b&w photo with a road, two trams side by side, people crossing and shops and trees to either side

East Dulwich broadly covers the London postcode SE22 which is bounded by Lordship Lane to the west and Peckham Rye to the East and Woodvale to the South and Champion Hill to the north. Up until its development for housing in the last third of the nineteenth century, the area was comprised of farmland between the villages of Dulwich and Peckham, known as the Manor of Frerne or Friern.


1100 to 1539
The historic Manor of Frerne, or Friern, was one of the historic manors that comprised the Parish of St Giles, Camberwell. It was bounded on the west by the Manor of Dulwich and to the west and northwest by the Manor of Camberwell Buckingham, also known as Buckingham and Peckham, and to the south the boundary of the County of Kent. The ownership of the Manor was often bound in with ownership of land in the adjoining manors.
Robert Fitzroy, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate son of Henry I, held the manor in the start of the 12th Century. By 1235, the manor had passed via various bequests into the ownership of the Priory of Haliwell or Holywell, in Shoreditch. The priory was in fact a nunnery. 

1539 to 1739
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, the then prioress surrendered the priory and its lands to the Crown. In 1545, the Manor of Camberwell Frerne was granted to Robert Draper, Page of the Jewells to Henry VIII. In 1559, Matthew Draper owned the manor. The same year he married Lence Blackwell, the daughter of William Blackwell and he assigned the manor to William, as trustee. Matthew and Lence had no children. So, on the death of Matthew in 1577, his estate was inherited by his married sisters, Benedicte married to John Fromondes and Elizabeth, wife of John Forster. 
In 1581, Benedicte conveyed her share in the manor to Sir Edmund Bowyer, the son of Elizabeth from her first marriage to John Bowyer of Camberwell. Sir Edmund followed his father into the law and Chambers at Lincoln’s Inn. He did not practise law but went into politics as Member of Parliament, first for Morpeth, then Southwark and latterly Gatton. He was actively involved in many parliamentary committees and enquiries. In 1619, he attended the formal opening of Dulwich College.
Sir Edmund had married Katherine Byne in 1573. But they had no children and she died in 1609. So, on his death in 1627, his estate passed to his nephew, who was also called Edmund. This Sir Edmund Bowyer was knighted in 1633 by Charles I during a visit to Scotland. He was a Royalist and as a result, during the Interregnum, he had to struggle to keep ownership of his property. In 1660 he became a Member of Parliament and like his late uncle, he was active on several committees. By 1633 he had married Hester Aucher, who died in 1665. Sir Edmund Bowyer died himself in 1681 and his estates passed to his son Anthony Bowyer. Anthony had a parliamentary and legal career but not as active as his father and great uncle. In 1673, Anthony married Catherine St John, the daughter of Sir Henry St John of Beckenham and the niece of Sir Walter St John of Battersea. Sir Walter, Viscount Bolingbroke, purchased the southern part of the manor and in 1700 conveyed 31 acres of this land to the trustees of a school he had set up in Battersea. 
Anthony Bowyer died without children in 1709 and his estate passed to another Edmund, the son from Sir Edmund’s second marriage. This Edmund died unmarried in 1718. Elizabeth Bowyer, his sister was next in line. She was married to Sir James Ashe. In 1715, Martha, their daughter, had married Joseph Windham. In 1733, Martha inherited her father’s estate including the Manor of Frerne and Joseph by an Act of Parliament took the name of Ashe and became Joseph Windham Ashe. 
A survey was made in 1739 of the estate of Joseph Windham Ashe in the whole of the Manor of Frerne and part of the Manors of Buckingham and Kennington. The map was copied in 1799 by M Nockholds, Land Surveyor of Saffron Walden. In 2011, John Kennedy of the Chener Bookshop reproduced it as an overlay of the 1733 field boundaries. This map shows that the landholdings of Joseph Windham Ashe were restricted mainly to the central part of the Manor with the southern part held by the Honourable Holles St John, the son of Sir Walter St John, and in the northern part by Peter Cock, who also owned adjoining land in the Manor of Buckingham. 
Holles St John died in October 1738 and his estate passed to his sister Elizabeth, who was married to Robert Knight, 1st Earl of Catherlough. Peter Cock died in 1737 and his part of the Frerne Manor passed to his son, Matthew Cock. 

