thames discovery programme

Putney FWW03
This small zone is approximately 110m long and 50m wide, and is bounded by Putney Bridge and Putney Railway Bridge. There is access to the site via stairs immediately downstream of Putney Bridge or from the slipway at the end of Brewhouse Lane, both at the upstream end of the zone. The foreshore surface is generally firm and safe although there are some areas of modern scour.

archaeological and historical background
prehistoric Putney would have been an attractive location for prehistoric settlement, as it is possible that the Thames was fordable at this point. However, the scale and continuity of any early settlement is not known and most of the evidence for occupation during the Mesolithic period comes from isolated finds, including a concentration of flint flakes noted on the foreshore near Putney Bridge, possibly representing the erosion of a formerly dry-land area. The Neolithic period is represented on several riverside sites, in the form of flint assemblages, axes and scrapers. The evidence from the Bronze Age is more limited, as only a single palstave has been recovered from Burstock Road. However, the existence of a barrow cemetery at Tibbet‟s Corner, the highest point of land in the area, is intriguing. Unfortunately the site th was destroyed in the 18 century but its presence may suggest the existence of a settlement in the area, which remains undiscovered. For the Iron Age, excavations at Felsham Road revealed pot sherds dating to early part of the period, with a later phase of occupation in the late Iron Age / early Roman period. A possible pile dwelling was excavated on Putney Bridge Road and a coin hoard was recovered from the foreshore near Putney Bridge itself. roman Excavation in areas to the west of the church has found evidence for both settlement and burial. Structures have been excavated at Bemish Road and Felsham Road, as well as more isolated remains such as a mosaic fragment from Howard‟s Lane. Part of a cremation cemetery was discovered at the Platt and further cremation burials have been recorded at Bemish Road. There is also excavated evidence for road building at Felsham Road and it has been suggested that the importance of the river crossing led to the construction of a bridge between Putney and Fulham during this period. early medieval Although there is very little evidence from excavation, some suggestions can be made about the type of settlement that may have existed during the early medieval period. It is interesting to note that the very limited artefactual evidence is largely composed of military equipment such as early and middle Saxon spearheads recovered from the Thames and a mid Saxon sword or dagger found at Felsham Road. The importance of the river crossing may have meant the continuity of the Putney settlement, it may also have meant that the area became a site of conflict and disputed boundaries. The discovery of a fish trap on the foreshore downstream of this zone dated to AD410-640 lends weight to the theory that a settlement existed at Putney in the early-mid Saxon period, but the scale and nature of this remains to be discovered. That a settlement existed during this period is further suggested by a study of the place name. In the Domesday Book, Putney is recorded as Putelei. The name is believed to derive from the OE Puttanhyb, meaning „Putta‟s landing place on a river bank‟, implying the foundation or continued settlement of the site during the early medieval period. It is also possible that the early “-ei” place name ending recorded in Domesday derives from “-eg” („an island…or land partly surrounded by water‟); either derivation provides an interesting indication of the nature of the local topography. A final indication of the continued significance of the crossing point is the choice by the Viking force to over-winter during AD879-80 across the Thames at Fulham. It is possible that the settlement at Putney was abandoned at times during the later Saxon period, as it may have been difficult to defend and this could account for the lack of excavated structural evidence.

