Lambeth Palace & St Mary’s Church, Bradshaw’s HandBook, no.103

posted in: Bradshaw in London, Home | 7

The last post promised Lambeth Palace and St Mary’s Church, but I stopped at the gates – now I enter!

‘..The old parish church of St Mary’s adjoins the Palace. The tower, built about the reign of Edward IV (1375) has been lately restored…’, says Mr Bradshaw. ‘..The interior has no especial feature requiring notice, beyond the painting in the south-east window, which represents the full-length figure of a pedlar with his pack, staff, and dog…’.

St Mary’s Church was listed in the Domesday Book and in 1197 passed into the living of Canterbury. The current church is at least the sixth on the site and is now deconsecrated and The Garden Museum.

St Mary's Church, Lambeth
St Mary at Lambeth
St Mary at Lambeth
St Mary at Lambeth
St Mary's, Lambeth, from the garden
St Mary at Lambeth, from the garden

Mr Bradshaw assured that ‘..A walk though the churchyard, that thickly-tenanted sepulchre of past generations, will repay the observer…’. There I found the tomb of Captain William Bligh, who lived on Lambeth Roadand the Tradescantsextraordinary gardeners and plant collectors.

The Tradescants, father and son, are buried in this impressively carved tomb.

Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum, was buried in the church, but apparently his tombstone is now inside a partitioned-off office and no longer visible to the public. He inherited the Tradescant collection, but it was not an amicable arrangement after John Tradescant the Younger’s death, by some accounts. Various other significant tombstones are described here, but I didn’t identify them inside the church, and I also failed to identify the stained glass of which Mr Bradshaw spoke…

The garden lies behind the church – a central knot garden surrounded by borders.

The Knot Garden, St Mary at Lambeth (
The Knot Garden, St Mary at Lambeth (

The church is built alongside the walls of Lambeth Palace, adjacent to Morton’s Tower. Lambeth Palace is the London residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury.

15-7-27 Lambeth to London Bridge LR-4721

Plan of Lambeth Palace (
Plan of Lambeth Palace (
Morton's Tower, Lambeth Palace (1490)
Morton’s Tower, Lambeth Palace (1490)

I visited on a day when neither the Palace nor the garden were open and was only able to glimpse the buildings over the surrounding walls.

Lambeth Palace from Lambeth Palace Road


You may be interested in
Captain William Bligh
The Tradescants as gardeners and plant collectors
St Mary at Lambeth Churchyard
The Tradescant Tomb, The Bligh Tomb


7 Responses

    • Candy Blackham

      Yes indeed, you could spend quite a while taking photographs, but the weather was so foul I wasn’t too inclined to linger! I hope to return to London Historian meetings in September – thank you for visiting

  1. The Chatsworth Lady

    So interesting about the Tradescants! I really should re-read Philippa Gregory’s two novels about them (‘Earthly Joys’ and ‘Virgin Earth’), as it’s been a while. 🙂

I would love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.