CHAPTER 21: HOPTON STREET (FORMERLY GREEN WALK)
On the map of 1627, a triangular piece of copyhold land enclosed on
two sides by Gravel Lane is shown as in the tenure of Mr. Austin. This was
William Austin, son of James Austin, dyer, who was admitted to the copyhold
of a garden and orchard and several tenements in 1596. (fn. a) (ref. 203) Towards the
end of the 17th century a path was made across this land from the Mill Pond
in Upper Ground to Christ Church, which became known as Churchway or
Green Walk. In 1699, Austin Oldesworth, acting on behalf of William
Austin, junior, the heir of the property, sold the ground on the east side of
the way to James Price and John Morgan. (ref. 203) They proceeded to build on the
ground and in February, 1700/1, John Morgan applied to the Commissioners
of Sewers for permission to cover over the "foule Sewer or deadhead on the
backside of his houses in Greenwalk." (ref. 129) These houses were pulled down forty
years later for the erection of Hopton's Almshouses (see below).
On the ground immediately north of Morgan's, James Price built two
houses, one of which was occupied by Samuel Clark, schoolmaster, who had
a schoolroom behind them. In 1713 these houses, and the surrounding
garden, were bought by the parish for the formation of Christ Church Charity
School. (fn. b) (ref. 237) The school remained on this site until 1897. Its modern successor
is in Bear Lane.
No. 61 Hopton Street (formerly 9 Green Walk)
James Price also held the ground north of the school and on this he
built a number of houses including five on either side of a passage running
eastward from Green Walk which became known as Knight's Court. The
houses must have been finished by 1703 for in December of that year Price
obtained permission to arch over the sewer in front of them from Mr.
Morgan's premises to the Mill Pond. (ref. 129)
In 1720 Edward Knight obtained the copyhold of the messuage
which he then occupied in Green Walk and the five messuages behind it. (ref. 203)
Knight's house, later known as No. 9, Green Walk, and now as No. 61
Hopton Street, remains substantially as it was when it was built, and is, in
fact, the oldest house left in Christ Church parish. At Edward Knight's death
his children sold the copyhold to William Barnard, lighterman, who devised
it to his sister, Ann Hutton, and her son, George Hutton. In 1761 George
Hutton "of Newington, Surrey," sold the copyhold to Henry Bunn, and,
from him, it passed in 1840 to his grandson, Henry Bilke. By that date there
were eight houses in Knight's Court. Later owners prior to the enfranchisement of the property in 1924, were Henry Parry Liddon, James Epps and
his descendants, and King & Jarrett, Ltd.
The house comprises two storeys, attic and cellar. It is of red brick
with a tiled roof and wood eaves cornice. The entrance doorcase is in wood
with flanking pilasters and carved scroll brackets supporting a flat moulded
hood, which is continued as a cornice above the ground floor windows. The
windows have sashes with glazing bars and frames almost flush with the wall
face; those on the ground floor have wood shutters. In the roof is a five-light
dormer window with casement frames and glazing bars. Most of the original
wrought-iron railings and the gate and overthrow remain, but portions have
been recently renewed or reforged. The ground and first floor rooms have
plain wood panelling with cornices and some moulded ceiling beams.
The tenants of No. 61 in so far as they can be ascertained were: Circa 1720, Edward
Knight (a trustee of the Charity School); 1744, Henry Batterson, bricklayer (treasurer of the Charity
School); 1761, Samuel Reynolds; 1840, James Cantel; 1866–82, William Holmes; 1895, Mrs.
Eliza Reynolds, vellum binder; Samuel Henry Sterck; 1908, Fanny Smith; 1924, Joseph Smith.
Hopton's Almshouses were built in 1752 by trustees appointed under
the will of Charles Hopton. Little is known about the founder. He was born
circa 1654 and was admitted in infancy to the freedom of the Fishmongers'
Company. He was resident in Golden Square, Westminster, in 1697, (fn. a) and
from 1711 until his death in 1731 he lived on the north side of Petty France
in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster. (ref. 240) He does not seem to have lived
in Southwark at any time. He was, however, admitted in 1706 as a copyholder of the piece of ground near the Pudding Mill previously held by
Edmund Dunch, to whom he had been appointed steward or guardian under
the will of Catherine Dunch (died 1697). (ref. 203) It may be noted that Catherine
Dunch was the daughter of William Oxton, brewer, who had a grant of
several acres of the demesne land of Paris Garden from William Angell (see
Hopton does not appear to have married. He left (ref. 222) his freehold and
copyhold lands in Christ Church parish to his cousin Thomas Jordan, and,
after a number of legacies to friends and charities, the remainder of his
property to his sister, Elizabeth, and after her death to trustees for the establishment of almshouses in Christ Church. Elizabeth Hopton died in 1739 (ref. 241) and
in 1743 her brother's trustees, William Shaw, Richard Farwell and Alexander
Haselar and the Vicar and Churchwardens of Christ Church, purchased from
John Morgan, cordwainer, a piece of copyhold ground and "All Those five
Messuages . . . with the Outhouses, Yards, Gardens and Peice of Ground
to them . . . belonging, Situat . . . near the Green Walk in the Upper
Ground . . . and all that peice of Ground called the Back Orchard and also
all Those Eight Messuages . . .
