Quantity of land, and how occupied.
This village lies in the hundred of Blackheath, at the distance
of six miles from London, and one from Greenwich. The
parish is bounded by Eltham; the extraparochial hamlet of Mottingham; Bromley; Lewisham; Charlton, and the extraparochial hamlet of Kidbrook. It contains about 1060 acres of land, of which about
520 are arable, about 460 meadow and pasture, and about 80 woodland; there is no common. The soil, in the upper part of the
parish, towards Bromley, is a stiff clay; in other parts, gravel.
This parish pays the sum of 177l. to the land-tax, which is at the
rate of about 2s. in the pound.
The manor of Lee, with its appendages, Shrofholt and Bankers.
The manor of Lee was held of Edward the Confessor by Alwin.
William the Conqueror gave it to his half-brother Odo, Bishop of
Baieux and Earl of Kent; of whom it was held by Walter de
Douay (fn. 1) . In the reign of Edward I. it was the property of John
de Banquel, or Bankwell, who, in the year 1302, had a charter of
free-warren in all his lands at Lee, Lewisham, and Bromley (fn. 2) .
In the year 1387, Sir Richard Stury and Robert Bankwell granted
the manors of Lee, and of Bankers and Shrofholt, (in Lee,) which
they possessed by an infeoffment from William, son and heir of Thomas de Bankwell, to Richard Dudlie and James Vanel; which
Richard and James, the same year, conveyed them to Sir Richard
Stury and his heirs (fn. 3) . They appear to have been in possession of the
Stury family as late as the year 1452 (fn. 4) ; soon after which they became the property of Richard Widville, Lord Rivers (fn. 5) , who was
beheaded at Banbury in 1469. His son Anthony, Earl Rivers,
shared the same fate at Pomfret, in 1483, being succeeded by his
younger brother Richard, who died in 1491, seised of the manors
of Lee, Lee-Shrosholt, and Bankers (fn. 6) ; which he devised, by will, to
his nephew Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset (fn. 7) . In 1511, Thomas
Marquis of Dorset (son of the former) granted these manors to
King Henry VIII. in exchange for lands in Leicestershire (fn. 8) . Various
leases of houses and lands, parcel of these manors, were granted
from time to time by the Crown (fn. 9) ; Queen Elizabeth, in 1597,
granted the site of the manor of Lee to Bryan Annesley and John
Wildgoose (his son-in-law) for life (fn. 10) . The manors of Lee, &c.
were granted for a term of years to Thomas Lord Buckhurst, whose
grandson, Richard Earl of Dorset, surrendered his interest in them to
James I. (fn. 11) King Charles, anno 1641, granted the fee-simple of these
manors, subject to a rent of 871. 10s. 2d. to Ralph Freeman, Esq. (fn. 12) ,
afterward a Knight; and, in 1633, Lord Mayor of London. Joan,
only daughter and heir of Sir Ralph Freeman, married Sir George
Sondes, K. B. afterwards created Earl of Feversham; who had issue
by her two daughters. Mary, the eldest, married Lewis Duras,
Marquis of Blanquefort; who, by virtue of a remainder in the
patent, succeeded to the title of Earl of Feversham, and was, in
right of his wife, proprietor of these manors. On his death, without issue, in 1711, they devolved to Lewis Watson, Earl of Rockingham, who married Catherine, the other daughter and coheir of
George Earl of Feversham. Thomas, the second Earl of Rockingham, having no issue, devised these manors to the Hon. Lewis
Monson, second son of John Lord Monson (by Margaret, youngest
daughter of Lewis Earl of Rockingham); which Lewis Monson
(who, pursuant to the will of the Earl of Rockingham, has taken
the name and arms of Watson) was, in 1760, created Lord Sondes,
and is the present proprietor of the manor of Lee, with its appendant manors of Lee-Shrofholt (or, as it is now called, Shrawfield)
Little Bankers, &c.
There were certain lands also called Little Bankers and Great
Hatchfield, partly in this parish and partly in Lewisham, which,
having passed to the Crown with the manors above mentioned,
were, in 1543, granted to Henry Byrd, and continued for some
time in his family (fn. 13) . They have for many years passed with the
manor of Catford in Lewisham.
