The name of this place is of very uncertain etymology. In
Doomsday book it is called Putelei; in all subsequent records,
till the 16th century, it is spelt Puttenheth, or Pottenheth; since
which period it has obtained the name of Putney. Stebenheth has
in the same manner been contracted to Stepney.
Leland, speaking of this village in his Cygnea Cantio (fn. 1) , distinguishes it with the appellation of "Puttenega amænum."
Situation, boundaries, and extent.
Putney lies in the western division of Brixton hundred, and is
situated on the banks of the Thames, at the distance of four miles
from Hyde-park-corner. It is bounded on the north by the river;
on the west by the parishes of Barnes and Mortlake; on the south
by that of Kingston; and on the east by those of Wimbledon and
Wandsworth. In a very ancient terrier, this parish is said to contain 94 yard-lands, or 1,410 acres (fn. 2) ; a survey taken 13 Hen. VII.
describes it as consisting of 1,239 (fn. 3) acres; another of a later date
(1612 (fn. 4) ) increases the number of acres to 1,630. The waste land is
very extensive, consisting of a small common adjoining to that of
Barnes, the whole of Putney heath, and the greater part of Wimbledon common, in which the parishes are marked out by posts
placed from north to south. The cultivated land is principally arable, including about 120 acres, occupied by the market gardeners,
and thirty employed as nursery grounds by Mr. Howey. Two
hundred and thirty acres of Richmond-park are in this parish,
two hundred of which are cultivated. The soil of this place consists chiefly of sand and gravel; there is some clay. The parish of
Putney, exclusive of the hamlet of Roehampton, is assessed at the
sum of 549l. 12s. 7d. to the land tax, which this year, (1792,) is
at the rate of 1s. 3d. in the pound.
Putney has had the honour of producing two eminent statesmen,
Nicholas West, Bishop of Ely, and Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex,
both of whom, born of humble parentage, rose, by their own merit
and abilities, to the highest stations in church and state.
Nicholas West, Bishop of Ely.
West was the son of a baker. In 1477 he was chosen scholar of
King's College, Cambridge, where his conduct was such as gave
little hopes of his future eminence, and justified Fuller's expression,
who calls him "a Rakehell in grain (fn. 5) ." Among others of his vicious pranks, he set fire to the Provost's lodgings, for which he was
expelled the university. But in him, says Fuller, was verified the
old proverb, naughty boys make good men: he seasonably retrenched his wildness, turned hard student, was again admitted at
the university, and became an eminent scholar and a most able
statesman. His first preferment was the vicarage of Kingston-uponThames. He afterwards became a favourite of Henry VIII. who,
after bestowing upon him other preferments, made him Bishop of
Ely, and employed him in various embassies. Queen Catherine
chose him as one of her advocates, in conjunction with Bishop
Fisher. His style of living was so magnificent, that he is said to
have kept in his house a hundred servants, to fifty of whom he gave
four marks wages, to the others forty shillings, allowing every one
of them four yards of cloth for his winter livery, and three yards
and a half for his summer livery (fn. 6) . Bishop West died April 6, 1533,
and lies buried in Ely cathedral.
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex.
Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was the son of a blacksmith. The
place of his birth is yet pointed out by a tradition, which is, in some
measure, confirmed by the survey of Wimbledon manor taken in
1617; for it describes upon that spot "an ancient cottage, called the
"smith's shop, lying west of the highway leading from Putney to
the Upper-gate, and on the south side of the highway from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the anchor." It is
worthy of remark, that among the numerous possessions which this
eminent statesman acquired during his prosperity, may be reckoned
the manor of the place where he was born (fn. 7) . The striking features
of his history, his introduction at court by Wolsey, his sudden rise,
the active part which he took in the Reformation, and his subsequent disgrace and fall, are well known. His master Wolsey, to
whose power he succeeded, was going up Putney-hill on his road to
Esher, when he was overtaken by Norris, who there presented him
with a ring, as a token of the continuance of his Majesty's favour (fn. 8) .
Visits of Queen Elizabeth.
I find that Queen Elizabeth visited this place in the years 1584 (fn. 9)
and 1599 (fn. 10) , but no mention is made of the persons who were thus
Transactions at Putney during the civil war.
Putney became the scene of some very interesting transactions
during the civil war in the last century. When the royal army
marched to Kingston, after the battle of Brentford, the Earl of Essex
having determined to follow him into Surrey, a bridge of boats
was constructed for that purpose between Fulham and Putney, and
forts were ordered to be erected on each side the river (fn. 11) .
The army quartered there.
In the year 1647, when the kingdom was divided into
three parties equally jealous of each other, Cromwell resolving
to watch the measures of the parliament, and at the same time
to keep an eye over the King, who was then at Hampton Court,
fixed the head quarters of the army at Putney (fn. 12) , to which place
they removed from Kingston on the 27th of August (fn. 13) . The quarters of the general officers are thus set down in a newspaper of
that time, printed by authority of parliament (fn. 14) :
"The General (Fairfax) at Mr. Wimondfold's, the high sheriff (fn. 15) .
"The Lieutenant General (Cromwell) at Mr. Bonhunt's (fn. 16) .
"The Commissary General (Ireton) at Mr. Campion's (fn. 17) .
"The Lieutenant General of the Ordnance and the Treasurer, at
"Colonel Fleetwood, at Mr. Martin's.
"Colonel Rich, at Mr. Porter's.
"The Scoutmaster General, at Mr. Hubbard's.
"The Quartermaster General and Commissary General of Musters,
at Major Cumberlin's.
"The Quartermaster General of Horse, at Mr. Allison's.
"Lieutenant Colonel Cowell, at Mr. Duck's.
"Adjutant General of Horse, at Mr. Cox's in the Park.
"Judge Advocate, at Mr. George Smith's.
"Commissary General of Victuals, at Mr. White's (fn. 18) .
"Chyrurgeons and Marshall General, at Mr. Pollexsen's. (fn. 19) .
Councils held in the church.
During the residence of the general officers at Putney, they held
their councils in the church, and sat round the communion table (fn. 19) .
