Inventory Site Record

St Bartholomew's Churchyard

St Bartholomew's Churchyard (Lewisham)

Brief Description

St Bartholomew's Church was built in 1827-32 as a chapel-of-ease to St Mary's Lewisham and became Sydenham Parish Church in 1856. The small churchyard has a number of chest tombs and monuments among the grass and mature trees include yew and oak. The view to St Bartholomew's along Lawrie Park Avenue was made famous by the painter Camille Pissarro in 1871. Next to the church was Aberdeen House where the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton lived as a child.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Sydenham Parish Church
Site location:
Westwood Hill, Sydenham
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
unrestricted (church normally open 9.30-11.30am Sat)
Special conditions:
Public transport:
London Overground: Sydenham. Bus: 75, 122, 450, 176, 197, 202, 194

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2014
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

St Bartholomew's Church is fine Gothic brick building designed by Lewis Vulliamy and built in 1827-32, as part of government scheme to provide new churches after Napoleonic Wars. There was delay in completion due to 'scandalous quarrels' about the choice of a site. The nature of the soil necessitated taking the foundations down to 20 feet below the surface, which increased the cost by £4,000. It was originally a chapel-of-ease to St Mary's Lewisham (q.v.), and it became Sydenham Parish Church in 1856 and in 1858 the building was enlarged by Edwin Nash, eminent local architect, who added the apsidal chancel as a memorial to Thomas Bowdler, its first minister. The lych-gate was erected in 1906 in memory of Mayow Wynell Adams, after whom Mayor Park (q.v.) is named.

In the churchyard is the large tomb to Robert and Elizabeth Harrild dated 1853; Harrild lived in Round Hill House, and was a manufacturer of printing equipment and a major developer of Sydenham Park Estate from 1840s. His son-in-law George Baxter, also a printer, is commemorated in Baxter's Field (q.v.). There is also a monument in the form of a colonnaded building commemorating Charles English, first vicar of the new parish, who died on 31 May 1867. Underneath the yew at the entrance to the church is the grave of 10 men who died during the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham in 1853 when the scaffolding they were on collapsed. Their funeral at St Bartholomew's was attended by the many people touched by the tragedy. The grave was restored in 2003 and re-dedicated by the Bishop of Woolwich and an information board is now located next to the grave.

Sources consulted:

Darrell Spurgeon, 'Discover Sydenham and Catford', (Greenwich Guide-books, 1999); J Coulter & J Seaman 'The Archive Photographs Series: Sydenham and Forest Hill', Chalford, 1995; History on St Bartholomew's Church website

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Diocese of Southwark
Site management:
LB Lewisham Greenscene Department, Glendale Grounds Management
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Bartholomew's Church
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Jews Walk
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Landmark

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