The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.

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Daniel Lysons, 'Lewisham', The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent, (London, 1796), pp. 514-536. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol4/pp514-536 [accessed 19 June 2024].

Daniel Lysons. "Lewisham", in The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent, (London, 1796) 514-536. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol4/pp514-536.

Lysons, Daniel. "Lewisham", The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent, (London, 1796). 514-536. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol4/pp514-536.



In the most ancient Saxon records this place is called Levesham, that is, the house among the meadows; leswe, læs, læse, or læsew, in the Saxon, signifies a meadow, and ham, a dwelling. It is now written, as well in parochial and other records as in common usage, Lewisham.



Quantity of land, and how occupied.



The village is situated on the road to Bromley, and extends nearly a mile in length. The church, which stands about the centre of the village, is not far from the six-mile stone. The parish, which lies in the hundred of Blackheath, is bounded by Lambeth, Camberwell, and the hamlet of Penge in Surrey, and by St. Paul's Deptford, Greenwich, Lee, Charlton, Eltham, Bromley, and Beckenham, in Kent. I have not been able to obtain the quantity of cultivated land, of which about two thirds are said to be arable. The woodlands are about 200 acres, the waste on Sydenham-common, Blackheath, &c. nearly 1000. Mr. Russell, who has one of the most extensive concerns of that kind in the kingdom, occupies about fifty acres of nursery ground, and there are about forty cultivated by market gardeners. The soil is various, principally loam, clay, and gravel. This parish pays the sum of 695l. 10s. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of about 1s. 6d. in the pound.

The priory.

There was formerly a Benedictine priory at this place, which was a cell to the abbey of St. Peter in Ghent. The time of its foundation is uncertain (fn. 1), but it is probable that it was soon after the manor was given to that abbey by King Alfred's niece, as will be shewn below. The prior of Lewisham is mentioned in records of the time of Henry II. and III. (fn. 2) This priory paid a yearly pension or acknowledgment of 40s. to the abbey of Ghent, as its superior (fn. 3). It was suppressed with the other alien priories by Henry V. in 1414, and the site granted to the prior and convent of Shene (fn. 4).

The manor of Lewisham.

Lord Dartmouth's seat on Blackheath.

The manor of Lewisham (fn. 5) was given by Elthruda, niece of King Alfred, (about the year 900,) to the abbey of St. Peter in Ghent, and was confirmed to them by Edward the Confessor, and succeeding monarchs (fn. 6). In 1275, the Bishop of Rochester had the Royal licence for purchasing this manor (fn. 7); and, in 1281, the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have been in treaty about a purchase or lease (fn. 8); but the abbey of Ghent continued in possession of it till the suppression of alien priories, when it was seized by the Crown, and granted by Henry V., together with the site of Lewisham priory, to the prior and convent of Shene. In 1531, King Henry VIII. procured a grant of this manor (and Greenwich), from the monastery of Shene, in exchange for other lands (fn. 9). The lease of it was then in the hands of Edward Ford, Esq. for the remainder of a term of forty years, granted in 1525, to John Cheseman, Esq. (fn. 10) In 1538, the King granted the stewardship of this manor to Richard Long, Esq. (fn. 11), the next year he granted the reversion to Sir Anthony St. Leger. Mention is made of a grant of the manor of Lewisham, in 1547, to Thomas Lord Seymour (fn. 12), yet it appears that the stewardship was given by the Crown the same year to Sir Thomas Speke, and in 1551, to Thomas Lord Darcy of Chiche (fn. 13). The manor was afterwards granted by King Edward to John Duke of Northumberland (fn. 14), who was beheaded in 1553. Queen Elizabeth, in 1563, granted it for life to his brother, Sir Ambrose Dudley (fn. 15); the same year she gave it for twenty-one years in reversion to Henry Knolles, Esq. (fn. 16) The lease was renewed twice to the Knolles family (fn. 17). In 1624, King James granted this manor in fee to John Earl of Holderness (fn. 18). His nephew, John Ramsey, is said to have sold it, about the year 1645, to Reginald Grahme, Esq. (fn. 19), who had a new grant or confirmation from the Crown in 1664 (fn. 20). In the year 1673, Mr. Grahme conveyed this manor to George Legge (fn. 21), Admiral of the Navy, afterwards created Lord Dartmouth. From him it descended to his son William, who, in 1711, was created Earl of Dartmouth; and to his great grandson, the present Earl, who has a seat, where he occasionally resides, on Blackheath, within the bounds of this parish and manor. In this house are portraits of Charles II. and James II., the first Lord Dartmouth, Lord High Admiral of England, the late Earl of Guildford, the present Earl of Dartmouth, Lord Lewisham, (by Zoffanii,) and a few other family portraits. The old manor-house, which was also, as I suppose, the site of the priory, stood to the south of the church, where is now the manor-farm.

Manor of Catford.

The manor of Catford, in this parish, was anciently, according to Philipott's account, the property of the family of Abel (fn. 22). Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, died seised of it in 1311 (fn. 23). In 1330, William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, had a grant of this manor (fn. 25), and the next year a charter of free-warren in it (fn. 26). In the year 1339, this manor was given by the Earl to the master and chaplains of the chapel of Corpus Christi, near the church of St. Laurence in Candlewyke-street (fn. 27), (founded by Sir John Pulteney, and afterwards called Pulteney, or, corruptly, Pountney College). Upon the suppression of chantries it was sold, anno 1548, to Henry Polsted (fn. 28). In 1577, it was sold by Francis Polsted to Bryan Annesley, Esq. (fn. 29); since which time it has passed through the same hands as the manor of Kidbrook (fn. 30), and is now the property of the Right Hon. Edward Lord Eliot.


That part of the manor of Brockley which is in this parish, called Brockley-farm, or Forest-place, has descended in the same manner as Kidbrook, and the Catford estate.

Manor of Billingham.

The manor of Billingham, in this parish, was parcel of the possessions of the Cistertian monastery of Stratford Langthorne (fn. 31) in Essex, at the dissolution of which it came to the Crown; and was granted by Queen Mary, in 1554, to Richard Whetely (fn. 32), whose daughter and heir Philippa married John Rochester, and levied a fine of this manor in 1575 (fn. 33). It is now the property of Francis Motley Austen, Esq. of Sevenoak, who inherited it under the will of Sarah Lady Falkland, who died in 1776.

Manor of Sydenham.

Manorhouse, usually called Place-house.

The manor of Sydenham was given by John Besvile to the prior and convent of St. Andrew in Rochester (fn. 34). What became of it immediately after the dissolution of religious houses, I have not been able to learn; but, in 1641, it was vested in George, Abraham, and Robert Edmonds, as coheirs, in gavelkind, of George Edmonds. The demesne land, and the manor-house, a great mansion, generally known by the name of Place-house, were then divided between the three brothers; but soon afterwards Robert sold his share to the other two. Abraham Edmonds, in 1679, sold his moiety to William Grimett. This moiety was afterwards subdivided into moieties in the Grimett family. Both of these were purchased by Richard Brooke, Esq.; the one in 1763, of Francis Grimett, Esq. the other in 1765, of Mrs. Christian Hunt, widow, great-grandaughter of William Grimett above mentioned (fn. 35). George Edmonds's moiety passed through several hands, and was for many years in litigation between persons claiming under different wills. A decree in Chancery was obtained a few years ago, and it was then purchased by Mr. Jonathan Sabine, (the present proprietor,) who has pulled down his moiety of the house (fn. 36). The eastern moiety, which is now standing, was inherited (with the lands belonging to it) by Mr. Brooke's niece, the widow of John Secker, Esq. who is the present proprietor. Place-house is said to have been one of the seats of the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth's favourite; but I cannot find any authority for the tradition.

Little Bankers, and Hatchfield.

The manor or farm of Little Bankers, in this parish and Lee, was the property of Thomas Banquel, who died in 1361 (fn. 37). In 1545, being vested in the Crown, it was granted to Henry Byrd, who was possessed also of another estate in this parish called Great Hatchfield, both of which descended to his grandson George (fn. 38). They afterwards became attached to the Catford estate (fn. 39), and are now the property of Lord Eliot.

Parish church.

Monuments of the Petrie family.

The old parish church of Lewisham (dedicated to St. Mary) being much decayed, an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1774, for powers to rebuild it. The present structure, which is of stone, consists of an oblong square, with a small circular recess at the east end for the altar. On the south side is a portico supported by four columns of the Corinthian order. At the west end stands an ancient square tower the upper part of which has been rebuilt. The inside is neatly fitted up. At the west end is an organ, given by Mr. Spencer, whose arms are on the front. On each side of the organ is a very handsome monument put up by the Petrie family. That on the north side is to the memory of Anne Dick, wife of John Petrie, Esq. (fn. 40), who died in 1787; and John, her only son, who died in 1789. This monument consists of a bas relief, of white statuary marble, inclosed within a border of dove marble, representing, in figures of the natural size, the deceased lying on her death-bed, and her husband and children lamenting. It was executed in Italy. The other monument, on the south side of the organ, was put up by William Petrie, Esq. in memory of his mother, Margaret, relict of the Rev. Robert Petrie (fn. 41), who died in 1791. This monument is the work of Mr. Banks, and represents Mrs. Petrie dying in the arms of Religion supported by Faith and Hope.

Monument of Mrs. Colfe.

On the north wall of the church, under the gallery, is a tablet in memory of Margaret, relict of Jasper Valentine, and wife of Abraham Colfe (fn. 42), vicar of Lewisham, 1643; over the gallery are the monuments of William Innes, Esq. (fn. 43), 1719, and Joseph Innes, Esq. (with a medallion of the deceased), 1779. On the south wall, under the gallery, is the monument of Mr. John Russell (fn. 44), nurseryman, 1794; over the gallery, that of Ann, wife of George Mackenzie Macauley (fn. 45), Esq. Alderman of London, 1788.

Monuments in the vault removed from the old church.

Dr. Stanhope.

In the vault, under the church, are placed several monuments, removed from the old church, in memory of Thomas Jones (fn. 46), Esq. 1625; Richard Symes (fn. 47), Esq. (son of Thomas Symes, Esq. of Winterbourne, Glouc. by Amy, sister of Sir Thomas Brydges of Keynsham), 1728; Rev. George Stanhope, D. D. 38 years vicar (fn. 48), 1727; Olivia, his wife, daughter of Charles Cotton (fn. 49), Esq. 1707. John Pery (fn. 50), Esq. of Blackheath, aged 92, (son of William Pery of Thorpe in Surrey,) some time M. P. for Shoreham, 1732; Thomas Dyer, Esq. barrister at law, 1748; Katherine, his wife, daughter of Francis Lowe, Esq. of Brightwell, Oxf. 1748. On the floor at the entrance of the vault, are the tombs of John Peter (fn. 51), Gent. 1684; Elizabeth, his widow, aged 90, 1738; Mrs. Ann Kelly, 1695; Mrs. Mary Griffith, her daughter, 1747; and John Dyer, Gent. 1713.

Against the south wall of the church, on the outside, is a tablet in memory of Abraham Colfe, minister, who died in 1657.

In the Registrum Roffense (fn. 52), mention is made of the tombs of George, son and heir of William Hattecliffe, Esq., treasurer in Ireland, 1514; Susanna, daughter of Sir William Washington, and widow of Reginald Grahme, 1698; Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Frisby, and wife of John Dyer, 1708; and Thomas Curteis, 1728.

Tombs in the churchyard.

Benjamin Martyn.

