A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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BATTERSEA with PENGE HAMLET
The civil parish of Battersea is a part of the metropolitan borough of Battersea. The borough dates from the London Government Act of 1899, and includes the greater part of the original ecclesiastical parish of St. Mary Battersea. (fn. 1) Under the same Act Penge, formerly a hamlet of Battersea (see below), was constituted a separate urban district and transferred to the county of Kent. (fn. 2) Battersea extends from Wandsworth on the south-west to Vauxhall in Lambeth on the east and Clapham on the east and south. The Thames bounds it on two sides; Chelsea Reach is to the north and Battersea Reach to the west.
Traces of early settlement are few, but some palaeolithic and neolithic implements have been found, (fn. 3) and Roman remains have been discovered in the Thames off Battersea. (fn. 4) They seem to have been carried down into the river or on to the submerged land near it from the higher ground, unless some of them were dropped from pile dwellings. (fn. 5) It has been suggested that the Conqueror fixed a camp at Battersea, whence he ravaged the southern side of the Thames after failing to enter London. (fn. 6) The earliest settlement appears to have been upon the east bank of Battersea Reach, where is situated the parish church and where was the manor-house. Directly south was the important hamlet of Bridges (Brugges, Bregges), which extended along the river bank into Wandsworth as far as the Wandle, which was crossed by a bridge maintained by the Abbot of Westminster, lord of the manor of Battersea and Wandsworth. (fn. 7) Through this hamlet flowed a stream, possibly the Falcon, (fn. 8) which emptied itself into the Thames near the modern Belmont Works, and was crossed in the 16th century by a wooden bridge. (fn. 9) York Road, the main way through the hamlet to Wandsworth, evidently owes its name to the Archbishops of York, who had a house and much land in the neighbourhood.
The district of Wassingham or Walsingham (mentioned in a charter dated 693 A.D.) was within the manor of Bridge Court, and possibly in the same neighbourhood. (fn. 10) Sir Thomas More had a lease of land there, and after his attainder it was leased by his son-in-law, William Roper of Chelsea. (fn. 11) Lands called Rydons or Roydons were also included in More's lease. The Roydon family had been connected with Battersea and Wandsworth from at least the 14th century. (fn. 12) Roydon and Wassingham were both considerable hamlets in the early 14th century. (fn. 13) Until the beginning of the 19th century these were the most densely populated parts of Battersea, although in the 17th century there were several scattered houses of handsome appearance and considerable size. (fn. 14) About the latter date Battersea began to grow in the same way as other parishes near London. Its rating in the ship-money assessment was for £35, whilst Putney was rated at £60, Wandsworth at £47 and Streatham at £33. In 1663 there were about 156 houses chargeable for the hearth-tax and 123 not chargeable. (fn. 15) The Huguenots (who had also settled in Wandsworth, q.v.) are said to have originated the market gardens. They were noted for their asparagus, which was traditionally the first grown in England. (fn. 16) A considerable number of market gardeners lived at Battersea in 1639. (fn. 17) Towards the end of the 18th century the gardens covered the district round Battersea Bridge and the land between the present Lavender Hill and Battersea Park Road. Much of the rest of the parish was marsh land, drained by an open sewer, which curved from the southern bend of Battersea Reach to the Thames at Vauxhall. The main sluices were in Battersea, in a district known as Hetheswall or Hesewall. (fn. 18)
A considerable part of the commons of Clapham and Wandsworth lie within the parish. Battersea Fields consisted about 1830 of 'an entirely open space, a good deal of it given up to corn and the rest grazing fields, which were inhabited by an enormous herd of cows.' (fn. 19) The rights of common over Battersea Fields were purchased by the commissioners for Battersea Park under an Act of 1853. (fn. 20) The purchase money was applied by the vestry, after some dispute, to the erection of the Lammas Hall in Bridge Road West for public meetings. (fn. 21) The fields were of very evil repute; the Sunday fairs customarily held there were the resort of the roughest and most vicious characters of the neighbourhood. They were also noted for duels, in particular for that between the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea. (fn. 22) The formation of a royal park on this site was chiefly due to the efforts of Thomas Cubitt, pioneer of the great metropolitan building establishments. An Act of 1846 enabled the Commissioners of Works to purchase 320 acres in Battersea. (fn. 23) After considerable delay the park was opened to the public in 1855. (fn. 24) It was transferred in 1887 to the Metropolitan Board of Works, (fn. 25) and under the Local Government Act of 1888 became vested in the London County Council. Much of the land is laid out for cricket and tennis; there are well-wooded walks and drives, a sub-tropical garden, a gymnasium, and an artificial lake of considerable size.
