09 December, 2012

Addington Old and New

By tramcar to the countryside! You can get to New Addington by one of the Croydon tramcars, although I've now done it so you don't have to. There's nothing much at New Addington, it's a big council estate and if a person I know is to be believed with a dubious reputation. It didn't look that bad to me but I stayed on the beaten path from the tramcar terminus to the Church of St Edward the Confessor, built around 1957. The church has a microbrewery attatched. If I'd known that I would have called at the vicarage! New Addington has a library, leisure centre, nursery and community centre, presumably because it is so far out of Croydon. I never thought that Croydon had any rural districts. Old Addington is not what you would call a pretty village. True it has an old forge which is the only forge operating now in the Croydon District, and don't forget that Croydon also once made some very fine Church Bells by Gillet and Johnson. The glory of Addington is the church of St Mary dating from just after the conquest. It's slightly cagey vicar needed to have a good look at me before she would let me in but I must have reassured her that I would not run off with the poor box. The chancel is the oldest part of this little flint church and was decorated with very impressive medieval style wall paintings in memory of Archbishop Benson of Canterbury, who was the father of E F Benson of Mapp and Lucia fame. The chancel has three little romanesque windows and a great big vulgar urn to a former lord mayor of London. The Archbishops of Canterbury used Addington Palace as a summer residence from the time of Archbishop Manners-Sutton (1805 to 1828) until Archbishop Frederick Temple, father of William Temple, decided he preferred a residence in Canterbury in 1897. As a consequence of their residence there are five Archbishops of Canterbury buried in this church. So the Addingtons made a morning out rather than a day.

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