Before they proceeded to debate, they usually heard a sermon from
Hugh Peters (fn. 20) , or some favourite preacher. The newspapers of
that day are full of letters from Putney, giving an account of the
proceedings of the army there. Several councils were held about
the arrears of the army, and some threatening declarations sent to
the parliament upon that subject (fn. 21) . On the 8th of October they
gave an audience in the church to one Gifthiel, a High-German prophet (fn. 22) . After various debates, on the first of November, they at
length completed their propositions for the future government of
the kingdom, which were sent to the King at Hampton Court (fn. 23) .
On the 13th, two days after the King had made his escape to the
Isle of Wight, the army left Putney (fn. 23) . During their residence there,
a pamphlet was published called, "Putney Projects," in which
Cromwell and Ireton are accused of endeavouring to introduce the
old slavery in a new form.
The whole of this parish is included in the manor of Wimbledon.
Bishop West's chapel.
The church was first built as a chapel of ease to Wimbledon some
time after the Conquest, though I have found no record to decide
the date; it is older however than that of Mortlake, for Archbishop
Winchelsey held a public ordination in it in the year 1302. It
would be difficult to ascertain the age of the present structure, which
exhibits the architecture of very different periods. It appears to
have been in a great measure rebuilt in the reign of Henry VII.;
the arches and clustered columns which separate the nave from the
aisles are undoubtedly of that age. The north and south walls
are of much greater antiquity, and by the shape of some of the
windows, might be thought coeval with the original structure.
At the west end is a handsome stone tower, which bears no certain
criterion of its age. It is undoubtedly, however, of later date than the
first building of the church, and there is good reason for supposing that
it was erected before the middle of the 15th century. Over the belfry
door is an ancient coat of arms (fn. 24) , which I find appropriated to no other
family than that of Chamberlayne, a name which does not occur
among the inhabitants of this place since the period abovementioned (fn. 25) .
Except the building of a vestry, the church has undergone no material
alterations since the beginning of the last century, at which time the
large windows, which give light to the galleries, were added. It is
small, irregularly pewed, and by no means calculated for the inhabitants of so populous a parish. Its chief ornament is a little chapel, at the east end of the south aisle, built by Bishop West,
the roof of which is adorned with rich Gothic tracery (fn. 25) , interspersed with the Bishop's arms (fn. 26) , and the initials of his name.
At the east end is a small tablet, put up by the late Dr. Pettiward,
with a short inscription, which mentions the founder of the chapel,
and the circumstance of his being born at Putney.
[Putney Church: Bishop West's chapel]
Putney church suffered considerable damage by the dreadful storm
which happened on the 26th and 27th of November 1703. It was
repaired at the expence of 1061. (fn. 27)
Under the north window of the chancel is this singular inscription:
"Verba Mariæ morituræ.
See me buried by my former husband, and remember the poor."
Tomb of Mary Knyvett.
It is explained by the following lines on a flat marble slab in the
chancel, being the tomb of Mary, daughter of George Scott, Esq.
and wife, first, of Richard Lusher, and afterwards of Thomas
"That you have layd my body here,
"By that first side I lov'd so dear;
"I thank you, husband;—that the poore
"Are still your care I thank you more.
"These last I charg'd you with alive,
"Being dead, I rest while you survive.
"But yet, I have another boone,
"When fate shall come, as come full soone
"It will—and will not be deny'd,
"That you would close my other side.
"Y'ave thought it worthy to be read,
"You once were second to my bed.
"Why may you not like title have
"To this my second bed, the grave.
"This stone will cover us all three,
"And under it we shall be free
"From love or hate, or least distrust
"Of jealousy, to vex our dust;
"For here our bodies do but wait
"For summons to their glorious state."
Mary Knyvett died in 1623. On the north wall of the chancel
there is a monument of black marble to her memory, with an elegant Latin inscription of considerable length. The following passage contains the same thought as an epitaph of Pope's (fn. 28) .—Vale,
"vale, Maria, nullam de te dolorem nisi ex acerbissimâ tuâ morte
On the same side of the chancel is the monument of Richard Lusher, her first husband, who died in 1615, and that of Andrew
Welch, merchant, who died in 1704.
On the south side is a handsome monument supported by Corinthian columns of black marble, to the memory of Katherine, wife
of Sir Anthony Palmer, K. B. (and daughter of Wm Kingsmill, Esq.)
who died in 1613. On the same wall are the monuments of Margaret, second wife of Sir Anthony Palmer, (daughter of Thomas
Digges, Esq.) who died in 1619; Maria Cary, with her portrait
in basso-relievo on a medallion (no date); Robert Gale, chaplain
to Christian Countess of Devonshire, who died in 1659; and Thomas Payne, Esq. serjeant at arms, who died in 1698.
Near the rails of the communion table is the tomb of John
Welbeck, who died in 1477, and his wife Agnes, who died in
1478; with an inscription on brass in the black letter, and engraved
figures of a man in armour, and a woman habited in a long robe.
In the chancel are also the tombs of Sir William Becher, Knt.
Privy Counsellor to King James and King Charles, who died in
1651; William Lake, Esq. (no date); Edward Buckley, Esq. who
died in 1683; and John Glanville, Esq. of Broad Hinton, Wilts,
who died in 1715.
In the gallery over the vestry are the monuments of James Martyn, Esq. who died in 1651; Sir Thomas Dawes, Knt. who died
in 1655; and Sir Robert Wymondesold, who died in 1687.
In Bishop West's chapel is the monument of Daniel, son of Sir
Robert Belt, of Bossall in Yorkshire, who died in 1697; on the
pillars which separate that chapel from the nave of the church,
are those of Edward Martyn, who died in 1655; and Leicester
Burdet, merchant, who died in 1691.
Against the west wall of the church, near the christening pew, is
a tablet to the memory of George Tilden, Esq., Michael Turner, Esq. who died in 1786, and others of that family.
In the nave are the tombs of Sir Gerard Dutton Fleetwood, Knt.
one of the band of gentlemen pensioners, (and son of Col. Dutton
Fleetwood,) who died in 1699; and of Brackley Kennet, Esq. Alderman of London, who died in 1782.
In the vestry are the tombs of Godfrey Woodward, Gent. who
died in 1701; and Abraham Hubbert, Esq. who died in 1679.
Aubrey mentions a brass plate to the memory of John Williams,
sworn Yeoman Porter to the Lord Treasurer Denham, who died in
1551 (fn. 29) .
