The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868


1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

"LEWISHAM, a parish in the hundred of Blackheath, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, county Kent; 1 mile from Greenwich, and 6 miles S.E. of London. It has stations on the North Kent and Mid Kent railways. It is situated on the river Ravensbourne, and on the high road to Sevenoaks and Tonbridge. It was anciently written Levesham, signifying "the dwelling among the meadows." The parish, which is of large extent, contains the whole of Sydenham, Forest Hill, Brockley, Loampit Hill, Loat's Pit, and the greater portion of the hamlet of Blackheath. It formerly had a Benedictine priory, a cell to St. Peter's Abbey, Ghent, to which it was given by Elthruda, Alfred's niece; but on the suppression of alien priories in the reign of Henry V., was transferred to the convent of Sheen. At the dissolution of monasteries it was seized by Henry VIII., and finally became the property of the Legges, earls of Dartmouth, from whence they take the inferior title of viscount. The village, which is situated on the river Ravensbourne, extends about 1 mile along the high road, and consists principally of one street. There are many good shops in the village, and the neighbourhood is thickly studded with gentlemen's seats and villas. It is lighted with gas, and is supplied, with excellent water from a stream which rises at the upper end of the village and passes through it. There is a police station, and petty sessions are held at Croom's Hill, Greenwich. There are some brick fields and limestone quarries. Lewisham is the seat of a superintendent registry, but belongs to Greenwich, and is a new County Court district. It is also the head of a Poor-law Union, comprising the following parishes:-Charlton, Eltham, Kidbrook, Lee, Lewisham, Mottingham, and Plumstead. The poorhouse, situated in the village, has accommodation for 200 inmates. The soil is extremely fertile, consisting of clay, gravel, and sand. There are snarl and limestone quarries. The surface is well wooded. The Surrey canal passes through the parish. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of London, value with Dartmouth chapel annexed, £1,100. The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, and rebuilt in 1774, has a Corinthian portico on the S. side, and a square tower at the W. end, containing a clock and a good peal of bells. It sustained considerable injury from a fire in 1830, but has been restored. In the interior are tombs of the Petries, by Banks, and of Dean Stanhope, formerly vicar, with several others. In addition to the parish church, there, are three district churches-All Saints, at Blackheath, St. Bartholomew's, at Sydenham, and Christ Church, at Forest Hill, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies varying in value from £300 to £100. There are also chapels-of-ease at Southend and Sydenham. The charities produce about £692 per annum, of which £343 go to Colfe's free grammar and reading schools, with exhibitions at either of the universities. Here is a British school for both sexes, also Congregational and infant schools. The Wesleyans, Independents, and Baptists have each a place of worship. The Earl of Dartmouth is lord of the manor. Bishop Duppa, who wrote part of the "Eikon Basilike," was born in this parish."

"BLACKHEATH, a village and chapelry in the parish of Lewisham, partly also in the parishes of Greenwich and Kidbrooke, in the hundred of Blackheath, and lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, in the county of Kent, 6 miles to the S.E. of London. It is a station on the North Kent railway. The village is pleasantly situated on the Heath, an elevated spot next Greenwich Park, commanding wide and beautiful views over the surrounding country and the river Thames. From its nearness to the metropolis, and its situation on the great road from London to Dover, Blackheath has been the scene of many historical events. The Roman road Watling Street crossed the heath and the neighbouring Shooter's Hill, and traces of it are still to be found. Roman urns containing ashes and coins have been discovered, some of which are now in the British Museum. A body of Danish invaders encamped on Blackheath in the year 1011, and there murdered Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, who opposed their demands. It was from this spot, in 1381, that Wat Tyler led his followers, 100,000 in number, to London. When Palæologus, the emperor of the East, came, in the year 1400, to ask assistance against the Turks, Henry IV. had a conference with him here.

