In the most ancient Saxon records this place is called Levesham,
that is, the house among the meadows; leswe, læs, læse, or læsew,
in the Saxon, signifies a meadow, and ham, a dwelling. It is now
written, as well in parochial and other records as in common usage,
Quantity of land, and how occupied.
The village is situated on the road to Bromley, and extends
nearly a mile in length. The church, which stands about the centre
of the village, is not far from the six-mile stone. The parish, which
lies in the hundred of Blackheath, is bounded by Lambeth, Camberwell, and the hamlet of Penge in Surrey, and by St. Paul's Deptford, Greenwich, Lee, Charlton, Eltham, Bromley, and Beckenham,
in Kent. I have not been able to obtain the quantity of cultivated
land, of which about two thirds are said to be arable. The woodlands are about 200 acres, the waste on Sydenham-common, Blackheath, &c. nearly 1000. Mr. Russell, who has one of the most extensive concerns of that kind in the kingdom, occupies about fifty acres
of nursery ground, and there are about forty cultivated by market gardeners. The soil is various, principally loam, clay, and gravel. This
parish pays the sum of 695l. 10s. to the land-tax, which is at the
rate of about 1s. 6d. in the pound.
There was formerly a Benedictine priory at this place, which was
a cell to the abbey of St. Peter in Ghent. The time of its foundation is uncertain (fn. 1) , but it is probable that it was soon after the manor
was given to that abbey by King Alfred's niece, as will be shewn
below. The prior of Lewisham is mentioned in records of the time
of Henry II. and III. (fn. 2) This priory paid a yearly pension or acknowledgment of 40s. to the abbey of Ghent, as its superior (fn. 3) . It
was suppressed with the other alien priories by Henry V. in 1414,
and the site granted to the prior and convent of Shene (fn. 4) .
The manor of Lewisham.
Lord Dartmouth's seat on Blackheath.
The manor of Lewisham (fn. 5) was given by Elthruda, niece of King
Alfred, (about the year 900,) to the abbey of St. Peter in Ghent, and
was confirmed to them by Edward the Confessor, and succeeding
monarchs (fn. 6) . In 1275, the Bishop of Rochester had the Royal licence
for purchasing this manor (fn. 7) ; and, in 1281, the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have been in treaty about a purchase or lease (fn. 8) ; but
the abbey of Ghent continued in possession of it till the suppression
of alien priories, when it was seized by the Crown, and granted by
Henry V., together with the site of Lewisham priory, to the prior
and convent of Shene. In 1531, King Henry VIII. procured a
grant of this manor (and Greenwich), from the monastery of Shene,
in exchange for other lands (fn. 9) . The lease of it was then in the hands
of Edward Ford, Esq. for the remainder of a term of forty years,
granted in 1525, to John Cheseman, Esq. (fn. 10) In 1538, the King
granted the stewardship of this manor to Richard Long, Esq. (fn. 11) , the
next year he granted the reversion to Sir Anthony St. Leger. Mention is made of a grant of the manor of Lewisham, in 1547, to
Thomas Lord Seymour (fn. 12) , yet it appears that the stewardship was
given by the Crown the same year to Sir Thomas Speke, and in 1551,
to Thomas Lord Darcy of Chiche (fn. 13) . The manor was afterwards
granted by King Edward to John Duke of Northumberland (fn. 14) , who
was beheaded in 1553. Queen Elizabeth, in 1563, granted it for
life to his brother, Sir Ambrose Dudley (fn. 15) ; the same year she gave it
for twenty-one years in reversion to Henry Knolles, Esq. (fn. 16) The
lease was renewed twice to the Knolles family (fn. 17) . In 1624, King
James granted this manor in fee to John Earl of Holderness (fn. 18) . His
nephew, John Ramsey, is said to have sold it, about the year 1645,
to Reginald Grahme, Esq. (fn. 19) , who had a new grant or confirmation
from the Crown in 1664 (fn. 20) . In the year 1673, Mr. Grahme conveyed this manor to George Legge (fn. 21) , Admiral of the Navy, afterwards
created Lord Dartmouth. From him it descended to his son William,
who, in 1711, was created Earl of Dartmouth; and to his great
grandson, the present Earl, who has a seat, where he occasionally
resides, on Blackheath, within the bounds of this parish and manor.
