September 2003 – Bulletin 147
G A Storey RA at Morden Hall Academy – J A Goodman
A Treasure Map of Merton Priory? – P J Hopkins
Walter de Merton, ‘The Clerk of Basingstoke’ – R Ninnis
Merton Priory: 13th-Century Church Disputes – L E Green
Robert de Bethune, Bishop of Hereford – L E Green
The Excavation of Bennett’s Mill 2002 – D Luff
and much more
PRESIDENT: J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA PRESIDENT: J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA
VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Lionel Green and William Rudd
BULLETIN NO. 147 CHAIRMAN: Peter Hopkins SEPTEMBER 2003
Wednesday 17 September 2.00pm Visit to Chelsea Physic Garden
This is the second oldest physic garden in the country, having been established by the
Company in 1676. Botanical research is still carried on here.
Numbers are limited. Please book with Sheila Harris. There is a charge, on the day, of £6 per
Meet at the entrance in Swan Walk, which is off Royal Hospital Road.
Nearest station is Sloane Square.
Saturday 11 October 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
.Merton, Mitcham and Morden Commons.
This year’s Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture is to be given by John Pile, one of our members.
Though based in Hampshire for many years, where he is a well-known local historian, John spent
his youth in Morden and retains a deep interest in the history of our area. He is a member of
Surrey Archaeological Society, and the history of commons is a favourite subject of his.
Saturday 1 November 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental
Annual General Meeting
The business part of the meeting will be followed by short talks from members. Eileen Lilley
agreed to speak about .City Livery Companies.. Any other members who would like to offer a
brief talk on a subject of historical interest please contact Peter Hopkins or Sheila Harris.
Saturday 6 December 2.30 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
.Merton in Wartime.
Tom Kelley, one of our members, will recall life in Merton during World War II and illustrate
talk with objects from his large collection.
(The Snuff Mill Centre, in Morden Hall Park, is on several bus routes. Car drivers use the
garden centre car-
park. Take the path across the bridge, go through the gateway and turn right. The Snuff Mill is
The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.
Non-members are invited to make a small donation to help with the Society’s running costs.
A VISIT TO DORKING
An enthusiastic party of members and friends were met at Dorking station on Saturday 17 May by
Green and his colleague, Sue Tombs, and then set off in two groups towards the town centre.
Dorking lies between the North Downs and the Weald, on a band of sandy soil, close to Surrey’s
high points . Box Hill (Chalk) and Leith Hill (Greensand). It has its own little watercourse,
which flows into the
Mole and once supported six mills. This is the Pippbrook. The name derives from OE pipe, ‘small
as does that of Phipps Bridge at Mitcham. The route of the Roman Stane Street from Chichester
which has been traced through the town, continued via Mickleham. A later road climbed the Downs
Tadworth, while the present road, the A24, dates only from a Turnpike Act of 1755.
Pippbrook House (1856), now the library, was designed in the office of, but probably not by,
Sir George Gilbert
Scott (1811-78). It is large, Gothic, and categorised as .very ugly: the ugliness of
carelessness and insensitivity.
by Nairn and Pevsner (revised Cherry). It used to house the council offices, which now occupy a
set of inter-connected pavilions close by.
In front of the recently refurbished Dorking Halls (1931) is a statue of Ralph Vaughan Williams
composer, conductor and organist, who lived in Westcott Road, Dorking, from 1929 to 1953. His
with Lady Farrer, founded the Leith Hill Music Festival at which Vaughan Williams conducted the
nearly 50 years.
Another of Dorking’s notable citizens was Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855), also commemorated by a
great speculative builder is probably best remembered now for his development of Belgravia and
for the royal holiday home, Osborne House. In 1851 Cubitt built a 100-room Italianate mansion
for himself at
Ranmore, just north of the town, called Denbies (demolished 1953, though the name survives as
that of one of
our best-known vineyards).
