The name of this parish, in the Conqueror's Survey, is
written Cambrewelle; in most of the records of a subsequent date, it is called Camerwell; in Aubrey's time it had regained
its former appellation, with the transposition of a letter, being spelt
Camberwell; which name it still retains. I can find nothing satisfactory with respect to its etymology; the termination, indeed,
seems to point out some remarkable spring; a part of the parish is
called Milkwell, and a mineral water was discovered some years ago
Situation and boundaries.
Camberwell lies in the hundred of Brixton, and is situated about
three miles from Blackfriars-bridge. The parish is bounded by
those of Newington-Butts, St. George-Southwark, and Rotherhithe on the east; by Deptford and Beckenham in Kent on the
south; by Croydon, and the detached part of Battersea about Penge,
on the west; and by Lambeth on the north. The land is divided in
nearly an equal proportion between arable, pasture, and gardens; in
the latter I include about 300 acres, occupied by farmers and
cowkeepers, which are generally cultivated for garden crops, to supply provisions for their cattle. The soil in general is fertile, and is
much improved with manure; which is procured easily, and in great
abundance from London. Camberwell alone, exclusive of Peckham,
(but including, I apprehend, Dulwich, which is not mentioned in that
survey,) is said, in Doomsday, to contain five plough lands. The
whole parish is assessed 1301l. 2s. 3d. to the land tax; of which, Camberwell pays 7061. 14s. 9d. Peckham, 531l. 8s. 6d. and Dulwich,
62l. 19s.; the proportion at Camberwell, is 1s. 9d. in the pound;
which, in consequence of improvements and new buildings, is
about to be lowered to 1s. 6d.; at Peckham they pay 2s. in
the pound, which is also about to be lowered; at Dulwich, the
proportion is 4s. in the pound.
The district of Camberwell, formerly comprehended one manor
only; which was held of the Confessor by Norman, and of William
the Conqueror, by Haimo the sheriff; it was valued at 12l. Soon
after the Conquest it was divided, and eventually became several distinct manors.
The manor of Camberwell Buckingham's, sometimes called Camberwell and Peckham, which was held of the king in capite, belonged to Robert de Melhent (fn. 1) (natural son of king Henry I.), the
first earl of Glocester after the Conquest, to whom it was granted
probably by his father. It passed, after his death, with the title, successively to his son William; to John, son of king Henry the Second,
afterwards king of England, who married Isabell, one of the daughters and co-heirs of William; to Isabell's second husband, Geoffrey
de Mandeville; to Almeric de Eureux, son of Mabel, another
co-heir of Earl William; to Gilbert de Clare, son to Amicia, another of the co-heirs; to his son Richard, and to his two immediate
descendants, both Gilberts; to Hugh, lord Audley (fn. 2) , who married
Isabella, sister and co-heir of the last Gilbert. Hugh, earl of Glocester, died in 1347. His daughter and heir, Margaret, married
Ralph, the first earl of Stafford, who thus became possessed of the
manor of Camberwell, which continued in that family till the attainder of Edward Stafford, duke of Buckingham, in 1521. It
was then granted to John Scott (fn. 3) , who had been the duke's tenant.
His grandson Richard (fn. 4) left the manor between his five sons.
Edgar alienated his share in the year 1586 to Edmund Bowyer, Esq.
which is now, by inheritance, the property of Joseph Windham, Esq.
F. R. and A. S. of Earsham-house, in Suffolk. The other severalties were alienated (about seventy years since) to the Cock family.
Matthew Cock, Esq. sold the reversion of them in the year 1756
to William Belchier, who becoming a bankrupt, they were sold by
order of the Court of Chancery in the year 1776, and came into
the possession of the late John Halliday, Esq. M. P. for the borough
of Taunton; and are now the inheritance of his son, a minor.
A fee-farm rent issuing out of this manor, was reserved to the crown
when the grant was made to John Scott; it was assigned,
among others, to queen Henrietta Maria for life (fn. 5) . When the
fee-farm rents were sold, in the reign of Charles II. this was bought
in trust, for Peter Scott (fn. 6) , of whom Mr. Anthony Bowyer purchased
the share, which belonged to his severalty of the manor.
Manor of Milkwell.
The manor of Milkwell, in this parish, belonged to the brethren
of the hospital of St. Thomas, in Southwark; who, in consideration of ten shillings annual rent in that borough, granted it to the
monastery of St. Mary Overie (fn. 7) . Upon the suppression of monasteries, it was granted to Sir Thomas Wyat (fn. 8) , who was beheaded
by queen Mary. It afterwards belonged to the family of Duke (fn. 9) ;
and was, in 1609, the property of Sir Edward Duke, Knt. (fn. 10) ; it then
contained about four hundred acres of land, part of which was in
Lambeth parish. A few years afterwards it was alienated to Robert
Campbell (fn. 11) . I have not been able to trace its proprietors any lower,
or to find in whom the estate is now vested. The manor, which
was held of the king in capite, does not at present exist.
Manor of Camberwell Frerne.
The manor of Camberwell Frerne, or Fryern, was part of the possessions of Haliwell priory. It was acquired partly by purchase, and
partly by grant (fn. 12) . About the reign of king Stephen, Robert earl of
Glocester gave one hundred acres of wood to Robert de Rothomago,
the latter gave them to the priory. The same earl made several other
considerable grants to various persons, particularly to Thomas de
Tychesey, and Reginald Pointz; the latter took upon him the cross,
and left his estate at Camberwell between his four nephews; one of
whom, Nicholas Pointz, gave ten acres of land to the nuns of Haliwell, and they afterwards purchased of him the whole of the share
that had been his brother Walter's. Solomon de Basyng bequeathed
them some land, called Newelersfeld, and ten acres which had belonged
to William Frango. After the dissolution of monasteries, this manor
was granted to Robert Draper, page of the jewels (fn. 13) , whose daughter married John Bowyer, Esq. of Shepton Beauchamp, in the county
of Somerset; and it is now, by descent, and under the will of Edmund
Bowyer, who died in 1718, the property of Joseph Windham, Esq.
Dowdale's, or Uvedale's manor.
A fourth manor was constituted by a grant of lands in this parish,
from Robert earl of Glocester, to Thomas de Tychesey (fn. 14) . From
him they descended to Gilbert de Eton (fn. 15) , who married Alicia, his
sister and co-heir. In the reign of Edw. II. these lands were granted
by Thomas de Elyngham, and Roger de Bernham, to John de
Owdale (fn. 16) , and from him took the name of Dowdale's manor.
The Owdales, or Uvedales, were possessed of this estate for many
generations. William Uvedale had livery of it in the seventh year
of Queen Elizabeth (fn. 17) . The manor is not now known, nor can I find
in whom the estate is vested.
Manor of Camberwell.
An inferior manor, by the name of Camberwell, held of Camberwell Buckingham's by the service of a pair of horse-shoes, was the
property of the Scotts (fn. 18) : Francis Muschamp died seized of it in
1632 (fn. 19) ; and it descended in the same manner as the Bretinghurst
estate, which will be described under Peckham.
Manor of Colde Abbey.
The manor of Colde Abbey, held also of Camberwell Buckingham's, was the property of the Scotts (fn. 20) , and seems to have descended
through the Bowyers, with their other estates, to Joseph Windham, Esq (fn. 21) .
Manor of Deptford Strond.
The manor of Deptford Strond, which was included in Jane
Seymour's jointure, and was afterwards granted to Sir Thomas Pope
by Queen Mary (fn. 22) , is partly in this parish. It is now the property of
Benjamin Way, Esq.
The church is situated near the road which leads to Peckham and
Greenwich. It is built of flints and rough stone, and consists of a
nave, chancel, and two aisles: at the west end is a small embattled
tower, composed of the same materials. A church is mentioned in
Doomsday. In Bishop Edindon's Register at Winchester, is a commission dated 1346, for reconciling Camberwell church which had been
polluted by bloodshed (fn. 23) . The present structure, I imagine, was erected
towards the beginning of the reign of Henry the Eighth. The
architecture of the windows, and of the arches which separate the nave
from the aisles, proves that it could not have been built at a much
earlier period; and it is probable that the north aisle was built in
1520, having that date in the east window. The chancel appears to
be of the same age; it is of a singular form, being the section of an
hexagon. The south-west part of the church was much enlarged in
the year 1786.—The new building is of brick.
Portraits in the window of the north aisle.
Portraits on glass in Camberwell church
The east window of the north aisle contains several portraits painted on glass. Aubrey (fn. 24) describes them as a man kneeling at a faldstool, and his ten sons behind him; and a woman kneeling in like
manner, with her ten daughters. The window has been much mutilated; the heads, however, of all the men, and nine of the women,
remain: some of the principal figures are given in the annexed plate,
coloured after the originals. An imperfect inscription is sufficiently
entire to inform us, that they were intended to represent the Muschamp
family: "....Statu Willmi Muschamp .... et Agnetis ...." The
deficiency may be easily supplied from similar inscriptions, which frequently occur on church windows: and it may be rendered, "Pray
for the good estate of William Muschamp, and Agnes his wife."
