September 2001 – Bulletin 139
The Huguenot Heritage in Mitcham – E N Montague
St Olave, Mitcham – R Ninnis
Two Mitcham Mysteries – E N Montague
and much more
PRESIDENT: J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA
VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Lionel Green and William Rudd
BULLETIN NO. 139 SEPTEMBER 2001
Thursday 13 September 11.30am Day visit to Addington
Addington was a country home for the Archbishops of Canterbury in the 19th century. Meet at
Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington Village – 11th-century in origin, with many
interesting memorials and windows. Pub or picnic lunch. Then Addington Palace at 2.30pm. Travel
by Tramlink, changing to the New Addington line at East Croydon, and alighting at the Addington
Village stop. Numbers are needed for refreshments (£2.00) at the Palace.
Saturday 29 September 2.30pm Martin Boyle Mitcham Common Walk
This is the event originally scheduled 16 June, which was cancelled then, because of heavy
Martin Boyle, Warden of the Common, has kindly agreed to try again! Meet at the Mill House
Ecology Centre, in Windmill Road, Mitcham, next to the Mill House pub. (Close to bus routes 118
and 264, and to the Beddington Lane Tramlink stop.)
Wednesday 17 October 8.00pm ‘singing Nelson’s Praise.
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Church Path, Merton Park
For this year’s Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture, Joan Walpole Reilly and Bernard Winter will
present the story of the celebrated tenor and composer John Braham, who sang for Nelson and the
Hamiltons at Merton Place.
(The church is a few minutes walk from Merton Park Tramlink stop, and from bus routes 152,163
Saturday 3 November 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
51st Annual General Meeting (see page 16)
After the business part of the meeting there will be a quiz.
Saturday 1 December 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
Like Merton Priory the one at Reigate was an Augustinian foundation. Audrey Ward will outline
its history in this illustrated lecture.
(The Snuff Mill Centre, in Morden Hall Park, is on bus routes 93,118,157 and 164.
Drivers use the garden centre car-park. Take the path across the bridge;
go through the gateway and turn right. The Snuff Mill is straight ahead.)
The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.
ERIC MONTAGUE continues his occasional series, which began with an assessment of the Viking
influence in the area.
The Peopling of Merton 2. THE HUGUENOT HERITAGE IN MITCHAM
The migration of the Huguenots (a term often used to include Calvinists and other Protestants
from France and
the Low Countries seeking refuge from religious intolerance) began in the mid-1530s.
Persecution in France
increased steadily under François I, and culminated with the massacre of more than 2000
Huguenots in Paris on
St Bartholomew’s Day 1572. A period of toleration followed the accession of Henri IV and the
Edict of Nantes,
but with its revocation by Louis XIV in 1685 the flight became a mass exodus.
Of the Huguenots who left France in the late 17th century some 40-50,000 settled in Britain,
mostly in towns of
the south and south-east, where they often formed a significant proportion of the population.
By 1700 it was
estimated that there were some 15,000 refugees in and to the east of the City of London, and a
further 8000 were
said to be living in Westminster and the western suburbs. Industrious and hard-working, many of
professional men or highly skilled artisans, and were soon prospering.
At Wandsworth, where the fast-flowing Wandle powered mills dating to before the Conquest and
water of a special quality, an enticing location awaited the new industrialists of the late
16th and early 17th
centuries. The town soon became famous for the production of scarlet dyes and the manufacture
goods, for which emigrants of Dutch origin long held the monopoly. Although local people
the necessary skills, the techniques of bleaching and dyeing, felt and hat making, and of silk
weaving were to
remain very much the speciality of Huguenot refugees and other craftspeople from across the
number of newcomers settling both at the mouth of the Wandle and also further up the valley was
such that a
.French Church., built in the centre of Wandsworth in 1573, required enlargement in 1603.
of worship was assured, burials initially had to take place in the parish churchyard. When this
was closed to
further interments in 1680, the Huguenots purchased land on East Hill, where the .French
opened in 1687. A French girls. school was also established in Wandsworth, and it is said that
by the early 18th
century up to 20 percent of the population of the parish was of French origin.
Wandsworth was not, of course, the only part of the Wandle valley in which the Huguenots
settled, and the
following is a list of some of the more prominent residents of Mitcham in the 16th, 17th and
whose names suggest that they were of either Dutch or French origin. There were undoubtedly
including those whose names became anglicised and are no longer readily identified as
Of the Huguenot family Asprey whose descendants
founded Asprey & Co Ltd of New Bond Street.
William and his younger brother Edward ran a calico
and silk printing works at Phipps Bridge, Mitcham, in
the late 18th/early 19th centuries.
Blane, Thomas le
Lessee of Eagle House, a large property in Upper
Mitcham, fromc.1756 to 1766. A vestryman, he served
as parish overseer in 1763/4.
London merchant, member of Haberdashers.
Company. Purchased estate in Lower Mitcham in 1562.
Died c.1563. Local benefactor.
Blanke, Sir Thomas
Son of Thomas, member of Haberdashers. Company.
Lord Mayor of London 1582. Inherited father’s
Mitcham estate. Died 1588 whilst a London alderman.
Proprietor of a copper mill at Merton Abbey in 1720.
Cammell, John van
A thread .whitster. (bleacher) of Mitcham, died 1718.
Brother-in-law of James Jacob.
Champagne, Lt Gen Forbes
Colonel Commandant of 95th Regiment of Foot.
Fought for the British at Lexington, and at Bunker
Hill in 1775. Retired to Mitcham as the resident owner
of Park Place, and died 1816.
‘stranger. listed in Mitcham Lay Subsidy accounts of
1593-4. May be the same person as
Collant (or Collins), Adrian
Styled as .of Lambeth.. A bleacher, churchwarden of
Mitcham, described as .A Dutchman dwelling a long
tyme in this parish of Mitcham. when he died in
Another ‘stranger. listed in the Lay Subsidy Accounts
Du Bois, Charles
Treasurer of East India Co, noted plant collector.
Fellow of the Royal Society. Local benefactor, lived
at Park Place, Mitcham, until his death in 1740. Son
of John Du Bois and, like his father, a Whig.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 2
Du Bois, John Nenyansses, Joyssamyne
Citizen and weaver of the City of London. City Sheriff
in 1662. Involved in dispute with Tories. Owner of
substantial house in Mitcham until his death in 1684.
Descended from Jacques Du Bois of Lille.
Gascoigne, John Cloberry .gent..
Died 1778. A large house owned by his widow
overlooked Fair Green.
Calico printer, proprietor of Haultain et Cie, employing
40 operatives at his Mitcham works in 1714. Members
of the family are buried at the Huguenot cemetery at
Mount Nod, Wandsworth. The name occurs in England
as early as 1569.
James appears to have carried on the family business.
He died in 1753, and was buried at Banstead. His
widow leased a large property, Durham House,
overlooking Fair Green, in mid-18th century.
