of John Roper, Esq. daughter and coheir of John Tattersall (fn. 79) , 1518; John Morton, son and heir of Margaret Morton,
(who had been the wife of Thomas Squiers,) no date; and Margery,
wife of Edward Isam of Walmer, Esq. (daughter of John Fletcher,
Esq. (no date) (fn. 80) .
Tombs in the churchyard.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Richard Savill, 1729; Samuel
Savill, Esq. 1745; Benjamin Tilden, merchant, 1752; Grace, wife
of William Fauquier, Esq. 1754; William Fauquier, Esq. 1788;
Tilman Henckell, Esq. 1761; Captain Leonard Pattison, 1764;
Martha, wife of John Henderson, Esq. 1765; Mrs. Eliza Cadell,
1785; Mr. John Latham, 1788; Felicia, more than 52 years the
wife of Philip Burton, Esq. 1791; Philip Burton, Esq. (fn. 81) , 1792;
and George Horne, D. D. Bishop of Norwich (fn. 82) , 1792.
The church of Eltham, which is in the diocese of Rochester, and
in the deanery of Dartford, was given by William Earl of Gloucester to the abbot and convent of Keynsham (in Somersetshire);
to whom, in 1242, the rectory was appropriated. After the dissolution of that convent, it was granted to Sir John Henley; who
left three daughters, coheirs (fn. 83) . Helen, who married Thomas Colepepper, Esq. had this rectory, which was sold, about the year 1550,
to William Roper, Esq. of Well-hall. Mr. Roper, reserving the
advowson of the vicarage, gave the rectory to the Provost and Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford, on condition that they should grant,
from time to time, a lease for three lives or 21 years, to his heirs
of the family of Roper; they paying a rent of 14l. per annum, and
a fine of 100l. at each renewal. The Ropers having neglected to
renew according to these conditions, the College granted a lease of
the rectory to Christopher Comport, Gent.; whose only daughter
and heir married Sir Thomas Fitch. Alice, daughter and heir of
Sir Comport Fitch, Bart. (who died in 1720), married Sir John
Barker, Bart.; whose son, Sir John Fitch Barker, dying without
issue, in 1766, left his interest in this rectory to Robert Nassau, Esq. (fn. 84)
The lease was purchased of the Nassaus by Mr. John Green, who
is the present lessee. The rectory of Eltham was valued at twenty
marks per annum, in 1287.
Advowson of the vicarage.
The advowson of the vicarage having been reserved by William
Roper, as before mentioned, descended with the estate of Well-hall,
and is now the property of Sir Gregory Page Turner, Bart.
The vicarage was rated, anno 1287, at 100 shillings; in 1650, it
was valued at 27l. 5s. per annum. In the King's books it is among
the discharged livings, the clear yearly value being stated at 32l. 8s.
In 1734, it was augmented by Queen Anne's bounty, Sir Gregory
Page contributing 100l. towards that purpose.
John Foord, who was vicar of Eltham from 1597 to 1627, has inserted many useful notes in the register relating to the vicarage (fn. 85) , for
the benefit of his successors.
Richard Owen, vicar.
Richard Owen, instituted to this vicarage in 1636, was turned out
by the Parliament in 1653 (fn. 86) . After the Restoration he had the living
of St. Mary Cray, but it does not appear that he ever recovered the
possession of Eltham; Clement Hobson, who succeeded Mr. Overton
in 1658, enjoying it till his death in 1725. Dr. Owen was buried
at Eltham, Jan. 22, 1682–3. He translated most of Juvenal's Satires, and published some controversial tracts (fn. 87) .
The present vicar is John Kennard Shaw, M. A. who succeeded
Dr. Pinnell in 1783.
There was formerly a perpetual chantry in this parish, in the gift
of the Crown, which, with the chantry-priest's house, was granted by
Henry VIII. anno 1528, to Robert Burste, clerk (fn. 88) .
The earliest date of the parish register is 1583.
Comparative state of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The present number of houses is about 240.
Burials in the plague years.
In 1603, there were 52 burials, 17 persons dying of the plague,
among whom was the vicar's son; in 1625, there were 61 burials;
in 1665, 44: thirty-two persons died of the plague that year. In
1666, there were 28 burials.
Extracts from the Register.
William, son of Sr Nicholas Stoddard, of Mottingham, baptized
Mar. 8, 1603–4."
Baptism by midwives.
"A man-child of John Grace, born, baptized by the midwife of
necessity (fn. 89) , and buried the 19th of Jany 1605."