In this house are portraits of Charles II. and James II., the first Lord
Dartmouth, Lord High Admiral of England, the late Earl of Guildford, the present Earl of Dartmouth, Lord Lewisham, (by Zoffanii,)
and a few other family portraits. The old manor-house, which was
also, as I suppose, the site of the priory, stood to the south of the
church, where is now the manor-farm.
Manor of Catford.
The manor of Catford, in this parish, was anciently, according
to Philipott's account, the property of the family of Abel (fn. 22) . Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, died seised of it in 1311 (fn. 23) . In
1330, William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, had a grant of this
manor (fn. 24) , and the next year a charter of free-warren in it (fn. 25) . In the
year 1339, this manor was given by the Earl to the master and
chaplains of the chapel of Corpus Christi, near the church of St.
Laurence in Candlewyke-street (fn. 26) , (founded by Sir John Pulteney,
and afterwards called Pulteney, or, corruptly, Pountney College).
Upon the suppression of chantries it was sold, anno 1548, to Henry
Polsted (fn. 27) . In 1577, it was sold by Francis Polsted to Bryan Annesley, Esq. (fn. 28) ; since which time it has passed through the same hands
as the manor of Kidbrook (fn. 29) , and is now the property of the Right
Hon. Edward Lord Eliot.
That part of the manor of Brockley which is in this parish, called
Brockley-farm, or Forest-place, has descended in the same manner as
Kidbrook, and the Catford estate.
Manor of Billingham.
The manor of Billingham, in this parish, was parcel of the
possessions of the Cistertian monastery of Stratford Langthorne (fn. 30) in
Essex, at the dissolution of which it came to the Crown; and was
granted by Queen Mary, in 1554, to Richard Whetely (fn. 31) , whose
daughter and heir Philippa married John Rochester, and levied a
fine of this manor in 1575 (fn. 32) . It is now the property of Francis
Motley Austen, Esq. of Sevenoak, who inherited it under the will
of Sarah Lady Falkland, who died in 1776.
Manor of Sydenham.
Manorhouse, usually called Place-house.
The manor of Sydenham was given by John Besvile to the
prior and convent of St. Andrew in Rochester (fn. 33) . What became
of it immediately after the dissolution of religious houses, I have
not been able to learn; but, in 1641, it was vested in George,
Abraham, and Robert Edmonds, as coheirs, in gavelkind, of
George Edmonds. The demesne land, and the manor-house, a
great mansion, generally known by the name of Place-house, were
then divided between the three brothers; but soon afterwards
Robert sold his share to the other two. Abraham Edmonds, in
1679, sold his moiety to William Grimett. This moiety was afterwards subdivided into moieties in the Grimett family. Both of
these were purchased by Richard Brooke, Esq.; the one in 1763,
of Francis Grimett, Esq. the other in 1765, of Mrs. Christian
Hunt, widow, great-grandaughter of William Grimett above mentioned (fn. 34) . George Edmonds's moiety passed through several hands,
and was for many years in litigation between persons claiming under
different wills. A decree in Chancery was obtained a few years
ago, and it was then purchased by Mr. Jonathan Sabine, (the present
proprietor,) who has pulled down his moiety of the house (fn. 35) . The
eastern moiety, which is now standing, was inherited (with the
lands belonging to it) by Mr. Brooke's niece, the widow of John
Secker, Esq. who is the present proprietor. Place-house is said to
have been one of the seats of the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth's
favourite; but I cannot find any authority for the tradition.
Little Bankers, and Hatchfield.
The manor or farm of Little Bankers, in this parish and Lee, was
the property of Thomas Banquel, who died in 1361 (fn. 36) . In 1545,
being vested in the Crown, it was granted to Henry Byrd, who
was possessed also of another estate in this parish called Great Hatchfield, both of which descended to his grandson George (fn. 37) . They
afterwards became attached to the Catford estate (fn. 38) , and are now the
property of Lord Eliot.
Monuments of the Petrie family.
