Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places.Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 6

Walford, Edward

1872-78

Stockwell and Kennington.

Stockwell and Kennington.

 

Here the Black Prince once lived and held his court.--Philips.

 

Stockwell lies to our right as we journey along the on our way back towards the metropolis.

The etymology of the place,

writes Allen, in his

History of Surrey,

is probably derived from

stoke

(the Saxon

stoc

, a wood), and

well,

from some spring in the neighbourhood.

It is called a

small rural village

by Priscilla Wakefield, in her

Perambulations of London,

published in . The place, indeed, retained its characteristics of rustic retirement down to

328

a comparatively recent date. In the

Chimney Corner Companion

is an amusing account of a cockney's

outing

with a gun on the , in which we are told how that he and his friend breakfasted at the

Swan

at Stockwell, and pushed on Kent-wards by way of Brixton to Blackheath, but

without meeting anything beyond yellow-hammers and sparrows!

Like Lee and other places in the immediate vicinity of London which we have visited in our perambulations, Stockwell once boasted of its

green;

but this, excepting in name, has already become a thing of the past, and bricks and mortar are fast usurping what little is left of its once shady lanes and hedgerows. It was a triangular space on the western side of the high road, nearly opposite the

Swan.

In , as we learn from Colburn's

Kalendar of Amusements,

the society of Albion archers held their grand field-day, to contend for the captaincy and lieutenancy for the month, and Stockwell Park was the place of rendezvous. We are naively told that

shooting commences at

one

, eating and drinking at

seven

, and the light fantastic toes are agitating at

ten

o'clock.

In this place was alarmed by an apparition, known to this day as

the Stockwell Ghost,

which spread such terror through the then retired village and neighbourhood that it became suddenly invested with almost as much notoriety as some years previously.

The story is thus told by Charles Mackay, in his

Extraordinary Popular Delusions:

--

Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady, who resided alone with her servant, Anne Robinson, was sorely surprised, on the evening of Twelfth Day,

1772

, to observe an extraordinary commotion among her crockery. Cups and saucers rattled down the chimney; pots and pans were whirled downwards or through the windows; and hams, cheeses, and loaves of bread disported themselves upon the floor just as if the devil were in them. This, at least, was the conclusion to which Mrs. Golding came; and, being greatly alarmed, she invited some of her neighbours to stay with her, and protect her from the evil

one

. Their presence, however, did not put a stop to the insurrection of china, and every room in the house was in a short time strewed with fragments. The chairs and tables at last joined in the tumult; and things looked altogether so serious and inexplicable that the neighbours, dreading that the house itself would next be seized with a fit of motion and i tumble about their ears, left poor Mrs. Golding to bear the brunt of it by herself. The ghost in this case was solemnly remonstrated with, and urged to take its departure; but the destruction continuing as great as before, Mrs. Golding finally made up her mind to quit the house altogether. With Anne Robinson, she took refuge in the house of a neighbour; but his glass and crockery being immediately subjected to the same persecution, he was reluctantly compelled to give her notice to quit. The old lady, thus forced back to her own house, endured the disturbance for some days longer, when suspecting that Anne Robinson was the cause of all the mischief, she dismissed her from her service. The extraordinary appearances immediately ceased, and were never afterwards renewed a fact which is of itself sufficient to point out the real disturber. A long time afterwards Anne Robinson confessed the whole matter to the Rev. Mr. Brayfield. This gentleman confided the story to Mr. Hone, who published an explanation of the mystery. It appears that Anne was anxious to have a clear house to carry on an intrigue with her lover, and she resorted to this trick in order to effect her purpose. She placed the china on the shelves in such a manner that it fell on the slightest motion; and she attached horse-hair to other articles, so that she could jerk them down from an adjoining room without being perceived by any

one

. She was exceedingly dexterous at this sort of work, and would have proved a formidable rival to many a juggler by profession. A full explanation of the whole affair may be found in

Hone's Every-day Book.

The pranks of the

ghost

are also described so fully by Sir Walter Scott, in his book on

Demonology and Witchcraft,

that there is scarcely any necessity of repeating them more minutely here.

The

little fairy green

before the

Swai,

at Stockwell, writes Mr. Thomas Miller, with poetic exaggeration, in ,

is now no more.

It was a dead, flat, triangular space, with no fairies.

On the west side of

Stockwell Green

,

writes Allen, in his work above quoted,

is an old house, now (

1829

) in the occupation of a butcher, in which Mr. Nichols says that Thomas, Lord Cromwell, lived. There is no proof, however,

he adds,

that the above individual resided here or at the adjacent manor-house.

At the eastern end of London Road-or what was formerly called Bedford Private Road-and near the triangular space of ground which was once the

Green,

stands St. Andrew's Church. This edifice, originally known as Stockwell Chapel,

329

was in described as

a plain edifice of brick, with a small turret and bell.

The chapel was built about the year , on a piece of ground granted by the Duke of Bedford. In , and again in , it was enlarged and greatly altered, at a cost of ; and on St. Barnabas Day in that year it was consecrated, under the title of St. Andrew. Soon afterwards a consolidated chapelry district, taken out of the new parishes of St. Mark, , and St. Matthew, Brixton, was assigned to the church.

In the is a small-pox and fever hospital, which was established here in by the Metropolitan District Asylums Board.

On the east side of are the Stockwell Training and Kindergarten Colleges and Practising Schools, in connection with the British and Foreign School Society, whose head-quarters are in the . The schools here, which are for girls, were erected about the year , and have since been enlarged by the addition of a new wing. Accommodation is afforded here for girls and students. The Kindergarten institution, as we learn from the Report presented to the Society in , had grown rapidly during the preceding year.

