Sydenham History Books

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The History of the Borough of Lewisham, first published in 1908, covers what was then the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham, formed in 1900. The book includes Lewisham, Lee, Catford, Hither Green, Forest Hill, Bellingham, Rushey Green, Southend, Honor Oak, part of Blackheath, part of Brockley, and most of Sydenham.
It is a history of those places, and not a history of the borough.
The book 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.

The book has recently been faithfully republished by FamLoc

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.

The following extract relating to Sydenham is from History of the Borough of Lewisham:

The name Sydenham was formerly Sippenham or Cypenham, and as such occurs down to the middle of the 18th century, after which the modern form gradually came into use. The greater part of the district, now known as Upper Sydenham, was open common land called Westwood, a name which is at least as old as the time of Edward I. Although styled a “manor” in later documents, it is doubtful if the term was strictly applicable to Sydenham, for the whole of Westwood was esteemed part of the common land of the Manor of Lewisham. Many free tenants of the manor, however. held small portions of land in “Sypenham,” according to the Rental temp. Edward II, and there seems to have been a fringe of cottages and other houses along the Sydenham Road, from Bell Green to Peak Hill, from very early times.
In 1442 Sir John Welles, Grocer and Alderman of the City of London, left his “manor of Sippenham in the parish of Leuesham in Kent to be sold for pious and charitable uses, saving an annuity of 40s. to William Osborn.” (“Husting’s Wills”).
In the reign of Henry VII, Robert Cheseman, a member of an old Lewisham family, possessed the “Manor” of Syppenham, and had also a lease of the Manor of Lewisham from the Prior of Shene. In his will, dated 1498, he left Syppenham and Perystreet to his wife for her life, with remainder to John Cheseman, his son. The latter’s daughter and heir, Joan, married William Ford, and they sold the manor to Richard Howlet, of Lewisham, whose daughter, Rachel, became possessed of it under his will, dated 8th September, 1560. At his death an inquisition was held, which declared all his lands in Sypenham to be gavelkind lands. Rachel Howlet married Robert Edmonds, and on her death in 1609 the property came to her three sons, George, Robert, and Abraham, as coheirs in gavelkind. Portions of the estate were sold at various periods. Some of the lands were purchased by the Rev. Abraham Colfe to endow the Grammar School. The fate of the manor house, known as Place House, has been already narrated. The whole of the property was probably situated more round Perystreet than in the district we now know as Sydenham.

Other Sydenham History Books and Maps

We display the Sydenham history books we have found. We also include the excellent Godfrey maps of Sydenham, which show the streets, houses, public houses, etc., and have the bonus of having a Business Directory of the area on the reverse.

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

Click here for the Sydenham Local and Family History main page


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