Hellier (or Hillier), Isaac
Partner in a calico-printing business at Merton Abbey
by 1796. Mitcham vestryman, served as churchwarden,
and surveyor of highways.
Whitster or bleacher at Merton Abbey. Died 1720.
Son of James, also a whitster. Active vestryman,
overseer of the poor at Merton in 1740. Buried at
A ‘stranger. listed in Lay Subsidy Accounts of
1593-4. No further record, and may have returned to
the Low Countries after the creation of the independent
United Provinces in 1609.
London merchant with address in King Street,
Cheapside. Lessee of the Manor House, Lower
Mitcham, from 1782 until his death in 1790. Son of
Thomas Marlar of Wallington, a gentleman of
Huguenot descent who was involved in the calico-
printing industry. He was a citizen and haberdasher of
London, and died 1748.
Established the calico-printing industry at Ravensbury,
Mitcham, in 1690. Said to be employing 205
workpeople at his factories in Mitcham and
Wandsworth in 1719. Business carried on by sons
Stephen and George. Family graves and monument in
‘stranger. listed in Lay Subsidy accounts of 1593-4.
No further record, and may have returned to the Low
Countries after creation of the independent United
Provinces in 1609.
Rucker, John Anthony
Wealthy proprietor of calico-printing works at Phipps
Bridge, Mitcham, partner at Merton Abbey works.
Built Wandle Villa (National Trust) 1789.
Described as a coppersmith of Whitechapel in an
agreement dated 1743. Operating copper mills on
Mitcham borders with Carshalton in 1740s and at
Merton in late 18th century.
‘stranger. listed in Lay Subsidy accounts of 1593-4.
No further record, and may have returned to the Low
Countries after creation of the independent United
Provinces in 1609.
St Eloy, Peter
Probably son of Isaac Gluyquet de St Eloy, born in
Pluny, Brittany, naturalised in 1698. Peter was a lawyer
and member of Doctors Commons. Resident owner of
Colliers Wood House 1739-60. Had interest in calico-
printing. Trustee of Epsom Turnpike.
Proprietor of a mill manufacturing leather and
parchment at Goat Green from about 1769.
In 1737 lessee of The Poplars, a large house
overlooking Figges Marsh, Mitcham.
Van Daly, Magdalen
‘stranger. listed in Lay Subsidy accounts of 1593-4.
No further record, and may have returned to the Low
Countries after creation of independent United
Provinces in 1609.
Van Fleet, Firman
Lessee of large house, The Canons, Lower Mitcham
Van Fleet, Judith
Daughter of Firman, married Hendrick Thesingh
Egbertz, a merchant of Haarlem, at Mitcham in 1733.
Van Hagen, Mr
Lessee of large house, Mitcham Hall, in late 18th
Vannam (or Vanciam?), Alexander
Alderman of the City of London. Leaseholder of large
house in Lower Mitcham from 1660.
Gwynne, R, Huguenot Heritage Routledge & Kegan Paul 1985
Shaw, R A, Gwynn, R D and Thomas, P Huguenots in Wandsworth Wandsworth Libraries & Arts
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 3
We are pleased to give over an unusually large proportion of this Bulletin to a fine report
NINNIS which he calls:
A NOTE ON A LITTLE-NOTED CHURCH – St Olave, Mitcham
If it is not a truth universally acknowledged that what a man did an hour ago is history, it
may nevertheless be
admitted that a 70-year-old building with associations going back 1000 years is in a good sense
in want of being noted. The church of St Olave, Mitcham, perhaps because it is assumed to be
unhistorical or of
insufficient architectural interest, is not included in the London: South volume of The
Buildings of England
series, nor in a number of other works dealing with the topography and architecture of either
London or Surrey.
Yet visitors might find it an agreeable example of the Byzantine style adapted to the needs of
parish, and it contains, perhaps surprisingly, two examples of truly historical church
furniture. The purpose
here is to give an idea of the building and the circumstances in which it was built and
Articles in recent issues of this Bulletin have discussed the effects of Scandinavian raids and
settlement, and it
is in this connection that even a very brief history of St Olave’s, Mitcham, may be said to
begin: more specifically
in or about the year 1015, and about nine miles to the north, close to the present London
Among the many exploits of the Norwegian Olaf Haraldsen recorded in the Sagas is the help he
Ethelred II against the Danes. The enemy had a stronghold in Southwark and was using the then
across the Thames to London to hinder river traffic and menace the latter settlement. It was
Olaf’s idea to attack
the Danes on the bridge from ships on the river, and this scheme eventually succeeded in
bridge, whereupon the surviving Danes fled into their fortress, and this particular threat to
Ethelred’s rule had
passed.1 Subsequently Olaf became king of Norway, but was killed in battle on 29 July 1030, and
Trondheim. He was soon canonized for his Christian zeal; though he might be seen as essentially
pirate, Baring-Gould forestalls such a judgement, saying .the patron saint of Norway must not
be measured by
Christian men of another age or other lands…..2
It seems likely that before the end of the 11th century a church dedicated to St Olave (Olaf)
was founded in
Southwark. It was just downstream from the site of the wooden bridge that he is said to have
only a little further from the present London Bridge.3 During subsequent centuries the street
in which this
church stood took on the name Tooley Street, which, by a characteristic Cockney etymology, is
the name of the saint.4 In 1736 the later medieval structure partially collapsed, and it was
then entirely rebuilt in
the prevailing Palladian style, to the designs of Henry Flitcroft. This Georgian church
suffered from fire in
1843 and was repaired, but, due mainly to demographic changes, survived only for another 75
The sale of the valuable sites of Anglican churches in the City of London, where the resident
dwindled, proceeded, not without opposition, throughout the later decades of the 19th century.
successive bishops of London had arranged for the proceeds from such sales to go towards
churches in the ever-expanding suburbs, voices were raised in theological as well as aesthetic
the loss of these buildings of both historic and architectural interest. However the practice
extended into the
next century, and spread beyond the City.
South of the Thames, the area had been transferred from the diocese of Winchester to that of
the foundation of the south London diocese of Southwark in 1905. No doubt also because of a
resident population in an area then largely occupied by warehouses close to the river, in 1918
the church of St
Olave, Tooley Street (close to Southwark Cathedral, as well as London Bridge), was declared
proceeds were to be devoted to the Bishop of Southwark’s endowment fund for new churches in the
areas of south London.