In Vincent's Visitation of Surrey, the tombs of the following
persons in Putney church are described from notes taken in 1609,
by Cooke, Lancaster Herald. William Whorwood, AttorneyGeneral to Henry VIII. who died in 1545 (fn. 30) ; Ann, widow of
Sir Richard Brooke, Knt. Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, who
died in 1547 (fn. 31) ; Jane, wife of Thomas Roberts, one of the Auditors of the Exchequer to Henry VII. Thomas Heton, mercer,
of London, who died in 1598, aged 84; and his wife Jane, who
died a few days before him, at the age of 92, having lived together
fifty-seven years; Johanna Tregoz, who died in 1465; John Ust-
wayte, clerk of the kitchen to Cardinal Morton; Richard Welbeck,
of the Middle Temple, who died in 1488; John, his son and
heir, servant to Cardinal Morton, who died in 1494; and others
of the Welbeck family; and Eleanor, wife of Thomas Agar, Gent.
who died in 1483. The inscriptions, which were on brass plates and
in the black letter, are all printed in Aubrey's Antiquities of Surrey (fn. 32) .
Tombs in the churchyard.
In the church-yard are the tombs of the following persons:—William Wymondesold, Esq. who died in 1664; John Cary, merchant of London, who died in 1701; Nathaniel Lodington, Esq.
who died in 1707; Robert Stone, of Lyon's-inn, Gent. who died
in 1712; Charles Stone, serjeant at arms attending the great seal,
who died in 1715; Edward Darell, Esq. of the county of Lincoln, who died in 1719; Ann, wife of Revel Taylor, and daughter of the Reverend Adam Blandy, Rector of Whitfield, Oxford;
and others of the Blandy family; and Mrs. Sarah Peck, who died
New burial ground.
In the year 1763 the Reverend Roger Pettiwand, D.D. gave
the parish a piece of ground, adjoining the road from Wandsworth
to Richmond, for the purpose of a cemetery. It was consecrated on
the 2d of November. The most conspicuous monument here is
that of Robert Wood, Esq. who died in 1771. It is ornamented
with a sarcophagus of white marble. The inscription will be given
hereafter. There is also a handsome marble monument to the memory of Stratford Canning, merchant, who died in 1787, with a
medallion of him, and his coat of arms; and that of Harriet,
wife of Andrew Thompson, Esq. of Roehampton, composed of
Coade's artificial stone. She died in 1787. There are also the
tombs of the following persons:—William Taylor, Esq. who died
in 1764; Foot Gregg, Esq. who died the same year, and others of
his family; William Kentish, Esq. who died in 1766; John Boissier, Esq. who died in 1770; the Reverend John Fludger, several
years assistant minister at this place, who died in 1773; John Alexander, Esq. who died in 1776; Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert, who died in
1783; Mrs. Elizabeth Morgue, who died in 1786, and Mr. John
Chalmers, fifty years master of the charity-school, who died in 1791.
Proceedings relating to the curates of Putney during the civil war.
The church of Putney, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is in the
peculiar jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The benefice
is a curacy with a reserved salary of 40l. per annum, paid out of
the great tithes by the lessee of the rectory, under the dean and
chapter of Worcester (fn. 32) . At a committee for the sequestration of Pa
pists and delinquents, held May 28, 1644, it was determined, "that
"whereas the committee did formerly sequester the profits of the
vicarage of Putney for the use and benefit of some godly and
painful minister; it is now thereupon ordered by this committee
that Mr. Hudson, minister, shall officiate the said cure of Putney
in the place of Mr. Avery, a delinquent; and shall receive the
profits and tithes, and all other fees any wayes due or belonging
to the said vicarge, and all arrears that are behind due unto the
last incumbent; and shall likewise receive all the rents reserved
upon the lease of the tithes due unto the dean and chapter of
Worcester: and whosoever hath or shall discover the same, shall
have for his reward according to the ordinance of parliament for
sequestrations; and Mr. Goodwyn is to take care thereof: and
it is further ordered, that the parishioners of Putney are hereby
required to give obedience and assistance thereto, as they will answer the contrary at their peril (fn. 33) ." On the third of December,
1645, it was ordered, that the annual sum of 49l. 13 s.1 d. be paid
out of the estate of the dean and chapter of Worcester to the minister of Putney (fn. 34) . Mr. Hudson, who was put in by the committee,
remained but a short time, for it appears that his successor Mr. Richard Levet relinquished the cure before Oct. 9, 1646, at which
time it was resolved, that it should stand sequestered to Edward
Haughton, minister of the word; and it was ordered, "that he
"should preach diligently, and have for his pains all stipends and
rents, duties, avails, and profits;—all houses and glebe lands, till
farther orders were taken in the premises (fn. 35) ." Haughton having
relinquished the curacy before March 13, 1648, the same maintenance was then voted to Joshua Kirby (fn. 36) . The commissioners appointed by Cromwell to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices in 1658 made Putney a rectory, endowing it with all the great
tithes which had belonged to the church of Worcester (fn. 37) . This
establishment ceased of course at the Restoration.
Curates. William Leo.
William Leo, who appears by a signature in the parish register
to have been preacher at Putney in 1624, was Prebendary of Glocester, and author of several sermons, among which is one preached
at the funeral of Dr. Featley (fn. 38) .
Edward Sclater, whose first signature occurs in 1663, was many
years curate of Putney, where he kept a school. In 1686, being
then a declared Catholic, James II. granted him a dispensation to
continue his school and to hold his curacy, notwithstanding he no
longer conformed to the liturgy of the Church of England. The
curacy was then valued at 160l. per annum, arising principally
from subscriptions, out of which he was required to allow a competent salary to a substitute. The dispensation is printed at length in
Gutch's Collectanea Curiosa. Soon after he procured this dispensation
he published a pamphlet entitled, "The Reasons of Edward Sclater, Minister of Putney, for his Conversion to the Catholic Faith;"
which was twice answered, to his own conviction it is to be presumed; for in the year 1689 he read his public recantation, and
was again received into the church. After this he quitted the school
and lived privately near Exeter Change. Sclater was author of a
grammar, and some other school-books (fn. 39) .
The present curate of Putney is the Rev. Thomas Hughes, M. A.
Prebendary of Worcester, and preacher at the Rolls chapel.
The parish register begins in the year 1620. It has been nearly
kept, and appears to be very accurate, except a chasm in the entries
of burials from the year 1686 to 1700.
