The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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LIES next to Deptford eastward, on the bank of the Thames, having Blackheath on the upper or southern side of it. It was called in Latin Grenovicum, viridis sinus a viridariis; in Saxon Grenawic; i.e. the Green Town, or dwelling upon the bank of the river; which last part of the word is now, by corruption, written wich. In antient evidences it was called East Greenwich, to distinguish it from Deptford, which was called West Greenwich.
It was not so famous formerly for its buildings (being indeed only a fishing town so late as the reign of king Henry V.) as for the safe road which the river afforded for the shipping here, where the whole Danish fleet, in the time of king Ethelred, lay for three or four years together; whilst the army was, for the most part, encamped on the hill above the town, now called Blackheath. (fn. 1)
During this time, about 1011, they ravaged the whole county, and having sacked and spoiled the city of Canterbury, they brought from thence Abp. Alphege to their camp here; where they slew him, because he could not raise the sum which they demanded for his ransom. From this camp of the Danes there are several places in this parish still called combes. Comb, as well as comp, in Saxon signifying a camp, for they used both words; the former was, most likely, the Saxon word, and the latter Danish, or corrupt Saxon.
On Blackheath, and within the walls of Greenwich park, are several barrows, or tumuli; many of which are supposed to be the burial-places of some of the Danes, who died during their encampment here.
The town of Greenwich joins that of Deptford westward. It is mostly built along the bank of the Thames, which is here very broad, and the channel deep; though at some high tides the water of it is salt, yet it is usually sweet and fresh. Great part of it joins the northern side of the park; but the contiguous buildings on the two avenues from it to Blackheath, called Crooms, or Coomes-hill, on the western, and Mease-hill with Vanbrugh's-fields on the eastern part, now extend it quite up to that heath towards the south, the park intervening and filling up the space between them.
Greenwich is supposed to contain about two thousand houses, is very populous, and reckoned one of the genteelest and pleasantest towns in England; many of its inhabitants being persons of rank and fortune. It was greatly improved by the powers of an act passed in 1753. The dryness and salubrity of the soil and air, the conveniency of the park, the general pleasantness of the adjoining country, and its near neighbourhood to the metropolis, contribute to make it a most desirable residence for people of fashion and fortune.
It has two weekly markets, held on Wednesday and Saturday, granted in 1737, to the Governors of the Royal Hospital, for the benefit of the charity, but no annual fair, though there are two on the neighbouring heath.
The park is a most delightful spot of ground, extending as far as Blackheath; it was enlarged, planted, and walled round by king Charles II. It is well stocked with deer, and has, perhaps, as much variety in it, in proportion to its size, as any park in the kingdom. The views from it are beautiful beyond imagination.
The ranger of this park has a handsome house, formerly called the Queen's, or House of Delight, for his residence, which was once part of the old palace of Greenwich.
Hollar engraved a prospect of Greenwich for many miles, to London, &c. in two sheets, near a yard long, in 1637—A north-west view was published by Buck— Another from the Observatory, by Bigamy, was engraved by S. Toms; and another from One-tree-hill, in the park, was engraved by J. Wood, from a painting by Pond.
BLACKHEATH, so called, probably from the black soil which extends over great part of it, is a beautiful plain, lying on the south side of Greenwich park. Here is dug a gravel, consisting of smooth, even pebbles, so superior to that of any other place for making walks in gardens, when mixed with loame, that it is sent for from the most distant parts of England, and even from France, for this purpose. The high road from London to Dover crosses this heath; and at the entrance of it from Deptford-hill, the houses on each side form a village of elegant and handsome buildings; particularly, on the south side is the earl of Dartmouth's, and on the opposite side, at the south west corner of Greenwich-park are the late duke os Montague's, now the duke of Buccleugh's; the late earl of Chesterfield's, now Mr. Hulse's, and several others, inhabited by persons of distinction, which have a pleasant double row of trees, called Montague-walk, extending before them almost as far as Coome's-hill. The south side of the heath is bounded by the grounds, late Sir Gregory Page's park, now John Cator's, esq. since the disparking of which several handsome houses have been built on the south-west edge of it, next the road going down to Lee and Eltham.
At the south-east corner of the heath, in a small recess, stands Morden-college, built for the support of poor and decayed Turkey merchants, which, as well as the scite of Sir Gregory Page's late seat, are in Charlton parish, and will be further mentioned hereafter.
At the north-east corner of the heath, and almost joining to Meaze-hill, are Vanbrugh's-fields, so called from Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect of some buildings here, which he erected in a very particular manner, to resemble a fortification, with battlements, towers, &c. and a gateway of the like form, under which you pass in your approach to them. A principal one of this sort, called the Castle, on Meaze-hill, was lately the residence of lord Tyrawley, who sold it to Mr. Charles Brett; as he again did to Henry Goodwyn, esq. who now resides in it.
The Roman Watling-street way, leading to Dover, is supposed to have crossed this heath. Dr. Plot says, in his time, it appeared pretty plain, pointing from the top of Deptford-hill east-south-east towards Shooter'shill, and a little beyond the south-east corner of the park-wall, leaving the high road on the left hand, and shewing itself but saintly, it inclined easterly. At a small distance from the corner of the hedge, on the right hand, where the road to Dover and that to Lee parts, are the remains of three tumuli, or barrows; one of which is a pretty large one, out of which some bones have been dug. In 1710, there were dug up here a great many urns, among them two of an unusual form, one globular, the other cylindrical, about eighteen inches in length, both of them of a fine red clay. That, globular, was very smooth and thin; its circumference was six feet three inches, it had ashes in it, but no coins under the rim; about the mouth of it MARCUS AVRELIVS IIII. was rudely scratched.
The other contained a great quantity of ashes, and in the cavity, marked c. were six or seven coins, much obliterated, but on one of them was legible the word CLAVDIUS, and on another GALLIENVS, on the next page are the figures of them.
Dr. Plot says that some years ago a curious glass urn was found in a bed of hard gravel on this heath.
On the left hand side of the high road, near the gate which leads to Coomes-hill, is a cluster of these barrows, amounting to above fifty. And there are about the like number of them in Greenwich-park. In 1784 about fifty of these barrows in Greenwich park were opened by Mr. Douglas, in which were found lumps of iron and broad headed nails, with decayed wood adhering to them, by which he conjectured the bodies to have been interred in a very thick coffin. There were likewife found human hair in quantities, spear heads, knives, fragments of limbs and remains of woollen cloths. Those in which no military weapons were found it was not unreasonable to conclude contained female bodies. The graves were very shallow; the ground in which was this cluster of barrows was nearly in a circular form, and the diameter about one hundred feet. About seventy years before this, some ground where these barrows are situated, was dug up, when several things of value were found.
The same year Mr. Douglas explored another range of barrows, near the gate which leads to Coomeshill, to a like amount, which he conceived to be lower British, and on opening one, in which were similar beads to those wherein he had found coins, dating their age to be of the fifth and beginning of the sixth century. He discovered the remains of a garment, and a braid of human hair of an auburn colour, remains of cloth, both woollen and linen, of different fineness and texture; the graves were very shallow, some not exceeding three feet in depth.
From the turning to Lee till about half a mile on this side Shooter's-hill, there are no certain marks of the Roman way. But the highway from thence to Dover, within these fifty years, has been so much altered, and the whole surface of it, as well as the adjoining ground, so entirely changed, that the remains of the Roman way along it are not near so frequent and visible as they were before.
On Blackheath the Danish army lay a great while encamped, about the year 1011, as has been before observed, and many trenches and other remains of the lines of camps are visible here; though these, in all likelihood, are most of them works of a much later date, and have been cast up by the rebels, who have encamped here at different times. In the year 1381, those insolent rebels, Wat Tyler, with Jack Straw, and one John Ball, and their adherents, lay encamped here, for some time, with a rabble of near one hundred thousand men. In the year 1450, Jack Cade, that impostor, who pretended himself to be a Mortimer, and kinsman to the duke of York, encamped here twice with his rebellious followers. Once, when he sent from hence his impudent demands to king Henry VI. and again soon after, when, having defeated Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother, whom the king had sent against them, near Sevenoke, they marched hither, and being joined by a large party from Suffex and Surry, they all encamped and entrenched themselves on this heath. King Henry VI. in 1452, pitched his royal pavilion here, in the preparation he had made to withstand the force of his cousin Edward duke of York, (afterwards king Edward IV.) And here the bastard, Falconbridge, encamped against that king. In the reign of king Henry VII. anno 1497, the Cornish rebels, amounting to six thousand men, headed by the lord Audley, one Michael Joseph, a farrier, and Thomas Flammock, a lawyer, encamped on this heath; where, the king gave them battle, and slew two thousand of them on the spot, forcing the rest, with their leaders, to surrender at discretion. (fn. 2)
Beside these melancholy occurrences, there have been some (joyous meetings and costly shews held on this heath.
About the end of the year 1400, Manuel Palæogus, emperor of Constantinople, arrived in England, to intreat the king's assistance against Bajazet, emperor of the Turks, and was met here by king Henry IV. with great parade and magnificence. (fn. 3) On Nov. 23. anno 1415, the mayor and aldermen of London, with four hundred citizens in scarlet, with red and white hoods on, met their victorious prince, king Henry V. here, after his memorable battle of Agincourt, in France, and conducted him to London, amidst their repeated acclamations.
