Category Archives: Georgian London


Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Deptford  was first recorded in 1293 as Depeford, meaning deep ford (across the River Ravensbourne, a tributary of the Thames).

The ford, and the trackway leading to and from it, had almost certainly been in existence in the pre-Roman period, and became incorporated into Watling Street in the Roman.


By Medieval times, a small village had sprung up here, on what had by then become part of the pilgrimage route from London to Canterbury, and it was  referred to in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, written in 1400.  The Battle of Deptford Bridge was fought here in 1497.


In later post-Medieval times, the former village  grew into a sizeable town, with strong and lasting links to the Royal Navy, and to maritime trade (including the iniquitous slave trade).  One of the Royal Naval Dockyards was built here in 1513, Trinity House in 1514 (the first master being Captain Thomas Spert of the “Mary Rose”), and the East India Company Yard in 1607.

In 1549, a mock naval battle was staged here for the entertainment of Edward VI; in 1581, Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake here aboard his ship the “Golden Hind(e)”, recently returned from its successful circumnavigation of the globe; and in 1698 the Russian Czar Peter the Great stayed in John Evelyn’s house here in order to study the shipyards.

The area’s comparative prosperity began to decline in the eighteenth century, after the seventeenth-century rebuilding of Chatham Dockyard, which was more accessible to ocean-going shipping, being situated in the Thames estuary, some twenty-five miles further downriver.


The decline continued into the nineteenth century, as evidenced by William Booth’s “Poverty Maps”, and was accelerated by the bombing of the Blitz of the Second World War in the twentieth, but is now in the process of being reversed by regeneration.


Deptford was historically part of the county of Kent, but since 1965 has been officially part of Greater London.

Church of St Nicholas



The church of St Nicholas was originally built at least as long ago as the twelfth century, and subsequently rebuilt in the fourteenth or fifteenth century and again, partly through the benefaction of the East India Company,  in the late seventeenth,  around 1697, only to be badly damaged in the Blitz of the twentieth.  The fourteenth- or fifteenth- century tower still stands.


The poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe – he of the “mighty line” – is buried in the churchyard, having been murdered in a  nearby tavern in 1593.  There are also a number of surviving post-Medieval memorials in the interior, including those to Sir Richard Browne of Sayers Court (d. 1604), who was John Evelyn’s father-in-law, and to other members of both Browne’s and Evelyn’s families; and to Jonas Shish (d. 1680) and his sons  Michael (d. 1685) and John (d. 1686), all of them Master Shipwrights.  And a late seventeenth-century carved wooden panel of “Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones” that has been attributed to Grinling Gibbons, who is known to have once lived and worked nearby.

Nicholas is the patron saint not only of children but also of mariners and fishermen (and of those wrongly condemned).

Stoke Newington

Old church from Clissold Park, with new church beyond

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London”…

Stoke Newington  was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Neuton, meaning “new homestead or farmstead”.  It was recorded in 1274 as Neweton Stoken, and in 1294 as Stokene Neuton, the affix meaning “by the tree stumps”.

The area may be described as having been part of  Inner London since the late seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.

Church of St Mary

The old church of St Mary was probably originally built in the Saxon period, the Domesday Book of 1086 referring to a Manor of Stoke Newington, the property of the Canons of St Paul’s (and reputedly the gift of King Athelstan), which presumably included a church.  It was probably rebuilt in the Medieval period, and certainly rebuilt in the post-Medieval, Elizabethan, by the Lord of the Manor, William Patten, in 1563, thus becoming  one of the earliest churches anywhere in the country specifically designed for Anglican rather than Catholic worship.

It has subsequently  been extended, by Sir Charles Barry (in 1829), and restored, following severe bomb damage sustained during the Second World War (in 1953).   It continues to function  as a church, and also as a community and arts space, staging such events as the Stoke Newington Early Music Festival (and, in 2011, atmospheric readings of the macabre tales of Edgar Allan Poe, who between 1817-20  attended the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House School  nearby).

New church from Clissold Park

The nearby new   church, by Sir George Gilbert Scott, was consecrated in 1858.