In the churchyard are the tombs of John Lucas, Gent. 1702; John Knap, citizen of London, 1726; John Knap, 1740; Joseph Knap, rector of Brampton (Northt.), 1757; Mr. Abraham Simmons, 1728; Eleanor, relict of the Rev. John Watson, D. D. and sister (by the mother) of Sir Charles Wager, 1731; Mr. William Stacey, 1740; Mary, his wife, daughter of the Rev. John Watson, 1731; Mary, daughter of Alexander and prudence Parker (sister of Mrs. Eleanor Watson), 1746; Mr. John How, 1736; Rev. John Inglis, vicar, 1739; Catherine, his wife, (by whom he had fourteen children,) 1747; John Inglis, M. D. (his uncle), Assistant Marshal, and Master of the Ceremonies to Queen Anne, George I., and George II., 1740; John Lewis Loton, Esq. 1745; John Loton, Esq. his father, 1746; Captain John Denn, 1747; Mr. John Mylam, surgeon, 1748; John Mylam, surgeon, 1793; Rev. Abraham Heckstall, some time curate of Lewisham, 1754; Rev. Brooke Heckstall, his son, LL.B. rector of St. Anne, Aldersgate, 1780; James Purcell, Esq. Governor of the Virginia Islands, 1759; Catherine Isabella, wife of Edward Johnson, Esq. only surviving daughter of Sir Thomas Langley, Bart. and grandaughter of Sir Roger Langley (who was foreman of the grand jury which acquitted the seven bishops), 1760; Joseph Hammon 1760; Jane, his mother, (who married to her second husband John Thomas, D. D. rector of St. Peter, Cornhill,) 1771; Henry Hammon, 1770; the Rev. Samuel Walker (fn. 53), curate of Truro in Cornwall, 1761; Benjamin Martyn, Esq. (fn. 54), 1763; Rev. Thomas Jennings, master of Blackheath school, 1767; Sarah, his widow (married after his death to the Rev. William Williams), 1793; the Rev. William Williams, 1793; Edward Norton, M. A. master of Blackheath school, 1767; Thomas Hammond, 1767; Samuel Dewberry, Esq. 1768; John Pye, Gent. 1769; Anne, his wife, daughter of Benjamin Rutland, merchant, 1760; Richard Brooke, Esq. 1772; Mrs. Mary Laurens, 1773; Ebenezer Blackwell, Esq. 1782; Elizabeth, his wife, 1772 (an obelisk of freestone inlaid with marble); Christian, wife of Richard Edmunds, Esq. daughter of John Berrow, Esq. of Bristol, 1782; John Curteis, citizen of London, 1786; Thomas Curteis, Esq. 1787; Elizabeth, his sister, wife of Captain John Richardson, 1770; Robert Wilson, Esq. lieutenant in the Navy, 1787; Alexander Glenny, Esq. late of Dominica, 1787; Andrew Edhouse, Esq. colonel of the 13th regiment of foot, 1788, Abraham Constable, Esq. master-shipwright at Halifax, 1788; Captain Lewis Ferret, 1788; Elizabeth, widow of the Rev. Thomas Fielde, M. A. 1785; Elizabeth, their daughter, 1790; Rev. Paul Fourestier, 1791; Anna Maria, wife of Joseph Booth, Esq. 1791; and the Rev. William Lowth, M. A. (brother of the late Bishop of London), 55 years vicar, 1795.

Rectory and vicarage.

Lewisham is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester, and in the deanery of Dartford. The advowson of the church belonged at a very early period to the abbot and convent of Ghent, to whom, in the reign of Henry II. the great tithes were appropriated (fn. 55). They have since passed with the manor, being now the property of the Earl of Dartmouth, in whom also the advowson of the vicarage is vested. In 1287, the church of Lewisham was rated at twenty marks; the vicarage at ten marks. In 1431, the vicar of this church seems to have made an agreement not much to the advantage of his successors, by giving up his claim to the tithe of hay and underwood on the demesne lands, in consideration of receiving one half of the wax offered in the church on the feast of Purification (fn. 56). In 1650, this vicarage (with the house and fifty-four acres of glebe (fn. 57) ) was valued at 170l. per annum (fn. 58). In the King's books it is rated at 23l. 19s. 2d.

Dr. Stanhope, vicar.

The learned and pious Dr. Stanhope, who was presented to this vicarage by Lord Dartmouth in 1689, was a native of Hertishorn in Derbyshire (fn. 59). He received his education at Eaton and at King's College in Cambridge. In 1697 he commenced D. D. and in 1703 was promoted to the deanery of Canterbury. His writings (fn. 60) are held in great esteem, particularly his Comments upon the Epistles and Gospels. His printed sermons are very numerous; they were much admired when delivered by himself from the pulpit, the purity of their diction being graced with the most happy elocution. Dr. Stanhope died in 1728, and was buried at Lewisham. His monument, the inscription on which has been already given, deserved a better fate than to be thrown aside in the vault, where it now lies, when the church was rebuilt. A place should have been found within the new walls for the memorial of a man who was for thirty-eight years so distinguished an ornament of the parish.

The present vicar is the Rev. Henry Jones, M. A. instituted in 1795, on the death of the Rev. William Lowth, Prebendary of Winchester, and brother of the late Bishop of London.


There were formerly two chantries in the church of Lewisham, one founded by Richard Walker for a priest to celebrate mass daily at the altar of the Trinity for the founder's soul; the other by Roger Fitz, who by his last will, bearing date 1502, gave two houses on the Bankside to endow a chantry at the same altar for the good of his soul (fn. 61).


Mrs. Susanna Grahme, widow, (who died in 1698,) built a chapel on Blackheath, and endowed it with 20l. per annum for a reader, 2l. for ringing the bell, and 3l. for repairs, charged on the great tithes. There is another chapel also on Blackheath within this parish, built in 1791, and licenced as a chapel of ease, at which the Rev. Mr. Town is preacher. At Sydenham is a chapel, which was formerly a meeting-house for Presbyterian dissenters. Dr. John Williams, author of the Greek Concordance, was many years (fn. 62) minister there. It is now licenced as a chapel of ease for the parish of Lewisham. The Rev. Mr. French is the preacher.

Parish register.

The earliest date of the register of baptisms, burials, and marriages is 1559.

Comparative date of population.

Average of Baptisms. Average of Burials.
1580–9 303/5 30
1630–9 30 9/10 35½
1680–9 32 36 3/01
1730–9 444/5 55
1760–9 52½ 661/5
1770–9 653/5 733/5
1780–9 68 76 7/10
1790–4 77 742/5
1795 81 81

The present number of houses in this parish is about 530.

Burials in the plague years.

In 1603, there were 117 burials at Lewisham; in 1625, 103; in 1665, 56; and in 1666, 52.

Extracts from the Register.