Comparative state of population.
Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
From the above table is appears that the increase of population during the last century has been very small, though it increased in a
proportion of somewhat more than two to one during the 60 years
which preceded. The number of baptisms in the two last years is
very disproportionate to the average. I cannot give any reason why
the burials should in general exceed the baptisms, as the place is
esteemed healthy, and very few funerals are brought from other parishes. There are now 440 houses in Putney, including the almshouses and the workhouse. The inhabitants being accurately numbered in February last, were found to amount to 2294, of whom
274 were lodgers.
In the year 1625 twenty-five persons died of the plague here;
in 1665 seventy-four; and in the ensuing year ten persons only.
It may be observed, that its ravages were much less fatal here than
at Mortlake, though the parish is more populous, and the communication with London must have been more frequent, Putney being
a considerable thoroughfare.
Entries in the parish accounts relating to the plague.
The following entries relating to the plague occur in the parish
"1625. Paid the carpenters for a barrow, to carry the people that died of the sicknesse to church to bury them
|Paid for pitch, rosin, and frankincense
|Paid for a warrant from my Lo. General, for the women of the towne to be brought before him, l.
to be sworne sirchers
|Paid to Commynge, for his charges going to
London to get two women to come up to keep
the sicke, the people being all sicke
|Paid to Fisher for warding the two houses shut
up the first weeke
|1665. Paid to James Emberton, when he shut
up Robert Combe's
|To the warders, for helping to bury the dead
Collections for the sick.
Papers concerning the plague in the MS. Library at Lambeth.
Collections for the relief of the sick were made every Sunday
at the church door. The first week the collection amounted to 5l.
afterwards to about 3l. each week. It appears, by some papers in
the MS. Library at Lambeth, that the Privy Council ordered collections to be made monthly on the days of public humiliation, at
all the churches throughout the kingdom; the money which was
not distributed in the county where it was collected, was to be
transmitted to the Bishop of London, for the relief of the sick in
London and Westminster (fn. 40) . Regular accounts were sent to the
Archbishop of Canterbury of the collections made in the parishes
within his peculiar jurisdiction, and the money was transmitted to
his secretary; but it appears that Newington Butts, Mortlake,
Croydon, Barnes, and Putney, took the liberty of distributing their
collections among their own poor, without waiting for futher instructions (fn. 41) . Among the same papers is an order of council, containing the following regulations:—That the houses of such persons as
could not conveniently be sent to the pest-houses, should be shut up
and guarded by a warden, a red cross being affixed to the door;
that if any person who was required to keep within an insected
house should go abroad, he should be immediately apprechended and
sent to the pest-house, not being suffered to return to his own dwelling; that when a visited house was opened, a white cross should be
affixed to the door, with a bill in writing, signifying how long it
was since the last person died there; which writing should remain
forty days, during which time the goods and rooms should be aired
and sumed with brimstone, and other wholesome fumes; that the
churchwardens of each parish should take care to cover their churchyards with unslaked lime twelve inches thick, and the like quantity of gravel, to prevent noxious vapours from exhaling; and
that the wardens attending visited houses should warn passengers not
to approach too near (fn. 42) .
Extracts from the Register.
Marriage of Jerome son of Lord Weston, afterwards Earl of Portland.
"Jerome, son to the Rt Honble Richard Lord Weston, High
Treasurer of England, and the Lady Frances Steward, were married June 1632." Lady Frances was daughter of the Duke of
Lenox; they were married in Lord Weston's chapel at Roehampton by Archbishop Laud (fn. 43) . Some of their children were baptized
in the same chapel, and are entered in the register.
Instances of secundity.
"Elizabeth, Elinor, and Ann, daughters of John Clinch, by Ann
his wife, baptized Mar. 10, 1651." The mother and two of the
children died soon afterwards.
"Mary, Sarah, and Ann, the three daughters of William Brown
and Elizabeth his wife, baptized July 13, 1735." Two of the
children died a few days after their birth.
"Mr. John Toland, from Edward Hinton's, buried March 13,
1722." This was the celebrated deistical writer. He took lodgings at a carpenter's in Putney in the year 1718, where he spent
the greater part of his time and wrote most of his later works,
particularly his Pantheistion (fn. 44) . In the Biographia Britannica is a
letter which Lord Molesworth wrote to him at Putney about two
months before he died, wherein he desires him not to indulge melancholy; for that though his circumstances were narrow, he should
never want necessaries whilst be lived. Toland died on the 11th
of March 1722, and was decently interred in the church-yard (fn. 44) .
A few days before his death he wrote the following epitaph for
himself, fully descriptive of the singularity of his opinions: it was
never inscribed on his tomb:
"H. S. E. Johannes Tolandus, qui in Hiberniâ prope Deriam
natus, in Scotiâ et Hiberniâ studuit, quod Oxonii quoque fecit
adolescens; atque Germaniâ plus femel petitâ, virilem circa Londinumt ransegit ætatem: omnium literarum excultor, ac linguarum
plus decem sciens: veritatis propugnator, libertatis assertor; nullius autem sectator aut cliens. Nec minis nec mails est inflexus,
quin quam elegit viam perageret; utili honestum anteserens.
Spiritus cum æthereo patre a quo prodiit olim, conjungitur; corpus item naturæ cedens in materno gremio reponitur. Ipse vero
æternum est resurrecturus, at idem futurus Tolandus nunquam.
Natus Nov. 30. Cætera ex scriptis pete."
"Robert Wood, Esq. late member of parliament, buried in a new
vault in the New Burial Ground, Sept. 15, 1771." Mr. Wood
is well known to the public as a scientific traveller and a classical
writer. In the year 1751 he made the tour of Greece, Egypt, and
Palestine, in company with Mr. Dawkins; and at his return published a splendid work in folio, entitled "The Ruins of Palmyra,
otherwise Tedmor in the Desert," being an account of the ancient
and modern state of that place; with a great number of elegant engravings of its ruins by Fourdrinier, from drawings made on the
spot. This was followed by a similar work respecting Balbec.
