Paris Garden Manor

Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1950.

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'Paris Garden Manor', Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950), pp. 94-100. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Paris Garden Manor", in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950) 94-100. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Paris Garden Manor", Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950). 94-100. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


The manor of Paris Garden, which is roughly coincident with the parish of Christ Church, has been a well-defined area from the early mediaeval period. It was bounded on the north by the river and on the other three sides by a stream or open sewer which ran in a wide loop round the manor from the Old Barge House Stairs, south to what is now Surrey Row, and north again to the river near Falcon Dock. The stream may have been in part a natural feature, though it is unlikely that it was so for the whole of its length, but the earth wall which flanked it was certainly man-made. The only survival of it is the street named Broadwall, which now forms the western boundary of Christ Church parish.

The whole district was several feet below high-water level and would have been unusable without the embankment walls along the river bank at Upper Ground and the sewers which carried off the water either to the river or south to St. George's Fields. Until 1809, when the Surrey and Kent Sewer Commission obtained powers by Act of Parliament to build new main sewers, (fn. 202) the whole area was subject to flooding whenever there was an exceptionally high tide and most of the ground was too marshy for building. Throughout the Middle Ages and until well into the 17th century the district must have presented much the same appearance as the Kent Marshes do at the present time, though from at least as early as the 14th century there was a fringe of houses along Upper Ground.

From the 12th century to the 18th a water mill, known later as Pudding Mill, stood near the river bank at the east end of the manor. The mill pond is shown on the 1627 plan (see Plate 65). Pudding Mill stream, which provided the motive power for the mill, was the stream which surrounded the manor. For many centuries it had its exit to the river near Falcon Wharf but early in the 19th century it became a closed sewer. It still exists as a small drain but ceased to have any importance even for drainage purposes after the formation of new main sewers along the line of Blackfriars Road circa 1812. Pudding Mill, together with the ditch and walls surrounding the manor, were held by copyhold and the holder was responsible for their maintenance. There are many instances in the Court Rolls from 1461 onward of persons being presented for allowing the ditch or sewer to get stopped up, or for failure to repair either the bridges over it or the embanking walls. (fn. 203) Similar entries occur in the minutes of the Surrey and Kent Commission of Sewers. In 1571 Mr. Downes was presented "for anoyaunce of the highe waye from the mylle dore to saynt Georges feylde by reson of the great stor of watter that his myller contynually letteth in and kepethe in to the drowninge of the quens maiestyes grounde." In 1629 the millpond was "rayled about for the safftie of the poore people of this liberty many of whome have heretofore beine endaingered and som ther droowned; the doing wherof cost six powndes." (fn. 204)

The manor of Paris Garden comprised a little less than 100 acres and roughly corresponded to the hide of ground called Wideflete with a mill and other appurtenances granted by Robert Marmyon to the Abbey of Bermondsey in 1113, (fn. 205) and which a few years later was granted to the Knights Templars. (fn. n1) The name probably signified willowstream from the Old English wiþig = willow and flēot = stream. (fn. 207) The ground is diversely named "Wythiflete" and "Wylys" in later documents.

In 1308, just before the suppression of the Order of the Templars, a survey was made of their property in Southwark. It was stated to consist of meadow land and a few acres of arable both ditched and walled; one house so dilapidated and ruined that its upkeep would cost more than it was worth; three cottages, and a number of water mills which were mostly in need of repair. (fn. 206) In 1311 William de Monte Alto, "keeper of the Templars' lands in Suthwerk" was ordered to repair "the walls and ditches on the bank of the Thames pertaining to the said lands, (fn. 3) " and in the following year he was ordered to spend £10 in repairing the mills of the manor. In 1324 the manor, with the other possessions of the Knights Templars, was granted to the Knights Hospitallers, (fn. 3) and it remained their property until 1536 when Sir William Weston, the Prior, surrendered it to Henry VIII. (fn. n2) (fn. 208) The Hospitallers at first farmed out their Southwark property. The cartulary contains a charter dated 1337 granting four water mills "called le Temple milnes" on the river bank and a close called "the Wyles" to Joan, widow of Robert Swalclive, whose family had previously had a lease of two water mills and pasture ground there. In 1394 John Radyngton, prior of the order, and the brethren, granted all their "waste and marshy ground opposite London" to Stephen Speleman, citizen and mercer of London. It was then described as lying between the road running from "les Stywes" to Lambeth on the south and the Thames on the north.

