Parishes: Putney

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'Parishes: Putney', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4, ed. H E Malden( London, 1912), British History Online [accessed 15 July 2024].

'Parishes: Putney', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Edited by H E Malden( London, 1912), British History Online, accessed July 15, 2024,

"Parishes: Putney". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Ed. H E Malden(London, 1912), , British History Online. Web. 15 July 2024.

In this section


Putelei (xi cent.); Poultenheth, Pultynghyde (xiv cent.); Potenhith, Pottenhith (xv cent.); Putenega, Putneythe, Puttennethe, Potney (xvi cent.); Pottnie, Puttney (xvii cent.).

The suburban parish of Putney, a ward within the metropolitan borough of Wandsworth, is situated about 4¼ miles from Hyde Park Corner on the River Thames, which bounds it on the north-east. The Beverley Brook, flowing northwards into the Thames, forms the western boundary. In the river palaeolithic, neolithic and bronze implements have been found, possibly washed down from the higher ground or carried down the brook.

The elevation of Putney parish is about 50 ft. above the ordnance datum near the river, and rises to about 150 ft. at Roehampton and on Putney Heath, again sloping down to 50 ft. in Putney Vale and that part of Richmond Park which is included in the parish. Its area is a little over 2,252 acres. A map printed in 1800 shows that the land was then mostly park or heath, with some arable and a little market-garden and pasture. (fn. 1) There were three common fields—Thames Field, between the village and the mouth of Beverley Brook; Park Field, south of the Richmond Road; and Basin Field, east of Putney Hill. No Inclosure Act is known. Putney Lower Common formed the end of the present Barnes Common, in Putney parish. A great deal of land still unbuilt over, as well as common, remains, and includes 1,447 acres of permanent grass, 66¾ of arable land and 15 of woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The heath is a fine expanse of about 400 acres. An ornamental piece of water called King's Mere, which lies to the south near the parish boundary, was completed in 1891. Putney has always been part of the manor of Wimbledon, (fn. 3) and has no separate manorial descent. In the Domesday Survey it appears as the vill of Putelei, the toll from which was worth 20s. to the lord of the manor. (fn. 4) This was probably from the ferry across the river, for a long time the only means of transit.

The village, which originally clustered with the church near the bank of the river, has developed very rapidly during the last half-century into the flourishing town it is at the present day. In 1849 it was said to be only partly paved, (fn. 5) although as early as 1656 thirteen parishioners of Putney petitioned Cromwell to be allowed to pave the High Street, which they said was long and broad and could not be made by gravelling. (fn. 6) The population increased from 3,811 in 1831 (fn. 7) to 24,139 in 1901. (fn. 8) The Richmond branch of the London and South Western railway has a station at the top of the High Street, which extends from the bridge. East Putney station is on the District railway.

The continuation of High Street, which lies at right angles to the river, is called Putney Hill, and ascends towards Wimbledon Common. A branch from this, called Kingston Road, leads over Putney Heath to the low ground called Putney Vale, and crossing the Beverley Brook by a bridge continues to Kingston. High Street is crossed above Putney station by the Upper Richmond Road, which leads from East Putney station to Sheen and Richmond, being joined at Barnes Common by the Lower Richmond Road, which runs from Putney Bridge through Putney Common. Three roads branch from the upper road to Putney Heath and Richmond Park; they are Putney Park Lane, Roehampton Lane and Priory Lane.

With the growth of the town High Street has become much modernized, shops and other business premises having taken the place of the old houses which once stood there. Two hotels called the 'White Lion' and the 'Red Lion' until lately preserved the names of inns which were in existence in 1636, (fn. 9) but of these only the 'White Lion' now remains. A new arcade known as Putney Market connects High Street with Brewhouse Lane. In Brewhouse Lane are some 18th-century cottages; a row of three two-storied houses built of stock brick with red brick dressings and wooden cornices remain pretty much in their original state. The free public library, in a branch road near the station called Disraeli Road, was opened in 1899. The building and site were the gift of the late Sir George Newnes, bart., J.P., one of whose residences was Wildcroft, Putney Heath. The Royal Hospital for Incurables is at West Hill, Putney Heath.

The present schools in Putney are St. Mary's (National), founded in 1851 and rebuilt in 1867; All Saints (National), 1858; Upper Grade Boys' and Girls', in connexion with All Saints' National; Council Schools, Brandlehow Road and Deodar Road, opened in 1901 and 1902 respectively; Roehampton Church, 1850; The Sacred Heart, Roman Catholic, 1887.