The old parish church of Lewisham (dedicated to St. Mary)
being much decayed, an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1774,
for powers to rebuild it. The present structure, which is of stone,
consists of an oblong square, with a small circular recess at the east end
for the altar. On the south side is a portico supported by four columns
of the Corinthian order. At the west end stands an ancient square
tower the upper part of which has been rebuilt. The inside is neatly
fitted up. At the west end is an organ, given by Mr. Spencer,
whose arms are on the front. On each side of the organ is a
very handsome monument put up by the Petrie family. That on
the north side is to the memory of Anne Dick, wife of John
Petrie, Esq. (fn. 39) , who died in 1787; and John, her only son, who
died in 1789. This monument consists of a bas relief, of white
statuary marble, inclosed within a border of dove marble, representing, in figures of the natural size, the deceased lying on her
death-bed, and her husband and children lamenting. It was executed in Italy. The other monument, on the south side of the organ,
was put up by William Petrie, Esq. in memory of his mother, Margaret, relict of the Rev. Robert Petrie (fn. 40) , who died in 1791. This
monument is the work of Mr. Banks, and represents Mrs. Petrie
dying in the arms of Religion supported by Faith and Hope.
Monument of Mrs. Colfe.
On the north wall of the church, under the gallery, is a tablet
in memory of Margaret, relict of Jasper Valentine, and wife of
Abraham Colfe (fn. 41) , vicar of Lewisham, 1643; over the gallery are
the monuments of William Innes, Esq. (fn. 42) , 1719, and Joseph Innes,
Esq. (with a medallion of the deceased), 1779. On the south wall,
under the gallery, is the monument of Mr. John Russell (fn. 43) , nurseryman, 1794; over the gallery, that of Ann, wife of George Mackenzie Macauley (fn. 44) , Esq. Alderman of London, 1788.
Monuments in the vault removed from the old church.
In the vault, under the church, are placed several monuments,
removed from the old church, in memory of Thomas Jones (fn. 45) , Esq.
1625; Richard Symes (fn. 46) , Esq. (son of Thomas Symes, Esq. of
Winterbourne, Glouc. by Amy, sister of Sir Thomas Brydges of
Keynsham), 1728; Rev. George Stanhope, D. D. 38 years vicar (fn. 47) ,
1727; Olivia, his wife, daughter of Charles Cotton (fn. 48) , Esq. 1707.
John Pery (fn. 49) , Esq. of Blackheath, aged 92, (son of William Pery of
Thorpe in Surrey,) some time M. P. for Shoreham, 1732; Thomas Dyer, Esq. barrister at law, 1748; Katherine, his wife,
daughter of Francis Lowe, Esq. of Brightwell, Oxf. 1748. On
the floor at the entrance of the vault, are the tombs of John Peter (fn. 50) ,
Gent. 1684; Elizabeth, his widow, aged 90, 1738; Mrs. Ann Kelly,
1695; Mrs. Mary Griffith, her daughter, 1747; and John Dyer,
Against the south wall of the church, on the outside, is a tablet in
memory of Abraham Colfe, minister, who died in 1657.
In the Registrum Roffense (fn. 51) , mention is made of the tombs of
George, son and heir of William Hattecliffe, Esq., treasurer in Ireland, 1514; Susanna, daughter of Sir William Washington, and
widow of Reginald Grahme, 1698; Elizabeth, daughter of Peter
Frisby, and wife of John Dyer, 1708; and Thomas Curteis, 1728.
Tombs in the churchyard.
In the churchyard are the tombs of John Lucas, Gent. 1702;
John Knap, citizen of London, 1726; John Knap, 1740; Joseph
Knap, rector of Brampton (Northt.), 1757; Mr. Abraham Simmons, 1728; Eleanor, relict of the Rev. John Watson, D. D. and
sister (by the mother) of Sir Charles Wager, 1731; Mr. William
Stacey, 1740; Mary, his wife, daughter of the Rev. John Watson,
1731; Mary, daughter of Alexander and prudence Parker (sister of
Mrs. Eleanor Watson), 1746; Mr. John How, 1736; Rev. John
Inglis, vicar, 1739; Catherine, his wife, (by whom he had fourteen
children,) 1747; John Inglis, M. D. (his uncle), Assistant Marshal,
and Master of the Ceremonies to Queen Anne, George I., and
George II., 1740; John Lewis Loton, Esq. 1745; John Loton,
Esq. his father, 1746; Captain John Denn, 1747; Mr. John
Mylam, surgeon, 1748; John Mylam, surgeon, 1793; Rev. Abraham Heckstall, some time curate of Lewisham, 1754; Rev. Brooke
Heckstall, his son, LL.B. rector of St. Anne, Aldersgate, 1780; James
Purcell, Esq. Governor of the Virginia Islands, 1759; Catherine Isabella, wife of Edward Johnson, Esq. only surviving daughter of Sir
Thomas Langley, Bart. and grandaughter of Sir Roger Langley
(who was foreman of the grand jury which acquitted the seven
bishops), 1760; Joseph Hammon 1760; Jane, his mother, (who married to her second husband John Thomas, D. D. rector of St.