The buildings of the High Street (really East Street) offer a mixture
of ages and styles. They include the Surrey Yeoman, once the
Royal Oak, but renamed in 1810 in honour of the Earl of Rothes,
Colonel of the Surrey Yeomanry. Near it is a row of 18th-century
shops, and on a corner site the Café Rouge occupies a 16th-century
timber-framed building. Parts of the attractive White Horse are
also timber-framed. Its site was given to the Knights Templars by
Earl de Warenne, and on suppression of the Order in 1308 it passed
to the Knights of St John. The building became known as Cross
House, but did not become a hostelry till 1750.
The extra width of the High Street at one point marks the site of
the market which was held here until 1927. It was especially famous
for poultry, the Dorking cock being a distinctive breed with five
claws on each foot. Church Passage is the site of the kick-off for
the Shrove Tuesday football. This match, which lasted three hours,
involved first the boys, with a red ball, then the men with a blue
ball, and then everybody, with the white ball. This riotous ritual
was finally suppressed about 100 years ago.
Thanks to architect Henry Woodyer, say Pevsner et al, Dorking is the only Surrey town to be
dominated by its
church. Woodyer was a pupil of Henry Butterfield, and St Martin’s is considered his most
important church. It
belongs almost entirely to the period 1868-77 (the Lady Chapel is later). There had been
several rebuildings of
Dorking’s church over the centuries and the so-called .Intermediate Church. which was replaced
present one had stood for only 30 years, but had become thoroughly disliked. The new church is
lofty and well proportioned, with a tall west tower and spire. The west windows were designed
in 1884 by
Henry Holiday, a well-known artist much influenced by William Morris. Those of the north and
(1875-94) are by James Powell of Whitefriars. Arthur Powell, the firm’s senior partner, lived
in Dorking from
1858 to 1894. The Powells are known to have supplied much of the glass used by Morris & Co, but
designs were backward-looking in comparison with Morris’s. (While their craftsmanship was
superb, it remains
surprising that the firm that made the windows at St Martin’s also made, for instance, Philip
modern table glassware for Morris & Co.) There are also a number of panels made by Powell of
mosaic on backgrounds of opus sectile (stone inlay). In the church we also learned more about
Williams in Dorking from Renée Stewart, an expert on the subject, and she showed us the
kneelers in the Lady
Chapel which were made in 1972 to mark the centenary of his birth.
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
The White Horse, Dorking
drawing by Hugh Thomson 1907
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 2
After lunch we divided again into our two groups and took turns to visit the caves and the
unmarked wooden door in the rockface near the war memorial is the unlikely entrance to
caves. Cut out of the local sandstone in the 17th century for who knows what purpose, they have
times been used as storage for wine, dairy products and council equipment, but not, it seems,
as air raid shelters.
They descend to about 18 metres below street level and culminate in a small chamber with a
curved back wall
and a low bench cut out of the rock on three sides. Here and there they are penetrated
vertically by old well-
shafts, which once served houses above. Rough footholds have been cut in the walls of these
shafts, and graffiti
. of various periods . are scattered about. Our visit was illuminated by candles and was a
experience. Harry Tyler and his wife were our able guides.
The museum has a good display of pictures, ephemera, bygones, geological specimens and so
forth, and upstairs
there is an enviable collection of books, journals, newspapers and photographs on open access
to researchers or
the merely curious. Bette Phillips gave us a most friendly welcome, and Lionel’s wife, Sheila,
and sister, Doris,
kindly produced cups of tea and biscuits. After thank-yous and goodbyes we set off for the
station, along the
Pippbrook, and only then did the rain come down.
