Catford History Books

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History of the Borough of Lewisham, by Leland L. Duncan

This book was first published in 1908, and covers the geographic area of what was then the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham, formed in 1900, and includes Lewisham, Lee, Catford, Hither Green, Forest Hill, Bellingham, Rushey Green, Southend, Honor Oak, part of Blackheath, part of Brockley, and part of Sydenham. It is a history of those places, and not a history of the borough.
The book covers the history from ancient times up to 1908. It is rich in the origins of street names and places, and includes much information on churches, topography, notable events, people of influence, and much more. 73 excellent photographs and illustrations are included, making it invaluable for the local historian, family historian, and others with a connection to the places mentioned.
This FamLoc edition is a slight modification; there have been changes to format and some punctuation. However, the grammar and prose has been faithfully retained, other than changes to a handful of typographical errors and the very few instances where clarity was required.

Below is an extract of History of the Borough of Lewisham:

Catford is an ancient place name, which goes back in documents as far as the reign of Edward I, and is probably still older, as it was even then giving its name to a family of “de Cateforde.” At what period the Abbot of Ghent alienated the lands round Catford is uncertain – it was certainly prior to the reign of Edward I – but in the 13th century, Sir john Abel, who belonged to the family of Abel, of Erith, owned a considerable property in the district, together with the family of De Castello. Nicholas de Castello, Clerk of the Exchequer, in 1300 sold about 160 acres to Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, and the Bishop seems to have also acquired the Abel’s lands, so that at his death in 1311, amongst his possessions were lands and rents at Catford and Romburgh, in Lewisham, for which he paid quit rent to the Abbot of Ghent of 23s. 4d. and a plough share at Michaelmas.
This property coming to the Crown on the Bishop’s death, Edward III, in 1331, granted Catford to Sir William de Montacute, as a reward for having apprehended Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. In the same year Sir William, and Katherine his wife, purchased about 400 acres of land in Lewisham, and these, together with the Manor of Catford, they bestowed in 1338 on the College of St. Lawrence Poultney, in London, and the College continued in possession until its suppression in 1548. In that year Catford was granted with other lands to Henry Polsted, of Chileworth, and William More, of Loseley, in Surrey, for £2,034 14s. 10d. Henry Polsted’s son, Richard, dying without issue, the property came to Francis Polsted, his cousin, who in 1578 sold it to Brian Annesley, of Lee, another cousin, and from him it has descended to the Earl of St. Germans in the same manner as Brockley. Catford, historically, includes the St. Germans Estate at Hither Green (q.v.) and that in the Stanstead Road.
The connection which lasted for more than 200 years between Catford and the College of St. Lawrence Poultney on Pountney Hill, in the City of London, is commemorated by the dedication of the church opposite the Town Hall, which was so named in honour of St. Lawrence. It was built in 1886.

Other Catford History Books and Maps

We also include maps because they are a valuable source for making sense of the location and street names. Of particular interest are the Godfrey Edition maps, which are printed at a large scale, have street names included, and have the bonus of extracts from directories on the reverse, showing the names and proprietors of shops, doctors, etc.

We are always looking for more Catford history books, and welcome suggestions.

Click here for the Catford History and Family History main page


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