It is meant to be self-supporting, and, judging from present experience, the receipts from students and children will pay all the expenses.

In died Mr. John Angell, who left for the purpose of building at Stockwell a college

for

seven

decayed gentlemen,

two

clergymen, an organist,

six

singing-men,

twelve

choristers, a verger, chapel clerk, and

three

domestic servants,

which he endowed with rent-charges to the amount of a year, besides making a provision for the daily food of the members. The good intentions of the testator, however, were for many years frustrated by a suit in Chancery respecting his will. The residence of Mr. Angell, at Stockwell, a large brick mansion, was for some time occupied as a boarding-school. His name is now kept in remembrance by the Angell Town Estate, on the east side of the . Early in the present century a Mr. Bailey, a merchant in , founded here an asylum for aged females. The building, a neat brick edifice, called Trinity Asylum, was erected in in .

Another charitable institution here, and with more than a local reputation, is the Stockwell Orphanage for boys, founded under the auspices of Mr. Spurgeon, the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, of whom we have already spoken. The institution, which covers a large space of ground on the Bedford estate, and forms a handsome quadrangle, is approached by a broad avenue from the . At the end of this avenue, which is planted on either side with planetrees, is the entrance arch, an ornamental structure, surmounted by a bell-turret. On the piers of the archway are appropriate inscriptions, such as-

A Father of the fatherless and a Judge of the widow is God in his holy habitation;

Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like

one

of these;

and,

Your heavenly Father feedeth them.

The following description of the edifice is from the pen of Mr. Spurgeon himself:--

On looking from under the arch the visitor is struck with the size and beauty of the buildings, and the delightfully airy and open character of the whole institution. It is a place of sweetness and light, where merry voices ring out, and happy children play. The stranger will be pleased with the dining-hall, hung round with engravings given by Mr. Graves, of

Pall Mall

; he will be shown into the boardroom, where the trustees transact the business; and he will be specially pleased with the great play-hall, in which our public meetings are held and the boys' sports are carried on. There is the swimming-bath, which enables us to say that nearly every boy can swim. Up at the very top of the buildings, after ascending

two

flights of stairs, the visitor will find the school-rooms, which from their very position are airy and wholesome. The floors, scrubbed by the boys themselves, the beds made, and the domestic arrangements all kept in order by their own labour, are usually spoken of with approbation.

At the further end of the Orphanage grounds stands the infirmary. It is spacious enough to accommodate a large number of children, should an epidemic break out in the institution.

The Orphanage, which was commenced in , and finished by the end of the following year, contains accommodation for children, who are here fed, clothed, and taught; and the expenses of the institution are about per annum. It is largely, if not mainly, dependent on voluntary contributions for its support. The Orphanage, it should be stated, receives destitute fatherless boys, without respect to the religion of the parents. Children are eligible for entrance between the ages of and , and they are received without putting the mothers to the trouble and expense of canvassing for votes, the trustees themselves selecting the most needy cases. The family system is carried out, the boys living in separate houses, under the care of matrons.

Not far from the Orphanage, in North, , lived Mr. Alfred Forrester.

330

331

better known by his of

Alfred Crowquill,

the author of

The Wanderings of a Pen and Pencil,

Railway Raillery,

&c. Born in London in , Alfred Forrester was educated at a private institution at , where he was a schoolfellow of Captain Marryatt. In due course he became a notary in the , but retired from business about . He commenced his literary career, at the age of , as a contributor to periodical publications. Later in life he devoted himself to drawing, modelling, and engraving both on steel and wood, with the design of illustrating the works of his pen. His publication was

Leaves from my Memorandum Book,

a book of comic prose and verse, illustrated by himself, which was followed by his

Eccentric Tales.

In he joined Mr. B. Disraeli, Theodore Hook, and other writers, in the magazine, edited by Hook, called and subsequently contributed to , the , &c.

On the north side of Stockwell, and hemmed in by , , and South , is the once royal manor of . The name of , it is said by some topographers,

was probably derived originally from the Saxon Kyning-tun,

the town or place of the king.

In the parish of

Lambeth

,

writes Hughson, in his

History of London,

is the manor of

Kennington

, which, in the Conqueror's Survey, is called Chenintun. At that time it was in the possession of Theodoric, a goldsmith, who held it of Edward the Confessor. There is no record to show how it reverted to the Crown; but during the time of Edward III. it was made part of the Duchy of Cornwall, to which it still continues annexed. Here was a royal palace, which was the residence of the Black Prince: it stood near the spot now called

Kennington Cross

. This palace was occasionally a residence of royalty down to the reign of Henry VII. After his time the manor appears to have been let out to various persons. Charles I., however, when Prince of Wales, inhabited a house built on part of the site of the old palace, the stables of which, built of flint and stone, remained

in situ

until the year

1795

, when they were known as

The Long Barn.

is described in the

Tour round London,

in , as

a village near

Lambeth

, in Surrey? and

one

of the precincts of that parish.

332

It was formerly a lordship belonging to the ancient Earls of Warren, of whom, in the reign of Edward II., being childless, gave the manor to the king. It had been already alienated, however, before the year of Edward III., and was part of the estate of Roger d'Amory, who was attainted in the same reign for joining with sundry other lords in a seditious movement. Coming once more into the hands of the king, it was made a royal seat, and became shortly afterwards the principal residence of the Black Prince. The author above quoted states of this once abode of royalty, that

there is nothing now remaining of this ancient seat but a building called The Long Barn, which in the year

1709

was

one

of the receptacles of the poor persecuted Palatines.