Our thanks to Lionel, and to the others who assisted him, for an excellently planned and most
On Friday 25 May Morden Cottage, in Morden Hall Park, was visited by members of the MHS
escorted by the National Trust’s estate manager of its Wandle properties. The Cottage, which
dates in part from
the 1750s, was the home of Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, the last lord of the manor of Morden, who
died in 1941. For
some 25 years or so following the Trust’s acquisition of the Morden Hall estate the house was
offices by the Engineer and Surveyor of Merton & Morden Urban District, and subsequently the
of Merton. The Registrar’s Office followed, and remained there until the Registrar and staff
moved to more
spacious premises at Morden Park in November 2000. Since then Morden Cottage has been
and this summer has welcomed its new tenants, Groundwork Merton, the landscape consultants,
include the recent landscaping of Wandle Park. They have moved from premises at Merton Abbey
The interior, which few members of the public have seen, retains only a few original features,
such as a length
of moulded cornice in one room, or a door with what could be 18th-century furniture. Inside,
the house is in fact
a warren of relatively small rooms, betraying the fact that it has been extended on various
occasions, but here
and there more spacious accommodation has now been created, notably in parts of the old snuff
mill. In all,
Groundwork are to be congratulated on their good fortune, and we in Merton Historical Society
wish them a long
and rewarding sojourn in what must be one of the most idyllic settings to be found in the
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 3
PETER HOPKINS reports on our VISIT TO WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Twenty members and guests gathered at Westminster Abbey on Friday 6 June, for a very special
the scenes, organised by Rosemary Turner. Members will remember the excellent talk Rosemary
gave us on her
work in repairing the historic vestments of the Abbey. She was a founder member of the Guild of
St Faith, set up
23 years ago to make use of the expertise of volunteers such as Rosemary.
There was some confusion over the timing of our visit, which meant that we had an hour to
spare, which we
soon put to good use in exploring the Abbey and the Cloisters. Then the Dean’s Verger, Maureen
Jupp, who is
the official responsible for the vestments, and who set up the Guild, took us across the South
Transept and down
into the Crypt beneath the Chapter House. The first thing that she pointed out was the massive
a survival from Edward the Confessor’s church, reused to support Henry III’s 13th-century
She then opened the huge cupboard in which the altar frontals and dossals are kept and,
starting with those from
George V and Queen Mary, showed us the full collection, with their amazingly intricate
needlecraft. After this
we saw some of the 17th-century vestments bought for Charles II’s coronation, some of which are
still used on
special occasions. These were imported from the Continent and, unfortunately, were not the work
own court embroiderer, William Rutlish! Maureen pointed out some of the work undertaken by
her colleagues in restoring these priceless items. Other, more recent, vestments were then
an item from the set given by our present Queen after her Coronation, and used just a few days
before at the
service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Coronation. Finally we had the privilege of
being taken to see the
High Altar with its frontal depicting the Transfiguration, with hosts of angels each side. The
colours of the
angels. garments had been carefully matched with those of the disciples at the Last Supper
depicted in mosaic
on the reredos. As we returned to the Crypt to collect our belongings, various visitors
attempted to follow us, but
were turned away, highlighting the immense privilege that we were enjoying, thanks to
After lunch we were welcomed to the Library by Dr Tony Trowles, the Abbey’s librarian. He
explained that the
Library occupies about one-third of the Monks. Dormitory, the other two thirds having been
partitioned off to
create a school room in the late 16th century. The school still occupies the other part, though
it has been rebuilt
after bombing in the 2nd world war. The bookcases are the gift of a 17th-century dean of
additions and modifications in the 18th century to house a substantial bequest from another
While half the group explored the Library, the other half was taken to the Muniment Room by Dr
Mortimer, keeper of the muniments. The Abbey has a vast collection of administrative documents,
back to the 10th century. The Muniment Room was first connected to the Library in the 1930s,
when a gallery
was built over the Cloister. A wooden spiral staircase links this gallery with the Library. The
itself is also situated over the Cloister and overlooks the South Transept. It is open to the
Abbey, and on one side
we were able to view the South Transept, looking down on Poets. Corner and up to the square
rose window, its
shape normally concealed by the Gothic arch in front of it. The Muniment Room is divided by a
wall with a 14thcentury
wall painting of Richard II’s personal device, a white hart. This is just visible from Poet’s
Dr Mortimer showed us two of the many documents relating to Morden. The first referred to the
Thomas de Senesfeld to St Lawrence Church between 1230 and 1241. The Abbey had the right of
of the rector of Morden, who paid the Abbey an annual pension of half a mark (6s 8d or 33p). It
was as evidence
of their right to receive this pension that the Abbey had kept this small document in its
archives! The second
document was one of the 100 account rolls detailing, on one side, the cash transactions of the
Abbey’s estate at
Morden and, on the other side, transactions relating to grain, livestock etc.
At the north end of the Muniment Room, which overlooks the Choir, we were shown two massive oak
dating from around 1100. They must have been at least 12 foot long and were about 4 foot wide
and 3 foot high.