"Mr. Cornelius Orts, a Hollander, a servant unto the King, for
providing hawks, under Sr Anthony Pell, buried May 1, 1621."
"Mr. Ambrose Gurney was buried the 23d of May 1621, in the
chancel, at 11 of the clock at night, because of his infirmity: Mrs.
Elizabeth Gurney was buried in the chancel, the 20th day of
August 1623, by her husband, in the night, because of her infirmity."
In 1623, Mr. Foord, the vicar, in his zeal against popery, has
thus recorded a fatal accident, which is mentioned by some of the
historians of that time (fn. 90) : "Let this be a pitiful remembrance to all
posteritie, that in the year of our Lord 1623, the 26th day of
October, in the 21st year of King James his reign, there lay a French
Embassador in the Blacke Friers in London, who being at masse the
same Sabbath-day in the afternoone, with a multitude of blind ignorant people, there fell (in the chapel in his house) a gallery in the
said chapel, that crushed to death fourscore and sixteen souls, besides a great multitude that had their arms and legs broken, so
much was God offended with their detestable idolatrie."
"Sr Richard Brann's daughter, buried Oct. 12, 1625."
"David Oliver, miles, Scotigenus, sepult. Dec. 15, 1628."
"Sr William Withens, buried Dec. 7, 1630; Francis Withens,
Knt, May 12, 1704."
"Domina Cotton, ux. Joannis Cotton, militis, sepult. Dec. 7,
1638; Joannes Cotton, miles, Feb. 18, 1645–6."
Family of Maule.
"Patrick, fil. Magistri Maule, equitis, sepult. May 7, 1639; Stephanus, fil. Th. Maule, Arm. bapt. Mar. 18, 1647–8, sepult.
Mar.29, 1649; Maria, fil. Th. Maule, equiti bapt. Mar. 29,
1649; sepult. July 2, 1649."
"Sr John Rheyne and Frances Gibbes, married Oct. 3, 1639."
"Elizabeth, uxor Thomæ Fletcher, militis, sepult. Dec. 23, 1650."
John, son of Sr John Jessat, baptized Mar. 2, 1653–4."
Family of Shaw, Bart.
"Johannes Shaw, Eq. Aurat. et Domina Brigetta Nedham,
relicta Roberti Nedham, Vicecomitis Kilmurrey, conjunct. matrimonio Jun. 24, 1663." Sir John Shaw was created a baronet
in 1665, as a mark of the Royal favour for his having lent large
sums of money to the King during his exile, when there was little
prospect of repayment. He was appointed also one of the farmers
of the Customs (fn. 91) . Sir John Shaw died in London in 1679–80. His
corpse was carried through the city with great funeral pomp (fn. 92) , and
he was buried at Eltham, March 6th. "Bridget Countess of Kilmurrey, widow of Sr John Shaw, buried July 11, 1696."
"Elizabeth (fn. 93) , daughter of Sr John Shaw, Bart, baptized Feb. 26,
1688–9; William (fn. 94) , his son, Feb. 27, 1689–90; Margery (fn. 95) , wife
of Sr John Shaw, buried Aug. 29, 1690;—William (fn. 96) , son of
Sr John Shaw, baptized, Dec. 7, 1696; Catherine (fn. 97) , his daughter,
Dec. 17, 1697; Paggen (fn. 98) , July 7, 1700; Mary, baptized May 30,
1701, buried Mar. 22, 1766; Rebecca (fn. 99) , baptized Nov. 28, 1702.
Peter (fn. 100) , Jan. 27, 1703–4; Jane, Apl 12, 1708; Anne (fn. 101) , July 13,
1709; Sr John Shaw, Bart, buried Dec. 21, 1721; the Lady
Peake, (mother of his first wife,) Jan. 23, 1723–4; Dame Sarah
Shaw (fn. 102) , his widow, Jan. 12, 1742–3."
"John, son of Sr John Shaw, Bart, born Nov. 11, 1728; Peter
Delmé, Esq. and Anna Maria, daughter of Sr John Shaw, married July 2, 1737; Sr John Shaw, Bart, buried Mar. 13, 1739;
Dame Anna Maria Shaw (fn. 103) , Dec. 10, 1755."
"Elizabeth Lady Shaw (fn. 104) , buried Feb. 12, 1750–1; John Gregory, born July 25, 1756; John Barnardiston, son of Sr John
Shaw, born Aug. 26, 1757; buried Dec. 10; John Kenward,
Dec. 22, 1758; Sr John Shaw, Bart, buried June 26, 1779, in his
51st year; Dame Martha Shaw (fn. 105) , Nov. 4, 1794."