It is generally accepted as a certainty that there was a royal residence near the spot now known as as far back as the Saxon times; and here, says tradition, Hardicanute died in the year . This amiable King of Denmark, son of Canute, succeeded to the English crown on the death of his brother, Harold Harefoot, whose body, it is related, he caused to be dug up from its tomb at Winchester, and afterwards to be beheaded and thrown into the Thames.

Some good fishermen,

so runs the story,

found the mangled trunk of the dead king, and decently interred it in the church of St. Clement Danes. The peculiarly clement Dane who ruled over them, however, directly he heard of their pious act, again ordered his brother's body to be flung into the Thames.

years afterwards Hardicanute went to (or, according to another account, to ), in order to honour the nuptial feast of a Danish lord; and there, within sight of the river on the banks of which Harold's corse had been washed by the stream, he fell dead, amidst the shouting and drinking of the guests assembled at the marriage banquet.

In , Richard of the Lion Heart granted the manor to Sir Robert Percy; and it was afterwards the subject of frequent royal grants. As stated above, it seems to have been rather a favourite residence of Edward the Black Prince; and the road by which he reached the palace from the landing-place at the water-side, nearly corresponding with Upper , long retained the name of . Here died that powerful vassal of Edward I., John, Earl of Warren and Surrey, in .

Again, the kings of Scotland, France, and Cyprus being in England in the year , on a visit to Edward III., Henry Picard, who had been lord mayor, had the honour of entertaining these monarchs, with the Prince of Wales and other illustrious persons. At another time, the citizens gave a grand masquerade on horseback for the amusement of the Black Prince's son, Richard (then in his year), and his mother, Joan of Kent. The procession set out from Newgate, and proceeded to , and was composed of stately pageants, in masques, of which represented the pope and cardinals. This

great mummery

consisted of citizens in fancy dresses, with trumpets, sackbuts, and minstrels; and they danced and

mummed

to their hearts' content in the great hall of the palace; after which, having been right royally feasted, they returned again to the City by way of .

years afterwards, when the young king wanted money, and to that end made up his mind to take a wife, he married Isabel, daughter of Charles VI. of France--the

little queen,

as she was pettingly styled, for she was but a child, under years of age. The royal train, on approaching London, was met on Blackheath by the lord mayor and aldermen, habited in scarlet, who attended the king to (Surrey), where he dismissed them, as he and his youthful bride were to

rest at Kenyngtoun.

When the poor child was taken from to her lodgings in the Tower, the press to see her was so great that several persons were crushed to death on London Bridge-among them the Prior of Tiptree, in Essex.

At , John of Gaunt sought refuge from the citizens, after he had quarrelled with the Bishop of London. The proud Lancaster was of the protectors of Wyclif, who was, of course, particularly unpopular with the prelates, and had bearded the bishop in a very irreverent manner. The good churchmen of London, who had small respect for royalty when royalty chanced to offend them, chased the ducal offender in the very same year in which they danced before his nephew, and he was glad to be quiet for some time in the old palace. His son, the fiery Bolingbroke, after he became king, sometimes resided here, as did his grandson, the unfortunate Henry VI., and Henry VII., and Katharine of Arragon. James I. settled the manor of on the Prince of Wales, and it has ever since formed part of the princely possessions. The manor had been purchased in , by Alleyn, the player, and founder of Dulwich College, for , and sold years afterwards by the astute actor-who

333

knew how to turn a penny, and made good use of his savings--for . It was of him, probably, that it was purchased by James I., who rebuilt the manor-house. The last fragment of the old palace--the

Old Barn,

or

Long Barn

re- mained till near the close of the last century; and the old manor-house itself, having served for some years as a Female Philanthropic School, finally disappeared in . From an account of the building, published at the time of its demolition, we gather the following interesting particulars:-- The object which struck the visitor was the canopied head to the outer doorway, supported by finely carved trusses. The entrance door was very massive, and the large lock and unwieldy bar were suggestive of the times when every precaution was necessary for the safe custody of property. The rooms were square and lofty, with old-fashioned chimney-openings. The finest specimen of decorative art was, without doubt, the modelled plaster ceiling in the back room. The enrichments were finely undercut and in alto-relief, the mouldings and border being in true character with the other portions. The staircase was of massive oak, and the mouldings cut in the solid. The doors and the wainscot dado were also solid oak, the latter being a particularly fine specimen of wainscoting. The substantial timbers, door, and window-frames and heads to the last were in an excellent state of preservation. The estate having been leased to a speculative builder, the old house was demolished in order to make room for modern residences.

Here, on a waste piece of land belonging to the Prince of Wales, as part of the old royal palace and demesne, lay for some years a quantity of the marble statues which had been removed from Arundel House, in , and which afterwards decorated

Kuper's Gardens,

the site of which we shall presently visit. Here they were discovered by connoisseurs, and were purchased, some by Lord Burlington for his villa at Chiswick, and others by Mr. Freeman, of Fawley Court, near Henley-on-Thames, and by Mr. Edmund Waller, of Beaconsfield. Others were cut up and used to make mantel-pieces for private houses in .