Demolition did not take place for another ten years, and during that time hope was expressed
that perhaps its
tower might be kept as a memorial to the church, or, at least, part of the site of the church
or churchyard might
be retained as a recreational open space. In the event the whole site was used for the erection
of the offices of
the Hays Wharf Company, an Art Deco building (with a figure of St Olave incised in the facing-
stones of the
south-west corner). The only part of the church fabric to have survived seems to be the small
white stone turret
that stood in the centre at the top of the tower, supporting a flagstaff. This is now to be
found about a quarter of
a mile away in the Tanner Street garden, off Bermondsey Street.6
During this time, also, it was decided to establish a new district and parish of St Olave in
Mitcham. It was to be
in that north-eastern portion of the old parish of Mitcham which on maps up till that time had
shown only fields
between Lonesome Farm and Mitcham Wood (Pollards Hill).7 The site of the new church was to be
of the westward course of a lane running through the fields from Manor Road and just east of
its turn northwards
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 4
towards the Streatham parish boundary. This lane was soon to be lined by semi-detached and
and called Rowan Road. Among other roads laid out at this time is Middle Way, which now aligns
(liturgically)8 south transept of St Olave’s church, and Church Walk, leading to the intended
The minutes of the parochial church council, finance committee and other documents, and parish
record the transactions and events of the new parish, of which the following is a mere
summary.9 The first
.missionary. priest, the Reverend R K Haslam, had been instituted to the new district and
parish on 7 November
1927, though the temporary hall/church, erected on the site of the present parish hall (north
of the present,
permanent, church) was not dedicated until 26 June 1928. A Building Finance Committee was
May 1928, and a month later the grant of £7000 was received from the proceeds of the sale of St
Street. In the following August it was decided that the permanent church was to be built
.parallel to the [then]
existing temporary structure., and in September the bishop of Woolwich (suffragan or assistant
to the bishop of
Southwark) paid two visits to inspect the site. Plans of the new church were discussed between
July and October
1929. The foundation stone of the permanent church, bearing the same dedication and housing the
and bells of the old St Olave’s in Tooley Street, was laid on 3 May 1930 by the bishop of
The service was conducted by the bishop himself, Dr C F Garbett (later archbishop of York) who,
bishop of Southwark, 1919-32, .was an indefatigable visitor, became expert on problems of bad
malnutrition and provided [the] diocese with twenty-five new churches..10
The church was consecrated on 17 January 1931, and payment of the final accounts was made in
June of the
same year. The difficulty of visiting all parishioners due to the increase in the local
population from 3000 to
9000 had been discussed as early as April 1929, and in June 1931 the sale of Norbury and
Tooting Bec Golf
Course was thought likely to increase the population of the parish to 20,000 in five years.
September 1934 there was an election of a Church Building Committee to undertake the
construction of a
church for the Pollards Hill and Sherwood Park area of the parish, and the new ecclesiastical
district of the
Ascension, Pollards Hill, was created in 1936. (Due to the effects of the 1939-45 war, the
church was not built
The socio-economic conditions of this new suburban development have been recorded and published
Society, including an incidental tribute to the social work of St Olave’s church, so it can be
seen that these were
days of both great pastoral and social demands on the parish.12 The bishop of Kingston (the
bishop in the diocese) came to bless the new vicarage on 24 July 1937, and Queen Mary (consort
of the late
King George V) sent gifts for the St Nicholas Fayre held on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 December
bishop of Southwark; the Norwegian minister in London; Alderman A Mizen JP; and Sir Richard
honoured this event by their presence on one or other of these two days.13 While the personal
resources of the
incumbent, parish officers and members of the congregation must have been stretched in these
days, the permanent buildings were clearly intended to have a dignity that was considered
appropriate to the
worship of the Established Church.
St Olave, Mitcham,
from the south
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 5
The church was intended to have a Latin cross plan, i.e. a long nave (with western tower) and
and transepts, but changing economic conditions can thwart the finest intentions, and the
church building itself
is incomplete. The nave is only half as long as intended, and the western tower and a north
chapel were never
built.14 The absence of a tower means that the church is virtually hidden in side streets.
Church Walk leads
directly from Rowan Road to the existing west porch, but the first-time visitor had best
approach the church by
way of Stamford Way and Middle Road. Here, from the south side, the church presents an
of fine red/brown brickwork stretching left and right of the transept, and centred on a small
The architect was Arthur Campbell Martin (1875-1963). He had started building country houses
in 1900, so St Olave’s may be seen as a product of his middle period.15 Another church of his,
also in south
London, is St Luke, Pentridge Street, Camberwell. This is a late work, built from 1953 and
finished by others,
but like St Olave’s it is .large, brick [and] neo-Byzantine.. But there is a proper tower over
the crossing, and it
gives the later building a single strong vertical element that is absent at St Olave’s in its
Here, at Mitcham, over the crossing is seen what might be thought to be only the lowermost
storey of a massive
tower. But the overall horizontal emphasis is countered by the shadow lines produced by the
buttress-like thickening of the walls and tall, thin, arched recesses, vertical elements
characteristic of, but not
exclusive to, the Byzantine style. From the point of the springing of the arches of the big
transeptal windows a
brick string-course passes, without much other interruption, round the entire building, and all
walls have a
simply moulded white stone coping. The exterior of this church is an example of how brickwork
can be enlivened
by the simplest architectural treatment.
The interior has to be entered by the west door, and this necessarily reveals a view of the
existing west wall of
the nave of unfaced construction bricks, and the glazed porch of 1975. The exterior may be less
originally intended, but the interior may be judged to gain, at least in some respects, by
being just as it is: a
church with a plan approaching that of a Greek cross, with all its arms of (almost) equal
length. As it is, upon
entering, the eye is immediately caught by the curves of a large saucer dome over the crossing,
with its four
pendentives each swooping down to rest on a pair of columns free-standing in front of one of
the junctions of
the nave, chancel and transepts. If the long nave had been built, the impact of this dome from
the west end
would have been considerably reduced. Next, short vistas of arches and barrel- and groined-
vaults will be
noticed, as well as the vast difference in scale between the arches and vaults of the wide nave
and the tiny
archways of its side passages or aisles.
Each group of five windows in the nave and chancel have interior arcades, as have those in the
west wall of
each transept. As well as being picturesque elements, these are means of reducing glare in
views along the
length of the church. There are other subtle aspects to the fenestration: small windows are
placed both high and
St Olave, Mitcham,
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 6
low, and those in the rather narrower and darker chancel provide an interesting effect of
relatively low proportions of this interior may evoke the narthex of St Mark’s, Venice, but
instead of dimly lit
golden mosaics, everywhere there is the play of daylight diffused by reflection from smooth
white plaster. Only
the saucer dome itself is a soft, light sand colour, and the narrow moulding at its edge and
those of the four
arches that meet it are gilded. The variegated basket-work capitals of the eight columns of the
crossing are the
only architectural ornamental features.
Evidently colour was formerly a much more significant element here, as can be judged from the
comments on the church, in which he .acknowledged that it represented a complete break with the
Gothic tradition in England, and was intended to embody the emerging spirit of science and of
personal witness … the use of reinforced concrete for the vaulted roof, and the liberal use
of soft and rich colour
-blue, primrose, scarlet and purple – thus ensuring that it should be decidedly .modern. and,
to many eyes,
Today the central dome-space, well lit from the largest windows, in the end walls of the
transepts, provides a
suitable setting for the central altar (in fact placed at the eastern end of this space).