The Putney Embankment, which extends for half a mile from the bridge to the Beverley Brook, was constructed in 1887. One of the great events of the year is the Oxford and Cambridge boat race, which starts from here and is rowed to Mortlake. The championship course was altered from Westminster to Putney to Putney to Mortlake in 1845. Putney has superseded Westminster and Lambeth as a rowing centre, and is the head quarters of several noted rowing clubs, including the Leander Club, the London Rowing Club, the Thames Rowing Club and others. The Metropolitan Amateur Regatta was established at Putney in 1866.

In or about 1670 there appears to have been a project for building bridges across the Thames at Lambeth and Putney, but this was not permitted by the Rulers of the Company of Watermen, 'as their society of 60,000 souls would thereby be ruined, the nursery of seamen supplanted, and navigation much prejudiced.' It was stated that 'during the Dutch war 2,500 able seamen were at once impressed from among them.' (fn. 10)

In 1642 during the Civil War, when the king's army had retired from Turnham Green to Kingston, (fn. 11) and his further intentions were uncertain, a bridge of boats was thrown over the river from Fulham by Essex to enable him to cross into Surrey readily should the king advance south of London. (fn. 12) In 1647 the village became the head quarters of the Parliamentary army, whose councils were held in the church. (fn. 13) In the succeeding year Putney Heath was the meeting-place of the Surrey petitioners to Parliament, (fn. 14) and they marched thence round by London Bridge to Westminster; so presumably the bridge of boats had been removed. In 1729 the ferry was superseded by a wooden bridge from Fulham to Putney, (fn. 15) built under an Act of Parliament passed in 1726. Two years later the income derived from the tolls was said to be £1,500, and at the end of the century to be nearly double that amount and constantly increasing. (fn. 16) An Act for enabling the Metropolitan Board of Works to construct the present stone bridge, consisting of five arches, was passed in 1881. (fn. 17) The foundation-stone was laid by King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, in 1884, and the bridge opened by him in 1886.

In 1580 there was a dispute between the tenants of Putney and Wandsworth as to the right of fishing in the Thames. The fishermen of Wandsworth were reported to have taken 140 salmon between Monday and Saturday, 'to the great honour of God,' but their fishing room had been denied on account of Putney. After a long contest it was restored to them by the Lord Mayor and Council of London. (fn. 18) It is on record that in 1663 Putney fishery was let for an annual rent of the three best salmon that should be caught in the months of March, April and May. When Wimbledon Manor was sold to the Duchess of Marlborough the fishery was let for £6 a year; the rent was afterwards increased to £8, (fn. 19) at which it continued until 1786, when the fishery is said to have been abandoned. (fn. 20)