It would appear that is still regarded as an appanage of royalty; at all events, it gave the title of earl to the hero of Culloden, William the

butcher,

Duke of Cumberland, the younger son of George II. The duke's name is kept in remembrance here by Cumberland Row, close by the Vestry Hall, : it forms a low row of cottages, bearing date . Their unfinished carcases had been used as a lazarhouse during the great plague of the previous year. The Prince of Wales, it may be added, is still the ground landlord of several streets in .

The manor of subsequently reverted to the Crown, and was granted by Charles I., when Prince of Wales, to Sir Noel Caron and Sir Francis Cottington. Sir Noel Caron was Dutch Ambassador to the English Court during the early part of the century. He erected here a handsome mansion, with wings. On the front was the inscription,

Omne solum forti patria.

He built also on the roadside the almshouses near the mile-stone for poor women. His name is inscribed on their front, with the date, , and a Latin inscription to the effect that

He that hath pity on the poor lendeth to the Lord.

Caron House, and the gardens attached to it, are memorable as having been granted by Charles II. to Lord Chancellor Clarendon, who sold them to Sir Jeremias Whichcote. The tells us that the prisoners from the Fleet were removed hither after the Fire of London; it was pulled down soon after, and the last remains of the house were removed early in the present century. What remained of it in , when Hughson wrote his

History of London and its Suburbs,

was used as an academy, and still retained its former name of Caron House. Not far from it was-and perhaps still is--a spring of clear water called Well, which is said not to freeze in the very coldest winters.

A portion of the site of Sir Noel Caron's park is absorbed in the well-known cricket-ground called , which shares with

Lord's

the honour of being the scene of many of those doughty encounters between the heroes of the bat and ball which have made the

elevens

of the north and south, of Surrey and Nottingham, Kent and Sussex, United and All England, all but immortal. , which, within the memory of living persons, was a cabbage-garden, covers about acres of ground, and is set apart entirely for cricket-matches. It was opened as a cricket-ground on the , as the speculation of a man named Houghton. The Surrey Club have held it for many years on a lease from the Duchy of Cornwall, to which the land hereabouts still belongs; a fact which is kept in remembrance by the

Duchy Arms

inn,

Cornwall

Cottages, &c.

In Meadow Street, which testifies to the once rural character of this locality, stands, in grounds of its own, St. Joseph's Convent belonging to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a community about whom

334

we shall have more to say when we pay a visit to their other house at Hammersmith.

In South , on the south of , which crosses the , is the extensive vinegar distillery of the Messrs. Beaufoy, which was removed here many years ago from Cuper's Gardens. The works, which cover a space of about acres, occupy the site of Caron House.

Nearly adjoining to the distillery, southward, is, or was till a recent date, [extra_illustrations.6.334.1] . The house, a plain brick building, with a court-yard in front and large iron gates, had attached to it the physic-garden of the Tradescants, of the established in this country. Tradescant's museum was frequently visited by persons of rank, who became benefactors thereto; among these were Charles I. (to whom he was gardener), Queen Henrietta Maria, Archbishop Laud, George, Duke of Buckingham, Robert and William Cecil, Earls of Salisbury, and many other persons of distinction. Among them also appears the philosophic John Evelyn, who, in his

Diary,

under date of , has the following entry :--

I went to see Sir Robert Needham, at

Lambeth

, a relation of mine, and thence to John Tradescant's museum.

Evelyn also speaks of supping at John Tradescant's house, in company with Dr. (subsequently Archbishop) Tenison, the Bishop of St. Asaph, and Lady Clarendon.

I know,

writes Izaak Walton, in his

Complete Angler,

we islanders are averse to the belief of wonders; but there be so many strange creatures to be now seen, many collected by John Tradescant, and others added by my friend Elias Ashmole, Esq., who now keeps them carefully and methodically at his house near to

Lambeth

, near London, as may yet get belief of some of the other wonders I mentioned. I will tell you some of the wonders that you may now see, and not till then believe, unless you think fit. You may see there the hog-fish, the dog-fish, the dolphin, the coney-fish, the parrot-fish, the shark, the poisonfish, the sword-fish; and not only other incredible fish, but you may there see the salamander, several sorts of barnacles, of Solan geese, and the bird of paradise; such sorts of snakes, and such birds'nests, and of so various forms and so wonderfully made, as may beget wonder and amazement in any beholder; and so many hundreds of other rarities in that collection, as will make the other wonders I spake of the less incredible.

The Tradescants were the well-known collectors of natural curiosities in this kingdom; they were followed by Ashmole and Sir Hans Sloane, from whom their spirit was afterwards transfused into Sir Ashton Lever, whose collection we mentioned in our account of . It was a great misfortune that the collection, instead of being sold in lots by auction, was not secured for the .

There are portraits of the Tradescants to be seen in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. It is usually said that it was the elder Tradescant who introduced apricots into England, by entering himself on board of a privateer armed against Morocco, whence he stole that fruit which it was forbidden to export.

In Allen's

History of Surrey

we read:--

On the death of John Tradescant, Dr. Ducarel says his son sold the curiosities to the celebrated Elias Ashmole; but Mr. Nichols, in a note, observes that the doctor must be in error, for, according to the diary of Ashmole, it appears that on

December 15, 1659

, Mr. Tradescant and his wife signed a deed of gift to Ashmole. The house was purchased, about

1760

, of some of Ashmole's descendants, by John Small, Esq. Dr. Ducarel's house, once a part of Tradescant's, adjoins.