Lee-place, and other villas.
Lee-place, an ancient mansion in this village, has belonged, for
more than a century, to the family of Boone. It is now the property of Charles Boone, Esq. and in the occupation of Benjamin
Harrison, Esq. The Dowager Lady Dacre has a villa at this place,
which was the seat of her father Sir Thomas Fludyer, Knt. Sir
John Call, Bart. occupies a house, which was the property and
residence of the late Thomas Lucas, Esq. It now belongs to John
Julius Angerstein, Esq. in right of his wife (relict of Mr. Lucas).
The Papillon family have long had a seat here, now the property of
David Papillon, Esq.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Margaret, is an ancient building of flint and stones, consisting of a nave and chancel. At the
west end is a low tower, the upper part of which has been rebuilt
with brick, and is roofed over with red tiles. In the last century it
was in agitation (as appears by papers now extant) to rebuild this
church, which was then represented to be in a state too ruinous to
admit of repair. The measure has been again agitated during the
incumbency of the present rector, but no steps have as yet been
taken for that purpose.
One the south wall of the chancel is an inscription (fn. 14) to the memory
of Nicholas Ansley, or Annesley, Esq. who died in 1593: above is
an upright figure (in brass) of the deceased, in armour, kneeling at
a desk. On the north side of the chancel is a handsome monument
of marble and alabaster, supported by Corinthian columns, to the
memory of Bryan Annesley, Esq. (fn. 15) (ion of Nicholas), Gentleman
Pensioner to Queen Elizabeth, who died in 1604; and his wife
Audrey, (daughter of Robert Tirrell, Esq. of Burbrooke,) who died
in 1591. On the floor is the tomb of Abraham Sherman, rector,
(who, in 1636, rebuilt the parsonage-house,) ob. 1654. In the nave
are the tombs of Elizabeth Couhyll (with a small figure in brass of
the deceased), 1513; and — Wethered, 1697.
Tombs in the church yard.
Sir Samuel Fludyer.
Thomas Spencer, a painter.
Parsons, the comedian.
In the church-yard are the tombs of Averine, relict of Thomas
Foxall, and wife of Edward Broome, Esq. 1644; Thomas Foxall,
the younger, 1647; Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Sir William
Gargany, Knt. 1650; Mary, their daughter, wife of Christopher
Taylor, 1685; Mr. John Crutchley, 1727; William Crutchley,
1727; Thomas, his son, 1739; Coleman Crutchley, 1744; Jeremiah Crutchley, Esq. (fn. 16) , 1752; Lewis Loton, Gent. 1731; the Hon.
Joseph Pilgrim, Chief Judge of the Common Pleas in the Island of
Barbadoes, 1733; Benjamin James of Peckham, Gent. 1740; Benjamin James of Roehampton (Surrey), Gent. 1773; William James,
rector of Ash in Kent, 1779; Mr. Thomas Allen of Peckham,
1741; Edmund Halley, LL.D. (fn. 17) , 1742; Margaret Halley, his
eldest daughter, 1743; Catherine, his youngest daughter, wife of
Henry Price, 1765; Mr. Walter Treadway, 1746; Susanna, his
sister, wife of the Rev. Richard Clarke, 1764; Mr. Thomas. Treadway, 1780; William Pate (fn. 18) , 1746; William Collier, surgeon, 1747;
Thomas Boone, Esq. 1748; Charles, only son of Charles Boone, Esq.