How they were brought into the room is a mystery, for they predate the present building. There
smaller medieval chests around, used for storing documents over the centuries. One large oak
cupboard, with its
original ironwork, is still used to store the account rolls.
When we left the Library, Rosemary took us to the medieval Infirmary, which is now used as a
workroom by the
Guild of St Faith. When she first joined the Guild this room had no heating and only one light,
a hanging lantern!
It was only when the waxworks were stored here for a time that heating and modern lighting were
wax was cracking in the cold! We then went on to look round the Little Cloister, now a
delightful garden area,
surrounded by various houses and flats occupied by Abbey and school staff. The ruins of the
medieval chapel of
St Catherine have also been turned into a private garden.
We are very grateful to Rosemary for arranging this fascinating tour of places not seen by the
It was a very special day for all of us. Our thanks also to Maureen, Tony and Richard for
making us so welcome.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 4
VISIT TO THE WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY AND AUDLEY END
A nicely varied tour planned again by the Kilsbys took a coach-load of MHS members and WEA
and Selsdon) members on Saturday 5 July, first to Essex-in-London and then to Essex-in-the-
approached Walthamstow by way of south-east London, the Blackwall Tunnel and then east London,
made Water House (London Borough of Waltham Forest, admission free) in its green setting all
appealing by contrast. The third of William Morris’s childhood homes, and the only one to
survive, it now houses
a biographical display as well as a collection of textiles, papers, glassware and furniture
created by Morris & Co,
and ceramics by William De Morgan. The gallery is also home to the Brangwyn Gift of paintings
Brangwyn, who himself contributed some stained-glass designs for Morris & Co, and after whom,
Brangwyn Crescent in Colliers Wood was named. Later designers, including Voysey and Mackmurdo
represented. Outside there are attractive gardens, a moated island (peninsula really) and an
aviary to enjoy.
From there we went on to lunch at Chigwell (not Chingford as the Kilsbys had originally
planned, because the
restaurant there let us down) in the picturesque old King’s Head . inspiration for the Maypole
Barnaby Rudge, which, with the church and the green, makes a charmingly rural scene.
Rather slow service at lunch, though the food was good, meant we arrived later than planned at
Not MHS members at the
King’s Head, but citizens of
Chigwell at the Maypole.
Drawing by Hablot Brown
for Barnaby Rudge (1841)
(English Heritage), but there was enough time to tour the house and then either explore at
least part of the
grounds or visit the teashop. Impressive though this handsome Jacobean house is, what we now
have is only a
fragment of the immense mansion built 1605-14 by Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer
I. It had become so dilapidated by the mid-18th century that to save just a portion most of it
However what remains is magnificent, and visitors can see a number of different periods
reflected in the rooms
shown. There is a fine hall, with Jacobean Revival as well as original features, and there are
good staircases. The original state apartments have fittings and furniture of later date. And
as in so many grand
houses the hand of Robert Adam left its mark here, especially in the dining parlour and two
chapel is 19th-century Gothick. Throughout there are some distinguished pictures by Holbein,
Kneller, van Goyen (a favourite of mine) and others.
The grounds were landscaped in 1762 by .Capability. Brown, who dammed the River Cam and got
design an elegant bridge as a highlight. We saw coots nesting on the lake so formed. There is a
stable block and a huge organic kitchen garden.
Finally we were whisked back home, mainly by Motorways 11 and 25, after a truly satisfying day.
to Pat and Ray, and to Banstead Coaches for a comfortable coach and a steady driver.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 5
In his Sketches from Memory, published in 1899, the artist G A STOREY, ARA, recollected his
SCHOOLDAYS AT MORDEN HALL IN THE 1840s
Events link themselves together so strangely in our memories that the least important seem to
crop up unbidden
and force themselves upon us. I was debating whether to say anything about my school-days, when
the name of
Sam Weller called to mind a character who was somewhat akin to him; indeed, he might have been
relation, for he had something of the same kind of humour, and his occupation was a similar
one, only on a larger
scale, for the individual I am reminded of was the boots and general servingman of the
establishment at Morden
Hall, in Surrey, where I received the first rudiments of my education.