Peter, Cornhill,) 1771; Henry Hammon, 1770; the Rev. Samuel
Walker (fn. 52) , curate of Truro in Cornwall, 1761; Benjamin Martyn,
Esq. (fn. 53) , 1763; Rev. Thomas Jennings, master of Blackheath school,
1767; Sarah, his widow (married after his death to the Rev. William Williams), 1793; the Rev. William Williams, 1793; Edward
Norton, M. A. master of Blackheath school, 1767; Thomas Hammond, 1767; Samuel Dewberry, Esq. 1768; John Pye, Gent. 1769;
Anne, his wife, daughter of Benjamin Rutland, merchant, 1760;
Richard Brooke, Esq. 1772; Mrs. Mary Laurens, 1773; Ebenezer
Blackwell, Esq. 1782; Elizabeth, his wife, 1772 (an obelisk of freestone inlaid with marble); Christian, wife of Richard Edmunds,
Esq. daughter of John Berrow, Esq. of Bristol, 1782; John Curteis,
citizen of London, 1786; Thomas Curteis, Esq. 1787; Elizabeth,
his sister, wife of Captain John Richardson, 1770; Robert Wilson,
Esq. lieutenant in the Navy, 1787; Alexander Glenny, Esq. late of
Dominica, 1787; Andrew Edhouse, Esq. colonel of the 13th regiment of foot, 1788, Abraham Constable, Esq. master-shipwright at
Halifax, 1788; Captain Lewis Ferret, 1788; Elizabeth, widow
of the Rev. Thomas Fielde, M. A. 1785; Elizabeth, their daughter,
1790; Rev. Paul Fourestier, 1791; Anna Maria, wife of Joseph
Booth, Esq. 1791; and the Rev. William Lowth, M. A. (brother
of the late Bishop of London), 55 years vicar, 1795.
Rectory and vicarage.
Lewisham is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester, and in the
deanery of Dartford. The advowson of the church belonged at a
very early period to the abbot and convent of Ghent, to whom, in
the reign of Henry II. the great tithes were appropriated (fn. 52) . They
have since passed with the manor, being now the property of the
Earl of Dartmouth, in whom also the advowson of the vicarage is
vested. In 1287, the church of Lewisham was rated at twenty
marks; the vicarage at ten marks. In 1431, the vicar of this church
seems to have made an agreement not much to the advantage of his successors, by giving up his claim to the tithe of hay and underwood on
the demesne lands, in consideration of receiving one half of the wax
offered in the church on the feast of Purification (fn. 53) . In 1650, this
vicarage (with the house and fifty-four acres of glebe (fn. 54) ) was valued at
170l. per annum (fn. 55) . In the King's books it is rated at 23l. 19s. 2d.
Dr. Stanhope, vicar.
The learned and pious Dr. Stanhope, who was presented to this
vicarage by Lord Dartmouth in 1689, was a native of Hertishorn in
Derbyshire (fn. 56) . He received his education at Eaton and at King's
College in Cambridge. In 1697 he commenced D. D. and in 1703
was promoted to the deanery of Canterbury. His writings (fn. 57) are
held in great esteem, particularly his Comments upon the Epistles
and Gospels. His printed sermons are very numerous; they were
much admired when delivered by himself from the pulpit, the purity
of their diction being graced with the most happy elocution. Dr.
Stanhope died in 1728, and was buried at Lewisham. His monument, the inscription on which has been already given, deserved a
better fate than to be thrown aside in the vault, where it
now lies, when the church was rebuilt. A place should have
been found within the new walls for the memorial of a man
who was for thirty-eight years so distinguished an ornament of the
The present vicar is the Rev. Henry Jones, M. A. instituted in
1795, on the death of the Rev. William Lowth, Prebendary of Winchester, and brother of the late Bishop of London.