Hayes (Kent)

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Hayes was first recorded in 1177 as Hesa, from the Old English haese, meaning “heath-land” (although archaeological evidence indicates that the area had also been occupied during Roman times).  Tax records   for 1301 list 26 families, and imply  a population at that time of around 140 individuals.   Around half of the population is believed to have died during the “Black Death” of 1348-49.

Hayes remained  a small village for most of its history, only beginning to become  suburbanised after  the coming of the West Wickham and Hayes Railway in 1882.  It is now administratively part of the London Borough of Bromley.

Church of St Mary the Virgin

The church of St Mary the Virgin was probably originally built here sometime in the twelfth century, there being documentary records of a rector here at least as long ago as 1177.  It was subsequently entirely rebuilt in the Norman or Romanesque style in 1250, remodelled in the Gothic style in 1400, and extended in 1500, when the fine king-post roof was added.  It has also been much modified in more modern times, most notably by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1856-61.

In the interior are brass memorials to the former Rectors John Osteler (d. 1461), Sir John Andrew (d. 1479), John Heygge (d. 1523), Robert Garret (d. 1566) and John Hoare (d. 1584), and to John Handford (d. 1610); also stone memorials to Sir Stephen Scott (d. 1658) and his family of Hayes Place; and a plaque commemorating William Pitt the Elder and Younger also of Hayes Place (*).

In the bell tower are six bells, the oldest made by Robert Mot of the Whitechapel Foundry in 1602 (essentially as a replacement for those removed during the reign of Edward VI in 1552).

Hayes Place

A house known as Hayes Place was built just to the  west of the church at least as long ago as the mid-seventeenth century, for the aristocrat Scott family.  The house later came to be occupied by the literary critic, patron of the arts and salonist Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800), whose house- guests included many famous literary figures, especially women (“blue-stockings”); by  the sometime Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778), and William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), whose guests included Nelson and Wellington (*); and by the banker and local benefactor Sir Everard Alexander Hambro (1842-1925).  It  was eventually demolished in 1934.

(*) The Pitts are both buried in Westminster Abbey.


Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton  was first recorded in the “Domesday Book” of 1086 as Hamntone, from the Old English hamm and tun, meaning farmstead or estate in the bend of a river.  The manor was acquired in 1236 by the Knights Hospitaller, and in 1514 by Thomas Wolsey, who took down  the manor house, and put  up in its place what was to become Hampton Court Palace.

Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare

The past and present village of Hampton, also known as Hampton-on-Thames, is situated around a mile upstream from the palace; Hampton Wick,  a similar distance downstream.  The celebrated actor David Garrick’s “Temple to Shakespeare”, built in 1756, lies on the river-front in Hampton.

Church of St Mary

The old church

The church of St Mary in Hampton was originally built at least as long ago as the early fourteenth century, and subsequently partially rebuilt in the time of Henry VIII in the early sixteenth (“having got out of repair and become unsafe”), and again in the time of Charles II in the late seventeenth, and extended in the early eighteenth.

The new church

It was essentially completely rebuilt in the early nineteenth century, between 1820-31.



1 - General view of exterior

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Ealing was first recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter of c. 798 as Gillingas, meaning “(settlement of) the family or followers of Gilla”.  In the thirteenth century, it was sometimes recorded as Chircheylling, with reference to the church of St Mary, so as to distinguish it from the then separate settlement of Westyilling.

The much-loved “Ealing Comedies” of the 1940s and 1950s were filmed here, in Ealing Studios.

Church of St Mary

The church of St Mary was originally built in the twelfth century, and subsequently rebuilt in the eighteenth, having by then become structurally unsound.  The Georgian church was then remodelled in the Victorian era, between 1865-73, by S.S. Teulon, in a bizarre Byzantine  style, the result being described by the wonderful Ian Nairn as “a rag-bag with enough ideas for a dozen churches”, although at the same time “electrified with …  astonishing life-force”.

Some of the memorials from the Medieval to post-Medieval incarnation of the church still survive in the interior.