Mr. Wood was meditating future publications relating to other parts
of his tour, especially Greece, when he was called upon to serve his
country in a more important station, being appointed under secretary of state by the late Earl of Chatham; during the whole of
whose prosperous administration, as well as in those of his two immediate successors, he continued in that situation. Mr. Wood was
author also of an Essay on the Genius of Homer, and left behind
him several MSS. relating to his travels, but not sufficiently arranged
to afford any hopes of their being given to the public. The house
in which he lived in Putney is situated between the roads which lead
to Wandsworth and Wimbledon, and is now the residence of his
widow. Mr. Wood purchased it of the executors of Edward Gibbon, Esq. whose son, the celebrated historian, was born there. The
farm and pleasure grounds which adjoin the house are very spacious, containing near fourscore acres, and surrounded by a gravel
walk, which commands a beautiful prospect of London and the adjacent country. Mr. Wood was buried in the cemetery near the
upper road to Richmond. On his monument is the following inscription, drawn up by the Hon. Horace Walpole (now Earl of
Orford) at the request of his widow:
"To the beloved memory of Robert Wood, a man of supreme
benevolence, who was born at the castle of Riverstown near
Trim, in the county of Meath, and died Sept. 9th, 1771, in the
fifty-fifth year of his age; and of Thomas Wood his son, who
died Aug. 25th, 1772, in his ninth year; Ann, their once happy
wife and mother, now dedicates this melancholy and inadequate
memorial of her affection and grief. The beautiful editions of
Balbec and Palmyra, illustrated by the classic pen of Robert Wood,
supply a nobler and more lasting monument, and will survive
those august remains."
William Boram, a dwarf.
William Boram, aged 36 years, three feet high, buried June 11,
1780." He was by trade a basket-maker, of weak intellects, and
much given to drink. His voice was harsh, his head disproportionately large, and his whole person rather thick. He moved about
with difficulty, and did not enjoy a good state of health.
Instances of longevity.
The following instances of longevity occur in the register:
"Elizabeth Fisher, aged a hundredth years, buried June 16, 1662."
"Mr. John James Dartiquenave, from James Dudley's, aged
99 years and upwards, buried Sep. 25, 1709."
"Catherine Farmer, aged 101, buried Nov. 8, 1747."
"Sarah Watts, from the workhouse, buried, said to be 104,
Jan. 18, 1766."
"Ann Williams, from the workhouse, aged 109, buried May 7,
"Mary Ceasley, aged 100, buried Nov. 18, 1787."
Charity-school for watermens' sons, founded by Mr. Martyn.
Mr. Thomas Martyn by his will dated Oct. 22, 36 Car. II. bequeathed all his landed estates, in case his niece Lucy Cook died
unmarried or without issue, for the purpose of building and endowing a school for the education and maintenance of 20 watermen's
sons. He directed that the house should be built upon a piece of
ground belonging to himself, in the parish of Putney, if the lord
of the manor would enfranchise it at a reasonable rate; otherwise
the school, with all the benefits of the endowment, was to be transferred to Wandsworth. A salary of 80l. per annum was to be
allowed to the master; diet, lodging, and a suit of clothes once a
year (viz. on St. Martin's day) to the scholars; besides wages and
maintenance to such servants as should be necessary. It was directed
by his will, that the master should be unmarried, and skilled in the mathematics. The residue of the profits of his estates he bequeathed to
be divided on St. Martin's day in portions of eight pounds between
maimed watermen of Putney, Fulham, and Wandsworth, who have
lost their limbs in the service of their country either by sea or land.
If there should be a surplus, the watermen of other parishes were to be
relieved in like manner. The benefits of the school are limited to
Putney only, if there should be boys sufficient to fill up the number; otherwise they are to be taken from the neighbouring parishes.
The estates bequeathed under this will consisted of the manor of
Buck-steep in Sussex, and lands there, valued, at the time of the
testator's death, at 127l. per annum; lands and tenements at
Staplehurst in Kent, valued at 128l. per annum; and lands and
houses in Putney, valued at 100l. per annum. Mr. Martyn
died Nov. 18, 1684. The year after his death his niece married
Sir Samuel Gerrard, and died without issue in January 1686. A
suit was instituted some time afterwards in the Court of Chancery
relating to this charity, which was depending many years. It appears by the proceedings (a copy of which is deposited in the parish
chest) that Lady Gerrard and her husband suffered a recovery of the
estates in Kent and Sussex, and declared the uses thereof to be to
them and their heirs; this recovery being confirmed by the Court
of Exchequer, the trustees were obliged to convey the estates to Sir
Samuel Gerrard. At the conclusion of the suit, there was a sum of
money in hand belonging to the charity amounting to 600l. and
upwards, which had accrued from the rents of the premises at Putney, after deducting the proportion of the annuities charged on
them and other expences. By an order of the Court of Chancery
one of the houses near the water-side, called Copt-Hall, was let upon
a building lease to Robert Eyre, Esq. who erected upon its site a
large house now the property of —Hudson, a minor, and in the
occupation of the Countess Dowager of Lincoln; the other house,
now belonging to Simeon Warner, Esq. was let upon a repairing
lease to Peter Renew, merchant. By the final decree of the court
in 1715, it was directed that the estate belonging to the charity
should be vested in eleven trustees, who should be chosen from time
to time out of the vestry whenever there were three vacancies; the
sum of money above-mentioned was ordered to be expended in
building a school-house, and certain regulations made, corresponding with the diminished income of the charity, which was then
only 70l. per annum. About twenty-five or thirty years ago, the
premises at Putney were advantageously exchanged with Gerrard
Vanneck, Esq. for an estate called Brockholds, in Hertfordshire,
then valued at 130l. per annum, and which now produces that
sum clear of taxes. The present master, Mr. Mackenzie, receives the
full salary of 80l. per annum, as directed by the founder's will.
Sir Abraham Dawes having erected in his life-time an almshouse in this place for 12 poor persons, dedicated to the Holy
Trinity, by his will dated 1639, endowed it with a rent-charge of
40l. per annum, issuing out of his estates. This sum his son Sir
Thomas Dawes, by an indenture bearing date Jan. 20, 1648, charged
upon his estate at Roehampton, out of which it is still paid. Mrs.
Elizabeth D'Aranda, in the year 1780, left the interest of 100l.
4 per cent. annuities, to the poor of this house. Michael Turner,
Esq. left them the interest of 400l. New South-Sea annuities, after
the death of his servant Susannah Hill. Mr. Henry Stead, in 1785,
bequeathed 100l. in the 3 per cents. after the death of his widow;
and Mrs. Mary Girardot, in 1791, the interest of 500l. in the 4 per
cents; to the same purpose.