Park, which stretches for some distance along the , and lies to the east of , was known as Common till only a few years ago, when it was a dreary piece of waste land, covered partly with short grass, and frequented only by boys flying their kites or playing at marbles. It was encircled with some tumble-down wooden rails, which were not sufficient to keep donkeys from straying there. Field preachers also made it of the chief scenes of oratorical display. It consisted of about acres. It was suddenly seized with a fit of respectability, and clothed itself around with elegant iron railings, its area being, at the same time, cut up by gravel walks, and flower-beds, and shrubberies. It also engaged a beadle to look after it. And so it became a park, and--it must be owned-an ornament to the neighbourhood.

The Common is described in the

Tour round London,

in , as

a small spot of ground on the road to Camberwell, and about a mile and a half from London. Upon this spot is erected the gallows for the county of Surrey; but few have suffered here of late years. Such of the (Scottish) rebels as were tried by the Special Commission, in

1746

, and ordered for execution, suffered at this place; amongst whom were those who commanded the regiment raised at Manchester for the use (service) of the Pretender.

In fact, very many of those who had

been out

in the Scottish rising of

335

the previous year here suffered the last penalty of the law. Among them were Sir John Wedderburn, John Hamilton, Andrew Wood, and Alexander Leith, and also English gentlemen of good family, named Towneley and Fletcher, who had joined the standard of

Bonny Prince Charlie

at Manchester. Wood, it is said, bravely drank a glass to the

Pretender's

health on the scaffold. Others engaged in the same cause also suffered here; among them Captain James (or, as he is still called,

Jemmy

) Dawson, over whose body, as soon as the headsman's axe had done its terrible work, a young lady, who was attached to him tenderly, threw herself in a swoon, and died literally of a broken heart. The event forms the subject of of Shenstone's ballads:--

Young Dawson was a gallant boy, A brighter never trod the plain; And well he loved one charming maid, And dearly was he loved again. .

The dismal scene was o'er and past, The lover's mournful hearse retired; The maid drew back her languid head, And, sighing forth his name, expired.

Dawson and others were dragged on hurdles from the new gaol in to Common, and there hanged. After being suspended for minutes from the gallows, their bodies were stripped naked and cut down, in order to undergo the operation of beheading and embowelling. Colonel Towneley was the that was laid upon the block, but the executioner observing the body to retain some signs of life, he struck it violently on the breast, for the humane purpose of rendering it quite insensible for the remaining portion of the punishment. This not having the desired effect, he cut the unfortunate gentleman's throat. The shocking ceremony of taking out the heart and throwing the bowels into the fire was then gone through, after which the head was separated from the body with a cleaver, and both were put into a coffin. The rest of the bodies were thus treated in succession; and on throwing the last heart into the fire, which was that of young Dawson, the executioner cried,

God save King George!

and the spectators responded with a shout. Although the rabble had hooted the unhappy gentlemen on the passage to and from their trials, it was remarked that at the execution their fate excited considerable pity, mingled with admiration of their courage. circumstances contributed to increase the public sympathy on this occasion, and caused it to be more generally expressed. The was, the appearance at the place of execution of a youthful brother of of the culprits, of the name of Deacon, himself a culprit, and under sentence of death for the same crime, but who had been permitted to attend the last scene of his brother's life in a coach along with a guard. The other was the, fact of a young and beautiful woman, to whom Dawson had been betrothed, actually attending to witness his execution, as stated above.

Most of the rebel lords, and of the others who had borne a share in the Scottish rising of , and who were found guilty of treason, were executed on , as already stated. Their, heads, as well as the heads of those executed here, were afterwards set up on poles on the top of , where we have already seen them bleaching in the sun and rain. Here also was hung the notorious highwayman,

Jerry Abershaw;

his body being afterwards hung in chains on a gibbet on Wimbledon Common.

In the spring of , just after the Revolution which drove Louis Philippe from Paris, Common obtained a temporary celebrity as the intended rallying-point of the Chartists of London, who, it was said, were half a million in number; but of this number only about actually assembled; had the half a million met, it would have required nearly times the space of Common! On the the great meeting came off; they were to march thence in procession to , in order to present a monster petition in favour of the points of the charter, signed by millions. But measures were prudently taken by the Government; the Bank and other public buildings were strictly guarded; the military were called out, and posted in concealed positions near the bridges; and special constables were enrolled, among whom was Louis Napoleon, the future Emperor of France. On the eventful day the working men who answered to the call of their leaders-Feargus O'Connor and Ernest Jones--were found to be scarcely , and these gentlemen shrank from a contest with the soldiery. So the crowd broke up, and the petition was presented peaceably.

Modern times,

writes Mr. W. Johnston, in his

England as it Is,

have afforded no such important illustration of the prevailing tone and temper of the British nation, in regard to public affairs, as was presented to the world by the circumstances of the metropolis during the eventful

10th of April, 1848

. That day was, in the

The Chartist Meeting On Kennington Common, 1848. (From A Contemporary Print.)

British Island, the culminating point of the revolutionary progress which, within a period of little more than

two

months, had shaken almost every throne of Continental Europe. In England nothing was shaken but the hopes of the disaffected. From

one

end of Europe to the other, the Ioth of April was looked forward to by the partisans of revolution as the day which was to add London to the list of capitals submitting to the dictation of the mob. The spirit of revolt had run like wildfire from kingdom to kingdom, and capital to capital. Paris, Vienna, Naples, Berlin, Dresden, Milan, Venice, Palermo, Frankfort, and Carlsruhe, had all experienced the revolutionary shock, and none had been able completely to withstand it. Now came the turn of London, the greatest capital of all--the greatest prize that the world could afford to revolutionary adventurethe most magnificent prey to the bands of the plunderers who moved about from

one

point of Europe to another, committing robberies under the name of revolution. London withstood the shock, and escaped without the slightest injury. Even the wild spirit of revolt, made drunk by the extraordinary success it had achieved throughout

Tradescant's House, South Lambeth. (From Pennant.)