Difficulty of approach prevented the early growth of Battersea; its only direct communication with the north side of the Thames was the Chelsea ferry. In 1771–2 a wooden bridge known later as Old Battersea Bridge was built at or near the ferry (fn. 26) at the expense of Earl Spencer, owner of the ferry, who took the tolls of the bridge. Thenceforward, in addition to the corn mills in Battersea fields, which were the nearest to London in the late 17th century, (fn. 27) the sugar-houses which had existed in 1705 (fn. 28) and the famous enamel factory which had been established circa 1750, (fn. 29) there grew up several important industries, chiefly the manufacture of chemicals, which gave employment to an increasing population. (fn. 30) Sir Marc Brunel, engineer of the Thames Tunnel, established a large saw mill at the foot of Old Battersea Bridge in 1810. (fn. 31) The coaches which took London passengers daily from the Castle and Raven Inns in 1823 were superseded by a continual service of omnibuses before 1839. (fn. 32) Communication with the country was subsequently facilitated by the opening of the Southampton railway from a terminus at Nine Elms in 1838 (fn. 33) and the building of Clapham Junction (originally called Battersea station) within the bounds of Battersea in 1846. (fn. 34)
The parish is now traversed by the London, Chatham and Dover railway, which has a station in Battersea Park Road, by the West London Extension railway, which crosses the Thames by New Battersea Bridge and has a station in the High Street, and by the London, Brighton and South Coast main and branch lines from Victoria, which has Clapham Junction, Battersea Park and Wandsworth Common stations. Intercourse with London has also been facilitated by the growth of tramways. The Chelsea Suspension Bridge was built under an Act of 1846, (fn. 35) compensation being paid to the Watermen's Company for a Sunday ferry to the 'Red House,' Battersea Fields, an inn somewhat notorious in the days of duels. (fn. 36) The new bridge was intended as an approach to the park. The Albert Bridge was built under an Act of 1864 (fn. 37) and was opened in 1873. In the previous year was laid the foundation of the Shaftesbury Park estate, near Lavender Hill, which was the earliest attempt to provide artisan dwellings on a co-operative system. (fn. 38) From the middle of the 19th century the number of inhabitants increased very rapidly, and the whole surface of the parish, with the exception of the park and the parts of Clapham and Wandsworth Commons which lie within the parish, is now covered with houses. Consequent on the increase in population, a number of new ecclesiastical parishes have been formed—viz. St. George, Nine Elms, in 1853; Christ Church, Battersea Park, in 1861; St. John, in 1863; St. Philip, Queen's Road, in 1870; St. Saviour, Battersea Park Road, in 1872; St. Peter, Plough Road, in 1876; St. Mark, Battersea Rise, in 1883; St. Andrew, Stockdale Road, in 1886; and the ecclesiastical districts of the Church of the Ascension, Lavender Hill, in 1871; All Saints, Queen's Road, in 1884; St. Michael, Wandsworth Common, in 1884; St. Stephen, Bridge Road, in 1887; St. Barnabas, Clapham Common, in 1895; St. Luke, in 1901; and St. Bartholomew, in 1906. Caius Mission Church is in Holman Road. Other places of worship have increased in proportion. There are three Roman Catholic churches, and also a Presbyterian church at Battersea Rise. Thomas Horrocks had a licence for a conventicle in his house in 1672. In 1725 the rector returned to Bishop Willis that there was 'a small meeting' and two or three families of Quakers. (fn. 39) There are four existing Baptist chapels; that in the York Road dates from 1736 and the Battersea Park Tabernacle from 1870. (fn. 40) The Congregational chapel in the Bridge Road dates from 1867 and Milton Hall from 1873. (fn. 41) There are two Wesleyan Methodist, a Primitive Methodist and two United Methodist chapels. The Plymouth Brethren have meeting-houses in Falcon Grove and the High Street.
Modern Battersea is divided into districts quite distinct in character. The old town on the river banks from Battersea Bridge to Wandsworth is the industrial district, occupied largely by warehouses, chemical works and factories, notably the candle works of Messrs. Price & Co. The narrow bystreets consist of low cottages, many of which have a small garden or yard attached. Among the warehouses on the river bank stands the Battersea College, the first English training college for elementary teachers, instituted in 1840 by Sir James P. Kay-Shuttleworth. (fn. 42) It is on the site of Bolingbroke House and includes part of the house in which Viscount Bolingbroke lived. (fn. 43) Part of the Southlands Training College, also in Battersea, was the house built for the Duchess of Angoulème as a refuge at the time of the French Revolution. Its name was changed to Southlands by a subsequent occupier, Sir George Pollock. (fn. 44) The Middle School, which is part of a school endowed with £20 a year by Sir Walter St. John in 1700, is close by in the High Street. (fn. 45) This was evidently the main street of the 'village' of Battersea, but it is now a narrow and somewhat squalid street lined at the lower end with stalls. (fn. 46) Near the junction of the High Street with the Battersea Park Road, York Road and Falcon Road the character of the district changes gradually. To the east and south, at a little distance along the Battersea Park Road, is the residential neighbourhood, consisting of large houses, many of which have a pleasant outlook upon the park. In the Battersea Park Road also are the extensive buildings of the Polytechnic. Eastward York Road, formerly known as Pickpocket Lane, (fn. 47) leads to Wandsworth. The Plough Road and Falcon Road are the main thoroughfares southwards to St. John's Hill and Lavender Hill, parts of the Wandsworth Road. This is a broad commercial road, which leads directly from Vauxhall to Wandsworth, and contains the chief public buildings of the borough of Battersea, including the town hall and the public library. To the north of Lavender Hill is the Shaftesbury Park estate; to the south of the Hill streets of villas slope downwards towards Clapham Common and Battersea Rise, the older residential neighbourhoods. (fn. 48) Eastwards the Wandsworth Road leads to Nine Elms, another centre of industries, chiefly connected with the depôts of the London and South Western and other railway companies.
