Pages 1-11

Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1951.

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In this section


[See plates 1, 2 and 3]

The name “Lambeth” occurs in many forms in early records. It is of Saxon origin and signifies either a harbour or quay from which lambs were shipped, or a loam or muddy harbour. (fn. 1) Of the two the latter seems the more likely.

It is probable that the Roman road from the Kent coast via Canterbury and Rochester at one time crossed the Thames at Lambeth and linked up with the Edgware Road. Probably the river was easily fordable at this point, since in Roman times the ebb and flow of the tide did not extend above London Bridge and the river was considerably shallower than it is to-day. There was certainly an early river crossing at Lambeth, the precursor of the later Horseferry. (fn. n1)

Until the beginning of the 19th century most of the northern part of Lambeth was in fact as well as in name a “marsh” intersected with many ditches although, particularly after the completion of Westminster Bridge in 1750, a fringe of houses and industrial buildings grew up along the river front on the remains of the old earth wall and on the enclosures of land reclaimed from the river and known as “hopes.” (fn. 1)

The laying out of Westminster Bridge Road and Kennington Road circa 1750 stimulated some building development in their neighbourhood, but there was no intensive development of Lambeth Marsh and Prince's Meadows until after the formation of Waterloo Bridge and its approaches, and the more effective drainage of the area as a result of the powers conferred on the Surrey and Kent Sewer Commission in 1809. (fn. 3)

A rapid deterioration followed the coming of the railways to Lambeth: streets were cut up and buildings torn down or dismembered, while the series of dark, damp arches under the lines encouraged the more disreputable element of the population to the district.

The formation of the Albert Embankment in 1866–70 was the first move towards the improvement of North Lambeth, but there was little further tidying-up until the London County Council built County Hall on the wharves of Pedlar's Acre in 1906–22. The extension of the river wall from County Hall to Waterloo Bridge was planned in the 1930's, but the project was delayed owing to the war. Lambeth suffered severely from bomb damage and it was partly because there was a large expanse of damaged and derelict property on the river front that it was decided to utilise this area for the Festival of Britain and to push on the scheme for a new embankment wall and the erection of a new concert hall for London. Inevitably so large a project has resulted in changes in the locality to make more adequate approaches, but it has also meant the restoration of some old buildings and a general revival of interest in an area which, as the following pages will show, has many features of architectural and historical interest.

Lambeth Industries

There are several traditional industries in Lambeth. From the 17th to the 19th centuries timber yards and boat builders' yards lined most of the river front. The potter has plied his craft there since at least the time of Elizabeth, clay and fuel being brought by barge as they are at the present day. It has even been suggested that delft pottery was made in Lambeth before it was made in Delft. (fn. 4) There were glassworks in Lambeth from the early 17th century until recent times, while candles and soap have been made in the neighbourhood for at least 200 years.

Lambeth has been one of the centres of the printing trade since the beginning of the 19th century. Applegath and Cowper set up their first steam press in Duke Street (now Duchy Street), in 1819, and their successors, William Clowes & Sons Ltd., remained on the same site until their premises were burnt out in the recent war. (fn. 5)

The first shot tower in Lambeth was erected east of Waterloo Bridge circa 1789. (fn. 6) Shot continued to be made by the old method in the shot tower on the west side until 1949.

One of the most interesting industrial enterprises in Lambeth was the Coade Artificial Stoneworks, which functioned from 1769 until about 1837, and whose products, still to be seen on many London buildings, have more than justified the claims of the proprietors that they would outlast natural stone.

