Croydon, Surrey Family History Guide

Croydon St John the Baptist is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Surrey.

Other places in the parish include: Selsdon, Waddon, and Woodside.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1538
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1799

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Methodist, Particular Baptist, Primitive Methodist, Protestant Dissenters, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Mitcham St Peter and Paul
  • Beckenham St George
  • Sanderstead
  • Warlingham
  • Coulsdon
  • Penge St John
  • Shirley
  • Beddington
  • Farleigh
  • Addington
  • Streatham St Leonard
  • Norwood All Saints
  • Camberwell St Giles

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

CROYDON, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Surrey. The town stands, amid beautiful environs, on the line of Ermine-street, under Banstead Downs, near the source of the river Wandle, 10½ miles by railway S of London. The Brighton railway passes adjacent on the E; branch railways strike off toward Wimbledon and Epsom on the WNW and the WSW; the Sydenham and Beckenham branch of the Southeastern comes in near the Brighton on the E; and there are three stations, one for the Brighton line, one for the Wimbledon and Epsom branches, and one for the Beckenham and Sydenham branch. A horse railway, from Merstham, through Croydon, to Wandsworth, was formed in 1801-3; an atmospheric railway also was tried; and a canal from Croydon to Deptford gave place to the Croydon and London railway, which became amalgamated with the Brighton. The original town stood farther west than the present one; was long thought to have been the Noviomagus of the Romans; and has entirely disappeared. The present town shows considerable features of antiquity; comprises a main street, upwards of a mile long, and a number of smaller ones; contains many modern, well-built, handsome houses; and includes, in the outskirts, lines of new villas. The town hall was erected in 1807, at a cost of £10,000; and is the place of the summer assizes for Surrey, alternately with Guildford. A public hall, with a spacious apartment for meetings, and with rooms for a literary institution, was built in 1860, at a cost of £3,500. A theatre, of similar character to the Holborn amphitheatre, was built in 1868. The water-works were opened in 1851; and extensive new ones formed in 1868. The cattle market is commodious. The barracks, now disused, were formerly occupied as a depôt for recruits, and have accommodation for two hundred men. The quondam palace, situated in the lowest part of the town, was an occasional residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury from 1273 to 1757; gave entertainment, for seven days, in 1573, to Queen Elizabeth and her retinue; and was sold in 1780 to be converted into a factory. The edifice was irregularly quadrangular; and measured interiorly 156 feet by 126. The hall still stands; is 56 feet long, 37 wide, and 37½ high; and shows the perpendicular character of the time of Henry VI. The chapel also remains; and is now used as a school of industry. St. John's church stands adjacent; is also of perpendicular date, and very noble; was, with exception of the lower walls and the tower, destroyed by fire in January 1867; and was undergoing restoration in 1868-9. St. Peter's church, in St. Peter's-road, was built in 1851; St. James' church, Croydon Common, in 1829; St. Andrew's church, in 1857; Christ church, Broad Green, in 1852; St. Matthew's church, Addiscombe-road, in 1866; Holy Trinity and St. Saviour's churches, in 1867. Middle class schools in connexion with Whitgift's hospital, were founded in 1869. Whitgift's hospital was erected and endowed, in 1593, by Archbishop Whitgift; is a quadrangular edifice, in plain Tudor; supports 39 poor persons and an ancient school; and has an endowed income of £3,000. Oldham, the poet, was for three years an usher in its school; wrote then his satire on the Jesuits; and was visited here by the Earl of Rochester, the Earl of Dorset, Sir Charles Sedley, and other distinguished persons. Archbishop Tenison's school has £121 from endowment; Davy's alms-houses £184; and other charities £414. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Quakers, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics; a workhouse, two banking offices, a telegraph station, and three chief inns. The Independent chapel in Selhurst-road was built in 1863. The town has a post office, under London, S.; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and publishes three weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Thursdays and Saturdays; and fairs on 5 July, 1 Aug., and 2 Oct. A great trade was long carried on in charcoal, occasioning poets to speak of "Croydon clothed in black," and the colliers of Croydon; but became extinct towards the end of last century. The chief businesses now are the corn trade, brewery-work, and the making of light basket carriages. A defeat of the insurgents against Henry III. took place here in 1264; and a sharp shock of earthquake occurred in 1551. Lord Mayor Gurney was a native; and Howard of Effingham, and Barclay the author of the "Ship of Fools," were residents. Pop., 20,325. Houses, 3,698.

