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Click here for larger image of this 1945 survey.
Reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data by permission of Ordnance Survey, © Crown copyright.
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Statistical SummaryAcres: 3,718 land, 344 water
OS co-ordinates: TQ 445785
Parish Church: St. Nicholas 1654-1858 (abolished 1953)
St. Margaret 1858-1974
Registers commence: 1654
Other Church of England:
Arsenal chapel; St. James Chapel (1878-1966); Shooter's Hill, All Saints (1873-1944, 1956-date); St. John the Baptist (1883/4-1941); St. Paul (1901-1968); St. Mark (1901-1972 dem., reg. from 1897)
St. James Independent (1855-1878 transferred to C of E); St. Patrick Roman Catholic (1893-1970); St. Paul Roman Catholic (1968-date); Wesleyan chapels Crescent Road, High Street and Plumstead Common Road; Plymouth Brethren; Brethren; Quaker; St. Andrew Presbyterian; Baptist chapels Conduit Road (1865-1969), Union Church, Park Road (1885-1954) and Tabernacle, Maxey Road (1861-1930 dem.); Primitive Methodist chapel, Glyndon Street.
at Woolwich Fridays (c1770s)
Fairs: chartered Fair (1270-1516) of 3 days surrounding St. Nicholas day (Dec 6), St. Nicholas being the patron saint of fishermen and seamen
Newspapers: Kentish Independent & County Advertiser; Kentish Mercury; Jackson's Woolwich Journal & Army & Navy Gazette; West Kent Courier; West Kent Gazette; Woolwich Observer
Courts: Woolwich Police Court; Central Criminal Court
Jails: Metropolitan police
Woolwich, Charlton-Woolwich, Greenwich, Blackheath, Eltham, Bexley, East Wickham, Erith
rail station; telegraph; post office in Sussex Place with savings bank and money order office, under London SE; receiving post offices in Agnes Place and Burrage Town; national schools; and charities of £106, Scott's Charity; Woolwich Cemetery; Masonic Hall; Lecture Hall.
Blind of Kent Workshop; Convalescent Home for Children, Shooter's Hill; Cottage Home, Blackheath; Eltham Cottage Hospital; Home Mission House, Bexleyheath; La Sainte Union Convent, Erith; Royal Alfred Aged Merchant Seamen's Institution, Belvedere; Belvedere Dispensary; Erith, Crayford, Belvedere & Abbey Wood Cottage Hospital & Provident Dispensary. At Greenwich: Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich Union Dispensary, Greenwich Union Infirmary, Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich, Little Wanderers' Home, Mission Day Nursery for Infants, Orphan Home, Queen Elizabeth's Almshouses, St. Peter's Nursery, Temporary Refuge for Fallen & Friendless Females, Trinity Hospital, Ursuline Convent, Royal Kent Dispensary. At Lewisham: All Saints Boys' Orphanage, Lewisham Board of Works Hospital; St. Stephen's Industrial Home for Training Domestic Servants. At Woolwich: Cadets' Hospital, Homes for Working Boys, Soldier's Home & Mission, Woolwich Dispensary, Woolwich Provident Dispensary and Woolwich Union Dispensary.
Registration District: Lewisham
Poor Law Union:
1817-9 Mar 1868 Lewisham Union
10 Mar 1868-1920s Woolwich Union
1777-1817 workhouse at Rushey Green, Lewisham
1817-9 Mar 1868 workhouse at Lewisham, west side Lewisham Road (late Lewisham High Street) opposite Lewisham Park
1870 new workhouse on Tewson Road between Skittles Alley (now Riverdale road) and Cage Lane (now Lakedale Road) at the south side of Plumstead High Street, Plumstead
High School for boys at Brookhill; High School for girls, Cambridge Place, Burrage Road; Burrage Grove (1875) boys, girls, infants; Blookfield Road; Church Terrace for boys; Earl Street (1875) boys, girls, infants; High Street (1879) boys, girls, infants; Slade boys, girls, infants; Vicarage Road (1881) boys, girls, infants; Central (1856) boys, girls, infants; St. John's Infant school
1889 London, formerly Rochester
1889 Middlesex, formerly Rochester
1889 Greenwich, formerly Woolwich
Rochester to 1845, London 1846-57
Little & Lessness
Houses as of 1860: 3,195 1, 2
Abbott of St. Augustine
In Litelai hundred. The abbot of St. Augustine has 1 manor, named Plumstede, which was taxed at 2 sulings and 1 yoke. The arable lands is ... In demesne there is 1 carucate and 17 villeins, with 6 cottagers, having 6 carucates, there is wood for the pannage of 5 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards it was worth 10 pounds, now 12 pounds, and yet it pays 14 pounds and 8 shillings and 3 pence.