Sometime before 1420 the land was farmed out to John, Duke of Bedford, for there are extant some ordinances made by him in that year (fn. 206) concerning "the privileged place called parish gardyn otherwise called Wideflete or Wiles." This is the first recorded use of the name Parish or Paris Garden; no reasonable explanation of the name has been found though many conjectures have been put forward. (fn. n3) This, too, is the first reference to the district being a privileged place or liberty, i.e. to private rights of jurisdiction there. The ordinances prescribe the conditions on which fugitives from justice might be admitted to the liberty and the fines (payable to the lord of the manor, the seneschal or the bailiff) that should be imposed on persons committing a felony within the liberty.

Presumably the property reverted to the Hospitallers after the death of the Duke of Bedford in 1435, but no further information is available until 1460 when the Court Rolls of the Manor of "Paresgarden alias wylys" begin. The records of the Court Baron (for transfers of land) are extant, with a few short gaps, from 1460 to 1936. (fn. 203) The records of the Court Leet (for the trial of offences) are much more fragmentary, but enough exist to throw some light on the conditions of the manor and its inhabitants in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the early rolls most of the persons presented for misconduct were women, common scolds, whores, or huxters who gave short measure; the offences for which men were indicted were mainly connected with property—failure to repair buildings or wharves, or to cleanse the sewers. It is noteworthy that whereas before 1560 many offences seem to have been compounded for by a money payment, after that date there are a number of references to the cage, the cucking-stool, and the stocks as instruments of punishment. The cucking-stool for scolds was, however, in use from a much earlier period.

In 1489 the tenants of the manor were ordered to put crosses on their houses "as other tenants of the prior of St. John of Jerusalem in England were accustomed to do." The prior and knights of the order do not seem to have occupied a house in Paris Garden but it seems probable that the Duke of Bedford and other lessees of the manor had built a house there for their own use. In 1505 the then prior, Sir Thomas Docwra and the brethren granted to Robert Udale, citizen and goldsmith of London, "ther' mansion place of parisgarden . . . as it standeth wtin the mote ther and also ij gardens buttyng opon the said mansionplace wt the gatehouse. Wt iiij pastures called the powndyarde, the Conyng Garth, the Chapell Hawe, And walnot tres . . . like as oon John Hellow lately all the same held . . . And also ij other pasturs aboute the dikes ther called the Willowes, Woddes and trees opon the said pastures ther growing oonely except. (fn. 209) " Possibly a chapel once existed in the manor which gave its name to Chapel Hawe or field, but no other reference to it has been found.

Early in the reign of Henry VIII, William Baseley (fn. n4) acquired the lease of the mansion house. It was then falling into ruins and the grounds were flooded. (fn. 210) Baseley repaired the house and lived there himself for over twentyfour years. He made it into a public gaming place with bowling alleys out of doors and "cardes, dyze and tables" indoors and obtained a royal licence to maintain it as such after the manor had been taken into the king's hands. (fn. 7) The house thus began to acquire the reputation for licentiousness which culminated in the time of Charles I when it was known as Holland's Leaguer. (fn. n5)

In 1578 Queen Elizabeth granted Paris Garden Manor to Henry Cary, Lord Hunsdon, (fn. 211) who two years later, demised the demesne lands to Thomas Cure (fn. 212) and the copyhold land to Thomas Taylor and Richard Platt as trustees for the copyholders, (fn. 213) for a period of 2,000 years. Thenceforward the copyhold land and the demesne land of the manor have separate histories. The copyholder's lease was enlarged into a fee simple under the Conveyancing Act of 1881, but the conditions of copyhold tenure and the ceremonial of the Court Baron continued until the abolition of manorial rights in 1936.


Thomas Cure was the son of the Thomas Cure who founded the College Almshouses (see p. 83). In May, 1589, he, and his wife Christine, sold the manor to Francis Langley, (fn. 214) with appurtenances described as four messuages, two tofts, four gardens, ten acres of land, fifty acres of meadow, thirty acres of pasture and one acre of woodland. Presumably Francis Langley lived in the manor house. He is shown in the Token Books as the occupier of a house near Copt Hall (see the 1627 plan, Plate 65) from 1593 until 1601. He built the Swan Playhouse (see p. 72), and also some tenements nearby and in Upper Ground close to the mill. The playhouse brought actors and hangers-on to the neighbourhood and in October, 1596 householders were ordered not to take lodgers into their houses without permission from the constable, and Langley was instructed to mend the cage, the cuckingstool, the pound, and the stocks. (fn. 203) In December, 1601, he sold the manor to Hugh Browker and Thomas, his son. (fn. 215) The 1627 map (fn. n6) shows the manor as it was in the time of Thomas Browker.

