Another in the series on historic sites on the “Thames Path” walk …
Lambeth was first recorded as Lambehitha in 1062. It takes its name from the Old English for a place where lambs were either landed from or else boarded onto boats.
Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was originally built here in the thirteenth century, and subsequently extended in the late fifteenth and sixteenth, under Henry VII and Mary respectively. The surviving Chapel and Lollard’s Tower date to the late Medieval; the Gate-House, built by Cardinal John Morton, to the post-Medieval, to 1495. The famous Garden was probably originally laid out in the late fifteenth or sixteenth century.
The church of St Mary-at-Lambeth was originally built in the eleventh century, and subsequently rebuilt in the fourteenth and eighteenth. The tower of 1377 survives from the fourteenth-century rebuild.
Here are buried, among others, John Tradescant Sr. (c. 1580-1638), the gardener to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury; and his son John Tradescant Jr. (1608-62), the gardener to Charles II. As well as being gardeners, the Tradescants were also travellers, collectors of curiosities, and joint founders of the Musaeum Tradescantianum, in a building called “The Ark” in Vauxhall, which was England’s first museum open to the public (at a cost of 6d). In time, their collections were acquired by Elias Ashmole, and in 1691 donated by him to Oxford University, to form the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum.