Carew Manor is a large and grand brick-fronted mansion situated in Beddington Park. Its long and varied history dates back at least 700 years, to the time when it was home to the influential Carew family. We’ve collected some entertaining facts and figures about Beddington’s fascinating listed building. Some of which you may have not heard before…
1 The original 1866 hall still survives
Built for members of the female orphanage, this impressive hall is an eyecatching survivor from the period. Currently used as a gymnasium.
2 The oldest part isn’t the great hall but a toilet
Possibly dating back to pre-1352, way below the old kitchen are parts of the remains of a medieval privy. It drained into a culvert around the house. The structure is built of Reigate stone. An old drain arch survives.
3 The entrance of the great hall once had a rare Gothic-style lock and King Henry VIII himself held the key
This lock is believed to have been made by Royal lock maker Henry Romaynes sometime between 1539-1547. It was most likely for the time when the manor came into the brief ownership of Henry VIII, and following the execution of owner Sir Nicholas Carew.
This intricate lock was used for the door of the great hall and gives a hint at how beautiful and ornate the whole interior once was. The iron lock has an original design with gold gilding, proving its high status. The king’s coat of arms is in the centre.
There is a similar lock at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. Francis Carew regained control of the manor in 1552 through the reign of Queen Mary I. The current custodian of the lock is the V&A museum in London.
4 The current building was funded through criminal debts
The Carew building you see today is a result of alterations made back in 1866 when it was converted to a female Orphanage. This was thanks to victorian magistrate Sir John Fielding who played a leading role in the foundation of the Orphanage. “John sent the orphanage the fines levied from careless carmen, bakers who gave short weight and other nuisances, although he was legally entitled to keep half the penalty, the other half going to the prosecutor.” – The Life and Work of Sir John Fielding, 1934.
5 It contains the London Borough of Sutton’s only grade 1 listed building
The great hall at the rear of the building has a nationally rare wooden Hammerbeam roof built around 1510. It received the Grade 1 listing back in January 1954.
On each side of the great hall are ornate plaster panels, the only surviving decorations from circa 1711. The one pictured below is a trophy of Elizabethan armour and military engines coloured in imitation bronze. At the opposite end are the arms of Sir Nicholas Carew and his wife Elizabeth Hackett – please see the picture at the top of the page.
6 The initials of Nicholas Carew are on the iron gates
See if you can spot the initials of Nicholas Carew on the ornate iron gates dating from the 18th century.
7 Starred in a 1968 movie
The ornate stairs stood in for a grammar school in scenes from the movie If, starring Malcolm McDowell (Clockwork Orange) and Arthur Lowe (Dad’s Army).
8 The UK’s first orange trees were planted here, plus it had nationally renowned gardens and ornamental lakes
The gardens surrounding Carew Manor were so spectacular that visitors would come from far and wide to explore. It had a fountain, cascade and grotto.
The first imported Orange trees grew in the orangery built by Francis Carew, being first mentioned circa 1608.
9 Visited by Queen Elizabeth I at least 14 times
The Carew family who built the manor house, had contacts in high places. Amongst the royalty that visited are King Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I.
10 It once had a Lido
Here’s the location of Beddington Park’s long-lost Lido. There was an unheated swimming pool on the grounds built by the Lambeth Orphanage Asylum that continued to be in use after the orphanage closed, by many schools across the borough. Eventually the pool closed altogether and was filled in. You can still make out where it was on aerial photos.
Confused by the chronology? Worry no more…
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