Lambeth Churches

The whole of the present metropolitan borough of Lambeth, which extends south as far as the boundary of the County of London, formerly comprised the parish of St. Mary, Lambeth. It was not until the first quarter of the 19th century that the need was felt for more ecclesiastical provision, and in fairly quick succession the churches of St. John, Waterloo Road (1824), St. Mary the Less (1828), Holy Trinity, Carlisle Lane (1841), All Saints, York Street (1846), St. Andrew, Coin Street (1856), and St. Thomas's (1857), were erected in North Lambeth. St. Peter's, Vauxhall, was built in 1861, and St. Philip's, Kennington Road, in 1863, while in more recent years St. Anselm's, Kennington Road, was built on the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

The most prominent of the non-conformist churches in the area covered by this volume is Christ Church, Westminster Bridge Road, built in 1873–6 for the congregation from Rowland Hill's chapel in Blackfriars Road. The Wesleyan Chapel and schools in Vauxhall Walk date from 1841, but are so damaged as to be unusable.

The Manors

The northern part of Lambeth was divided into two manors, Lambeth and Kennington. Both of them date from before the Conquest and, largely because they were in corporate hands, manorial organisation continued to operate in both until the passing of the Law of Property Act, 1925. In both manors the copyholders held by Borough English, the youngest sons inheriting or, if there were no sons, the daughters inheriting as co-heiresses.

The greater part of the old manor of Vauxhall lies outside the area covered by this volume, but it included some ground north of the site of Kennington Lane and a short account of the manor is therefore included here. The name Vauxhall was from the 17th century onward applied to ground which had previously been part of the manor of Kennington (see p. 11).

Lambeth Manor

The first reference to Lambeth that has been found is in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, where, under date 1042, is the statement: “This year died King Hardacnute at Lambeth as he stood drinking; he fell suddenly to the earth with a tremendous struggle; but those who were nigh at hand took him up; and he spoke not a word afterwards, but expired on the sixth day before the ides of June.” (fn. 7) Tradition says that he died at Kennington, (fn. 8) but as this does not seem to have been a royal manor at the time, whereas Lambeth was, he is much more likely to have been at the latter.

See of Canterbury

The Domesday Book entry reads; “St. Mary is a manor which is called LANCHEI. Countess Goda, sister of King Edward held it. It was then assessed for 10 hides; now for 2½ hides. The land is for 12 ploughs. In demesne there are 2 ploughs; and [there are] 12 villeins and 27 bordars with 4 ploughs. There is a church; and 19 burgesses in London who render 36 shillings; and there are 3 serfs; and 16 acres of meadow. Wood worth 3 hogs. In the time of king Edward, and afterwards, it was worth 10 pounds; now 11 pounds. The Bishop of Bayeux has 1 piece of arable land of this manor, which before and after the death of Goda lay in the land attached to this church.” (fn. 9)

Goda is said to have given the manor of Lambeth to the church of St. Andrew, Rochester, before the Conquest. (fn. 10) In view of the Domesday Book entry this seems unlikely, but both church and manor were granted to the convent of St. Andrew, Rochester, by William Rufus, and the grant was confirmed by his successors. There was friction, however, between the bishop of Rochester and the convent of St. Andrew, Rochester, about the possession of Lambeth manor, but finally an agreement was reached in 1197 by which the prior and convent of Rochester granted the manor of Lambeth to Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, in exchange for the manor of Darenth. The story of the struggles of the Archbishops to escape from the control of the monks of Canterbury by building a house first of all outside Canterbury and then in Lambeth is part of the wider struggle which waxed and waned throughout the middle ages in England both between the secular clergy and the monastic orders and between the English hierarchy and the Holy See.

The agreement granting the manor to the Archbishop provided that the bishop of Rochester and his successors should retain a house in the manor for their own use and should receive an annual payment of 5 marks out of the dues of the rectory. (fn. 10) Rochester House continued to be the London residence of the see of Rochester until 1540, (fn. 11) when by exchange it passed to the see of Carlisle (p. 75), but except during the Commonwealth period the manor as a whole remained in the possession of the see of Canterbury until its administration was taken over by the Ecclesiastical (now the Church) Commissioners.

