Although Clapham has a Roman road called Stane Street running through it, the area was pretty much baron until it became a Saxon village. The name Clapham certainly comes from the Saxons too. The village was initially called Clopp Ham. Ham, in this older form of English means village, Clopp means short hill.
The area of Clapham is mentioned in the Domesday Book. At this time, it was called Clopeham, and it was owned by a Norman called Geoffrey de Mandeville. To us, in this period, Clapham would’ve seemed vastly different. In fact, during the Medieval period, Clapham was a village with about 100 people living in it! In fact, Clapham was even small by the standards of the day. For much of its life, Clapham remained nothing more than a farming village.
Clapham began growing into what we now know as Clapham in the late 17th century. As people were moving out of London to escape the plague and the Great Fire of London. However, it still was just a large village. It was only in the late 18th century that Clapham became a fashionable place to live. It was in 1801 that Clapham was finally no longer considered a village outside of London, it was now a suburb. Clapham and many of the suburbs of London were transformed into the lovely areas of London that we know today when the railways came to the area.