Celebrating Longitude and Crayford’s Most Famous Resident


Local schools, residents and dignitaries came together on Tuesday night (8 July) for a special event to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the passing of the Longitude Act and the life of one of its former famous residents.

Crayford Town Archives, in conjunction with St Paulinus Church of England School, St Joseph’s Catholic School and Crayford Brownies have made a project on longitude and Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, which includes a DVD and book, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sir Cloudesley was Admiral of the Fleet, MP for Rochester, patron of St Paulinus Church and resident at May Place in Crayford when he died at sea in 1707. His flagship was destroyed with much of the fleet off the Isles of Scilly on 22 October 1707. Sir Cloudesley was killed in the disaster along with hundreds of others; estimates range between 1400 and 2000 lives lost. As a consequence, Parliament passed the Longitude Act on 8 July 1714, which set up body charged with determining a better way of measuring it.

The celebration event was held at St Mary of the Crays Church Hall. Guests included the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Howard Marriner, the Mayoress Mrs Dianne Marriner, and Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett. They enjoyed a short drama production and animation on the life of Sir Cloudesley.