The earliest known reference to Putney Park occurs in a document of 1397, when it was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury as part of his manor of Mortlake. (fn. 21) The name usually appears in the evidences as the 'park of Mortlake, alias Putney,' so that it evidently once extended into Mortlake. The situation of this park is south of the Upper Richmond Road, a lane still called Putney Park Lane forming the eastern boundary. The extent is said to have been 300 acres. (fn. 22) It descended with the manors of Mortlake and Wimbledon (q.v.) until the death of Queen Katherine Parr in 1548, after which it was reserved to the Crown, being expressly excluded from the grant of Wimbledon Manor to Sir Thomas Cecil in 1590. Robert Tyrwhit had been appointed custodian of the park in or before 1544, (fn. 23) and the office seems to have been granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir William Cecil Lord Burghley. (fn. 24) After his death in 1598 (fn. 25) his patent licence for the park was returned by his son Thomas Lord Burghley, (fn. 26) whose third son Sir Edward Cecil was appointed custodian for life in 1603, and in 1608 wrote to Sir Walter Cope begging him to recommend the repair of the park to the Earl of Salisbury. (fn. 27) In 1615, before the death of Sir Edward Cecil, who was created Baron Putney and Viscount Wimbledon in 1625, (fn. 28) Sir Charles Howard, junior, kt., received a grant of the custody for life, (fn. 29) but Sir Edward Cecil evidently retained some interest in it. Five years later Sir Charles Howard had a further grant of £15 for the relief of the deer there and £15 a year for preservation of them in winter and hard weather. (fn. 30) In 1626 the king, by the advice of his commissioners, resolved to dispark the inclosed ground and sell it away in fee farm. He therefore declared it disparked, relieved Edward Viscount Wimbledon and Sir Charles Howard of the custody, and granted all the deer to Sir Richard Weston, kt. (fn. 31) The following year Sir Richard Weston obtained a grant of the park, (fn. 32) but this probably represented the uninclosed land, as in 1634 he, as Earl of Portland, was given licence to inclose 450 acres of his demesnes in the parishes of Putney and Mortlake and to make a park and fill it with deer. He and his heirs were also granted free warren in all their lands in those parishes. (fn. 33) The earl is said to have been the builder of a splendid mansion at Roehampton, the site of which was afterwards occupied by a house at Roehampton Grove, (fn. 34) but it is doubtful whether a park of this size was made, as he died about nine months after obtaining the licence, (fn. 35) and his son Jerome Earl of Portland began to alienate the estate in 1636. He conveyed the park in that year to Sir Abraham Dawes, kt., and John Dawes, (fn. 36) apparently in trust for Sir Abraham's son, Sir Thomas Dawes, (fn. 37) who about 1650 sold the house, and possibly the park, to Christian Dowager Countess of Devonshire, an enthusiastic supporter of the royal cause and an intimate friend of Queen Henrietta Maria. After the Restoration she was frequently visited at Roehampton by Charles II. Her son the third Earl of Devonshire died at the house in 1684. (fn. 38) It seems to have been sold after the death of his widow in 1689 to Sir Jeffrey Jeffrys, alderman of London, who died in 1707. (fn. 39) Subsequently it came into the possession of Joseph Bagnall, after whose death it was sold by a Private Act of Parliament of 1743–4. (fn. 40) How long the park went with the house is uncertain, but in 1780 it was the property of Earl Spencer, lord of the manor of Wimbledon. (fn. 41) The house came into the possession of Fordyce, the banker, who sold it to Thomas Parker. In 1792 it belonged to Sir Joshua Vanneck, bart., (fn. 42) afterwards Baron Huntingfield, (fn. 43) who pulled down the house and built a more modern villa. (fn. 44) This apparently was not the original house, for Manning and Bray (fn. 45) say that the latter was pulled down soon after 1700. The house was acquired by a Mr. Fitzherbert, and at the beginning of the 19th century by William Gosling, a London banker. (fn. 46) In 1632 a chapel was consecrated by Laud, then Bishop of London, in the Earl of Portland's house, and his son Jerome Weston was married in it the same year. It was under the invocation of the Holy Trinity. Thomas Parker pulled it down in 1777 and built a new chapel about 100 yards from the house. (fn. 47)

Roehampton is a hamlet in Putney which now forms a separate ecclesiastical parish. The village of Roehampton is situated about the centre of Putney parish. In the reign of Henry VII it consisted of fourteen houses, (fn. 48) at the end of the 18th century there were forty-four, (fn. 49) and in 1901 the number of inhabited houses was 285. (fn. 50) Roehampton Park lies to the south of the village between Putney Heath on the east and Richmond Park on the west. Robert Tyrwhit, who afterwards had a grant of the custody of Putney Park, was made master of the hunt of deer in Roehampton Park in 1540–1. (fn. 51)