All the centre part of the area, with the exception of Copt Hall, (fn. n7) is shown as demesne land. The copyhold lands were on the fringe—the Upper Ground, the Broad Wall round the manor, and the triangular piece of ground at the north-east corner.

The return of newly erected houses, made circa 1634 and now among the records of the Corporation of Wardens, mentions about thirty houses in the manor, with sheds, stables and other buildings. These included a brick house built on an old foundation by John Wrench in 1622 but then in the possession of Edmund Kenneday and a house, part brick, part timber, built by William Sherlock about sixteen years previously. Both these houses are shown on the 1627 map.

The demesnes of the manor remained in the hands of the Browkers until 1655 when Thomas Browker and Mary, his wife, sold them to William Angell, the younger, citizen and grocer of London, for £500. (fn. 217) The manor was then said to comprise ten messuages, eighty cottages, twenty tofts, twenty gardens, twenty orchards, ten acres of land, fifty acres of meadow, thirty acres of pasture and one acre of woodland. A large part of the property was in lease to various tenants.


Angell seems to have bought the property as a speculation. (fn. n8) He carried out a certain amount of building in the neighbourhood of Upper Ground and he laid out Angell Street (now Broadwall) between the Old Barge House and Melancholy Walk (now Surrey Row) along the line of Broadwall. He was living in the manor in 1680 when he was presented before the Court of Sewers "for placeing two Dams in the Sewer or Millstreame neare to his dwelling house in the parish of Christ Church." (fn. 129)

The notorious Holland's Leaguer, formerly the manor house, was sold by Angell in 1660 to Hugh Jermyne, woollen draper. (fn. 218) It was at this time in the tenure of Widow Blunden and was used for bleaching cloth. The acre of land sold with it was still "incumpassed with a moate." In addition Jermyne bought two-and-a-half acres of ground between Holland's Leaguer and Copt Hall, most of which was in use as a "whiteing ground."

In the same year Angell sold about twelve acres of ground and a number of tenements near Copt Hall to William Oxton. (fn. 217) This property also included several "Whitster's grounds. (fn. n9) " Not content with selling the demesne lands, Angell sold to Oxton a piece of ground near the mill bridge and a messuage known as "the musicke house," both of which were copyhold, (fn. 213) and part of the Broadwall to John Shorter. Apparently Angell's speculations had prospered well for in 1677 we find him mortgaging the manor for 2,000 years to George Baron and others for £1,600, (fn. 213) four times what he had paid for it twenty years earlier. The manor remained in the hands of the Baron family throughout the 18th century. In 1798 Jasper Baron left it to be divided between his son and daughter. His son, William, died intestate in 1827; his daughter, Elizabeth Ann, married John King Lethbridge in 1819 and died without issue in 1833. Both moieties therefore became vested in the Lethbridges, (fn. 213) in whose family part of the property remains till the present day.


The Brown Estate

As stated above, William Angell, lord of the manor of Paris Garden, sold part of the demesne land to William Oxton of Westminster, brewer, in 1660. The condition of this land is typical of the area at the period and the description of it is therefore given at some length. (fn. 217) It comprised a messuage and over six and a half acres of ground in the occupation of William Fisher, together with the use of a bridge over the ditch near the south end of the orchard late of Thomas Austin, free access to the "bancke or Cawsway" called Gravel Lane, and free use of the watercourse running "to and from the Thames in the ditch . . . betweene the said . . . ground" and Gravel Lane; also a messuage containing a low room, two chambers and a garret and two and a half acres of "Whitsters ground" together with "one Cloth house, seaven Wash-houses and foure fowlding houses" in the occupation of Thomas Webb "Whitster"; also two other messuages, one of four rooms and one of two, and a piece of "Whitsters ground" separated from them by a quickset hedge; also two sheds, one of which was lately used for a brewhouse; a yard called Bowyers Yard and three tenements adjoining; a tenement and wash ground at the east end of the houses in the tenure of Thomas Webb, and a messuage and piece of ground near Copthall; half a rood of ground "inclosed with Pales and ditches" and the buildings thereon erected by Edward Bowes, deceased, in the tenure of Thomas Worrall; four tenements on the west side of the passage to Copthall; three messuages lately built by William Angell and a washing ground and folding house adjoining; and a victualling house called the "Blew Anchor" in the tenure of Bennett Edwards and a messuage and wash ground adjoining.

