Survey of London: Volume 26, Lambeth: Southern Area. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1956.
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CHAPTER III - Stockwell
This chapter covers the area of the former Manor of Stockwell, which extended further south than the relatively small area now known as Stockwell. The Manor was roughly diamond-shaped. The boundary in the north is uncertain, but on the east it probably ran from a point just north of Durand Gardens in Clapham Road to the junction of Stockwell Park Road and Groveway and down Stockwell Park Road. On the west it probably followed the southern boundary of Vauxhall Manor along Lansdowne Way and Wandsworth Road and thereafter the boundary between the parishes of Battersea and Lambeth to Clapham Road. In the south the Manor was bounded by the present Brixton Road and Brixton Hill on the east and Bedford and Lyham Roads on the west. A small detached portion of the Manor lay on the north-west side of Wandsworth Road (fig. 19).
The emergence of Stockwell and Vauxhall Manors as separate entities after the division of South Lambeth Manor has already been discussed on page 57. The evidence suggests, however, that although Stockwell achieved manorial status at about the end of the 13th century (fn. n1) the courts of Vauxhall Manor imposed their jurisdiction on Stockwell for centuries afterwards. In 1326 a rent of a head penny was payable by Stockwell Manor to the View of Frank Pledge of Vauxhall, (fn. 2) and was still being paid in 1528–9. (fn. 3) In 1722 the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury were presented by this (their own) court to put up new stocks in Stockwell as well as in Vauxhall. (fn. 4) Even as late as 1814, when a new pound was needed in Stockwell, it was the View of Frank Pledge of Vauxhall which ordered it to be erected, though on this occasion the responsibility for its erection was placed on the Lady of Stockwell Manor. (fn. 5) It is impossible to tell whether the Lords of Stockwell recognized the jurisdiction of the Vauxhall court, for the only manorial record which has been found of an independent court being held for Stockwell is a draft minute of a Court Baron and View of Frank Pledge held in 1626 by Sir George Chute, then Lord of the Manor. (fn. 6) The minute records the election of a headborough, ale-conner, and constable, although before this date, tithing men, and after this date, headboroughs and constables, were elected for Stockwell liberty at the Views of Frank Pledge held at Vauxhall. (fn. 7) This evidence, though scrappy, does serve to confirm that Stockwell and Vauxhall had originally been linked closely enough for an association to continue, however weakly, until the 19th century; it also lends colour to the hypothesis that together they formed the ancient Manor of South Lambeth.
The descent of the Manor is described in some detail in the Victoria County History of Surrey, (fn. 8) published in 1912, but additional information has since been discovered. At the close of the 15th century, Stockwell Manor, together with Leve-hurst, Bodley, Upgrove and Scarlettes, and parts of Vauxhall and Lambeth Manors, was held by Sir John Leigh (Legh). Shortly before his death in 1523, he erected a chapel (fn. 9) in the parish church in which he and his wife were buried, (fn. 10) and a second chapel in Stockwell. He left instructions in his will that the chapel at Stockwell should be repaired out of the profits and revenues of Stockwell and Levehurst Manors, and bequeathed 66s. 8d. a year for a chantry priest and 53s. 4d. for ornaments; two vestments were to be made out of his furred velvet gown, with crosses from his jacket of crimson velvet. (fn. 9)
Sir John Leigh's heir was his nephew, John Leigh, (fn. 9) who in 1543 exchanged Stockwell and Levehurst Manors with the King for otherproperty. (fn. 11) Stockwell was held by the Crown until 1555, when it was granted to Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu, “for the better support of the estate and rank of a viscount”, (fn. 12) in consideration of his services to Queen Mary during the rebellions of the Duke of Northumberland and Sir Thomas Wyatt. The Manor was held in chief for the service of half a knight's fee and charged with an annual rent of £8 12s. 11d. Viscount Montagu was succeeded by his grandson, the second Viscount Montagu, (fn. 13) who sold the Manor in 1598 to George Chute of Brede, Sussex. (fn. 14) Excepted from the sale were 30 acres called Great or (sic) Little Crowlands, seven acres called Paradise, Stockwell chapel, a forge and lands in the occupation of “Jukes”, and Stockwell Wood.
Some of this latter property corresponds with certain lands which were let on long leases by the second Viscount Montagu before he sold the Manor. In 1580 he let the manor house, with part of Crowlands and other closes, to Henry Store of London, woodmonger, for 1,000 years, and in 1586 he granted a lease of some 44 acres for 2,000 years to John Pynder (Pindar) and John Thrayle, citizens and vintners of London. (fn. 15) John and/or Thomas Norton also had a lease of part of the Manor. (fn. 16) Most of these leasehold interests were acquired by Francis Gofton, who after mortgaging them, (fn. 15) sold them in 1640 in three lots to Richard Rundell of Stockwell, yeoman, Edmond Dent, of South Lambeth, and Samuel Lewes, citizen and merchant taylor of London. (fn. 17)
Before he died, George Chute settled the Manor on Sir George Chute, (fn. 18) one of his younger sons. Sir George Chute was knighted in 1608 (fn. 19) and died in 1649. (fn. 20) In his will he expressed a wish to be buried in the aisle in St. Mary's Lambeth where his predecessors, Lords of Stockwell Manor, had a right to be buried—presumably in the Leigh Chapel. Sir George's son, also a George Chute, of Stockwell (fn. 21) and Streatham, (fn. 22) inherited the Manor, but sold about 76 acres to John Howland of Streatham in 1683. Howland's daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Wriothesley, Duke of Bedford, inherited her father's estate and on her death it passed into the hands of her husband's descendants. (fn. 22) The estate is marked on the plan on Plates 74 and 75 as belonging to the Duke of Bedford. The rest of the Manor continued to be held by the Chute family until 1699, when the family's trustees sold it to (Sir) John Thornycroft. (fn. 23) When Sir John died he left the Manor in trust for his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Lieutenant-General the Hon. Roger Peter Handasyd, and only a shilling to his “undutiful obstinate and rebellious” son John. Nevertheless, when John Thornycroft junior made his will in 1739, he bequeathed his father's estate to Henry Forster of Southwark, distiller, and five years later his sister Elizabeth had to pay £630 to regain the property. Her brother was then described as lately a prisoner in the King's Bench Prison. (fn. 24) The plan reproduced on Plates 74 and 75 represents the Manor of Stockwell in 1773 when it was owned by Henshaw Thornycroft. In 1781 Edward Thornycroft, then owner of the Manor, sold about 30 acres to Benjamin Robertson of Stockwell; this estate lay on the west side of Stockwell Road. An abstract of title relating to the estate mentions, but does not abstract, a deed of 1778 in circumstances which suggest that Robertson had already purchased another part of the Manor before 1781. (fn. 25) This may have been the site of Stockwell Park Crescent and part of Stockwell Park Road which Robertson's nephew and heir, John Bedwell, sold in 1806. (fn. 26)
The major part of the Manor remaining in the hands of the Thornycroft family was sold by auction in 14 lots in 1802; (fn. 24) it comprised all the land south of the present Ferndale Road and some adjoining it on the north side. Probably the last pieces of the Manor to be disposed of were Stockwell Green and Stockwell Common, which were sold about the same time as the auction took place, to William Lambert, who thus became Lord of the Manor. (fn. 27)