"Theodosia, daughter of Sr John Gregory Shaw, Bart, and the
Hon. Theodosia Margaret (fn. 106) , buried Feb. 8, 1785; Theodosia
Martha, June 20, 1794."
Family of Fitch, Bart.
"Thomas Fitch, Knt and Bart, buried Sep. 19, 1688; William,
son of the Lady Anne Fitch, Sep. 30, 1689; Thomas, son of
Sr Comport Fitch, Bart, June 3, 1712; Dame Anne, relict of Sr
Comport, April 29, 1737; Sr William Fitch, Bart
(fn. 107) , June 19,
"Mary, daughter of Sr George Pierce, Bart, buried Sep. 30,
"The Honble Philippa Mohun, buried Sep. 8, 1703."
Dogget the comedian.
"Thomas Dogget, buried Sep. 25, 1721." A comic actor of
great eminence. He was a native of Dublin, where he made his
first appearance upon the stage. Not finding the success he expected, he came over to England, where he soon established himself on the London theatres. He was for some time joint-manager
of Drury-lane with Wilks and Cibber; but retired in disgust, both
from the management and the stage, in 1712, upon Booth's being
admitted to a share. The last time of his acting was in the Wanton
Wife, for Mrs. Porter's benefit, the 28th of April in that year. It
is probable that he had a residence at Eltham, where his wife, Mary
Dogget, was buried Nov. 8, 1712. It is said that he afterwards
married a lady of large fortune. Cibber, in his Apology, says, that
Dogget was the most an original, and the strictest observer of
nature, of all his contemporaries; he borrowed from none of
them; his manner was his own; he was a pattern to others,
whose greatest merit was, that they sometimes tolerably imitated
him. In dressing a character to the greatest advantage, he was
remarkably skilful; the least article of whatever habit he wore
seemed, in some degree, to speak and mark the different humour
he presented: he could be extremely ridiculous, without stepping
into the least impropriety. His greatest success was in characters
of low life. In songs, and particular dances of humour, he had
no competitor. Congreve was a great admirer of him, and found
his account in the characters he expressly wrote for him. In those
of Fondlewife, in the Old Batchelor, and Ben in Love for Love,
no author and actor could be more obliged to their mutual
masterly performances (fn. 108) . Dogget wrote the Country Wake, a
comedy, since altered to a farce, which has been frequently revived,
called Hob in the Well. For many years before his death he gave
yearly, on the first of August, (being the anniversary of George the
First's accession,) a coat and silver badge to be rowed for by six
watermen; and, by his will, left a sum of money for the purpose of
perpetuating the custom (fn. 109) .
"Lady Pollet (fn. 110) , buried June 8, 1764."
"Deborah Lady Hudson (fn. 111) , relict of Sr Charles Hudson, Bart,
buried Jan. 8, 1780."
Sir William James.
Tower erected to his memory on Shooters-Hill.
"Sr William James, Bart, buried Dec. 22, 1783." This brave
officer (who resided at Park-place-farm in this parish) had for some
time the command of the Company's marine forces in the East Indies,
where he particularly distinguished himself by the taking of Severndroog Castle on the coast of Malabar, April 2, 1755. Lady James has
erected a triangular tower on Shooter's-hill, about forty-five feet high,
in memory of this event. It consists of three floors: on each of the
upper stories is a room, with two closets adjoining, neatly fitted up.
The vestibule, at the entrance, is ornamented with armour and trophies taken at Severndroog Castle. On the front of the building is an
appropriate inscription (fn. 112) . This tower commands a very extensive and
beautiful prospect of the metropolis, Greenwich, Woolwich, the river
Thames, and the adjacent counties of Kent, Surrey, and Essex. Sir
William James was created a baronet in 1778. Sir Edward William James, his only son, was buried at Eltham, Nov. 24, 1792, in
the 18th year of his age.
George Horne, Bishop of Norwich.
"The Rt Revd George Horne, D. D. Ld Bishop of Norwich, died
Jany 17, aged 62 years, buried Jany 26, 1792." This amiable
and learned prelate was a native of Otham in Kent. He was educated at University College, whence he was elected a Fellow of
Magdalen, in 1750. In 1768, he was elected President of the
latter college; in 1781, was made Dean of Canterbury; and in 1789,
promoted to the See of Norwich. His principal work was a Commentary on the Psalms, in two volumes quarto, published in 1776.