William Oxton died in 1662 leaving (fn. 219) most of his estate to his daughter Catherine who subsequently married Hungerford Dunch. Mrs. Dunch developed the estate to the extent of laying out Bear Lane and part of Green Walk. (fn. n10) (fn. 220) Charles Hopton, the founder of Hopton's Almshouses and the guardian of her son and heir, Edmund, bought his ward's (fn. 221) freehold and copyhold land in Christ Church in 1706 and at Hopton's death it passed to his cousin Thomas Jordan. (fn. 222) In 1760 Jordan and his wife, Mary, sold the freehold property to John Pardon, (fn. 223) a well-known Southwark attorney, who was treasurer of the County of Surrey. (fn. 224)

Pardon died without issue in 1803. He left the bulk of his property, including the land in Christ Church and his own residence in Blackman Street, to Mary and Elizabeth Middleton and made Henry Bunn and George Theakston his executors. (fn. 225) In the same year Mary Middleton married Edward Bilke and in the marriage settlement (fn. 220) her real estate is described as a moiety of all the land of the late John Pardon with the messuages thereon in Charles Street, Pit Street, Thurlow Street, George Street, William Street, Bear Lane, Union Place, Green Walk, Church Street, Green Street, the New Road (i.e. Blackfriars Road) and the "Octagon Chapel, now used for divine worship by the Rev. Rowland Hill," together with the house in Blackman Street and land in Kent.

Elizabeth Middleton did not marry and at her death in 1830 she left her moiety of the estate in trust for her sister Mary Bilke and her niece Mary Elizabeth, wife of Edward Brown of Collumpton. Brown's Estate was formed into a company in 1899. (fn. 220) The property then comprised Nos. 41 and 42 Nelson Square (see p. 129), Nos. 22 to 32 and 37 and 38 Bear Lane, Nos. 30 to 36 Blackfriars Road, No. 231 Borough High Street (formerly 5 Blackman Street), Nos. 33 to 43 Charlotte Street together with the Thurlow Works and the Surrey Works (formerly Surrey Chapel) (see p. 119), and another two houses there, Nos. 15 to 23 (odd) Burrell Street and Nos. 72 to 80 (formerly 1 to 5) Collingwood Street (see p. 125), Nos. 14 and 19 to 25 and the artisans' dwellings Nos. 15 to 18 Gambia Street (formerly William Street), Nos. 1–17 Scoresby Street (formerly York Street), Nos. 1 to 18 and 42 to 56 George Street (now Dolben Street) (see p. 127), Nos. 10 to 18 (even) and 31 to 37 (odd) Price's Street, Nos. 2 to 4 Chancel Street (formerly 43, 44 and 47 Price's Street), Nos. 14 and 15 Thurlow Street and the Industrial Dwellings erected in 1881 on the site of other houses in Thurlow Street and of Nos. 1 to 5 Puddy's Court, Nos. 6, 8, 33, 31, 29 and 27 Edward Street (formerly 5–10 Union Place). More detailed accounts of such of these premises as are of interest are given on the pages indicated in brackets.