He was always at work, for he had to clean the knives and forks used by seventy boys, wait at
their meals, carry
in pails of water to the washingroom, clean all the boots, and look after the horse and trap
kept by the headmaster.
Still, he was cheerful. I can just remember he had light curly hair, a round, reddish, good-
tempered face, and
invariably appeared to be in a hurry. When he handed round the bread-and-scrape, great thick
were piled in heaps on his wooden tray, he ran down the tables as fast as he could, telling the
boys he had no time
for them to pick and choose. They made darts and grabs at the hunks, and a sort of scramble for
bread was the result. At dinner the boys were allowed to choose their meat, either fat or lean,
under-done, and our humorous waiter would constantly bring well-done fat to those who wanted
lean, and under-done lean to those who wanted well-done fat. He told me one day, with a very
that he was going to leave. When I asked him the reason, he said it was because he had no more
‘spit. left to
clean the boots with. Polly, as he called the housekeeper or mistress, was, he said, so
economical that she
wouldn’t buy blacking, and the consequence was that he was dried up. If the bell rang, he would
sing out to a
kind of chant or hymn tune, .Coming,. skip over the forms, and dance out of the room.
To think, that out of all the inmates of Morden Hall, my memory should only single out the
boots, whose very
name I forget; especially as the headmaster, Mr. T. N. White, was one of the kindest of men.
And I ought,
certainly, to pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. H. P. Ashby, who was not only a clever artist,
but my first
instructor in painting. It was he who, at the giving away of the prizes at the end of a term,
made me supremely
happy. After all had been distributed, and I was lamenting that there was not one for me, he
stepped forward and
asked to be allowed to say one or two words. He had what appeared to be a little jewelcase in
his hand, and
when he held it up I could see it contained a silver palette. After a short speech, which I
forget, but which made
my heart beat violently, he called me by name and presented the palette to me, amidst the
deafening shouts and
hoorays of my schoolfellows, which still ring in my ears.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 6
G A STOREY RA (1834-1919)
George Adolphus Storey was born in London on 7 January 1834. Even
as a small child he was interested in painting and he seems to have had
considerable natural artistic talent. As a boarder at Morden Hall
Academy he was taught painting by Henry (Harry) Pollard Ashby
(1809-1892), who lived at Wandlebank House in what is now Wandle
Park. Ashby was a minor artist, son of a portrait and genre painter,
also Henry, of Mitcham, and is said to have been an associate of
Constable. Both Ashbys were RA exhibitors.
Only about 14 when he left school at Morden, Storey was sent to Paris
to study mathematics and then returned to London to work in an
architect’s office. In 1850 he decided, just as his exact contemporary
William Morris would, to abandon architecture and make art his career,
and he entered Leigh’s art school in Newman Street. At the age of
only 18 he succeeded in having a picture accepted by the Royal
Academy and at 20 he entered the Academy Schools.
His early work was pre-Raphaelite in style but he
achieved more popularity with what a contemporary
critic called his .capital De Hooghish Dutch interior
style.. Later he became better known for his
portraits, his reputation dating from Mistress
Dorothy (RA 1873), a young woman in riding-dress
and broad-rimmed hat . the latter starting a short-
lived fashion. Pastiche historical scenes formed
another successful part of Storey’s repertoire.
He settled in St John’s Wood, home to many artists,
and he became part of a group known as the St
John’s Wood Clique, whose members included
Philip Hermogenes Calderon, George Dunlop
Leslie, Henry Stacy Marks and William Frederick
Yeames. They all favoured historical subjects and
the poet Swinburne mocked them as .the School
of Slashed Breeches.. Storey writes amusingly in
his autobiography of the Clique’s attempts to
persuade the wily print-dealer Ernest Gambart to
purchase their paintings or reproduction rights to
them. Though the artists. names are scarcely
remembered today, most of us could recognise
When Did You Last See Your Father? even if we
couldn’t name the painter (it was Yeames). In the
National Portrait Gallery collection there are
amusing photographs of Clique members posing in
various fanciful costumes.