Fifteen years later, Henry V., returning victorious from his French campaign and the battle of Agincourt, was received here by a state procession of the citizens of London, headed by the mayor. In 1416 an interview took place on Blackheath between the same monarch and the Emperor Sigismund. Jack Cade encamped here with his followers in 1450; and here, the next year, Henry VI. pardoned those of his followers who made submission to him. In 1452 the same king assembled his army on the Heath, to oppose the Duke of York. Edward IV., returning from France in 1474, was here met by the citizens of London. A battle was fought on Blackheath in 1497, between the Cornish men, under Lord Audley, and the royal forces, led by the Earl of Oxford, in which the former were defeated, and Lord Audley captured and put to death. A splendid reception was given here to Campejo, the papal legate, in 1519, a tent of cloth of gold being prepared for him, and a grand retinue, headed by the Duke of Norfolk, going out to receive him. And, finally, on this spot took place the first interview between Henry VIII. and Anne of Cleves, the marriage being immediately after (3rd January, 1539) celebrated at Greenwich.

Blackheath has two churches, All Saints' and St. John's. The former is situated within the parish of Lewisham, and the latter in that of Greenwich. The livings of both are perpetual cure., the former in the patronage of the Vicar of Lewisham, and the latter in the gift of William Angerstein, Esq.; and two chapels. In the vicinity are the college, founded by Sir John Morden for decayed merchants; and the free grammar school, erected by Abraham Colfe in 1652. [See LEWISHAM.] The Ranger's House, known also as Park Lodge, late the seat of the Earl of Aberdeen, is now inhabited by Prince Arthur. It was once the residence of the Princess Sophia of Gloucester, and near it formerly stood the residence of the Princess of Wales. Park-place, or Blackheath-park, is a range of handsome dwellings, on the site of Wricklemarsh House, a splendid mansion built by Sir Gregory Page, which was taken down in 1787."

"SYDENHAM, a suburban district of the metropolis, forming a chapelry in the parish of Lewisham, hundred of Blackheath, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, county Kent, 7 miles S.E. of London, with which it is connected by several lines of railway. It occupies an elevated spot on the S. side of the metropolis, and is a rapidly increasing place. About 1640 it first came into public notice on account of a mineral spring, which was supposed to possess peculiar medicinal virtues, and for the benefit of which invalids often came from a considerable distance. This raised the village from a cluster of huts to a town, and though the fame of the spa subsequently declined, the village continued to increase, and was divided under the Act of 58 George III. into the two district parishes of St. Bartholomew's, Sydenham, and Christchurch, Forest Hill. The formation of Sydenham Park, and the removal hither of the Crystal Palace, from Hyde Park, in October, 1851, upon the close of the great International Exhibition, tended much to the improvement of the neighbourhood. The population of the entire chapelry in 1861 was 10,595, comprising 4,641 in Forest Hill, and 5,955 in St. Bartholomew's, Sydenham; the latter district having more than doubled in population in the 20 years between 1841 and 1861.

The town now contains a public lecture hall, working-men's institution, and horticultural society; but the attraction is the Crystal Palace, situated in a park of 200 acres, well laid out. The building, which was opened by her Majesty the Queen and the late Prince Consort, on the 10th of June, 1854, is of iron and glass, measuring 1,608 feet in length by 312 feet in general width, besides two wings 574 feet each in length. The height of the great transept from the basement is 198 feet, and that of the water towers 284 feet, at the top of which are tanks holding 357,675 gallons of water for supplying the fountains, which throw 120,000 gallons of water in a minute.

The livings of St. Bartholomew's, Sydenham, and Christchurch, Forest Hill, are perpetual curacies, the former value £248, and the latter £150. The church of St. Bartholomew was erected in 1830 on the common, at a cost of above £10,000, the greater part of which was allowed by the Parliamentary Commissioners, and a new chancel, with painted windows and carved stone reredos, has since been added. The register dates from the consecration of the church. Christchurch, Forest Hill, is on the hill, and was commenced in 1854, but the tower and spire have not yet been completed. There are besides Sydenham old chapel, which forms a chapel-st-ease to Lewisham, and the Episcopal chapel at Lower Sydenham, recently enlarged and improved. The Baptists have a chapel of recent erection, and there are chapels for Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Independents, and Bible Christians. There are National and infant schools for St. Bartholomew's and Christchurch districts, also British and Foreign, and Sunday schools in connection with the several denominations. In Sydenham Park is an Elizabethan pile of buildings, called Sydenham College, with a staff of professors. There are also numerous private academies and boarding schools. Campbell resided here when Byron and Moore visited him in 1811. A pleasure fair was until recently held on Trinity-Monday."

"PERRYSLOUGH, a hamlet in the hundred of Blackheath, county Kent, 3 miles S.W. of Greenwich, and 4 S.E. of London."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]