The Earl of Portland, in the year 1635, charged his estate in Roehampton with the payment of 6l. per annum in lieu of sundry
small parcels of land belonging to the parish of Putney.
Alexander White, in 1608, left 10s. per annum to buy bread for
the poor on St. Thomas's Day. Mr. Henry Smith bequeathed 6l.
per annum to the poor. William Wymondsold, Esq. left 12l. 10s.
per annum to be distributed in gowns and money between ten poor
people of this place. Mrs. Elizabeth Offley, in 1667, left the sum
of 50 shillings to be distributed annually to the poor on St. Andrew's
day, which is paid out of certain premises in Holborn. Thomas
Kennett, Esq. gave 10s. per annum to the poor, and Mr. Powell
the same sum. Seven shillings and four-pence is paid anually
out of the Rookery-close at Roehampton, being the legacy of an unknown benefactor.
The ferry at Putney is mentioned in Doomsday Book as yielding a toll of 20s. per annum to the lord of the manor. Putney
appears to have been at all times a considerable thoroughfare: it was
usual formerly for persons travelling from London to many parts
of the West of England, to proceed as far as this place by water (fn. 45) .
In the household expences of Edward I. are some entries of money
paid to the ferryman here for conveying the king and royal family
to Fulham and to Westminster (fn. 46) . At a court held for the manor of
Wimbledon (42 Eliz.) it was ordered, that if any waterman should
omit to pay a halfpenny for every stranger, and a farthing for every
inhabitant of Putney to the owner of the ferry, he should forfeit to
the lord 2s. 6d. (fn. 47) In 1629 the lord of the manor received 15s.
per annum for the ferry. In the year 1656, Gen. Lambert, then
lord of the manor, granted a small piece of ground near the waterside to the Company of Free Watermen of Putney for the purpose
of erecting a shed (fn. 48) .
An act of parliament was procured 12 Geo. I. for building a
bridge of wood across the Thames from Putney to Fulham, which
was begun and finished in the year 1729, at the expence of 23,975l.
This work was undertaken by 30 subscribers, who advanced the
sum of 740l. each. The proprietors purchased the ferry, which on
an average produced the owners 400l. per annum, for the sum of
8,000l. The Duchess of Marlborough received 364l. 10s. for her
interest in the ferry, as Lady of the Manor of Wimbledon; and the
Bishop of London 23l. for the same interest in the Fulham side;
besides which he reserved to himself and his household, and to his
successors, the right of passing the bridge toll-free. The sum of 62l.
was directed by the act to be divided annually between the windows
and children of poor watermen of Putney and Fulham, as a recompence to their fraternity, who, upon the building of the bridge, were
restrained from playing on Sundays. This money is raised by an
additional toll of one halfpenny upon foot passengers on Sundays.
The income of the bridge two years after it was built was estimated
at 1,500l. per annum; it is now supposed to be nearly double that
sum, and is constantly increasing. The greatest receipt ever known
in one day was 63l. 10s. 7d. being the 25th of May, 1767 when his
Majesty reviewed the guards upon Wimbledon Common. The last
share which was put up to sale was purchased for 1,300 guineas. The
bridge has lately been put in excellent repair, under the management of
the present surveyor, Mr. James. In the last fourteen years near
10,000l. have been expended on it. The length from gate to gate
is 805 feet 6 inches.
The lord of the manor enjoyed a fishery here at the time of the
Conquest; before which time it had been established at Mortlake
by Earl Harold. At a court held 13 Hen. VI. the lord was found
to be seized of all fish within the manor (fn. 49) . In 1663 the fishery was
let for an annual rent of the three best salmons that should be caught
in the months of March, April, and May (fn. 50) . This rent appears
to have been changed afterwards to money. When Sir Theodore Janssen's estates were sold, the fishery was let for 6l. per annum; the rent was afterwards increased to 8l. A lease upon those
terms expired in the year 1780. Smelts are caught here in great
abundance in the months of March and April, and are esteemed
very fine. The salmon fishery is not very productive, but the fish
are of a very good quality, and sell for a considerable price. Small
flounders, shad, roach, dace, barbel, eels, and gudgeons, may be reckoned also among the produce of the fisheries here. One or two
sturgeons are generally taken in the course of a year; and sometimes, though rarely, a porpus. These are claimed by the Lord
Mayor, and the fishermen are obliged to deliver them as soon as
taken, to the water-bailiff. For a porpus they receive as a reward
13 s. for sturgeons a guinea each.
The fishery from Mortlake to Brentford was granted to Merton
Abbey by Hen. III. (fn. 51) .
Putney gave the title of baron to Edward Cecil Viscount Wimbledon.
David Hartley's experiments for securing houses from fire.
In the year 1776 a house was built by David Hartley, Esq. upon
Putney Heath, for the purpose of proving the efficacy of his invention of plates to preserve houses from fire. The experiments were
successful, and repeated several times before their Majesties, the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen of London, and several members of both
houses of parliament; many of the spectators remained with perfect
confidence and security in the room over that in which the fire was
burning with great rapidity. The house where the experiments
were tried is still standing, and near it an obelisk built by the city of
London, the inscriptions upon which record, that the Rt. Hon. John
Sawbridge, Esq. Lord Mayor of London, laid the first stone on the
anniversary of the fire of London, in memory of an invention to
secure buildings from fire; that the Committee of City Lands were
empowered to complete the building by an order of Common Council
dated Nov. 22, 1776; that David Hartley was admitted on the
same day into the freedom of the city in the company of Goldsmiths; and that a sum of 2,500 l. was voted to him by the
House of Commons on the 14th of May 1774, for the purpose of
carrying on his experiments.
Not far from the fire-house was formerly a fashionable place of
entertainment for public breakfasts and evening assemblies; the site
of which still retains the name of Putney Bowling-green, being the
property of Mr. Gawler, and now in the occupation of John Anthony Rucker, Esq.
Duel between Mr. Compton and Lord Chandois.
A fatal duel was fought upon Putney-heath in the year 1652,
between Lord Chandois and Mr. Compton, in which the latter was
killed. Lord Chandois, and his second Lord Arundel, after suffering a long imprisonment, were brought to trial, and both found
guilty of manslaughter (fn. 52) .