In August, 1648, Sir John Wollaston and others, trustees for the sale of episcopal property sold (fn. 12) the manor of Lambeth for £7,073 os. 8d. to Thomas Scott of Marlow and Mathew Hardy of London, draper. The property included the Archbishop's palace with 4 acres of ground, and the park of 5 acres, containing 2 fishponds; Sowters lands next the park containing 14 acres; a close of pasture near Stangate “called the fourteen acres containing 13 acres”; 5 closes of marsh ground lying between the Thames and Lambeth Marsh containing 28 acres; 5 acres of meadow ground lying in Lott Mead and commonly called the Wild Marsh; 300 acres of woodland called Northwood, and three coppices there containing 130 acres. The grant stated that it was intended to pull down the mansion house, the materials of which were valued at £6,000. The grant also included the Archbishop's barge house and other buildings near the rectory. The plan on Plate 60 was made at this time.

The manor was given back to the Archbishop at the Restoration. Except for the group of buildings known as Water Lambeth it continued to be largely undeveloped until the erection of Westminster Bridge and its approaches, for which the Archbishop sold land to the Bridge Commissioners.

In 1806 the Archbishop obtained an Enclosure Act (fn. 13) for the manor (part of the enclosure map is reproduced on Plate 51). Six years later a detailed survey of the northern part of the manor was made by Driver. The map, of which the Church Commissioners have two copies, measures approximately 9 feet by 10 feet, and on it every holding, garden and field is marked and the names of the tenants are given. It must have been invaluable during the next 20 years when rapid road and building development was taking place all over the manor.

In 1820 the Archbishop obtained an Act of Parliament which, among other things, enabled him to let on long building leases his lands in Lambeth “whereof from the Increase of Trade and population and the consequent necessity or demand for Buildings and other Improvements are … particularly convenient for the Scite of Houses, Warehouses and other Buildings to a very considerable extent.” (fn. 14)

The court rolls of the manor of Lambeth from 1280 until 1928 are (with some gaps) still preserved by the Church Commissioners as are copies of the leases granted in consequence of the above-mentioned Act. These records have been drawn on to a large extent in compiling the history of individual sites in the following chapters, though the lay-out was so completely altered during the rapid development of the 1820's that it is not always easy to identify individual plots of ground.

The Manor of Kennington

The manor of Kennington is divided into two main sections, Prince's Meadows on the north, which was demesne land, and the land between Black Prince Road and Vauxhall, which was partly demesne and partly copyhold. The manor of Lambeth was sandwiched in between these two sections, but scattered in it were a few detached portions of Kennington Manor. The lay-out can be seen on the plan on Plate 2 reproduced from Middleton's Survey of 1785. Some parts of the estate have been sold or exchanged since that survey but, in the main, there has been little alteration in it up to the present day. The reason for the intermingling of the two manors can only be surmised, but it probably originated in Saxon times. Kennington has been interpreted as “royal manor” and it has been suggested that Saxon kings had a palace there, (fn. 15) but although the manor has been royal property since 1337 it was not so at the time of Domesday Book, when it was described as being in Brixton Hundred, and in the holding of Teodric the goldsmith, who also held it in the time of Edward the Confessor. “It was then assessed for 5 hides, now for 1 hide and 3 virgates. The land is for 2½ ploughs. In demesne there is one plough; and 4 villeins and 3 bordars with 2 ploughs. There is 1 serf; and 4 acres of meadow. It was, and is, worth 3 pounds.” (fn. 9)

At the time of his death in 1260, Kennington was held by William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle. (fn. 16) The reversion of it was probably included in his conveyance of land to Richard de Bolebec, for in 1276/7 a daughter of Richard's son, Hugh de Bolebec, and her husband, Hugh Delaval, sold it to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. (fn. 9) The latter died at Kennington in 1304 and his grandson, John Plantagenet, Earl of Warenne and Surrey, in 1316 granted this and other manors to Edward II. (fn. 17) During the upheavals of the next few years the manor changed hands several times. In 1322 it was granted to Hugh Le Despenser the elder, but in 1326, after the Despensers were apprehended and executed, it again reverted to the Crown. An inquisition taken at this time shows that the issues of the manor were worth £20 a year. (fn. 17)

Edward, Prince of Wales, 'the Black Prince' (Shield for Peace)