and Harriot (æt. 13), 1786; Arnold Warren, Esq. 1748; Arnold
Warren, jun. 1749; Captain Thomas Limeburner, of the Royal
Navy, 1750; John Ashley, Esq. 1751; Thomas Western, Esq. (son
of Thomas Western of the County of Devon, by Alice Coward),
1755; Peter Copeland, Esq. 1756; Anne, wife of Thomas Lucas,
merchant, 1756; Thomas Lucas, Esq. 1784; Thomas Lucas
Wheeler, Esq. Captain in the 100th regiment of foot, 1792; Edward Barnard, merchant, 1760; Hester Susanna, wife of Patrick
Lynch, Esq. of Barbadoes, 1763; Francis Macklay, Esq. Clerk of
the House of Peers, 1763; Edward Stafford, 1763; Sarah, his wife,
1745; Clement Bellamy, merchant, who married Susanna, his
daughter, 1748; Mary, wife of William James, daughter of
Clement Bellamy, 1773; William James, Esq. F.R.A.S. 1786;
Thomas Negus, D. D. rector of Rotherhithe, 1765; Elizabeth,
his wife, daughter of Samuel Ekins, Esq. 1753; Rosee, wife of
Robert Salusbury, Esq. 1765; Ann Jennings of Greenwich, aged
90, 1766; "Vaux of Greenwich," 1767; John Hosier, Barbary merchant, 1767; Sir Samuel Fludyer, Bart. (fn. 19) , 1768; Jane,
his first wife (fn. 21) , 1757; Sir Thomas Fludyer (fn. 22) , Knt. 1769; Mary,
his wife, daughter of Sir George Champion, 1761; Peter White,
Esq. aged 90, 1770; Charles Devon, Esq. 1772; Mrs. Elizabeth
Jackson, 1773; Alice, her daughter, wife of Jeremiah Crutchley,
Esq. 1777; Charles Leslie, Esq. 1775; Stephens Markinfield, Esq.
1776; Thomas Spencer (fn. 23) , 1776; Francis Buxton, Esq. 1778; Mrs.
Elizabeth Bennett, aged 90, 1778; Mary, wife of Thomas Hopkins,
Esq. 1780; Jane, relict of John Bythesea, Esq. of Trowbridge,
Wilts, 1782; William Bythesea, Esq. of Greenwich, 1795; James
Hewett Hagar, Esq. 1784; Lieut. Col. Roper (only brother of Lord
Dacre), 1788; Barbara, relict of Edmund Newland, Esq. (his aunt),
1790; Trevor Charles Roper, Lord Dacre (fn. 24) , 1794; Miss Louisa
Chessell (fn. 25) , 1791; Walter Griffin, Esq. 1792; Mr. William Tinker,
aged 92, 1793; George Butler, Esq. 1794; William Parsons, the
late celebrated comedian (fn. 26) , 1795; and Jane, window of Richard
Eyans, Esq. (daughter of Thomas Etherington, Esq. by —Mitchell), the date not visible.
Lee is a rectory, in the diocese of Rochester, and in the deanery
of Dartford. The advowson was held with the manor till the year
1641, when Charles I. granted the latter to Sir Ralph Freeman, reserving the patronage of the rectory to the Crown, in which it is still
vested (fn. 27) . In 1287, this rectory was taxed at ten marks (fn. 28) . In 1650,
being then stated to have fifteen acres of glebe, it was valued at 701. (fn. 29)
In the King's books it is rated at 3l. 11s. 8d.
John Ovington, D.D. rector of Lee, who had been chaplain to
Queen Anne, published several single sermons. He died in 1731.
The present rector is the Right Rev. Henry Reginald Courtney,
Lord Bishop of Bristol, who was instituted in 1773, on the death of
John Lawry, M. A.
The earliest date of the register of baptisms, burials, and marriages,
Comparative state of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The disproportion between the burials and baptisms arises from
the great number of persons brought here to be interred from other
parishes. The present number of houses in Lee is about 50.
In 1603, there were seven burials; in 1625, seven; in 1665, two
only are entered. The collections at the monthly fasts during the
last great plague, from August 1665, to May 1666, are entered
in the register; the largest sum collected was 1l. 10s. 10d.; the
smallest 5s. 6d.
Extracts from the Register.
Sr Richard Maliverer, Knt, and Katherine, daughter of Sr
Raulfe Bourcher, Knt, married August 5, 1596."
Mr Allen of Durham-yard, Westminster, and the Lady Towers
of the same, married August 24, 1675."
Charles, son of Sr Thomas Burton, Bart, and of Anna, daughter
of Sr Thomas Clutterbuck, Knt, born Oct. 15, 1681."