The 'hamlet' of Penge was part of the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Battersea. The curious anomalies of its local government led to its formation as a separate urban district and its transfer to the county of Kent in 1900. (fn. 49) Penge was a wooded district, over which the tenants of Battersea Manor had common of pasture. (fn. 50) The boundaries of the hamlet on the north in February 1604–5 were the common of Rockhills (evidently Rockhills in Upper Sydenham, immediately north of the Crystal Palace) and the 'Shire Ditch' leading past the house called 'Abbetts' to the north corner of 'Lord Riden's Wood.' The Shire Ditch also bounded the hamlet on the east and was crossed by 'Willmoores Bridge,' half in Kent and half in Surrey. On the south it was bounded by the waste or common of Croydon, the green way from Croydon to Lewisham. On the west was a wood 'of Mr. Colton's' in Camberwell parish, which stretched from Vicker's Oak to the Low Cross near Rockhills. (fn. 51) There seem to have been several tenants of the manor at Penge in 1596, (fn. 52) but in 1725 the vicar of Battersea returned to Bishop Willis that there were only thirteen houses and sixty inhabitants in Penge, who went to Beckenham Church, and for whose care he paid a trifling consideration to the incumbent of Beckenham. (fn. 53) The whole common was inclosed under an Act of 1827. (fn. 54) There were then 320 acres already inclosed and several houses standing there. In 1853 Mr. Schuster sold his park on the summit of Penge Hill to the Crystal Palace Company for the re-erection of the gigantic building made by Sir Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. (fn. 55) The Palace was opened by Queen Victoria in 1854. (fn. 56) In 1877, owing to financial difficulties and to the 'Greenwich fair characteristics,' which had replaced the former educational objects of the Palace, the company was reconstituted. (fn. 57) The Palace, as originally planned, was the exhibition building of glass and iron which had served for the Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, re-erected on this site, with the addition of high water towers to supply the fountains in the grounds. Inside courts were erected to illustrate the arts and architecture of different periods, from the Egyptian monarchy to the Italian Renaissance, and there was a great collection of plaster casts of famous statues. (fn. 58) A School of Art and Music was established, and later a School of Forestry and Engineering, which has continued to flourish. The Palace became the chief seat of the highest class of music near London, and the Handel Festivals, under the direction of Sir Michael Costa and Sir August Manns, obtained the greatest reputation, as did the Saturday Concerts so closely associated with the names of Sir August Manns and Sir George Grove. But the public taste did not rise to this level, and the theatre and music-hall exhibitions gradually eclipsed the educational features. The grounds, of great extent, including a cricket field, football ground and a lake, continue to furnish unrivalled scope for exhibitions, excursions, games and firework or aeronautical displays. The land surrounding the Palace was sold shortly before 1875 for building purposes, and the whole site is now for sale.
Between 1821 and 1841 the population of Penge increased very slightly. In 1841 it was 270. In 1851, owing to the establishment of the Surrey School of Industry, the Queen Dowager's Almshouses and the Watermen's Almshouses, it had increased to 1,169. In 1901 it was 22,465. One great cause of this increase was the advent of the London, Brighton and South Coast, and London, Chatham and Dover railways, which constituted Penge a suburb of both London and Croydon. The former has stations at the Crystal Palace, Anerley and Penge; Penge station, on the latter, is within the boundary of Beckenham. A town hall was built in the Anerley Road in 1879. Anerley, Penge and Upper Norwood are the three wards of the Penge Urban District. The ecclesiastical districts of St. John the Evangelist, St. Paul, Holy Trinity and Christ Church were formed in 1851, 1869, 1873 and 1886 respectively.
Earl Harold held BATTERSEA (sometimes known as the manor of Battersea and Wandsworth) before the Conquest. (fn. 59) It is not known how he acquired it. What purports to be a 7th-century charter of Erkenwald, Bishop of the East Saxons, is a grant to the nuns of Barking of 70 'manentes' at 'Badoricesheah next Hydaburn' which he had received from King Cedwalla. (fn. 60) This gift is possibly identical with another, made by an unknown grantor to an unknown grantee, of 28 'manentes' in Batrices ege, 20 at Wassingham and 20 cassates west of the river called 'Hidaburna,' which is dated 693 A.D. (fn. 61) The identity of the holding with that of Harold has not been proved, but the nuns of Barking did not subsequently hold any lands in Battersea.
Earl Harold's manor had been acquired by the abbey of Westminster before 1086. Domesday Book states that it was the gift of William I in exchange for Windsor in 1066 (fn. 62); nevertheless it appears from William's charter that, although the grant was made at the same time as the exchange of Windsor, Battersea was given for the redemption of the crown regalia pledged to the abbey by the Confessor. (fn. 63) Between 1076 and 1082 William granted to Abbot Vitalis and the monks of Westminster the right of hunting in the woods belonging to Battersea. (fn. 64) Henry I restored Battersea Manor and others which had been kept from the monks by the chancellor, (fn. 65) probably during the four years' vacancy preceding the appointment of Abbot Herbert, 1121. (fn. 66)
