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Erith Parish

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St. John the Baptist
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Your Online Parish Clerk for Erith is:  VACANT.  

Erith is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Canterbury, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury and in the deanery of Dartford.  The church is named for St. John the Baptist with original parish registers commencing 1625.

Erith, is a Erith, a small town and a parish in Dartford district, Kent.  The town stands on the river Thames, and on the London and Gravesend railway, 3-1/2 miles northwest of Dartford;  was known to the Saxons as Erre-hythe, signifying the old haven;  was once a market and corporate town;  consists chiefly of one irregular street, but includes many recent villas and other good houses;  presents an agreeable rural appearance, with environments of green lanes and pleasant paths;  is a sub-port, where many large merchant ships, going up to London, stop to discharge part of their cargo;  and has a steam boat pier, extensive public gardens, two chief hotels, a railway station with telegraph, a post office under London, SE, and a fair on Whit-Monday.  The parish contains also the hamlets of Beadonwell, Belvidere, Lessness-Heath, Picardy, and Northumberland-Heath.  Acres, 4,585;  of which 735 are water.  Real property, £30,770.  Population, in 1851, 2,231, in 1861, 4,143.  Houses 681.  The property is much subdivided.

The manor belonged, at Domesday, to Bishop Odo;  and passed, through the De Lucys, the Badlesmeres the Waldens, the Comptons, and others, to the Wheatleys.

Belvidere House is the seat of Sir Culling Eardley, Bart..

Much of the land, along the Thames, above the town, is low and flat, and bears the name of Erith Marshes.  A vast sand-pit, with about 40 feet of vertical frontage, situated west of the town, shows formations and has yielded fossils which render it highly interesting to geologists.  Two powder magazines in the parish, said to contain 30,000 barrels, exploded on 1 October 1864, with an effect so far as London, which was momentarily mistaken there for an earthquake-stroke, and which was distinctly felt even at Maidstone.  Much damage was done to property;  but surprisingly few lives were lost.

Erith Reach, in the Thames, extends to Jenningtree Point;  is 1-1/2 mile long;  and has anchorage in from 3 to 5 fathoms;  but shoals toward the Essex side.

The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value, £600.  Patron, Lord Wynford.  The church is partly early English, partly perpendicular;  consists of nave and chancel, with low tower and spire;  and contains some good brasses, an altar-tomb of the Countess of Shrewsbury who died in 1568, and a monument by Chantrey to Lord Eardley.

A meeting, supplementary to the signing of Magna Charta, and designed to effect a final peace between King John and his barons, was held in this church.  The perpetual curacy of All Saints, at Belvidere, is a separate benefice.  Value, £100 with a habitable glebe house.  Patrons, Trustees.

There are chapels for Independents, Baptists and Wesleyans, and charities £8.  The Independent chapel is an ornamental ediface, in the pointed style.  Weaver, the antiquary, was rector.

Beadonwell, a hamlet in Erith parish, Kent;  4-1/2 miles east of Woolwich.

Belvidere, a station on the North Kent railway, 13-1/4 miles west of London Bridge.  Belvidere House, in its vicinity, near the Thames, is the seat of Sir Culling Eardley, Bart.;  and contains a choice collection of pictures.

Lessness-Heath, a hamlet and a hundred in the northwest of Kent.  The hamlet is in Erith parish;  bears the name of Lessness Heath;  lies round Abbey Wood rail station, 12 miles east of London bridge;  has become a favourite railway suburb of London;  and has a post office under London SE, a church, an Independent chapel, two Baptist chapels, a middle class school, and a charity school for girls and infants.  The church bears the name of All Saints-Belvidere;  was built in 1853, by Sir Culling E. Eardley, Bart.;  was enlarged after 1861;  and is in the early English style.  A section of the parish, containing about 1,000 inhabitants, was allotted to it.  The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value, £200 with a habitable glebe house.  Patrons, Trustees.  The opulation of the hamlet in 1866 was about 1,800.

Lessness was the ancient name of Erith parish, and was originally written Loisnes.  An Augustinian abbey was founded at the hamlet, in 1178, by Richard de Lucy, chief justice of England;was given, by Henry VIII., to Cardinal Wolsey, toward the endowing of his new college at Oxford;  went, after Wolsey’s fall, first to William Brereton, afterwards to Sir Ralph Sadler;  and passed, toward the end of the 17th century, partly to St. Bartholomew’s hospital, and partly to Christ’s hospital, in London.  Some walls of the edifice still remain;  and the ancient boundary wall of the garden still stands.  A modern house, called Abbey Farm, stands on part of the foundation;  and a market garden is within the area.

The hundred is in the lathe of Sutton-at-Hone;  bears the name of Little and Lessness;  and contains the parishes of Erith, Crayford, Plumstead and East Wickham.  Acres, 11,659.  Population in 1851, 14,205;  in 1861, 32,584.  Houses, 4,645.

Picardy, a hamlet in Erith parish, Kent;  6-1/2 miles east of Woolwich.

Northumberland-Heath, a hamlet in Erith parish, Kent;  1-1/2 mile southwest of Erith.1

1John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales.  (London, England:  A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).


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Date last modified:  2/26/2007 1:17:40 PM