Tag Archives: Astronomer Royal

Lee

1 - Old tower of St Margaret of Antioch from the frontLee in the Borough of Lewisham in south-east London  takes its name from the Old English “lea(h)”, meaning “(place at) wood or woodland clearing”.  It was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086, although it  remained sparsely populated until the Victorian era.

The old church of St Margaret of Antioch was founded here at least as long ago as the twelfth century, and possibly even in the eleventh.  The tower, built in 1275, survives still, in the old churchyard on the opposite side of the road from the new church, in turn built in 1839-41.

Remarkably, no fewer than three Astronomers Royal are buried in the old churchyard, namely Edmond Halley (1656-1742) (of “Halley’s Comet” renown), Nathaniel Bliss (1700-64) and John Pond (1767-1836).   (The Royal Observatory, originally founded in 1675, lies a mile or so to the north of the church, in Greenwich).

Old tower of St Margaret of Antioch from the front

Old tower of St Margaret of Antioch from the front

Old tower of St Margaret of Antioch from the rear

Old tower of St Margaret of Antioch from the rear

Halley and Pond tomb

Halley and Pond tomb

Halley portrait (c. 1687)

Halley portrait (c. 1687)

Boone's Chapel, Lee High Road (1682)

Boone’s Chapel, Lee High Road (1682)