"June 2, 1560, Sr Peter Marton, parson of Clomnynge, was murthered in the little lane from Southend to Bromley, and is buried at the porch door."

Birth of Bishop Duppa.

"Brian, son of Jeffery Duppa, baptized Mar. 18, 1588–9." Anthony Wood in his account of Bishop Duppa, in the Athenæ Oxonienses, says, that he was born at Greenwich. He saw, nevertheless, the above entry in the register at Lewisham; but supposed the Brian here mentioned to have been an elder brother of the Bishop, and that his father, Jeffery, was then vicar of Lewisham; yet it is well known that Bishop Duppa died in 1662, in the 74th year of his age, which sufficiently determines this to be the record of his baptism. Jeffery Duppa, his father, was married at Lewisham in 1580, to Lucrece Maresall, and several of his children were baptized there; but he certainly was not vicar, nor is he in the register described as a clergyman. Brian Duppa was made bishop of Chichester in 1638; translated to Salisbury in 1641, and to Winchester immediately after the Restoration of Charles II. when he was also made Lord Almoner. Bishop Duppa published several sermons and devotional tracts.

Queen Elizabeth's visit to Richard Bulkeley.

"Richard, son of Sr Richard Buckley, junr, baptized June 16, 1606." It appears by Queen Elizabeth's Progresses (published by Mr. Nichols), that, in 1602, "on Mayday the Queen went a-maying to Mr. Richard Buckley's at Lewisham." This Mr. Buckley was Richard (afterwards Sir Richard) Bulkeley, Chamberlain of North Wales, and ancestor of the present Viscount Bulkeley.—"Thomas Porter, son of Simon Porter, of Ettington in Warwickshire, and Margaret (fn. 63), daughter of Sr Richard Buckley, of Beaumaris in Anglesea, married June 5, 1611."

"Mary, daughter of Sr Edwin Sands (fn. 64), Knt, born Sep. 12, 1607."

Family of Stoddard.

"Abigail, daughter of Sr Nicholas Stoddard, baptized Dec. 20, 1609; buried Feb. 9, 1641–2; John baptized Jan. 20, buried Jan. 24, 1610–1; the Lady of Sr Nicholas Stoddard of Lee, buried Feb. 22, 1626–7; Sr Nicholas Stoddard, of Mottingham, Mar. 7, 1635–6; William, his son, Nov. 14, 1646; Judith, his daughter, Dec. 8, 1646; Mrs Mary, his daughter, Mar. 7, 1649–50; Nicholas Stoddard, Esq. (last heir male of that ancient family), Dec. 21, 1765."

"Mrs Jane Bosvile, daughter of Sr Ralph Bosvile of Brabourne, "in Kent, Feb. 16, 1633–4."

Sir William Wild.

"Frances, daughter of Sr William Wild, Recorder of London, baptized July 10, 1664, buried Dec. 6, 1666; Anne, daughter of Sr William Wild (then Bart, and Justice of the Common Pleas), buried Apl 30, 1668." Sir William Wild lived in an ancient mansion in the village, now pulled down (fn. 65).

"Berkeley, son of Sr Berkeley Lucy (fn. 66), Bart, baptized June 12, 1700."

"Henry, son of the Hon. Capt Henry Aylmer (fn. 67), buried Sep. 15, 1743."

"George Ld Visct Lewisham, son of William and Frances Catherine, Earl and Countess of Dartmouth, baptized Oct. 26, 1755."

Benjamin Martyn.

"Benjamin Martin, Esq. buried Oct. 31, 1763." Mr. Martyn (for so he spelt his name) was son of Mr. Richard Martyn, agent for the South-Sea Company at Buenos Ayres. He was very active and instrumental in establishing the colony of Georgia (of which he has published an account) about the year 1733; having been secretary to a society of noblemen and gentlemen formed for that purpose. He wrote a tragedy called Timoleon, and left behind him in MS. a life of the first Earl of Shastsbury, which has been lately announced for publication. Mr. Martyn's epitaph (fn. 68) informs us that he was the first promoter of the design of erecting a monument to the memory of Shakespear in Westminster Abbey, and that he wrote the prologue (fn. 69) spoken at a play acted at Drury-lane for defraying the expences of that undertaking.

Woman of remarkable size.

"Elizabeth Fearman, aged 55, whose coffin was six feet and ten inches long, three feet five inches wide, and two feet six inches deep, buried June 20, 1791, from Sydenham-Wells."

David Henry.

"David Henry, many years editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, "buried June 13, 1792." Mr. Henry was the principal writer, editor, and proprietor of a periodical publication in 1758 and 1759, called the Grand Magazine of Magazines. He published also "The "Tell-Tale," or Anecdotes and Stories, and some abridged Accounts of the Tower, St. Paul's, &c., printed in eighteens, for children.

Three children at a birth.

"Jacob and Esau Man, two of three children at a birth, buried June 9, 1793."

Instances of Longevity.

"Widow Simonds, 90 years old, buried Sep. 20, 1613; Richard Johnson, householder, about 95 years old, Feb. 17, 1614–5; John Harrison, householder, 98 years old, July 8, 1616; Widow Mantle, 90 years old, Mar. 28, 1618; Jane, wife of John Colgate, aged 90, Feb. 11, 1634–5; Widow Moseley, 90 years old, Mar. 9, 1662–3; Alice Baylis, alias Pheasant, widow, aged 106 years, May, 14, 1726; Jane Willoughby aged, as on the coffin, 110, buried Apl 4, 1729; Jane Tilt, from Sydenham, aged 109, Apl 6, 1794."

Free-school intended by John Glyn.

John Glyn, vicar of Lewisham, by his will, bearing date 1568, gave the sum of 100l. to a free-school in this parish. This benefaction is recorded in the register, but nothing is now known of it, or of the school to which it alludes.

Abraham Colfe's charities.

Foundation of Blackheath school.

Children from whence chosen.

Election and salary of the master.

The usher, or second master.

Government of the school.

Exhibitions for the Universities.