Scituate . . . on the Eastward Side
of the Green Walk . . . (which)
at the North End . . . abutt upon
a Messuage . . . belonging to the
Trustees of the Charity School . . .
now in the occupation of Samuel
Clark, Schoolmaster, and at
the South End . . . abutt partly
on a Messuage . . . called the
Joseph's Dream, the Estate of
John Minshaw, Gentleman, and
in other part on Garden Ground
belonging to — Price." (ref. 203) In
March, 1751/2, the Court Rolls
record that the trustees "have
pulled down . . . all the Buildings
standing on the said Premisses at
the time of their . . . Admission
And have Caused to be Erected
. . . Twenty Six new Brick
Messuages . . . And a Messuage
designed for . . . a Committee
Room And have Surrounded . . .
the same with a New Brick Wall."
The total expenditure on the
houses and ground was about
£2700. (ref. 56) At the first committee
meeting held on 10th July, 1752,
26 poor persons were chosen to
occupy the houses. Almsmen were allowed to marry but the original rules
were framed to prevent children of the almsmen becoming chargeable to
Christ Church parish. Each almsman was to receive a chaldron of coals and
a payment of not less than £6 a year. This was subsequently increased to
a payment of 21s. 8d. a month and coal. (ref. 242)
Staircase detail at Hopton's Almshouses
In 1825 two additional almshouses were built for the trustees by
Samuel Rust, builder. No. 20 is now used for a library and common room. (ref. 242)
The almshouses consist of a continuous range of two-storey cottages
on three sides of the central lawn with trees and paved paths. The buildings
are of brown brick with chamfered stone rusticated quoins and tiled roofs
with moulded eaves course. Each cottage consists of a ground floor sittingroom entered directly from the courtyard with a single room above. The two
rooms are connected by a small dog-leg staircase with turned balusters.
In the centre of the middle or eastern range and slightly projecting is
the Trustees' Committee Room, with a brick pediment and stone moulded
coping extending the full width of the projection. It has a central entrance
door set in a stone surround with consoles supporting a moulded cornice.
Over the doorway is a stone panel with pediment and side scrolls inscribed
"Chas. Hopton, Esq., sole founder of this Charity, Anno 1752." On each
side is a semicircular headed window with stone pilaster jambs, moulded
archivolts and plain keystones. The internal walls of the committee room are
panelled in pine to their full height and finished with enriched modillion
cornice, frieze, architrave, skirting and dado rails. The chimneypiece consists
of a wood mantel with bold shouldered architrave, pulvinated frieze and
cornice, above which is a large panel. The six-panel door is surrounded by a
moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze and cornice.
Nos. 1 and 2, and 27 and 28 were demolished by enemy action in
April and May, 1941, and Nos. 3, 4 and 5 were seriously damaged. In
planning the rebuilding the trustees propose to preserve the original appearance of the buildings while making provision for a communal kitchen and
common room for the use of the old people, with living accommodation above.
The Falcon Glass Works
These works were erected at the northern end of Hopton Street, at
its junction with Holland Street, late in the 18th century by the firm of
Pellatt & Green (later Apsley Pellatt), partly on copyhold ground which had
formerly belonged to James Austin, and partly on the site of the Millpond
(see p. 108). The building now covering the site still follows the curve of
the pond at its northern end (Plate 80a).
In 1743 the Surrey and Kent Sewer Commissioners amerced John
Boyfield for not "Casting Cleansing and Scowering the Pudding Mill Pond"
adjoining to his premises at the Falcon. The pond is marked on Rocque's
map of 1760, but was built over before the compilation of the first edition of
Horwood's map (1794–99). In 1826 the jury of Paris Garden Manor presented a report that "the stench arising from the Pudding mill stream below
the Glass House of Messrs. Pellatt and Greens" was a common nuisance. (ref. 247)
The stream was covered in soon after.