There were formerly two chantries in the church of Lewisham,
one founded by Richard Walker for a priest to celebrate mass daily
at the altar of the Trinity for the founder's soul; the other by Roger
Fitz, who by his last will, bearing date 1502, gave two houses on the
Bankside to endow a chantry at the same altar for the good of his
soul (fn. 58) .
Mrs. Susanna Grahme, widow, (who died in 1698,) built a
chapel on Blackheath, and endowed it with 20l. per annum for a
reader, 2l. for ringing the bell, and 3l. for repairs, charged on the
great tithes. There is another chapel also on Blackheath within this
parish, built in 1791, and licenced as a chapel of ease, at which the
Rev. Mr. Town is preacher. At Sydenham is a chapel, which was
formerly a meeting-house for Presbyterian dissenters. Dr. John
Williams, author of the Greek Concordance, was many years (fn. 59)
minister there. It is now licenced as a chapel of ease for the parish
of Lewisham. The Rev. Mr. French is the preacher.
The earliest date of the register of baptisms, burials, and marriages is 1559.
Comparative date of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The present number of houses in this parish is about 530.
Burials in the plague years.
In 1603, there were 117 burials at Lewisham; in 1625, 103; in
1665, 56; and in 1666, 52.
Extracts from the Register.
"June 2, 1560, Sr Peter Marton, parson of Clomnynge, was murthered in the little lane from Southend to Bromley, and is buried
at the porch door."
Birth of Bishop Duppa.
"Brian, son of Jeffery Duppa, baptized Mar. 18, 1588–9." Anthony Wood in his account of Bishop Duppa, in the Athenæ Oxonienses, says, that he was born at Greenwich. He saw, nevertheless,
the above entry in the register at Lewisham; but supposed the Brian
here mentioned to have been an elder brother of the Bishop, and that
his father, Jeffery, was then vicar of Lewisham; yet it is well known
that Bishop Duppa died in 1662, in the 74th year of his age, which
sufficiently determines this to be the record of his baptism. Jeffery
Duppa, his father, was married at Lewisham in 1580, to Lucrece
Maresall, and several of his children were baptized there; but he certainly was not vicar, nor is he in the register described as a clergyman. Brian Duppa was made bishop of Chichester in 1638;
translated to Salisbury in 1641, and to Winchester immediately after
the Restoration of Charles II. when he was also made Lord Almoner.
Bishop Duppa published several sermons and devotional tracts.
Queen Elizabeth's visit to Richard Bulkeley.
"Richard, son of Sr Richard Buckley, junr, baptized June 16,
1606." It appears by Queen Elizabeth's Progresses (published by
Mr. Nichols), that, in 1602, "on Mayday the Queen went a-maying
to Mr. Richard Buckley's at Lewisham." This Mr. Buckley
was Richard (afterwards Sir Richard) Bulkeley, Chamberlain of
North Wales, and ancestor of the present Viscount Bulkeley.—"Thomas Porter, son of Simon Porter, of Ettington in Warwickshire, and Margaret (fn. 59) , daughter of Sr Richard Buckley, of Beaumaris
in Anglesea, married June 5, 1611."
"Mary, daughter of Sr Edwin Sands (fn. 60) , Knt, born Sep. 12, 1607."
Family of Stoddard.
"Abigail, daughter of Sr Nicholas Stoddard, baptized Dec. 20,
1609; buried Feb. 9, 1641–2; John baptized Jan. 20, buried
Jan. 24, 1610–1; the Lady of Sr Nicholas Stoddard of Lee, buried
Feb. 22, 1626–7; Sr Nicholas Stoddard, of Mottingham, Mar. 7,
1635–6; William, his son, Nov. 14, 1646; Judith, his daughter,
Dec. 8, 1646; Mrs Mary, his daughter, Mar. 7, 1649–50; Nicholas Stoddard, Esq. (last heir male of that ancient family), Dec. 21,
"Mrs Jane Bosvile, daughter of Sr Ralph Bosvile of Brabourne,
"in Kent, Feb. 16, 1633–4."
Sir William Wild.
"Frances, daughter of Sr William Wild, Recorder of London,
baptized July 10, 1664, buried Dec. 6, 1666; Anne, daughter of
Sr William Wild (then Bart, and Justice of the Common Pleas),
buried Apl 30, 1668." Sir William Wild lived in an ancient
mansion in the village, now pulled down (fn. 61) .