In 1327 the King granted the manor to Elizabeth de Burgh, his kinswoman, and it remained in her keeping until 1337, when she yielded it to the King in exchange for land in Suffolk. (fn. 16) In the same year Edward III, by a charter dated from Woodstock, granted (fn. 18) the manors of Kennington and Vauxhall and a meadow in Lambeth and Newington to Edward, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall, commonly known as the Black Prince, “to be held by … [him] and his heirs, eldest sons of kings of England and dukes of Cornwall, and not to be granted to any other,” so that if any such duke should die without a son to whom the duchy might descend, the manors and meadow should revert to the King until a son should be born who was heir apparent to the realm. With the exception of the sequestration during the Commonwealth period, this grant has remained operative ever since, and the manor of Kennington is administered with the other estates belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall.

Edward, the Black Prince, took up residence in the manor house of Kennington and it remained a royal palace until the time of Henry VIII. Edward III frequently stayed there and dated letters there between 1338 and 1343.

In 1356, the year of the Battle of Poitiers, the Black Prince reserved to himself the right to purchase all victuals put up for sale in the manors of Kennington and Vauxhall for “the solace and succour” of the King's army in Gascony. (fn. 19)

In 1362 the manor of Vauxhall was granted by Edward, Prince of Wales, to the Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury. (fn. 19) From this time Vauxhall and Kennington manors have a separate history (see p. 11).

The Black Prince died at Westminster on 8th June, 1376, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. Stow (fn. 20) relates how in 1377 the ten-year-old Prince Richard, then Duke of Cornwall in succession to his father, was entertained “on the Sunday before Candlemas, in the night, [by] one hundred and thirty Citizens, disguised and wellhorsed, in a Mummery, with sound of Trumpets, Sackbuts, Cornets, Shalmes, and other Minstrels, and innumerable Torchlights of waxe; [who] rode from Newgate through Cheape over the Bridge through Southwarke, and so to Kennington besides Lambeth,” where he was staying with his mother and his uncle, the Duke of Lancaster.

Edward III died early in 1377, and on the 26th of June, King Richard, in the chief chamber of “his manor of Kenyngton,” in the presence of the King of Castille, the Bishop of Worcester, John Bishop of Hereford, Robert de Assheton, the late King's Chamberlain, and others, delivered the great seal to the Chancellor, the Bishop of St. David's. (fn. 16)

On 3rd May, 1381, the King's clerk, Arnold Brocas, was appointed clerk of the works at the Manor of Kennington and other places, and William de Hannay was appointed to keep the accounts of the works there. (fn. 19)

The Patent Rolls for the next century contain many entries concerning the repairs and upkeep of Kennington Palace and the stewardship of the manor. One of the most notable clerks of the works there was Geoffrey Chaucer, who was appointed in 1389, with the wages of 25. a day. (fn. 19)

During the reign of Henry IV, his son Henry, Prince of Wales, frequently stayed at Kennington. The establishment was on a fairly lavish scale for on 13th November, 1400, provision was made for 400 quarters of oats to be taken for the use of the prince at Kennington, and a few days later 100 quarters of oats and 100 quarters of wheat were also ordered for his use there. (fn. 19) In 1404 the manor was valued for the subsidy at £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 21)

In 1414 the King's esquire, John Waterton, constable of Windsor Castle, had a grant (fn. 19) for life of the office of keeper of the manor of Kennington in succession to John de Stanley, “chivaler,” and in the same year John Straunge, clerk of the works there, had a writ of aid with power “to take stonecutters, carpenters and other workmen and labourers and stone, timber, tiles, shingles, glass, iron, lead and other necessaries,” and to sell “boughs, bark and other residues of trees.” (fn. 19)

