Charlton Dene, SE7

Place Name

Laid out on land that had been part of the Charlton House estate between the First and Second World Wars. The name is fanciful, a dene being a deep, narrow wooded valley of a small river. It was no doubt given as a rustic-sounding advertising name, meant to attract house buyers with a suggestion of semi-rurality. The name Charlton itself was first mentioned as Cerletun in the Domesday Book of 1086. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ceorl (pronounced churl) and tūn meaning the farmstead of the freeman or peasants. Caroline Taggart in The Book of London Place Names explains: “[They were] an independent peasant landowner. Not a rich man, but his own master.” They were freeman of the lowest rank who owned and cultivated a small farm. The village was variously recorded as Cherleton in 1275 and Cherlton in 1292.

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