The date, 1520, is still preserved. The Muschamps came to England with William the Conqueror.—A branch of that family had
been long settled at Peckham. That William and Agnes Muschamp
were intended to be represented by the principal figures, is evident:
but Aubrey mistakes in supposing that the remaining figures are their
sons and daughters. It is very certain, that they are not the children
of his wife Agnes, for she died without issue (fn. 25) : by his other wives,
for he was thrice married, he had a large family; yet not so large as
to furnish subjects for twenty portraits. One of the men in the back
ground appears as old as the principal figure: I take him to be John
Scott, baron of the exchequer, who was brother to Agnes Muschamp; and, I suppose, that some of the men were intended for his
In the same window, are two imperfect figures of female saints;
of one, little more than the head remains; the other, with a sword in
her hand pointing downwards, is most probably St. Catherine, who
is generally so represented. This is the figure about which Stow has
so much idle conjecture, supposing it to be intended for queen
Elizabeth. At the top of this window are angels holding shields
with the arms of the Muschamps, and the families allied with them (fn. 25) .
In the centre of the window are the arms of Sir Thomas Bond, bart. (fn. 26) ,
with the date 1678. In the north window are the arms of Muschamp quartering Welbeck, and impaling Harmonde or Harman (fn. 27) .
This aisle was the burial place of the Muschamps, and is still claimed
for that purpose by the proprietors of the Peckham estate.
Against the north wall is a small monument with the effigies of
a woman kneeling; underneath is the following inscription in
"Lo! Muschas (fn. 28) stock a fruitfull braunch did bringe,
Adornde with vertues fit for ladies brighte;
Sir Thomas Hunt on May day's pleasaunt spring,
Possest the Frowe that was his soules delight:
"His lovely Jane had two sones by Thö Grimes, Esq. and
With wealth and vertues meet for their degree.
"When twice seven yeares, six monthes, ten dayes, were spent
In wedlock bands, and loyall love's delight,
November twelfth daye, then she was content
This world to leave, and give to God his right:
Her sixty-three yeares full, complete and ended,
Her soule to God, to earth her corps commended.
Over the monument are the arms of Hunt, per pale Argent and
Sable a saltier counterchanged; on a canton of the second, a lion
passant of the first.
In the same aisle are inscriptions to the memory of Francis Muschamp, who died in 1612, and his son Thomas, who died in
In the south wall of the chancel, which I take to have been part of
the ancient structure, are two stone stalls, and a niche for holy
water, of elegant Gothic architecture: the top of them only is seen,
the rest being concealed by some of the wainscot which was put up
in 1715 at the expence of Mrs. Katherine Bowyer, widow, who
likewise paved the chancel.
Against the same wall is a monument inlaid with brass plates, representing the figures of a man habited in a gown, kneeling, his wife
in the same posture, and ten children, to the memory of Richard
Skynner, who, as the inscription informs us, died in 1407, and his
wife Agnes, who died in 1499. The very singular circumstance of
a woman surviving her husband ninety-two years, has created much
surprise; but if there had been no error in the dates, the wonder
would not cease here, for it would appear that his sons William and
Michael (fn. 29) , who died in 1497 and 1498, survived their father the one
ninety, and the other ninety-one years; and that John Scott, his sonin-law, who died in 1532, survived him 125 years: but to put the
matter out of all doubt, Skynner himself was living in 1467, in which
year he was bound in a recognizance of 100l. to his taylor (fn. 30) ; it is very
evident therefore, that the engraver of the plate committed a great
error; and that Agnes Skynner's widowhood was of no uncommon
In the middle aisle, are slabs with figures in brass of the above-mentioned Michael Skynner, and of William and his wife Isabella; the
inscription has been torn from the latter; the date is taken from
Aubrey, where it is preserved.
The precatory expressions which formed the beginning and conclusion of almost every epitaph before the reformation, have been
carefully obliterated in the inscriptions on the tombs of the Skynners, and others of that age, in the church of Camberwell, either by
the reformers in the reign of queen Elizabeth, or by the puritans in
the last century: had their zeal been always thus moderate, the antiquary would have no reason to complain of them. Queen Elizabeth
checked the ill directed zeal of her reformers by a proclamation (fn. 31) ,
forbidding them "to demolish or deface any monuments, whether of
"stone or metal, they being set up for memory, and not for
Tombs of the Scotts.
On the north wall of the chancel is a monument to the memory of
John Scott, Esq. baron of the exchequer, who died in 1532, with
figures on brass of himself, his wife, and eleven children. The arms
quartered on the tomb, are Scott and Bretinghurst—they impale Skynner.
The Scotts had been settled for a considerable time at Camberwell.
One of that family and description is mentioned in a record of the
reign of Edward the Fourth (fn. 32) . John Scott was appointed third baron
of the exchequer in 1529. His eldest son John I find recorded in
Holinshed (fn. 33) , on account of some riots and misdemeanors in which
he was concerned with Lord Ogle and Lord Howard, for which they
were all brought before the Star-chamber. He died in the first year
of Queen Elizabeth (fn. 34) , and lies buried in the south aisle, which became the burial-place of his family. His brother Edward, who died
in 1538, is buried under a flat stone, upon which is a brass plate,
with his figure in armour.
Against the wall are monuments to the memory of the abovementioned John Scott the younger, and Bartholomew his son (fn. 35) , whose
first wife was Margaret, widow of Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of
Canterbury; Sir Peter Scott, who died in 1622; Peter, his grandson,
canon of Windsor, who died in 1689, and his wife Margaret, granddaughter of Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul's.
Tomb of John Scott Esq. & his family
Tombs of the Bowyers.
In the chancel, is a monument inlaid with plates of brass, representing the figures of a man and woman kneeling at a table with
their children, eight sons and three daughters; underneath, is an
inscription to the memory of John Bowyer, Esq. who died in 1570,
and of his wife Elizabeth, who, after a second marriage to William
Foster, died in 1605.
This Elizabeth was daughter of Robert Draper, Esq. of Camberwell. She was married to John Bowyer, Esq. then of Lincoln's Inn,
A. D. 1550. Her wedding clothes are thus described in a MS.
common-place book belonging to her husband, now in the possession of Joseph Windham, Esq. to whose politeness I am indebted
for its communication.
Wedding apparel of Elizabeth Draper.
"Wedyng apparrell bought for my wyffe, Elizabeth Draper, the
"younger, of Camberwell, agaynst 17 die Junii, An. Dni. 1550,
|"First, four ells of tawney taffeta, at 11s. 6d. the ell, for the Venyce gowne
|"Item, seven yardes of silk chamlett crymsyn at 7s. 6d. "the yarde, for a kyrtle
|"Item, one yard and a half of tawney velvet, to gard "the Venyce gowne, at 15s. the yard
|"Item, half a yard of crymsyn sattyn, for the fore "slyves
|"Item, eight yards of russetts black, at 4s. 6d. the "yard, for a Dutche gowne
|"Item, half a yard of tawney sattyn
|"Item, a yard and a quarter of velvet black, to guard "the Dutche gowne
|"Item, six yards of tawney damaske, at 11s. the yard, "for a kirtle
|"Item, one yard and half-quarter of skarlett for a "petycote with plites
The wedding ring is described as "weying two angells and a
ducket," and graven within with these words, "Deus nos junxit
J. E. B. Y. R." The date of the marriage is inserted by Mr. Bowyer
with great minuteness (fn. 36) , and with due regard to the aspects of the
heavens, which at that time regulated every affair of importance.
On the south wall of the chancel, is a monument to the memory
of Matthew Draper, brother to Mrs. Bowyer. He died in 1577.
There are also the monuments of Hester, wife of Sir Edmund Bowyer,
who died in 1665; of Anthony Bowyer, Esq. son of Sir Edmund,
who died in 1709; and of his wife Katherine, daughter of Henry
St. John, of Beckenham, who died in 1717.
In this church are also monuments, in memory of the following
persons, which are thus situated: One in the chancel to the memory
of Anne, wife of Sir Robert Vernon, clerk of the Green Cloth, who
died in 1627; one in the south aisle to the memory of Robert Waith,
paymaster of the navy to king Charles II. who died in 1685;
Elizabeth his wife, who died in 1667, and Robert his son,
who died in 1686; another on one of the pillars which separate
the nave from the north aisle, to the memory of Mrs. Joanna
Vincent, who died in 1654; and her grandson Vincent, son of
Henry lord Blayney, an infant. Aubrey has preserved the inscriptions of a few others, which are now destroyed or obliterated; they
were in memory of the following persons: Margaret, wife of John
Dove (fn. 37) , who died in 1582; Mary Chambers, who died in 1538;
Thomas Stacy, vicar of Camberwell (fn. 38) , who died in 1527; Robert
Maddockes, pay-master of the navy to king Charles II. and
William III.; Nehemiah Lambert, schoolmaster, who died in 1700;
Jacob Coleby, schoolmaster, who died in 1651; Anthony Stanlake,
who died in 1671; and Henry Lyntot, who died in 1600.
The most remarkable tombs in the church-yard, are those of Sir
Thomas Gardyner, Knt. who died in 1632; Richard Parr, D. D.
who died in 1691; Ichabod Tipping, D. D. who died in 1727;
Robert Aylmer, A. M. who died in 1769; (the three last were successively vicars of Camberwell;) of Walter Cock, Esq. who died in
1712; George Roffey, Esq. who died in 1707; Mary, wife of
Henry Vogull, Esq. who died in 1775; and Robert Nettleton, Esq.
late governor of the Russian company, who died in 1774.