By a patent of 1452, Henry VI committed to Ralph Legh the keeping of all the demesne lands and meadows of the manor, with a barn and other easements without “le pale,” the rabbit warren and the rents and profits of the court, to hold for 30 years for the payment of 20 marks a year, on condition that he kept in repair the close of the warren, and the wall by the Thames and the barn, and met all expenses with the exception of those incurred on the manor house, so long as sufficient oak timber for the repair of “lez grouncellez” of the barn and gutter (the ditch behind the river wall) was delivered to Ralph when he needed them. (fn. 19) Among later stewards of the manor were James and Robert Legh (1446), Thomas Facette (1460), John Davy (1461), Thomas Saintleger (1465), Sir Robert Percy (1484), Richard Guldeford (1485) and Sir Richard Cholmeley and Sir John Dance (1516). (fn. 17)

One of the last royal personages to use Kennington Palace was Catherine of Aragon, who stayed there when she first came to England in 1501, while her retinue were preparing for her ceremonial entry into London. (fn. 22) In 1516 a lease of the lordship of Kennington for 21 years was granted to Sir John Pulteney for a rent of £26 13s. 4d. a year, (fn. 23) and thenceforth the whole or the greater part of the manor was normally leased out to one or more lessees.

In 1531, Henry VIII gave orders for the demolition of Kennington manor house and for its materials to be used in the erection of Whitehall Palace. (fn. 23) In the accounts of the works are items-for taking down the roof of the hall at Kennington Place; digging a dock near “Faulxe Halle” for loading barges; wages of workmen in pulling down the house and throwing down the walls; for the carriage of 16 loads of oaken timber and planks of elm from the same place to “Faulx Halle” and for carriage of stone, flint, chalk and brickbats from the mill behind Westminster Abbey to the park wall, parcel of the stuff brought from Kennington Place and there landed. (fn. 23)

In 1589 Queen Elizabeth granted a lease of Kennington to Richard Beamond and Miles Barker, gunners, in succession to David Vincent, under the description of the “demesne lands of our manor of Kennington. And all houses, buildings, structures, barns, stables, dovecotes, yards, orchards, gardens, land, meadow, feed, leasowes and pasture… containing by estimation, 122 acres … ” (fn. 24) A reversionary lease to take effect from 1620 was later granted to Thomas Webber. Edward Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College, bought both leases. (fn. 25)

On 5th July, 1617, in spite of the unexpired terms remaining on the old leases, Sir Noel Caron, the Dutch Ambassador, was granted a 21 years lease of the manor, and undertook at his own costs to provide for the stewards and surveyors of the Prince of Wales sufficient meat, drink and lodging for themselves and their servants, and hay, litter and pasture for their horses for the space of two days and one night in every year. (fn. 17) Caron built himself a house in South Lambeth. He died in 1624 and was buried in St. Mary's Church.

Francis, Lord Cottington, secretary to Prince Charles from 1622 to 1625, succeeded Caron as lessee of the manor. (fn. 26)

In 1629, the demesne lands were increased (fn. 17) by the addition of a piece of ground on the waterside near Vauxhall, which was surrendered to the King by the copyholder John Abrahall for £1,400. It was known as Copped Hall, later as Vauxhall.

When the royal estates were seized by parliament the manor was put into the hands of trustees among whom were Lord Fairfax, Sir William Waller, and Sir Henry Mildmay. In 1650, William Scott bought the demesne lands of Kennington, which were valued at £307 7s. 6d. a year, and the Prince's Meadows, valued at £113 12s. 6d. a year. (fn. 17) In 1655 they were acquired by Thomas Scott of Marlow, who had also bought the manor of Lambeth. Richard Graves, who had acted as Scott's agent in the purchase, became the steward. (fn. 27)

At the Restoration there was considerable competition for a lease of Kennington Manor. The successful applicant was Henry, Lord Moore, afterwards Earl of Drogheda, who on 22nd May, 1661, was granted a lease of Kennington for 31 years. (fn. 17) A week later he sold his lease for £1,500 to John Morrice and Robert Clayton. Moore's lease gives the names of the undertenants as: Paul French, who held “the great barn (by Kennington Manor House) with a parcel of land adjoining, containing eight acres and the brickfield of four acres” Anne Hinde, a plot of 14 acres and another plot of 20 acres and six cottages in the Butts (now Black Prince Road); Dover, “forty acres near Kennington Common.” (fn. 17) These properties can be seen on the 1636 plan (Plate 1).