There are many interesting houses in Putney parish, situated chiefly at Roehampton and on the brow of Putney Heath, which commands a beautiful view. Roehampton House in Roehampton Lane was built about 1710, and during the 18th century was the residence of Thomas Cary, William Earl of Albemarle, and William Drake. In the 19th century it was one of the seats of the Earls of Leven and Melville, (fn. 52) and is now occupied by the present earl. The house was designed by Archer, and is a fine and complete example of its date. It is of red brick and three stories in height. The centre portion of the front is slightly broken forward, and a central feature is formed by the dressings of the central entrance and large arched window above; Doric pilasters and entablature, with a broken curved pediment, frame the entrance, while the arched window is treated with a Corinthian pilaster order, and contained beneath its entablature. This portion having been kept painted, it is impossible to tell whether it is of stone or stucco. The floors are marked by brick string courses; the window openings, with the exception of those just mentioned, have cut-brick projecting keys, and are surrounded by a bead of the same material. A bold modillion cornice of stone or stucco crowns the whole, surmounted in the centre by a balustrade and at the sides by a plain brick parapet. A flight of twelve stone steps of a complicated geometrical plan with wrought-iron railings leads up to the entrance. The landings, of which there are two, are paved in alternate lozenges of red and white stone. An arcade of brick arches connects the house with the stables on the south and a corresponding outbuilding on the north. The garden front is nearly similar to the entrance front, with the exception that a niche takes the place of the central arched first-floor window on that elevation. A wing was added on the north in 1859 by Lady Leven, the owner. The entrance hall is nearly square, measuring about 20 ft. by 22 ft., and paved with squares of white marble, with black marble margin. The walls are panelled in painted deal, and Corinthian pilasters are introduced, whose entablature is carried round the hall. The dining-room opens out of the hall by a doorway immediately opposite to the entrance, and is panelled in the same material. The hall and dining-room occupy the full depth of the central portion of the house. To the right of the dining-room, and opening out of it, is the boudoir. The chimney-piece is a remarkable piece of work, carved in freestone, and said to be the work of Grinling Gibbons. The walls are panelled. To the left of the dining-room, also opening out of it, is the drawing-room. The chimney-piece is of white marble, the design of Louis XIV type. These three rooms occupy the rear or garden front. Two rooms of similar size and shape to the boudoir and drawingroom occupy the entrance front on either side of the hall. The space in the centre of the house left between the pair of rooms on the right-hand side of the hall is occupied by the principal stairs, a very uncommon piece of work in two flights. The soffit of each step is shaped to the form of the console bracket. The answering space on the left-hand side of the hall was originally occupied by the back stairs and a dressing-room opening out of the room on the entrance front. On the first floor directly over the hall, occupying the full height of the first and second floors, is a room painted by Sir James Thornhill. The painting is executed on the plastered surface of the walls. The subject of the ceiling is 'The Feast of the Gods.' The ceiling is coved and flat. The walls are painted with landscapes in architectural settings. The chimney-piece has mirror and concave pyramidal overmantel, and the enrichments of the mouldings are painted on the flat. In the stables to the south of the house one of the original stall divisions still exists.

Downshire House, which is nearly opposite Roehampton House, was built by Brettingham for the Marquess of Downshire in the latter part of the 18th century. (fn. 53) The Dowager Marchioness of Downshire died there in 1836. It is now occupied by Col. H. M. Bosworth. The house is a square brick building of the 18th century of no particular architectural interest; most of the original internal fittings have been removed. The entrance hall is panelled in plaster and paved with black and white marble, and a fine white marble carved chimneypiece remains in the library. Upper Grove House is the residence of Mr. Bedingfield.

Bessborough House was erected for Brabazon Ponsonby, Earl of Bessborough. A fine collection of antiques and pictures was formed here by the family, but most of it was sold by auction in 1801. Gifford House, at the head of Putney Park Lane, is the residence of Mr. Douglas Charrington. Dover House, now occupied by Mr. J. P. Morgan, belonged to Lord Dover towards the end of the 18th century, (fn. 54) and Mount Clare (built in 1772 by a relative of Lord Clive) to Sir John Dick, bart. The latter was the residence of Admiral Sir Charles Ogle, bart., in 1841.

Bowling Green House on the heath is so called from there having been a public bowling-green here which was in existence in 1696. (fn. 55) It became a fashionable place of entertainment and of gambling in the 18th century, but is chiefly memorable as the residence of William Pitt (fn. 56) and the scene of his death in 1806. Not far from this stood Bristol House, one of the seats of the Marquess of Bristol in the early 19th century. (fn. 57) It has lately been pulled down and the site is now occupied by modern villas. Fireproof House was built in 1776 by David Hartley (son of the metaphysician Dr. Hartley) for proving his invention for securing houses against fire by laying thin sheets of iron and copper between double floors. (fn. 58) An obelisk to commemorate the invention was erected close by at the expense of the Corporation of London. By the river, near the present 'Star and Garter,' once stood a red brick house which was built in 1596 on the site of an ancient mansion of the Welbecks (fn. 59) by John Lacy, a citizen and clothworker of London, who was frequently visited here by Queen Elizabeth. James I is also said to have been entertained at the house, which acquired the name of the Palace in consequence of its royal visitors. (fn. 60) After the Civil War in 1647 it was probably occupied by General Fairfax (fn. 61) when the head quarters were at Putney during the negotiations of the officers with the king. Sir William Wymondsold was then the owner. In 1716 Sir Theodore Jannsen owned it and shortly afterwards sold it to Paul d'Aranda, whose daughter was the last inhabitant. It was deserted, but not finally pulled down till after 1800. (fn. 62)

Putney House and the Cedars stood on the site afterwards occupied by two ranges of buildings known as The Cedar Houses. From about 1839 to 1857 a college for civil engineers, founded by subscription, existed at Putney House, but it was broken up in the latter year and the fine old mansion demolished. In Putney Bridge Road are two 18th-century houses, now known as Cedar Lodge and Crest House. Winchester House, now the Putney Constitutional Club, is a good specimen of 18th-century work. North House, on Putney Hill, is a stucco mansion dating from about sixty years ago. The grounds are beautifully timbered. Grantham House, facing Putney Common, is a large house of the latter half of the 18th century.