The parish includes also the hamlets of Woodside and Waddon, and the chapelries of Norwood-All Saints and Shirley. Acres, 9,821. Real property, £160,059; of which £1,000 are in gas-works. Pop., 30,240. Houses, 5,338. The property is much subdivided. The manor belongs to the see of Canterbury. Shirley is the seat of the Earl of Eldon; and Addiscombe, once the seat of the Herons and others, and eventually a military college for India, was recently taken down. The livings of St. john, St. Andrew, Norwood-All Saints, and Shirley are vicarages, and the other livings are p. curacies, in the diocese of Canterbury. Value of St. John, £725; of St. A., £153; of St. M., St. James, and St. Peter, each £400; of C., £400; of H. T., £300; of St. S., £50. Patron of St. John, the Archbishop; of St. A., the Rev. J. Randolph; of St-M., St. James, and St. Peter, the Vicar of St. John; of C., Trustees; of H. T. and St. S., the Incumbent of St. James. See Norwood and Shirley. The sub-district contains also the parishes of Addington, Sanderstead, and Coulsdon, and the hamlet of Penge. Acres, 21,209. Pop., 37,093. Houses, 6,309. The district comprehends likewise the sub-district of Mitcham, containing the parishes of Mitcham, Beddington, Woodmansterne, Mordon, and Merton. Acres, 32,803. Poor-rates, in 1862, £23,029. Pop., in 1841, 27,720; in 1861, 46,474. Houses, 8,073. Marriages, in 1860, 338; births, 1,353, of which 57 were illegitimate; deaths, 775, of which 291 were at ages under 5 years, and 23 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2,822; births, 11,340; deaths, 7,273. The places of worship in 1851 were 15 of the Church of England, with 8,267 sittings; 6 of Independents, with 1,409 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 707 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 357 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 444 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 70 s.; 1 undefined, with 190 s.; and 3 of Roman Catholics, with 380 s. The schools were 30 public day schools, with 4,055 scholars; 65 private day schools, with 1,321 s.; 22 Sunday schools, with 2,345 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 17 s.

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

Parish Records


Online Records (Free)

England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992


1851 Census Index Croydon District by Jean Tooke | 1 Jan 1989


Vision of Britain historical maps

Central Croydon 1895: Surrey Sheet 14.10 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Surrey)

South Croydon 1895: Surrey Sheet 14.14 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Surrey)

West Croydon and Selhurst 1911: Surrey Sheet 14.06 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Surrey)

Croydon (Mitcham Road) 1911: Surrey Sheet 14.05 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Surrey)

Croydon (Woodside) 1911: Surrey Sheet 14.07 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Surrey)


County: Surrey
Civil Registration District: Croydon
Probate Court: Pre-1846 - Court of the Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Deaneries of the Arches, Croydon, and Shoreham, Post-1845 - Court of the Bishop of Canterbury (Episcopal Consistory)
Diocese: Pre-1846 - Winchester, Post-1845 - London
Rural Deanery: Pre-1846 - Croydon, Post-1845 - None
Poor Law Union: Croydon
Hundred: Wallington
Province: Canterbury

Further Reading

Croydon in Old Photographs (Britain in Old Photographs) Paperback – 1 Oct 1994 by Stuart Bligh (Author)

Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Croydon by Caroline Maxton and Brian Elliott | 31 Oct 2006

Croydon Past by John Gent | 21 Oct 2002

Edwardian Croydon Illustrated: Photographs from the Period 1901 to 1919 by John B. Gent | 1 Apr 1990

Croydon and the Great War by H.Keatly Moore and W.C. Berwick Sayers | 13 Feb 2009

Croydon Cinemas by Eyles | 31 Mar 2006

Memories of Croydon by Various | 1 Oct 2003

More Memories of Croydon by Stephen (editor) Griffiths | 1 Aug 2001

Croydon in the 1940s and 1950s by John B. Gent | 31 Dec 1998

Croydon and Waddon (Images of England) by Wheeler | 6 Jun 2008

Images of Croydon by Croydon Advertiser Group | 1 Sep 1997

Monuments And Antiquities Of Croydon Church, In The County Of Surrey: Comprising A Description Of That Structure, Its Monuments, And Brasses Paperback – 21 Feb 2018 by John Corbet Anderson (Author)

Chronicles of the Parish of Croydon, Surrey (Volume 1) by John Corbet Anderson

Chronicles of the Parish of Croydon, Surrey, Volume 2 by John Corbet Anderson | 14 Feb 2010

Chronicles of the Parish of Croydon, Surrey, Volume 4 by John Corbet Anderson | 31 Aug 2012

Surrey Street, Croydon: A Stall Story - A Century of Market Trading by Vivien Lovett | 15 Sep 1995

Victorian Walks in Surrey by Andrew Gill | 5 Jul 2016

Illustrated Guide to Croydon and the Surrey Hills. 1 Jan 1958

On the Run: A History of Croydon Fire Brigade Paperback – 1 Mar 2004
by Eddie Baker (Author)

Croydon: A Pictorial History (Pictorial history series)
by John B. Gent | 1 Jan 1991

South Croydon, Selsdon and Sanderstead (Archive Photographs & Pocket Images) Paperback – 31 Mar 2005 by Ralph Rimmer (Author)

Croydon Tramways. A History of Trams in the Croydon Area from 1879 to 1951. Including the South Metropolitan Electric Tramways & Lighting Company. by Robert J. Harley | 29 Feb 2004