Vauxhall (or Copped Hall) and Prince's Meadows were omitted from Moore's lease. The former the King retained in his own hand, the latter was granted to John Arundell (see p. 14).

In 1700 Sir Robert Clayton was granted a further lease for 30½ years at a rent of £16 10s. 9d. a year. He died on 16th July, 1707, having been an M.P. for the City of London for a number of years. He was succeeded by his nephew, William, who was created a baronet in 1732, and who obtained a renewal of the Kennington lease. Reference to the pedigree of the Claytons in the appendix will help to clarify the somewhat complicated history of the connection of the family with Kennington Manor during the 1 8th and early 19th centuries.

In 1761 a new lease of Kennington was granted to Sambrook Freeman in trust for William Clayton, second son of the first baronet, for 99 years from 1777, if William or George Clayton (sons of William Clayton) or James Medwin should live so long, at the old rent of £16 10s. Qd. and a fine of £468. (fn. 17)

In 1775 an Act of Parliament was passed “to enable William Clayton Esquire, during his life, and the Guardians of his Infant Children after his decease to make building and Improving Leases of certain lands and premises part of the Manor of Kennington… held by Letters Patent … and to raise money for the payment of the Fines and expenses of renewing the said Letters Patent and … granting such Building and Improving Leases.” (fn. 28) Relying on this Act, and on the fact that renewals of the leases to his family had been granted by the Duchy for a period of over a century, Clayton and his agent granted a number of building leases of Kennington property for absolute periods of up to 99 years. His son William succeeded to the property in 1785 and became 4th baronet on the death of his cousin, Sir Robert Clayton, in 1799.

It was obvious that the three lives for which the lease had been granted would not last out the 99 years, and in 1808 Sir William offered to surrender the original lease if the Duchy would grant him an annuity of £1,238 for the remainder of the three lives. The Duchy refused on the ground that the sub-leases had been granted on terms which could not be justified. George Clayton died in 1828 and James Medwin soon after, and Sir William, having failed to get a renewal of his lease from the Duchy, filed a bill in the Court of Chancery. The arguments on both sides were long and intricate. The Clayton family had undoubtedly done well out of the estate, but the Duchy authorities had asked for trouble by granting a lease for 99 years or three lives when it was normally assumed that three lives were about equal to 31 years. (fn. 29)

Sir William died in 1834 while his case was still pending and the estate reverted to the Duchy.

Duchy of Cornwall

The series of records preserved in the Duchy of Cornwall office include the rolls of the Courts Leet and Courts Baron, which were held until recent times, and a number of surveys and plans, which provide detailed information of the gradual development of Kennington Manor from the Tudor period to the present day. Copies of a number of these have also survived at the Public Record Office.

The first survey is dated 18th April, 1554. (fn. 30) It lists only four freeholders: Mary Coo, widow, holding a tenement occupied by James Ambley, gentleman, and another tenement and cottage, at the yearly rent of a pound of cinnamon; Ralphe Ode, holding several tenements lately held by Roger Leigh; Richard Stoughton, gentleman, holding a tenement occupied by Mary Coo, with a curtilage and half an acre of ground, lately held by John Parker, valet to the King's Wardrobe; and Thomas Pouley, of London, fishmonger, holding ten scattered tenements in Lambeth Marsh. Most of the copyhold land is described as meadow, pasture or garden ground. In 1615 John Norden made a complete survey of the manor with the names of the tenants and the rents they paid. (fn. n2) (fn. 31) The manor is stated to consist of two parts. The boundaries of the first part are described as beginning “at the Bridge called Hasardes Bridge (over Vauxhall Creek, at the junction of Brixton Road and Camberwell New Road), from thence by a common water course runs along to a Bridge called Martins (Merton) Bridge, and from thence as far as a Stone Bridge called Fauxhall Bridge and from the said Bridge by the highway between Coptehall and Fauxehall to the River Thames; and by the shore of the said River to a Port called the Docke where the Manor of Lambeth belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and this Manor of Kennington, belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall are divided. And from the Docks aforesaid towards the east by the Highway leading towards Kennington as far as another Common Water Course which divides the aforesaid Manor of Lambeth and a certain Parcel of the Demesne Land of this Manor extending itself in length northwards into the Highway leading from Newington to Croydon and by the said Highway south east as far as Kennington Common including as well the said Common as a Close of the Heir of John Hartop as far as the Highway leading from Croydon into and as far as the said Common, and so by the Water Course first mentioned.”