The High Street not many years ago presented a very different appearance from its modern and townlike aspect. It contained many large old-fashioned houses with spacious lawns and lovely gardens at the back. Among the most interesting was Fairfax House, which is thought to have been built by a gentleman of that name in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. At the time of the occupation of Putney by the Parliamentary army it is said to have been the property of a Mr. Whyte, and at a later date was owned by the Pettiwards. Before its demolition in 1886 it was occupied for many years by the late Mr. Todd. The older parts of the house were of c. 1600. The front was altered some hundred years later. Fairfax House was connected by a so-called subterranean passage, now blocked up, with a house in Putney Bridge Road, which is remembered by some of the older inhabitants of the town as 'Oliver Cromwell's Dog-Kennel.' Essex House is believed to have been built and occupied by Queen Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl of Essex, and it is said that the wood which wainscoted the various rooms was taken from one of the vessels belonging to the Spanish Armada. The Spotted House is an existing example of 18th-century work, Nos. 98 and 96 High Street are of about the same date; they are two-storied, the centre recessed, and have projecting wings, tiled roofs and wooden cornices.

Among the most noted residents of Putney was Thomas Cromwell, who was born in the village at a place which was described in 1617 as 'an ancient cottage called the Smith's shop, lying west of the highway leading from Putney to the upper gate, and on the south side of the highway from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the Anchor.' (fn. 63) Thomas was the son of Walter Cromwell, (fn. 64) who followed a diversity of trades, as blacksmith, keeper of a hostelry and brew-house, and fuller and shearer of cloth at Putney. The lease or possession of a fulling mill is said to have belonged to the family since 1452, when it was granted to William Cromwell, possibly the grandfather of Walter. (fn. 65)

A famous cleric born at Putney was Nicholas West, LL.D., who is alleged to have been the son of a baker. He was born in 1461 and became a favourite of Henry VIII, but opposed the divorce project and fell into disfavour. He died in 1533. West was a scholar of King's College, Cambridge, took orders, and in 1515 was made Bishop of Ely through the influence of Wolsey. He built a chapel of great beauty in Putney Church at the end of the south aisle. When the church was rebuilt in 1836 the chapel, which is one of its chief ornaments, was removed to its present position north of the chancel. (fn. 66) Edward Gibbon, the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was the grandson of an army contractor who had accumulated a large fortune and was the owner of a 'spacious house with gardens and land' at Putney called Lime Grove at the foot of the hill, which Edward Gibbon the elder bought in 1736 from John eldest son of Sir John Laurence. (fn. 67) It is said to have belonged to Antony Earl Rivers in the 15th century, and to have been known then as Upper Place. (fn. 68) The historian was born at this place and as a child attended a day school here. His father afterwards lost money and with his consent sold the Putney estate. (fn. 69) It afterwards came into the possession of Robert Wood, the writer and traveller, who was buried at Putney. John Toland, the deistical writer, was also buried here.

John Evelyn notes in his Diary (fn. 70) that on one occasion in 1649 he 'went to Putney by water in the barge with divers ladies, to see the schools or colleges of the young gentlewomen,' (fn. 71) and on another 'to take prospects in crayon to carry into France,' where he 'thought to have them engraved.' The philosopher Thomas Hobbes spent much of his time at Rochampton as tutor in the family of the Earls of Devonshire. (fn. 72) William Law resided at Putney as tutor to Edward Gibbon, the father of the historian, and continued to do so after his pupil was grown up. (fn. 73) Daniel Lysons, the author of the Environs of London and other topographical works, was a curate of Putney about 1790. (fn. 74) Mary Wollstonecraft is said to have lived at Layton House; on one occasion she tried to drown herself by leaping from Putney Bridge, but was rescued by a passing boat. (fn. 75)