In the beginning of next year, they met the emperor Sigismund on this heath, who was come over to mediate a peace between the crowns of France and England. He was attended by the duke of Gloucester, and many other lords, with great pomp and magnificence, and by them conducted to the king who met him at Lambeth.
In 1474, the lord mayor and aldermen of London in scarlet, with five hundred citizens, all in murrey gowns, met king Edward IV. here, at his return from France. In the tenth year of king Henry VIII. anno 1518, a solemn embassy, consisting of the admiral of of France, the archbishop of Paris, and others, with no less than twelve hundred persons in their train, were met on this heath by the lord admiral of England, and above five hundred gentlemen. Cardinal Campejus, sent into England by the pope as his legate, in the year 1518, was received upon his arrival with great pomp and testimonies of respect; being met at Blackheath by the duke of Norfolk, and a great number of prelates, knights, and gentlemen, and conducted by them into a rich tent of cloth of gold, where he shifted his habit, and having put on the cardinal's robes, edged with ermine, rode from hence in much state to London. At this place king Henry VIII. in the 31st year of his reign, met the princess, Anne of Cleve, with much pomp and magnificence. In the reign of queen Elizabeth, 1585, in April and May, the queen being at Greenwich, the city militia, completely armed, mustered before her for six or eight days, laying intrenched about Blackheath, to the number of four or five thousand men, many of whom dressed themselves with scarfs, feathers, &c. (fn. 4)
Besides the above, there have been many more remarkable shews and meetings held on this heath; it being the place where, in general, such as were of any distinction, coming from abroad, were met, in order to be conducted with proper state and pomp from hence to London. But the above must suffice as an example of the rest, as the account of those already mentioned has been, I fear, too long, in the judgment of many of my readers.
There are two annual fairs on this heath; one on the 12th of May, and the other on the 11th of October. These are held on that part of the heath which lies in Lewisham. George lord Dartmouth obtained a grant from king Charles II. to hold a fair twice a year, and a market twice a week, upon that part of this heath in the parish of Lewisham, of which manor he was lord. This fair used to be held on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of May, and the 11th, 12th, and 13th of October yearly; but by public notice given by the earl of Dartmouth in 1772, it has since been discontinued, except on May 12, and Oct. 11, and then it is held for the sale of cattle only.
In the parish of Greenwich was a royal magazine for gunpowder, for the use of government; which being represented as of a very dangerous consequence, not only to the town of Greenwich, but to the city of London and its neighbourhood, it was removed by authority of Parliament in 1760, to Pursleet in Essex, where a regular branch of the ordnance is established, for the care and preservation of it.
In the time of king Henry VIII. there was a printing-office here, Dr. Plot having seen a book printed in that reign at Greenwich.
In the reign of queen Elizabeth, the assizes for this county were held three times at East Greenwich; viz. anno 1558, in the 1st year of that reign, before serjeants-at-law-elect Carius and Chomley; in the third week in Lent, anno 1561, in the 4th of the same reign, before serjeant Ralph Chomley, and the attorney-general Gerard; and again in Lent, anno 1562, in the 5th year of queen Elizabeth before the last-mentioned judges. (fn. 5)
East Greenwich sent two burgesses to the parliament, which met at Westminster anno 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, viz. Thomas Farnham and John Sackvill, esqrs. but this is the only return it ever made. (fn. 6)
Chauncy, in his History of Hertfordshire, p. 251, says, that as the sending and maintaining burgesses in parliament is no franchise, but a service, it cannot be lost by discontinuance, as was resolved by the house of commons, in the 22d of king James I. (in the cafe of the borough of Hertford, upon their petition to that house to be restored to their antient right of sending burgesses to parliament,) after the committee appointed to view the records had made their report to the house, and great debate had arisen, whether their long discontinuance had not destroyed their right of election.
The following scarce plants have been observed in and near Greenwich.
Cochlearia Britannica, or common English scurvy-grass, or spoonwort; on the banks of the river Thames.
Anthyllis leguminosa, kidney vetch.
Ornithopodium majus, the great birdsfoot.
Ornithopodium minus, small birdsfoot; on Blackheath, in the highway leading from Greenwich to Charlton.
Chamænerion, rose-bay, willowherb; in some swampy woods at Greenwich.
Sonchus tricubitalis fol; cuspidato; in the meadows between Greenwich and Woolwich.
Lunaria, or small moon-wort; upon the side of Blackheath, near the stile which leads to Eltham-house.
Cornu cervinum, or Hartshorne; and Cornopus ruellis, swines cresses, or buckshorne.
Carlina sylvestris major, the great white carline thistle.
Asperula quinta, small red flowered woodroof.
Fumaria alba latifolia claviculata; hyacinthus Anglicus; English harebells; all on the same heath. Stellaria sanicula major; ladies mantle; by the hedgeside between Greenwich and Charlton. (fn. 7)
Greenwich gave title to that eminent and illustrious soldier, John Campbell, duke of Argyle, in Scotland; who, in the 4th year of queen Anne, was created Baron of Chatham and Earl of Greenwich; and on the 30th of April 1719, anno 5 king George I. in consi deration of his great services to the nation, was advanced to the dignity of Duke of Greenwich. He died in 1743, without issue male; by which the titles of duke and earl of Greenwich, and baron of Chatham, expired with him. He lies buried in Westminsterabbey, under a most magnificent monument. The duke bore for his arms, Quarterly, first and fourth, girony of eight pieces, or and sable, for Campbell; second and third, argent, a lymphad, or old-fashioned ship, with one mast, close sails, and oars in action, all sable, with flag and penons flying, gules, for the lordship of Lorn.
By his first wife, who died in 1716, he had no issue; but by his second, Jane, daughter of Thomas Warburton, of Winnington, in Cheshire, esq. he had five daughters and coheirs; of whom the lady Caroline Campbell, the eldest, married in 1742, Francis, earl of Dalkeith, eldest son of Francis, duke of Buccleugh, who died before his father in 1750; by whom she had six children.
She married, secondly, in 1755, the honourable Charles Townshend, second son of Charles, viscount Townshend; and on the 18th of August, anno 7 George III. by letters patent passed, granting to her the said lady Caroline, commonly called countess of Dalkeith, the dignity of baroness of Greenwich, to her and to the heirs male of her body, begotten by the right honourable Charles Townshend above-mentioned; who died the 4th of September following, (being at the time a privy-counsellor and chancellor, and under-treasurer of the exchequer,) leaving by her, two sons, Thomas-Charles and William-John, and one daughter. The two sons died, s. p. before their mother, who dying in 1794, without surviving male issue by her second husband, the title of baroness of Greenwich became extinct.
The manors of Greenwich and Coombe likewise were always appendages to the adjoining manor of Lewisham, and as such were given to it by Elthruda, king Alfred's niece, to the abbey of St. Peter, at Ghent, to which Lewisham became a cell, (or alien priory); which grant is said to have been renewed and confirmed, at the instance of archbishop Dunstan, by king Edgar, in the year 964, as it was again by king Edward the Consessor in 1044, with the church, and several liberties and privileges. (fn. 8)
There is no particular mention of this manor in Domesday; in all likelihood, being but an appendage to another manor, it was comprehended, as part of the abbot of Ghent's possessions, under the general title of Lewisham. William the Conqueror again confirmed this grant, as did several of his successors, particularly king Henry I. who granted many additional liberties and privileges with it. (fn. 9)
Upon a plea of quo warranto, brought against the abbot, &c. in the 21st of king Edward I. the abbot claimed to have, in Lewisham and its appendages, view of frank-pledge, and all rights belonging to it; and free warren, gallows, and amerciaments, as well of the inhabitants as of his own tenants, and waife, &c. all which the jurors allowed him and his predecessors to have been in possession of time out of mind, excepting, that they had not free warren, only in their demesne lands.
The manor of Lewisham, with Greenwich, &c. remained in this situation till the suppression of the alien priories throughout England, by the statute of the 2d of king Henry V. (anno 1414,) when this of Lewisham being one of them was dissolved, on which the manor of Greenwich, with the church and appendages, became the property of the crown, where it did not continue long; for next year the king settled it, with the church, on his new founded house, or Carthusian priory of Jesus of Bethleem, of or near Shene. (fn. 10)
But Greenwich having become a royal residence, this manor, as well as that of Lewisham, being in the possession of the monks, could not but give continual umbrage to the princely inhabitants of this palace. However, the religious remained in the quiet possession of them till king Henry VIII. less scrupulous in these matters found means to obtain the surrendry of both, and to annex them to the patrimony of the crown, in his 23d year; when John Joburne, the prior of Shene, and the convent of it, granted to that prince their manors and lordships of Lewisham and East Greenwich, with their appurtenances and the churches belonging to them; excepting and reserving to the prior, &c. three tenements in East Greenwich, late belonging to John Cole, sub-dean of the king's chapel, and other premises therein-mentioned. (fn. 11)
This manor remained part of the royal demesnes till the death of king Charles I. in 1648, when it became the property of the state. After which an ordinance was passed next year, for the sale of the crown lands; in which the honour and manor of Greenwich, among many other of the late king's manors, palaces, parks, &c. was reserved to its own use. (fn. 12) In which situation it continued till the re-establishment of monarchy, and the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660; when it again returned to the crown, as part of the royal patrimony, where it has remained ever since.