John Henley's will.
John Henley, of Peckham, by his will dated 1514 (fn. 39) , directs,
"that his body shall be buried at Camberwell. He bequeaths to
"the high altar there, 3s. 4d.; to the image of our Lady, 12d.;
"to the child that his wife is withall in her body, 20l.; and if it
"happen that the child die before he came of lawful age to marry,
"which God forbid, his father to dispose of the money as he should
Mrs. Joanna Cock, relict of Walter Cock, Esq. in the year 1717,
gave to the parish a piece of land to enlarge their church-yard on
the south-west side, in consideration of their paying to her the
annual quit-rent of a pepper-corn.
The register of this parish begins in the year 1558; and it appears,
for the most part, to have been kept with great accuracy.
Comparative state of population.
||Average of baptisms.
||Average of burials.
In the last period, Dulwich is included: very little parochial duty
was performed there before the present century. It may be ob
served, that the burials uniformly exceed the baptisms in a considerable proportion, which is owing to the great number of strangers
and nursed children interred in this parish; this happens in some
degree in every parish near London; and is the reason why a much
more accurate idea of the comparative state of population may be
obtained from the average of baptisms, than from that of burials.
It appears that the increase of population in Camberwell, within the
last two centuries, has been in a ratio of about five to one; within
the last hundred years, somewhat more than three to one; so that the
village has been uniformly increasing, and at no period so rapidly
as within the last ten years. It has the reputation of being healthy,
and is a very commodious situation for those persons who, from inclination, or for the benefit of the air, are induced to prefer a
country residence, though business calls them daily to the metropolis.
In the year 1787, the inhabitants of the parish were accurately numbered; they amounted then to 3762; the present number of houses
being about seven hundred and seventy, exclusive of Dulwich college and the workhouse, they may now be estimated at about four
thousand. The houses in the Camberwell district alone, are three
hundred and seven.
In the early part of the year 1603, the register is defective; from
the month of August, to the ensuing April, there were one hundred
and thirteen burials; which number, compared with the average of
that period, indicates the plague to have been very fatal. The number
of burials in 1625, was one hundred and one; in 1665, one hundred
and thirty-three; of which number, thirty-three were from Dulwich; by which it appears, that the fatality of that year was not so
great as in 1603.
In the year 1684, are recorded the names of such persons as were
touched for the king's evil; a circumstance which I have not observed
in any other register.
"Ann, daughter of George King, touched, aged eighteen years."
"Barnabas Scudamor touched, aged seven years."
"John Davis touched, aged one year."
After the restoration, the multitudes of people who flocked to
receive the benefits of the royal touch, were immense. Many of
them were really diseased; more perhaps came out of curiosity, and
not a few for the sake of the gold (fn. 40) which was given to hang about
the neck to complete the cure. To prevent any impositions, therefore, and to give his majesty, who had more patients under his hands
than any physician in his dominions, a little respite, some restrictions
were made with regard to the times of healing, and the number of
patients; and all persons who applied for cure, were required to
bring a certificate from the minister and churchwardens of their parish, that they had never been touched before, (by which it seems
the disease was never to return,) and they were then to go to the
king's chirurgeon, whose business it was to examine whether or no
they were proper objects; and if he found them so, to give them
tickets. A curious paragraph and advertisement, taken from the
newspapers of that period, will be found in the note (fn. 41) .
The following singular entries are extracted likewise from the
Child-bearing at sixty-three, and longevity.
"May 5, 1658, Rose, wife of William Hathaway, buried, aged
103, who bore a son at the age of sixty-three."
Her husband, who was about her own age, survived her three
years, being buried Oct. 3, 1661, aged 105.
The fact here recorded is very extraordinary, and taken in all its
circumstances unprecedented, I believe, since the patriarchal ages.
Though I have not heard of any instance, upon record, of childbearing
at the age above-mentioned, yet there are a few which approach
very near it; and some of the most eminent men in the medical prosession are of opinion, that it is neither impossible nor incredible
that such an event should happen.
"June 2, 1687, Robert Hern, and Elizabeth Bozwell, king
and queen of the gipsies, married."
"Thomas Sweetman, killed by the fall of a chimney in the great
wind, buried Jan. 24, 1689."
Instances of longevity.
"Mary Dickison, aged above ninety-nine years, buried Jan. 21,
"Elizabeth Jones, aged 125, buried Nov. 22, 1775."
A few months previously to her death, an account of this woman
appeared in the St. James's Chronicle (fn. 42) , in which it was said, that
she retained her faculties perfectly; that she remembered being at
service when King Charles II. was crowned; and that the nurse
who attended her in Camberwell workhouse, was 101 years of
The parish church is dedicated to St. Giles; it is in the diocese of
Winchester, and in the deanery of Southwark. The benefice is a
vicarage, the rectory being a lay impropriation; it was part of the
possessions of Bermondsey Abbey, by the grant of William de Melhent, earl of Glocester, in the year 1154 (fn. 43) . The advowson of the
vicarage belonged formerly to the Caltons (fn. 44) . It was granted, together with the rectory, to Edmund Bowyer, Esq. by Queen Elizabeth (fn. 45) , and is now the property of Joseph Windham, Esq. In
1291 the rectory was taxed at twenty-four marks (fn. 46) ; the vicarage at
61. 8s. 7d.; in the king's books the latter is rated at 20l.
In 1643, Peter Dawson, vicar of Camberwell, shared the fate of
many of his brethren of the established church, and was ejected by the
Puritans. They substituted in his room Alexander Gregory (fn. 47) , who
remained there three years; they then put in John Maynard, "an
orthodox and godly minister, and one of the assembly of divines (fn. 48) ;"
who proved so unacceptable to the inhabitants, that they presented a
petition against him to the committee for displacing improper
ministers; but without effect. The rectory was at the same time
sequestered, and 50l. per annum out of it was voted to the minister
of Ryegate (fn. 49) . The sequestration appears to have been afterwards
taken off, and the right of presentation restored to Sir Edmund
Bowyer; for, in 1658, it was presented to the commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices (fn. 50) , that the
rectory of Camberwell was impropriated to Sir Edmund Bowyer,
patron of the vicarage, to which he had presented Mr. Richard
Parr, and that the profits of the vicarage were about 140l. per
Dr. Parr, who was instituted in 1653 (fn. 51) , was chaplain to archbishop
Usher, whose letters he published, with his life prefixed. The
deanery of Armagh, and an Irish bishopric, were offered to him, both
which he refused. In principles, he was a Calvinist; and as a
preacher, so much admired, that, to use Anthony Wood's expression (fn. 52) , "he broke two neighbouring conventicles." He published
several sermons and devotional tracts, and died in the year 1691
at Camberwell, where he lies buried in the church-yard. A monument was erected to his memory; on which, after mentioning the
death of his wife, who was daughter to Sir Roger James, Knt. is inscribed as follows:
"Here also lyeth her husband,
Rich. Parr, D. D. vicar of this
place almost thirty-eight years.
"Ob. Nov. 2, 1691.
in preaching, constant; in life, exemplary;
in piety and charity, most eminent; a lover
of peace and hospitality; and, in fine, a true
disciple of Jesus Christ."
The present vicar is the Rev. Roger Bentley; he was instituted
in 1769, and is the third in succession from Richard Parr abovementioned.
In the reign of James I. a free grammar-school was founded
in this parish by the vicar, Edward Wilson (fn. 52) , and endowed with seven
acres of land. The rectors of Lambeth, Newington-Butts, and St.
Olave, Southwark; the vicar of Carshalton, the vicar and churchwardens of Camberwell, the patron of the vicarage, (then Sir
Edmund Bowyer,) with others, were appointed governors. The
above persons and their successors were to have the nomination of
the masters, and to appoint new governors as vacancies should happen.
The number of boys is limited to twelve. The present master is
Thomas Jephson, M. A.
Mr. Henry Cornelisen founded two other charity-schools. Benefactions to the amount of 580l. have been left towards the support of
the schools; 500l. of which was a legacy from Mr. Reup. Sir
Edmund Bowyer bequeathed to the parish three tenements, and five
acres of land; besides which, it enjoys annual bequests to the
amount of 61. 13s. 4d. (of which, 4l. was left by Mr. Henry
Smith;) and about 435l. in money, bequeathed by various
The village of Camberwell was lighted and watched by an act of
parliament passed in the sixteenth year of his present majesty.
The hamlet of Dulwich, formerly spelt Dilwysshe, is near two
miles from Camberwell, towards the south-west, bordering upon
Kent. The situation is pleasant, and very retired, no public
road passing through it except to the neighbouring hamlet of
In the year 1739, a mineral water was discovered here in digging
a well at the Green Man, then a place of much resort for parties of
pleasure from London, now a private house, and lately the summer
residence of the present Lord Chancellor. A particular account of the
discovery was sent to the Royal Society (fn. 54) , by John Martyn, F. R. S.
professor of botany at Cambridge. The stratum of the first twenty
feet, he says, was clay mixed with vegetable substances; at the depth
of forty feet, the clay was intermixed with pyrites and ludus helmontii. The well being sunk to that depth without finding water,
was covered up till the next spring, when, upon being opened, they
found twenty-five feet of water, of a cathartic quality, much resembling the water of Sydenham Wells, on the Kentish side of the
The first mention I find of the manor of Dulwich is in the year
1127 (fn. 55) , when it was given by Henry I. to Bermondsey Abbey.