Beyond it, in the sanctuary
at the far end of the chancel, can be seen a traditional high altar. Above that, hanging
against the flat east wall,
within a shallow arch (where, perhaps, an apse might be expected), is a Majestas in which,
against the cross, is
a figure of Christ vested as a priest and king. A riddle-posted .English. altar18 stands
against the east wall of
each transept, and there are representations of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St
FURNISHINGS FORMERLY AT ST OLAVE’s, TOOLEY STREET
As in the case of the demolished City churches, their benefices united with that of a
neighbouring parish, the
furniture and fittings of St Olave, Southwark, were scattered, some pieces going to nearby
churches, and others
coming to the new church in Mitcham.19
The font now standing in the north-west corner of the nave may be a composite item. The
freestone pedestal is
square on plan. Each side has acanthus leaves curling up from a moulded base, above which is a
black stone panel surrounded by tiny strapwork; the top has simple mouldings suggesting a
capital. The style is similar to that of the more elaborate font of about 1630-40 at St
Katherine Cree in the City.
So this pedestal, at least, probably predates the rebuilding of old St Olave’s in 1736. The
marble bowl is
octagonal and has the plainest of moulded rims, and it may be a replacement of the original. Be
that as it may,
the whole font, together with the octagonal ogee crown-like wooden cover (which probably
raised and lowered by means of a counter-weighted chain) is well proportioned and quite
before St Olave’s, Tooley Street, was demolished the font stood in the middle of the west end
under the organ
gallery,20 but in 1843 it was said to have been in the vestry (like the table incorporating the
board), so it escaped damage from the fire of that year.21 It was evidently first placed in one
of the transepts here
at Mitcham, but it was presumably moved to its present position in 1939.22
The fire of 1843 may not have been as disastrous as some reports suggest, for no signs of fire
damage appear on
the wooden pulpit that stands in the south-east corner of the dome space. Pictures of the
interior of old St
Olave’s both shortly before the fire and shortly after the subsequent repairs, show this pulpit
standing on the
north side at the east end of the nave.23 By that time its sounding-board, or tester, had
already been made into a
table-top in the vestry.24 It did however still have a much higher plinth (and staircase),
necessary to raise it to a
suitable height from which to address a congregation seated in high-sided box pews and
galleries. It may
originally have formed part of a .three-decker. arrangement, but, after 1843 at least, it seems
that the reading-
desk stood on the south side of the nave opposite the pulpit. The body of the pulpit is unusual
in having curved
sides. Most of the surviving 17th- and 18th-century London pulpits have straight sides. The
earlier ones may
have very elaborate profiles, due to boldly projecting mouldings and ornamental carving, but
their sides, as
with most later pulpits, are straight. In other respects this example is a typical product of
the period of the
supremacy of the Palladian style in the mid-18th century. IHS within rays, and geometrical
designs all in
marquetry, fill the panels on each side. The most noticeable ornaments however are the
Vitruvian scroll on the
cornice and the band of finely carved bayleaves on the big torus moulding at the base. Overall
the effect is of an
almost French elegance.
The vestry minutes of old St Olave’s reveal something of the origin of this pulpit. On 2
October 1739 the
trustees for rebuilding and furnishing the new church were to .Contract for the pulpitt Desk
and Altar piece
which according to the best of their Judgement they have agreed with Mr Pultney for performing
the same. But
the Trustees and Mr Pultney both have referred the payment thereof to the Judgement of Mr
months later .Mr Hucks Reports that as Mr Pultney has brought the pulpitt into the Church and
in regard it is a
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 7
Costly piece of workmanship he moved that Mr Pultney might be paid £50 amount of the pulpitt
which was order.d accordingly..26 In May 1740 Mr Pultney was to be paid .his Bill in full of
his Contract as
settled by Mr Flitcroft..27 The altarpiece here referred to was evidently the rather small
the Ten Commandments immediately over the communion table, seen in a photograph probably taken
before the demolition of old St Olave’s. The Lord’s Prayer and the Creed appear to have been
framed by plaster
ornament under the niches containing the figures of Moses and Aaron referred to below.28 So it
is likely that the
body of the pulpit here at Mitcham incurred a large proportion of the £50 payable. Some
can be noted in the furnishings as well as the architecture of St Olave’s Tooley Street and
London church, St Giles-in-the-Fields (but the pulpit at St Giles is straight-sided).29
The 17th-century communion plate also came from old St Olave’s,30 as did the big tenor bell now
an external iron beam across the angle between the nave and north transept. This was one of
three bells cast to
replace those destroyed in the fire of 1843, and inscribed C & G MEARS, FOUNDERS LONDON 1844.31
The organ is on the south side of the chancel. The case looks as if it might date from the
mid-19th century, and
includes very large carvings of roses, thistles and shamrocks, and an uncoloured coat of arms:
a chevron vair
(?) between three lions (or talbots?), and the motto .Audax atque Fidelis. (.Bold and
Faithful.). It is thought to
have come from a house in Essex, but both instrument and case are presumably those purchased
Cartwright & Sons in November 1930.32 Consequently it is unlikely that it contains anything
from the organ
installed at Tooley Street after the fire of 1843, which was said to have been the first in
this country to be based
on state-of-the-art German models.33 In 1928 this remarkable instrument was said to have been
sent to St Mary,
Rotherhithe.34 (But was it ever actually used there, where still exists a notable Byfield
instrument of the 18th
It would not necessarily have been appropriate or convenient for other items to have come from
to Mitcham, but it might be of interest to note them.
St Olave’s was in that part of Southwark which was the City Ward of Bridge Without, and
consequently it had
a City sword-rest or stand for when the Lord Mayor of London attended in state. Unlike most
which are of iron, this is of wood, dated 1674, and bears the arms of the City and the old arms
of Southwark. It
is now to be seen in the north transept of Southwark Cathedral.
The altar table, an unusual iron-framed example, seems to have been supplied by .Mr
the Mason for £16.16.0. in November 1739,35 although a month earlier .Mr Walton the Smith. was
.for the performing the iron work of the Communion Table..36 On the demise of old St Olave’s
this altar table
went to St John, Horsleydown, nearby, and after St John’s was bombed in 1940 the table
eventually went to St
Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, where it serves as a side altar.37
A description of St Olave, Southwark, in about 1700 includes mention of the .Portraiture of
Moses and Aaron,
each in a Niche. as part of the altarpiece, but it is not clear whether this refers to 3-
dimensional figures or the
more usual flat panel or canvas painting, which the rest of this particular altarpiece seems to
St Olave, Mitcham,
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 8
However, in 1924 there were ‘still standing in alcoves in the chancel coloured plaster effigies
of Moses and
Aaron.,39 and the lower parts of these figures appear in a photograph of about the same date.40
views of the church already referred to in regard to the pulpit also show such figures in the
these ‘statues. predate the rebuilding of 1736 (as the pedestal of the font seems to have done)
or they are part
of the furnishing of Flitcroft’s church, it is fascinating to speculate on the possibility of
their survival. The
present writer knows of only one other pair of such 3-dimensional representations of Moses and
Aaron in a
London church, those now at St Michael Paternoster Royal in the City (formerly at All Hallows
Finally, and to return to the fabric of the church itself, if for some it does not evoke even
the faintest suggestion
of St Mark’s in Venice, its style might still be thought appropriate. While St Olaf was
fighting battles in western
Europe, firstly in the name of Odin, and later in the name of Christ, churches somewhat like
this were being
erected in Byzantium. That Eastern Empire never abandoned the round arch of Roman antiquity,
it with other elements to produce a distinctive style in which the dome, as in the interior
here, is most prominent.
