LAMBETH, a parish and metropolitan borough in the E. division of the hundred of Brixton, county Surrey, 1½ mile S.W. of St. Paul's. The London and South-Western railway has its terminus at Waterloo Road, in connection with the branch line between London Bridge and Charing Cross, and likewise a station and goods depot at Nine Elms, near Vauxhall Bridge, not far from which is a steamboat pier, and another near Lambeth Palace. It is connected with the opposite shore by Waterloo, Westminster, Lambeth, and Vauxhall bridges, and by the new Hungerford railway and foot bridge, on the site of the old suspension bridge, which connects the branch line above referred to with the Charing Cross terminus.
In Saxon documents it is called Lambhythe, or Lambehith, and is said in history to have been the place where Hardicanute died, and where Harold was crowned. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as Lenchei, at which time it belonged to the Earl of Mortaigne and the Princess Goda, who presented it to the see of Rochester. The bishops of this see built a palace here called "La Place," and subsequently exchanged the manor for other lands with Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury. This prelate, having obtained from Pope Urban IV. the grant of a fourth part of the offerings at Thomas-a-Becket's shrine, commenced the venerable pile of Lambeth Palace, which has been at various times enlarged and improved by his successors. The main feature of this building is the arched gateway, flanked by two square embattled towers of brick, and leading into the outer court. The great hall, 93 feet by 38, rebuilt by Archbishop Juxon after the Civil War, is now converted into the library, which contains upwards of 25,000 volumes of MSS. and rare books, chiefly collected by Archbishops Bancroft and Secker. Beyond the library is the chapel, which is by far the most ancient part of the building, dating from the middle of the 13th century. It is a remarkably fine specimen of early English architecture, with its triple lancet-shaped windows and E. window of five lights. The roof of the chapel is flat, and divided into compartments embellished with the arms of Archbishop Laud, who at his trial was called to answer for having repaired the painted windows, emblazoned with subjects from the Old and New Testament. These specimens of early art were destroyed by the parliamentary commissioners, but restored by Archbishop Howley. Underneath the chapel is a crypt with a groined roof. To the W. of the chapel is Archbishop Chicheley's Lollard's Tower, a lofty square embattled structure of stone (dating from 1434-45), with the post-room and prison, 13 feet by 12. The guardroom has been taken down and rebuilt for a banquet-hall; but the original oak roof has been carefully preserved. Adjoining it is Cardinal Pole's long gallery, 90 feet by 16, with portraits of Luther, Archbishops Arundell, Chicheley, Cranmer, Parker, &c., down to the last primate, also Bishops Patrick, Burnet, Hoadley, Berkeley, &c. From the first court a gateway on the right leads into the area in which are Archbishop Howley's additional buildings, erected at a cost of £55,000, and comprising the state apartments, dwelling rooms, and various offices requisite for the household establishment. In front of these are the garden and park of 13 acres, containing Cardinal Pole's fig-trees, &c., and intersected by a carriage road to the palace. Previous to the Reformation, several metropolitan councils were held within its walls, and in 1282 Archbishop Peckham convoked a synod here, at which all the bishops of the realm assisted, to consider the complaints preferred at Rome by the Bishop of Hereford against the government of the Church in England. In 1381 the insurgents under Wat Tyler, having murdered Archbishop Sudbury, entered the palace, burnt the books and furniture, and destroyed the registers and public papers. During the following century several of the sovereigns were entertained here by the archbishops, and Queen Mary entirely refurnished the palace for the reception of Cardinal Pole, whom she occasionally visited during his primacy. Queen Elizabeth was also a frequent guest of Archbishops Parker and Whitgift, and revived the use of the Lollard's Tower for ecclesiastical offenders. To it she committed the Roman Catholic Bishops Tunstall and Thirlby, Lord Henry Howard, brother of the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Southampton, the Earl of Essex, previous to his being sent to the Tower, and various other persons. In the reign of Charles I. the palace was assaulted by the mob at night, but was defended by Archbishop Laud, whose unpopularity had provoked the attack. After his impeachment the parliament issued an ordinance for removing the archiepiscopal arms from Lambeth Palace, and converted it into a prison for "malignants," including the Earls of Chesterfield and Derby, Sir Thomas Armstrong, Sir George Bunkley, and others. It was subsequently sold to Thomas Scott, and Matthew Hardy, the regicide; but on the Restoration reverted to its rightful owners-, and again became the residence of the archbishops.
The village, originally detached, greatly improved upon the building of the palace, and became a market town. It is now united, in fact, with Southwark, and forms a portion of the metropolis, including the suburban districts of Kennington, where was once a royal palace, Stockwell, South Lambeth, and Vauxhall. Under the Reform Act it-constitutes a new borough returning two members to parliament. The boundaries of the borough include, besides the parish of Lambeth, the parishes of Camberwell and Newington, together comprising 5,708 acres, and 45,252 houses, inhabited in 1861 by 298,032 persons. The returning officer is annually appointed by the sheriff for the county.
