London Gardens Online
London Gardens Online


St Paulinus Churchyard & Burial Ground, and St Paulinus Gardens Bexley


St Paulinus Church has long served the parish of Crayford, and the building dates from the C12th but is largely early C14th. Much of the north nave is Norman, and the tower and chapel were added in the C15th. Built of ragstone and flint, it is unusual in having twin naves with the chancel positioned at the end and midway between them. The church was restored in 1862, the work undertaken by architect Joseph Clarke. The church and its burial ground occupy an elevated site with good views to the south, its open setting across fields from the north making it an important landmark. The large picturesque churchyard has numerous tombs and is set behind brick and flint retaining walls, entered through a fine Gothic lych-gate of 1873. Yews and other trees are scattered throughout. In front of the church is a small public garden, St Paulinus Gardens.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Crayford Parish Church

Site location:
Perry Street/Church Hill, Crayford

DA1 4RB ( Google Map)

Type of site:

C12th onwards


Listed structures:
LBII*: St Paulinus Church. LBII: lychgate


Site ownership:
Church of England, Diocese of Rochester, Archdeaconry of Bromley and Bexley

Site management:
Crayford Living Churchyard

Open to public?

Opening times:
unrestricted. Church normally open 9am-noon Mon-Sat

Special conditions:
Dogs on leads



Public transport:
Rail: Crayford then bus. Bus: 492.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/01/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ511751 (551140,175170)

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

Conservation Area name:
Iron Mill Lane

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:
Yes - area of High Archaeological Priority

Other LA designation:

Fuller information

St Paulinus Church dates from Saxon times. In the early C7th, St Augustine, sent on a mission by Pope Gregory, brought Christianity to the south east of England and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. With him were Justus and Paulinus, the former founding the diocese of Rochester and becoming the 1st Bishop of Rochester in 604 AD. Paulinus was at first sent north and on his return became the 3rd Bishop of Rochester in 633 AD, continuing his missionary work in Kent. It is thought he probably sailed down the River Medway from Rochester, past the Saxon Cathedral Church, up into the Thames and on into the River Cray, which was then navigable for small vessels. He continued up the River Cray, where the dedications of the churches of St Paulinus, Crayford and St Paulinus, St Paul’s Cray (q.v.), commemorate the route of his journey.

Among those buried here was Lady Narborough, widow of Rear Admiral Sir John Narborough and later the wife of Sir Cloudesley Shovell (1650-1707), who was famous as a naval commander and was Admiral of the Fleet. In 1694 he moved to May Place with Lady Narborough and from 1695 until his death he was MP for Rochester. He was also Commissioner of the Sewers, responsible for the upkeep of the embankments of the Thames between Deptford and Gravesend. He died after his ship HMS Association hit rocks near the Isles of Scilly, the main cause of the disaster later presumed to be due to navigators' inability to accurately calculate their longitude at that time. Sir Cloudesley's body was brought back from the Scilly Isles and he was buried at Westminster Abbey. Sir Cloudesley had had St Paulinus Church restored at his own expense and there is a memorial to him and his wife.

After the churchyard was closed to burials, Crayford Living Churchyard was set up in 2002 to maintain it; a biological survey was undertaken in 2001 and in 2005 a Management Plan drawn up. In front of the church are St Paulinus Gardens, a small area of formal landscaping maintained by LB Bexley.

Sources consulted:

LB Bexley, Iron Mill Lane Conservation Area Statement of Character; Area Appraisal and Management Plan, 2008

Page Top

Discover. Visit. Research. Explore.