"Berkeley, son of Sr Berkeley Lucy (fn. 62) , Bart, baptized June 12,
"Henry, son of the Hon. Capt Henry Aylmer (fn. 63) , buried Sep. 15,
"George Ld Visct Lewisham, son of William and Frances Catherine, Earl and Countess of Dartmouth, baptized Oct. 26, 1755."
"Benjamin Martin, Esq. buried Oct. 31, 1763." Mr. Martyn
(for so he spelt his name) was son of Mr. Richard Martyn, agent for
the South-Sea Company at Buenos Ayres. He was very active and
instrumental in establishing the colony of Georgia (of which he has
published an account) about the year 1733; having been secretary
to a society of noblemen and gentlemen formed for that purpose.
He wrote a tragedy called Timoleon, and left behind him in MS. a
life of the first Earl of Shastsbury, which has been lately announced for
publication. Mr. Martyn's epitaph (fn. 64) informs us that he was the
first promoter of the design of erecting a monument to the memory
of Shakespear in Westminster Abbey, and that he wrote the prologue (fn. 65) spoken at a play acted at Drury-lane for defraying the expences of that undertaking.
Woman of remarkable size.
"Elizabeth Fearman, aged 55, whose coffin was six feet and ten
inches long, three feet five inches wide, and two feet six inches
deep, buried June 20, 1791, from Sydenham-Wells."
"David Henry, many years editor of the Gentleman's Magazine,
"buried June 13, 1792." Mr. Henry was the principal writer,
editor, and proprietor of a periodical publication in 1758 and 1759,
called the Grand Magazine of Magazines. He published also "The
"Tell-Tale," or Anecdotes and Stories, and some abridged Accounts
of the Tower, St. Paul's, &c., printed in eighteens, for children.
Three children at a birth.
"Jacob and Esau Man, two of three children at a birth, buried
June 9, 1793."
Instances of Longevity.
"Widow Simonds, 90 years old, buried Sep. 20, 1613; Richard
Johnson, householder, about 95 years old, Feb. 17, 1614–5;
John Harrison, householder, 98 years old, July 8, 1616; Widow
Mantle, 90 years old, Mar. 28, 1618; Jane, wife of John Colgate,
aged 90, Feb. 11, 1634–5; Widow Moseley, 90 years old, Mar.
9, 1662–3; Alice Baylis, alias Pheasant, widow, aged 106 years,
May, 14, 1726; Jane Willoughby aged, as on the coffin, 110,
buried Apl 4, 1729; Jane Tilt, from Sydenham, aged 109,
Apl 6, 1794."
Free-school intended by John Glyn.
John Glyn, vicar of Lewisham, by his will, bearing date 1568,
gave the sum of 100l. to a free-school in this parish. This benefaction is recorded in the register, but nothing is now known of it, or
of the school to which it alludes.
Abraham Colfe's charities.
Foundation of Blackheath school.
Children from whence chosen.
Election and salary of the master.
The usher, or second master.
Government of the school.
Exhibitions for the Universities.
Abraham Colfe, vicar of Lewisham (fn. 67) , by his will, bearing date
1656, bequeathed the greater part of his real and personal property (fn. 68)
to the Leathersellers' Company in trust, to be bestowed in charitable
uses, principally for the benefit of this parish, and the hundred of
Blackheath. In his lifetime he had founded a grammar-school on
Blackheath (within the parish of Lewisham), which was opened in
the month of June 1652 (fn. 68) . By his will he gives the following directions relating to this school: that it shall be for the education of
thirty-one boys, five of whom shall be of the parish of Lewisham (fn. 69) ; ten of Greenwich, eight of Deptford, one of Lee, one of
Charlton, three of Eltham, and three of Woolwich, to be chosen in
the several parishes at a public meeting of the chief parishioners. In
addition to this number, every incumbent minister in the hundred
of Blackheath, and also the minister of Chislehurst, to have the privilege of sending their sons to the school for education, but no minister
to have more than one son in the school at a time. The master is to
be examined and approved by the head masters of Westminster, St.
