UK Genealogy Archives logo

Bermondsey, Surrey

Historical Description

Bermondsey, a parish and a parliamentary division of Southwark, Surrey. The parish lies on the right bank of the Thames, below London Bridge, between Southwark proper and Rotherhithe, and is in the postal district of London S.E., and traversed by the Greenwich railway. Area of the civil parish, 627 acres; population, 84,682. A large portion of the surface is covered with compact town suburban to London. A quondam island or " eye," belonging to a Saxon chief Beor-mund, seems to have given rise to the name Bermondsey, originally Beormundseye, then Bermundseye. A Cluniac abbey was founded here in 1082 by Aylwin Child of London, endowed with the surrounding manor by William Rufus, made the prison and the death-place of the widowed queen of Edward IV., given at the dissolution to Sir Robert Southwell, and sold the same year to Sir Thomas Pope. A magnificent mansion speedily superseded the abbey church, and was afterwards inhabited by Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Sussex, who died here in 1583. A gate of the abbey and some other remains were standing within the nineteenth century, but the only memorial of it now is the name of Abbey Street. Two ancient hospitals, dedicated to St Saviou: and St Thomas, stood adjacent. A chalybeate well, some distance SE of the abbey's site, came into repute about 1770, and though now built over is commemorated in the name of the Spa Road. Numerous watercourses or mill-streams, rising and falling with the tidal current of the Thames, early attracted manufacturers requiring their aid, but gave rise to noxious effluvia, and were converted into sewers under the sanitary regulations consequent on the ravages of Asiatic cholera. The district was long one of the filthiest connected with London, but has of late years been greatly improved. The chief employments are leather-working, tanning, and hat-making, but other employments are numerous. For list of civil and ecclesiastical parishes, with populations, livings, &c., see LONDON.

The living is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester; gross value, £419 with residence. The church is a plain structure of 1680, on the site of one which stood at the Conquest, and it has among its communion plate a richly chased silver salver, supposed to be of the time of Edward II., and to have belonged to the Cluniac Abbey. There are numerous other places of worship for all dissenting denominations. Bermondsey was constituted a division of the Parliamentary borough of Southwark in 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. For administrative purposes it is in the comity of London. Population of the Parliamentary division, 82,849.

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 CountySurrey 
Ecclesiastical parishBermondsey St. Mary Magdalene 
Poor Law unionBermondsey 

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

Church Records, in association with Surrey History Centre, have images of the Parish Registers for Surrey online.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bermondsey from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Surrey is available to browse.


Online maps of Bermondsey are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Surrey papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

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

CountyGreater London
Postal districtSE1
Post TownLondon