Less whimsically, for some, the exterior brickwork may hint at a relationship to other, more
of the 1930s: cinemas and power stations.
While some details of Olaf’s help to Ethelred may be confined to the Sagas, his presence in
England in 1014-15 is accepted, for instance, by F M
Stenton Anglo-Saxon England 3rd ed. (repr.1988) p.402
S Baring-Gould The Lives of the Saints under 29 July gives extensive details; shorter accounts
are in The Book of Saints compiled by the Benedictine
Monks of St Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate and in D Attwater The Penguin Dictionary of Saints.
F Bond Dedications of English Churches 1914 states that there were in England 13 churches
dedicated to St Olaf (p.127) and describes representations
of the saint (p.129).
G Cobb London City Churches 1977 p.23
Southwark Local Studies Library holds three files of press-cuttings (not always precisely
identifiable), photographs, photocopies of watercolours,
prints etc covering the later history of St Olave’s, Tooley Street. This source is identified
as SLS in subsequent notes.
E N Montague Pollards Hill and Lonesome (including Commonside East) revised Spring 1998. I am
indebted to Mr Montague for allowing me to
study his soon-to-be-published history. This has extensive details of all aspects of the area,
including the ecclesiastical. St Olave’s parish was taken
out of that of St Mark, which had been taken from the ancient parish of St Peter and St Paul,
Mitcham, in 1905 (p.45).
The church is in fact aligned NE/SW.
Surrey History Centre, Parish Records of St Olave, Mitcham (2051)
10. The Concise Dictionary of National Biography Vol 2, 1992, p.1100
11. E N Montague op.cit. p.46
12. C Munday The Story of the Long Thornton and District Improvement Association Merton
Historical Society, Local History Notes 10, 1995, p.10
Church Magazine November and December 1938, January 1939, copies at Merton Local Studies
Centre; Norwegian interest in another London
church, St Olave, Hart Street in the City, is memorialised by the large dedication stone to be
seen there at the entrance to the sanctuary. It was laid
by King Haakon of Norway upon the commencement of the post-war restoration of the church in
14. I am grateful to the Reverend Paul Ensor for showing me an original drawing, at the church,
inscribed: ST OLAVES CHURCH NORBURY [sic].
Plan and Elevations Shewing the Church as it will be when it is Completed. Arthur C.Martin
F.R.I.B.A., 9 New Square, London W.C.2.
15. Who Was Who, 1961-1970 1972, p.755
Personal observation. St Luke, Pentridge Street, is noted in London 2: South, The Buildings of
England reprinted 1984, p.615 (as St Luke,
17. E N Montague op.cit. p.45
18. This form of altar, with riddle posts and curtains, is discussed by P Anson Fashions in
Church Furnishings 1965 ed., pp.310-314.
R H Harrison .The Dispersion of Furniture and Fittings Formerly Belonging to the Churches of
the City of London. Transactions of the Ancient
Monuments Society new series Vol.8, 1960, pp.53-74
20. Photograph by Sturdie, PB 1523 (SLS)
21. Illustrated London News date evidently soon after the fire in 1843 (SLS)
22. Church Magazine October 1939, copy at Merton Local Studies Centre
Photograph of watercolour by .G.Hawkins Jnr. 1834, Gardner Collection. PB 169 (SLS); and W E
Brayley History of Surrey ed. E.Walford, Vol.4,
line engraving facing p.375
24. As in Note 21
25. St Olave, Southwark, Vestry Book 1725-1808 (SLS) f.106r
28. Photograph by Sturdie (SLS)
29. Personal observation
30. As in Note 9
31. A short notice by A Cowland (SLS)
32. As in Note 9
33. Press cutting (The Times?) May 1844, notice signed .Britannia. (SLS); A E Daniell London
Riverside Churches 1897, p.233
34. Press cutting dated 18 November 1923 .A Silent Organ. (SLS)
35. As in Note 25, f.107v
36. ibid. f.106r
37. Bermondsey (St Mary Magdalen) Parish News Christmas 1974 (SLS)
38. E Hatton A New View of London 1708 Vol.2, p.450
39. Notes and Queries 19 July 1924 p.41 (SLS)
40. Photograph by Sturdie (SLS)
The photographs of St Olave were taken by the author in June 2000
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 9
ERIC MONTAGUE throws out a challenge in:
TWO MITCHAM MYSTERIES
Tidying my files over the Christmas holidays, I came across a note written some years ago in
which I set down
all I had been able to discover (which did not amount to much) in my efforts to solve two
.mysteries. from the 17th century. If any readers can offer explanations or, better still, feel
inspired to conduct
a little research on their own, we might yet learn something of the murky past of the village!
The first .mystery. comes from a brief comment in Tom
Francis’s lantern slide lecture notes, now in Merton Local
Studies Centre. Referring to Vine House, a mid-17th century
building which stood on the site of Beadle Court, Lower Green
West, he recalled that a man’s skeleton had once been uncovered
in the back garden, and that it was believed to be that of a
Parliamentary (ie Cromwellian) officer. Unless Tom was quoting
folklore, the discovery could have been made at any time within
his own memory, between perhaps 1880 and 1951. Tantalisingly,
he gave no indication of the date, or the ground for ascribing it
to the Civil War or Commonwealth periods.
Vine House was allowed to decay and fall into ruin in the early
1930s, and I believe was demolished before the 1939/45 War.
The compilers of the Victoria County History considered it to
be the oldest house in the village, and surviving illustrations
suggest that it could have dated to around 1650. Who the
deceased was, and how he came to be buried in the garden of a
private house, are questions still to be answered. Could it have
been that, as a radical in the extreme Puritan mould, he spurned
burial on consecrated ground, preferring his own back garden?
Or was he .done away with. by a Royalist supporter, and his
body disposed of secretly? Also, how was he identified as a
.Parliamentary officer.? Was he buried in his uniform?
The second mystery concerns the alleged discovery in Mitcham of certain items of the royal
regalia of Charles
I, which were sold by the Parliamentary Commissioners during the Commonwealth. In 1975 my old
James Bass of Millers Mead, Colliers Wood, drew my attention to London Beneath the Pavement,
Peter Davies Ltd in 1971, in which the author Michael Harrison states: ‘some of the treasures
… turned up
again. The Swords of Mercy and Grace were found, sadly rusted, buried in the garden of an old
Mitcham.. Again no date is given, nor any further details.