The bounds of the other part of the manor (later known as Prince's Meadows) begin “near the River Thames at the mouth of a certain Water Course which divided the Manor of Parres Garden and the Manor of Kennington and from the mouth of the said Water Course by a ditch of water under the Green Wall leading from Parres Garden against St. George's Fields to another ditch of Water, secondly from the said Field and by the said ditch towards the south to the Green Lane which leads from the Town of Lambeth marsh to the Marshes of Lambeth north west, and by that lane to the River Thames to a place called the Sluice and from thence by the shore of the River to the mouth of the Common Water Course which divides the Manor of Parres Garden and Kennington as before mentioned. ” In addition there were “many Tenements lying dispersed within the Town of Lambeth Marsh.”

In 1636 Sir Charles Harbord made a survey (fn. 32) of the demesne land of the manor. The accompanying plan, which is preserved in the Duchy of Cornwall Office, is reproduced on Plate 1. It shows the Prince's Meads (or Meadows) inset in one corner. “Kennington Way” corresponds to the modern Black Prince Road, while “Kingston Rode” is on the line of Kennington Lane. The “great barn” of the Manor House was approximately on the site of St. Anselm's Church at the junction of Sancroft Street with Kennington Road.

A parliamentary survey was made of the manor in 1649 detailing both demesne and copyhold lands. (fn. 26) The value of the latter was estimated at £772 10s. The perquisities of the fines and amerciaments were estimated at £100 14s. a year, but this was corrected to £60 upon further enquiry being made in 1654 on behalf of the purchaser. (fn. 33) The purchaser seems also to have complained that too high a value had been set on the houses “being but very weake and slender buildings.”

There does not seem to have been a general survey made of the manor at the time of the Restoration, but Sir Charles Harbord made a report (fn. 34) which is mainly of interest for the information it gives about Prince's Meadows (see p. 14) and Vauxhall (see p. 148).

An account rendered by John Summersell, bailiff, for the years 1714 to 1724 sets out the names of the tenants and their payments. Among the tenants listed as having property in Lambeth Marsh is Nicholas Hawksmoor, the architect. (fn. 17)

The most complete and detailed survey of the manor was that made by Messrs. Hodskinson and Middleton in 1785, the index map from which is reproduced on Plate 2. In this survey every parcel of land with its tenants is listed and described and there are plans of the whole estate. (fn. 35)

These surveys will be frequently referred to in the accounts of the roads and houses set out in subsequent chapters.