later medieval As mentioned above, the Domesday Book provides the first documentary reference to Putney; it was part of the manor of Mortlake, which was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Among the assets listed for the manor are the tolls for the ferry at Putney; the fact that the Bishop of London held the settlement at Fulham could be a contributing factor to the continued maintenance of the route. It is known that Putney also played a role as an embarkation point for ferry trips to London and Westminster during this period for goods and people, including royalty. Excavated evidence for the later medieval period, with the exception of the church (which was investigated by the Wandsworth Historical Society during the early 1970s) appears to be somewhat lacking, although the area is well documented historically. It is highly likely that a chapel existed at Putney prior to the first documented reference to St Mary‟s in 1291, given the prominent location of the church next to the ancient crossing point. By 1302, the church was well established and was the site of an ordination by Archbishop Winchelsea. The community was largely agricultural in nature; although a more nucleated model probably replaced the earlier dispersed pattern of settlement, with houses clustering around the focal points of church, ferry point and high street. Evidence for industry is provided by a tax list of 1332, which includes a glazier and a brewer, however the Black Death of the th mid 14 century probably led to a reduction in population and the contraction of the settlement. This th th trend was reversed during the 15 and 16 centuries as the village was patronised by government officials, London merchants and, prior to the Reformation, servants of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII‟s chief minister was born in Putney in 1485, and was the first courtier to hold the manor of Mortlake after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. post medieval th Additions to the body of the church included a chantry chapel constructed in the early 16 century for the Bishop of Ely, Nicholas West, who was born in Putney. A porch was added on the south side of the building in 1623 and a vestry was built at the north-east corner in 1629. Internally, the church was also th refurbished during the early 17 century and a gallery was built at the western end. In 1647, the village was the headquarters of the New Model Army and the „Putney Debates‟ were held in the refurbished church. In 1836, the church was demolished and rebuilt to the designs of Edward Lapidge, architect of Kingston Bridge, St Peter‟s Hammersmith and St Andrew‟s Ham. In his survey of riverside parish churches published in 1897, AE Daniell disparagingly comments of the restoration that the church was only “redeemed from absolute dreariness by Bishop West‟s chapel”, which had been resited on the north side of the building. The body of the church was rebuilt in the 1980‟s after it was gutted in an arson attack and now has an unusual layout with the altar on the north side of the church, rather than in its traditional location at the east end, so that the congregation sits facing the river. After the Reformation the manor remained intact, passing through a succession of lay hands before being acquired by the Duchess of Marlborough in 1720. The village remained popular as a rural retreat for wealthier members of society and in common with other Thames-side villages saw a number of large th riverside mansions constructed. During the 18 century, Putney continued to flourish as a fashionable outer suburb and in 1729 a timber bridge was built linking Putney and Fulham. The approach road to the bridge encircled the west end of the church and a toll house was built immediately to the north. During the Victorian period, the population increased and by 1914, there were 24,000 inhabitants. It was during this period of rapid urbanisation, encouraged by the arrival of the railway in 1846, that the church was rebuilt to accommodate the growing congregation. Since 1925 there has been little new development, or large-scale clearance and rebuilding, although a large apartment development has been constructed to the east of the church. Until 1750, Putney Bridge was the only bridge west of London Bridge before Kingston. It had 26 spans varying in size from 14 to 34 ft and posed a serious hazard to navigation. In 1870-2, the number of spans was reduced to 23. The brick remains of south bridge head survive on the foreshore, along with timbers, which could represent parts of the original structure. The 1729 bridge was replaced by the present day structure by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in 1882-6. It was built upstream of the old bridge, replacing an aqueduct, and the water mains now run under the footways of the bridge. The new bridge was widened in 1931-3 and extended eastwards, encroaching on part of the churchyard. Since 1845, the bridge has been the starting point for the University Boat Race.


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Viaduct Consolidation Bridge Structure (unclassified) Hard Timbers Drain Structure (unclassified) Deposit Timber Artefact scatter Access Access Riverfront defence Riverfront defence Riverfront defence Bridge Jetty Hard Drain Drain Deposit Artefact Bridge

Timber structure Chelsea Waterworks Viaduct? Large, close-set piles with cut joints. Chalk below gravel. Construction of Putney Bridge? South bridgehead/toll house, Putney Old Bridge. Brick. Crane base? Stone/concrete structure. Associated with A105. Hard. Large re-used stones, including vousoirs. Scattered. Random, angled into foreshore. Demolition of Old Bridge? Timber plank. Rectangular section. Plank-built. Causeway? Timber and stone Peat/organic clay. High on foreshore. Rectangular post. Vertical. Putney Old Bridge? Timbers. Boat yard? Slipway. Cobbled. Brewhouse Street. Probably Medieval access point. Stair. Stone. Putney Bridge, ds. Rail damaged at bottom. Brick and stone. Putney Church Brick with timber fenders and mooring chain. Brick Putney Railway Bridge. Modern Modern Apron. Timber and stone. Below Putney Bridge. For stream outlet. Outfall. Below Putney Bridge. Metal grilled outlet for stream. Dump. Stone rubble. Associated with drain outlet? Moulded window mullion. Putney Church? Putney Bridge.

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