Abraham Colfe, vicar of Lewisham (fn. 70), by his will, bearing date 1656, bequeathed the greater part of his real and personal property (fn. 71) to the Leathersellers' Company in trust, to be bestowed in charitable uses, principally for the benefit of this parish, and the hundred of Blackheath. In his lifetime he had founded a grammar-school on Blackheath (within the parish of Lewisham), which was opened in the month of June 1652 (fn. 72). By his will he gives the following directions relating to this school: that it shall be for the education of thirty-one boys, five of whom shall be of the parish of Lewisham (fn. 73); ten of Greenwich, eight of Deptford, one of Lee, one of Charlton, three of Eltham, and three of Woolwich, to be chosen in the several parishes at a public meeting of the chief parishioners. In addition to this number, every incumbent minister in the hundred of Blackheath, and also the minister of Chislehurst, to have the privilege of sending their sons to the school for education, but no minister to have more than one son in the school at a time. The master is to be examined and approved by the head masters of Westminster, St. Paul's, and Merchant Taylors' schools, by the president of Sion College, the ministers of the hundred of Blackheath, and the minister of Chislehurst; and to be chosen by them, in conjunction with the wardens of the Leathersellers' Company, and the lord of the manor, who has the privilege of nominating a Westminster scholar, to stand in election with one, two, or three candidates nominated by the other electors. The master is not to undertake any church duty, without leave of the trustees, by whom he may be displaced if he be guilty of any notorious misbehaviour (fn. 74). After a vacancy, the election of a new master must be within eighteen days. The master's salary is fixed at 30l. per annum, with a house for his residence, which, as it was built large and commodious, that he might enjoy the advantage of taking boarders, the founder directs that he shall keep in repair. The founder's relations (being duly qualified) are to have the preference, if candidates for the master's place. The usher, or second master, for whom also a house was built adjoining to the school (fn. 75), is to be examined and approved by the same persons as the head master, and also by the head master himself, after which, being presented to the wardens of the Leathersellers' Company, he is to be admitted by them. The usher must be a single person, and continue unmarried; his salary is fixed at 20l. per annum (fn. 76). A writing master also is appointed with a salary of 11l. per annum. Various regulations relating to the internal government of the school; the rewards, punishments, and recreations (fn. 77) of the scholars, are prescribed also by the founder in his will, and public disputations and trials of skill are appointed to be held once a-year, when prizes are given to the three best scholars, and the best writers. A scholar from the grammarschool having been examined and chosen by one of the chief schoolmasters in London, and the ministers of Lewisham, Lee, Greenwich, Deptford, and Chislehurst, is to be sent every year to one of the Universities (Oxford or Cambridge), and to have an exhibition of 10l. per annum, during seven years. These exhibitioners (fn. 78) are to be children of persons not reputed to be worth 500l.; natives of Lewisham to be preferred. Provision is made in case at any time a scholar fit for the University should not be found in the school at Blackheath, that an exhibitioner shall be chosen from among the children of persons belonging to the Leathersellers' Company; if there be none qualified, then from the free-school within the precincts of Christchurch, Canterbury; or, in failure of a fit scholar there, from Christ's Hospital. The sum of 13s. 4d. is allowed for an anniversary sermon at Lewisham or Greenwich, in Whitsun-week, being the time when the school was opened; 20s. for the annual election dinner, and the like sum for a dinner at the election of a schoolmaster. The great room over the school is appropriated by the founder for a library, to which he gives, by will, all his books in folio, quarto, and thick octavo: he allows 1l. per annum, for the purchase of new books, 5s. to the usher as librarian, and 7s. to buy chains. He enjoins the exhibitioners above mentioned to present to the library a copy of all books which they shall publish, and devises some other small funds for the augmentation of the library.

Foundation of the English school at Lewisham.

Mr. Colfe founded also an English school in Lewisham for thirty-one boys, who are to be taught reading, writing, psalm singing, and the accidence. The master (whose salary is fixed at 20l. per annum) is to be chosen by the Leathersellers' Company. The founder gave also, by will, 3l. per annum, for the purchase of Bibles and other books, and necessaries for the school; and 6s. for mending the Bibles. In the former part of his will, he gives 3l. per annum towards apprenticing the boys; and afterwards allots the sum of 440l. to be laid out in the purchase of 24l. yearly rent (fn. 79), for the purpose of apprenticing six scholars annually from this school.

Foundation of the almshouses.

Mr. Colfe directed also, by his will, that a certain sum of money should be laid out in building five alms-houses (fn. 80), (to be begun in the month of April 1662,) for poor, godly householders of this parish, 60 years of age or upwards, and able to say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. The allowance fixed for the pensioners is 1s. 9d. a-week, and 18s. for a gown once in two years. These alms-houses are on the west side of the village of Lewisham, to the south of the church. Over the door are the arms of the founder (fn. 81), and of the Leathersellers' Company (fn. 82).

Other annual benefactions given by Mr. Colfe's will to the parish of Lewisham.

£. s. d.
Bread (in lieu of a donation intended by his wife (fn. 83) ), 1 6 0
Bread (being the quit-rent for the school-house), 0 6 0
Bread on the fifth of November, 0 1 0
Towards maintaining a weekly lecture (fn. 84) on a working day, 1 0 0
A sermon on the fifth of November, 0 10 0
To the minister for catechising children 40 weeks, 1 0 0
To the children in rewards (the overplus to go towards apprenticing children from the school (fn. 85) ), 2 0 0
To the parish clerk for taking care of the boys' Bibles at church, 0 4 0
To the parish clerk for keeping the church clock in order, 0 2 8
— — — for his attendance Nov. 5, 0 0 6
To 40 poor householders, who can say the Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments, 1 0 0
To the man who hears them, 0 1 0
For the marriage of one or two maid servants (fn. 86), 0 5 0
For mending foot-paths, and making drains, 1 0 0
For defraying expences of warrants for hedgebreakers, &c. 0 10 0
To the churchwardens, 0 10 0

Mr. Colfe gave also the sum of 5l. to the parish as a stock to keep poor children to knitting. This has been long disused.

Girls' school.

A girls' school was instituted in 1699, to which Dr. Stanhope bequeathed 150l., and Mrs. Stanhope 50l. To the interest of this money is added two thirds of the sacrament collections (pursuant to an order of the Bishop of Rochester in 1699), forming, together, a salary of twenty guineas per annum for the mistress, besides coals and candles.