At the suppression of monasteries it was granted to Thomas Calton (fn. 56) ,
and was by Sir Francis Calton alienated to Edward Alleyn, Esq. (fn. 57)
in the reign of James I.
Of Dulwich College and its founder many accounts have been
published; but they are so replete with errors, that I am happy in
having an opportunity, through the politeness of the present members,
(by whose permission I have inspected the MSS. in their possession,)
to give an account, which I flatter myself will be more satisfactory
Anecdotes of the founder.
Edward Alleyn was the son of Edward Alleyn of Willyn, in the
county of Bucks (fn. 58) ; his mother was a daughter of James Townley,
Esq. of Lancashire: he was born in 1566, in Allhallows, Lombardstreet; where, in Fuller's time, was the sign of the Pie, near Devonshire house. Fuller says, he was bred a stage player (fn. 59) ; he certainly
went upon the stage at an early age (fn. 60) , and soon acquired great celebrity in his profession. Baker (fn. 61) , speaking of him and Burbage, says,
"they were two such actors as no age must ever look to see the like."
Heywood calls him "Proteus, for shapes; and Roscius, for a
"tongue (fn. 62) ." Fuller says, he was the Roscius of the age, especially in
a majestic part. He is spoken of also in terms of the highest commendation as an actor, by Ben Jonson, and others of his contemporaries.
It has been a matter of inquiry, how Alleyn should have made so
considerable a fortune in a profession, which, at that time, was not
very lucrative even to the most eminent (fn. 63) . To account for this, the
editors of the Biographia suppose, that he inherited some paternal
estate, and that he improved his fortune by marriage. The tradition
in the college has always been, that he had three wives; but there
is no certain account of more than two. A letter found among his
MSS. interspersed with the terms of endearment in which he usually
addressed his wife, and directed to E. Alleyn, might assist in giving
rise to this tradition: the letter, which is curious, will be found beneath (fn. 64) ; it was probably intended for his sister, whose name was
Elizabeth; the date is 1593; at that period he had been married
about a year to Joan, daughter of Agnes Woodward, widow, whose
second husband was Philip Henslow, with whom Alleyn was after
wards so much connected. It has been always supposed that Alleyn's
wife was the daughter of Henslow, and apparently with some reason,
for she is not only so termed in her funeral certificate at the Heralds'
office, signed by the two senior fellows of the college, but also in
the pedigree, signed by himself, wherein his arms are impaled with
Henslow. To put the matter however out of all doubt, Mr. Malone, in consulting the MSS. at Dulwich for his edition of Shakespeare, found a memorandum in the founder's own hand-writing, of
his marriage with Joan Woodward, in 1592. She died in 1623,
and Alleyn married a second wife of the name of Constance: what her
surname was, does not appear; but there are strong reasons for supposing that she was a daughter of the celebrated Dr. Donne. It is
said in the Biographia (fn. 12) , that the founder's arms were upon one of
the organ pipes, impaled with, Azure, a wolf rampant ermine.
Dr. Donne bore for his arms, Az. a wolf rampant Arg. In the funeral
certificate of his son, the wolf is charged with an ermine spot. Dr.
Donne had a daughter of the name of Constance, who, at the time
of his death, which happened in 1631, five years after that
of Alleyn, appears to have been the wife of Samuel Harvey,
Esq. (fn. 13) ; a fact, by no means adverse to the conjecture, which
gains additional support from the circumstance of one of her
sisters having been settled at Camberwell by her marriage with
Thomas Gardyner, Esq. Alleyn, by his will, left to his wife Constance 1600l., and jewels.
Alleyn was sole propritor of the Fortune play-house in Whitecross-street, which he built at his own expence; and which, no
doubt, as he was a favourite actor, was a source of considerable
emolument. He was likewise proprietor of a bear-garden on the
Bank-side (fn. 14) , in partnership with Mr. Philip Henslow, long before he
obtained the place of master of the king's bears.
Bear-baiting was an amusement so much in fashion in Alleyn's
time (fn. 15) , that it afforded entertainment to all ranks of people; and his
garden, probably, yielded him as much profit as his theatre: it was
not licensed, but was so well stocked, that when Sir John Darrington,
then master of the bears to Queen Elizabeth, was obliged to exhibit
this game to her majesty at a short notice (fn. 16) , he applied to Alleyn
and Henslow for their assistance. The following is the copy of an
advertisement from this bear-garden, preserved amongst Alleyn's
"Tomorrow being Thursdaie, shal be seen at the bear garden on
the Bank-side, a greate match plaid by the gamesters of Essex,
who hath challenged all comers whatsoever, to plaie 5 dogges at
the single beare, for 5 pounds; and also to wearie a bull dead at
the stake; and for their better content, shall have pleasant sport
with the horse and ape, and whipping of the blind bear (fn. 17) .
After the death of Sir John Darrington, the office of "chief
master, ruler, and overseer of all and singular his majesty's games,
of bears, and bulls, and mastive dogs, and mastive bitches," was
granted to Sir William Steward; who refusing to treat with Alleyn
and Henslow for the house and bears on the Bank-side, they were induced to purchase his office of him, for the sake of procuring a licence
to bait them.
Office of the chief master of the bears, &c.
As the nature of this office is little known, it will, perhaps, be
amusing to my readers, to give a short account of it, with copies of
original papers relating thereto. Whenever it was the king's pleasure to entertain himself, or any of his royal visitors, with the game
of bear-baiting, it was the business of the master of the game to provide bears and dogs, and to superintend the baiting: and as this
cruel sport destroyed a great number of the poor animals, he was invested with the most unlimited authority to issue commissions and to
send his officers into every county of England, who were empowered
to seize and take away any bears, bulls, or dogs, that they thought
meet for his majesty's service. This arbitrary proceeding was little
relished by the subjects (fn. 18) ; and the persons sent to take up dogs, were
frequently ill-treated and beaten, the justices of the peace often refusing to grant them any redress. Some towns, and whole
counties, to avoid these disputes, made a composition with the
master of the bears, to send up a certain number of mastiff dogs
yearly, upon condition, that the commission should never come into
their neighbourhood. Among Alleyn's papers is an engagement
signed by certain persons of the town of Manchester, wherein they
promise to send up yearly, "a masty dogge or bytche to the beargarden, between Mydsomer and Michaelmasse." The master of
the bear-garden, in Queen Elizabeth's time, was allowed to have
public baitings on Sundays in the afternoon (fn. 19) ; which liberty was
taken away by James I. Alleyn complains much of this in a petition which he presented to the king; in which he also prays for an
increase of salary. The whole petition is curious, and throws so
much light upon the nature and prevalence of this diversion, that I
shall make no apology for inserting it at length; and with it shall
close this digression upon bear-baiting:
"To the king's most excellent majesty, the humble petition of
Philip Henslow, and Edward Alleyn, your majesties servants.
