Beckenham (St. George)
BECKENHAM (St. George), a parish, in the union of Bromley, hundred of Bromley and Beckenham, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent, 1¾ mile (W.) from Bromley, and 10 (S. S. E.) from London; containing 1608 inhabitants. The name of this place, compounded of the Saxon terms Bec, a brook, and Ham, a dwelling, is derived from a small stream which passes through the parish, and falls into the river Ravensbourne. In the reign of Henry VIII., Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, entertained that monarch when on his journey to visit Anne of Cleves, with great pomp, at the manor-house. The parish comprises 3875 acres, of which 307 are woodland, and 102 common or waste. The village is pleasantly situated, and contains some neat dwelling-houses: in the neighbourhood are many handsome villas. The Croydon railway passes along the north-western angle of the parish. A fair, chiefly for toys, is held on the Monday before St. Bartholomew's day. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £16. 18. 9., and in the gift of J. Cator, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £893. 10., and there are 27 acres of glebe. The church is a neat structure erected about the beginning of the seventeenth century, with a lofty spire which, having been destroyed by lightning in 1790, was lately rebuilt. Mrs. Mary Watson, in 1790, bequeathed property for the instruction of children, which was vested in the purchase of £1401 New South Sea annuities, producing an annual dividend of £42, to which subsequent benefactions have been added; a school-house was erected in 1818. Dr. Asheton, the projector of a plan for providing for widows by survivorship, was rector of the parish towards the close of the 17th century.