The Celts in Croydon
There are no written records of the Celts ever visiting or living in Croydon but there is some physical evidence with the discovery of Celtic coins. Also according to Wike in the 19th century an excavation uncovered signs of a Neolithic settlement and flint heads in Thornton Heath Pond.
When Thornton Heath High Street was being built Roman coins were discovered indicating that the area had been occupied from 69- 139AD. Saxon, Frankish and Oriental coins were also discovered while the railway was being built. Bensham Lane also has a very interesting history. The name originates from the ancient name Benchesham.
The Medieval and Tudor history of Bensham Lane
In the Medieval era Benchesham was one of seven boroughs that paid tribute to the See of Canterbury in Croydon. This came to light shortly after the Norman Conquest when the tithes of Benchesham were passed to Rochester Monastery. The Rochester Monks had to prove that it belonged to them and not the Kentish Monks. A charter of 1415 confirmed this. In fact Benchesham was owned by prestigious names over the years; two Bishops of London, an Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry V, Henry VIII, Edward VIII and Mary I (Henry VIII's daughter). Benchesham also had a manor house and the road which led to it is still called Bensham Manor Road, ( and that is the only written record of it).
By the late 13th century Benchesham had been divided into North and South. North Benchesham became Northborough and then Norbury. Norbury was owned by the Carew family who owned it for 500 years; except for a short period when Henry VIII seized it after having Nicholas Carew executed. Henry's daughter Mary I restored it to his family and it remained farmland when the surrounding district was developed. The Carew family were descended from the Normans. They also owned Beddington Park then known as Carew Manor which was visited by Carew's cousin Anne Boleyn when she married Henry VIII.
The Manor of Norbury as it was known occupied much of the North West of the parish of Croydon, extended as far south as Waddon Marsh and as far east as Green Lane. It came to the Carew family in 1359.