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  • Carol Harris

Brockley ancient and modern

For centuries, the area now known as Crofton Park was the centre of Brockley, a hamlet on the road between Lewisham and Croydon.

The earliest reference to the area is of an Iron Age settlement in the first century AD. The Romans passed this way, as shown by the Roman road, part of which goes in a line from Ivydale Road in Nunhead, to Blythe Hill. The route takes in Buckthorne Road and Bartram Road, as well as the west end of St Hilda’s church, Brockley Rise and the King’s College Hospital sports ground

The name Brockley probably dates from Anglo-Saxon times when the area was known as ‘Brocca’s clearing’, after the landowner.

The Crofton Park area was part of the Great North Wood (north of Croydon), a natural oak forest which provided timber for boatbuilders at Deptford for many centuries. The earliest reference we have found is in 1272, when the woods supplied timber to the royal dockyards.

A house called Forest Place was in existence by the late 16th century, and a village evolved in the vicinity of the Brockley Jack public house during the 18th century.

Following enclosure in 1810, the main farms were Brockley Green Farm, Manor Farm and Brockley Farm. ‘Forest Place’ was the name of the farmhouse for Brockley Farm.

Brockley in map by John Roque, published 1745

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