Sydenham and county/ parish boundaries

The History of Sydenham from Cippenham to present day. Links to photos especially welcome!

Moderator: frenzarin

Post Reply
Thomas
Posts: 632
Joined: 22 Feb 2007 13:08
Location: Upper Sydenham

Sydenham and county/ parish boundaries

Post by Thomas » 12 Aug 2010 13:39

I have a series of questions about how the historical boundaries relate to Sydenham: a little bit obscure I know but funny to think that a boundary sign on a busy suburban street could have ancient origins. I know that historically it was in Kent, but part of the County of London since 1889 (and successor bodies since then). Meanwhile Beckenham was also Kent, but Dulwich was in Surrey. Has this always been the case? And when did Kent and Surrey come into existence?

I understand that Sydenham was part of the parish of Lewisham until the 19th century, but that Dulwich was in Camberwell parish - you can see the parish markers even now on Sydenham Hill, which you would think would be a fairly logical place to have a boundary. I think Beckenham was in a separate parish, and I notice that St George's church there is in the diocese of Kent whilst St Barts is in the diocese of London. So a further question is how long have the parish and diocose boundaries been in place?

I just hope Falkor and Steve Grindlay still read the forum!

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Re: Sydenham and county/ parish boundaries

Post by Falkor » 4 Jan 2011 21:55

In 597, shortly after the Dark Ages lasting almost 200 years since the Roman withdrawal, Kent was converted to Christianity (the religion may never have completely died out since 312 and the Roman Emperor Constantine). In 601 the Cathedral of Rochester was built and in 604 the Diocese of Rochester was created. Inside this Diocese, at least 95% of all the pre-1830s Ancient Parishes would have been created between 604 and 1100 (a handful were finalished in the 12th and 13th centuries). This creation process inside the large diocesan boundaries of Rochester began with roughly 20 or so primary "mother-churches" (Minsters) built, thereby forming approx. 20 large divisions based on the 20 most important manors or estates of the early-mid Saxon period. These minsters and their associated territory were, in turn, sub-divided to form all the Ancient "daughter" parishes of the pre-1830s within important estates/manors (most belonged to the church), including Lewisham of which Sydenham was a hamlet before the creation of modern daughter parishes like St Barts (Sydenham) and Christ Church (Forest Hill) in 1855. Most of the mother churches acting as minsters are not known, but the nearest confirmed ones to Lewisham is Orpington (possibly had 5-10 parishes underneath it) and Eynsford (had 10-20 parishes) as well as Crayford, but Lewisham's minster could quite easily have been any parish church nearby that hasn't yet been identified as such, including Bromley, Beckenham or possibly even Greenwich (was said to be a Cathedral Town during Saxon times). There is also a very tiny chance that Lewisham could be independent of a minster coming directly underneath Rochester or even completely independent in isolation or with it's own set of parishes, but the chances of this are less than, say, 5%.

When the Saxons had first arrived in England, they had different sets of kings ruling different parts of the country. These Saxons kingdoms or shires eventually became the Counties. The Kingdom Of Kent was formed in around 450 and was ruled independent of the rest of England until 871. It was divided in Lathes, which in turn were divided into Hundreds. The manor of Lewisham was in the Hundred of Blackheath, in the lathe of Sutton-At-Hone, in the county of Kent.

-Sydenham and Lewisham as hamlets could have been formed any time from prehistoric to the early/mid Anglo-Saxon period (specifically Jutes "invaded" this part of Kent). Somebody would have simply named rough areas under early spellings of "Cippenham" and "Levesham" probably without any specific boundaries.
-Between its founding and 1086, Lewisham would have become an important estate (based on valuable agricultural land or a grand house or a farm) to have been called a manor and recorded in the Domesday book, but Sydenham simply remained a hamlet at this time. Note: the manor of Lewisham may have had fixed manorial boundaries.
-Between 604 and the 11th Century, Lewisham would have gained a population of, say, above 5, with several houses--as well as being an important manor/estate--to constitute the building of a church together with the formation of a parish for the community to worship at. Not only was Lewisham a place name, it was a manor and now a village with it's own parish and fixed boundaries in the Diocese of Rochester, in the county of Kent.

I hope that helps! :)

Thomas
Posts: 632
Joined: 22 Feb 2007 13:08
Location: Upper Sydenham

Re: Sydenham and county/ parish boundaries

Post by Thomas » 6 Jan 2011 12:52

Cheers - thanks for this Falkor!

Post Reply