Another in the occasional series on historic sites on the “Capital Ring” walk …
Charlton was first recorded in the “Domesday Book” of 1086 as Cerletone, from the Old English “ceorl”, meaning “churl” or peasant, and “tun”, farm-stead, estate or town. It is likely to have been in existence considerably earlier.
Church of St Luke
The church of St Luke was originally built in stone sometime before 1086, and was under the control of Bermondsey Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.
It was later bought by Sir Adam Newton in 1607, and rebuilt in brick after his death in 1630. There are memorials inside to Newton and his wife; and also to Edward Wilkinson, who was the “Yeoman of the Mouth” to Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Edward VI, and “Master Cook” to Elizabeth I. There is also one to Spencer Perceval, the Prime Minister assassinated in the House of Commons in 1812.
Charlton House was built by either Inigo Jones or John Thorpe for the aforementioned Sir Adam Newton, the tutor to King James I’s, son, Prince Henry, in 1607-12. When Sir Adam Newton died in 1630, it passed to his son Sir Henry; and after he moved to Warwickshire after the Civil War of 1642-51, it was bought by Sir William Ducie. When Ducie died in 1679, it was bought by Sir William Langhorne; and after he died in 1715, it passed to his cousin Margaret Maryon, and remained owned by the Maryon (Wilson) family until 1925. It was then bought by Greenwich Borough Council, who converted it into a community centre and library. The building remains open to the public to this day. Much of the structure is surviving Jacobean. Note, though, that the north wing had to be rebuilt in the mid-twentieth century after being destroyed during the bombing of the Second World War.