  • n1. In a cartulary of the property of the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers now in the British Museum, there is a copy of a confirmation by Henry II of the grant made by the Prior and Convent of Bermondsey to the Knights Templars of "all that hide of Wideflete which abuts on the river against the new Temple, of the fee of Robert Marmyun, with the mills and men upon the same." The charter is undated and unfortunately one of the witnesses is given as "Gaufrido Archiepiscopo Cantuar." There was no archbishop of Canterbury of this name during the reign of Henry II and the authenticity of the grant is therefore doubtful.
  • n2. It was made part of the dowry of Jane Seymour but was taken back into the king's hand on her death in 1537.
  • n3. The matter is discussed in detail by Charles Kingsford in his article Paris Garden and the Bear-baiting in Archaeologia, 1920, and also by Philip Norman in his introduction to The Accounts of the overseers of the poor of Paris Garden printed in the Collections of the Surrey Archaeological Society.
  • n4. William Baseley was a bayliff of the manor of Southwark in 1544.
  • n5. See the description of Paris Garden by D. Lupton in London and the Countrey Carbonadoed . . . 1632. "This may better bee termed a foule dene then a faire Garden . . . here come few that either regard their credit, or losse of time; the swaggering Roarer, the cunning Cheater, the rotten Bawd, the swearing Drunkard, and the bloudy Butcher, have their rendezvouz here." A woodcut of the house from a tract by Nicholas Goodman entitled Holland's Leaguer is reproduced in Wilkinson's Londina Illustrata. As stated below, p. 98, the grounds were used in the Commonwealth period for bleaching cloth.
  • n6. In February 1617/18 the steward and copyholders of Paris Garden ordered "that a perfecte true and exacte surveye shalbe taken by the homage in the presence of the Owners and of such of the Tennantes and auncient witnesses whoe maye be gathered togeather of thextente circuite boundes and limittes of the Copieholdes of this Manor before the next generall Courte and a plott exactly and fairely made . . . that the same maie remayne as a perpetuall evidence and recorde for manifestinge of any ambiguitie or doubte that maie in future tymes arise." Thomas Aldwell, gentleman, was appointed to make the map. It was not presented until December, 1627, when Aldwell received £5 for his pains. The map was until recently still in the possession of the steward. In 1629 the copyholders received a confirmation of their title from the Crown.
  • n7. Copt Hall is shown as two small buildings in a long narrow piece of ground surrounded by a ditch or small stream. Copped Hall (i.e. "hall with a high roof") was a name of fairly common occurrence in the later Middle Ages. In 1468 Thomas Saunder and Margaret, his wife, were admitted as copyholders to a cottage called "Coppedhall" with a garden in Paris Garden Manor, and the subsequent history of the holding can be traced in the rolls. It was described in 1592 as "a capital messuage now divided into tenements and an orchard adjoining . . . containing one acre and three rods." In 1785 the ground "formerly called Copt Hall" was settled by George Vaughan on his future wife, Mary Bunn, daughter of Henry Bunn. A chapel and eight messuages stood on the site in what was then Church Street and John Street. The western portion of the enclosure shown on the 1627 map had already been disposed of in connection with the formation of Blackfriars Road. Church Street Baptist Chapel and the adjoining houses were bought by the London Chatham and Dover Railway Company from George Vaughan in 1861. The chapel was pulled down in 1863 and the railway lines crossing Burrell Street now cover the site. The family vault of the Vaughans is in Christ Church burial ground (see p. 106).
  • n8. He obtained a lease of part of the great garden of Winchester House at about the same time and proceeded to build on it and sub-let (see p. 48).
  • n9. Because of the water and open space available the bleaching and fulling of cloth was carried out fairly extensively in the manor during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Rocque's maps of 1746 and 1761 show much of the area as "tenter grounds."
  • n10. Green Walk was the name applied in the 18th century to Hopton Street and Colombo Street and the road running east to west connecting the two, now Burrell Street.
  • 3. Cal. of Close Rolls.
  • 4. Cal. of L. and P., Henry VIII.
  • 7. Cal. of Patent Rolls.
  • 21. City of London Records: Court Leet minutes, 1539–64.
  • 52. P.R.O., C 54/1787.
  • 129. L.C.C. Min. of Surr. and Kent Sewers Com.
  • 202. An Act for making new Sewers and Drains … within certain Districts under the Jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Sewers for the Limits extending from East Mouldsey, in Surrey, to Ravensborne in Kent, 49 Geo. III, cap. 183.
  • 203. Court Rolls of the Manor of Paris Garden. (The Court roll books from 1721 onwards are in the custody of the L.C.C.; the earlier ones are at the Minet Library.)
  • 204. The accounts of the overseers of the Poor of Paris Garden, Southwark, by P. Norman.
  • 205. L.C.C. MS. History of the Abbey of Bermondsey.
  • 206. B.M. Cott MSS., Nero E.VI. Register of the Charter of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England.
  • 207. The Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames, by Eilert Ekwall, 1936.
  • 208. Records of House of Lords. Private Act, 28 Hy. VIII/28.
  • 209. B.M. Cott. MSS. Claudius E.VI. Register of lands leased by the brothers of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
  • 210. Records of the Corporation of Warden of St. Saviour's, Parcel 21.
  • 211. P.R.O., C 66/1165.
  • 212. P.R.O., C 54/1079.
  • 213. Deeds relating to the Manor of Paris Garden in the custody of the Council.
  • 214. P.R.O., C 54/1354.
  • 215. P.R.O., C 66/1593.
  • 216. P.R.O., S.P. 38/15.
  • 217. P.R.O., C 54/4055.
  • 218. P.R.O., C 54/4050.
  • 219. P.C.C., 59 Laud.
  • 220. Deeds of Brown's Estates, Ltd., in the custody of Messrs. Curwen Carter & Evans.
  • 221. P.R.O., C 54/4962.
  • 222. P.C.C., 67 Isham.
  • 223. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/1221, 33 & 34 Geo. II, Trin.
  • 224. Gent. Mag., 1803, pt. 1, p. 294.
  • 225. P.C.C., 250 Marriott.