He was author also of Considerations on the Life and Death of John
the Baptist; a Letter to Adam Smith; Letters on Infidelity; a Letter
to Doctor Priestley; Observations on the Case of the Protestant Dissenters; and the letters marked Z. in the Olla Podrida. Dr. Horne
was much admired as a preacher, as his epitaph justly says, "in the
university, in the city, and in the country parish." Two volumes
of his sermons are in print, besides several single discourses, preached
upon public occasions. A life of Bishop Horne has been published
by the Rev. Mr. Jones of Neyland.
Native of New South Wales.
"Yemmurravonyea Kebarrah, a native of New South Wales, died
May 18, 1794, supposed to be aged 19 years, buried May 21."
Instances of Longevity.
"John Pennard, aged 100, buried Nov. 15, 1727; Margaret
Harrod, widow, aged 95, Sep. 9, 1728; Catherine Castleman,
widow, aged 98, Dec. 18, 1728; Elizabeth Mason, aged 94,
Mar. 9, 1746–7; Sarah Small, aged 96, April 12, 1749; Mary
Smith, widow, aged 95, July 6, 1786; Mrs. Catherine Pittman,
widow, aged 96, June 27, 1790."
Extracts from the Churchwardens' Accounts.
Expences of making the butts.
|1554. Paid for setting up of the sepulchre
|—For taking downe of the same
|1554. For watching of the same two nightes
|1557. Recd for the burial of Sir Chaplene to Sir Henrye Gernygane, Knighte, who was buried within the churche
|1562. Paid to the boyes for the maypole
|1566. Paid for watchinge the beacon on Shutters Hill (N. B. This occurs several times)
|1573. Paid at the eatinge of the buke (buck) which Mr. Hatton gave the parish
|1574. Paid to John Petley for making the beacon
|1583. Laid out for three arming girdells, and one girdell for a shese of arowes
|Item for two bowestrings and one mache
|1603. Paid for felling three trees for the buts, and cutting them out
|— For carring the same timber
|— To Hamshere for two daies worck to make the posts and pails for the buts, and set them up
|— Paid to four men that digged turf, and laboured at the buts
|— For one hundreth and a half of nails
|— Paid in charges for their suppers for all them that wrought at the buts, which ware three or four more than wee hyred, becas wee would end them in one day
|— For the two bars for the butts, with the staples and iron work thereunto
|1608. Payd to Henry Byrde for ditching before the butts in Eastfylde
|1612. Paid for ryngers when the Kinges Majestie came to lye at Ealthom
|1642. Paid to four Irish gentlewomen
|1642. Paid to the Irish gentlewomen, who had their pass from the Parliament
The schoolhouse at Eltham was built in 1634 (fn. 113) ; but it does not
appear that there was any endowment for a school, till Mrs. Elizabeth Leggatt, widow, anno 1714, left lands, now 18l. per annum,
for that purpose: in this school sixteen boys are now taught.
Thomas Philipott, anno 1680, founded an alms-house at this
place for six poor persons (four of whom are to be of this parish,
and two of Chislehurst); and gave lands (now 31l. per annum)
for its support (fn. 114) .
Three of the pensioners in Queen Elizabeth's College at Greenwich are to be of this parish.
||King Henry VII.
||Lands, now 56l. 9s. per annum,
||To the poor inhabitants for the payment of fifteenths.
||Lands, lately let at 60l. 10s. per ann. (fn. 115) ,
||One mark to pay the fine called head-silver, 1 mark for masses, requiems, &c. the remainder left to the disposal of his wife Agnes; the whole applied from time immemorial to the use of the poor.
||Thomas Roper, Esq. and his son William,
||Lands in exchange, now 8l. per ann.
||Henry Keightley (fn. 116) ,
||12d. per ann.
||Twelve poor persons.
||Lands, now 14l. per ann.
||Apprenticing children, and for the poor, in moieties.
||8s. 8d. per ann.
||To purchase two penny loaves, weekly, of sweet wheaten bread, for two of the godliest and poorest inhabitants.
||Lands, lately let at 10l. per ann.
||Dame Sarah Pritchard,
||2l. 10s. per ann.
||Ten poor widows or maids.
||Mary Clapham, widow,
||100l. 3 per cent.
||Coals for twenty poor housekeepers.
||William Smith, Esq.
||200l. 3 per cent.
||To purchase religious books and coals.
||Dorothy Smith, widow,
||100l. 3 per cent.
||The same purpose.
||50l. 3 per cent.
||Residue of the interest, after keeping Robert Street's tombstone in repair, to buy bread for the poor.
||80l. 5 per cent.
||A chaldron of coals for six poor widows, to be purchased April 11, the residue in money.
||12s. per ann.