There is a court leet and court baron now held for it.
OLD COURT is a place in this parish, which, as its name implies, is, no doubt, of great antiquity, and might, perhaps, be the very scite of the before-mentioned manor of East Greenwich. However that be, it passed by the same deed of exchange from the prior and convent of Shene to king Henry VIII. in his 23d year, and became part of the possessions of the crown; where it staid but a few years; for that king, in his 20th year, by his letters patent, granted to his servant, Richard Long, for his life, his manor, called le Oldcourt, in East and West Greenwich, and the tenth part or portion of hay, corn, and other tithes in those parishes, appertaining to it, late belonging to the priory of Shene, to hold without any account or rent whatsoever. (fn. 13) And the like grant on his death, was made to Sir Thomas Speke, knight, by king Edward VI. in his first year; after which the king, by his letters patent, in his fourth year, granted to John, earl of Warwick, his manor of, otherwise, the Old-court, and forty acres of upland, and the tenth of hay of East Greenwich belonging to it, to hold in capite by knight's service; (fn. 14) but the earl, in less than a fortnight afterwards re-conveyed them again to the king, who next year granted them to Thomas Darcy, lord Darcy of Chiche, to hold during life, without any accompt or rent whatsoever. (fn. 15)
At the death of king Charles I. in 1648, Old Court, with some of the demesne lands belonging to it, still remained in the possession of the crown. In 1649, the parliament passed an ordinance for the sale of the lands, (fn. 16) late belonging to the crown, in consequence of which this manor, with its appurtenances, parcel of the honour of East Greenwich, (fn. 17) the parsonage-house, and several tenements and lands were sold to Robert Titchborne, who kept possession of them till the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660, when they again became part of the royal revenue.
Some years after which, this manor or scite, called Le Old Court, with several demesne lands belonging to it, was granted by the crown, by letters patent, anno II William III. to the trustees, for the use of Sir John Morden, bart. of Wricklesmarsh, in Charlton, at the yearly fee-farm of 61. 13s. 4d. and he, by his will, in 1708, vested it in trustees, for the use and benefit of his new erected college, adjoining to Blackheath, since called Morden-college, where it still continues.
It has been already mentioned, (fn. 18) that from the camp of the Danes, in this parish, there are certain places in it called Combe, of which there are at this time two; the one most commonly called Combe, and heretofore Nether-combe, alias East-combe; and the other West-combe; and there was formerly, as antient evidences shew, Middle-combe, alias Spittle-combe, the name of which is now forgotten. (fn. 19)
COMBE, alias East or Nethercombe, was an appendage to the manor of Lewisham, and was given with that manor to St. Peter's abbey at Ghent, where it staid till the suppression of the alien priories by king Henry V. in his 2d year, who settled it, with that manor, next year, on his new-founded priory, at Shene, where it staid till it was exchanged with king Henry VIII. in his 23d year, by the prior and convent, for other premises. From which time (fn. 20) Combe remained in the possession of the crown till Charles I. (fn. 21) by his letters patent, in his 7th year, granted it, by the name of the messuage or farm called Nethercombe, alias Eastcombe, with the scite of it, being part of the demesne lands, belonging to the manor of Old Court, in East Greenwich, to John Cooke and Thomazine his wife, containing in the whole two hundred and seventy-two acres, for three lives, at the yearly rent of 42l. 16s. 8d. and fifty loads of hay, to be delivered yearly at the barn at Greenwich, for the feeding the king's horses, and paying, after the decease of the three nominees, sixty-six shillings, in the name of an heriot. Afterwards the king, by his letters patent, in his 12th year, in consideration of the great damage sustained by him, in the breach of the Thames-wall, and the repairing of it, and of fifty pounds, to be paid before hand, granted to him a further lease for thirty-one years, to begin immediately after the expiration of the former term, at the like yearly rent; after which John Cooke above mentioned, and one Miles Newton, to whom both the grants were assigned, by way of mortgage, in 1636, conveyed their interest in both these grants to Peter Fortree, gent. In which situation this estate remained at the death of king Charles, in 1648, soon after which there was a surveyof it taken by order of the trustees, appointed by parliament, for the sale of the crown lands, by which it appeared, that Leah, widow and executrix of the above-mentioned Peter Fortree, deceased, was then in possession of those grants; that the value of the fifty loads of hay, communibus annis, was 661. 13s. which, with the reserved rent of 42l. 16s. 8d. amounted to 109l. 10s. and that the value of the improved rent of the farm, over and above the reserved rent, was 159l 13s. By virtue of the above ordinance, this farm of Nethercombe, alias Eastcombe, and several other lands, were sold by the state (subject to the above grants) to Thomas French. (fn. 22)
On the restoration of king Charles II. the fee of this estate returned to the crown, and the possession of it to the Fortrees; and James Fortree, son of Leah, in 1663, quitted his residence at this place, and built Wombwell-hall, in Northfleet, where his family continued till very lately.
Afterwards Combe came into the possession, and was the residence of Sir William Sanderson. This family is said to be descended from Robert de Bedick, of Bedick lordship in Washington, in the bishopric of Durham, who lived in the time of Maud the Empress. James, third son of Alexander de Bedick, being called Alexanderson, was ancestor of this family, which from him came to be called Sanderson. They bore for their coat armour, Paly of six argent and azure, a bend sable.
The family of this name, in the bishopric of Durham, bear a sword argent on the bend; and it is borne with three mullets on the bend by others. (fn. 23) Sir William Sanderson above mentioned was created a baronet in 1720, and was succeeded in his title and estate by his son of the same name, who by his third wife Charlotte, one of the daughters of Sir Richard Gough, of the county of Warwick, who survived him, left an only child, William Henry, who, on his father's death, in 1754, succeeded him in title; on whose death, in his 15th year, in 1760, it became extinct. On the death of Sir William Sanderson, the father, his widow, lady Sanderson, became entitled to this seat and estate, which she died possessed of in 1780; when it came to the Rt. hon. Frederick Montague, as heir at law, who is the present owner of it. Since the Sandersons, this seat has been the residence of several different persons. It was for many years occupied by General Harvey, afterwards by John Hook Campbell, esq. lion king at arms. Rich. Edwards, esq. at present resides in it. There is a fee-farm rent of 42l. 17s. paid to the crown for it.
In the 37th year of king Henry VIII. an act of parliament passed, to make every person, who should be owner of Combe-marshes, in the parish of EastGreenwich, contributary, from time to time, towards the reparation of them, according to the laws and customs of Romney-marsh.
WESTCOMBE MANOR is held of the manor of Dartford, alias Richmond's, and is called in the rolls of it, the manor of Combe West.
In the reign of king Edward II. this manor and its appendant members were in the possession of the family of Badlesmere, but by the attainder of Bartholomew lord Badlesmere, that great and powerful baron, who was executed for treason in the 15th year of that reign, they escheated to the crown, and continued among the royal revenues till king Richard II. granted them to Sir Robert Belknap the judge; upon whose attainder, in the 10th year of the same reign, they again reverted to the crown; (fn. 24) and were, quickly after, granted in fee by that king to Robert Ballard, esq. (pincernœ suœ) his butler; that is, the manors of West-combe and Spittle-combe in Greenwich, and two water-mills in Deptford, with their appurtenances in Charlton and Writtlemarsh.
In the 14th year of king Henry VII. Anne, wife of the lord Audley, held these manors in Greenwich and Charlton of the countess of Richmond, but by what service was unknown; and William Ballard was found to be her heir. (fn. 25) In which name they continued till the very beginning of the reign of Philip and Mary, when Nicholas Ballard alienated Westcombe to John Lambarde, esq. draper and alderman, and formerly one of the sheriffs of London; (fn. 26) who, dying in 1554, was buried in the church of St. Michael, Wood-street, London. By Julian, his wife, daughter and heir of William Horne, of London, he was father of that ingenious and learned antiquary, William Lambarde, esq, who succeeded him in this estate, and resided here. He was a bencher of the Society of Lincoln's-inn, master in chancery, and keeper of the rolls and records, and belonged to the alienation-office under queen Elizabeth, and was well known by the many learned books which he published; of which, in 1568, he wrote his Archionomia—in 1570, his Perambulation of Kent—in 1581, his Eirenarcha, or office of Justice of the Peace—in 1591, his Archeion, or Discourse upon the high Courts of Justice—and in 1600, his Pandecta Rotulorum—besides several treatises, some of which yet remain unpublished; and one, viz. his Topographical Dictionary, which was first published in 1730. He founded and endowed a college for the poor at Greenwich, in 1574, giving it the name of Queen Elizabeth's college, and dying at Westcombe, in 1601, was buried in Greenwich church, where there was a handsome monument erected for him; but when the old church of Greenwich was pulled down, in order to build the present one, the monument of Sir Multon Lambarde and his father was removed at the charge of Thomas Lambarde, late of Sevenoke, esq. and placed in that church, with an additional inscription, setting forth the reason of its being removed thither. The Lambardes bore for their arms, Gules, a chevron vaire, between three lambs of the second.