The abbot of St. Augustine holds of the bishop of Baieux, Plumsted. It was taxed at 2 sulings and 1 yoke. The arable land is 5 carucates. In demesne there is 1 carucate and 17 villeins, with 3 boarderers, having 4 carucates. There is wood for the pannage of 5 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 10 pounds, when he received it 8 pounds, and now as much, and yet he who holds it pays 12 pounds. Brixi Cilt held it of king Edward.
Plumstead [modernly pronounced "Plumpstead"] is a suburban town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Lewisham district, Kent. The town is suburban to Woolwich on the east; stands on the North Kent railway, near the river Thames, 10 miles east-by-south of St. Paul's, London; was once a market town.
The parish comprises 3,718 acres of land, and 344 of water. Real property in 1860, £47,403. Population in 1851, 8,373; in 1861, 24,502. Houses, 3,195. The increase of population arose chiefly from contiguity to Woolwich, and from large extension there of government employment.
The manor was given, in 960, by King Edgar, to Canterbury abbey; went, for a time, to Earl Godwin's son Tostan, and to Bishop Odo; passed, in the time of Henry VIII, to the Boughtons; and was given, in 1736, to Queen's College, Oxford. Lesnes or Lessness abbey estate, with interesting ruins 1-1/2 miles east of the parish church, belongs to Christ's hospital, London. Burrage Town estate, forming the west section of the parish, belongs to the Pattison family. Genteel residences and elegant villas are very numerous. A committee was formed in August 1866 to test the right over Plumstead common. The south portions of the parish are hilly, and have good views; but the north portions are chiefly marsh. Shooter's Hill is in the same range as Plumstead common. About 2,000 acres of the Plumstead and Erith marshes were inundated in the time of Henry VIII, and were not recovered till the time of James I. Powder magazines are on the Plumstead marshes; brickfields, tile kilns, sand pits and chalk pits, are near Plumstead common; market gardening is carried on; and sugar moulds are made.
The living is a vicarage, united with Arsenal chapel, in the diocese of London. Value, £873 with a habitable glebe house. Patron, the Rev. J. A. McAllister. The perpetual curacy of St. Nicholas is a separate benefice, of the value of £300, in the patronage of the Vicar.
St. James' chapel, on the Burrage Town estate, forms another charge, and is in the patronage of Mr. Pattison. St. Margaret's church, on Plumstead common, is a recent and handsome edifice. St. Nicholas' church is an old building, and has been much improved. St. James'chapel is neat and modern.
There are also neat and commodious dissenting chapels, national schools, and charities of £106.
The sub-district, includes also Charlton-next-Woolwich parish, and comprises 5,057 acres. Population in 1861, 32,974. Houses, 4,312. 1
1 John Marius Wilson, comp. The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).
Today, very few people that live in Plumstead today can claim to have any historical roots to this parish when it was part of Kent. Or why should they, since the Crimean war the main reason for Plumstead, was as homes for the Royal Arsenal (again, locally pronounced without the "n") workers. It was not until I started looking into my own family history that, to my surprise, my Devon grandfather's family had been knocking around this area for well over a century and a half. Also, by his marriage and by a strange trick of fate - WW1, her mother's family had came from North West Kent area. So, my ancestry can go back yet another hundred or so years but I am still working on this. So, although like most of the people here, I have no claim to be a true Man of Kent - that is, one born this side of the River Medway.