In the time of Earl Harold Battersea was assessed at 72 hides, in 1086 at 18 hides. The tenants then included a bordar in Southwark, and there was toll of £6 from the berewick or outlying farm of Wandsworth, while 4 hides were held by a knight. (fn. 67) During William's reign several appurtenances of the manor had been alienated. A hide and a half which had been taken by the Count of Mortain was probably identical with the count's holding at Streatham which had belonged to Earl Harold. (fn. 68) Another 3 hides, which had belonged to the manor, were held in 1086 by Gilbert the Priest. (fn. 69) Two hides which Alfled had held of Earl Harold, and the abbey had held earlier in William's reign, had been seized by Odo Bishop of Bayeux, and in 1086 were included in Peckham and held of Odo by the Bishop of Lisieux. (fn. 70) Another hide the reeve of the vill had taken away 'for the sake of some enmity' and added to Chertsey. It was possibly a part of the manor of Chertsey Abbey at Tooting. (fn. 71) The alienation of members of the original manor in Tooting, Streatham and Peckham may account for the strange position of Penge, which was a hamlet of Battersea containing considerable common lands of the manor, (fn. 72) from which it is divided by these three important districts. (fn. 73) Between 1151 and 1152 (fn. 74) Stephen released the abbey from the payment of geld for 43 out of the 71 hides at which the manor was then assessed. (fn. 75)
At the time of an agreement between Abbot Richard de Berking and the convent in 1225 Battersea was assigned to the monks for their maintenance in bread and ale. (fn. 76) From an account of the steward of the manor in 1303 (fn. 77) it would appear that the demesne lands were not then farmed out, as they were in 1535, (fn. 78) when the manorial rights and the rent issuing from the site of the manor belonged to the office of the treasurer, but certain rents in Penge were assigned to the sacrist. (fn. 79)
The abbey was dissolved 16 January 1540. (fn. 80) The manor in Battersea was retained by the Crown and added in April 1540 to the honour of Hampton Court. (fn. 81) Subsequently it formed part of the jointure of Queen Anne of Denmark, and was granted after her death (in March 1618–19) to Charles Prince of Wales. (fn. 82) It was transferred by his trustees to Oliver St. John, Viscount Grandison, lord deputy governor of Ireland from 1616 to 1622. (fn. 83) He had already acquired a lease of the site of the manor through his marriage with Joan widow of Sir William Holcroft and daughter of Henry Roydon. (fn. 84) This lease descended to Joan from her grandfather Henry Roydon. He had been succeeded about 1538 by his son Henry, whose lease was renewed by the Crown in March 1540–1. (fn. 85) Henry's widow Elizabeth had the site at farm in 1582, (fn. 86) but in that year a thirty-one years' lease was obtained by Sir Gilbert Gerard and Sir John Sotherton, (fn. 87) who were perhaps trustees for Elizabeth. In 1592 Elizabeth Roydon and her daughter Joan Holcroft, then a widow and afterwards wife of Oliver Viscount Grandison, obtained a new lease to run from 1613 to 1634, (fn. 88) and a reversionary lease was granted to Aaron Best. (fn. 89) In 1627 Viscount Grandison obtained a grant of the site in perpetuity to hold by service of a knight's fee. (fn. 90) He spent much of his time at the manorhouse, especially during his ill-health in 1625–9. (fn. 91) He died there 30 December 1630; his widow died in the following spring, and was buried at Battersea. (fn. 92)
The manor descended to Viscount Grandison's nephew Sir John St. John, bart., an ardent Royalist, who was buried there with great pomp in 1648. (fn. 93) His heir, Sir John St. John, bart., died unmarried in 1657, and was succeeded by his uncle, Sir Walter St. John, bart., who also lived at the manor-house. In 1700 he entailed the estate on his son Henry and the latter's eldest son Henry St. John, the famous Tory statesman, created Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712. (fn. 94) The elder Henry succeeded his father in 1708, and in 1716 was created Baron St. John of Battersea and Viscount St. John. (fn. 95) After his death in 1742 Bolingbroke, who, in spite of his attainder, had been enabled to inherit the estate by an Act of 1725, (fn. 96) lent the manor-house to his friend Hugh Hume, third Earl of Marchmont. (fn. 97) Later he settled there himself, either in 1743 or early in the following year, (fn. 98) and there spent the remainder of his life. He was buried in the family vault in Battersea Church in 1751. (fn. 99) His nephew and heir Frederick, second Viscount Bolingbroke, sold the Battersea estate about 1763. (fn. 100) It was purchased in trust for John Viscount Spencer, created Earl Spencer in 1765, (fn. 101) and has since remained with his direct descendants. (fn. 102)
The Abbots of Westminster enjoyed many liberties in Battersea. (fn. 103) Probably the tenants were exempted from suit at the Brixton Hundred courts about 1235. (fn. 104) Courts leet and baron were held for both Battersea and Wandsworth, at the latter as late as 1834. (fn. 105)
A manor-house existed in 1303. (fn. 106) The mansion of the St. Johns, known later as Bolingbroke House, was partly destroyed about 1780. Of the remaining rooms one was wainscoted with cedar. On the site of the house was built a curiously constructed windmill, used at first for preparing oil. (fn. 107) As a corn mill it was occupied by Messrs. Hodgson & Co. It was still standing in 1845. (fn. 108)
The manor of SYLVERTON, BRIDGE COURT (xv cent.) or YORK PLACE (xvi cent.), extended over a part of the district called Bridges and was held of the manor of Battersea. (fn. 109) Hence it has been identified with the tenement in Bridges held of Westminster Abbey by Richard de Dol in 1225. (fn. 110) There is, however, no definite proof of the identity of the two holdings. In 1202 Theobald de Fering, who had claimed 2 or 2½ hides in Bridges as his inheritance from his father Angod, (fn. 111) released all his rights there to Richard de Dol in exchange for rents in Westminster. (fn. 112) Robert de Dol (fn. 113) settled his land in Bridges on his daughter Joan de Bures (fn. 114) before his death in 1355. (fn. 115) No further trace has been found of its possession by the descendants of Robert de Dol.