Vauxhall Manor

There is no mention in the Domesday Survey of the manor of Vauxhall. It seems to have been part of the manor of South Lambeth which was held in the reign of King John by William de Redvers, Earl of Devon, and it was part of the dower of Margaret, wife of Baldwin de Redvers. When, after Baldwin's death in 1216, Margaret was forced to marry the notorious Falkes de Breaute, the latter lived on her land for a time and gave to it the name of Fawkes Hall or Vauxhall. (fn. 9) After the death of Falkes in 1226 the king granted to Earl Warenne “all the houses which were of Falkes de Breaute with appurtenances at Lambeth to inhabit until the son and heir of Baldwin, Earl of the Isle of Wight, should come of age.” (fn. 18) Vauxhall remained in the hands of the Redvers family until 1293 when, at the death of Isabel de Fortibus, sister of Baldwin de Redvers, both it and the manor of South Lambeth passed into the hands of the Crown. From this time forward the two manors were amalgamated under the name of Vauxhall. In 1308 Vauxhall was granted to Richard de Gerseroy, the King's butler, and in 1317 to Roger Damory and Elizabeth his wife, the King's niece. Roger Damory joined the rebel forces of the Earl of Lancaster in 1321 and at his death his estates were forfeited. (fn. 9) In 1324 Vauxhall, like Kennington, was granted to Hugh le Despenser, and their history is similar until 1362, when the Black Prince granted Vauxhall with 31 acres and 1 rood of land in Lambeth and four“hopes” and“delles … lying by the water of Thames, called Smythopes, Risshopes, Litlehopes and Halfhopes at the Walende” to the Prior and Convent of Christ Church, Canterbury, to found chantries for the king and prince in that priory. (fn. 19) This grant was a condition made by the Pope for a dispensation to the prince to marry his cousin, the Fair Maid of Kent.

After the dissolution of the priory in 1539, Vauxhall Manor was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church (fn. 23) in whose hands it remained until it was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The house, later known as Vauxhall (Plate 120), stood on ground which was originally part of the manor of Kennington and had no connection with Vauxhall Manor proper.


  • n1. Bernard Davis, who carried out some excavations in the grounds of Lambeth Palace in 1935, stated that he found what appeared to be the end of the Roman road there.
  • n2. There is another, annotated, copy of the survey in the City of London Record Office which differs in various particulars from that in the office of the Duchy of Cornwall.
  • 1. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, by Eilert Ekwall, 1936.
  • 2. Surr. Arch. Coll., vol. XLIII. The Roman Road from West Wickham to London, by B. F. Davis.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. English delft ware, by F. H. Garner, 1948.
  • 5. Information supplied by Messrs. Clowes & Sons, Ltd.
  • 6. The history and antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth, by T. Allen, 1826.
  • 7. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Everyman Edition.
  • 8. History and antiquities of the parish of Lambeth, by J. Nichols, 1786.
  • 9. V.C.H., Surrey.
  • 10. Registrum Roffense, ed. John Thorpe, 1769.
  • 11. Private Act, 31 Hen. VIII, No. 26.
  • 12. P.R.O., C 54/3414.
  • 13. Local Act, 46 Geo. III, cap. 57.
  • 14. Private Act, 1 Geo. IV, cap. 48.
  • 15. Historical particulars of Lambeth Parish and Lambeth Palace in addition to the histories by Dr. Ducarel, by Samuel Denne, 1795.
  • 16. Cal. of Close Rolls.
  • 17. MS. History of the Manor of Kennington, by Rollo Laird Clowes, in the Minet Library (copy in the L.C.C. Members' Library).
  • 18. Cal. of Charter Rolls.
  • 19. Cal. of Pat. Rolls.
  • 20. Survey of London, by John Stow, 1618 ed.
  • 21. P.R.O., E 179/184/49a.
  • 22. Johannis Lelandi Antiquarii de Rebus Britanniciis Collectanea.
  • 23. Cal. of L.& P. Hen. VIII.
  • 24. P.R.O., C 66/1332.
  • 25. Cat. of MSS. and Muniments of Dulwich College, 1881.
  • 26. P.R.O., E 317 (Surr.), No. 33.
  • 27. P.R.O., E 320/R. 20.
  • 28. Private Act, 16 Geo. III, cap. 58.
  • 29. Case between Sir William Clayton, Bart., and the Duchy of Cornwall by J. Haines, 1834 and 1835.
  • 30. P.R.O., E/36/168.
  • 31. City of London Records, Norden's Survey of Kennington, 1615.
  • 32. Duchy of Cornwall Office, Harbord's Survey, quoted by R. L. Clowes.
  • 33. P.R.O., E 317 (Surr.), No. 34.
  • 34. P.R.O., T/51/1–14.
  • 35. Duchy of Cornwall Office, Hodskinson and Middleton's Survey of Kennington, 1785.