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THC

HISTORY

OF

CROYDON.

CHAP. I.

General Account of the Town and Parish of

Croydon.

The town of Croydon is pleasantly situated in the county of Surrey, about ten miles South of the metropolis ; it is large and handsome, upon the great turnpike-road leading from London (through East Grinstead and Lewes, or through Reigate, Crawley, and Cuckfield) to Brighton. Here are also roads conducting the traveller eastward into Kent; one of which extends through Westerham and Sevenoaks, to Tunbridge and other places; the other,

B

passing through Beckenham, Bromley, and Bexley, joins the high road to the coast at Dartford.

Croydon is in the midst of a country rich in the natural beauties for which Surrey is remarkable; and it will be readily admitted by those who are acquainted with the scenery, that Addington Hills on the East, the village of Beddington on the West, and Banstead Downs on the South-west, afford it a neighbourhood at once delightful and salubrious.

The town consists chiefly of one well-built street, near a mile in length, called the Highstreet, which was formerly nothing more than a bridle-way over the fields ; but leading over higher ground, and in a more direct course than through the old Town, by usage it became the principal road, and was at length built upon.

Here are situated the Court. house, the two Markets, with excellent shops and inns—the shops plentifully supplied with the various articles necessary in the different branches of trade, administer materially to the convenience and comfort of the numerous families in the town and its vicinity. At the principal Inns travellers experience the most assiduous attention and best accommodation, both during the time of their continuance, and

also respecting their further progress on the road.

The old Town, formerly written Aulton, is chiefly one narrow street near a mile long, thinly inhabited, and extending from the church to Haling, reaches along the bottom of Duppa's Hill. With regard to its shape, the town has been anciently compared to a triangle, of which the two streets meeting at Haling may be said to form the sides, and the lower Churchstreet the base. Here stand the Palace, Church, and Vicarage ; the area contained the gardens, orchards, fish-ponds, and meadows belonging to the palace. Into this spacious plain, along, and from under the elevation of the town on that side of the valley, issue numerous fine springs of water, which, by a conflux of their pellucid streams near the palace, form the source of the river Wandle, famous for its abundance of excellent trout, and for the great number of mills and manufacturing works, the mechanism of which it impels by the force of its waters; most of these works are so near its different springs, that the river is seldom known to be frozen even in the severest winter, and consequently the operations of the trades, respectively exercised, suffer but litile obstruction from the rigour of the season. This river is mentioned by Pope in his description

of the “ Sea-born brothers" of the Thames* ; and with regard to the situation of Croydon, it is related by Camden that the “ Vandal is augmented by a small river from the East, which arises at Croydon, formerly Craydiden, lying under the hills.”

To the parish belong the several hamlets of Haling, Croham, Coombe, Shirley, Addiscombe, Woodside, Norwood, Thornton-Heath, Waddon, and Broad Green; all of which, with the Common, include a circumference of thirty-six miles. The parish of Croydon is bounded on the East by those of Beckenham and Wickham in Kent ; on the West by Bed,

* First the fam'd authors of his ancient name,
The winding Isis and the fruitful Tame,
The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd;
The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd;
Cole, whose dark streams his flow'ry islands lave;
And chalky Wey that rolls a milky wave;
The blue transparent VANDALIS appears ;
The Gulphy Lee his sedgy tresses rears ;
And sullen Mole that hides his diving flood
And silver Darent stain'd with Danish blood.

Windsor Forcsi,

Upon the banks of the Wandle, in the course of eight miles to Wandsworth, where it falls into the Thames, is carried on a more extensive commerce than perhaps is known in the same compass, on any stream in the kingdom.

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