Benefactions by various persons.

Date. Donors Names. Nature and present Value. Use.
1612. Thomas Ware, Moiety of a house (now 10s. per annum), Poor.
1620. William Hattecliffe, Esq. A fourth part of the rent of certain houses and lands, and an eighth part of the rent of certain other houses in Greenwich (fn. 87), now 24l. 8s. 9d. per ann. Poor.
1623. Humphrey Street, A house (let at 3l. per annum), 1l l. per annum, poor.Bread.
1625. Mrs. Priscilla Jones, 1l. per annum, Bread.
1626. Edmund Style, 11. per ann. (now only 11s. 8d.), Bread.
1630. Bevil Molesworth, Esq. A house let at 1l. 15s. per annum, To the minister, and to the poor.
1631. Stephen Batt, 2s. per annum, Bread.
1631. Richard Grimes, 5s. per annum, Bread.
1648. Thomas Mann, 1l. 10s. per annum, Bread.
1671. William Bond, Esq. A house at Stump's-hill, from which nothing is now received, Poor of Lewisham and Southend.
1726. Valentine Sparrow, 4l. 3s. 6d. per annum, 1l. is to the minister, 10s. 6d. to the clerk, remaider in bread.
1750. James Brooke, 3l. per annum, Poor.
1767. Richard Brooke, Esq. Interest of 100l. Bank Ann. Poor housekeepers.
1773. Mrs. Susanna Brett, 100l. South-Sea Annuities, Bread.
1776. Sarah Lady Falkland, Interest of 200l. Bread.
Unkn. Waltar Hull, A messuage at Perystreet, let at 10l. per annum, Poor.

Three of the places in Queen Elizabeth's College at Greenwich, founded by William Lambard, Esq. in 1576, are filled by pensioners from this parish (fn. 88).


Sydenham Wells.

Sydenham, a considerable hamlet in this parish, lies to the southwest of Lewisham, on the borders of Surrey. This place is celebrated for its mineral springs, discovered in the year 1640. They are of a mild cathartic quality (fn. 89), and nearly resemble those of Epsom. A treatise on these waters was published by John Peter, in 1681; and another by Dr. Allen, in 1699. They have been usually, though improperly, called Dulwich Wells. A mineral spring has been since discovered at Dulwich, in 1739. Between Lewisham and Brockley is a well of the same quality as those at Tunbridge: a woman attends to serve the water, which is delivered gratis to inhabitants of the parish. The spring is the property of Lord Dartmouth. At the well-house are held the meetings of the St. George's Bowmen, a society of archers established in 1789. A spacious common, taking its name from the hamlet, adjoins to Sydenham; from the upper part of it there is a very extensive and beautiful prospect.


At South-end is a mill, formerly used by Mr. Ephraim How for making his famous knife-blades, it is now a mustard-mill in the occupation of Mr. Batley. At Lewisham is a mill for making cloth without weaving, in the occupation of Mr. Waters. These mills are upon the Ravensborne, which runs through the parish, and the village, from south to north. At the five-mile-stone from London, there is a bridge over it.

Market and fairs on Blackheath, within this parish.

A considerable portion of Blackheath is in this parish, including Dartmouth-row, and that part of Blackheath which is called Lewisham-hill. In the year 1682, Lord Dartmouth obtained a grant of a market, to be held twice a-week upon Blackheath, within this parish, and two annual fairs, each to last three days, the 12th, 13th, and 14th of May; and the 11th, 12th, and 13th of October (fn. 90). The fairs are now held only on the 12th of May, and the 11th of October. The market has been for several years discontinued; the fair is held for cattle only, on the 12th of May, and the 11th of October.


