There is an amazing amount of history around Camberwell. So many streets have their roots going back several hundred years and associated with historical figures.
The De Crespignys, who came from France, as Protestant refugees, in the reign of William III., though they did not settle in Camberwell until early in the eighteenth century. Champion Lodge, at the foot of Denmark Hill, was built in 1717, by Mr. Claude de Crespigny. In 1804, the Prince of Wales visited Champion Lodge, and of course a great fête was made on the occasion, and the owner of the house was soon afterwards made a baronet. The park had originally an area of about thirty acres. The house, noticeable for the fine iron gates and the stately cedars in front, was pulled down in 1841, and the site is now occupied by rows of houses. Sir Claude de Crespigny was a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and married the gifted, as well as accomplished, daughter of Mr. J. Clarke, of Rigton, Derbyshire. It was this Lady de Crespigny who wrote the admirable lines which were placed over a grotto standing in the grounds of Champion Lodge, and dedicated to Contemplation.
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