"Whereas it pleased your most excellent majesty, after the death
of Sir John Darrington, to grant the office of master of your
game of bulls, bears, and dogs, with the fee of sixteen pence
per diem unto Sir William Steward, Knt.; at which time the howse
and beares, being your majesties petitioners; but we not licensed
to bayte them, and Sir William Steward refusing to take them
at our hands upon any reasonable terms, we were therefore enforced to buy of him the said office, pastime, and fee, at a very
high rate; and whereas, in respect of the great charge that the
keeping the said game continually requires, and also the smallness
of the fee; in the late queen's time, free liberty was permitted
without restraint to bayt them, which now is taken away from
us, especially on the Sundays in the afternoon, after divine service, which was the chiefest means and benefit to the place; and
in the time of the sickness, we have been restrained many times
on the working days; these hindrances, in general with the loss
of divers of the beastes, as before the king of Denmark we lost
a goodly beare of the name of George Stone (fn. 20) ; and at another
"bayting, being before your majestie, were killed four of our best
bears, which in your kingdom are not the like to be had, and
which were in value worth 30l.; and also our ordinary charges
amount yearly to 200l. and better; these losses and charges are
so heavy upon your petitioners, that whereas formerly we could
have letten it forth for 100l. a year, now none will take it gratis
to bear the charges, which is your poor servants undoing, unless
your majestie, of your gracious clemencie, have consideracion of
us. These causes do enforce us humbly to become suitors unto
your majestie, that in respect of the premises, and that we have,
ever since your gracious entrance into this kingdom, done your
majestie service with all duty and observance; it would please
your majestie in your most royalle bounty, now so to relieve us, as
we may be able to continue our service unto your majestie as
heretofore we have done; and to that end, to grant unto us free
liberty, as hath been granted in the late queen's time; and also,
in respect of our great and dayly charge, to add unto our said fee,
2 s. and 8 d. being never as yet increased since the first foundacion of the office. And whereas, their are divers vagrants and
persons of loose and idle life, that usually wandereth through the
country with bears and bulls without any licence, and for ought
we know serving no man, spoyling and killing dogs for that game,
so that your majestie cannot be served but by great charges to
us, fetching them very far; which is directly contrary to statute
made in that behalf, for the restraining of such: your majestie
would be pleased, in your most gracious favour, to renew unto
your petitioners our pastime; and to grant us, and our deputies,
power and authoritie to apprehend such vagrants, and to convene
them before the next justice of peace, there to be bound with
sureties to forfeit his said bears and bulls to your majesties use, if
he shall be taken to go about with any such game, contrary
to the laws of this your majesties realm; and your poor ser"vants will dayly praye for your majesties long and happy
Alleyn continued to hold the office of master of the bears till his
death, or very near it, at least he is so stiled in the letters patent, for
the foundation of the college. He still continued also to be proprietor of the Fortune play-house, though he had for some years retired from the stage (fn. 21) . Having acquired a considerable fortune, he
determined to bestow it upon a charitable foundation. The story (fn. 22)
of his forming this resolution, in consequence of a fright, appears
to have been fabricated long after Alleyn's time; as Baker, his contemporary, who mentions the foundation of Dulwich college, and
who was too fond of enlivening his history with marvellous narrations to let such a tale pass unnoticed, says nothing of it. Lord
chancellor Bacon threw some obstacles in the founder's way; opposed
his intentions of settling his estates in mortmain, and was hardly
prevailed on to dispense with the statutes which prohibited such settlements. We are informed by the editors of the Biographia, that
he wanted the king to consent to settling part of Alleyn's lands on
two professorships, then about to be founded in Oxford and Cambridge, by two of his own friends, Sir Henry Saville and Sir
Edward Sandys. Having obtained at length the royal assent, Alleyn
fixed upon Dulwich as the spot on which to found his college, having purchased an estate there as early as 1606. Here he retired after
he left the stage; and having formed his plan, he superintended the
erection of the college, lived to see it finished, and spent the remainder of his days at Dulwich, visiting and being visited by
some of the most respectable persons in the kingdom. He managed
the affairs of the college till his death, not as master as hath been
asserted, for he appointed his kinsmen, Thomas and Matthias Alleyn,
to be master and warden on the completion of the foundation in
1619, though they did not take upon themselves the management
of the college till after his death. It has been said, that after his
marriage with his last wife, he repented of what he had done, and
wished to revoke his charity; of this there appears to be no proof,
nor have I any other to offer in contradiction to it, than his will;
by which he appears to be so well satisfied with the foundation, that
he augments it with further donations; nor is there any clause by
which he excludes other benefactions, which has likewise been
Alleyn died in November 1626, and was buried in the college
chapel on the twenty-seventh. Aubrey gives the following inscription, from a flat stone over his grave:
"Here lyeth the bodie of Edward Alleyn, Esq. the founder of
this church and college, who died the twenty-first day of
It is probable that this inscription was obliterated, and that in substituting the following, which now appears, his age and the dates
were erroneously inserted; for as he was buried on the twentyseventh, it is more likely that he died on the twenty-first, than
the twenty-sixth of November:
"To the memory of
Edward Alleyne, Esq.
"The worthy founder of this college,
"Who departed this life, Nov. 26.
"A. D. 1626. Ætat. 63.
"As likewise of
Joan his dear and beloved Wife,
Who finished her mortal race,
"June 28th, 1623."
Alleyn was sixty years of age at the time of his death, as appears
by his diary. Over the inscription are his arms (fn. 23) .
Building of the college.
As the founder's diary, which is extant, does not commence before
1617, we have no certain account when the building of Dulwich
college was begun; the editors of the Biographia say, that the work
was in great forwardness in 1614; and they presume, that 8000l. or
10,000l. were expended upon it before the commencement of the
diary (fn. 24) . The chapel was finished in 1616, and was dedicated on
the first of September in that year. The whole form of the dedication, and the prayers used upon that occasion, are in archbishop
Abbot's register, and have been printed in Wilkins (fn. 25) . Cornelius
Lyman, of Chr. Ch. Oxford, was entered fellow of the college the
day before, but he was not one of the members at its final establishment in 1619. The deed of foundation is dated April 13, and the
letters patent bear date June 21, 1619. The building being
finished, and the members of the college appointed, the thirteenth of
the September following was fixed on for the solemnity of the
foundation; of which the following account is given in Alleyn's
own words (fn. 26) :
Ceremony of the foundation.
"Sept. 13, 1619. This daye was the foundacion of the college
finished; and there were present, the Lord Chancellor; the Lord of
Arundell; Lord Coronell Cecill; Sir John Howland, high shreeve;
Sir Ed. Bowyer; Sir Thomas Grymes; Sir John Bodley; Sir
John Tunstall; Inigo Jones, the king's surveyor; John Finch,
councellor; Richard Tayleboys; Richard Jones; John Anthony.
They first heard a sermon, and after the instrument of creacion
was by me read, and after an anthem, they went to dinner, which
was as followeth:
|"Two messe of meat
"Capons in whight broth
"Forc't boyld meat
"A chine of beef, rost
"Shoulder of mutton, with oysters
"Rost neates tongues
"So the other messe.
"Wett leche (fn. 27)
"Dry neats tongues
So the other messe.
The whole expence of this entertainment, amounted to 20l. 9s. 2d.
Alleyn has inserted in his diary the prices of each article; which,
omitting some of the most minute, I have here transcribed. In comparing them with the present prices of provisions, the difference in some
articles will be found very striking, in others very trifling.
|"A chine of beef, weighing twelve stone
|"Twelve neats tongues
|"Two dry neats tongues
|"A leg of mutton
|Six house pigions
|Eighteen felde pigions
|Half a hundred of eggs
|A pottle of great oysters
|Barbaryes and grapes
|Carrots, turneps, rosemary and bays
|Nineteen oranges, and four lemons
|Pine apple seeds (fn. 28) , 40z.
|Wett suckett, half a pound
|Lump sugar, 9lb.
|Gaffornes, quarter of an ounce
|Two rundlets of claret, containing eight gallons
|A bottle of canary, five pints
|Three quarts of sherry
|Three quarts of whight wine
|The buck, with warrant and fetching
|The cooks labor
Of my own.
|Wheat for meal and flower, eight bushels
|Thirty pound of butter
|Two hogshedds of bere
Establishment of the college. Endowment.
The college was founded for a master, warden, four fellows, six
poor brethren, and six sisters, twelve scholars, six assistants, and
thirty out-members. The endowment consisted of the manor of
Dulwich, and lands and tenements there; some lands in Lambeth
parish; some messuages in the parish of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate; and
the Fortune theatre. The revenues amounted to 800l. per annum.
Statutes. Master and warden.
Poor brethren and sisters.
The statutes direct, that the master and warden shall be of the
blood and surname of Alleyn; and for want of such, of his surname
only: they must be twenty-one years of age, and unmarried. It was
objected to Anthony Allen, a candidate for the warden's place, in
1670, that he wrote not his name Alleyn; and he was held to be
disqualified on that account; but that objection has been frequently
overruled since. Upon the death of the master, the warden succeeds;
and a new warden duly qualified, according to the statutes, must be
chosen by lot. The salary of the master is 40l. per annum, with
an allowance for diet and two hundred faggots; the warden's salary
is 30l. with the like allowance. The first master and warden,
notwithstanding the clause which forbids their successors to marry,
were both married men; their wives were allowed diet from the college; and Matthias Alleyn the warden, being a widower, was allowed to marry again. Some of the succeeding masters endeavoured
to avail themselves of this circumstance, and to procure leave from
their visitor to marry, but without success; the will of the founder
being so clear and explicit upon this head. In Aug. 1681, their
visitor expressly commanded, that no woman whatsoever should
come to eat at the common table with the society. The fellows are
chosen by lot; the statutes direct, that the two seniors shall be masters of arts, and officiate as preachers; the two juniors, graduates
and in holy orders, to be school-master and usher; they must all
be unmarried; the two seniors are allowed 12l. per annum, their
diet, and one hundred and fifty faggots; the juniors, 10l., their
diet, and one hundred faggots. Six chanters are also mentioned, of whom the two seniors were to be organists; the four
others singing men, their salary 6l. per annum. These chanters
are to be found no where but in the statutes; none were appointed
by the founder himself at the original establishment of the college,
the junior fellow, a layman, being then the organist, and the
senior the only preacher, as it has continued ever since. The poor
brethren and sisters must be sixty years of age at their admission,
and unmarried: there is a clause in the statutes, which excludes
any person infected with a noisome disease, or such as are decrepit
in their limbs; if they marry, commit fornication, or adultery, they
are to be expelled. I do not find that the annals of the college
record any expulsions on this account: but very soon after the foundation, a note occurs in the register, "that two of the sisters were
expulsed for ungodly unquietness." It is directed by the statutes,
that the poor brethren and sisters shall be chosen, as vacancies happen
in the college, from the thirty out-members, who are to be of the
parishes of St. Saviour, Southwark; St. Botolph, Bishopsgate; and
St. Giles's, Cripplegate; ten out of each parish; and are to be lodged
in alms-houses which he built, or ordered by his will to be erected for
their reception. Not many years after the foundation, the estates of the
college being in arrear, and much out of condition, these outmembers were discontinued, and the college received the sanction of
their visitor for so doing; but at the visitation in 1677 (fn. 29) , the pensions
of the out-members were ordered to be paid. The twelve poor
scholars are to be six or eight years of age at their admission, and
to be educated till they are eighteen; to be taught writing, reading,
grammar, music, and good manners; when their school education
is completed, they are either to be apprenticed at the charge of the
college to some trade or manual occupation, according to their capacities, or to be preferred to the university, where there are to be never
more nor less than four. An allowance, which is not particularized,
is to be made them for eight years; they are to receive 5l. to defray the expences of each degree, and are to succeed to the fellowships of Dulwich without lot. Isaac Desmevets, in 1692, was allowed 20l. a year by the college whilst he was at the university;
but complaining that he was not able to subsist upon it, they increased his allowance to 25l. and gave him 17l. to take his degree
of M. A. The expence attending the above establishments, is estimated in the statutes at 600l. per annum; of the remaining 200l.