In 1684 was published a Pindaric ode on his Majesty's reviewing
his forces upon Putney-heath.
Villas on Putney heath.
The brow of the Heath, which commands a most beautiful prospect
over the river Thames and county of Middlesex, from Harrow-onthe-hill to Hampstead and Highgate, is occupied by several handsome
villas. The house which is now the property and residence of Lady
Grantham, was built by Sir Jacob Downing, who left a sum of
money for founding a new college at Cambridge. After his death it
was the residence of Archbishop Cornwallis, and was afterwards for
some time in the occupation of the Rt. Hon. William Pitt, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The hamlet of Roehampton is very pleasantly situated at the
western extremity of Putney-heath. In the reign of Henry VII.
it contained only fourteen houses (fn. 53) ; the present number is fortyfour.
Near this place was the site of Putney-park, called in some of the
old records Mortlake-park. Its extent was 300 acres, and it was
bounded towards Putney by the lane which is still called Putneypark-lane. This park was reserved by the Crown when a grant was
made of the manor of Wimbledon. In the first year of Queen
Mary, Sir Robert Tyrwhit was keeper thereof, and master of the
game (fn. 54) . Sir Charles Howard had a grant of that office for life,
13 Jac. I. (fn. 55) and a few years after a further grant of 15 l. per annum
to buy hay for the deer (fn. 56) . Charles I. in the second year of his
reign, granted the fee-simple of the park to Sir Richard Weston and
his heirs (fn. 57) , and by a subsequent patent discharged Sir Charles Howard and Lord Wimbledon of the custody thereof (fn. 58) . In 1635 Richard Weston, then Earl of Portland, had a licence for inclosing 450
acres, and adding them to his park (fn. 59) ; but as he died the same
year, and his son soon afterwards began to alienate the estate, it
probably was never done.
Richard Weston Earl of Portland.
The Earl of Portland, from the time of his obtaining a grant of
the park, made Roehampton his summer residence. He was a great
favourite with the King, who in 1628 appointed him Lord High
Treasurer. He held that office till his death, when by the King's
command the whole Court wore mourning for him one day (fn. 60) .
Lord Clarendon says, that he was a man of an imperious disposition,
heedless whom he offended, yet when he knew that the party aggrieved felt the injury, a very coward in dreading their resentment (fn. 61) :
his Lordship tells a ludicrous story of him, the substance of which is
as follows:—The Earl of Tullibardin having interested himself in behalf of a son of Sir Julius Cæsar, who wanted to procure one of the
six clerks' places, obtained a promise from the Earl of Portland to
appoint him on the next vacancy; and lest he should forget it, gave
him a slip of paper, on which he had written, "Remember Cæsar."
This the Lord Treasurer put into his pocket without looking at it.
Some time after, as he was searching his pockets for other papers,
he found this memorandum, and not knowing whence it came, concluded that it was a friendly hint of some conspiracy against his
life. Impressed with this idea, he called his friends together, and
by their advice, kept within doors for some days under pretence of
indisposition, his gates being strictly guarded day and night. At
length the Earl of Tullibardin calling upon him accidentally, asked
him if he had remembered Cæsar? and by that seasonable question
unravelled the mystery, and relieved him from his groundless terrors.
Chapel in the Earl of Portland's house at Roehamption.
New chapel built there in 1777.
On the 26th of May 1632, a chapel was consecrated in the
house of the Earl of Portland, then Lord Weston of Neyland, by
Laud, Bishop of London. Lord Wimbledon met the Bishop and
Lord Weston at the door, and gave his consent as impropriator of
the great tithes. Christopher Fox curate of Wimbledon and Richard Avery curate of Putney were present also and gave their consent.
It was then dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and assigned to be a
chapel for ever (fn. 62) for the inhabitants present and future of that house.
This chapel, which was ornamented with a painting, supposed to be
the work of Zucchero (fn. 63) , was pulled down in the year 1777 by Thomas Parker, Esq. who at the same time built a new chapel about a
hundred yards from the house, which is now for a term of years
the private property of the Reverend Colston Carr, who officiates
there on Sundays.
After the death of Richard Earl of Portland, his son Jerome, who
succeeded him in his title, soon began to alienate his inheritance at
Roehampton. He sold the house (fn. 64) and park in the year 1640 for
the sum of 11,300l. (fn. 65) to Sir Thomas Dawes, by whom they were
first let (fn. 66) and afterwards sold to Christian Countess of Devonshire (fn. 67) .
Christian Countess of Devonshire.
The Countess was a woman of considerable celebrity, and of a
very singular character. She is much extolled for her devotion,
yet she retained Hobbes the free-thinker in her house as tutor to her
son. She kept up the dignity of her rank, and her house was celebrated for its hospitality; yet so judicious was her œconomy, that
having a jointure of 5000 l. per annum, she nearly doubled it, and
having procured the wardship of her son, she managed his affairs
so skilfully as to extricate his estates from a vast debt and thirty
law-suits; having ingratiated herself so far with the sages of the law,
that King Charles jestingly said to her "Madam, you have all my
judges at your disposal. (fn. 68) ." She seems indeed to have imbibed a
due portion of the prositable wisdom of her Lord's grandmother the
famous Countess of Shrewsbury, who laid such ample foundations of wealth for her family. The Countess of Devonshire was
daughter of Edward Lord Bruce, a relation and chief favourite of
James I. by whose recommendation she was married into the noble family of Cavendish. The King was present at the ceremony,
and gave her a fortune of 10,000l. (fn. 69) The Countess was distinguished as the patroness of the wits of that age, who frequently
assembled at her house. Waller frequently read his verses there, (fn. 70) ,
and William Earl of Pembroke wrote a volume of poems in her
praise, published afterwards and dedicated to her by Donne. Other
contemporary wits exercised their talents in celebrating the virtues
and accomplishments of herself and her beautiful daughter Lady
Rich. (fn. 71) . Having met with severe domestic losses by the death of this
daughter, and her second son the brave Charles Cavendish, (fn. 72) her
thoughts became more devoted to national affairs, and she then
began to take an active part in the interesting politics of those times.
