A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The parish of Newington lies in the angle between the roads from London Bridge into Kent through Peckham and into Surrey through Kennington and Streatham. The parish was called Newington St. Mary from the church, and Newington Butts from the ancient butts for archery, to distinguish it from the northern suburb of the same name. The soil is Thames alluvium with patches of gravel, and it was formerly very marshy and cut up by ditches, one of which, grandiloquently called Tigris, was passable by boats from Rotherhithe nearly to Newington Church. (fn. 1) In 1673 there was an ordinance forbidding the shooting of royal wildfowl that flew over Larrow Moor (otherwise known as Lorrimore or Lower Moor) Pond from the royal estates. (fn. 2) An Inclosure Award was made for Newington in 1770, inclosing commons and waste. Lorrimore was given to the lords of the manor, one tenth of Walworth Common to the rector, nine tenths to the overseers to reduce the poor rate. (fn. 3)
The area of the civil parish is 632 acres. As early as 1636 there was overcrowding and bad housing in this parish, conditions which naturally favoured the plague then prevalent. From April to May of 1637 no less than £118 18s. was spent on combating it. (fn. 4) The growth of the population will be seen in the Table of Population. (fn. 5) The parish was incorporated into the County of London in 1888 and is now included in the metropolitan borough of Southwark.
There was a hospital in Newington which was apparently not suppressed under Edward VI, for in 1551 (fn. 6) its proctor obtained a licence to beg for the benefit of his hospital. It was dedicated to Our Lady and St. Catherine. Its origin and fate are obscure, but it may be represented by the remains of a chapel and some small houses which belonged to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. The chapel bore an inscription stating that it was built in 1636 for the use of the people in the hospital, 'Nathaniel Bond, Treasurer.' In 1805 the buildings were demolished and a new street made across the site. (fn. 7)
In 1592 Thomas Mills died seised of a house called The Swan, leaving as his heir John Mills, his son, (fn. 8) who died in 1593, when Thomas, the next brother, inherited (fn. 9) In an inquest of 1622 (fn. 10) a house called The Post in Kentish Street, sixteen houses with their tenants' names, a close and meadow by Horsemonger Lane and a house called The Unicorn, in Blackman Street, are recorded.
The Elephant and Castle is still a well-known point for omnibuses and tramcars, as well as a railway station. It was a noted house for the coaches which stopped there going to and returning from London. The Elephant and Castle estate is noticed in the old table of parish property in the church as copyhold of the manor held by the parish since before 1658, when the parish erected buildings upon it.
In 1791 the old Court House on St. Margaret's Hill, Southwark, being ruinous, and the House of Correction in St. George's Fields which had superseded the county gaol, the 'White Lion' and the Marshalsea being insufficient, an Act of Parliament was passed for building a new County Prison and Sessions House in Horsemonger Lane, Newington. The prison was discontinued here in 1851. The Sessions House was used for the Quarter Sessions of Surrey till the parish was transferred to London County, and was then taken over for the same purpose for London Sessions.
The Parsonage House was an old timber house surrounded by a moat; it was partly rebuilt after 1794 and finally demolished in 1872. (fn. 11)
The National schools of St. Mary, Trinity and St. Peter represent an earlier charitable foundation. (fn. 12) The National school of St. Matthew, Newington Butts, was founded in 1868. There are, besides, seventeen schools in Newington, five Church schools, nine County Council, one British, one Jewish (endowed), founded in 1867, and one Roman Catholic.
WALWORTH is recorded early in history. In 1052 Edward the Confessor confirmed a grant of Chartham and Walworth, together with their manors and many liberties, to Christchurch, Canterbury. Edmund Ironside had given them to one Hitard, his jester, who, wishing to go to Rome, obtained leave from King Edward to assign these lands. (fn. 13) In 1086 the manor was held by Bainiard of the Archbishop of Canterbury, although before the Conquest it had been appropriated for the clothing of the monks; it had been assessed at 5 hides, but in 1086 at 3. There were a church and 8 acres of meadow, and the value had risen to 60s. from 30s. after a fall to 20s. (fn. 14) In 1291 (fn. 15) it was valued at £10, and was held by Christchurch, Canterbury, and at the Dissolution the gross assessment was £37 8s., (fn. 16) out of which a rent of £26 2s. 8d. was paid to the priests of the chantry founded by Edward the Black Prince in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. In 1541 Henry VIII regranted the manors to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. (fn. 17)
A few court rolls of the courts baron and view of frankpledge held in the reign of Edward III are preserved at the Record Office. (fn. 18) In the early years of the reign the view was held for the tithings of Walworth and Newington, whilst later in the century the tithingmen of Walworth, Newington, Blakemannestrete and Kentstrete attended. The common fine was 6s. 8d.
The manor of NEWINGTON is only twice mentioned separately from Walworth, of which manor Newington was a tithing. In 1222 Hugh de Nevill in right of his wife Joan, probably a lessee, exchanged with John the Prior of Holy Trinity, Canterbury, for lands in Hallingbury, Essex, all her right in the manors of Walworth and Newington. (fn. 19)
Again in 1379 the manor of Newington was in the hands of Lawrence de Merkingfeld, who granted it to Sir Thomas de Merkingfeld, kt., reserving a rent of 9 marks a year. (fn. 20) This was probably also a lease held of Christchurch.