Two houses were given by a benefactor, now unknown, for the
habitation of poor persons.
Improvement of the road.
At the north-east extremity of this parish lies Shooter's-hill, over
which is the high road from London to Dover. The beautiful
prospect from this hill and Lady James's tower have been already mentioned (fn. 116) . Not far from the tower is erected one of the
telegraphs, which communicates between London and Dover. On
the top of the hill is a mineral spring, an account of which was
published by William Godbid, in 1673. Shooter's-hill was formerly a place much dreaded by travellers; the steepness and narrowness of the roads, and the harbour which the neighbouring
coppices afforded to the robbers, rendering it a very fit place for
their depredations. Shakespeare makes it the scene of Falstaffe's,
and his companions' robberies, in Henry IV. Measures had been
taken for improving the highway on this hill, so early as Richard
the Second's time (fn. 117) , but they proved ineffectual; and it was not
till the year 1739 that any very material improvement was made,
when a road of easier ascent, and of great width, was laid out at
some distance from the old one (fn. 118) .
Henry VIII. and Queen Katherine entertained by archers.
King Henry VIII. is said to have visited Shooter's-hill on May-day
1511, with his Queen Katherine; when he was met by 200 archers,
clad in green, with a captain at their head personating Robin Hood:
after exhibiting their skill in archery, they entertained the Royal
party with venison and wine, in booths decorated with pageants (fn. 119) .
Modingham, or Mottingham, is an extraparochial hamlet, adjoining to this parish and Chislehurst; to both which it has been
supposed to belong. The inhabitants served parish-offices at Chislehurst in the last century; but, for the most part, they frequent Eltham church, and christen and bury there. The number of houses
in this hamlet is 17. The inhabitants of Mottingham enjoy the
same privileges as those of Eltham; this hamlet having been included in the grants referred to in p. 397. The great tithes of
Mottingham were given by Ansgot, Chamberlain to William Rufus,
to the priory of St. Andrew at Rochester (fn. 120) ; on the dissolution of
which, they were granted to the Dean and Chapter of that place.
In 1639, they were leased for twenty years to Nicholas Buckeridge,
at the rent of 5l. per annum (fn. 121) . They are now in the tenure of
Robert Dinely, Esq. This hamlet has been attached to the manor
of Eltham ever since the reign of Edward I.; at an earlier period
it seems to have belonged to Lewisham (fn. 122) .
Thomas Banquel, who died in 1361, was seised of certain lands
in the hamlet of Mottingham (fn. 123) (late Legh's). This estate was,
in 1445, the property of Robert Cheseman; who, by his marriage
with Joan, daughter of Benjamin Cavell, obtained also certain other
lands, which had long been in possession of the Cavells (fn. 124) . Alice,
daughter and heir of Thomas Cheseman, Esq. a descendant of the
said Robert, married Robert Stoddard, Esq.; whose son George, in
1560, rebuilt the ancient mansion called Mottingham-place, which,
with the lands belonging to it, continued in that family till the death
of Nicholas Stoddard, Esq. (in 1765); who dying unmarried and
intestate, a long litigation ensued in the court of Chancery. At
length this estate was adjudged to William Bowerman, Esq. of the
Isle of Wight. It was purchased a few years ago by Robert
Dynely, Esq. the present proprietor, who has repaired and modernized
Fairy-hill within the precincts of this hamlet, which was the
villa of the late Earl Bathurst when Lord High Chancellor of
England, has since been in the successive occupation of Henry
Hoare, Esq.; General Morrison; and John Randall, Esq. It was
sold a few months ago to — Naylor, Esq. who is fitting it up for
his own residence.
Extraordinary sinking of ground at Mottingham.
"On the 4th of August 1585, betimes in the morning, in the
hamlet of Mottingham, in the parish of Eltham, the ground
began to sink in a field belonging to Sir Percival Hart, so much
that three great elm-trees were swallowed into the pit; and before
ten of the clock no part of them could be seen. The compass
of the hole was about 80 yards, and it was suddenly filled with
water." This is Fuller's narrative (fn. 125) ; Philipott adds, that "a
sounding line of fifty fathoms could hardly find or feel any
bottom; and that at ten yards distance another piece of ground
sunk in like manner, near the highway, and so nigh a dwellinghouse, that the inhabitants were greatly terrified therewith (fn. 126) . The
spot where this accident is said to have happened, is near the road
leading to Fairy-hill; it presents now only a slight inequality of surface, and is supposed to have been occasioned by the falling in of
what had, at some remote period, been a chalk-pit.