The church of ST. MARY was rebuilt in the year 1836, the 15th-century tower and 16th-century chapel built by Nicholas West, Bishop of Ely from 1515 to 1533, being the only portions surviving of the original fabric. Bishop West's chapel was removed from the south side of the chancel to its present position on the north side at the time the church was rebuilt. The chapel measures 15 ft. in length by 10 ft. in width; the height to the intersection of the groining is 15 ft. The structure is divided lengthwise into two bays and the roof is fan-vaulted. The two compartments between the pendentives are occupied by quatrefoiled circles containing Bishop West's coat of arms. The vaulting shafts at all four angles and the central vaulting shaft on the north side are brought down to the ground. On the south side are two arched openings the height of the chapel giving into the chancel, occupying the two bays on that side. The square portions of the jambs and the soffits of the arches are richly panelled. The face of the wall included between the jambmoulds on the central pier thus formed is swept inwards the thickness of their splay, and the mouldings die into the square at about one quarter the distance from the springing of the arches to the ground. The pier below this is panelled in a similar manner to the jambs. The central vaulting shaft on this side is stopped by a richly carved corbel. The chapel is lighted on the north side by two three-light windows with depressed fan-centred arches and normal tracery in the heads, and by a similar window at the east end. In the eastern bay on the north side, below the sill of the window, is a shallow niche with moulded jambs and foliated fan-centred arch within a square head about 1 ft. 6 in. in height, and immediately above it a smaller unmoulded niche. These probably formed the piscina and credence table; there is, however, no trace of a basin in the lower niche, and it is too shallow to contain one. This may have projected and been removed long since; this wall, of course, was the south wall when the chapel was in its original position. At the north-west, north-east and south-west angles a corbel is attached to the vaulting shafts, about 4 ft. 6 in. from the ground; these may have once carried figures. In the western bay on the north side are fragments of a brass removed from the nave of the old church; only a portion of the inscription has been preserved:—
… Welbeck armig. et Agnes ux: ejus qui quidem JohĶs … die mensis Martii A dĈ MCCCCLXXVI et pdict … die Octobris A dñi MCCCCLXXVIII quarum animabus propiciet Deus.

West. Argent a cheveron sable between three roses gules.

In the east wall is a brass tablet stating that the chapel was restored in 1878 in memory of Sarah and Anne Lewis of Putney. In the west wall which divides the chapel from the north aisle is a stone panel, probably not in its original position, containing the coat of arms of Bishop West, surmounted by a mitre, and the initials N.W. Beneath is the following inscription: 'This chapel, originally erected on the south side of the church by Nicholas West, born at Putney, and in the reign of King Henry VIII Bishop of Ely, was removed from its former site and restored when the church was rebuilt in the year of our Lord 1836. Edward Lapidge, architect, John Young, builder.' The outside of the chapel is faced with white brick to correspond with the materials of the nave, aisle and chancel, which are of white brick with stone dressings, poorly designed in 15th-century style. The interior is plaster, with galleries on three sides. The tower, which is in two stages above the old nave roof, is of uncoursed stone, with plain twolight square-headed windows in the belfry, angle buttresses in three stages, with semi-octagonal stair turret at the north-east angle. The four-light west window and doorway, though apparently dating from the restoration of 1836, correspond more or less with those shown in old prints before that period. The tower arch survives apparently untouched, though cut midway by the present floor of the ringingchamber. The character of the mouldings would date the tower about the middle of the 15th century.

On the south wall of the west porch, formed at the base of the tower, is a fine marble mural monument to Richard Lushet of Putney, who died in 1615. The inscription states that he married Mary second daughter of G. Scott of Shackleford, a mural tablet to whose memory is to be found near the east end of the north aisle, where it is stated that she married secondly Thomas Knyvett and died in 1623. On the north wall of the west porch is a fine mural tablet to the memory of Lady Catherine Palmer, first wife of Sir Anthony Palmer, who died in 1613. Sir Anthony Palmer's second wife, and Philadelphia the daughter of his first wife (referred to in the above-mentioned tablet), who died in 1619 and 1621 respectively, are commemorated by a tablet on the west wall of the nave, to the north of the entrance.

An inscription hanging in the ringing-chamber states that 'the six old Bells were recast and two treble Bells added A.D. 1836.' These bells were cast by Thomas Mears of London. (fn. 76)

The communion plate was all re-cast in the year 1858, the metal of each piece being kept distinct and worked up again into a corresponding piece. The names of the original donors are inscribed on the remodelled plate. There are two patens and chalices given by William Wymondsold and Sir Thomas Chamberlen, kt., in 1653 and 1660 respectively. The two flagons were given by Catherine Hughes in 1645.

The registers begin in 1620: (1) marriages and baptisms 1620 to 1699, burials 1620 to 1686 (the burials from 1686 to 1699 are apparently missing); (2) 1699 to 1734; (3) marriages 1734 to 1754, baptisms and burials 1734 to 1760. (fn. 77)

The parish of HOLYTRINITY, ROEHAMPTON, was formed in 1845. The church, built in 1842, consists of chancel, nave in five bays with clearstory and north transept, with tower and spire at the north-west. The materials are stone, faced internally with brick, and the style possibly early 14th century.