About the reign of John the queen's goldsmith held an acre of land in Newington at a service of a gallon of honey. (fn. 21) In 1254 the Prior of Holy Trinity, Canterbury, let 11 acres and 11d. rent to Master William de Ludham. (fn. 22) From 1267 to 1272 a series of dealings between Robert de Ewegate with Juliana his wife and Nicholas de Kent and Adriana and others are extant, the lands in issue not exceeding 3 or 4 acres. (fn. 23) In 1542 (fn. 24) Richard Fermor, merchant of the Staple of Calais, held the reversion, after the death of Thomas Scropham and his wife, of a farm-house and pigeon-house in Walworth. He became attainted under the Statute of Provisors, and the lands were regranted to George Ardern. In 1459 (fn. 25) Simon Burcette held half an acre of the king as of the duchy of Lancaster of the honour of Aquila, Sussex, for a hundredth part of a knight's fee at a rent of 2d. (fn. 26)
The church of ST. MARY, Kennington Park Road, built of squared stone in 1876 in the early pointed style, consists of chancel, north chapel, south organ chamber and vestries, nave and aisles, narthex below the gallery at the west of the nave, and south-west tower of five stages, the lowest of which serves as a porch.
This church was built when the old one, which stood in Newington Butts, was demolished. This had been built in 1721, and nearly entirely rebuilt in 1793, and again extensively repaired in 1810. Of this church there are two relics on the windowsill of the porch—an 18th-century oval marble font and a tapering square shaft about 2 ft. 8 in. high, fluted, but much defaced, on which is tied the inscription 'Exhumed from a great depth in the construction of the large vault on the south side of old St. Mary Church Newington Butts. June 1876.'
The plate consists of two silver cups and paten of 1675; two silver covers of 1726–7; silver flagon of 1681; two silver salvers of 1783 (Parisian) and a quantity of modern plate. From an inscription on one of the French salvers it appears that it took the place of one presented by Thomas Lee of Cotton near Bridgenorth in 1681.
The parish of HOLY TRINITY was formed in 1826 (fn. 27) out of the parish of St. Mary. The church was built about the time of the formation of the parish, and consists of an oblong building placed north-west and south-east, and has to the north-east a Doric hexastyle portico. Above this rises a square tower surmounted by an octagonal Corinthian lantern. The whole building is of stone, and is a fair example of the design of the Greek revival. It stands in the ample turfed space of Holy Trinity Square. The Bishop of London is patron.
The parish of ST. PETER'S, Walworth, was formed in 1826. (fn. 28) The church, which stands in Liverpool Street, is a classic building of stock brick with stone dressings erected about 1820. The plan is rectangular, the wide nave having galleries on three sides; the round columns supporting the galleries are carried up in octagonal form and carry round arched trusses in the roof. The chancel is of the same width as the nave, and has two segmental cross arches supporting the roof. The ceilings of both nave and chancel are flat and panelled. To the north of the chancel is the organ chamber and to the south a chapel with a side altar screened off from the south aisle. At the west end is a shallow portico with four tall Ionic pillars supporting the frieze and cornice which continue around the building. Over the west end is a square bell tower with Corinthian pilasters carrying an entablature and crowned by a lantern and cupola. The cellars of the church, which were used as vaults until about 1860, are now used for various parochial purposes. The greater part of the churchyard is now a public garden.
The parish of ST. PAUL, Newington, was formed in 1857. (fn. 29) The church, which is in Lorrimore Square, consists of a chancel with south vestries and a north tower, the base of which serves as an organ chamber, a nave of five bays, north and south transepts and north and south aisles. The nave, which is without a clearstory, is lofty, and the arcades have alternate round and octagonal columns. The whole church is of stone in roughly squared rubble with worked dressings, and the tower is surmounted by a stone broach spire and contains one bell. It is well but not elaborately fitted, and stands in an ample churchyard. It is designed in 13th-century style.
The parish of ST. JOHN, Walworth, was formed in 1860 out of St. Mary's, Holy Trinity and St. Peter's. (fn. 30) The church, in Larcom Street, is a building of rag-stone with Bath-stone dressings, erected in 1860 in the style of the 13th century. It has a chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, organ chamber, vestries and a south-west bell tower with one bell. The piers of the arcades are slender twin shafts with carved and gilded capitals. The nave has a range of clearstory dormer windows on the north side only, apparently a later insertion. The tower is finished with a gabled roof. There are doorways at the north-west, in a porch and in the west wall, the last now opening into the adjoining school grounds.
The parish of ALL SAINTS, Newington, was formed in 1866 out of St. Peter's. (fn. 31) The church consists of a chancel with vestry, a nave of four bays, aisles, and a tower at the western angle, the building being placed north-east and south-west. It is built of rag-stone and is designed in 14th-century style. The tower is surmounted by a spire.