1739 to 1840
Joseph Windham Ash died in 1746 and Martha in 1757. In 1734, Mary, one of their two daughters, had married John Windham, her first cousin. He assumed the name of Bowyer, to become John Windham Bowyer. John Windham Bowyer died in 1780 and Joseph, his son who had no children died in 1808. He had sold some plots of land to Robert Edmonds, a market gardener of New Cross. These plots included a block between Goose Green and Peckham Rye. John’s daughter, Anne had married Sir William Smijth of Hill Hall, in Essex, and Joseph’s remaining share of the Manor passed to Sir William and then to his son, Sir Edward Bowyer Smijth.
The Trustees of Battersea School held onto their land throughout the 1700s. The part of the Manor held by Elizabeth, wife of the Earl of Catherlough, had by 1796 passed into the ownership of Henry Jones. Henry died in 1801 and it passed to his son, also Henry, who died in 1805. His daughter became a ward of Chancery, and the land was held in trust for her. In 1825, she married Captain William Cartwright from a Northamptonshire family. 
To pay off debts, Matthew Cock sold his estates, including within the Manor, to William Belchier in 1769, who mortgaged them to a Mr Collins, who went bankrupt. 
By the 1830s these parts of the Manor were owned variously by Sir Claude William Champion de Crespigny, William Selwyn and Thomas Bailey. Caroline, the mother of Sir Claude William Champion de Crespigny was the daughter of Sir William Smijth. So, he was related by marriage to the long established hereditary manorial family. Thomas Bailey was a prominent self-made businessman with an ironmonger firm based in the City of London. He had other land holdings around Leigh in Kent. He built several large houses around Goose Green, including his own. House and along Melbourne Grove. The 1838 Tithe Map and accompanying schedule for the Parish of Camberwell St Giles in the County of Surrey provides a useful snapshot of the landholdings and the tenants. This is especially useful as it precedes by just a few years the 1841 Census, which marks the start of readily available detailed data on households. 
This and other maps and sources of the period show that Lordship Lane was a well-established thoroughfare and Wood Lane, now Woodvale, cut through the southern part of the Manor. The landmark of the Plough Inn can be dated back to at least 1774 and possibly to 1737.

1841 to 1900 and beyond
In the 1840s, the East Dulwich area was still mainly rural and agricultural, supplying milk and food to the growing metropolis of London. Dairy businesses, such as the Friern Manor Dairy Farm, were major operations. Camberwell to the north and Peckham to the east were already being built up as transport services improved and became more affordable. Developers started to realise the potential of East Dulwich.
There was a period of some minor industrialisation such as the Dawson brickworks and a floor cloth factory, but the land had greater potential for housing.
In 1868, the railways reached East Dulwich with the opening of East Dulwich Station, originally called Champion’s Hill. At the same time the High Level Line opened between Nunhead and Crystal Palace. These railway lines combined with the horse bus services and then trams made Victorian East Dulwich a commuter suburb. Housing spread outwards from Goose Green and Lordship Lane gradually building over the pre-existing farms. Companies, such as the British Land Company would buy up the estates of existing landowners and lay out roads before selling groups of building plots to smaller developers and builders. This has resulted in the housing pattern of small groups of similar houses and terraces that typify East Dulwich. 
At the same time, Churches and Schools were built. Lordship Lane became a high street with a number of public houses, most of which are still going. On the minor roads, several shopping terraces and corner shops were built along with public houses. These businesses have not fared as well and many have closed and been turned into residential properties.
In 1885, East Dulwich joined Dulwich in the new Camberwell South (Dulwich) parliamentary constituency, having previously from 1832 been part of the Lambeth constituency.