Today, Plumstead is hard to find let alone to define - just another part of another urban borough in the M25 zone. Plumstead bus Garage, operated by the red buses of Stagecoach on what is still called the Plumstead Road (A206), before it changes into Plumstead High Street, known as Plumstead Bridge, where, if you look really hard, you still can find the original bridge. Plumstead Railway Station (see photograph at link, above), unlike other suburban stations on the North West Kent Line, had very little impact in the development of the area. Not so for other forms of transport: The tram and, later, the trolleybus and motor bus routes were the main form of public transport. But, of course, the car has brought the major change to the area. The widening of roads and car parks has meant a lot of old Plumstead is simply no longer there. Click on the following links for further information concerning the Plumstead railway station and transportation history.
Plumstead as a village started at the other end of the High Street, from the railway station at the junction of Wickham Lane, known as the Corner. This is where you'll still find the parish church of St Nicholas (see photograph at link, above). More importantly, you'll also find the "Plum de feathers" across the road from St. Nicholas Church (see photograph at link, above).
The shopping area is on the junction of Lakedale Road, and Plumstead High Street. With its Fire Station on the corner, little has changed, apart from the Co-op and Beasley Brewery, since the horse trams trundled into the Tram Yard, behind the shops. What is new transpires as the result of WW2, then, any planers' plan. Unlike the faceless shops of Abbey Wood and Thamesmead.
I suppose I must mention Thamesmead, built on the Plumstead Marshes that had been occupied by the Royal Arsenal until the end of the 20th-century. The only thing now there is Bellmarsh, Her Majesty's Prison, and a housing estate. Don't ask me which one's which.
I suppose I must also mention Abbey Wood. So, I have. Started by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society, the fingers of which stretched out throughout Kent life.
So this is Plumstead, from Eltham (Greenwich) Shooters Hill (the old A2 Roman Road) with its water tower, Plum Lane, down the slopes to Shrewsbury Park, upper Plumstead, onto Plumstead and Winns Common. Down the slopes again of Middle Plumstead. No sign now of the Work House. Then onto lower Plumstead. Neatly ends with the Southern Outfull pipe embankment to Crossness.
The parish of Plumstead is bounded by East Wickham (Welling) and Belvedere (Erith) to the east; Woolwich (Greenwich), to the west; and, the River Thames to the north. . It should be noted that, before the formation of the Greater London Council, the former London County Council borough of Woolwich consisted of lands on the opposite bank called North Woolwich and were considered to be part of the county of Kent and not of Essex.
Plumstead does not have its own postal area (zip code). It is shared with Woolwich in the SE18 area, Thamesmead in the SE28 area and in the DA28 area. Abbey Wood is SE2. The DA prefix in DA28 represents Dartford, Kent. The SE prefix in SE18, SE28 and SE2 represents the South East of London.
Records for Plumstead are kept at:
If anyone has Plumstead pictures, post cards or local family web site links that they would like to add to these pages, please contact me, at the email address above. You might also like to read more about Plumstead at Plumstead Stories.
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Lewisham Poor Law Union
Assizes and Sessions Records
|Record Type||Dates||Archive 1
|Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
|Hearth tax||Currently under revision|
|Victuallers Recognizances||Currently under revision|
|Churchwarden's Presentments||Currently under revision|
|Parish rate books||Currently under revision|
|Record Type||Dates||Archive 1
|Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
|Currently under revision|
1801 - 1,166
1811 - 2,116
1821 - 2,386
1831 - 2,745
1841 - 2,816
1851 - 8,373
1861 - 24,502
1871 - 28,259
1881 - 33,250
1891 - 52,436
1901 - 68,327
1911 - 71,216
1921 - 75,902
London 7.6 mi.
Canterbury 45.4 mi.
Ashford 41.3 mi.
Bromley 6.1 mi.
Chatham 21.4 mi.
Cranbrook 33.2 mi.
Dartford 5.9 mi.
Deptford 5.0 mi.
Dover 58.7 mi.
Faversham 36.9 mi.
Folkestone 54.5 mi.
Gravesend 13.3 mi.
Greenwich 3.2 mi.
Hythe 52.4 mi.
Maidstone 24.5 mi.
Margate 56.7 mi.
Milton Regis 29.9 mi.
Queenborough 29.4 mi.
Ramsgate 59.0 mi.
Rochester 18.5 mi.
Sandwich 56.6 mi.
Sheerness 29.2 mi.
Tenterden 39.1 mi.
Tunbridge 25.7 mi.
Woolwich 0.9 mi.