Mr. Lambarde had three wives; first, Jane, daughter of George Multon, of St. Cleres, esq. by whom he left no issue; secondly, Silvestria, daughter and heir of Robert Deane, of Halling, in this county, and widow of William Dalyson, esq. by whom he had Multon, his only surviving son and successor, and one daughter, Margaret, married to Thomas Godfrey; (fn. 27) and thirdly Margaret Reader, by whom he had no issue. Sir Multon Lambarde, the son, married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Lowe, bart. alderman of London, and dying here, in 1634, was buried in Greenwich church. He left Thomas Lambarde, esq. his only son and heir, who resided here, and being a great Royalist, in the year 1648, was obliged to compound for his estate, which had been sequestered, at so high a rate, that it occasioned him to alienate this of Westcombe to Hugh Forth; (fn. 28) who quickly passed it away to Mr. Theophilus Biddulph, of London, third son of Michael Biddulph, esq. of Elmhurst, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire.
The family of Biddulph derive themselves from one Ormus de Guidon, lord of Darlaweston, who lived in or near the Conqueror's time, some of whose descendants assumed the name of Biddulph, from their residence at that village in the northern part of Staffordshire. The Biddulphs bore for their arms, Vert, an eagle displayed argent.
Theophilus Biddulph, esq. before-mentioned, resided at Westcombe, and having been first knighted, was created a baronet in the 16th year of Charles II. By Susanna, his wife, daughter of Zachary Highlord, alderman of London, he left Sir Michael Biddulph, bart. who on his father's death, succeeded to this manor, of which he died possessed in 1718, leaving a son and several daughters, his heirs, soon after his death alienated the manor of Westcombe to Sir Gregory Page, bart. who died possessed of it in 1775, and by his will devised this, among the rest of his estates, to his nephew, Sir Gregory Turner, bart. of Ambrosden, in the county of Oxford, who has since taken the name of Page, and is the present owner of it. Since the Biddulphs, this seat was inhabited by Charles duke of Bolton, afterwards by the dutchess of Athol, then by Mr. Halliday, since by Mr. Petrie, and now by William Holmes, esq. There is a court baron held for this manor.
In the time of Edward the Consessor, besides the manor of East Greenwich before mentioned, there were two other manors here. The one held by earl Harold, the other by one Brixi, both of which came into the possession of William the Conqueror, who gave them, as one manor, to his half brother Odo, bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, and as such it was held of him by the bishop of Lisieux, in France, at the time Domesday was taken, anno 1080, where it is thus entered:
In Dimidio Left de Sudtone. In Grenviz bund. Eps Lisiacensis ten de Epo baiocsi Grenviz. p. 2. Solins se Defd. Tra. e. . . . . . . In Dnio Sunt. 2. Car. & 24. Villi bnt 4 Car & 4. Bord & 1 Cot & 5. Servi Ibi. 4 Mold de. 70. Sol. & 22. ac pti. & 40 ac pasturæ & Silva 10 porc. Com
Hi 2 Solins T. R. E. fuer. 2. m. unu tenuit Herold Simul & aliu Brixi & m Sunt in uno. T. R. E. & post valebant 8 lib & modo appciant 12 lib.
Which is: In the half of the lath of Sudtone in Grenviz hundred, the bishop of Lisleux holds of the bishop of Baieux Grenviz. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is. . . . . . In demesne there are 2 carucates, and 24 villeins having 4 carucates, and there are 4 bor- derers, and 1 cottager, and 5 servants. There are 4 mills of 70 shillings value, and 22 acres of meadow, and 40 acres of pasture and wood for the pannage of 10 hogs.
These 2 sulings, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, were 2 manors; one earl Herold held, and the other Brixi held, and now they are in one. In the time of Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, they were together worth 8l. and now they are rated at 12l.
This manor most probably reverted to the crown on the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, and became part of the royal demesnes, since which it has remained, without interruption, in the possession of the royal family of England, becoming a ROYAL PALACE and having been the delight and favourite residence of many of our kings and queens.
King Edward III. founded a religious house adjoining to his palace here. King Henry IV. resided much at Greenwich, where he made his will, which is dated from his manor of Greenwich, 22d Jan. 1408. In the next reign Thomas Beaufort, youngest son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, by Katherine Swinford, his third wife, obtained from his kinsman, king Henry V. a grant of this manor for his life. He was first created earl of Dorset, and anno 4 Henry V. duke of Exeter. He died at his manor of Greenwich next year, and buried at St. Edmundsbury, as he had directed. (fn. 29) Soon after which this manor was granted to Humphry duke of Gloucester, the king's uncle. In the 11th year of Henry VI. a grant was made to that duke to inclose two hundred acres of land, pasture, &c. in Greenwich, and to make a park; and in the 15th year of the same reign, a like grant was made to the duke, to inclose two hundred acres more of land, pasture, &c. in East Greenwich, and to make a park there, to hold in fee; both grants reciting, that part of the land was parcel of the manor of East Greenwich, belonging to the priory and convent of Shene, and in the latter grant there is licence given for the duke and Eleanor his wife, their manor of Greenwich to embattle and build with stone, and to inclose and make a ditch and tower within it, and a certain tower within their park, to build and edify. (fn. 30)
For it was not lawful for any man to fortify his house, or raise a tower, or place of defence, without licence from the crown, for fear of inward sedition; and it was therefore inquirable before the escheator, in the 24th article of his office. The word kernellare, te embattle, has its derivation from charneux, which, in French, signifies the indented form of the top of a wall, that has vent and crest, commonly called embattling, because it was serviceable in fight to the defendant within, who might, at the loops or lower places, annoy the enemy, and shrowd himself under the higher parts of it.
Soon after this the duke new erected the palace here, on the spot where the west wing of the Royal hospital now stands, imparked a quantity of land, and built a tower within his park, since called Greenwich-castle, and now the Observatory, (as will be shewn below) and stiling this manor, from its most pleasant situation, L'Pleazance, in Latin Placentia, which name, however, was not commonly made use of till the reign of king Henry VIII. But all these came again into the possession of the crown on his death, which happened at St. Edmundsbury, in the 25th year of king Henry VI. (fn. 31)
King Edward VI. took great delight in this palace, and bestowed much cost in finishing and enlarging it, and in his 5th year granted it to his queen, Elizabeth, by the description of the lordship and manor of Greenwich, with the tower of Greenwich, and the parks there, and all lands, privileges, &c. to the manor pertaining, in Greenwich or elsewhere, within the county of Kent, together with all other lands, rents, and services, in this county, which belonged to Humphry, late duke of Gloucester, to hold for her life, in as ample a manner as the late duke held them.
In this reign a royal just was performed at Greenwich, on the marriage of Richard duke of York, the king's son, with Anne Mowbray, daughter of the duke of Norfolk. In the 23d year of Edward IV. Mary, the king's fifth daughter, died here. She was promised in marriage to the king of Denmark, but died before the consummation of it. This manor, with its appurtenances, coming into the possession of king Henry VII. either by the death or imprisonment of queen Elizabeth, he enlarged the buildings, and beautified the house with a brick front towards the water side, and finished the tower in the park, begun by duke Humphry. He resided here much; frequently keeping his Christmas in this palace, within his royal manor of Greenwich. King Henry VIII. as he exceeded all former kings in the sumptuousness of his buildings, so he spared no cost to render this palace magnificent. Leland, the antiquarian, who was an eye witness of its beauties, thus elegantly de scribes them, in his Itinirary, vol. ix. p. 16.
"Ecce ut jam niteat locus petitus,
Tanquam sidereæ locus cathedræ!
Quæ fastigia picta! quæ fenestræ!
Quæ turres, vel ad astra se efferentes!
Quæ porro viridaria, ac perennes
Fontes! Flora sinum occupat venusta
Fundens delicias nitentis horti
Rerum commodus æstimator ille,
Ripæ qui variis modis amenæ,
Nomen contulit eleganter aptum."
Lo! with what lustre shines this wish'd-for place!
Which star-like might the heavenly mansions grace.
What painted roofs! What windows charm the eye!
What turrets, rivals of the starry sky!
What constant springs! what verdant meads besides!
Where Flora's self in majesty resides.
And beauteous all around her, does dispense,
With bounteous hand, her flow'ry influence.
Happy the man whose lucky wit could frame,
To suit this place, so elegant a name,
Expressing all its beauties in the same.
