Thames Tributaries – the River Wandle - Beddington Park
The Wandle continues to flow in a generally westward direction
TQ 29299 65405
The majority of this square is taken up with Beddington Park - with a great deal to see in it. The Wandle flows through the park and here it is an ornamental feature - but the mills are not far away.
Post to the east Beddington
Post to the west Hackbridge
Beddington is an old spring line village on the Thanet sands. In 900 Edward the Elder gave it to the Bishop of Winchester. Bishop (St.) Ethelwold died there. There are Roman burials in the park. In 1859 the Carew estate broken up to allow building development.
Beddington Park is marked on the 1819 ordnance map but it was recorded as ‘Ye Parks’ in 1579. It is a rich archaeological sites with evidence of settlements dating from the late Bronze Age. It features in the Domesday Book. The Park was part of the Deer Park attached to Tudor Carew Manor and originally the park covered the area most Mitcham Common, Beddington Lane, Croydon Road and London Road. There is a legend that Queen Elizabeth kicked a stone and the spring started which became the Wandle. On the Kingston Zodiac is forms part of the Virgin. The Wandle flows through the park and there is a wide variety of trees. It was described by Daniel Defoe and William Kent. Sir Francis Carew’s gardens were famous in the 17th and included waterworks and orangery. By the late 18th the northern part of the park was being farmed and the remaining deer park was acquired by Canon Bridges, the local vicar in 1859 when the Carews had to sell to pay gambling debts. His planting scheme remains. It was taken over by the local authorities 1904-1927 and used as allotments in the Second World War. It is now public.
Archery Ground. There are considerable sports facilities in the park – but archery is not featured despite an apparently dedicated area on maps. Cricket Ground
Canal - In the early 18th a long canal-like lake was created in front of the manor. Filled in under Canon Bridges in the 1850s. A hollow between the avenue of trees marks the site
Tudor garden and grotto believed to have been created by Sir Francis Carew in the 16th.
Avenue. Leading to Carew Manor which was lined with trees in the 18th. Changed under Canon Bridges
Site of a Roman Villa and Bath House on the north side of the park. A Roman stone coffin was found here in 1930s.
Saxon cemetery from 5th was discovered in the 19th
Secret Tunnels. These could be entered through a manhole at the back of the School, There are 18th accounts of a moat and drawbridge and in 1979 workmen uncovered a conduit around two sides of the building. Water wells up in the floor and exits through an arch. At the far end is a small 'beach' and there is a wall built across the end. The exit of the water is into the Wandle bank some distance away.
Canon Bridges' Bridge. This has ornamental terracotta, plus brick and Portland stone. Canon Bridges' monogram can be seen on the keystones. Listed
Stone and brick listed bridge
Pond, kidney-shaped pond in the north of the park which was part of Bridges' planting scheme,
Flock mill which stood on the corner of the lake. The main lake in the south west of the park was originally a mill pond.
Boundary walls. Listed.
Beddington Hall. This belonged to the Carew family until the mid 18th. Sir Nicholas had acquired it in 1349 and it was rebuilt in 1599 by Sir Francis Carew who entertained Elizabeth I here for three days. Part of the Tudor mansion survives, including the 15th hall, although there were many subsequent rebuildings. A hall, which is probably 15th, remains between two later wings. Its windows are 19th replacements of Georgian ones. It has a hammer beam and arch-braced roof with tracery and bosses with Tudor roses. There is also a large plaster trophy of arms. There are also brick and stone extensive cellars but little else is known of the Tudor house. The moat and drawbridge were repaired in the Civil War and Evelyn said the house was decaying, but 'a noble old structure, capacious ‘. It was rebuilt in 1702-14 on a half-H plan and altered again in 1818 by Daniel Alexander. In 1865 it was drastically rebuilt by Joseph Clarke for the Lambeth Female Orphan Asylum. The projecting wings must be on the same site as in the 18th but they are now linked by a lower corridor. Listed.
Carew Manor School. The manor house was altered in 1866 to take the Royal Female Orphanage from Lambeth. Thus subsequently moved to High Wycombe. It currently houses a school for children with special needs, and some council offices.
