Mortlake, Surrey

Historical Description

Mortlake, a village and a parish in Surrey. The village stands on the river Thames at the boundary with Middlesex, adjacent to the Windsor branch of the South-Westem railway, 2 miles ENE of Eichmond; contained a house, taken down in 1860, which belonged to Lord Henry Cromwell; and has a station on the L. & S.W.R. 8 miles from London. The parish contains also the hamlet of East Sheen, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office. Acreage, 1883; population of the civil parish, 7714; of the ecclesiastical, 7070. The manor belonged from before the Norman Conquest to the see of Canterbury, and was resigned to the Crown by Cranmer. The archbishops had a residence here, Anselm once kept Whitsuntide at it, and Simon de Meopham retired to it after having been excommunicated by the Pope. Many elegant seats are on the banks of the river. Cromwell House was the residence of Protector Cromwell. Dr John Dee, a famous philosopher and astrologer in the time of Elizabeth, lived in a house to the W of the church, and was frequently visited there by the queen. A manufactory of fine tapestry was established on the site of Dr Dee's laboratory in 1619 by Sir Francis Crane; was patronised by James I. and Charles L; copied five of Raphael's cartoons, sent for the purpose by Charles I.; enjoyed assistance from Vandyck and Rubens; and was intended by Charles IL to be assisted also, in a large way, by Verrio, but soon after Verrio's arrival was discontinued. Malting and brewing are now largely carried on. A weir was on the river at Domesday. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of East Sheen, in the diocese of Rochester; value, £350. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The parochial church was rebuilt in 1543, enlarged in 1725, and again enlarged in 1840, has a tower, and contains a font of the time of Henry VI., given by Archbishop Bourchier, a good altar-piece by Gerard Seghers, a tablet to Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of the " Letters of Jnnius," a white marble sarcophagus of the first Lord Sidmouth, a rich monument to the Hon. Charles Coventry, who died in 1699, and the graves of Dr Dee and Sir John Barnard. The churchyard contains the grave of John Partridge, the astrologer and almanac-maker, who became physician to Charles II., and the grave of John Barber, Lord Mayor of London, who erected the monument to Butler in Westminster Abbey. A church was built at East Sheen in 1864, and is a handsome edifice. There are Congregational and Roman Catholic chapels. An Isolation Hospital for infectious diseases was erected in 1889. Mortlake has been associated with the Oxford and Cambridge annual boat-race since 1845, and the winning post has been placed a short distance above the Ship Hotel since 1863.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Surrey
Hundred Brixton
Poor Law union Richmond

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Mortlake from the following:

Land and Property

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Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Surrey, 1662-1668 is available on the Heraldry page.

DistrictRichmond upon Thames
CountyGreater London
Postal districtSW14
Post TownLondon