Correspondence with Mr Harrison proved unproductive, since he could not remember the source of
information, and my enquiry addressed to the librarian at Windsor Castle (at Mr Harrison’s
similarly unfruitful, although I did receive a very nice reply from the late Robin Macworth-
There must presumably have been some justification for the story, which of course prompts
speculation as to
the involvement of the householder. Was he a Royalist or a Cromwellian? Or was he just a common
the swords hidden in the hope that the opportunity might come for their return should the
monarchy be restored?
Further research could lead to identification of the house. If we knew the latter, it might be
possible to suggest
from surviving records the name of the occupant at the time the weapons were hidden.
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
Vine House, Mitcham, from aphotograph by Tom Francis, inthe Local Studies Collection
As announced in our last Bulletin, Eric Montague’s latest book,A History of Mitcham Common, was
on 11 July, price £14.95. This copiously illustrated hardback book is published by Phillimore &
Co Ltd for
Mitcham Common Preservation Society.
Available to Merton Historical Society members at the special price of £12.50, at meetings or
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 10
50th ANNIVERSARY QUIZ
The anniversary quiz on page 9 of Bulletin 138 required
identification of the two tourist attractions of today, which
in times past were owned by Merton Priory.
The church of Oare, Somerset, which was used as
the setting for the fictional shooting in Lorna Doone.
The church attracts thousands of visitors each year to
see the site of the .crime., with no realisation that for
almost 2¾ centuries it was served by the Merton
canons. The rector in 1555 was Richard Merton, and
between 1809 and 1842 the rector was R D
GR SS 802473
The waterfall, claimed to be the highest in England,
is at Canonteign, Devon, illustrated left. It is situated
on the eastern edge of Dartmoor in the parish of
Christow. The water cascades 230ft (70m) into the
River Teign. The manor was owned by Merton from
1267 to 1538, and the manor house, a Tudor building,
exists close by.
GR SX 835829
Both these sites were acquired after an exchange of
properties with an Augustinian abbey in Normandy in
1267, which will be described in an article in the next
No member was able to identify the locations.
The Canonteign Falls, South Devon Lionel Green
Merton Heritage Centre’s exhibition Poetry & Prose continues until 27 October. The Centre, at
Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham, is open every day except Monday. Admission free.
Croydon Council, with some outside funding, has set up a .Museum Without Walls. heritage trail,
Tramlink stops. Look out for the information (history and archaeology) boards, and pick up
leaflets at the
Tramlink stop in George Street, Croydon, and Croydon Library. Let’s hope Merton Council follows
I am sure many readers spotted the amazing John Eagle (the .Roman soldier. who gave us an
entertaining demonstration/lecture in 1998) on BBC2’s Timewatch on 8 June. The programme was
Soldiers To Be, and he was the armourer. He was in good form.
The National Monuments Record Centre, Kemble Drive, Swindon, has an exhibition of photographs
work of Morris & Co and other workshops in the Arts and Crafts Movement, from 13 October to 13
January. Tel: 01793 414797 for information. Admission free.
Edwardian London – a New Era? is the title of this year’s LAMAS (London and Middlesex
Society) Local History Conference on Saturday 17 November at the Museum of London. Lecture
will include Theatre, Imperial London, Women’s Suffrage and Transport.
An offer being made by the National Monuments Record (the Public Archive of English Heritage)
interested in their local area sounds worth taking up. For £15 they will send three different
of your chosen locality, plus information on local archaeology and listed buildings. Tel: 01793
an order form.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 11
VISIT TO SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL
Southwark Cathedral’s peculiar appeal comes perhaps from its situation below the main street
level, its close
embrace by river, road and railway, its modest architecture, and its welcoming air.
On Saturday 26 May a large MHS contingent assembled at the new north courtyard. Here, where a
view nevertheless includes a glimpse of the river, tables and chairs overflow from the new
visitors. entrance leads past the stylish new shop (where, alas, the new guide-book was not
ready, and the old
one out of print) and through the long lobby where the names of the 300 or so parish churches
in the diocese are
inscribed on the stones of the floor (yes, we did finally spot, we think, all our local
Jo and John Brewster, our lecturers from the February meeting, greeted us and gave us a
before we divided into two groups for our tour.
The medieval church of St Mary Overie became the post-Dissolution parish church of St Saviour,
succeeding centuries saw its site constricted, its fabric neglected and sometimes its very
Much of what one now sees at Southwark is late 19th-century work, under the direction of Sir
and was carried out to .upgrade. it for its new role as cathedral, which began in 1905.
The beautiful retrochoir, however, is mainly 13th-century, though its screens and furnishings
are 20th century,
by Sir Ninian Comper, as is the parish war memorial. One window, of the 1920s, is in memory of
Francis Rider, builder to Blomfield. There is also a fine Elizabethan .Nonsuch. chest here. The
of St Andrew was the site of Bishop Gardiner’s consistory court in Queen Mary’s reign, where he
to death seven men convicted of .heresy..
The choir is also Early English, though slightly later than the retrochoir. In its south aisle
is a monument to
Lancelot Andrewes (d.1626), the last Bishop of Winchester to live at neighbouring Winchester
House. He was
admired as theologian, preacher and composer of prayers. A chief cashier of the Bank of England
commemorated with a classical tablet by Sir John Soane, the Bank’s architect. The organ case is
and there is a striking window of 1987, given by a Master of the Glaziers. Company.
In the Decorated south transept is a monument to Sir Frederick Wigan (1827-1907), treasurer and
the cathedral. Interestingly, Sir Frederick gave most of the money for building St Saviour’s in
Raynes Park, where his daughter was the wife of the first vicar, the Revd W A Birkbeck. I
wonder now if this
connection is the reason for our local St Saviour’s name? Moreover, its architects were also
the firm of Blomfield.
Sir Frederick’s money came from his brewing interests, and brewing was an important industry in
The splendid 3-tiered brass chandelier at the crossing was given by a brewer’s widow in 1680,
and the organ
commemorates one of the Courage dynasty. (Near Sir Frederick’s memorial is a plaque to
Gilmore, who was head of the Rochester and Southwark Society of Deaconesses. She was a sister
Morris, who once said to her, with admiration, .I preach Socialism. You practise it..)
