Charlton History and Family History
Welcome to the main page for Charlton history and Family History. From here you can link to various other pages containing information on Charlton history. Some of them are our own pages, but we also include links to other handy websites.
Charlton is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London, and has the post code SE7.
Charlton railway station is the nearest station, and is pretty much in the centre of Charlton. Uphill from the station is Old Charlton, including Charlton Village (more correctly The Village, Charlton), and downhill from the station is the Thames, where there was once much heavy industry.
Greenwich Heritage Centre
Woolwich, SE18 4DX
Tel: 0208 854 2452
Greenwich Heritage Centre Website
The origin of the name is doubtless ceorle, the Saxon term for husbandman, and ton, a town.
Ceorl (from which charl and churl) meant a man, a husband and also a husbandman. It also meant a freeman, and was apparently the masculine gender of the generic “man.” Ceorl-boren was country-born. The term was also used to signify low birth; ceorl-folc were the common folk, and ceorl-cynge was king of the commons. Karl in the Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic, and kerl in the German, have gone through the same gradations.
The common suffix ton, or town, was at one time applied to any kind of enclosure – the husbandman’s homestead standing alone, or in a garden fenced off from the waste, being each described as a ton or tun, which in time got applied to a cluster of cottages, a village, and all kinds of human settlements under the Anglo-Saxons.
The simple meaning of Charlton, therefore, is a country place or village.
– W.T. Vincent, The Records of the Woolwich District, vol II