  • 1. Weever says that John Norbury founded a priory at Lewisham, which he replenished with black monks from Ghent, but this is evidently a mistake, since the priory is known to have existed long before Norbury's time, who was Lord Treasurer in the reign of Henry IV.
  • 2. See Regist. Roffens. p. 648—and Cart. 13 Hen. III. m. 12.—A grant of liberties, &c. to the prior of Levesham.
  • 3. Esch. 12 Ric. II. N° 72.
  • 4. Dugdale's Monast. vol. i. p. 975.
  • 5. It is thus described in the Survey of Doomsday.—The abbot of Ghent holds Levesham of the King, and he held it of King Edward the Confessor; it was then, and now is, rated at two sulings. The arable land is fourteen carucates. There are two ploughs on the demesne lands, and there are fifty villans with nine bordars, who have between them seventeen ploughs. There are three slaves, and eleven mills, with the rent of the socmen, yielding 8l. 12s. Of the profit of the haven, 40s. (this must relate to Greenwich). There are thirty acres of meadow, pannage for fifty hogs. The whole was valued in King Edward's time at 16l.; its value afterwards fell to 12l., it is now 30l.
  • 6. See Cart. 10 John m. 2. (this is a confirmation with grant of free-warren); Cart. 11 Edw. II. N° 83.—Pat. 20 Edw. III. pt. 1. m. 15.—Pat. 48 Edw. III. pt. 2. m. 17.
  • 7. Pat. 3 Edw. I. m. 26.
  • 8. Registers of the fee of Canterbury at Lambeth.—Peckham, fol. 172. a.
  • 9. See p. 428.
  • 10. Records in the Augmentation-office.
  • 11. Pat. 30 Hen. VIII. pt. 1. Feb. 4.
  • 12. Grants and exchanges of lands by Henry VIII. and Edw. VI. Harleian MSS. British Museum, N°7389.
  • 13. Records in the Augmentation-office.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Pat. 5 Eliz. pt. 3. May 8.
  • 17. Pat. 18 Eliz. pt. 6. July 20. (to Sir Francis Knolles for twenty-one years); Pat. 3 Jac. pt. 6. March 21. (a lease for forty years to Sir Francis). It appears that Edward Alleyne, the celebrated tragedian, and founder of Dulwich College, purchased the manor and parsonage of Lewisham in 1620, for 1000l. (See his Diary, vol. i. p. 117. of this work.) This purchase could have been only for the remainder of Knolles's lease.
  • 18. Pat. 22 Jac. pt. 11. June 29. The grant is in the names of Edward and Robert Ramsey.
  • 19. Philipott's Survey, p. 217.
  • 20. Pat. 16 Car. II. pt. 1. N° I. Ap. 14. This grant is to Grahme, at the nomination of Ramsey.
  • 21. From the information of WilliamDunn, Esq., by permission of Lord Dartmouth.
  • 22. See p. 217.—John Abel had a grant of free-warren in Lewisham, anno 1294; but no mention is made of Cartford. See Cart.
  • 23. Edw. I. N° 21.
  • 24. Esch. 4 Edw. II. N° 45.
  • 25. Cart. 4 Edw. III. N° 2.
  • 26. Cart. 5 Edw. III. N° 18. Catford and Lewisham are mentioned in this grant.
  • 27. Pat. 13 Edw. III. pt. I. m. 36. In this record, which is a pardon of alienation, the estate is said to consist of a messuage, a mill, 300 acres of arable, 20 of meadow, 60 of pasture, 40 of wood, and 26s. 8d. rents of assize.
  • 28. Records in the Augmentation-office.
  • 29. Cl. 20 Eliz. pt. 10.
  • 30. See p. 341, 342.
  • 31. It was held under the monks of Canterbury, and was confirmed to this convent by Henry II. See the Inspeximus of Henry the Second's charter in Pat. 8 Hen. V. m. 8.
  • 32. Pat. 1 Mar. pt. 6. June 11.
  • 33. Hasted's History of Kent, vol. i. p. 74.
  • 34. Regist. Roffens. p. 116.
  • 35. A house and some lands, parcel of this estate have since been sold to Edward King, Esq. and are now his property.
  • 36. The house, by the partition-deed between the Edmonds's, was very inconveniently divided, some of the rooms belonging to one share being over those belonging to the other; but there was a covenant between the parties, that if one moiety of the house should be pulled down, the party who pulled it down should put the other moiety in a state of sufficient repair.
  • 37. Esch. 35 Edw. III. N° 30.
  • 38. Hasted's History of Kent, vol. i. p. 74.
  • 39. They were sold with the Catford estate, Kidbrook, &c. to the Craggs's.
  • 40. Arms—Az. a bend between a stag's head in chief couped, and three cross crosslets fitcheé in base Arg. on a chief of the second, three escallops G. impaling, S. a chevron engrailed O. on a chief Arg. three mullets of the field.
  • 41. Arms—Petrie as before, impaling, Az. a fesse between two mullets in chief, and a garb in base O.
  • 42. Inscription:—" Margaret first wife to Jasper Valentine, after married thirtythree years to Abraham Colfe, pastor of Lewisham, having been above forty years a willing nurse, midwife, surgeon, and in part physician, to all both rich and poor, without expecting reward, and having left an annual gift of 20s. to the poor, being near 79 years old, was buried here the 19th of March, anno Dom. 1643."
  • 43. Arms—Arg. three etoiles G. (it should be, as on the other monument, Az.) a border Az. charged with annulets O. (they should be, as on the other monument, bezants) —Innes of Pitsour in the country of Bamf, impaling, G. on a chevron Arg. between three whelks O. a demi-lion G. between two martlets Az.—Wintle. William Innes married Anne Wintle.
  • 44. Arms—O. on a fesse embattled S. between three leopards' faces G. an etoile between two crescents Arg.
  • 45. Arms—G. two arrows in saltier Arg. surmounted of a fesse checkey, of the second and first, between three buckles O. a border indented of the last—(the coat of M'Alla of Edinburgh), impaling, A. on a fesse G. between three anchors S. as many eagles' heads erased O.
  • 46. He married Priscilla, daughter of Robert Ashe, Esq. of Yorkshire, who died the same year.
  • 47. He married, 1. Mary, daughter and heir of Edmund Hawles, Esq. of Dorsetshire, ob. 1702; 2. Charlotte, daughter of Sir Orlando Bridgman, Bart. ob. 1718; 3. Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Ducie, Lord Morton.
  • 48. Inscription:—" In memory of the very Reverend George Stanhope, D. D. 38 years vicar of this place, and 26 of the neighbouring church at Deptford, Dean of Canterbury, A. D. 1703, and thrice Prolocutor of the lower House of Convocation; whose piety was real and rational; his charity great and universal, fruitful in acts of mercy, and in all good works. His learning was elegant and comprehensive, and his conversation polite and delicate: grave without preciseness, facetious without levity. The good Christian, the solid divine, and the fine gentleman in him were happily united, who, though amply qualified for the highest honours of his sacred function, yet was content with only deserving them. In his pastoral office a pattern to his people, and to all who shall succeed him in the care of them. His discourses from the pulpit were equally pleasing and profitable, a beautiful intermixture of the clearest reasoning with the purest diction, attended with all the grace of a just elocution. As his works from the press have spoke the praises of his happy genius, his love of God and men, for which generations to come will bless his memory. He was born March 5, He died March 18, 1727, aged 68 years."
  • 49. Arms—Quarterly, G. and Erm. impaling, Az. a chevron between three hanks of cotton, Arg.
  • 50. He married Anne, daughter of Rowland Ingram (of the family of Viscount Irwine, and, by her mother Anne Noel, descended from Viscount Campden). They had three daughters, Margaret, who died unmarried, was buried in 1747; Penelope married—Thornton; and Susanna, John Loton, Esq.