Bridge Court was in the hands of the abbot and convent, lords of Battersea Manor, in 1444, when the rents due to the 'manor of Bridgecourt' were accounted for separately by the farmer and steward of Battersea Manor. (fn. 116) It had been acquired by Laurence Booth, (fn. 117) Bishop of Durham, before 1474, as in that year he had licence to crenellate his dwelling-house called Bridge Court, to impark his lands there and to have free warren. (fn. 118) The site of the manor had previously been leased for forty years to John Stanley. (fn. 119) In addition Stanley held of the abbey eight houses and certain land with rights of common on Westheath and Eastheath in Battersea and Wandsworth, which were seized by the king circa 1471 upon his illegal attempt to alienate them to the abbey in mortmain. (fn. 120) All these lands so forfeited were granted to Laurence Booth, (fn. 121) who as Archbishop of York bequeathed his estate in Battersea to the see of York for the maintenance of chantries founded by him at St. Mary's, Southwell, on condition of a lodging in the house being reserved for the archbishop when needed. (fn. 122) The archbishops had several other holdings both in Battersea and Wandsworth. (fn. 123) It appears to have been customary for the successive archbishops to sub-let the mansion-house and demesnes, reserving to themselves the use of the house and of 80 acres of land when they wished to reside near London. (fn. 124) The Dean and Chapter of York received the rents and profits during vacancies of the see. Cardinal Wolsey lent the house to Sir Thomas More's son-in-law, William Daunce, but difficulties arose as to the position of Wolsey's servant Oxenherd, who lived there with his wife. (fn. 125) During the lives of Archbishops Lee, Holgate, Heath and Young disputes arose with the lessee, who put the demesnes under tillage. (fn. 126) Consequently the archbishops made little further use of this house, although upon Holgate's deprivation in March 1553–4 it was plundered and many of his personal belongings were stolen. (fn. 127) In 1556 Archbishop Heath acquired Suffolk Place in Southwark in place of Wolsey's town residence at Westminster. (fn. 128) In 1580, after some hesitation, Archbishop Sandys lent York House, or Bridge Court, to the Lords of the Council as a prison for obstinate Papists. (fn. 129) It was again let on lease to Isabel Peele in May 1630, (fn. 130) and was sold by the trustees for the sale of bishops' lands in 1648. (fn. 131) At the Restoration the see recovered its property, and Bridge Court continued to be leased out by the archbishops. It was occupied about 1750 by the celebrated Battersea Enamel Works, (fn. 132) but in 1814, when a part of the house was still standing, it was occupied by Joseph Benwell. (fn. 133) Some of the demesne lands were let and afterwards sold to Earl Spencer, lord of Battersea Manor, (fn. 134) and before the date when the archiepiscopal estates became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners the whole of the property had been sold. (fn. 135)
The parish church of ST. MARY is a Georgian building dating from 1777; it is built of stock brick with stone quoins, and consists of a small apsidal round chancel and a wide nave with a gallery on three sides. At the west end is a vestry (lighted by an oval window) between two porches, and on the face is a large portico with four round cement columns supporting a pediment above which rises a brick tower with stone quoins like the nave and carrying a small octagonal lantern with a clock and a small wood spire. The windows below the galleries are segmental-headed, those above and also of the bell-chamber are roundheaded. The ceiling is a flat plastered one. The font is of marble; the pulpit is necessarily tall because of the galleries. There are some early 18th-century monuments in the church. The churchyard is situated on the bank of the river.
There is a ring of eight bells, all by Thomas Janaway, 1777. The first was the gift of Thomas Rhodes, and the third bears the inscription 'Musica est mentis medicina.' The clock bell is by T. Mears, 1824.
The plate consists of silver gilt cup and cover paten of 1678, given by Sir Edward and Lady Emma Winter in 1682; a similar cup and paten cover inscribed as belonging to the parish in 1736; a silver gilt plate of 1678 given by Joseph and Mary Beechcroft in 1736; two silver gilt flagons given by Thomas Walker 1778; a spoon of 1808 and two alms basins of 1778 given by George Errington in 1778. There is also a cork with silver gilt mounts. The whole service of eleven pieces was gilt at the expense of George Scholey, Alderman of London and churchwarden of Battersea 1818–19.
The registers are in five books which record baptisms 1559 to 1630, 1632 to 1669, 1700 to 1812; burials 1559 to 1669, 1700 to 1717, 1723 to 1774, 1778 to 1812; marriages 1539 to 1637, 1640 to 1669, 1700 to 1748, 1754 to 1812.
The church of ALL SAINTS, Battersea Park, is a large red brick building in the style of the 13th century, situated to the south-east of the park in Queen's Road. It consists of a chancel with a round apse, north-east chapel, also with an apsidal end, nave of four bays with a clearstory, low aisles, central tower with a pyramidal roof, transepts, that on the south side flush with the aisle, vestry, porches, &c. The arcades have grey stone columns and red brick arches. The roofs are of wood and covered with slates.
ST. ANDREWS Church, Battersea, built in 1886, stands between Stockdale and Dashwood Roads, its south side being directly on a connecting road between the two and the north side closed in by houses. It is of stock brick with red brick and stone dressings in the style of the 13th century, and consists of a chancel, with the stump of a proposed tower to the south of it, nave with a narrow north passage-aisle and a south aisle and porch. The roofs are tiled.
The church of the ASCENSION, Lavender Hill, is a tall red brick building in the style of the 13th century; it has a chancel with a round apse and an ambulatory about it with an arcade of nine bays, nave of six wide bays with a tall clearstory of lancets, low aisles, north-east chapel off the aisle also with an apsidal end, vestries, &c., and the stump of a future south-west porch-tower. The interior is of red brick, but the columns of the arcades are stone. The roofs are of wood and covered with slates. The pulpit is of oak and has a sounding-board; the font is of stone and marble. A bell hangs in a wood frame at the west end.
The church of ST. BARNABAS stands at the north side of Clapham Common at the corner of Lavender Gardens, and is a large stone building erected in 1897–8 in the style of the 14th century. It consists of a chancel with transepts, nave and two aisles, each with gabled and slated roofs, and a south-west porch tower topped by pinnacles.
The church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW, Wickersley Road, was built in 1902 of brick with stone dressings. It consists of nave with bell-turret at west end, chancel, north and south aisles, north vestry and chapel.