This parish, extending for a considerable distance along the bank of the river, is admirably situated for the carrying on of extensive works of every kind. There are lime, coal, and timber wharves, iron and other foundries, sawmills, extensive establishments for making steam-engines (including the celebrated firm of Maudesley and Co.), and almost every other kind of machinery, manufactories for axletrees, carriages, patent buoys, corks, boats, brushes, baskets, chairs, combs, glass, potteries, artificial stone works, patent shot factory, with towers 140 feet high; also ale and beer breweries, distilleries, chemical and vitriol works, and Beaufoy's extensive vinegar works, at South Lambeth on the site of the once celebrated Cupar's Gardens; besides which are various other trades, employing the greater part of the inhabitants of Lambeth proper. The suburban districts of Kennington, Stockwell, and Vauxhall contain several good houses, and numerous pretty villas surrounded by gardens, and occupied by genteel families.
The principal public buildings in Lambeth parish are the archbishop's palace, described above, the South-Western railway terminus, the Victoria Theatre, in the Waterloo Road, Astley's Amphitheatre, near Westminster Bridge, recently converted into a theatre, the New County Court house, sessions house, and station of the 'L' division of metropolitan police, union workhouse, district post-office, two savings-banks, Bethlehem Hospital, Blind School, Female Orphan Asylum, rebuilt in 1804, Westminster Lying-in Hospital, Refuge for the Destitute, Davis's Infirmary for Children, besides gas and water-works, the latter supplied from Thames Ditton, 10 miles distant, with reservoirs at Brixton Hill and Streatham. Vauxhall Gardens continued to be a place of fashionable amusement until recently, when it was sold by auction for £20,200, and a portion of the ground has been subsequently built over. Kennington Green, formerly the place of execution for the county of Surrey, and the scene of the great Chartist meeting on the 10th of April, 1848, has recently been converted into a public park.
The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Winchester, value £1,500, in the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, adjoins the palace, and was rebuilt in the latter part of the 14th century. It is a spacious structure, having a square embattled tower of freestone, surmounted by an octagonal turret at one of the angles, and two mortuary chapels belonging to the Howard and Leigh families. It contains numerous interesting monuments.
In addition to the parish church there are 18 district churches-viz: St. Mary the Less, Prince's-road; St. Paul's, Vauxhall; St. Peter's; Trinity; St. John's, Waterloo-road; All Saints; St. Thomas; St. Andrew's; St. Mark's, Kennington; Christ Church, Brixton-road; St. Michael's, Stockwell; St. Barnabas, South Kennington; St. Matthew's, Denmark Hill; St. Stephen's, South Lambeth; St. Matthew's, Brixton; St. John's, North Brixton; St. Luke's, Lower Norwood, and Tulse Hill, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies, varying in value from £766 to £56. There are also four chapels-of-ease, viz: Verulam chapel, Stockwell chapel, South Lambeth chapel, and St. James's chapel. Here, too, is St. George's Roman Catholic cathedral; also places of worship for Baptists, Wesleyans, Welsh Methodists, Independents, Swedenborgians, and several other Dissenting bodies.
The public schools are numerous, including Archbishop Tenison's girls' school, which was rebuilt in 1817, and has an income from endowment of £369; St. Patrick's school; Lawrence's school, in the York-road, with an income from endowment of £105; St. John's school, in the Waterloo-road, rebuilt in the reign of George IV., at an expense of £2,200; Beaufoy's ragged school, built at a cost of £5,000; Eldon school, in the Wandsworth-road, instituted in 1830, in commemoration of Lord Chancellor Eldon; the Licensed Victuallers' school, and parochial schools for boys and girls, partly endowed; besides numerous district, National, and denominational schools attached to the several places of worship.
The charitable foundations are numerous, comprising those mentioned above; also Caron's almshouses, with an income of £73 per annum, Coldharhour-lane almshouses for eight widows, and numerous charitable bequests for distribution among the poor. In the arrangements under the Poor-law Amendment Act, the parish of Lambeth forms a union of itself. It is also the head of a superintendent registry and new County Court districts.
There were until recently traces of ancient trenches, supposed by Maitland, in his History of London, to have been formed by Canute on his invasion of London, in 1026, in order to convey his fleet to the W. of London Bridge; but other antiquaries, with greater probability, refer these to an ancient canal formed for the temporary diversion of the course of the Thames during the erection of London Bridge. Of La Place, better known as Carlisle House, originally founded as a monastery by Archbishop Baldwin, only some ruins now remain. In Lambeth Marsh, below Westminster, Inigo Jones is said to have buried his money during the Civil War; and at Lambeth Walk was a mineral well, formerly celebrated for its medicinal qualities. On the site of the Nine Elms brewery formerly stood Turret House, where Tradescants formed his "physic" (botanical) garden.