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CROYDON stands on the edge of Banstead Downs, and is a handsome market town, at the distance of ten miles from the metro. polis, situated in an extensive parish, supposed to be about thirty-six miles in circumference, and containing eight hamlets. The town had a market on Wednesdays, proeured by archbishop Kilwardby, as early as the reign of Edward I.; and a fair, which lasted nine days; another market on Thursdays, granted to archbishop Reynolds by Edward II. ; and a fair on the eve and morrow of St. Matthew. A third market, the only one of the three now continued, was granted by Edward III. to archbishop Stratford; and a fair on the feast of St. John the Baptist. The two latter fairs are still held.
The present market, on Saturday, is chiefly for oats and oatmeal for London; there is also a good sale for wheat and barley; the fair on October 2, is much frequented by persons of both sexes from London, for walnuts, &c. The adjacent hills are well stored with wood, of which great quantities of charcoal are made for London.
Dr. Stukeley, and other antiquaries, have been of opinion, that Croydon was the antient Noviomagus. The Romans is supposed to have passed through or very near this town, Beddington, &c, to London.
It is said that the palace at Croydon, was originally a royal residence; be that as it may, the palace was the residence of the archbishop of Canterbury at the time of the Conquest; the following history of it extracted from Lysons, Ducarel, &c. must be amusing.
“ When we behold the representation of an antient building operated upon by time, and hastening to decay, it is so patural to consider it not only in a picturesque but a philosophical point of view, that the mind can be but half satisfied with its delineation, however excellent,
" The archiepiscopal palace, or, as it has in later pe. riods been termed, the manor house at Croydon, which it will be observed has as yet suffered but little by the lapse of ages, in comparison with many others, was founded
near the site of a royal palace, which the king bestowed upon the archbishops of Canterbury; though in process of time they dilapidated it, and with the materials erected one nearer the river Wandle.
“ Near to this place John Whitgift, archbishop of Canterbury, whom queen Elizabeth used to call her little black husband, built and endowed a beautiful hospital for the relief of the poor, and a school for the promotion of good learning.
“ The manor of Croydon, to which the most antient house was attached, belonged at the time of the Conquest to archbishop Lanfranc. Croydon Park, of which the famous Sir William Walworth was keeper in the time of Richard II. was given by archbishop Cranmer to Henry VIII. in exchange for other lands; but it reverted again to the archbishop by another grant, in the reign of Edward VI
“The palace, or manerial house, which is situated near the church, was for several centuries the residence of the archbishops of Canterbury, of whom there have been few that have not dated their public .acts from it. Archbishop Courtney received his pall with great solemnity in the hall of this palace, in the presence of a great number of per
His successors, Arundel Chichele, and Stafford, resided here very frequently. It seems probable that James I. king of Scotland, who was taken prisoner by the English on his passage to France, and who was kept in confinement eighteen years, was in the custody of archbishop Arundel; a charter of his being extant, by which he grants the ba. rony of Drumlanrig to Sir William Douglas, dated at Croydon, 1412.
“ Archbishop Parker, so eminent for his knowledge of Saxon literature, his general learning, and for his virtues, made this palace his principal residence. In the month of July, 1573, he entertained queen Elizabeth, and her whole court, seven days at Croydon. It appears that her majesty honoured him with another visit the ensuing year, or,
here is no place with a chimney for her; but she must lay abrode with Mrs. Apparry, and the rest of the privye chamber; for Mrs. Skelton, here is no rome with chimneys. I shall staye one chamber without for her. Here is as mytche as I have been any ways able to do in this house from Croydon, this present Mensday morning, 46 Your honours always most bounden,
4 S. BOWYER."
“ Archbishop Whitgift is said more than once to have entertained queen Elizabeth at his palace of Croydon. Upon the refusal of the archbishop to accept the high office of lord chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton was in this place made lord high chancellor. It appears by a letter of Rowland White's, that the queen dined at the archbishop's at Croydon in 1600. His successor Abbot, was frequently there."
“ Being at Croydon when the proclamation for permitting sports and pastimes upon the Lord's day, was ordered to be read in churches, he peremptorily forbad its being read there.”
“ During the Civil Wars, the parliament seized on the possessions of the see of Canterbury, and leased the palace at Croydon to the earl of Nottingham. After archbishop Laud's death, it came into the hands of Sir William. Brereton, “a notable man,” says a pamphlet writer of that day “ at a thanksgiving dinner; having terrible long teeth and a prodigious stomach to turn the archbishops. ehapel at Croydon into a kitchen; also to swallow up that palace and lands at a morsel.”
“ Archbishop Juxon repaired and fitted up the palace ; restoring it to its former state. He and his successors resided there occasionally till archbishop Secker's time.
“ Of the present structure,” says Lysons, “ I think it seems sufficiently evident, that the Guard Chamber was. built by archbishop Arundel, whose arms are placed there; and the hall by archbishop Stafford, the coats of arms, with
which it is ornamented, and its style of architecture, each adding support to the conjecture. There seems to be no satisfactory evidence to shew when the chapel was built. It appears to have been repaired and ornamented by archbishops Laud and Juxon. Several large sums of money have been expended on the palace by the succeeding prelates, particularly by archbishop Wake, who built the great gallery; and archbishop Herring, by whom the whole was completely fitted up and repaired. The materials in the survey of 1646, were valued at 12001. In the year 1780, the palace not having been inhabited for above twenty years, was become much out of repair, in conse. quence of which an act of parliament was obtained for disposing of it by sale, and vesting the produce in the funds, towards building of a new palace upon Park Hill, about half a mile from the town. It was sold under this act October 10, 1780, to Sir Abraham Pitches, knt. for 2520l. It is now let to tenants, who carry on the callico printing manufactory upon the spot; the garden is used as a bleaching ground.
« The inhabitants of Croydon have obtained the use of the chapel as a Sunday school."
Croydon CHURCH, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is esteemed one of the largest and most handsome structures in the county; it is built of stone and fint, and consists of a nave, two aisles, and three chancels; a handsome tower, containing eight fine bells, and ornamented with four pinnacles and crockets. The church appears to have been rebuilt in the time of archbishop Chichele; it suffered great injury by wind, in 1639, and by fire in 1735; but having lately undergone many repairs and improvements, it is at present a very spacious and commodious building. In the chancel are some antient stalls.
Among the monuments are those of archbishop GrinDALL, who is represented lying at full length, in the habi. liments of a doctor in divinity; archbishop Whitgift, in his robes; archbishop SHELDON, a fine piece of sculpture;