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
In 1876 Storey became ARA, and in 1900 he was
appointed RA Teacher of Perspective. In 1914 he became RA, with automatic designation as
Perspective. He died on 29 July 1919, having in the course of his long career exhibited 172
works at the RA. His
anecdotal autobiography Sketches From Memory (1899) is copiously illustrated. There are works
of his in
private collections (Mistress Dorothy belongs to one of the Rothschilds), in the Victoria
Gallery in Bath, the
Walker Gallery, the Graves Gallery in Sheffield and, I am sure, elsewhere. If any reader can
locate others of
Storey’s works I should be very interested to hear.
C Forbes The Royal Academy (1837-1901) Revisited exhibition catalogue, New York 1975
C Wood Victorian Painting Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1999
Witt Library of the Cortauld Institute, file on G A Storey
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 7
PETER HOPKINS reports on
LOCK, STOCK & DORRELL . A TREASURE MAP OF MERTON
In March I received a letter from David Saxby, the Museum of London Archaeology Service
responsible for excavations at the Merton Priory site. In it he enclosed a photocopy of the map
opposite, asking if the Society could shed any light on it. Apparently it was dropped to the
site c.1987-1988 by
someone from Sutton, but no-one knew who the donor was.
Although I have had to reduce it from an A3 sheet to fit the page, I have made no attempt to
clean it up. The
smudges in the corners show where tape was fixed when it was traced from the original.
Hidden in the discoloured area at the left-hand side is the heading, .COPY OF DOCTOR
SHOCKWELL’s MAP 16531727
., but MoLAS call it .the treasure map., as it purports to locate a .VAULTED ARCH. in which a
box of plate had
been hidden at the time of the dissolution of the Priory. The note on the right-hand side
.Jeff, this vault is supposed to have been here in 1697 and was called the Arms Vault and a
work by a Mr Betty existed then wherein he supposed that inside it lay a box of plate not
deposited with Henry VIII and his commissioners. Mr Betty said that a king’s coat of arms
was kept within but didn’t say which king or when..
MR BETTY’s HOUSE is depicted to the left of this note, with a HEDGEROW (marked by a hatched
it from land held by MR BETTY. Above the house an arrow points to a structure labelled MR BETTY
VAULTED ARCH. To the left of this structure is a buttressed section of an apse, probably part
of the Chapter
House. STONE WALLS representing part of the Priory Church are also depicted, with one house
built against the
inside of the right-hand wall, labelled MR STOCKS HOUSE, and another in the centre of the
Chancel area, labelled
DORRELLS HOUSE. Land occupied by MR DORRELL is shown at the top. STABLES are shown to the left
Church walls, and an OLD HOUSE in the corner of the west end. Trees grow within the former
Chancel and east
of the Chapter House. A FALLEN WALL is at the north east corner of the Chancel, and a [REBUILT]
WALL at the west end of the Church. A PIT is shown to the east of MR BETTY’s HOUSE, and several
are depicted around the site . a reminder that the Priory ruins were still being used as a
source of building stone
in the locality. Just below the compass rose is a CARTER’s STONE HUT, and another HUT is shown
among trees on
the east bank of the river. A CHAPEL WITH STABLES is shown next to a water mill labelled MERRY
MILL with a BRICK TIMBER BARN adjoining. A POND is shown to the right of the mill, and a DRY
POND above it. On
the west bank is another HUT, a length of FLINT AND LIMESTONE WALL with a GATE AND DOOR, CALLED
Another GATEAND DOOR abuts another length of FLINTAND LIMESTONE WALL running parallel to the
river. A house
is depicted in this area, labelled MR LOCKES. In the bottom right corner is a FALLEN BARN,
STONE WALLS, MADE UP
WALL, TIMBER AND RED BRICK. Above this is marked the SITE OF FORMER DWELLING, among the trees.
According to the key, the solid black lines represent WALLS OF ABBEY OR OTHER STONE BUILDINGS,
a pecked line
– – – – depicts WALLS BURIED BUT STILL TO BE SEEN, curving fine lines delineate PATHS. Straight
measurements, though the map is not to scale. The crosses scattered between the church and the
WHERE CORPSES WERE FOUND BY MR BETTY.
