CHAPTER 16: SUMNER STREET
The eastern end of Sumner Street was made in 1839 to form a communication between Southwark Bridge Road and Great Guildford Street and
was so named in compliment to John Sumner, Bishop of Winchester. The
ground for this improvement was purchased from Messrs. Pott, lessees of
the Bishop of Winchester, for £3,700. (ref. 13) The roadway was macadamised in
1840. In 1880 (ref. 61) the name Sumner Street was extended to apply to the
western end of Great Guildford Street (formerly known as the western end
of Maid Lane).
St. Peter's Church
This church was built on ground leased from the Bishop of Winchester by Messrs. Potts, the vinegar distillers, and given by the latter for the
purpose. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 7th November,
1839. The building was designed by Christopher Edmonds, surveyor to the
Clink Paving Commissioners, and was described at the time of its erection as
"a handsome, though not very richly adorned, specimen of Gothic architecture; … built of gray bricks, with stone mouldings, window frames, etc."
It had sittings for about 1,200 persons. (ref. 198) It was entirely destroyed by enemy
action in 1940.
St. Saviour's Grammar School
In 1559 (ref. 7) the wardens of St. Saviour's Church obtained Letters Patent
granting a lease to them for sixty years of the rectory on condition that they
should erect a grammar school for the parish within two years.
One of the first entries in the vestry minutes relates to the setting up
of a school "in the chorche howse late in the parryshe of seynte Margeretts"
with an order that "the old chappell be hynd the chanesell shale be lett
owghte toward the benyffytt of the same skoole. (ref. 16) "
In 1560 Richard Ryall, William Browker and others were appointed
by the vestry "to examyn … suche Orders Rules and Constitions as by
them … shalbe thought Requisit … in the Contynnuance of the Free
skoole in the parishe of Saint Savyors" and two years later the vestry paid
£40 to Mathew Smyth for the purchase of the schoolhouse. This was part
of the house known as the Green Dragon which is marked on the plan of 1542
(Plate 8) and which gave its name to Green Dragon Court. It had previously
been known as Cobham's Inn and had belonged to Joan, Lady Cobham, who
at her death in 1370 had left legacies to St. Thomas's Hospital and to St. Mary
Overy Priory. (ref. 199)
Among other endowments made to the school was the gift of the
Three Tuns, later known as the George (on the site of No. 12 Bankside),
made by Gilbert Rockett in 1587, of the Red Lyon, Borough, by Hugh
Browker in 1608, and of tenements behind the Queen's Head Inn in the
Borough by Gregory Franklin in 1615. (ref. 56) In 1617 John Bingham gave
tenements in Kent Street (now Tabard Street) to endow two scholarships to the
university. The school was intended for not more than 100 scholars. Views
of the building near Green Dragon Court are given on Plates 41 & 42.
The school remained on the same site (fn. a) until 1838 when an Act (ref. 200) was obtained
to enable the governors to sell the old school and schoolhouse and to purchase
a piece of land from the Bishop of Winchester, for a new building on the
north side of Sumner Street next to St. Peter's Church.
The school had fallen on evil days by the end of the century. It was
hemmed in by factories and warehouses and its numbers had dropped to
twenty-three. (ref. 56) In 1899 it was united with St. Olave's Grammar School and
the Sumner Street building was used for a church day school for St. Peter's
parish. It was badly damaged by enemy action during the war.
The original stone tablet cut in 1562 for the old school was placed
on the Sumner Street building and is still in situ on the ruins. It bears the
LIBERA SCHOLA GRAM
ORUM PAROCHIAE SAN
CTI SALVATORIS IN
SOVTHOWARKE IN COM
SVRRIE ANNO QVARTO
Nos. 32 and 34 Sumner Street (formerly 16 and 18 Great Guildford Street, and
57 and 58 Maid Lane)
These premises are of late 17th century date. They are of timber
frame and brick construction with pantiled hipped roofs and dormers, the
fronts having been rebuilt with parapets in the 18th century. The windows
have flush frames.
The shop fronts date from the early 19th century, that to No. 34
being slightly bowed. Both houses are now in poor condition.
These two houses stand on land which was part of the Bishop of Winchester's Park. They
can be traced back in the rate books to 1773. Since that date they have been in the hands of small