Abbey Woods

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Co-op Woods owned by Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. First outdoor school there in 1907, London County Council. Became campsite. Site of building depot for the estate, which was all, made on site, bricks, and all. Chalk mine under the site. Social services building was the work canteen, entrance to mine at the back,

Gardens of big properties to the east of the road have become part of the Abbey Grove

St.Benet, R.C. 1909 by F. Coyle.

Abbey Road

500 The Harrow.   Typical locals pub

Abbey Wood

Named for nearby Lesnes Abbey and associated woods, which belonged to it.

Abbey Wood Road

St.Michael and All Angels, 1908, Blomfield & Son.

Palanga House,

129-131 Rose Lea Villas,

Commonwealth Way

Co-op Estate.

Congress Road

Coop estate,

RACS bought Bostall Farm in 1899, characteristic names

Harrow Manor Way

Barge Pole. Unprepossessing exterior and a well  looked after interior and an expanding range   of   real   ales.

Hurst Farm Estate

Hurst Farm,

Hurst Woods

West of New Road

Chalk Pit,

Hurst Woods Pond

Fossil beds. Rich in fossils it is the Blackheath Beds. National importance and SSSI

Pine Pond,

Knee Hill

woodland plus an ornamental pond.

Greenwich and Bexley Hospice on site of Shornells, which had been built by architect of Woolwich Library, Henry Church. In 1914 it became a convalescent home for officers and bought by Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society as Jubilee Memorial 1918. Education and rest home. Second phase of hospice 2003.

Bostall House

Belvedere Private Clinic was The Cottage

Deneholes. three deneholes were examined 1906- 1908.   The result was inconclusive.   Each hole yielded six chambers in the chalk.   Some bones were found but no dateable evidence

Lesnes Abbey

Fossil Beds, Blackheath beds, Site of Special Scientific Interest,

'Lessness' might mean 'little nose'. Marked as ‘Leesing Heath’ on Bowen's map of c.1762 and as ‘Lesness Heath’ on the Ordnance Survey map of 1805. Named from ‘Leosne’ mid 11th, ‘Lesneis’, ‘Loisnes’ 1086 in the Domesday Book. ‘Hlosnes’ in the late-11th, ‘Lesnes’ 1194. It has been suggested that it might be from an Old English word ‘hieosn’ -  'burial mound' or 'shelter' in a plural form ‘hleosne’, later showing association with Old English. Thus possibly 'the burial mounds' or 'the shelters'.  It was the name of one of the medieval hundreds of Kent, the meetings of which were held here on the heath.  Lesnes Abbey Woods, is marked Abbey Wood on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1805 and 1888 - hence also the name of the residential district of Abbey Wood - so called from the Abbey.

Lesnes Abbey.  Founded 11th June 1178 by Richard de Lucy as an Augustinian abbey. Henry II's Chief Justifier to Thomas a Beckett,  De Lucy had Lesnes Abbey built as penance for Beckett’s murder,  although excommunicate,  and retired in 1178. He died within months and was buried in the grounds. The Order of St Augustine possessed large parts of Plumstead and the monks reclaimed the marshland north of the abbey and it is thought built the first river wall here. Farms were established and the Abbey prospered.   In 1283 financial control was taken from the abbot and given to the canons because of mismanagement. King Edward I visited it, on his way to Canterbury in 1300.  In 1381 Poll Tax rebels from Erith came here on their way to join Wat Tyler at Blackheath taking a boat from the canons to cross the river. In the 15th they got into debt because of over-sale of corrodies. So it was ‘Grubbed up, but already stripped of its honour  -chewing meat and sniffing women’. In 1525 Wolsey's agent, Dr William Burbank, took possession and closed it down and the income used to set up Christ's College, Cambridge.  In 1537 the river banks burst and 2,000 acres were flooded and not fully reclaimed till 1563 when an Act of Parliament allowed exiled Italian theologian and engineer Giacomo Aconzio to reclaim part of the land. Within two years he had embanked a quarter of the land and by 1587, three quarters. By 1630 the abbey was described as a ruin, its stones used on other buildings. In 1844 it became Abbey Farm, 350 acres, on the site of Abbey Grange. Sir Alfred Clapham excavated the site in 1909-13, but the remains were only laid bare after the mid 1950s. In 1930 it was bought by the London County Council

The abbey is believed to have been built from Normandy stone but on the outer walls are blocks of flint. These were probably came from the river that used to flow downhill from the south.   Much of it is now low walls and foundations but the sections of the abbey are signposted and the foundations provide a useful diagram from which to learn the layout. The church had an aisled nave in a plan more normally Cistercian. The bases of several shafts remain, with leaf spurs of the under curling kind called 'waterleaf, typical of c.1180. The Lady Chapel was east of the transept and built in 1371. Other buildings lay on the north side of the church for drainage reasons. On the side of the cloisters was the rectangular chapter house, North of this was the dormitory and reredorter. The refectory can be recognized by the steps up to the pulpit and the kitchen with a serving-hatch through the wall. The only complete feature to survive is a doorway. There was a separate infirmary block.  There are a few 13th tiles in a transept chapel. The ruined walls support rare plants – rue leaved saxifrage. 

Medieval harbour line identified by deep channel to the west of the ruins,

Lesnes Abbey Wood was controlled by the Augustinians and stretched as far east as Erith. Sweet chestnut trees used to dominate the forest and can still be found along with sessile oak. Ancient areas of heathland and acid grassland.. It is now a habitat of Metropolitan importance. There are dangerous caves where there have been fatalities.  There are important bat sites.

LCC Park opened 1939. Flower beds and mulberry, thyme, leaved sandwort, black mendick, wall barley, harts tongue, black spleenwort, maidenhair spleenwort, polypody male fern. Plaque to antiquarian,  Erwood.  The site is beautiful with simple but neat ornamental gardens and the massed trees of Abbey Wood rising on mounds to the south. The daffodils are the best in London. There are also wild daffodils, wild anemones and bluebells, and wild service trees.

West Wood, stream running through it

Chalk pit

Hurst Pond. Was pond of Hurst House and called Pine Pool. Ponds were once linked by rustic bridges. Willow Pool and Fountain Pool now silted

Memorial to William Morris

Wilton Road

31 Abbey Arms


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