Paul's, and Merchant Taylors' schools, by the president of Sion
College, the ministers of the hundred of Blackheath, and the minister
of Chislehurst; and to be chosen by them, in conjunction with the
wardens of the Leathersellers' Company, and the lord of the manor,
who has the privilege of nominating a Westminster scholar, to stand
in election with one, two, or three candidates nominated by the other
electors. The master is not to undertake any church duty, without
leave of the trustees, by whom he may be displaced if he be guilty
of any notorious misbehaviour (fn. 70) . After a vacancy, the election of a
new master must be within eighteen days. The master's salary is
fixed at 30l. per annum, with a house for his residence, which, as it
was built large and commodious, that he might enjoy the advantage
of taking boarders, the founder directs that he shall keep in repair.
The founder's relations (being duly qualified) are to have the preference, if candidates for the master's place. The usher, or second
master, for whom also a house was built adjoining to the school (fn. 71) ,
is to be examined and approved by the same persons as the head
master, and also by the head master himself, after which, being presented to the wardens of the Leathersellers' Company, he is to be admitted by them. The usher must be a single person, and continue unmarried; his salary is fixed at 20l. per annum (fn. 72) . A writing master
also is appointed with a salary of 11l. per annum. Various regulations relating to the internal government of the school; the rewards,
punishments, and recreations (fn. 73) of the scholars, are prescribed also by
the founder in his will, and public disputations and trials of skill are
appointed to be held once a-year, when prizes are given to the three
best scholars, and the best writers. A scholar from the grammarschool having been examined and chosen by one of the chief schoolmasters in London, and the ministers of Lewisham, Lee, Greenwich,
Deptford, and Chislehurst, is to be sent every year to one of the
Universities (Oxford or Cambridge), and to have an exhibition of
10l. per annum, during seven years. These exhibitioners (fn. 73) are to
be children of persons not reputed to be worth 500l.; natives of
Lewisham to be preferred. Provision is made in case at any time
a scholar fit for the University should not be found in the school at
Blackheath, that an exhibitioner shall be chosen from among the
children of persons belonging to the Leathersellers' Company; if there
be none qualified, then from the free-school within the precincts of
Christchurch, Canterbury; or, in failure of a fit scholar there, from
Christ's Hospital. The sum of 13s. 4d. is allowed for an anniversary sermon at Lewisham or Greenwich, in Whitsun-week, being the
time when the school was opened; 20s. for the annual election dinner, and the like sum for a dinner at the election of a schoolmaster. The great room over the school is appropriated by the
founder for a library, to which he gives, by will, all his books in
folio, quarto, and thick octavo: he allows 1l. per annum, for the
purchase of new books, 5s. to the usher as librarian, and 7s. to buy
chains. He enjoins the exhibitioners above mentioned to present to
the library a copy of all books which they shall publish, and devises
some other small funds for the augmentation of the library.
Foundation of the English school at Lewisham.
Mr. Colfe founded also an English school in Lewisham for
thirty-one boys, who are to be taught reading, writing, psalm
singing, and the accidence. The master (whose salary is fixed at
20l. per annum) is to be chosen by the Leathersellers' Company.
The founder gave also, by will, 3l. per annum, for the purchase
of Bibles and other books, and necessaries for the school; and 6s. for
mending the Bibles. In the former part of his will, he gives 3l.
per annum towards apprenticing the boys; and afterwards allots the
sum of 440l. to be laid out in the purchase of 24l. yearly rent (fn. 74) ,
for the purpose of apprenticing six scholars annually from this
Foundation of the almshouses.
Mr. Colfe directed also, by his will, that a certain sum of money
should be laid out in building five alms-houses (fn. 75) , (to be begun in the
month of April 1662,) for poor, godly householders of this parish,
60 years of age or upwards, and able to say the Creed, the Lord's
Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. The allowance fixed for the
pensioners is 1s. 9d. a-week, and 18s. for a gown once in two years.
These alms-houses are on the west side of the village of Lewisham,
to the south of the church. Over the door are the arms of the
founder (fn. 76) , and of the Leathersellers' Company (fn. 77) .