The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, in St. John's Road, a chapel of ease to the parish church, was built in the year 1859, and consists of a chancel, nave of five bays with clearstory, aisles, shallow transepts, and tower and spire at the north-west. It is faced with rag, and is a rather poor version of the Early English style.

ALL SAINTS, Putney Common, also a chapel of ease to St. Mary, was built in 1874, and consists of chancel, nave of five bays with no clearstory, aisles and shallow transept. The materials are brick with stone dressings.

The Roman Catholic church of St. Joseph is in Roehampton Lane, and lower down in the same street is the Convent of the Sacred Heart, near which is a private Roman Catholic chapel. Manresa House at Roehampton is a Jesuit College. The Emmanuel Free Church of England is in the Upper Richmond Road. There are also a Union church, and Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Congregational and Baptist chapels in the parish.

A cemetery was consecrated in 1763 on land given to the parish by the Rev. Roger Pettiward, D.D., adjoining the road from Wandsworth to Richmond. (fn. 78) A new one on the Kingston road was laid out in 1856.


No date can be assigned to the first erection of a chapel at Putney. It is asserted by Lysons (fn. 79) to have been older than Mortlake Church, as Archbishop Winchelsey held a public ordination in it in 1302, but no verification for this has been found. It was originally a chapel of ease to Wimbledon, (fn. 80) which was then the parish church. In June 1658 the commissioners appointed by the Parliament to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices recommended that the chapelry of Putney should be divided from the parish of Wimbledon and made a distinct parish on account of its being 'situated from the said parish church of Wimbledon about 2 miles and from the said chapel of Mortlake about 2 miles, and there is a constant resort through the chapelry of Putney being a thoroughfare for persons resorting from London by the River Thames unto the said county of Surrey.' (fn. 81) In November of the same year it was decided that Putney and Mortlake chapels should be constituted distinct parish churches, (fn. 82) but in 1660 this arrangement ceased and Putney continued to be a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, the patrons of Wimbledon. (fn. 83) The living is now styled a vicarage under the Act of 1868. (fn. 84) The patronage of Holy Trinity is in the gift of the Bishop of Southwark.


Sir Abraham Dawes in his lifetime erected and by his will in 1648 endowed almshouses for twelve poor inhabitants, men and women. The benefaction has been supplemented by others, and the almshouses in the Lower Wandsworth Road have been rebuilt.

Thomas Martyn in 1684 by will built and endowed a school for teaching, feeding and partly clothing twenty sons of watermen. The master was to receive £80 and was to be skilled in mathematics, so that presumably the rudiments of navigation might be taught. The bequest was challenged and partly lost, and this and the expenses diminished the funds, which have, however, been largely repaired by good management.

Smith's charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes, and there are small bread and clothes charities.

In 1625 three pest-houses existed in Putney Lower Common; they are referred to in the church books. Lord Spencer subsequently gave these as rent-free dwellings for poor persons.