Being in principles a zealous Royalist, she carried on a correspondence with some of the leading men of that party, and is said to have
been instrumental in urging the Earl of Holland to that rash enterprize which terminated so unsuccessfully and so fatally to himself. (fn. 73) When settled at Roehampton, she entertained many of the
King's friends at her house, and concerted measures with them for
the Restoration, corresponding at the same time with some of the
principal Royalists on the Continent. Her letters were written in
cypher, in which she was assisted by her nephew Lord Bruce, and
Mr. Gale her chaplain. (fn. 74) She became at length a suspected person,
and was in danger of being sent to the Tower; a seasonable bribe
to the council of state proved her protection. (fn. 75) She afterwards entered into a correspondence with General Monk, who, at a time that
his conduct was most mysterious, is said to have made known to her,
by a private signal, his intentions of restoring the King. (fn. 76) When
Charles II. returned to England, he showed the sense he entertained
of her zeal for his service by frequently visiting her at Roehampton, in company with the queen-mother and the royal family, with
whom she enjoyed an unusual in timacy till her death, which happened Jan. 16, 1674–5. (fn. 77) A Life of the Countess was published in
1685, by Thomas Pomfret. There is an original portrait of her in
the Duke of Bedford's collection at Wooburn, by Theodore Russel,
(a scholar of Vandyke,) from which the annexed plate was copied by
his Grace's permission.
William Earl of Devonshire.
Roehampton-house descended after the Countess's death to her
son William, the third Earl of Devonshire, who died there in 1684. (fn. 78)
He was father to the first Duke, and had been a great sufferer in
the civil war. Hobbes, who had been his tutor, he entertained in
his house as long as he lived, though he is said to have detested
his political and religious opinions. (fn. 79) Hobbes resided with the family wherever they were, and refused to be left behind even in his
last illness, though they were obliged to convey him in a litter. He
died in 1679.
Sir Stephen Fox.
Sir Stephen Fox was brought up in the Earl of Devonshire's family, where he continued till he became qualified for an appointment at Court. (fn. 80) .
Alienations of Roehampton-house.
After the death of the last Countess of Devonshire, which happened in 1689, the house at Roehampton appears to have been alienated to Sir Jeffery Jefferys, alderman of London, who died there in
1707. (fn. 81) It was afterwards the property of Joseph Bagnall, Esq. and
was sold by act of parliament 17 Geo. II. A few years since it belonged to Fordyce the banker; by him it was alienated to Thomas
Parker, Esq. and is now the property of Sir Joshua Vanneck, Bart.
Villas at Roehampton.
Pictures at the Earl of Besborough's.
The beauties of the surrounding scenery and the contiguity to
Richmond-park have induced many persons to build villas at Roehampton. Among those of principal note may be mentioned Lord
Dover's, Sir John Dick's, built after the Italian style by the late
George Clive, Esq. and the Earl of Besborough's; Sir William
Chambers was the architect of the latter. In this house are some valuable antiques; the most remarkable of them is the celebrated torso
of a Venus from the collection of Baron Stosch; there are some good
pictures also by Italian and Flemish masters, among which is a curious
one of the interment of a cardinal by John ab Eyck, the first painter
in oil colours; and several interesting portraits, consisting principally
of eminent literary characters and artists. In the eating-room is a
fine portrait of Sir Theodore Mayerne, by Rubens, from Dr. Meade's
collection. In a bed-chamber on the attic story, one of Queen
Mary; in the breakfast room are several in crayons of English gentlemen, principally in Turkish dresses, by Liotard; and in the library, where is the principal collection of portraits, should be noticed
a very singular one of Bishop Gardiner in a striped dress, by Holbein; over the chimney-piece is a bust of Demosthenes by Benvenuto Cellini. A view of Lord Besborough's house is engraved in
the last edition of the Vitruvius Britannicus (fn. 81) .
In the same work (fn. 82) are two plates of Roehampton-house, the seat
of Thomas Cary, Esq. built from a design of Mr. Archer about the
year 1710. This house was afterwards the residence of William
Ann, Earl of Albermarlem, and is now the property of William
Drake, Esq. M. P. The saloon was painted by Sir James Thornhill, and is still in excellent preservation. The cieling represents
the feasts of the gods.
Dreadful hurricane in 1780.
On the 15th of October 1780 there happened a most violent
hurricane, the effects of which were principally felt in and near
Roehampton, where is devastations were numerous and attended with
very uncommon circumstances. The premises of Lewis Brown, a
gardener, lying near the lane which leads from that place to Barnes
Common, suffered the most material injury. The upper part of a
gable end of the dwelling-house was forced out, and formed a considerable chasm in the room where his daughter, who had been
brought to bed but a few hours before, then lay. The chimney
was also thrown down, but the bricks providentially falling on the
outside, the woman escaped without any injury, and is still living.
The barn and other out-buildings were levelled with the ground,
the materials dispersed, and some of them carried to a very great
distance. The body of a large empty cart which stood in the yard
was torn from the wheels, and removed to the distance of 90 paces.
Of seven persons who took shelter in the barn one only was killed
upon the spot, another died in consequence of the bruises which he
received. A walnut-tree, 12 feet in circumference, which grew
upon Lady Eggleton's premises, was torn up by the roots, and carried to the distance of 22 feet. In Roehampton-lane and the adjoining fields, above 130 large trees from 18 inches to four feet diameter were torn down within the space of three quarters of a mile.
The greater part of them grew in hedge-rows, and formed an
avenue in the lane, which was completely destroyed. The trees
fell across the lane towards the north and north-west, so that the
road was rendered totally impassable for some weeks. A few of the
trees were removed to a considerable distance; one in particular,
being about 40 feet in length, is said to have been carried by the
wind to the north-side of the road upon Barnes Commons, above
130 yards from the spot where it grew. The earth in many of the
adjoining fields was torn up in such a manner that it had the appearance of having been lately ploughed. The workhouse upon
Barnes Common received some injury, and the windmill was overturned and beat in pieces. The progress of this hurricane is
supposed to be about three miles in length, beginning at Lord
Besborough's at Roehampton, and ending at Hammersmith, where
the church received considerable damage; the greatest breadth was
only 200 yards. Vast crouds of people came for several days to see
the devastations which it had occasioned (fn. 83) .
The hamlet of Roehampton is assessed the sum of 169l. 19s. 8d.
to the land-tax, which in the year 1791 was at the rate of 2s. 3d.
in the pound.