Continental Europe, was frozen into fear by the calm, complete, and stern preparation which was made to encounter and to crush it. The spirit of

Wellingtton

was equal to the occasion, and seemed to pervade the might and the energy of the vast metropolis of England while that veteran was at the head of the resisting power . . The Ioth of April seemed, as if by mutual consent, to be the day of trial between the rival forces ot revolution and of authority, and it then plainly appeared, without any actual collision, that the revolutionists had no chance. All their points of attack had been anticipated. Everywhere there was preparation to receive them, and yet nothing was so openly done as to produce a sense of public alarm. London was armed to the teeth: and yet, in outward appearance, it was not changed. The force that had been prepared lay hushed in grim repose, and was kept out of sight. The revolutionary leaders were, however, made aware of the consequences that would ensue if they went

one

step beyond that which the authorities deemed to be consistent with the public safety. Foolish and trantic though they were in their political talk, they were not so mad as to rush upon certain

destruction. They gave up the conflict; and from that day the spirit of revolution in England drooped and died away. The political conspirators against existing authority failed utterly, not because they were destitute of the enthusiasm meet for such an occasion, or that there were no real grievances in the condition of the people which called for redress, but because the nation had common sense enough to perceive that the ascendancy of such desperate adventurers would make matters worse than better. It was not that the Londoners had no taste for political improvement, but it was that they had a very decided distaste for being robbed. Not only was all the intelligence, the organisation, and the resource of the country arrayed in opposition to the mode of political action which the revolutionists of Europe had adopted, but the familiar instincts of the hundreds of thousands who had property to guard and hearths to preserve inviolate arrayed them in determined resistance to mob violence, whatever might be the avowed object to which that violence should be directed.

Thus, in the words of the ,

The great demonstration was brought to a ridiculous issue by the unity and resolution of the metropolis, backed by the judicious measures of the Government, and the masterly military precautions of the Duke of Wellington, though no military display was anywhere to be seen.

During the holiday season, Common in the last century was an epitome of

Bartlemy Fair,

with booths, tents, caravans, and scaffolds, surmounted by flags. It also had peculiarity, for, as we learn from , it was a favourite spot for merryandrews, and other buffooneries in open rivalry, and competition with field-preachers and ranters. It was here that Mr. Maw-worm encountered the brickbats of his congregation, and had his

pious tail

illuminated with the squibs and crackers of the unregenerate.

During the year , when the south of London was a pleasant country suburb, George Whitefield preached frequently on this common, his audience being generally reckoned by tens of thousands. In his

Journal,

under date in that year, he thus remarks:

Preached this morning in

Moorfields

to about

20,000

people, who were very quiet and attentive, and much affected. Went to public worship morning and evening, and at

six

preached at

Kennington

. But such a sight never were my eyes blessed with before. I believe there were no less than

50,000

people, near fourscore coaches, besides great numbers of horses; and what is most remarkable, there was such an awful silence amongst them, and the word of God came with such power, that all, I believe, were pleasingly surprised. God gave me great enlargement of heart. I continued my discourse for an hour and a half; and when I returned home, I was filled with such love, peace, and joy, that I cannot express it.

On subsequent occasions Mr. Whitefield mentions having addressed audiences of , , and on this same spot. The example thus set by Whitefield was soon afterwards followed by Charles Wesley, with an equal amount of fervour. In , Charles Wesley being summoned before the Archbishop of Canterbury to give an account of his

irregularity,

he was for a time greatly troubled; but Whitefield, whom he had consulted for advice in this emergency, told him,

Preach in the fields next Sunday; by this step you will break down the bridge, render your retreat difficult, or impossible, and be forced to fight your way forward.

This counsel was followed, for in Charles Wesley's diary, , occurs this passage :--

I walked to

Kennington

Common, and cried to multitudes upon multitudes,

Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.

The Lord was my strength, and my mouth, and my wisdom.

Kennington

Common,

wrote Thomas Miller, in his

Picturesque Sketches in London,

published in ,

is but a name for a small grassless square, surrounded with houses, and poisoned by the stench of vitriol works, and by black, open, sluggish ditches; what it will be when the promised alterations are completed, we have yet to see.

That the place, however, has since become conpletely changed in appearance we need scarcely state, for it was converted into a public pleasureground, under the Act and Vict., in June of the above-mentioned year. It now affords a very pretty promenade. What was once but a dismal waste, some acres in extent, is now laid out in grass-plats, intersected by broad and well-kept gravelled walks bordered with flower-beds. A pair of the model farm-cottages of the late Prince Consort were erected in the middle of the western side, near the entrance, about the year . More recently, in addition to the improvements effected by the change of the Common to an ornamental promenade, a church, dedicated to St. Agnes, was built on the site of the vitriol works.

On the formation of the

park,

the sum of annually was voted by the Government; but this sum was subsequently reduced, until, in the year , it was only ; and these reductions had been made although there had been an increase in the total sum devoted to public parks.