The nave, .competent but dull. (Pevsner), is by Blomfield and dates from 1890-7, apart from
Norman work and some 13th-century arcading. In the south aisle is the Shakespeare window
scenes from the comedies and the tragedies, figures from The Tempest, and the seven ages of
man, from As You
Like It. Beneath it the Shakespeare monument (1911) has a brown alabaster figure reclining in
front of relief
carvings of old Southwark. His actor brother Edmund was buried in the church, but the grave is
lost. The central
west window (1903) is a Creation design by Henry Holiday, an artist much influenced by William
Seven windows on the north side, all by C E Kempe’s firm and from the first years of the 20th
commemorate famous people associated in some way with Southwark and the cathedral. They are
Goldsmith, Dr Johnson, Henry Sacheverell (an 18th-century preacher with violent anti-Whig
Cruden (of Concordance fame), John Bunyan, John Gower and Chaucer. Gower, friend of Chaucer and
poet, has a canopied tomb (1408) close by, on which the effigy’s head rests on three volumes of
his works. A
touching modern monument is the memorial to the 51 victims of the Marchioness tragedy of 1989.
flowers appear here every day.
In the north transept, which is 100 years older than the south one, is what Pevsner calls the
monument in the cathedral. It is by Nicholas Stone (1633), and commemorates Lady Clerke, using
the theme of
the parable of the sower. Nearby, the rather absurd effigy of Lionel Lockyer (1672), purveyor
of pills, is propped
on one elbow in front of a verse (by him?) praising both his virtues and his pills. Against the
wall is a wooden
Lord Mayor’s sword-rest of 1674 from St Olave’s church that once stood in Tooley Street (see
article in this Bulletin).
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 12
John Harvard, who emigrated to Massachusetts in 1637, was baptised in the church in 1607. In
Chapel is a remarkable spired tabernacle by A W N Pugin, moved here in 1971 from St Augustine
baptism window of 1905 is a characteristic work by the American artist John La Farge, in the
same tradition as the
glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The east wall of the sanctuary is filled by an early 16th-century stone reredos, given by
Bishop Fox (d.1528). Its
tiers of canopied niches have been much restored, with lost canopies replaced in the 19th
century, and figures in
the 20th. Edward VII even finds a place among church worthies from history!
This was a thoroughly interesting visit, and we were lucky to have such informed and keen
in a brief report it is only possible to pick out a few points for mention, and I have probably
upset every reader by
omitting a personal favourite. I can only say to those who haven’t visited .our. cathedral, do
go, enjoy it, and
decide for yourselves.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE 21st CENTURY
During the weekend of 2/3 June a conference organised by Surrey Archaeological Society (SyAS)
was held at the
University of Surrey, with the title .Towards a Research Agenda for the 21st Century.. Several
to landscape history, and this report stresses that aspect of archaeology.
David Field of English Heritage reminded us that prehistoric man would not be conscious of
landscape as a view.
The forest was so important in everyday life that he had limited vision, and had no need to
know that over the hill
were other settlements. He knew, however, that he had to respect nature and the spirits. A
barrier could affect this
but he often relied on a ditch to keep out evil spirits. Linear ditches were a feature of the
times, but whether these
were an aid to farming or marking boundaries is open to question. After several thousand years
many still survive,
probably because it was always better to maintain existing boundaries than to create new.
places greater emphasis on landforms within the countryside as a whole, rather than on single
sites. This opens
new challenges to traditional interpretations of some monuments.
Judie English, a vice-president of SyAS, explored the relationship between man and the land.
indicate landscape features or early use of the land. Place-names with the suffix worth
indicate a homestead. On
the Downs the name referred to stock enclosures suggesting secondary settlements. Names ending
in den or fold
also suggest secondary settlements and in south-west Surrey the latter were close to the parent
4.7km), whereas the dens averaged 12.6km. The suffix ersh indicate arable usage (see also page
Marilyn Palmer of the University of Leicester pointed out the effect of industrialisation on
the landscape. Rivers
provided power sources and transport; woodland yielded fuel, building materials, tools;
extractive industry produced
building stone, bricks and chalk; all of which made a mark on the landscape. Man developed
estates, built country
houses, removed villages and enclosed commons. In Roman times leisure was a feature, with
and hippodromes, but in later times had little effect, until the advent of racecourses,
football grounds and golfcourses.
Dennis Turner, past president of SyAS, spoke of the .plantation period., when the feudal system
took hold in the
manor, with regulated open-field agriculture. Medieval buildings can give an indication of the
size and wealth of
an estate and the social use to which the messuage had been put.
Phil Andrews of Wessex Archaeology described early Kingston. The topography consisted of gravel
which provided foci for early settlements in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Scattered early
Saxon farms were
apparently abandoned by the 9th century, when a royal estate was set up on a central island
with its church and
royal apartments. Kingston was an important crossing-point between Wessex and Mercia, and a
central point of
an area which incorporated Kent and East Anglia. Flooding and land reclamation constantly
changed the landscape.
There were early pottery kilns, and trade flourished, so that by the 12th century Kingston
became an inland port
and market centre. Bridges over the Thames and over the Hogsmill were constructed c1170-90.
John Schofield of the Museum of London described a .zone of special influence. around London.
on the period 1450-1700, but even as early as 1189 grain was being shipped from Henley-on-
Thames to feed
Londoners, and the demand for faggots for fuel affected a wide area before the Black Death. The
the monasteries led to land being available, and London merchants began building large houses
outside the city.
This increased the demand for stone and timber for the newly designed Tudor buildings. Mass
from other parts of the country.
From these few reports (out of a total of 16 papers) it will be seen that a wide range of
topics were covered,
revealing many new directions which archaeology has taken in the past 20 years since the
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 13
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 18 May 2001: Rosemary Turner in the chair.
!!!!!Sheila Harris reported an enquiry from Wandle Housing
Association about a possible plaque on the Priory Gate
House (Wimbledon Palais / Furnitureland) site to mark the
connection with Elizabeth Cook (widow of Captain
James Cook) and Admiral Isaac Smith.
A manuscript accounts book kept from about 1805 to
1830, rescued from a bonfire at Rutlish School, Merton
Park, around 1961, had been passed to Judith Goodman
by a John Innes Society member. Disappointingly, it
proved not to relate to Merton, but rather to
Northamptonshire, and was the expenditure/income
record of a prosperous farmer in a village near
Northampton itself. With the owner’s agreement, it was
sent to the County Archivist of Northamptonshire, who
was delighted to receive it. Interesting words used in the
entries included sharrog, a ‘shear-hog., or a lamb after
its first shearing; teg, a second-year lamb; poarket, a small
pig; couple, a ewe and her lamb.
E F Clark, descendant and biographer of G P Bidder of Mitcham (the .Calculating Boy. and civil
has handed over some photographs and documents relating to another branch of the family, who
Worple Road, Wimbledon. They include F W Bidder (1862-1938), also an engineer, who designed
station’s .travelator., and his daughter Joyce, a distinguished sculptor, who died only
recently. It was agreed
that Surrey History Centre would be the best home for the material. The main Bidder archive is
The date of Queen Eleanor’s coronation had been exercising Lionel Green’s thoughts – that is
Provence, wife of Henry III – not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine (Henry II) or
Eleanor of Castile
(Edward I)! She was crowned at Merton, as he narrated in his article .The Statute of Merton. in
Lionel then led a discussion on how to deal with footnotes and/or references in publications.