CHRIST CHURCH, Battersea, occupies a triangular site, of which part is now used as a public garden, in Battersea Park Road. The building is of stone in the style of the 14th century and consists of a chancel with vestries, &c., transepts, nave with clearstory, north and south aisles, south porch and a north-west porch-tower with a tall octagonal spire.
ST. GEORGE'S Church, Nine Elms, is a large building of stock brick with stone dressings. It appears to have been originally an early 19th-century structure of the meeting-house type, to which in more modern times have been added short aisles of three bays and a larger chancel in the style of the latter half of the 13th century. The nave is, as usual in this type, very wide, with a flat plaster ceiling and low gabled roof. At the west end is a small bell-cote of stone. The altar has a stone reredos.
ST. JOHN'S Church, dedicated in 1863, is built of brick with stone dressings in the style of the 13th century. It has a chancel and nave of equal width, with high aisles divided from the nave by stone arcades of five bays on each side. Both aisles, as well as the nave, are gabled, and the latter has a west gallery, below which are the principal entrances from the road. There is no churchyard.
The church of ST. LUKE, Ramsden Road, which is of red brick with stone dressings, was built in 1883 in a plain Romanesque style, and consists of a chancel with a round apse, transepts off the chancel, vestries, &c., nave with a tall clearstory, north and south aisles, porches, and a tall south-west tower with an open bell-chamber and a pyramidal copper roof. The roofs of the nave, &c., are covered with pantiles.
ST. MARK'S Church, Battersea Rise, erected in 1873, occupies a triangular site at the corner of Boutflower Road. The building is of brick, in the style of the 13th century, and consists of an apsidal chancel with an ambulatory, and over it a clearstory, nave with a tall clearstory, low aisles, vestries, &c., and an ugly south-west tower with a low tiled octagonal spire.
The church of ST. MARY LE PARK is in Albert Bridge Road, overlooking Battersea Park. It is a chapel of ease to the parish church, and is not yet finished. It at present consists of a chancel with a round apse, having an ambulatory about it, north transept, north and south chapels with apsidal ends, and part of the nave with a tall clearstory. The walls are of red brick, in the style of the 13th century; the roofs are covered with slates.
ST. MATTHEWS Church, Rush Hill Road, Lavender Hill, is a chapel of ease to St. Barnabas, and was erected within the last few years. It is of stock and red brick in the style of the 13th century. It has a continuous chancel and nave, the latter with a range of wood dormer clearstory windows, and low aisles without windows and porches. The roofs are tiled. The churchyard is small, there being a strip to the north to Rush Hill Road and one to the south to Gowrie Road.
The church of ST. MICHAEL, Wandsworth Common, is a small building of various coloured bricks with stone dressings of a late 13th-century style, erected about 1880, and has an apsidal chancel, nave, gabled aisles and a north-west porch on the street face; the roofs are tiled. There is no churchyard.
The church of ST. PAUL, St. John's Hill, which is a chapel of ease to St. John, is a short and wide building at the corner of Brussels Road; it is built of ragstone and Bath stone in the style of the 14th century, and consists of an apsidal chancel, nave with a clearstory, north and south transepts and aisles, and a south-west porch-tower with an octagonal stone spire. The roofs are slated. The churchyard is a narrow strip to the south.
The church of ST. PETER, Plough Road, is built of stock and red brick in the style of the end of the 13th century. It has a chancel, wide nave with arcades of five bays and a clearstory, low aisles devoid of windows, north-east chapel without an altar, vestries, &c.; a tall south-east tower with a stone spire, and an apsidal west baptistery with a carved marble font. The arcades have greystone pillars and red brick arches. The roofs are tiled.
The church of ST. PHILIP occupies a rectangular site surrounded by roadways, in Queen's Road. It is a large building of stone in the style of the 14th century, and consists of an apsidal chancel, transepts, nave, aisles and a heavy low south-west tower with an open bell chamber; the bottom of the tower serves as a porch. The roofs are covered with slates; over the chancel arch is a flèche.
ST. SAVIOUR'S Church, Battersea Park Road, is a building of squared rag and Bath stone erected in 1870, in the style of the 13th century, and has a chancel, nave with low clearstory, low aisles, transepts, vestry, &c. The roofs are covered with slates. Over the chancel arch is a fléche with one bell. The arcades are of five bays. The west front, which sets back a few feet from the road line, contains three doorways. Next the church is a hall used for parochial purposes.
The church of ST. STEPHEN, Battersea, stands at the junction of Battersea Bridge Road with Battersea Park Road. It is a small building of stock and red brick, with stone windows, &c., in the style of the latter part of the 13th century, and consists of a small apsidal chancel, nave with clearstory, low aisles with no windows, west porch and a small north-east tower with a tiled octagonal spire.
CHRIST CHURCH, Penge, consists of a chancel with chapel and vestry and a nave of five bays, with a clearstory and north and south aisles. It is built of hammer-dressed rubble, with worked dressings and detail, and is designed in mid-14th-century style. The church dates from the latter years of the 19th century and stands in a small churchyard.
HOLY TRINITY Church, Anerley Road, Penge, consists of a polygonal apse and chancel, a large nave with clearstory and aisles and a tower placed as a transept to the chancel and to the south of it. The whole building is built of red brick banded with stone and with stone detail and tracery, and is of poor 13th-century design. The tower is surmounted by a stone spire. The church is placed north-east and south-west, the chancel being to the north-east, and stands in a small churchyard. It dates from the third quarter of the 19th century.
The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Penge, consists of a chancel with chapels and vestries, a nave of six bays, north and south transepts, north and south aisles of five bays, a west tower and a south porch. The whole building is designed in late 13th-century style, and is built of ragstone with Bathstone detail. It dates from about the middle of the 19th century.
