If you’re confused by the timeline of Carew Manor, that’s not surprising. It’s been rebuilt or remodelled at least 6 times. Here’s a quick look inside and out at Carew Manor in Beddington Park. A brief timeline of events, and the various buildings that make up the current area. It was home to the powerful Carew family for over 500 years from 1352 to 1859, and visited by Queen Elizabeth 1st at least fourteen times. It then became a female orphanage in 1866, paid for by London benefactors. At the time of writing it’s a school.
1352 / Beddington Place was purchased
Beddington Place, as it was known, was purchased this year by William De Carew and Nicholas Carew.
1379 / Carew Manor House and a moat
Following the joining of two Beddington estates through marriage, Carew Manor was born, and it was possibly around this time that Nicholas Carew created the moat that once surrounded the house. Some brick arches survive underground, though the exact dates are unclear.
1390 / St Mary’s Church Built
Every true country manor needs a church, and the building you see next door was paid for by Nicholas Carew, Keeper of the Privy Seal during the reign of King Edward III. Chertsey Abbey had owned the land since at least 933, and it’s likely there was an earlier structure on this site. The church has been partly altered since.
1510 / Carew Manor Great Hall Built
Sir Richard Carew, who owned the house from 1492 to 1520 built the impressive Tudor Hall. The oldest intact part of Carew Manor. He also either created or greatly enlarged the park now known as Beddington Park.
Together with his son Nicholas, it’s likely that the north, south and west wings were built at this time, forming a courtyard house which was typical of the period.
For comparison, there is a similar Hammerbeam roof at nearby Eltham Palace, dated 1470.
1580 / Carew Manor House 2 and an Orangery added
Francis Carew made several changes to the house, but his main passion was the renowned ornamental gardens he created. Part of which contained what is considered to be England’s first Orangery. Francis never married and died in 1611.
1709 / Carew Manor house 3
By now the manor house was rundown and another Sir Nicholas Carew, the 1st Baronet, undertook major rebuilding and added two updated wings.
He remodelled the great hall by adding new windows, wooden panelling, and decorating with two elaborate plaster panels in the centre of the north and south walls – these can still be seen to this day.
1720 / Dovecote built
A huge Dovecote was built close by that contained about 1360 nesting boxes. It provided food for the main house and was possibly also used to sell birds commercially.
1865 / Carew Manor Orphanage and a Fire
In 1864, the Lambeth Female Orphanage Asylum bought the house and gardens. They undertook major alterations.
How did they pay for it? Interestingly, the debts of criminals helped fund the Carew Manor you see today. 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.
On 11 May 1865, the conversion of the property was disrupted by a fire which started at the western end of the south wing. It’s possible that the fire was largely contained to the first floor and roof.
Amongst other things, the benefactors added an infirmary, laundry block, dormitories and a gym. They simplified the great hall with basic woodpanelling around the bottom perimeter. The orphanage opened in June 1866. Much of what you see today survives from this time.
1939 / School closed and moved to High Wycombe
The orphanage closed in Beddington and moved to Kent. Carew Manor is the only remaining Lambeth poor house of the three buildings that once existed. The charity finally ended in 1968.
2022 / Carew Academy
The old manor house is currently inhabited by a special educational needs organisation and named Carew Academy.
NB. The dates used in this post are indicative only. This is just a brief account, to introduce the long and varied history of the site. We reserve the right to amend and update this as new information comes to light
The address of Carew Manor is Church Rd, Beddington, Wallington SM6 7NH. It’s sometimes open to the public.
Credits: © Words, some pictures, and collating research Secret Carshalton 2022. With thanks to a wide and varied range of sources, such as Britain Express, Cadhas, google maps, Evelyns Diary, geni.com, speel.me, Archive.org, on the tudor trail, Carew Academy, Sutton Heritage, and St Mary’s Beddington
We welcome your feedback in the comments below.
Interested in knowing more about the old Orphanage? There is a full exhibition planned for Honeywood Museum later in the summer where you can find out about the people that lived there and lots more about the history.