At this manor of Pleazance, alias East Greenwich, (fn. 32) (as it was now usually called,) during the above reign, and afterwards, many great feasts and banquettings were held, feasts and elections of the Knights of the Garter, royal justs and challengings, particularly on the 13th of May, in the 7th year of that reign, the marriage of Mary, queen dowager of king Lewis XII. of France, and that most accomplished lord, Charles duke of Suffolk was publicly solemnised in the church of this palace. Great and solemn justs were performed here on May 20, in the 8th year of that reign; on Shrove-Tuesday, in the 18th year of it; and on the 1st of May, in the 38th year of it, anno 1536. On July 7th, anno 9 Henry VIII. in the year 1517, a magnificent banquet was kept here. In 1527, being the 19th year of the same reign, the embassy sent by the French king to king Henry VIII. which, that it might correspond with our court in magnificence, consisted of eight persons of high quality and merit in France, attended by six hundred horse, was received here by the king, at his manor of Pleazance, with the greatest marks of honour, and entertained after a more sumptuous manner than had ever been seen before. In the 25th year of that reign, the lady Elizabeth (afterwards queen) was christened here; in the 35th, the king kept a royal Christmas here, as he had done before in his 3d year; at which time he royally feasted and delivered (without ransom) twentyone of the Scotch nobility, whom he had taken prisoners on the 24th of November before, in battle at Salmon-moss, near Carlisle. (fn. 33)
Many royal persons have been born in it, and, among others, king Henry VIII. his brother Edmund, king Edward VI. queen Mary, and her sister, queen Elizabeth, and afterwards several children of James I. Here also died that most amiable and ever lamented sovereign, king Edward VI. Queen Elizabeth made several additions to the buildings, and resided much here. In the 2d year of whose reign, on July 2d, 1559, the City of London entertained the Queen at Greenwich with a muster, each company sending out a number of men at arms, in all fourteen hundred, to her great delight and satisfaction, which pleased the citizens as much, and created a mutual love and affection between them. On the 1st of July they marched out of London in coats of velvet and chains of gold, with guns, morris-pikes, halberts, and flags, over London-bridge, to the duke of Suffolk's park, in Southwark, where they all mustered before the lord-mayor, and lay abroad in St. George's-fields that night. The next morning they moved towards Greenwich, to the court there; and thence into the park, where they staid till eight o'clock, and then marched down into the lawn, and mustered in their arms; all the gunners in shirts of mail. At five o'clock at night, the queen came into the gallery, over the park gate, with the ambassadors, lords, and ladies to a great number. The lord marquis, lordadmiral, lord Dudley, and several other lords and knights rode to and fro, to view them, and to fet the two battles in array, to skirmish before the queen. Then came the trumpets to blow on each part, the drums beating and the flutes playing. There were given three onsets in every battle; the guns discharged on one another, the morris-pikes encountered together with great alarm; each ran to their weapons again, and then they fell together as fast as they could, in imitation of close fight. All this while the queen, with the rest of the nobility about her, beheld the skirmishings and retreats. After all this, Mr. Chamberlain, and several of the commons of the city, and the wiflers came before the queen, who heartily thanked them and all the city; whereupon the greatest shout was immediately given that ever was heard, with hurling up of caps, &c. and the queen shewed herself very merry. After this was a running at tilt, and then they all departed home to London. The 10th of the month, the queen being still at Greenwich, and well knowing how much pomps and shews, especially military, with her own presence at them, delighted her subjects, and perhaps herself too, caused a handsome banquetting house to be set up for herself in Greenwich-park, made with fir-poles, and decked with birch branches, and all manner of flowers, both of the field and garden; as roses, julyflowers, lavender, marygolds, and all manner of strewing herbs and rushes. Besides which, there were tents set up for the kitchen, and for the officers against the next day, with provisions laid in of wine, ale, and beer. And there was a place made up for the queen's pensioners, who were to run with spears; the challengers were three, the Earl of Ormond, Sir John Perrot, and Mr. North, and there were defendants of equal valour, with lances and swords. About five in the afternoon the queen came, with the ambassadors, and many lords and ladies, and stood over the park-gate, to see the exercise; and after, the combatants ran, chasing one ano- ther. After this she came down into the park, and took her horse, and rode up to the banqueting-house, and to the three ambassadors; and after that to supper. Then followed a mask, and after it a sumptuous banquet, and great casting of fire, and shooting of guns, till twelve at night; when the whole ceased. (fn. 34)
King James erected a new brick-work towards the garden, and walled in the park, and laid the foundation of the House of Delight towards the park, (since allotted to the rangers of the park,) which Henrietta Maria, wife of king Charles I. finished, and furnished so magnificently, that it by far surpassed all other houses of the kind at that time in England.
On Sunday, May 5, in the third year of king James, the christening of the princess Mary was performed with great solemnity at the court in Greenwich. In this reign, Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, had a grant of the castle in the park, which he enlarged and beautified; and being much taken with its pleasant situation, made it his chief residence. He died, unmarried, in the 12th year of this reign. (fn. 35)
King Charles I. resided much at this palace till the year 1641, when he left it, with the fatal resolution of taking his journey northward; after which, the discontents of the times never suffered him to fee it again. On his death, in 1648, it was, with the other royal estates, taken possession of by the powers then in being; who, though they passed an ordinance in 1649, for the sale of the crown lands, yet they excepted to their own use, among other the late king's honours, palaces, and parks, the honour and manor of East Greenwich; the house, called Greenwich house; the buildings, called the Queen's new buildings, with the gardens, orchards, &c. belonging to them; the park adjoining, commonly called Greenwich-park, and the castle within it, known by the name of Greenwich castle, which was then accounted a place of some strength and consequence; for when the parliament thought proper to secure for their use the several forts and places of strength on each side the river Thames, they passed an ordinance in 1642, for referring to the Committee for the Militia in London, to take proper course for securing this castle, with the blockhouses of Gravesend and Blackheath. (fn. 36) The extent of the royal palace may still be traced, by the names of several streets and places in the town of Greenwich, called in the old parish books, the King's House and Barne, King's-barnes, Queen's-barnes, King's mews, Queen'smews, the Court, the Palace, and the Palace yard.
But the necessities of the commonwealth, sometime after, requiring money for defraying the expences of the navy, their house of commons, in 1652, resolved, that Greenwich house, park, and lands should be immediately sold. (fn. 37)
Particulars were accordingly made out for the sale of the hobby stables, and other trifling parts of the royal garden and palace; but no further proceedings as to the rest seem to have been had at this time.
In 1654, the sub-committee for the revenue finding, that the house and park of East Greenwich, and other palaces of the late king, which had been surveyed and valued, then remained unsold, after solemn debates, declared, that they were fit places for the accommodation of the lord protector, and, therefore, were not to be valued at any gross sum; but might be allowed toward the revenue, as returned in the survey, at the yearly rent of 1254l. 13s. 4d. The beautiful grove under Greenwich castle had been, some time before this, demolished in the general destruction made of the royal parks, woods, and forests.
On the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660, this manor and palace, with the park, and other royal demesnes here, returned again to the crown.
After which the king, finding the old palace greatly decayed by time, and the want of necessary reparations during the usurpation, soon after his return to his dominions, formed the design of erecting a most magnificent one at this place, and completed one end of a stately pile of building, of free stone, (now the west wing of the hospital,) at the expence of 36,000l. but proceeded no further towards finishing it. He likewise enlarged, planted, and walled round the park, as at present, and erected a royal observatory on the top of the hill in the park, where duke Humphrey's tower stood, and furnished it with all kinds of mathematical instruments for astronomical observations, and allotted it for the use and residence of an astonomer royal, whom he placed here, with a handsome salary for his maintenance. After which this place was successively the residence of those celebrated astronomers, Mr. Flamsted, Dr. Halley, and Dr. Bradley; from Mr. Flamsted this observatory took the name of Flamsted house, by which it is now commonly known. It is at present in the possession of the Rev. Mr. Nevil Maskeline, F. R. S. and late fellow of Trinity-college, Cambridge, who was appointed astronomer royal to his Majesty in 1765, on the death of Dr. Nathaniel Bliss.
In this unfinished state the palace remained till king William's time; who, being desirous of promoting the naval strength of the kingdom, gave it, with several edifices and some adjoining grounds, as an hospital for the use of those English seamen of his royal navy, and their children, who, by age, wounds, or other accidents, should be disabled from further service at sea. For which purpose the king and queen issued their letters patent, in the 6th year of their reign, anno 1694; by which they granted to Sir John Somers, lord keeper, several of the great officers of state, and others, a par- cel of ground in East Greenwich, being part of their Majesties' manor of East Greenwich, containing eight acres and upwards; and the capital messuage, lately built by their royal uncle, king Charles II. and still remaining unfinished, commonly called the palace of Greenwich, and several other edifices and buildings, standing upon part of the ground: bounded by the river Thames on the north, to hold, as of their manor of East Greenwich, in free and common socage, by fealty, only to the intent, that the premises should be converted into an hospital, for the above purposes; and that as soon as the buildings should be finished, and the king and queen, should establish a corporation, or body politique, for the government of it; then to convey the premises to such body politique, which being afterwards established, the premises were, accordingly, vested in it.
The year after, the king again (the queen being dead) issued his letters patent, for a commission, which set forth, that nothing would more effectually contribute to the trade, navigation, and naval strength of this realm, than the making some competent provision, that seamen, who, by age, wounds, or other accidents, should become disabled for further service at sea, and should not be in a condition to maintain themselves comfortably, might not fall under hardships and miseries, but might be supported at the public charge, and that the children of such disabled seamen, and the widows and children of such as should be slain in the king's service, might in some reasonable manner be provided for and educated.
To effect which, therefore, he commissioned George, hereditary prince of Denmark, several of the great officers of state for the time being, and a great number more of the nobility, the bishops, the aldermen of London, the commissioners of the navy, and other gentlemen, to meet together for the executing of this commission, and to consider of proper methods for performing it; and he directed them in what manner such of the present buildings, as should be thought fit to stand, might be sitted and prepared for the use and service of the hospital; to prepare models of the building, with such schemes and draughts as might best explain them; to draw up a charter of foundation, and such statutes and orders as might be proper for it, and to receive the king's yearly allowance towards this building, and all gifts and subscriptions, that any other well-disposed persons should contribute towards it.