Should they all
go at the end, or section by section? with continuous numbering or sub-divided? And should
short notes go
on the page? Opinions varied.
!!!!!Eric Montague reported that he had been contacted by the planning department about a
By coincidence he too had been in touch with Northamptonshire Record Office, who had sent him
the Tait family (once of Mitcham).
At a recent meeting of the Society there had been an enquiry about a 17th-century Act (16/17
concerning navigation on the Wandle. Monty commented on the artificially straight stretches of
the river in
Morden Hall Park. Why did the Garths go to the trouble and expense of such work? The House of
library would have a copy of the Act, and associated documents. Perhaps an interested member
to investigate? Other Acts with local interest would include any relating to tax on printed
He had completed his Birkbeck thesis on .a village under stress. – Mitcham from the 1640s to
This study had brought home to him the value of a survey of a particular place at a particular
!!!!!Peter Hopkins had an item from Surrey Archaeological Society’s Village Project. Judie
English had been
researching field-names with the element -ersh. These appear to be of very early origin,
and there is an apparent correlation with gravel soil. He reported that Merton had two such
fields, on the
Priory’s Merton Grange estates, which stretched from Church Lane to the Wandle. The reference,
1564, is to a grant to John, Earl of Warwick and Henry Sidney and is to closes called Great and
Ottershe. These fields were among those sold to Richard Garth of Morden, to form his farm later
Morden Hall Farm, but their exact location is not as yet clear.
Abbey Gate House, Merton High Street, c.1900
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 14
Peter had been looking at some local wills published on microfilm by West Surrey Family History
and he commented on their value for social and domestic information. One very detailed will was
Slater, vicar of Mitcham, who died in 1637/8.
!!!!!Don Fleming continues to investigate .wards.. In the City of London they were named after
features, eg Cripplegate, which is derived from cripule, a tunnel. Fortunately many records of
in this country, unlike France where most were destroyed in the Revolution. He described how
system of policing by beadles broke down when mass .immigration. from the countryside began.
became responsible instead. Different trades were found in different wards.
!!!!!Bill Rudd had been examining the list of Morden’s rectors and found it surprising that so
many had resigned
(rather than stay on till retirement). He went on to explain his system for cataloguing his
and colour) and his slides, so that they can all be cross-referenced.
An elusive 19th-century character in Lord Monson’s Memoirs was Abraham Dusgate of Norfolk.
Turner, who is a family history expert, had tried to locate him when on a recent visit to
without success. Steve had also received an enquiry about Gorringe Park Parade, which Monty was
Friday 13 July 2001: Bill Rudd in the chair.
!!!!!Sheila Harris reported an enquiry concerning a William Fearnley, who had been a pupil at
Academy” in 1810. This was too early to have been the ‘Academy for Young Gentlemen’ at Morden
Robert Rutter (1745-1815), brother of John Rutter, proprietor of Ravensbury Mill, had a school
Road, in the house later known as Hazelwood. Bill Rudd offered to investigate further.
Sheila also showed photographs taken on the ‘Millais Walk’ led by Barbara Webb in May.
!!!!!Rosemary and Steve Turner brought along printouts of the 1st edition 6″ Ordnance Survey
maps for the
whole of East Surrey, which are available on the Internet. A huge undertaking, and a very
useful and interesting
!!!!!Don Fleming reported a visit to the Local Studies Fair held at the Croydon Heritage Centre
at the Central
Library in Croydon Clocktower in June. A number of local societies had displays, including
Rosemary for East Surrey Family History Society. Don was particularly impressed by the numbers
and young people taking an interest in the event.
Don also commented on the recent programmes on Genealogy on Radio 4, and on an interesting talk
Philipson on Nonsuch Palace at Cheam Library, followed by a walk around the site.
!!!!!Although Judy Goodman was not able to come to the Workshop, she sent further information
farmer’s account book mentioned at the last Workshop. Northamptonshire Record Office had
thank her for arranging for the book to be deposited with them. It has created a lot of
interest, and they have
consulted their Land Tax records and have identified the farmer as a Thomas Marriott.
!!!!!Peter Hopkins brought along some of the medieval accounts of the manor of Morden, which he
to translate. Fortunately they all have a similar structure, and entries in one section can be
with other sections. One side of each annual account roll covers cash transactions, while the
other side has
information on stock of various kinds – grain, livestock and the important medieval ‘commodity’
services owed by the customary tenants to the lord of the manor, Westminster Abbey.
!!!!!Bill Rudd has been pursuing an issue recently raised in the local Guardian newspaper
regarding the numbering
of Lynmouth Avenue, Morden. The house numbers start at 105 (odd numbers) and 146 (even
resident of the adjoining road, Dudley Drive, has shown Bill her deeds, which state that Dudley
originally part of Lynmouth Avenue. Dudley was developed by Crouch and Lynmouth by Wates.
the name had been changed before house-building began in 1937, the original plot numbers were
A similar situation seems to have arisen in the case of Rosebery Close, a turning off Garth
originally ran from 36a to 46a. Presumably the rest of the planned road was cut off by
but Carlingford was completed (1-61, 2-64) by 1938, whereas Rosebery wasn’t started until 1939.
Dates for future workshops: Fridays 19 October and 23 November – 7.30 pm at Wandle Industrial
Bill Rudd points out that, in the third paragraph on page 6 of Bulletin No.138 (June),
store was in Sutton High Street, not in Wimbledon.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 15
51st ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
SNUFF MILL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE, MORDEN HALL PARK
SATURDAY 3 NOVEMBER 2001 at 2.30 pm
Chairman’s welcome. Apologies for absence
Minutes of the 50th AGM held on 4 November 2000
Matters arising from the Minutes
Membership Secretaries. Report
Treasurer’s Report: reception and approval of the financial statement for the year 2000-01,
which will be available at the meeting
Election of Officers for the coming year
Appointment of Hon. Auditor for the coming year
Election of a Committee for the coming year
Motions of which due notice has been given:
Revised subscription rates 2002-2003
10 Any other business
At the conclusion of the business part of the Meeting there will be a Quiz.
NOMINATIONS for Officers and Committee members should reach the Hon. Secretary 14 days before
AGM, though additional nominations may be received at the AGM with the consent of members.
MOTIONS for the AGM must be sent to the Hon. Secretary in writing at least 14 days before the
Please bring this copy of the Bulletin with you to the AGM.
The MEMBERSHIP SECRETARIES remind members that subscriptions are due on 1 October.
The current rates are:
Single member £6
Additional member in same household £3
Student member £1
A renewal form is enclosed with this Bulletin. Please complete it and return it with your
subscription to the
Membership Secretaries, or in person at a meeting. Members who pay their subscriptions by
Order, please ignore the renewal form.
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor.
The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the contributors concerned and not
necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 139 – SEPTEMBER 2001 – PAGE 16