  • 51. Probably the same John Peter who published an account of the mineral water at Sydenham in 1681.
  • 52. See p. 846–849.
  • 53. Author of a course of practical sermons, intitled, The Christian, several single discourses; a tract called Practical Christianity; and two volumes of sermons (pubJished after his death), on the Baptismal Covenant, the Creed, Ten Commandments, &c. being fifty-two in number, one for each Sunday in the year.
  • 54. Inscription:–" Here lies the body of Benjamin Martyn, Esq. who died Oct. 25, 1763, aged 64. He was a man of inflexible integrity, and one of the best bred men in England, which, with a happy genius for poetry, procured him the friendship of several noblemen, not more distinguished by their illustrious births than by their public virtues and private morals. He was the first promoter of the design of erecting a monument to the memory of Shakespear in Westminster Abbey, which was carried into execution by him, with the assistance of Dr. Mead and Mr. Pope, by the profits of a play; the prologue spoken on that occasion was wrote by him."
  • 55. Regist. Roffens. P. 470.
  • 56. Ibid. P. 472.
  • 57. The glebe is sixty-five acres.
  • 58. Hasted; from the Parliamentary Surveys at Lambeth.
  • 59. Nichols's Life of Bowyer, P. 7.
  • 60. Dr. Stanhope published, besides the works mentioned above, the Parson's Christian Directory; an edition of St. Augustine's Meditations; Thomas à Kempis; Epictetus; Rochefocault's Maxims; and Charron's Three Books of Wisdom (from the French).
  • 61. Philipott's Survey of Kent, P. 218.
  • 62. From the information of the Rev. Mr. Jones, to whom I am indebted for several other particulars relating to Lewisham—The principals hamlets in this parish are Sydenham, in which are about eighty houses, and South End, in which are about forty. There are above 100 in and near Blackheath, within this parish.
  • 63. The Irish peerage says, erroneously, that Eleanor Bulkeley married Sir Thomas Porter, and Margaret George Shelletoe, Esq.
  • 64. Sir Edwin, ancestor of Lord Sandys, married Penelope, daughter of Sir Richard Bulkeley, and sister of Margaret above mentioned.
  • 65. Hasted's History of Kent, vol. i. P. 74.
  • 66. Sr Rich. Lucy, of Broxbourn Hants, was created a baronet in 1618. The title is extinct.
  • 67. Afterwards Lord Aylmer.
  • 68. See P. 523.
  • 69. This prologue is printed in the General Dictionary (in 10 vols. fol.), under the article Shakspere.
  • 70. Mr. Colfe first came to reside at Lewisham as curate to Dr. Hadrianus Sadriana, in 1604. In 1610, he was presented to the vicarage. See his printed will, P. 10.
  • 71. Consisting of lands, &c. in Lewisham and Edmonton, now let at about 186l. per annum, and 1100l. in money in the hands of the Leathersellers' Company. This sum, which was to have been laid out in lands, was sunk many years ago, and a very considerable debt has been incurred, as I am assured by James Hutchinson, Esq. clerk of the Company, by repairs and other extraordinary expences. On this account several of the benefactions intended by the donor have been dropped. At present, the lands having been improved, the receipts exceed the payments by about 70l.; but I understand that there is little hope of the debt being soon liquidated.
  • 72. He procured a grant of the ground in 1647, at which time Reginald Grahme, Esq. the lord of the manor, stipulated for several privileges for himself and his successors, as will be seen in the account of the school. See Colfe's will, P. 29.
  • 73. One of these is to be nominated by the lord of the manor from among his tenants' sons, the others are to be chosen from the reading school founded by Mr. Colfe at Lewisham (as will be hereafter described), in preference to any others.
  • 74. The causes for which the master shall he displaced are thus summed up by the founder (see P. 31 of his printed will): "If he give scandal or evil example to the scholars or others, by being a gamester or diver, or a frequenter of taverns and alehouses, or a drunkard, or whoremonger, or given to wanton dalliances, and unseemly behaviour with women, or lavish in unnecessary expences in following vain gaudy fashions of apparel, or if he wear long, curled, or ruffin-like hair, or if he be a swearer or a curser, or if he be unsound in the faith, or corrupt in religion; either Papist, or popishly affected, or an Armenian, or Socinian, or Anabaptist, or one holding or broaching heresies, and gross erroneous opinions, contrary to the articles of our Christian faith, and of the true religion, established of the Church of "England, and confirmed by public authority of public laws and statutes; or if he delight, and being admonished to the contrary, do yet continue to teach the scholars such books and such parts in the books, either of Latin or Greek authors, whether poets or others, and do not withal shew them the errors and vices to be avoided, which may draw youth to Popish superstition, to Epicureism, licentiousness, profaneness, and Atheism, and not induce them to godliness and leading a holy life." The boys also are strictly forbidden to wear long, curled, frizzled, or powdered, or ruffin-like hair; but enjoined on the contrary to cut their hair, and wear it in such sort and manner that both the beauty of their foreheads may be seen, and that their hair shall not grow longer than above one inch below the lowest tips of "their ears."—See p. 32 of the will. The master of the English school at Lewisham, and his scholars, are forbidden also "to wear any long ruffin-like hair on the head or forehead, neck or cheeks, above one inch below the lowest tips of the ears." See p. 15 of the will.
  • 75. For which he is charged with the payment of 6s. per annum, due to the parish of Lewisham for the herbage of the ground on which the school stands.
  • 76. There is no usher now of the description mentioned in the founder's will.—An assistant, who teaches writing, has 10l. per annum and a house.
  • 77. "Their play may be shooting in long bows, stool-ball, running, wrestling, leaping, and other inoffensive exercises, but money-plays not to be suffered." P. 52 of the will.
  • 78. The exhibitioners are to promise to take upon them the function of the ministry, and that before the end of ten years they will preach one or two sermons in Lewisham church; that they will set forth some sermons also in print, and do their endeavours to write some learned commentaries upon the Scriptures.—There have been no exhibitioners for many years.
  • 79. This purchase was not made, and only 3l. per annum is now paid for apprenticing children.
  • 80. The chapel having been converted into a dwelling-house, there are now six pentioners.
  • 81. Quarterly, 1 and 4. O. a sesse between three colts current S.—Colfe. 2 and 3. Arg. a cross checkey O. and G. between four mullets of the second—Bradfield.
  • 82. Arg. three bucks trippant regardant G. attired S.
  • 83. See her epitaph, p. 520.
  • 84. If the parish of Lewisham refuse to establish such lecture, this benefaction is lest to Greenwich, Deptford, or Bromley; and if they all refuse it, is to go in aid of the pious uses of his will.
  • 85. Not paid at present.
  • 86. This payment has been discontinued.
  • 87. See p. 483.
  • 88. See p. 488.
  • 89. Impregnated with calcareous, Glauber, and sea salt, mostly with the former.—Monro on Mineral Waters, vol. i. p. 138, 139.
  • 90. Pat. 34 Car. II. pt. 9. N° 19.
  • 91. The year of his birth is not mentioned.