After this commission, an act of parliament passed for the more effectual forwarding and perfecting this excellent design, and providing a sufficient endowment for it; in which, after several regulations, in regard to the admittance of seamen into it, it provided, that every seaman, who should serve his Majesty, in any of his ships, should allow out of his wages sixpence per month, for the better support, and to augment the revenues of it. (fn. 38)
On queen Anne's accession to the throne, there had been expended upwards of fifty thousand pounds on these buildings, and much more was wanting to finish them, however, they were in such forwardness, that in 1705, one hundred disabled seamen were taken into the hospital. Queen Anne issued her commission in her third year, for the carrying on and finishing these buildings, for stating the accounts of them, and for providing for such other matters as should be thought necessary, with regard to the acts of parliament then, or that should afterwards be made, for the encouragement of seamen.
In July 1708, the hospital was so far advanced as to have three hundred and fifty poor and disabled seamen in it, the income of it then being computed at twelve thousand pounds per annum; of which one half was allowed to the yearly maintenance of the poor seamen, and the other half towards the buildings.
In the tenth year of queen Anne, an act passed for the better collecting and receiving the revenues granted for the support of this royal hospital, and for the further benefit of it. By which other seamen, though not in the service of the crown, were made liable to the payment of sixpence per month, for the better support of it; and as no seaman had, as yet, been admitted, but such as served in the royal navy, for the future any seaman might be admitted, who should produce an authentic certificate of his being wounded, maimed, or hurt in defending any ship of her Majesty's subjects against the enemy, or in taking any ship, and of being disabled by it for sea service.
King George, in the first year of his reign, issued a commission, for carrying on, building, and providing for this hospital; therein revoking and determining the former commission or letters patent, and their continuance, and removing the former governors; and being extremely desirous to promote and carry it on, he nominated, and appointed his son, George Augustus, prince of Wales, and the several great officers of state for the time being, with a great number besides, to be commissioners for this hospital, to meet together for the execution of it; giving them power to proceed and finish the building, to state the account of the works, and to make payment from time to time. To provide for the maintenance of such persons as should be necessary, with regard to the acts of parliament for encouraging of seamen.
That a general court should be held quarterly, or oftener, if found necessary, at which all officers for the hospital should be recommended to the lord high admiral, who should appoint all of them, except the governor and treasurer, all which officers, or others, to be admitted for the future, should be seafaring persons; and that the general court, with the assistance of the attorney and solicitor general, should forthwith prepare a charter and statutes for the perpetual government of the hospital; that four and twenty persons should be appointed, who shall be stiled Directors, with powers to carry on the building, to state the accounts for the works; to make contracts for provisions and other necessaries for the house; and to take in persons by the approbation of the lord high admiral; that their proceedings should be laid before the general court, and the directors receive twenty shillings for every actual attendance, to be paid out of the revenue of the hospital. The lord high admiral, or general court, when assembled, to nominate and fill up the number of directors. That the government of the house should be in the governor, with a council of officers, to be appointed by the lord high admiral; (fn. 39) and lastly, the commissioners to finish all matters left undetermined by the late commission.
King George III. by his charter, in 1775, incorporated the governor of this hospital, and others named in it, as one body politic and corporate, by the name of The Commissioners and Governors of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich in the County of Kent, and granted, that they should be governors of the goods, revenues, &c. belonging to it; and that they and their successors, by the same name, should have perpetual succession. Thus has the constant attention of the crown and legislature to this noble charity surmounted every difficulty, which the infant state of it laboured under.
The royal and national bounty have been from time to time generously extended to it; for there have been several private benefactions as well as public made to this hospital; a list of them, from the foundation, according to the tables hung up at the entrance of the hall, amount to upwards of 58,200l. of the latter, in particular, queen Anne, in her 4th year, was enabled by parliament to bestow the effects of William Kidd, a notorious pirate, to the use of this hospital; king George II. was enabled, by several acts, passed to allot ten thousand pounds out of the public supplies, for the better maintenance of the seamen in it, worn out and become decripped in the service of their country, and the shares of prizes, not demanded in three years, have, in the several wars of those reigns, been alloted by parliament to this charity. But the most munificent, even of the royal benefactions, was made in the 8th year of George II. when the rents and profits of the forfeited estates of the earl of Derwentwater and Charles Radcliffe, esq. attainted for rebellion in 1715, then amounting to upwarde of six thousand pounds per annum (the income of which is now increased to near thirty thousand pounds per annum) were given by parliament towards the buildings of this hospital and the support of the seamen in it. In the 22d year of the same reign, the absolute fee and inheritance of them were, by parliament, vested in trustees for the like uses, (fn. 40) Since which, by an act of the 16th year of his present majesty, these, as well as all other lands and estates held in trust for the benefit of this hospital, were vested in the commissioners and governors of it, incorporated by letters patent.
Such a series of care and liberality extended towards this favourite object of the British nation, could hardly fail of raising it to that wished-for prosperity we see it in at present. By degrees, this royal hospital is now become not only one of the most magnificent in its buildings, but the most extensive charity of its kind at this time in Europe.
The yearly revenues of it are so greatly advanced of late years, not only from the improvements of their estates, but from the considerable increase of the duty of sixpence per month, which is stopped out of the pay of all sailors, whether in the royal navy or merchants service, and delivered in at the Sixpenny Receiver's-office, on Tower-hill; and from the great increase of the royal navy, and of our trade and navigation in general, now amounts to a large and very considerable sum, insomuch that they enable the governors to maintain in it upwards of two thousand three hundred old or disabled seamen, and about one hundred and fifty boys, the sons of seamen, who are instructed in navigation, and bred up for the service of the royal navy; and there are many out-pensioners, the same as at Chelsea, each of whom receives seven pounds per annum.
The governors are in number about one hundred, consisting of the nobility, great officers of state, and persons in high posts under the king. The chief officers of it are—the Governor, the Lieutenant-governor, the Treasurer, four captains, eight Lieutenants, two Chaplains, a Physician and Surgeon, the Clerk of the Cheque, the Secretary, and the Auditor; besides a number of clerks and other inferior officers, who have each a handsome salary, proportionable to their rank and service; and there are upwards of one hundred and fifty nurses, the widows of seamen, for the care of the pensioners and the children. Each of the mariners has a weekly allowance of seven loaves, weighing sixteen ounces each, three pounds of beef, two of mutton, a pint of peas, a pound and a quarter of cheese, two ounces of butter, fourteen quarts of beer, and one shilling per week tobacco money. The tobacco money of the boatswains is two shillings and sixpence a week each; that of their mates, one shilling and sixpence, and that of the other officers in proportion to their rank. Besides which, each common pensioner receives, once in two year, a suit of blue cloaths, a hat, three pair of stockings, two pair of shoes, five neckcloths, three shirts, and two night-caps. The governor's salary is 1000l. per annum, the lieutenantgovernor's, 400l. each captain's, 230l. each lieutenant's 135l. and so on in proportion.
King Edward III. at the instance of Sir John Norbury, his treasurer, in the 51st year of his reign, anno 1376, founded a religious house here, for the order of Minorites or Franciscans, commonly called Grey Friars, which was made an alien priory, subject to the abbey of Ghent, in Flanders. But when king Henry V. in his second year, suppressed the alien priories throughout England, this at Greenwich became involved in the general ruin, and the religious were expelled from hence.
King Edward IV. perhaps by the persuasion of his sister Margaret, dutchess of Burgundy, resolved to found a religious house or convent of the order of Observants here, contiguous to his palace, most probably in the very place of the former one; and the Observants being only a more reformed branch of the Minorites, adds some strength to this conjecture. Though the king did not live to put the whole of this design in execution, yet, about the year 1480, he granted them a residence here, with a little chantry and chapel, of the Holy Cross, for their devotions, which pope Sixtus IV. that year, gave them leave to accept of. They remained in this state till king Henry VII. in his 1st year, by his letters patent, reciting, that king Edward IV. had designed to found a convent of the order of Observants, and had alloted for that purpose a parcel of his land, with some antient houses built on it, in the town of East Greenwich, contiguous to his mansion or palace, founded, in prosecution of so pious an intent, this religious house at the town of East Greenwich. Soon after this he new built their house for them, from the foundation, which stood adjoining to the west side of the palace, where the road, now known by the name of the Friars-road, points out its situation. (fn. 41) King Henry VIII. was at first a great admirer and favourer of the Observants, till they so openly and warmly espoused the side of queen Catharine, in the cause of her divorce. The queen had always retained the highest opinion of the piety and sanctity of these friars, insomuch, that she had one of them, father John Forest, for her consessor, and used, while at Greenwich, to rise at midnight to the divine offices, and be present in the Franciscan church, during the time the friars were singing their matins and lauds. This opposition to the king's desires enraged him so much, that from henceforward these friars were continually persecuted and dispersed; some died in prison, others were executed under imputation of treason, and others forced to fly, till the whole body of them was reduced almost to nothing. On the 11th of Aug, 1534, in his 26th year, the king caused this house to be dissolved, (fn. 42) at which time the whole order was suppressed throughout England. But, after near twenty years banishment, the few remaining Franciscans, by the accession of queen Mary to the throne, began to appear again in public, and returning to Greenwich, began to form a community here again, and as they had been the first expelled, so were they the first restored by king Philip and queen Mary, in 1555, when the queen new founded their monastery, and caused it to be repaired at her own cost, in gratitude for the signal resolution they had shewn in asserting her mother's cause, and brought in as many of the fraternity as could be found, and recruited them with new ones to a competent number. But they did not continue long here; for queen Elizabeth, in the second year of her reign, anno 1559, suppressed this monastery again; and the friars being put out from their house were obliged to fly into Flanders, Germany, and other parts beyond sea. (fn. 43) After which the several buildings of this convent were, from time to time, made use of as part of the royal palace, and continued so till, in the interregnum, after the death of king Charles I. they were sold, with some other parts of the palace, in the year 1652, by the powers then in being, as has been already mentioned, under the description of the priory buildings, parcel of Greenwich house, with a stillhouse, and the priory garden, to Richard Babington. (fn. 44) These premises returning to the crown again on the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660, continued part of the royal palace till king William, in the 6th year of his reign, gave them, with the rest of the palace here, as an hospital for maimed and wounded seamen, part of the scite of which remains at this time, as has been already fully taken notice of before.