100l. was to be deposited in the college chest for emergencies,
and the other 100l. was to defray the charges of law suits, repairing
roads, &c. The churchwardens of St. Saviour's, Southwark; St.
Botolph, Bishopsgate; and St. Giles's, Cripplegate; were appointed
assistants in the government of the college, and were to attend the
audits; and the archbishop of Canterbury was appointed visitor.
The assistants right of attending the audits, was confirmed at the visitation in 1635.
At the final establishment of the college, in 1619, Thomas Alleyn,
citizen and barber surgeon of London, was appointed the first master,
and Matthias Alleyn, of Dulwich, Gent. warden; the fellows were
Sam. Wilson, M. A. John Harrison, M. A. Martyn Symmonds,
clerk, and Thomas Hopkins, organist.
In 1638, the revenues of the college were so much impaired
by the fall of the steeple, which happened July 6th, that it
was dissolved, by order of the visitor, for the space of six months;
during which time, the master, warden, and fellows received no
salary, but the poor people, and the scholars were allowed two
shillings a week each. The college seems indeed to have been peculiarly unfortunate in its dilapidations: it was not long after, that the
whole of the one side, and part of the other, fell down; and in
1703, the porch, with the treasury chamber, shared the same
During the civil wars, Dulwich college had its full share of the
general confusion; the master and warden did not take an active
part, but the fellows were in arms for the king; in consequence of
which, their fellowships were sequestered, and a school-master and
usher only (Stephen Street, and Edmund Colley) were appointed by
the ruling powers. In 1646, these two presented a petition to the
committee for plundered ministers (fn. 30) , that they might have a double
allowance for diet, as they stood in the place of the four fellows;
their petition was rejected at first, but was afterwards granted, as
being consonant to the will of the founder. In 1647, Fairfax's
army being then at Putney and Fulham, a company of soldiers,
under the command of Capt. Atkinson, was quartered in the college,
for which they received the sum of 19 s. and 8d. a poor recompence for the destruction of their organ, and other outrages which
the soldiers committed. There is a tradition yet current in the college, that they took up the leaden coffins in the chapel, and melted
them into bullets.
In 1649, the rents of the Fortune playhouse being in arrear, the
college entered upon the theatre the 21st of November. Both
houses of parliament passed an order, July 16, 1647 (fn. 31) , for the suppression of plays and play-houses; they continued to act for some
time at the Fortune, in defiance of this resolution (fn. 32) ; but upon the
parliament taking more severe measures, and ordering the play-houses
to be made unfit for theatrical representation (fn. 33) , they were obliged to
desist. It was not surprising therefore, that the proprietors of the
theatre should be in arrear for rent. At the archbishop's visitation,
in 1667, it appeared, that the college had been brought in debt
considerably by the fall of the Fortune play-house (fn. 34) .
Having applied several times to parliament without redress, the
college presented a petition in 1655, setting forth their grievances;
and praying that the privilege of electing their own fellows might
be restored. Cromwell, by letters patent, dated Feb. 11, 1655–6,
appointed Nathaniel Fiennes, one of the commissioners of the great
seal, Sir Bulstrode Whitlock, chief justice St. John, General Lambert, and others, commissioners, with full power to visit and settle the
affairs of the college; this visitation took place March 19, 1657–8;
but the commissioners appointed a new preacher and schoolmaster
themselves, instead of restoring the privilege of election to the college. The next year, Elias Alleyn presented a petition to Richard
Cromwell, then protector, in which he complained, that notwithstanding the visitation of the commissioners in the preceding year,
the abuses of the college were not reformed; and that the master and
warden still continued in their evil practices. In consequence of this
petition, certain persons were appointed to inquire into the matter,
and it came to a hearing at Whitehall; when it was alleged, that
the master and warden had alienated lands belonging to the college,
to the amount of 200l. per ann. and had applied the money to their
own use; that they had sold divers valuable goods belonging to
the college, and had aided and abetted the late king by conniving
at the fellows being in arms against the parliament: after hearing
both sides a report was drawn up, and a copy ordered to be sent to
each party, which was never done, and thus the matter ended.
The present master is Thomas Allen; he succeeded to that place
in 1775, at which time Mr. William Allen was elected warden; the
present fellows are Thomas Jenyns Smith, M. A. Nevile Stow, M. A.
John Newell Puddicombe, M. A. and Mr. Richard Dowell, organist.
Description of Dulwich-college.
Dulwich College: Plate 1
Dulwich College consists of a front and two wings, which form
three sides of a quadrangle; over the door, in the centre of the front
building, is the following inscription upon a tablet of black marble:
Primo totius Britanniæ monarcho;
Edward Alleyn, armiger,
Theromachiæ Regiæ præfectus,
Theatri Fortunæ dicti choragus,
Ævique sui Roscius,
Hoc collegium instituit;
Atque ad duodecim senes egenos,
Sex scilicet viros et totidem fœminas
Paremque puerorum numerum alendum,
Et in Christi disciplina et bonis literis erudiendum,
Re satis amplâ instruxit.
Ne quod Deo dicaverat postmodum frustra fieret,
"Diplomate namque regio munitus, jussit
Et a magistro, custode, et quatuor sociis,
Qui et conscientiæ vinculis astricti,
Et sua ipsorum utilitate admoniti,
Rem bene administrarent,
In perpetuum regeretur.
Postquam annos bene multos collegio suo præfuisset,
Dierum tandem et bonorum operum fatur,
VI. Cal. Decris, A. D. 1626.
Beatus ille qui misertus est pauperum,
Abi tu et fac similiter."
The west end of the front building contains the hall, kitchen, and
offices on the ground floor; above stairs are the apartments of the
master and warden; the east end is occupied by the chapel, a plain
unornamented structure; in which is a font inscribed with a Greek
anagram (fn. 35) . The founder of the college, his wife, and her mother,
are buried in the chapel; the inscriptions are in Aubrey (fn. 36) . A
clause in the statutes permits the master, warden, and fellows
to be buried in the chapel, but excludes all others. A cemetery
was consecrated at the same time with the chapel; it is situated
about a quarter of a mile from the college, near the road to London. The chapel is now frequented by the inhabitants of the hamlet,
to whom it serves as a chapel of ease; the parochial duties being
performed by the senior fellow.
The baptisms and burials are entered in the college register, which
records likewise the succession of the masters, wardens, fellows,
and other members; some few historical notes are occasionally inserted, of which I have availed myself in the account of the college.
In the first leaf is a memorandum of the music books and instruments left in the college at Mr. Alleyn's death; the instruments were
"a lute, a pandora, a cythera, and six vyols." In the earlier part of
the register, the burials of the members of the college only appear to be recorded; a few baptisms occur, most of them from
Norwood. It was not till towards the latter end of the last century,
that the inhabitants of Dulwich, who are near two miles from the
parish church, enjoyed the convenience of having the parochial duties
performed so near their home.
The average of births and burials at Dulwich, I have noticed in
describing the parish register of Camberwell.
Four persons are mentioned to have died of the plague at Dulwich in 1625; and thirty-seven in 1665, and 1666; most of whom
were buried at Camberwell.
Anthony Boheme, called in the register, "The Famous Tragedian,"
was interred in the burial ground here Jan. 10, 1731. He is
mentioned by the theatrical biographers, as an actor of considerable
eminence. Macklin, who remembers him, says his abilities were
over-rated, and that he was a mannerist.
Another actor of less eminence, called in the register "John
Eggleton, a player," was buried February 19, 1727: of himself
little is remembered; his wife was an actress of merit, and was the
original Lucy in the Beggar's Opera: her portrait is introduced by
Hogarth in his scene from that play.
Bridget, queen of the gypsies.
The following singular entry appears among the burials in 1768,
"Old Bridget, the Queen of the Gypsies, buried August 6th." This
Bridget was niece and successor of Margaret Finch, whose history is
very curious; of whom, I propose to give some account when
I come to treat of the village of Beckenham, where her majesty was
In the west wing of the college which was repaired in 1667, the
apartments of the poor sisters occupy the ground floor; over which is
the picture gallery, seventy-seven feet long, and fifteen feet six inches
wide; the cieling is richly ornamented with stucco, it is in a very
ruinous state, and is shortly to be taken down, and the whole of the
wing to be repaired or rebuilt.