Sr Francis Windebancke, Bart, of the Tower of London, and
Elizabeth Parkhurst, married May 4, 1686."
The Rt Hon. the Lady Phillipa Dowager Mohun, buried
Mar. 2, 1714–5." Daughter of Arthur Earl of Anglesey, and
widow of Charles Lord Mohun, who was killed in a duel with the
Duke of Hamilton (which was fatal also to the Duke) in 1712.
Mrs Margaret Hewes, from Eltham, buried Oct. 15, 1719." It
is not improbable that this was the same Mrs. Margaret Hewes (fn. 30) , or
Hughes, was a vocal actress of some eminence, and mistress to Prince
Rupert (fn. 31) .
Susanna Lady Champion, buried Sep. 10, 1738; Sr George
Champion, Knt and Alderman, July 28, 1754."
Dr Edmund Halley, of East Greenwich, buried Jan. 20, 1741–2.
He was Doctor of Law, Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford, Astronomer Royal at Greenwich, Honorary Member of the
Academy of Sciences, and Vice President of the Royal Society."
This eminent aftronomer was born at Haggerston, in the parish of
St. Leonard, Shoreditch. He was educated at Queen's College in
Oxford, where, at an early age, he distinguished himself in his favourite science, by publishing, when only nineteen years of age, a
treatise on the direct and geometrical method of finding the aphelia
and eccentricity of comets. Soon afterwards he went to St. Helena,
for the purpose of observing the stars near the South Pole. In 1682,
he began (being then resident at Islington) to observe the motions of
the moon, to which, during the remainder of his life, his observations were chiefly directed, with a view towards ascertaining the
longitude at sea. In 1698 and 1699, he made two voyages as
captain of the Paramour Pink, for the purpose of making observations
on the variation of the compass. In his last voyage he traversed
the Atlantic Ocean, and on his return published the result of his
observations in a general chart. In 1702, he made another voyage
to observe the course of the tides in the British channel, of which he
published a map. In 1703, he became Savilian Professor at Oxford;
in 1713, Secretary of the Royal Society; and in 1719, succeeded
Flamsteed as Astronomer Royal at Greenwich, where he died on the
14th of January 1741–2. Besides the publications already mentioned, Dr. Halley was author also of the Theory of the Variation of
the Magnetical Compass; tables showing the value of annuities for
lives (1692); translations of Apollonius's Geometrical Works, and
numerous papers in the Philosophical Transactions. His astronomical tables were published in 1752. Dr. Halley was the first who
discovered the method of measuring heights by the barometer (fn. 31) .
" Sr George Wynne, Bart, of Greenwich, buried Aug. 8, 1756."
The Revd Mr, Nathaniel Bliss, of East Greenwich, buried Sep. 4,
" 1764." Mr. Bliss succeeded Dr. Bradley as Aftronomer Royal at
Greenwich in 1762.
" Robert and Anne Bailey, and their daughter Keziah, buried
Jan. 20, 1775."
"John Battie Call, Esq. eldest son of Sr John Call, Bart, of this
parish, buried Nov. 10, 1794."
Parsons, the comedian.
"Mr William Parsons (the comedian), from St. Mary's, Lambeth,
buried Feb. 15, 1795." This excellent comedian was the son of
a builder in Bow-lane. He was born Feb. 29, 1736, and educated
at St. Paul's school; being intended for an architect, he was placed
as a pupil with Sir Henry Cheere (fn. 32) ; but his inclinations strongly
leading him to the stage, he quitted the study of that art and made
his first appearance at the little Theatre in the Haymarket, in the
part of Kent in King Lear, in 1756 (fn. 33) , but it was not till some years
after that he established himself on the London stage. He had an
engagement for a short time at York, whence he removed to Edinburgh, where he remained till he had acquired so much same that
Garrick was induced to invite him to Drury-lane Theatre, where he
made his first appearance in Filch in the Beggars' Opera, Sept. 21,
1763. After the secession of Yates he succeeded to most of his characters, and established himself a same which may vie with any of
his contemporaries or predecessors. His features were so truly
comic, and his power of exciting laughter so irresistible, that his
brother performers have frequently found it extremely difficult to
preserve sufficient gravity to do justice to their own parts. Among
a great variety of characters, in which he shone without a competitor, may be mentioned, as perhaps some of the most striking, Corbaccio in the Fox; Forefight in Love for Love; Moneytrap in the
Confederacy; Don Manuel in She Would and She Would Not;
Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer, and Dogberry. His last performance was Sir Fretful Plagiary in the Critic (in which also he
much excelled), Jan. 19, 1795. He had long been troubled with
an asthmatic complaint, which in the latter part of his life rendered
his appearance on the stage less frequent; and his attacks were so
sudden that the public were often disappointed of seeing him, even
when his name was announced in the bills. He died, after a short
confinement, on the 3d of February.