339

 

On the eastern side of the Common, in the middle of the last century, stood a mansion, once the residence of Sir Richard Manley. Near the site of this mansion, occupying the site of the vitriol works just mentioned, and directly facing the central paths of the ornamental garden, now stands the church of St. Agnes. The edifice, which was erected from the designs of Sir G. Gilbert Scott, is in the English Middle Pointed style of architecture of the century; and it depends mainly for its effect upon its loftiness, the height being feet from the floor to the nave ceiling, and feet to the external ridge, and the chancel roof of the same height. The most important feature in the decorative work of the church is the east window of lights, illustrating the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Atonement, the stained glass of which, costing , was executed by Mr. C. E. Kempe, and forms a memorial to the lady who was the chief benefactress of the church. The illustration of the Incarnation was

A Tree of Jesse,

or genealogical tree of Christ's progenitors, of which the Virgin Mary, holding the Divine Child in her arms, formed the principal figure, the Virgin's head being crowned. When, in accordance with customary usage, the building was inspected by the bishop's representative, the archdeacon, the existence of this design was mentioned, and before the ceremony of consecration was performed, the figure of the Blessed Virgin was removed by the bishop's desire. [extra_illustrations.6.339.1] 

On the southern portion of the Common, on the upper part of a small triangular plot of ground, separated from the larger portion of the Common by the road to Brixton and the , stands St. Mark's Church, the of the district churches erected in this parish. What is now the site of the church was formerly the spot where the gallows were erected for the execution of criminals; and it is rendered more interesting by its being the actual spot where many of the unfortunate adherents to the expatriated family of the Stuarts fell a sacrifice to their principles, as we have stated above. In preparing the foundation of the church, the site of a gibbet was discovered; and a curious piece of iron, which it is supposed was the swivel attached to the head of a criminal, was turned up a foot or below the surface.

St. Mark's Church, which was finished in , from the designs of Mr. D. Roper, consists of distinct portions. The body of the edifice is a long octagon--a parallelogram, with the corners cut off. The eastern end is brought out, to form a recess for the communion-table, and to the western end is attached the tower, sided by lobbies, containing staircases to the galleries; and the whole is fronted by a portico, formed of columns, supporting an entablature of the Greek Doric order, finished with a pediment. The tower, which is square and massive, is surmounted by a circular structure, composed of fluted Ionic columns, and finished with a plain spherical cupola, on the apex of which is a stone cross of elegant design. The main portion of the church is constructed of brick, and has stone pilasters attached to the piers between the windows, which are singularly plain and uninteresting. The interior of the church, beyond its elliptically-coved ceiling, ornamented at intervals with groups of foliage, contains nothing to call for special remark.

Along the south side of the churchyard once ran a small stream, which was crossed by a bridge, called Merton Bridge, from its formerly having been repaired by the canons of Merton Abbey, who had lands bequeathed to them for that purpose.

Opposite the western gates of the park, and at the entrance to , is the

Horns Tavern.

It stands at the junction of the roads leading to London and Bridges; and the assembly-rooms adjoining have for many years been a great place for public meetings. There is nothing, so far as we are aware, to connect this inn with such ceremonies as those formerly enacted at Highgate and at Charlton, in which, as we have shown, the

horns

played such a conspicuous part; it may have been that a former landlord was desirous of emulating the reputation enjoyed by his professional brethren at Highgate.

Pursuing our course along , we leave on our left the water-works belonging to the South London Company. In an Act of Parliament was passed for establishing the abovementioned company, who were

to form reservoirs near

Kennington Green

, to be supplied from the Thames along

Vauxhall

Creek, or at a creek on the other side of

Cumberland Gardens

, between that and Marble Hall, all in this parish.

The work was undertaken; a field of acres, between and , was procured, on which reservoirs were formed, with steamengines and the requisite offices and buildings. In the proprietor celebrated the completion of the undertaking by giving a public breakfast. The reservoirs were intended to bring the water into a state of purity before it was distributed; but it was found that it did not answer thoroughly, and

340

a change of site had to be made for the enginehouse.

At the point where the road turns off from to , was in former times a noted place of entertainment, known as

Spring Garden.

Bray, in his , says that Moncony mentions a Spring Garden at as much frequented in . were at time held by Mrs. Cornelys, of whom we have already had occasion to speak in our account of . Mrs. Cornelys, we are told, had

a large white house for entertainment ;

but being frequented by loose and dissolute persons, it was suppressed by the magistracy.

In Upper , which runs from to , is the [extra_illustrations.6.340.1] , an establishment more to be regarded for the benevolent views of its patrons than for the architectural beauty of the building which contains the objects of their protection. The society was established in the year , and is supported by the respectable body of licensed victuallers of the metropolis as an asylum and school for the orphans and children of the destitute part of their brethren. A portion of the profits of their trade journal, the , is also added to its funds. The building is a series of dwellinghouses, added together at various times, as the funds and objects of the institution increased, and is therefore little else than a substantial commodious edifice, with a spacious playground and gardens, located in an airy situation. Its original design has been somewhat improved by a central tablet of stucco over the pedimented door as a sort of centre. The building was constructed with the view of accommodating children. Great exertions have been made to realise this design, and by the admission of all the approved candidates for successive years, it was all but accomplished.

At various times, has been the residence of many eminent persons, among whom we may mention John, Earl of Warrenne and Surrey, father-in-law of John Balliol, who died here in ; David Ricardo, the celebrated political economist; the Duke of Brunswick; William Hogarth; and Eliza Cook, who lived here for many years. It has also been the home of many persons connected with the theatres. Here died, in , Mr. E. T. Smith, of Cremorne, the Alhambra, and celebrity.

in its day has seen its deeds of violence; for it appears that in Elizabeth, the wife of Sir Richard Talbot, of Goderich Castle, in Herefordshire, was forcibly seized at her house in this parish by Hugh Despencer, Earl of Gloucester, in conjunction with his father, Hugh, Earl of Winchester, and carried off. It is satisfactory to know that for this act the Despencers suffered the extreme penalty of the law; the head of the younger being set up on . Their estate, of course, became confiscated and pounced upon by royalty; and the king very naturally bestowed it on the Prince of Wales, to whom it still belongs.