The contents of the picture gallery have been very cursorily mentioned in all the histories of the college. Aubrey, from whom
the succeeding writers on the subject seem to have copied, says, that
there are portraits of Henry Prince of Wales, Sir Thomas Gresham,
Mary Queen of Scots, and some other worthless pictures: the two
latter portraits are not there, and as they are not mentioned in the
old catalogue, it may be presumed they never were: of the remaining pictures which are treated with so much contempt, some have
much merit, and many are valuable, as being original and unique
portraits of remarkable persons: they may be thought therefore to
deserve a more particular account. The catalogue which is in the
hand-writing of Mr. Cartwright, by whom they were bequeathed to
the college, ascertains both their names and prices. Many which
are there enumerated do not now appear; perhaps Cartwright had
disposed of them before his death: among these was a portrait of
"the man who demolished the Earl of Essex with a hatchet in
Westminster Abbey;" this destruction, of which an account is
given in the notes (fn. 37) , was not executed upon his person, but his effigies soon after his interment. The most remarkable of the portraits
which remain, are the following:
Michael Drayton, the poet (fn. 38) , in a black dress, his own hair short,
and a plain band. This cost Mr. Cartwright 15l.
Sir Martin Frobisher.
Sir Martin Frobisher, a brave officer, and a distinguished circumnavigator, who discovered the north passage to China. He defended
Brest against a superior force of Spaniards; and was knighted for his
gallant behaviour in the engagement with the Armada (fn. 39) .
The first Lord Lovelace, created by Charles I., who distinguished
himself likewise as a naval officer, and took the King of Spain's WestIndian fleet (fn. 40) . He was of Hurley in the county of Berks.
Richard Lovelace, the poet, called in the catalogue, "Colonel
Lovelace, in black armour." This man was a singular instance of
the vicissitudes of fortune. After leaving Oxford, where the beauty
of his person, and the variety of his accomplishments, procured him
the esteem and admiration of all, he entered into the army; and
having faithfully served his unfortunate master Charles I., he afterwards entered into the service of the French king, and was wounded
at the siege of Dunkirk; he recovered from his wounds, and returned
to England, where he found his beautiful mistress Lucy Sacheverell,
who had supposed him dead, married to another; and being obnoxious to the then ruling powers, he was thrown into prison; being
afterwards released, he wandered about in rags and poverty; and being broken down both in mind and fortune, died in obscure lodgings in Gunpowder-Alley, Shoe-lane, in the year 1658, and was
buried in St. Bride's church (fn. 41) . There is a print of him by
Sir William Lovelace, Serjeant Lovelace, and others of that
The Duchess of Suffolk, a whole length.
It does not appear what Duchess of Suffolk this is, probably Lady
Willoughby, the last wife of Charles Brandon.
A portrait called "the Earl of Exeter," a head painted on board;
the title must be a mistake;—there was no Earl of Exeter, before
Thomas Cecil; it may be Henry, or Edward, Marquis of Exeter; the
former was beheaded in 1538, the latter died 1556.
"Greenhill, the painter, by himself." This is a good picture, and
is engraved in the Anecdotes of Painting.
"Althea, with her hair dishevelled," said to be Lucy Sacheverell;
though Lovelace always called her Lucasta in his Poems.
"Burbage, the actor." Richard Burbadge was a very celebrated
tragedian, and a contemporary of Shakspeare. Camden calls him,
"alter Roscius;" and Baker speaks of him in the same terms as he
does of Alleyn, pronouncing them both to be such actors "as no
age must ever look to see the like." He is known to have represented the character of Richard III.; and probably, performed the
principal tragic parts in other of Shakspeare's plays (fn. 42) . He was a
principal proprietor of the Globe and Blackfriar's theatres; and died
anno 1619 (fn. 43) .
"Nathaniel Field, the actor;" a good portrait. This cost Mr.
Cartwright 10l. He is represented dressed in a shirt trimmed with
black lace. Field was one of the children of the Chapel Royal: he
originally performed women's characters (fn. 44) .
"Perkins, the actor." Richard Perkins was one of the performers
belonging to the Cockpit, Drury Lane, and is mentioned among
those of principal note there (fn. 45) : he acted in Shirley's and Heywood's
plays (fn. 46) . John Webster, the author of a comedy called, The White
Devil, or Victoria Corombona, published in 1612, says, in a note,
after praising the other actors, "in particular, I must remember the
well-approved industry of my friend Master Perkins, and confess,
"the worth of his action did crown both the beginning and the
end (fn. 47) . When the play-houses were shut up during the civil wars,
Perkins resided in Clerkenwell, where he died; and was buried some
years before the restoration. He wrote a copy of verses prefixed to
Heywood's apology for actors.
" Sly, the actor." William Sly was a contemporary of Shakspeare, and was joined with him in the patent of 1603. He is introduced personally in Marston's Malecontent, 1604; and Mr. Malone
conjectures, from his there using an affected phrase of Osrick's in
Hamlet, that he performed that part. He died before the year
1612 (fn. 48) .
"Tom Bond, the actor." Of Bond little is known, but that he
acted in Shakerly Marmyon's comedy of Holland's Leaguer, brought
out in 1632.
|"Mr. Cartwright, sen. the actor."
||These pictures cost 15l.each.
|"Mr. Cartwright, jun. the actor."
The former of these, whose name was William, was one of the
Palsgrave's servants in 1622 (fn. 49) . The portrait, which is a very bad one,
represents him in a laced band and cuffs. Cartwright the younger,
is in a Vandyke dress; of him nothing certain is known: he probably was son to the former. There is a third portrait of a Cartwright, an actor, called in the catalogue, "my own portrait (fn. 50) ."
This is a good picture by Greenhill: he is represented in a black
robe and flowing peruke, with his hand on a dog's head. His name
also was William. He was one of Killigrew's company at the
original establishment of Drury Lane, where he played Falstaff.
This Cartwright, by his will dated September 1686, left his books
and pictures, several articles of furniture, and 390 broad pieces of
gold, to Dulwich College; but his servants defrauded the College
of the greater part both of the furniture and money, of which they
received only 65l.
Besides the portraits above-mentioned, there are others of inferior
value, and less note; and some other pictures, among which are an
head of an old man, which has much merit, by Greenhill; an
ancient view of London, said to be by Norden; the head of a
woman, by Burbadge the actor, in chiaro-obscuro; some copies from
Bassan; a sea view; and many more, which, as Aubrey says, are
certainly very worthless.
At the south end of the picture gallery, is the audit-room, where
is a good picture of the founder, a full length, in a black gown (fn. 51) ;
a small portrait of a lady, on board, in a dress of scarlet and gold,
with a Latin inscription round it; and some other portraits of little
Adjoining the audit-room, is a small library, in which are
the books bequeathed to the college by Mr. Cartwright. This
library formerly contained a very valuable collection of old plays,
which were given by the college to Mr. Garrick when he was
making his theatrical collection, in exchange for some more modern
publications. There still remain some scarce editions of books in
various departments of literature, as it may be imagined would be
found amongst the stock in trade of a bookseller, who lived in the
middle of the last century. The college is likewise in possession of a
few curious MSS.; among them is the Founder's Diary, to which
I have had frequent occasion to refer, and from which I here subjoin
some curious extracts with occasional observations. It commences in
|"Oct. 13, 1617. Paid the king's rent for the bank (fn. 52)
|Nov. 18, 1617. Wine at lady Clarke's at supper (fn. 53)
|—19,— Wine at lady Clarke's at dinner
|Dec. 23. A ream of fine paper
|—31. Went to Suffolk-house
|Given my lady my silver book
|Paid for wrighting the verses
|To Buckett for lyming (fn. 54) it
|To Mr. Brambel for the glass work
|The whole value 15l."
The Earl of Suffolk being at that time lord treasurer, it is probable that Alleyn was soliciting his interest to forward his patent;
and it was usual upon such occasions, when a favour was expected
from a minister, to make presents to his lady.
|Jan. 1, 1618. Given my lady Clarke a pair of "silk stockings
|Given Mr. Austen a pair of silk stockings
|Given Mrs. Austen a pair of gloves
The fashion of wearing richly embroidered gloves continued a
long time: I have seen a pair which belonged to the Duchess of
Exeter, Edward IV.'s sister; and they very much resemble the
wedding gloves of Mrs. Hampden, wife of the celebrated patriot,
which are now in the Earl of Orford's collection at Strawberryhill.
It being much the fashion in Alleyn's time to make new-year's
gifts, very numerous entries of such gifts occur at the beginning of
each year; consisting of capons, pullets, eggs, cakes, &c.; and sometimes as above, embroidered gloves and silk stockings.
|"Jan. 11, 1618. Given trumpeters on twelfth day
It appears to have been usual for trumpeters to go about, not only
on particular festivals, but at other times, like the organ-grinders of
the present day; frequent entries occur of money given them.
|"Oct. 1, 1619. A noise of trumpeters came and founded, given them
|Nov. 30. Given to trumpeters that founded at dinner
|May 25, 1621. Given two noyes of trumpeters at two times
|March 2, 1618. I din'd at the vestry, and gave a seminary preeste
|March 4. Paid Mr. Garratt a fee for coming to the bear-garden this day
|Ap. 2. A pint of muskadele
|Ap. 17. I was at Arundel-house, where my lord showed me all his statues and pictures that came from Italy; given his man
|Ap. 25. This morning, blessed be God, I sickned at my lady Clarke's; sent Dr. Lister my water
Dr. Lister was the first physician of his time. Hence it appears, that the practice of deciding on complaints by viewing the
water of the patient, was not confined at that time to empirics
only. In the March following, Alleyn applied to Dr. Gulson, an
eminent physician likewise, to whom he sent only six-pence; the
persons who professed this branch of medicine alone, called themselves water-doctors, or water-scrigers. The newspapers of the present day inform us of practitioners in this line, both male and
female; some of them have attained great celebrity in their profession, and have practised with great success to themselves at least,
if not to their patients, in cases which have been given over by
|"Ap. 28. Given Dr. Lister that came to me
In a book called "Levamen Infirmi (fn. 55) ," written in 1700, the usual
fees to physicians and chirurgeons at that time, are thus stated:
"To a graduate in physick, his due is about ten shillings, though
he commonly expects or demands twenty. Those that are only
licensed physicians, their due is no more than six shillings and
eight-pence, though they commonly demand ten shillings. A
surgeon's fee is twelve-pence a mile, be his journey far or near;
ten groats to set a bone broke or out of joint, and for letting of
blood one shilling; the cutting off, or amputation of any limb,
is five pounds; but there is no settled price for the cure."
|"May 27, 1618. Bought a pair of organs of Mr. Gibbs, of Powles
|Ap. 13, 1619. Paid Mr. Barrat for a dyapason stop to my organ, and other alterations
|July 11, 1618. I received my patent from Mr. Attorney, and he would nothing; but Mr. Beale had for it
|The chamber-keeper I gave
|Aug. 16. Paid Mr. Attorney for my patent passing the signet and privy seal
At Michaelmas this year, Alleyn, after enumerating the several
articles of his expenditures during the last year, concludes thus,
"and for lawe, the worst of any, 67l. 5 s. 6 d."
