Clapham (Holy Trinity)

CLAPHAM (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Wandsworth and Clapham, E. division of the hundred of Brixton and of the county of Surrey, 4 miles (S.) from London; containing 12,106 inhabitants. This village has, for many years, been one of the most respectable in the environs of the metropolis. The road from London, particularly that part of it called Clapham Rise, has on each side large and elegant houses with gardens and lawns in front, forming a continuous line leading to the common, which occupies a space of 190 acres, surrounded by noble mansions and villas, and which, from the improvements that have been made by the formation of carriage-drives, and the plantation of trees and shrubs, assumes the appearance of a park. On the east of the common a handsome crescent has been formed, opposite to which is a range of houses named the Grove; the area is tastefully laid out, and the approach from the common is formed by a wellconstructed iron palisade, on each side of which is a stately mansion. In that part of the parish formerly called Bleakhall Farm, considerable alterations have also taken place: new roads have been made; a church and several villas have been erected, and the spot is now designated Clapham New Park. Great improvements have likewise been made towards the north-east, by the erection of numerous neat houses and cottages.

The parish is within the limits of the metropolitan police establishment; and is lighted with gas, main pipes having been laid down by the Phœnix Gas Company, from which a sufficient quantity is distributed to every part of the village and its vicinity. The inhabitants are supplied with water from the South Lambeth water-works, and from an excellent spring on that side of the common leading to Wandsworth, opened in 1825, near another which had supplied the village for more than a century: this spring, the water of which is peculiarly soft, provides upwards of 600 hogsheads per day, and nearly twenty families derive employment by conveying it to the houses of the inhabitants at a moderate expense. The subscription library, to which a commodious reading-room has been added, contains a wellassorted and extensive collection; it has been established for nearly half a century, and is liberally supported. Clapham is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold a petty-session at the office of their clerk, every Saturday. The acting coroner for the district is appointed at the court of the duchy of Lancaster, within the jurisdiction of which a part of the parish is comprehended: the parochial affairs are under the direction of a select vestry.

The parish comprises 1233 acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 0. 10., and in the patronage of the family of Atkins: the tithes have been commuted for £488. 14., and the glebe comprises 11 acres. The church, which belonged to the priory at Merton, was, with the exception of the north aisle, which was left standing for the performance of the burial service, taken down under an act of parliament in 1774, and a new church erected in the following year, at an expense of £11,000, on the north side of the common. It is a neat structure of brick relieved with stone, with a dome turret, and having a handsome portico of stone, extending the whole width of the western front, which was added in 1812: the interior is characterised by a chaste simplicity of style; the east end is ornamented with a well-executed painting on glass, and there are some monumental tablets. The remaining aisle of the old church, which was situated in that part of the village leading to Wandsworth, near the old manor-house, was taken down in 1815, and a neat chapel, in some respects dependent on the mother church, was erected, under an act of parliament, at a cost of £5000, and dedicated to St. Paul. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £200; patron, the Rector. The burial-ground, which is spacious, contains many ancient tombs and monuments. St. James's church, in the Park, was built in 1829, and is an elegant structure in the decorated English style, with a graceful and richly-crocketed campanile turret; the western front is ornamented with panelled buttresses relieved by tracery, dividing it into three doorways under richly moulded arches. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Trustees; net income, £500. On the west side of the Clapham road is a fourth church, dedicated to St. John, and opened in May, 1842; it is of white brick with stone dressings, and has a stone portico formed by Ionic columns supporting a pediment. The living is in the gift of the Rector. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Baptists.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.