Before closing this chapter, we may remark that the maypole nearest to the metropolis that stood longest within the memory of the editor of the

Beauties of England and Wales,

was near , at the back of the houses at the south-west corner of the , leading from the Road to Elizabeth Place. The site was then nearly vacant, and the maypole stood in the field on the south side of the , nearly opposite to the

Black Prince

public-house. It remained there till about the year , and was much frequented, particularly by the milkmaids, on May-day. The maypoles in the country were the scenes of much simplicity of rural manners and innocent mirth and enjoyment; but those set up near London, it is to be feared, were provocative of far more boisterous rudeness. In the unfortunate shaft, or maypole, gave rise to the insurrection of that turbulent body, the London apprentices, and the plundering of the foreigners in the City, whence it got the name of Evil May-day.

From that time,

writes the author of

Merrie England in the Olden Time,

the offending pole was hung on a range of hooks over the doors of a long row of neighbouring houses. In the

third

year of Edward VI., an over-zealous fanatic, called Sir Stephen, began to preach against this maypole, which inflamed the audience so greatly that the owner of every house over which it hung sawed off as much as depended over his premises, and committed piecemeal to the flames this terrible idol

Like the morris-dancers, and the hobby-horse, and other much-applauded merriments of Old England, the maypole in the end has become a thing of the past, for they were put down or allowed to pass into oblivion.

The old , or , for a short distance, intersected the north-eastern corner of Surrey in its progress from (supposed by antiquaries to be near Southfleet in Kent) to London, skirting the eastern side of . This road is presumed to have passed through Old Croydon or Woodcote, Streathcm, and ,

341

to Stone Street in . If, as some writers have supposed, the ancient was at Old Croydon, the Ermyn Street must have followed nearly the present line of roads through Streatham, , and , into ; and thence it was continued in a northward direction by way of Stoke , as we have already mentioned in a former volume.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] See Vol. II., p. 436.

[] See ante, p. 225.

[] See Vol. V., p. 260.

[extra_illustrations.6.334.1] the residence of John Tradescant, the botanist

[] See Vol. III., p. 165.

[] See ante, p. 58.

[] See Vol. I., p. 95.

[] See Vol. I., p. 28.

[extra_illustrations.6.339.1] Joseph Copper of the Horns, Kennington

[] See Vol. V., p. 413.

[] See ante, p. 233.

[] See Vol. IV., p. 77.

[] See Vol. III., p. 188.

[extra_illustrations.6.340.1] Licensed Victuallers' School

[] See Vol. V., p. 531.

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 Title Page
 Preface
 Chapter I: Introductory -- Southwark
 Chapter II: Southwark (continued) -- Old London Bridge
 Chapter III: Southwark (continued) -- St. Saviour's Church, &c.
 Chapter IV: Southwark (continued) -- Winchester house, Barclay's Brewery, &c.
 Chapter V: Southwark (continued) -- Bankside in the Olden Time
 Chapter VI: Southwark (continued) -- High Street, &c.
 Chapter VII: Southwark (continued) -- Famous Inns of Olden Times
 Chapter VIII: Southwark (continued) -- Old St. Thomas's Hospital, Guy's Hospital, &c.
 Chapter IX: Bermondsey -- Tooley Street, &c.
 Chapter X: Bermondsey (continued) -- The Abbey, &c.
 Chapter XI: Rotherhithe
 Chapter XII: Deptford
 Chapter XIII: Greenwich
 Chapter XIV: Greenwich (continued) -- The Hospital for Seamen, &c.
 Chapter XV: Greenwich (continued) -- The Parish Church, &c.
 Chapter XVI: Greenwich (continued) -- The Park, The Royal Observatory, &c.
 Chapter XVII: Blackheath, Charlton, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XVIII: Eltham, Lee, and Lewisham
 Chapter XIX: The Old Kent Road, &c.
 Chapter XX: Newington and Walworth
 Chapter XXI: Camberwell
 Chapter XXII: Peckham and Dulwich
 Chapter XXIII: Sydenham, Norwood, and Streatham
 Chapter XXIV: Brixton and Clapham
 Chapter XXV: Stockwell and Kennington
 Chapter XXVI: St. George's Fields
 Chapter XXVII: St. George's Fields (continued) -- Bethlehem Hospital, &c.
 Chapter XXVIII: Blackfriars Road -- The Surrey Theatre, Surrey Chapel, &c.
 Chapter XXIX: Lambeth
 Chapter XXX: Lambeth (continued) -- The Transpontine Theatres
 Chapter XXXI: Lambeth (continued) -- Waterloo Road, &c.
 Chapter XXXII: Lambeth Palace
 Chapter XXXIII: Vauxhall
 Chapter XXXIV: Vauxhall (continued) and Battersea
 Chapter XXXV: Wandsworth
 Chapter XXXVI: Putney
 Chapter XXXVII: Fulham
 Chapter XXXVIII: Fulham (continued) -- Walham Green and North End
 Chapter XXXIX: Hammersmith
 Chapter XL: Chiswick
 Chapter XLI: General Remarks and Conclusion