Bermondsey, Surrey Family History Guide

Bermondsey comprises of the following parishes:

  • Bermondsey St Mary Magdalen, Surrey
  • Bermondsey Christ Church, Surrey
  • Bermondsey St James, Surrey
  • Bermondsey St Paul, Surrey

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Peculiar Baptist, Plymouth Brethren, Roman Catholic, Strict Baptist, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Association.

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BERMONDSEY, a parish and a district in Southwark borough, Surrey. The parish lies on the right bank of the Thames, below London bridge, between Southwark proper and Rotherhithe; and is in the postal district of London S.E., and traversed by the Greenwich railway. Acres, 688; of which 27 are water. Real property, £155,629. Pop. in 1841, 34,947; in 1861, 58,355. Houses, 8,220. Large portion of the surface is covered with compact town, suburban to London. A quondam island or "eye," belonging to a Saxon chief Beormund, seems to have given rise to the name Bermondsey, originally Beormund's-eye, then Bermundesye. A Cluniac Abbey was founded here, in 1082, by Aylwin Child of London; endowed with the surrounding manor by William Rufus; made the prison and the death-place of the widowed queen of Edward IV.; given, at the dissolution, to Sir Robert Southwell; and sold, the same year, to Sir Thomas Pope. A magnificent mansion speedily superseded the Abbey church; and was afterwards inhabited by Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, who died here in 1583. A gate of the Abbey and some other remains were standing within the present century; but the only memorial of it now is the name of Abbey-street. Two ancient hospitals, dedicated to St. Saviour and St. Thomas, stood adjacent. A chalybeate well, some distance SE of the Abbey's site, came into repute about 1770; and though now built over, is commemorated in the name of the Spa road. Numerous watercourses or mill-streams, rising and falling with the tidal current of the Thames, early attracted manufacturers of the classes requiring their aid; but gave rise to noxious effluvia, and were converted into sewers under the sanitary regulations consequent on the ravages of Asiatic cholera. The suburb was long one of the filthiest seats connected with London; but has, of late years, been greatly improved. One part of it, called Jacob's Island, the scene of Bill Sykes's death in "Oliver Twist," is still pre-eminently bad. The chief employments are Leather-working, ship-building, and hat-making; but other employments are numerous. A tract on the S is disposed in very productive market gardens.

The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £300. Patron, Mrs. Ram. The church is a plain structure of 1680, on the site of one which stood at the Conquest; and it has, among its communion plate, a richly chased silver salver, supposed to be of the time of Edward II., and to have belonged to the Cluniac Abbey. Three chapelries, all vicarages, St. James, Christ Church, and St. Paul, were constituted in respectively 1840, 1845, and 1846. Value of each, £300. Patron of St. James, the Rector; of Christ Church and St. Paul, alternately the Crown and the Bishop. St. James church was built in 1829, at a cost of £21,412; and is a handsome structure, with an Ionic portico and a tower, after designs by Savage. Christ Church was built in 1848, at a cost of £4,870; and is in the Romanesque style. The total places of worship in 1851 were 5 of the Church of England, with 5,313 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 1,500 s.; 7 of Baptists, with 1,980 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,972 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 370 s.; 1 undefined, with 70 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 1,250 s. There is also a convent of the Sisters of Mercy. The schools in 1851 were 13 public day schools, with 3,081 scholars; 132 private day schools, with 3,277 s.; 14 Sunday schools, with 3,237 s.; and 5 evening schools for adults, with 252 s. One of the public schools has an endowed income of £213; another has £98; and other charities have £179.

The district is conterminate with the parish, and is divided into St. James, St. Mary Magdalene, and Leather-Market. Poor-rates in 1866, £25,638. Marriages in 1866, 617; births, 2,897, of which 79 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,623, of which 891 were at ages under 15 years, and 20 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 4,341; births, 21,152; deaths, 13,228. St. James subdistrict is conterminate with St. James chapelry. Acres, 454; of which 27 are water. Pop., 25,154. Houses, 3,630. St. Mary Magdalene subdistrict extends from the parish boundary, crossing Swan-street, near the Kent-road, along the E side of Swan-street and Pages-walk and the S side of the Grange-road, Star-corner, and Bermondsey-street to Crucifix-lane; thence along the parish boundary to Artillery-street, Church-street, and Russell-street to Dockhead; thence to Gedling-street and the Neckinger-road to the Spa-road, and along the Spa-road, Grange-road, and Upper Grange-road; and thence along the parish boundary to Swan-street. Acres, 142. Pop., 16,505. Houses, 2,195. Leather-Market subdistrict commences at the parish boundary, crossing Swan-street, near the Kent-road, and comprises the space in a line to run from that point and encompassing the W side of Swan-street, Pages-walk, Grange-road, Star-corner, Bermondsey-street, into Snows-fields, and following the parish boundary there into Crosby-row, crossing Long-lane, Baalzephon-street, and the New-road up to Swan-street again. Acres, 92. Pop., 16,696. Houses, 2,395.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

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