  • 1. General maps (Envir. of Lond.) B.M. K. vi, 95.
  • 2. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 3. Star Chamb. Proc. Phil. and Mary, bdle. , no. 36.
  • 4. V.C.H. Surr. i, 299.
  • 5. Lewis, Topog. Dict. iii, 622.
  • 6. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1655–6, p. 388.
  • 7. Pop. Ret. 1831.
  • 8. Ibid. 1901.
  • 9. Surr. Arch. Coll. xix, 197.
  • 10. Cal. S. P. Dom. Add. 1660–70, p. 631.
  • 11. Egmont MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), i (1), 182.
  • 12. V.C.H. Surr. i, 409–10; Surr. Arch. Coll. xxii, 113.
  • 13. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1645–7, passim; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. v, App. i, 205; Surr. Arch. Coll. xiii, 44.
  • 14. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1648–9, pp. 79, 82.
  • 15. Loc. Act, 12 Geo. I, cap. 36.
  • 16. Lysons, op. cit. i, 425–6.
  • 17. Local Act, 44 & 45 Vict. cap. 192.
  • 18. Surr. Arch. Coll. xviii, 116, quoting churchwardens' accts.
  • 19. Lysons, op. cit. i, 426–7, quoting records of the manor.
  • 20. Guthrie, Old Houses of Putney, 5.
  • 21. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Ric. II, no. 137, m. 11.
  • 22. Lysons, op. cit. i, 428.
  • 23. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), 1036 (9).
  • 24. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1547–80, pp. 15, 315; 1581–90, p. 258.
  • 25. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, ii, 80.
  • 26. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1598–1601, p. 114.
  • 27. Ibid. 1603–10, pp. 35, 533.
  • 28. See Wimbledon.
  • 29. Pat. 13 Jas. I, pt. xx, no. 10.
  • 30. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1619–23, p. 192.
  • 31. Pat. 2 Chas. I, pt. iii, no. 7.
  • 32. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1627–8, p. 86.
  • 33. Pat. 10 Chas. I, pt. viii, no. 6.
  • 34. Guthrie, op. cit. 44; Brayley, Hist. of Surr. iii, 475.
  • 35. G.E.C. op. cit. vi, 270.
  • 36. Feet of F. Surr. East. 12 Chas. I; Trin. 15 Chas. I.
  • 37. Lysons, op. cit. i, 430, quoting Sir Thomas Dawes' indenture concerning the almshouses at Putney, preserved in the parish chest; G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, iii, 275–6.
  • 38. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 114; Dict. Nat. Biog. ix, 343.
  • 39. Lysons, op. cit. i, 433.
  • 40. Priv. Act, 17 Geo. II, cap. 19.
  • 41. Recov. R. Surr. Mich. 20 Geo. III, rot. 138.
  • 42. Lysons, loc. cit.
  • 43. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, v, 98.
  • 44. Brayley, op. cit. iii, 476.
  • 45. Op. cit. iii, 306.
  • 46. Ibid. 290.
  • 47. Lysons, op. cit. i, 430; G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vi, 270.
  • 48. Lysons, Envir. of Lond. i, 428, quoting surv. of Wimbledon Manor.
  • 49. Ibid.
  • 50. Pop. Ret. 1901.
  • 51. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 1500 (40).
  • 52. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, v, 71–2.
  • 53. Dict. Nat. Biog. vi, 289.
  • 54. Ibid. lxiii, 345.
  • 55. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xii, App. iii, 158.
  • 56. Ibid. xiv, App. i, passim; xiii, App. vii, 155–6.
  • 57. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, ii, 29.
  • 58. Dict. Nat. Biog. xxv, 69.
  • 59. John Welbeck, who died in 1476, and Agnes his wife are the earliest of several Welbecks who had monuments in the church. The Welbecks acquired land in Putney in 1473 (Feet of F. Hil. 13 Edw. IV) from the Gainsfords.
  • 60. Much of the above information is derived from Lysons, Manning and Bray, Brayley and Guthrie, op. cit.
  • 61. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xv, App. vii, 88; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1645–7, pp. 448, 572.
  • 62. Hammond, Byegone Putney.
  • 63. Lysons, op. cit. i, 406, quoting a surv. of Wimbledon Manor taken in 1617.
  • 64. Also called Walter Smyth.
  • 65. Dict. Nat. Biog. xiii, 192.
  • 66. Ibid. lx, 335.
  • 67. Deed in private hands.
  • 68. Hammond, Byegone Puteny, 58.
  • 69. Ibid. pp. xxi, 250.
  • 70. Op. cit. (ed. Bray), 250–1.
  • 71. The schools were kept by Mrs. Pathsua Makin, the most learned woman of her time and governess to the daughters of Charles I.
  • 72. Dict. Nat. Biog. xxvii, 37–8.
  • 73. Ibid. xxxii, 237.
  • 74. Ibid. xxxiv, 361.
  • 75. Ibid. xxii, 61.
  • 76. The inscription further gives the wording on the old bells before recasting: (1) 'This Bell was first cast by Mr. William Throckmorton Churchwarden in 1670 and recast by Mr. Humphrey Graves Churchwarden Anno 1674'; (2) 'Robertus Mot me fecit 1586'; (3 and 4) were of the same date and similarly inscribed; (5) 'Robertus Mot made me 1582'; (6) 'Feare God 1642.'
  • 77. From 1754 onwards marriages are entered on printed forms; baptisms and burials continue to be entered in manuscript till the year 1813.
  • 78. Lysons, op. cit. i, 413.
  • 79. Ibid. 409.
  • 80. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 36.
  • 81. Surr. Arch. Coll. xvii, 93, quoting Parl. Surv. of church lands preserved in Lambeth Library.
  • 82. Ibid. xvii, 103.
  • 83. Liber Regis (ed. Bacon), 948; Clerical Guides and Clergy Lists, 19th cent.
  • 84. Stat. 31 & 32 Vict. cap. 117.