Other annual benefactions given by Mr. Colfe's will to the parish of
|Bread (in lieu of a donation intended by his wife (fn. 78) ),
|Bread (being the quit-rent for the school-house),
|Bread on the fifth of November,
|Towards maintaining a weekly lecture (fn. 79) on a working day,
|A sermon on the fifth of November,
|To the minister for catechising children 40 weeks,
|To the children in rewards (the overplus to go towards apprenticing children from the school (fn. 80) ),
|To the parish clerk for taking care of the boys' Bibles at church,
|To the parish clerk for keeping the church clock in order,
|— — — for his attendance Nov. 5,
|To 40 poor householders, who can say the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments,
|To the man who hears them,
|For the marriage of one or two maid servants (fn. 81) ,
|For mending foot-paths, and making drains,
|For defraying expences of warrants for hedgebreakers, &c.
|To the churchwardens,
Mr. Colfe gave also the sum of 5l. to the parish as a stock to keep
poor children to knitting. This has been long disused.
A girls' school was instituted in 1699, to which Dr. Stanhope bequeathed 150l., and Mrs. Stanhope 50l. To the interest of this
money is added two thirds of the sacrament collections (pursuant to
an order of the Bishop of Rochester in 1699), forming, together,
a salary of twenty guineas per annum for the mistress, besides coals
Benefactions by various persons.
Nature and present Value.
||Moiety of a house (now 10s. per annum),
||William Hattecliffe, Esq.
||A fourth part of the rent of certain houses and lands, and an eighth part of the rent of certain other houses in Greenwich (fn. 78) , now 24l. 8s. 9d. per ann.
||A house (let at 3l. per annum), 1l l. per annum,
||Mrs. Priscilla Jones,
||1l. per annum,
||11. per ann. (now only 11s. 8d.),
||Bevil Molesworth, Esq.
||A house let at 1l. 15s. per annum,
||To the minister, and to the poor.
||2s. per annum,
||5s. per annum,
||1l. 10s. per annum,
||William Bond, Esq.
||A house at Stump's-hill, from which nothing is now received,
||Poor of Lewisham and Southend.
||4l. 3s. 6d. per annum,
||1l. is to the minister, 10s. 6d. to the clerk, remaider in bread.
||3l. per annum,
||Richard Brooke, Esq.
||Interest of 100l. Bank Ann.
||Mrs. Susanna Brett,
||100l. South-Sea Annuities,
||Sarah Lady Falkland,
||Interest of 200l.
||A messuage at Perystreet, let at 10l. per annum,
Three of the places in Queen Elizabeth's College at Greenwich,
founded by William Lambard, Esq. in 1576, are filled by pensioners from this parish (fn. 79) .
Sydenham, a considerable hamlet in this parish, lies to the southwest of Lewisham, on the borders of Surrey. This place is celebrated for its mineral springs, discovered in the year 1640. They
are of a mild cathartic quality (fn. 80) , and nearly resemble those of
Epsom. A treatise on these waters was published by John Peter, in
1681; and another by Dr. Allen, in 1699. They have been usually,
though improperly, called Dulwich Wells. A mineral spring has
been since discovered at Dulwich, in 1739. Between Lewisham
and Brockley is a well of the same quality as those at Tunbridge: a
woman attends to serve the water, which is delivered gratis to inhabitants of the parish. The spring is the property of Lord Dartmouth. At the well-house are held the meetings of the St. George's
Bowmen, a society of archers established in 1789. A spacious common, taking its name from the hamlet, adjoins to Sydenham; from the
upper part of it there is a very extensive and beautiful prospect.
At South-end is a mill, formerly used by Mr. Ephraim How for
making his famous knife-blades, it is now a mustard-mill in the occupation of Mr. Batley. At Lewisham is a mill for making cloth
without weaving, in the occupation of Mr. Waters. These mills
are upon the Ravensborne, which runs through the parish, and the
village, from south to north. At the five-mile-stone from London,
there is a bridge over it.
Market and fairs on Blackheath, within this parish.
A considerable portion of Blackheath is in this parish, including
Dartmouth-row, and that part of Blackheath which is called Lewisham-hill. In the year 1682, Lord Dartmouth obtained a grant of a
market, to be held twice a-week upon Blackheath, within this
parish, and two annual fairs, each to last three days, the 12th, 13th,
and 14th of May; and the 11th, 12th, and 13th of October (fn. 81) .
The fairs are now held only on the 12th of May, and the 11th of
October. The market has been for several years discontinued; the
fair is held for cattle only, on the 12th of May, and the 11th of