MR. LAMBARDE, the perambulator, in the year 1574, built and founded an alms-house or hospital in this parish, called queen Elizabeth's-college, for the benefit of twenty poor people, eight of whom to be chosen from this parish of Greenwich, with an allowance of 18d. per week, and a load of faggots monthly, to each; and intrusted the care of it to the Drapers-company, to which he was otherwise a good benefactor.
RALPH ROKEBY, of Lincoln's-inn, esq. master of St. Catharine's, &c. dying in 1596, among other charitable legacies, bequeathed 100l. to this college, so that now the pensioners, besides meat, drink, and lodging, are allowed 1s. 6d. a week, with a gown every year, linen once in two years, and hats once in four years.
There is another College, which stands at the end of the town, fronting the Thames, having two acres of garden-ground belong- ing to it, for the maintenance of twenty decayed old housekeepers, and a master; of which twenty, twelve are to be of the parish of Greenwich, and the other eight are to be alternately chosen from Snottisham and Castle Rising, in Norfolk. This is called the Duke of Norfolk's-college, though it was founded and endowed, in 1613, by Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, the duke of Norfolk's brother, and by him committed to the care of the Mercers' company, by the name of Trinity-college, in Greenwich. It has a handsome chapel, to which the Earl's body and monument were removed in 1696, by order of the Mercers' company, from the ruinous church in Dover-castle. See Newcourt's Rep. vol. i. p. 693.
There are two Charity-schools in this parish; one founded by Sir William Boreman, in 1673, and intrusted to the care of the Drapers' company, for twenty boys, born in this town, who are cloathed, boarded, and taught, for which use there is a large house appropriated for the master and scholars.
The other by Mr. JOHN ROAN, who by will, in 1643, left an estate in houses near the church here, of 95l. per annum, in trust with the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers of this parish, for teaching twenty boys, born in this town, reading, writing, and arithmetic, and allowing 2l. for each boy's cloathing, until they should be of fifteen years of age, which estate is now vested in trustees, and now of the produce of 173l. 14s. per annum.
In the year 1700, there was a Charity-school set up here for girls, where the children were set to spin, and to make their own cloaths, both linen and woollen. It was supported by voluntary subscriptions, amounting to about 60l. and had the gift of 100l. belonging to it, and one chaldron of coals yearly.
JOHN BAKER by will, 1670, gave 50l. to the poor, as did ELISHA BAKER, 70l. in 1674, both sums vested in trustees; of which 80l. was directed by a commission of charitable uses, to be laid out towards the building of the free-school, and a rent of 4l. per annum reserved, to be paid towards Roan's charity.
Dr. BRYAN DUPPA, bishop of Winchester, who died in 1662, was a good benefactor to this parish. Biog. Brit. vol. iii. p. 1324.
REV. THOMAS PLUME by will, 1704, gave two houses, in Deptford, to cloath and teach two boys in Roan's school for ever, vested in trustees, of the produce of 2l. per annum; and likewise four alms-houses in Greenwich, for the use of the poor, but they have many years since fallen down.
MARK COTTLE by will gave, for the benefit of Roan's-school, and teaching the children there, 100l. to be laid out in lands and tenements, vested in trustees, of the produce of 6l. per annum.
......... SWEETE by will gave to the same school, the amount in money of 123l. 5s. 2d. East India annuities, vested in trustees, of the produce of 3l. 13s. 10d. per annum.
WILLIAM HATCLIFFE by will, in 1620, gave to the poor of Greenwich, Lewisham, and Lee, i. e. two-fourth parts to the poor of this parish, a moiety of several houses and lands in Greenwich, vested in trustees, of the produce of 45l. 3s. per annum.
WILLIAM STANTON by will, in 1610, gave to the poor of this parish, and of the college erected by William Lambarde, 40s. payable out of a house in Church-street, vested in trustees, of the produce of 14l. per annum.
WILLIAM RIPPIER by will, in 1577, gave to the poor and needy people of this parish, resident in it, a house, at Gardenstairs, in Greenwich, vested in trustees, of the produce of 16l. per annum.
THOMAS WARE by will, in 1612, gave to the use or the poor of this parish, the moiety of a house in Lewisham, vested in trustees, of the produce of 10s. per annum.
WILLIAM CORRY by will, in 1625, gave to the poor of this parish, one-third of the rent of a house in it, vested in trustees, of the produce of 1l. 16s. 8d. per annum.
JOANE TALLIS, in 1587, gave by will to Lambarde's-college, a rent charge out of a house in Greenwich, vested in trustees, of the produce of 10s. per annum.
NICHOLAS SMITHIES by will, in 1692, gave 20l. to purchase 20s. per annum, to be given to the poor inhabitants. Not known in whom vested, but of the produce of 20s. per annum.
SIR WILLIAM HOOKER by deed, in 1691, gave a rent charge of the produce of 6l. per annum, out of a messuage in Greenwich, now unknown, to be distributed among poor widows of this parish, but which has not been received for many years.
NICHOLAS WIGSELL by will, in 1720, gave an annuity, charged on a house in Turnpike-lane, to be distributed among the poor inhabitants of this parish, in bread, on Candlemas-day yearly, now of the annual produce of 6l. and received by the churchwardens.
JOHN MASSINGER by will, in 1715, gave, for the relief of decayed housekeepers and other indigent persons, parishoners of Greenwich, 20s. each, towards the expence of meeting yearly, and 10s. for a sermon annually, which charity is vested in Old South Sea annuities, to the amount of 1533l. 12s. of the annual produce of 46l.
ABRAHAM COLFE by will, in 1656, gave an estate to the Leathersellers company, to distribute two-penny wheaten loaves to the poor of this parish every Sunday, and gave a right to this parish to send ten scholars, to be educated at the free-grammar school at Lewisham, founded by him.
JOHN WARDELL by will, in 1656, gave the sum of 2s. 6d. to be laid out in bread, and distributed every Sunday to fifteen poor widows of this parish, charged on a messuage in Walbrook, vested in the Grocers' company, now of the annual produce of 46l.
WILLIAM RAINE by will, in 1766, gave for the relief of poor people of this parish, 20s. a year each, issuing out of 425l. 4 per cent. Annuities, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of 17l.
ALICE CLEMENTS by will, in 1710, gave 200l. South Sea annuities, for the cloathing of six poor widows of this parish yearly, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of 6l.
PETER WATTON gave, by will, 40s. per annum, to the eight houses of Greenwich poor, in queen Elizabeth's college, and 5l. 10s. yearly to be distributed among the poor at Greenwich, being 250l. Old South Sea annuities, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of 7l. 10s.
WILLIAM MACGILL by will, in 1775, gave 600l. 3 per cent. reduced Annuities, for the cloathing of poor widows of this parish yearly, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of 18l.
DENNIS CHAPPEL, by will, gave 5l. to defray the expences of the receiver yearly, and the remainder to be distributed annually and equally among the poor of queen Elizabeth's college, the warden excepted, which gift is vested in trustees.
Sir GREGORY PAGE, bart. who died in 1775, by his will, bequeathed the sum of 400l. to the poor of the parish of East Greenwich, where he lies buried.
GREENWICH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and the deanry of Dartford. The church was, from the earliest account of time, an appendage to the manor of Greenwich, and as such was given by Elthruda, king Alfred's niece, to the abbey of Ghent, which grant was said to have been renewed and confirmed, at the instance of archbishop Dunstan, by king Edgar, anno 964, as it was by king Edward the Confessor in 1040, with several rights and privileges belonging to it, and all cimeteries, tithes, rents in fields and woods, in meadows and pastures, rivers, pools, fisheries, fishings, mills, and in all its appurtenances. (fn. 45)
William the Conquer or again confirmed this grant to that abbey, as did several of his successors, particularly Henry I. who, with the manor, confirmed to it this church, and the cimetery, and all lands and tenements belonging to it, together with the tithes of Andredeswald, with its customs and rents, and all its appurtenances, as the charters of king Edward, and of king William his father, witnessed. (fn. 46)
The church of Est Grenewich was appropriated by Benedict, bishop of Rochester, to the convent and abbot of Ghent, after the death of master Nicholas, then rector of it; which grant was confirmed by bishop Richard, one of his successors, in 1239, master Nicholas being still living.
King Edward III. in his 17th year, directed his writ to the bishop of Rochester, requiring him to return the names of all aliens beneficed within his diocese, and the names of their benefices, and who of them were resident on them. To which the bishop made return, that the abbot and convent of Ghent possessed, to their own proper use and behoof, the churches of Lewisham and Est Grenewich, and the temporals annexed to them in those parishes, and that brother William Sergotz, the proctor of the abbot and convent resided there. A writ for the like purpose was issued in the 20th year of that reign, when the bishop made return, that the abbot and convent possessed, to their own proper use, the church of Est Grenewiche, taxed at xx marcs, but that the religious were not resident in them.