The church of ST. PAUL, Penge, was built in 1865 of brick with stone dressings in the Early English style. It consists of a nave, apsidal chancel, north and south aisles, south vestry and a spire at the south-west angle.
No church is mentioned at Battersea in the Domesday Survey, but in the early years of the rule of Abbot Lawrence (1153–75) the churches of Battersea and Wandsworth were both appropriated to the use of the infirmary of Westminster Abbey. This appropriation received papal confirmation in April 1162. (fn. 136) The right of presentation remained with the successive abbots until the surrender of the abbey in 1540. (fn. 137) Queen Mary, in the last year of her reign, granted the advowson to the Bishop of Winchester, (fn. 138) and it was not excepted from the temporalities received by Bishop Horne, (fn. 139) but the queen presented in 1560, (fn. 140) when the see was vacant, and in 1562, (fn. 141) and it does not again appear in the possession of the see. In 1580 Elizabeth granted both the advowson and the rectory to Edmund Downynge and Peter Aysheton, (fn. 142) evidently in trust for Oliver St. John, afterwards Viscount Grandison. (fn. 143) Both the advowson and the rectory have been thenceforward vested in the successive lords of the manor.
Of the modern churches the advowsons of the parish of St. George, Nine Elms, St. Saviour's, Battersea Park Road, and St. Barnabas with St. Matthew are vested in trustees; of Christ Church, Battersea Park, St. John, New Road, St. Mark, Battersea Rise, and St. Michael, Wandsworth Common, in the vicar of Battersea; of St. Philip, Queen's Road, St. Peter, Plough Road, All Saints, Queen's Road, St. Andrew, Stockdale Road, and St. Bartholomew, in the Bishop of Southwark; of the church of the Ascension, Lavender Hill, in Keble College, Oxford; of St. Stephen, Albert Bridge, in the Bishop of Rochester; of St. Luke, in the Rev. J. E. Clarke, the vicar. The living of St. Paul, Penge, is in the gift of the Church Patronage Society; that of St. John in the gift of the Simeon Trustees; whilst the advowsons of Christ Church and Holy Trinity are vested in Miss A. Dudin Brown for life, with remainder in the case of Christ Church to the Bishop of Southwark, in that of Holy Trinity to the Court of Watermen and Lightermen.
—The Free School was founded in 1700 by Sir Walter St. John, bart., and augmented by Lady St. John, John Parvin (will 1820), and Charles Wix (will 1845). See article on Schools. (fn. 144) The endowments consist of the site and building of the upper or grammar school at St. John's Hill, Wandsworth Common, the site and building of the middle school, High Street, Battersea, and the sum of £2,926 9s. 7d. consols and £1,000 consols, as a repair and improvement fund, producing £98 3s. in annual dividends. The sums of stock are held by the official trustees, who also hold £1,840 consols on an investment account. For the public elementary schools see article on Schools. (fn. 145)
Edmonds' Charity for Apprenticing.
—In 1708 John Edmonds by his will gave £10 per annum to the parish of Battersea to be paid out of three houses in Bird-in-Hand Alley for putting out two boys apprentices, and the like sums out of the same premises to Cirencester and to St. Mary Colechurch. Under the authority of an order of the Charity Commissioners, 7 May 1895, the trustees for the parish of Battersea conveyed their one-third share in the said premises to the City Parochial Foundation in consideration of the conveyance to them of the reversions in fee simple in the following properties, namely:— Ten houses, Nos. 2 to 20 Macduff Road; fourteen houses, Nos. 1 to 19 and 14 to 20 Cupar Road and No. 19 Lurline Gardens, which are let on leases expiring in 1977 at rents amounting to £185 yearly. The official trustees also hold a sum of £926 12s. 10d. consols, producing £23 3s. 4d. a year, arising from accumulations of income. The income is applied in apprenticing at premiums from £10 to £25.
—In 1720 Ann Cooper by her will left a sum of £300 to be laid out in land, the rents to be applied for the benefit of the poor. The endowment consists of 15 acres, or thereabouts, in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, producing a net income (after deduction for tithes and taxes) of about £10 a year, and of £123 3s. consols arising from the sale in 1883 of 2 r. 23 p. to the Swindon and Cheltenham Railway Company, producing yearly £3 1s. 5d.
In 1716 John Banks by his will bequeathed to the Haberdashers' Company a leasehold estate in St. James, Westminster, upon trust (inter alia) to pay £2 10s. per annum each to five poor men and five poor single women, inhabitants of the parish of Battersea of the age of forty years or more, and a dinner. The pensions are paid half-yearly at Haberdashers' Hall, each pensioner receiving at the same time 3s. 6d. and a dinner provided at the expense of the company.
Henry Smith's General Charity.
—This parish is entitled to four one-hundredth parts of the net income of the Heddington and Clayhall estate branch of this charity. The share of Battersea averages about £20 a year, which is applicable in the distribution of coats and gowns.
In 1820 John Parvin, by will proved in the P.C.C. 28 April, among other charitable legacies bequeathed legacies for the poor, now represented by £1,430 os. 5d. consols, the annual dividends amounting to £35 15s. to be applied for the benefit of poor widows residing in Nine Elms and Battersea Fields at Christmas time in money gifts or flannel and coals, and in the distribution of thirty-two half-quartern loaves to thirty-two poor old women at the parish church on the fourth Sunday in the month.
In 1834 John Rapp by his will proved in the P.C.C. 8 May bequeathed £200, now £218 2s. 10d. consols, the annual dividends, amounting to £5 9s., to be divided equally at Christmas among four poor men and four poor women.