Samuel Purchas at Lee.
Harris says, that Samuel Purchas resided at Lee, and there wrote a
great part of that collection of travels which is called his Pilgrim (fn. 34) .
This parish has a right of sending one boy to the school at Blackheath, founded in 1656 by Abraham Colfe, vicar of Lewisham (fn. 35) .
Alms-house and school founded by Charles Boone, Esq. and Mary his wife.
In the year 1683, Charles Boone, Esq., and Mary his wife,
founded an alms-house with a chapel adjoining, and a school-house,
for six poor persons, and a school-mistress, endowing it with lands
and rents, then producing 57l. per annum. The Founders committed the care of this charity to the Merchant Taylors' Company,
appointing the annual income to be thus disposed of: To a chaplain,
10l.; to a clerk, 2l.; to the school-mistress, 9l.; to the pensioners,
15l. 12s. (being is. a-week each); for fuel, 4l. 10s.; for clothing,
4l. 10s.; books and other necessaries for the children, and books for
the chapel, 2l. The remainder to be used for repairs, or, if more
than wanted for that purpose, to go towards augmenting the allowances of the chaplain, clerk, school-mistress, and pensioners. The
Founders gave also the sum of 100l. to the Merchant Taylors, for the
purpose of defraying the expences of an annual visitation of the
alms-houses on the first Thursday in July. Rules and ordinances
for this charity were made to the following purport: The rector of
Lee to be chaplain, or, on his refusal, the vicar of Lewisham: prayers
to be read in the chapel twice a-week; the clerk to be the parish
clerk of Lee, or, on his refusal, the parish clerk of Lewisham; the
school-mistress to be fifty years of age at the least, a parishioner of
Lee or Greenwich: she is to teach twelve children (presented by the
rector and church-wardens of Lee) to read, or, if girls, to sew, knit,
and mark; the boys to continue in the school till eleven years of age,
the girls till twelve; the pensioners to be men or women chosen
from among the poorest people of Lee, such as have lived orderly,
and supported themselves by honest labour in their younger days, and
can say the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, or are
willing to learn them within two months after their admission. If
such persons cannot be found in Lee, they are to be chosen from
Lewisham, or if there should be none there thus qualified, from
Greenwich. The present revenue of this charity is 73l. per annum;
the chaplain's salary is now 12l.; the mistress's, 9l. (with 2l. 2s. for
fuel); the clerk's, 4l.; the pensioners have 2s. per week each, besides
a small allowance of fuel and clothes, as directed by the Founders.
The alms-house stands in the village, at the corner of the road which
leads up to the church. Over the door are the Founders' arms (fn. 35) .
Henry Lane, who died in 1593, gave a rent-charge of 6s. 8d. per
annum (on lands in Bexley) to the poor of this parish. William
Hattecliffe, Esq. in 1620, gave a fourth part of certain lands and
tenements in Greenwich, and an eighth part of certain other tenements (fn. 35) , (which shares now produce 24l. 8s. 9d. per annum,) to the
poor of Lee. This, by a decree of Chancery passed in 1622,
is directed to be distributed in sums of 10s. Abraham Colfe,
vicar of Lewisham, gave the sum of 8s. 8d. per annum, to purchase
two sweet penny loaves, weekly, for two of the poorest and godliest
inhabitants of this parish.
A small rivulet which takes its rise in this parish, falls into the
Ravensborne in the adjoining parish of Lewisham.