The parish of ST. MATTHEW, Newington, was formed out of St. Mary's and St. Peter's in 1868. (fn. 32) The church in New Kent Road consists of a chancel, nave and a tower with a small spire. It is placed nearly north and south, and the tower is at the south-east and forms at its lowest stage an entrance porch. The south elevation forms the street front, and is of stone rubble in 14th-century style. The body of the church is of brick.
The parish of ST. MARK, Walworth, was formed in 1870. (fn. 33) The church, which stands in East Street, consists of a chancel with vestry and organ chamber and a large nave with narrow aisles. It is built of yellow stock brick, with a sparing use of stone, and has a slate roof. The planning is a good example of its kind, the maximum seating capacity being obtained at the minimum of cost. Externally the design is extremely plain, but internally is not ineffective. There are a good organ and case of mid-18th-century date, which were brought from St. Dionis Backchurch. The building dates from 1874.
The parish of ST. STEPHEN, Walworth Common, was formed from St. Peter's in 1871. (fn. 34) The church consists of a chancel with vestries and organ chambers, a nave with north and south aisles, a north porch and a narthex. The chancel is finished with a semi-octagonal apse and is vaulted in plaster, and the nave, which is of fair size, is of five bays with stone arcades and a clearstory. At the west of the nave is a gallery reached by stairs in the narthex. The whole church is poorly designed in late 13th-century style, and is constructed of grey brick and stone with slate roofs.
The parish of ALL SOULS, Grosvenor Park, was formed in 1871 out of St. Peter's. (fn. 35) The church is a building of stock brick with stone dressings in the style of the 13th century. It has a chancel with side chapels, nave of five bays with a clearstory over and a gabled roof, low aisles with lean-to roof, and a central tower—over the western half of the chancel—with large bell-chamber windows, and finished with corner pinnacles. The principal entrance is at the south-west. The east end is towards the road. The pulpit is of stone, the font of alabaster.
The church of ST. GABRIEL, Newington Butts, is a chapel of ease to St. Mary's, consecrated in 1874. It stands on the north side of the old churchyard. The building is a small one of red brick in the style of the 13th century, and consists of a chancel with vestries, &c., nave with a clearstory, and low aisles. There is one bell in a cote over the chancel arch. The churchyard contains many of its original tombstones, but has now been turned into a public garden with a frontage on the main road. In it is a clock tower recently erected.
The parish of ST. ANDREW, Newington, was formed from Holy Trinity in 1877. (fn. 36) The church, in the New Kent Road, consists of a chancel with vestry and organ chamber, a nave with north and south aisles, a tower in the west bay of the south aisle and a shallow porch against the tower. It is built of stock bricks with red brick dressings and slate roofs. It is designed in late 13th-century style.
The Baptist Metropolitan Tabernacle is situated near the Elephant and Castle; the Surrey Tabernacle is in Wansey Street. There are also Baptist chapels in Walworth Road and Walworth East Street (fn. 39) and a Jewish synagogue in Heygate Street.
In 1540 three Anabaptists were burnt at Newington, two of whom were foreigners. (fn. 40)
The advowson of the church belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in whose peculiar jurisdiction the church was. About the time of John or Henry III one Roger de Sussex held it of the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 41) Edward III presented in 1374 (fn. 42) and Richard II in 1397 (fn. 43) on vacancies of the see.
Under Henry VIII the Prior of Christchurch acknowledged to Cromwell the archbishops' right to the advowson. (fn. 44) In 1547 it was confirmed to the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 45) Pole, however, presented in 1558, (fn. 46) and in 1634 there was a dispute between Laud and the Bishop of Worcester on the right of presentation, which was not settled when the Civil War and the imprisonment of Laud interrupted it. The question was revived by Sancroft in 1680. (fn. 47)
In 1846 (fn. 48) the benefice was transferred together with other London parishes to the diocese of London and the advowson was transferred from Worcester to London in 1852. In 1878 the parish and advowson were transferred from London to Rochester and in 1905 from Rochester to Southwark.
The learned Bishop Samuel Horsley was rector from 1759 to 1793. At an earlier date Edward Stillingfleet had been presented, but resigned before institution. Dr. Maclagan, late Archbishop of York, was rector from 1869 to 1875.
The advowson of All Saints, All Souls, Grosvenor Park, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John, St. Mark, St. Stephen, and St. Andrew, New Kent Road, belong to the Bishop of Southwark; of St. Matthew, New Kent Road, to trustees.
The Charity School seems to have been established in 1710 by Richard Cambridge. There were many small benefactions towards it, and in 1773 James Tracey (fn. 49) left £300 for a new building. In 1785 girls' schools were built, in 1803 a Sunday school was started, and in 1820 new schools for the combined charity and Sunday schools were built. The infants' school adjacent was added in 1851. The foundation is represented by the St. Mary's, Trinity and St. Peter's National schools.
The Drapers' Almshouses in Cross Street were founded by Mr. John Walter, clerk to the Drapers' Company, in 1656 for sixteen persons, but on the almshouses being rebuilt in 1798 they were reduced to eight, six appointed by the company and two by the parish.