"Sept. 1618. More disbursed for the building in the Black-fryars for this year, and in An. 1617, when it first begun with the 200l. disbursed by my father, buying in of leases, charges in lawe, and the building itself, is
|Feb. 14, 1619. Paid for four hundred and fifty damask roses, at seven-pence the hundred.
|Mar. 29, 1619. Paid for powlinge of heads
|Ap. 27. Paid Sir Jeremy Turner, muster-master, for two years mustering for my light horse, a musket and corslet
|July 30. Paid for powder to make a sweet bag
"Aug. 1. This daye is my birth-day, and I am nowe full fiftythree years old, blessed be the Lord God, the giver of life. Amen.
"June 6, 1620. The king sent a young tyger to the garden.
"June 26, 1620. My wife and I acknowledged the fine at the
common pleas, of all my lands to the college; blessed be God
that hath given us life to do it.
"July 21, 1620. This day I layde the first brick of the sowndacion of the alms-houses in Finsburie.
|Paid for my tawny sattin doublett
|My whight taffeta doublett
"Nov. 3, 1620. I changed my twelve owld sybles for new,
and gave four shillings a piece to boot to Mr. Gibkin for them."
These are in the picture gallery.
The taste for sibyls must be much altered, or Mr. Alleyn had a
very dear bargain; it would be difficult to meet with a broker
that would give four-pence a piece for them now.
"Nov. 11, 1620. Bought of Mr. Gibkin, fourteen heads of Christ our Saviour, and the twelve Apostles, at a noble a piece
These are in the audit-room, and very wretched performances
|"December 15. This day I paid for the manor and parsonage of Lewisham
"Dec. 29. This day the French Ambassador, the duke of Loraine, with three hundred and seventy-three persons, came to
Alleyn was right in the fact, but misinformed as to the person. In
Dec. 1620, the marquis de Cadenet, brother to the duke de Luines,
arrived in England from France, with a great train (fn. 56) .
"Jan. 17, 1621. I this day toke a poor fatherless child.
|Mar. 20, 1621. I bought a white horse of Sir Edward Fowler
"Dec. 9. This night at twelve o'clock, the Fortune was burnt."
In the ensuing year, are frequent entries of money given to the
workmen, rebuilding the Fortune theatre.
"Feb. 1622. Paid the ten members at Finsbury their quarterage.
"Ap. 26, 1622. I din'd with the Spanish embassador, Gundomar.
"June 12. I went to my lord of Arundell's, and showed the
The Diary ends in September 1622.
The east wing of the college has been entirely rebuilt; it was
finished in 1740, and cost the college above 3,600l. In the centre
of this wing, on the first floor, is the school-room, and on each
side the fellows' chambers, which are spacious and pleasant; beneath
are the apartments of the poor brethren.
Dulwich College: Plate 2
Behind the college is a garden of very considerable extent,
whence the view in the second plate of the college was taken; it ex
hibits the south side, consisting of the chapel and the masters apartments.
Peckham, a hamlet in the parish of Camberwell, is situated
on the road to Greenwich, a mile from the village, and contains
three hundred and seven houses. It appears by Doomsday-book,
that it belonged formerly to Battersea.
The manor, which had been held by Alfred of Harold, was
granted by the Conqueror to Odo, bishop of Baieux, his half-brother,
and was held under him by the bishop of Lisieux. I find it mentioned in only two records, of a subsequent date, as a manor distinct
from Camberwell; the first is a grant by Thomas Dolsaly, of the
manor of Peckham, which had been given him by Sir John Stonor,
senior, to Edward de Barneby, vicar of Camberwell, and John Fauconer,
chaplain, and their heirs (fn. 57) ; this was in the reign of Edward III.;
the other is a grant of the same manor to Tipper and Dawe (fn. 58) , by
Manor of Bredinghurst.
Two manors in Peckham are recorded by the names of Bredinghurst and Basynges; so called, no doubt, from some of their early
possessors. The family of Bredinghurst, or Bretinghurst, had property in Peckham in the reign of Edw. I. as appears by Mr. Windham's Court Rolls. The manor belonged to Thomas Wolsely, in
the reign of Edw. III. (fn. 59) and at subsequent periods, to Edward Dolshill (fn. 60) ; and Margaret Bernard, widow (fn. 61) . John Scott, Esq. died seizedthereof, 1 Eliz. (fn. 6) ; it afterwards came to the Muschamps. Francis
Muschamp died seized of it in 1632 (fn. 63) . Edward Eversfield, who
married Mary Muschamp, an heiress, sold the manor to Sir Thomas
Bond, in 1672. His son Sir Henry alienated it to Sir Thomas
Trevor, afterwards lord chief justice, and created a peer. Lord
Trevor, made Peckham his occasional residence. His wife Elizabeth was buried at Camberwell, May 29, 1702 (fn. 64) . After his death
it was purchased by Mr. Hill, a merchant, from whom it descended
to the present proprietor, William Shard, Esq. The manor was
held of the king, as of his castle of Dover.
The manor-house is situated near the centre of the hamlet
at a small distance from the road leading from Camberwell to Greenwich, on the left hand: it was built by Sir Thomas Bond, in 1672,
immediately after he had purchased the estate. Sir Thomas was one
of the confidential friends of James II., and left the kingdom upon his abdication of the throne. There is a tradition, that
the mob were so exasperated against him, that they plundered his
house at Peckham, and were with difficulty restrained from pulling
it down. His son, Sir Henry, was receiver-general to James in
France, and is mentioned amongst the persons of note who left
that kingdom with him, when he made his unsuccessful voyage to
Ireland (fn. 65) .
Manor of Basynges. Samuel Chandler.
The only mention I find of the manor of Basynges is, that Henry
Baker died seized thereof in 1557 (fn. 66) . It was held of the manor of
Camberwell. The family of Basynge had been settled in this parish
at a very early period. Solomon de Basynge, who appears to have
been sheriff of London in the reign of king John, had possessions
there; part of which he bequeathed to the nuns of Haliwell (fn. 67) .
At Peckham are meeting-houses for the anabaptists and presbyterians. A congregation of the latter has been long established
there, of which Mr. Samuel Chandler was minister, in 1716 (fn. 68)
He published a great variety of sermons, and religious tracts; amongst
which, besides such as are written in defence of the tenets maintained by those of his own persuasion, are some for which Christianity at large is much indebted to him; particularly "a Vindication
of the Christian Religion," of which archbishop Wake, in a letter
addressed to him, speaks in terms of high commendation (fn. 69) .
A Roman urn of glass was dug up in the middle of the highway
at Peckham, about the beginning of this century (fn. 70) .
Beyond Peckham, towards Greenwich, lies Hatcham, now a single
house; it is described in the Conqueror's Survey to have been in
Surrey, and seems to be mentioned as an appendage to Camberwell.
It is a manor partly in Kent, and partly in Surrey, and is sometimes
called in the Records, Hatcham Barnes. Brixi (who probably gave
name to the hundred of Brixton, anciently called Brixistan) held it of
Edward the Confessor: at the time of the Survey, the bishop of
Lisieux held it of Odo bishop of Baieux. The land was of three carucates, and was valued at forty shillings. It was in the possession of
the family of Bavent, as early as the reign of Edward I. when
Adam de Bavent had a grant of free warren there (fn. 71) , and continued to
be their property till the 36th of Edward III. when Hawisne,
the widow of Sir Roger Bavent, quitted claim to the priory of Dartford (fn. 72) . It was kept in the hands of the crown for some time after the
suppression of monasteries, and was leased by Queen Elizabeth to
Anne Broke Lady Cobham, in the 42d year of her reign (fn. 73) . It was
granted by James I. to George Salter and John Williams (fn. 74) ,
and was by them alienated to Peter Vanlore; from him it passed to
the family of the Brookes, who sold it, 11 Jac. I., to the Haberdashers' Company of London, as trustees to the charitable bequests
left by William Jones, Esq. to the town of Monmouth. Hatcham
is assessed the sum of 102l. to the land-tax.