Entrance gates and wrought iron screen. Listed but 20th facsimiles.
Garden walls. Listed.
Dovecote. This is a brick octagonal building from 1715- 1720 to replace an earlier building. It has 1,360 nesting boxes, for pigeons or doves. Their squabs provided meat for the manor house table or, because of its very large size, it may have been commercial. Listed.
Orangery. Sir Francis Carew is said to have raised the first oranges in England here. Oranges preserved in winter by a temporary wooden shed. The trees were destroyed by a severe frost in the winter of 1739-40 and the building was destroyed in the early 19th. All that remains are walls - One is nearly 200 ft long, with blank arcading divided into pairs by pilasters which may date from 1707-12. It is in English bond and may be older. It can be seen with its heating ducts from the hall windows. Listed.
Boundary walls. Listed.
St Mary’s Church. This stands next to the manor house. A flint and stone church, it was built in 1387 through a legacy of Sir Nicholas Carew and the tower, porch, and chancel are from then. The Carew chapel was added in the mid 15th. There is a late-Norman square font of Purbeck marble, a pulpit of 1611 with linen fold panels and arabesque decoration. A window by Clayton and Bell was given by Canon Bridges, along with as the Organ Gallery by Morris & Co. Bridges also commissioned Joseph Clark to build the vestries and also rebuild the nave roof, chancel arch, chancel roof, and decoration in 1867. Monuments include brasses to Thomas Greenhill 1634 and to Nicholas Carew and his wife of 1432. There is a table-tomb to Sir Richard Carew, governor of Calais, and his wife 1520 and an alabaster monument to Sir ‘Francis Carew 1611. He was a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh who it has also been said is buried here.
Lamp standard in the churchyard. Listed
Lychgate. 1868 by Joseph Clarke, Listed.
Churchyard Walls. These are of red brick where they adjoin the Manor House and are 17th or earlier. Listed
Masonry fragments from 13th and14th. Listed
Beddington Park Cottages a much-altered group of outbuildings of the late c16-early c19. Listed walls.
East Lodge. Built for Rev. Bridges in 1877, an elaborately arts and crafts influenced half-timbered building by Joseph Clarke. Listed
Housing development began along Croydon Road in 1866, after the land was sold to Joseph Borsley.
Was once called Chatt’s Hill
Wandle – the main stream of the Wandle and the mill stream from Beddington Mill join slightly to the north of Guy Road. There is a weir at the junction and there was once a pond here. Further west another leat leaves the main river.
Brandries Cottage. With Listed walls and kitchen garden. The cottage has a date plaque on it of 1650 and might pre-date the big house. In the 19th it was described as a Coachman’s or Gardener’s Cottage
6a in the front garden there was once a well and pump
Beddington Park Primary School
Sherwood Park School
Originally known as Brandries Gardens, houses built in the early 1930s by J.W.Hunt.
Camden House, This was once Brandries Hill House. Probably early 18th with a late 18th rendered front; five bays. The front was probably done for Francis Baring, who bought the house in 1790 and spent £2,400 on it. Richard Jupp (Surveyor to the East India Company, of which Baring was a director) has been suggested as architect. Pump and well in the basement. There was an ice house in the grounds. Garden walls and gate. Listed. The house had various occupants through the 19th and early 20th, latterly Wallis the Beddington mill owner and David Clack of Beddington Brickworks. It was renamed Camden house and converted into flats in 1937 and later used for refugees from the Spanish Civil War.
Rear garden walls, cottage and former kitchen, listed
Camden Cottage. Built as a garage during the occupancy of David Clack in Brandries Hill House. He was a brick maker and used his own brand white bricks.
A diversion off the Wandle lies to the north of this close and a pond was laid out here in 1972 for flood relief. This area was once watercress beds.
Beddington Park. Web site
Chelsea Speleological Society. Newsletter
Lewisham History Journal
London Borough of Sutton. Web site
Osborne. Defending London
Pevsner and Cherry, Surrey
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Sutton Heritage leaflet
Wandle Industrial Museum. The Wandle at Work