The parliament, at Leicester, in the 2d year of king Henry V. suppressing all the alien priories, the possessions of the abbot and convent of Ghent, and this church, as part of them, became vested in the crown, where it staid only till next year, when the king settling the manor of Greenwich on his new founded priory of Shene, this church, as an appendage, passed along with it at the same time.
In the register of John Langdon, bishop of Rochester, in the 13th year of king Henry VI. it appears, that the prior and convent of Shene, holding the churches of Levesham and Est Grenwych appropriate, in Rochester diocese, paid to the bishop a pension of forty shillings yearly at Michaelmas.
King Henry VIII. obtained the possession of this church from the priory of Shene, in exchange, in his 23d year, when John Joburne the prior, and the convent of that place, by deed, that year, granted to the king their manors of Lewisham and Est Grenewich, with their appurtenances, and the advowsons and patronages of the churches, vicarages, and rectories of those parishes. Since which the advowson of the vicarage of Greenwich seems to have continued, without any interruption, in the possession of the crown to the present time. This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 21l. 0s. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 2s. (fn. 47) In the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, which issued from the court of Chancery, it was returned, that East Greenwich was a vicarage, with one house, and an acre and one rood of glebe land, one Mr. John Sterne enjoying it. The vicar now receives the tithes of rods and reeds, of all fruits, and of herbage or pasture ground. He receives likewise a pension of 5l. 2s. 6d. yearly, in consideration of the tithe for the park.
The rectory or parsonage, after the exchange made in the 23d year of king Henry VIII. remained in the possession of the crown till the 28th year of that reign, when the king granted it, as has been already mentioned above, in the description of the manor of Old Court, in this parish, among other premises, to his servant, Richard Long, for life, after which it passed with that manor, under the same grants, till king Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted them to Thomas Darcy, lord Darcy of Chiche, for life, without any account of rent whatsoever, with all the profits, advantages, and emoluments belonging to them.
These tithes, together with the manor of Old Court, parcel of the honour of East Greenwich, the parsonage-house, and sundry other premises, late belonging to the crown, were sold by the trustees, ap- pointed by parliament, in 1649, for the sale of the lands belonging to the late king, to Robert Titchborne. But they returned again to the crown on king Charles II.'s restoration, and have since passed, in like manner as the manor of Old Court before mentioned.
The church was dedicated to St. Alphege, archbishop of Canterbury, who is said to have been slain by the Danes, in the year 1011, on the very spot where this church was afterwards built. By length of time, the building became so ruinous, that about midnight, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 1710, the roof fell in. Soon after which, in the 9th of queen Anne, when the act of parliament passed for building the fifty new churches within the city of London and its suburbs, it was expressly provided in it, that one of the new churches should be in the parish of Greenwich. The commissioners, under this act, soon afterwards began to erect a new church here, which is a handsome stone structure, with a cupola steeple, and being finished, it was consecrated on Sept. 29, 1718, by Dr. Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester. In this church it was insisted, that the king had a right to a pew, which was agreed to by a vestry, held for that purpose. An act passed in the 25th year of king George II. to enable the parishioners to deposite corpse in the vaults or arches under the church, and to ascertain the fees to be paid for them.
In the old church, among others, in the chancel, is a monument of a man in armour, kneeling at a desk, with eight sons behind him, and a woman kneeling likewise, with seven daughters behind her, for Sarah, wife of Francis Heiton, ob. 1600, ætat. 38. A monument on the south side of the choir, for William Hatlecliffe, descended from those of that name, in Lincolnshire, ob. unmarried, 1620, ætat. 57. In the chancel, a brass plate for Thomas Gallys and Joan his wife; against the south wall, a brass plate, with the figures of a man and woman kneeling, for Anthony Lyle and his wife, which Anthony was gentlemanusher and daily waiter to queen Elizabeth, ob. 1579; against the east wall, a monument for Anne Newton, daughter of Sir Henry Newton, and dame Catherine his wife, ob. 1600, ætat. 17. Col. Rich. Oxenden, 1697, ætat. 84, and Sarah his wife, 1700, ætat. 78; within the rails, three flat stones, with brass plates, one for Rich. Bower, gent. of the chapel, and master of the children to king Henry VIII. Edward VI. queen Mary and Elizabeth, ob. 1561; another has a figure of a man in the dress of the time, a chain of gold over his right shoulder, and a mace and crown, with the queen's supporters, on his breast, for John Whytte, gent. one of the queen's footmen, ob. 1579; the third for Henry Traifford, esq. clerk of the green cloth to queen Elizabeth, ob. 1585; Edward, son of Francis and Catharine Bertie, ob. 1588, æt. 27. A table with coats of arms and quarterings for John St. Amand, esq. of Nottinghamshire, ob. 1664, ætat. 70, together with John his eldest son and two children. In the south isle, in the east wall, a monument, with the half figure of a man in his alderman's gown, for Sir William Hooker, of East Greenwich, and Letitia, his first wife, daughter of Francis Coppinger, esq. of Middlesex, he was lord-mayor in 1674, by her he had three sons and four daughters; his second wife was Susanna, daughter of Sir Tho. Bendish, bt. of Essex, ob. 1697, ætat. 85; against the south wall, formerly stood the monument of that learned antiquary, William Lambarde, esq. removed to Sevenoke as has been already mentioned. Memorials on stones for the eldest daughter of William lord Sherrard, baron of Letrim, ob. 1648; for Hester, daughter and heir of Wm. Crayford, esq. ob. 1654; for Catharine, late wife of Marmaduke Moor, esq. ob. 1667; for Anne, widow of Sir Wm. Tufton, bart. daughter of Cecil Cave, esq. of Leicestershire, ob. 1649. At the west end of the south isle, monuments for Sir John Clarke, ob. 1680; and Anne Denew, ob. 1665, in the church yard, over the east door. This door was rebuilt by the feoffees of Wm. Stanton, a good benefactor to this church, the poor of the town, and poor of Lambarde's-college, by giving a perpetuity of 40s. per annum to each of them. An inscription over the body of Thomas Hixon, esq. of Greenwich, wardrobe-keeper to queen Elizabeth and king James I. he married Margaret, daughter of Tho. Manley, second son of Tho. Manley, esq. of Cheshire, and had five sons and two daughters; his son, Humphry Manley, esq. of Greenwich, was afterwards keeper of the standing wardrobe there, and married Mary, daughter of John Bradshaw, of Leicestershire. An inscription on a tomb for Wm. Boreman, esq. servant to queen Elizabeth, king James and king Charles I. sixty years, ob. 1646, ætat. 82; for Jane his wife, and Susanna and Jane, their daughters, and Dulcibella Boreman, ob. 1675. By the great north door, inscriptions for several of the Warners, and in the east church yard for Susanna, wife of Sir Robert Robinson.
In the new church, there are no memorials but at the east end are two mural monuments, one for Sir Henry Sanderson, ob. 1760, ætat. 15, son of Sir Hen. Sanderson, bart. of Coombe, by Charlotte his third wife, daughter of Sir Rich. Gough, of Warwickshire, the last heir of his name and family; for Sir Robert Robinson, ob. 1714, ætat. 84, and for his two wives; the other monument for Sir James Creed, of this parish, ob. 1762, ætat. 67, and Mary his wife, and several of his children, who lie in a vault underneath.
CHURCH OF GREENWICH.
|PATRONS, Or by whom firesented.||RECTORS.|
|Abbot and Convent of Ghent||Richard (in the time of bisho Gilbert de Glanvill, who die in 1214.)|
|Abbot and Convent of Ghent||Nicholas, rector at the time of the appropriation in 1239.|
|The same||Ranulph, in 1293.|
|Nicholas de Herlawe, exchanged and resigned, 1317.|
|John de Trepingfeld, instit. Dec. 7, 1317.|
|John Jewcocke, 1366.|
|Richard Cosyn, exchanged and resig. 1410.|
|Robert Popejay, instit. June 17, 1410.|
|Prior and Convent of Shene||John Prata, exchanged and resigned.|
|Wm. Ewan, instit. Ap. 8, 1423.|
|John Morton, collated Feb. 12, 1444, by lapse.|
|Wm. Skipwill, Oct. 16, 1464.|
|Rich. Huttone, LL.D. obt. 1509.|
|Wm. Derlyntone, A. M. instit. June 5, 1509, resig. 1526.|
|The Crown||Thomas Hall, inst. Dec. 28, 1526, resig. 1535.|
|John Cowde, A. M. instit. Nov. 27, 1535.|
|Richard Wheatly, in 1547.|
|Henry Hall, in 1548 and 1558.|
|John Regatt, alias Rigate, 1566.|
|John Kynde, A.M. inst. Oct. 15, 1590.|
|John Cotton, 1616.|
|John Creyghton, D. D. (fn. 49)|
|John Sterne, in 1650.|
|Thomas Plume, B. D. subscribed the declaration of conformity, as vicar, July 28, 1662, obt. Nov. 20, 1704. (fn. 50)|
|John Turner, A. M. instit. Dec. 14, 1704, obt. Dec. 7, 1720. (fn. 51)|
PATRON. The Crown.