Lee 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).