My parents were married in the church in 1954, and I was christened there in 1958.


Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Former Raven public house

Battersea was first recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 693 as Badrices ege or Batrices ege, from the Old English personal name Beaduric and eg, meaning island, or high, dry land in an otherwise  marshy area (*).  The Medieval to post-Medieval settlement was centred around what is now Battersea Square: the church of St Mary was built here sometime before 1067; and the former Raven public house during the reign of Charles II.  Development began to spread during  the Georgian period of the eighteenth century, although the area remained essentially rural, and the economy  predominantly agricultural, and subordinately industrial, until the Victorian period of the nineteenth.  Urbanisation and heavy industrialisation began with the arrival of the railway at nearby Nine Elms in  1838, although approximately  200 acres of  green space was preserved when Battersea Park  was created in 1853, following recommendations made to Queen Victoria’s “Commission for Improving the Metropolis” in 1843.   The present Battersea Bridge  was built by Joseph Bazalgette between 1886-90, to replace an earlier, wooden one built between  1771-2 (and immortalised in Whistler’s evocative nocturnes).  Battersea Power Station was built in 1933, and decommissioned in 1983.

Church of St Mary

The church of St Mary was originally built sometime before 1067, and at this time given by William I to the monks of Westminster Abbey.  It was partially rebuilt by the master mason Henry Yevele in 1379, and extended in 1400  and 1469, when the south aisle and chapel were added, and in 1613   and 1639, when the north aisle and tower were added; and subsequently substantially rebuilt again, by the local architect Joseph Dixon, between 1775-7 (**).   The visionary poet and artist William Blake was married in the church  in 1782; and the high-ranking soldier  Benedict Arnold, who famously defected from the American Continental Army  to the British during the American Revolutionary War, was buried here in 1802.  The church also has links with J.M.W. Turner, who used to sit in one of the windows overlooking the Thames  to paint the play of the light on the water.

The east window, of  stained-glass depicting Margaret Beauchamp, Henry VII and Elizabeth I, survives from  the seventeenth century.

(*) There is also evidence  of even older human presence, in the form of Stone, Bronze and Iron Age artefacts,  the most famous being the Iron Age Battersea Shield, now in the British Museum.

(**) Most of the manor house that used to stand near the church was demolished in 1778, and the remaining part in the early twentieth century, some materials being salvaged and shipped to the United States for re-use at this time.

The church of All Saints, Fulham


Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Fulham was first recorded in around 705 as Fulanham, from the Old English personal name “Fulla”, and “hamm”, meaning land essentially enclosed by a bend in  a river.

The church of All Saints  was originally built in the early Medieval period,  rebuilt after having been damaged in the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, and rebuilt again in 1880-81.  The tower dates to around 1440.

In the churchyard lie buried, among others,   no fewer than ten Bishops of London.   The then Bishop of London, Waldhere,  had acquired land in Fulham in the eighth century, and a later Bishop had built a palace  here in the eleventh.

The church of St Nicholas, Chiswick

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Chiswick was first recorded in around 1000  as Ceswican, from the Old English “ciese”, meaning cheese, and “wic”, settlement (and probably referring to a farm-stead specialising in the production of cheese).

The church of St Nicholas was originally built in the Medieval period, and rebuilt in the nineteenth century (in 1882).  The tower dates to the fifteenth century, around 1446.

Here lie buried, among others,   two of Oliver Cromwell’s daughters, Mary and Frances; Charles II’s mistress Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland; and the artists William Hogarth (1697-1764), who owned a country retreat nearby (now “Hogarth’s House Museum”), and James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903).

Hogarth’s tomb bears the following inscription (by his friend, the  actor David Garrick):

“Farewell great Painter of Mankind

Who reach’d the noblest point of Art,

Whose pictur’d Morals charm the Mind

And through the Eye correct the Heart.

If Genius fire, thee, Reader, stay,

If Nature touch thee, drop a Tear;

If neither move thee, turn away,

For Hogarth’s honour’d dust lies here”.