In 1849 John Charles Constable by will left £50 to the vicar of Battersea in trust to apply the dividends towards providing a dinner every Christmas Day for eight poor and respectable families. Letters of administration with the will annexed were granted on 1 May 1856. The legacy with accumulations is now represented by £65 15s. 3d. consols. The annual dividends amounting to £1 12s. 10d. are duly applied.
In 1879 Henry Juer by will proved at London 31 January left £500, now £517 9s. 3d. consols, the annual dividends, amounting to £12 18s. 8d., to be distributed on 1 February, the anniversary of the testator's birthday, among twelve poor parishioners of sixty years of age and upwards.
In 1882 Edward Dagnall, by a codicil to his will proved at London 10 March, bequeathed £100, now represented by £99 10s. consols, producing £2 9s. 9d. yearly, which is distributable in bread at Christmas time.
The Dole charities are administered together, and the dividends on the stock, which are all held by the official trustees, are—except where otherwise stated— applied in money gifts of 5s. to each recipient.
In 1828 the firm of Messrs. Bush & Perkins gave to the parish £500 for the repair of a road across Battersea and Wandsworth Commons and Nightingale Lane which had been made on their application and at their expense. In respect of this gift a sum of £573 1s. 3d. consols is held by the official trustees, producing £14 6s. 5d. yearly, which is applied in aid of the general rate for the repair of the roads.
The Ely Charity.
—In 1894 Ashley William Graham Allen, by his will proved at London 14 November, bequeathed (subject to the life interest to his wife, who died in 1896) £3,000 to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Mary, Battersea, for the purpose of establishing a charitable institution to be called 'The Ely Charity,' in memory of his grandfather, the late Joseph Allen, D.D., some time since Bishop of Ely, the dividends to be applied for the benefit and personal comfort of the deserving poor of both sexes of the said parish without regard to their religious tenets in such manner as might be deemed most expedient. The legacy was invested in £2,742 17s. 1d. consols, with the official trustees, producing in annual dividends £68 11s. 4d., which has been applied towards the support of the Bolingbroke Hospital, Wandsworth Common, a special bed being there maintained in respect thereof.
—In 1897 Emma Lady Osborne transferred to the official trustees £1,891 5s. 2½ per cent. annuities, to hold the same upon the trusts declared by deed 7 January 1897, namely, the annual dividends, amounting to £47 5s. 4d., to be remitted to the vicar and vicar's churchwarden of St. Mary, to be applied by them for the relief of the poor of the said parish being members of the Church of England, or at their discretion to pay over the same to any charitable organization for the relief of the same poor, the charity to be deemed an ecclesiastical charity and to be called Webb's Trust. The income is applied to St. Mary's Poor Relief Fund, which has for its object the support of mission women working and relieving the poor. The fund is augmented by the church offertories and other voluntary contributions.
In 1790 Mark Bell, by his will proved in the P.C.C., bequeathed £1,000, now represented by £1,380 13s. consols with the official trustees, the dividends, amounting to £34 10s. 2d., to be paid to the minister of the meeting-house at Battersea, being the Baptist Chapel situate in York Road.
In 1838 Henry Tritton by his will, proved in the P.C.C. 10 May, bequeathed to trustees £1,000 to be invested, and dividends paid to the minister of the said Baptist Chapel. The legacy, less duty, was invested in £949 17s. 4d. consols in the names of the trustees, producing £23 14s. 10d. yearly.
In 1893 Elizabeth Susan Copeland by her will, proved at London 12 April, gave one-half of the residue of her estate to the vicar of Christ Church, the income thereof to be applied, with the concurrence of the churchwardens, towards the relief of the aged or sick poor of the district for ever. The legacy is represented by £313 13s. 10d. consols with the official trustees; the annual dividends, amounting to £7 16s. 10d., are carried to a poor fund account, the remainder of which is made up of voluntary contributions. The fund is applied in gifts of coal, meat, milk, &c., by tickets, and payments are made for sending persons to convalescent homes and in pensions, which are paid through the Charity Organization Society.
The St. George's Mission Rooms situate in New Road comprised in deed 17 April 1866 (enrolled), and re-erected in 1893, comprise a large parochial hall with a gymnasium underneath it, and several other rooms are used for Sunday schools and other parochial purposes. The official trustees hold a sum of £300 consols arising under the will of Elizabeth Maria Graham, proved at London 19 January 1875, producing £7 10s. yearly, which is applicable towards the maintenance and insurance of the mission building.
Eliza Notley by her will, proved at London 16 May 1878, bequeathed £300 consols to the vicar and churchwardens of Penge upon trust out of the annual dividends to lay out £6 in the purchase of clothing amongst poor mothers in their parish not in receipt of parish relief, and the residue in the distribution of boots and shoes for poor children. The stock is held by the official trustees, producing £7 10s. yearly.
Juliana Bockett by her will, proved at London 13 June 1890, directed her executors to pay one-half part of her personal estate to the Rev. David McAnnally of Penge to be applied by him at his discretion for the benefit of the schools and such charitable institutions in that parish as he might see fit. It appears that a sum of £700, part of this bequest, was paid by the said Mr. McAnnally to the managers of the National School and Higher Grade School of the parish of St. John the Evangelist, and expended in improving the school building, and that a further sum of £666 was invested in £697 7s. 2d. consols, which, in pursuance of a declaration of trust 12 December 1891 (enrolled in the books of the Charity Commissioners), was transferred to the official trustees and apportioned in moieties between the parishes of St. John and Christ Church, Penge. The annual dividends on a sum of £348 13s. 7d. consols, amounting to £8 14s. 4d., are distributable in coals among the poor of each of the said parishes.