The names Lock[e] and Dorrell are well-known in the history of Merton, though not concurrently.
There was one
known reference to .Mr Lock of Merton Abbey., but this map is the first piece of evidence to
locate him at the
property in which the Norman arch was later discovered. Merton Abbey was not one of the many
owned by the Lock family. When Aubrey visited c.1673 the house was occupied by .Mr Pepys., who
the estate in 1668. One branch of the Lock family lived in Wimbledon until 1679 but the
family’s long connection
with Merton itself had been thought to have ended in 1646 with the sale of Church House and
together with the tithes and other rectorial rights. In 1697 these properties and rights were
bought by Robert
Dorrell, whose son, John Dorrell, bought the lordship of the manor of Merton two years later.
There was no
manor house in Merton, although a farm and some leasehold cottages were sold along with the
manorial rights, so
perhaps the new lord of the manor lived in the house at Merton Abbey, small though it appears.
However, a John
Dorrell of Morden, husbandman, had died in 1624, and a Robert and Catherine Dorrell had leased
now covered by Morden Hall Garden Centre, at some time before 1716, so the family may already
have had local
connections. Mr Betty’s name has not so far appeared in local records, nor that of Mr Stock[s].
The name MERRY MILL attached to a mill on the site of the present Merton Abbey (Liberty)
Wheelhouse is also
a surprise. The Priory was known to possess a pair of mills known as the Amery Mills, but they
believed to have been on the site later used as a copper mill and then for the Board Mills.
If this map is genuine then it casts doubts on some of our established ideas regarding Merton’s
history. If any
reader has anything to offer on Dr Shockwell or his map, or Mr Betty and his work, please let
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 8
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 9
.CALLED IN COMMON PARLANCE AFTER MERTON“
RAY NINNIS reviews THE CLERK OF BASINGSTOKE, A Life of Walter de Merton, Michael Franks,
sometime Postmaster [Scholar] of Merton College, Oxford, Alden Press, Oxford 2003, paperback
profits from the book go to the Development Fund of Merton College.)
It is to be expected that a resident of the Borough of Merton, when visiting Rochester, might
be aware (in addition to the Dickensian associations) that Walter de Merton is buried in the
cathedral. But, having seen much of interest in the city and the cathedral, including Walter
de Merton’s tomb, it was only by chance that I noticed, among the postcards and numerous
souvenirs on the cathedral’s sales stall, a copy of this new biography.
In the preface tribute is paid to the main published sources of Walter’s life: Hobhouse’s
Sketch (1859), Highfield’s Early Rolls of Merton College (1964), Martin and Highfield’s
A History of Merton College (1997), and the relevant article in theDictionary of National
Biography (‘soon to be replaced by a new article by Professor Martin.). Among many
whose help is acknowledged is .Miss Barbara Webb of Worcester Park who guided me
round Walter’s manor of Malden, straddling the Hogsmill River. (some readers may recall
a similar guided tour of the same area, but with emphasis on the activities of the artist
The introduction starts as a verbal visit to 13th-century England (pictorially enhanced by
scenes from the Luttrell Psalter). This provides the historical setting for Walter’s character
and career, and concludes: .Walter’s surname .de Merton. itself reflects his rise in life,
being derived from his association from boyhood with the Augustinian Merton Priory …
[T]here is limited factual evidence about much of Walter’s personal life . but [his] main claim
to our attention and interest rests
upon his achievements during his life and his educational legacy . which are well recorded..
In 12 chapters including those devoted to Origins, Early Life and Education, Merton Priory .
the Professional Clerk (c.1220-38),
Royal Service (c.1235-42 and 1247-74), Serving the Prince Bishop (of Durham,c.1241-47), the
Foundation of Merton College
(1262-74), Bishop of Rochester (1274-77) and Walter’s Legacy, Mr Franks presents the documented
events in his subject’s
personal and professional life. As well as the significance of Merton priory, Walter’s
activities in relation to the relatively local
manors of Malden, Chessington and Farleigh, and the foundation of his college are dealt with at
length. His six years spent in
Durham, and the international nature of the medieval church are shown to have probably
contributed to the development of
Walter’s ideas regarding the foundation of a college . and at Oxford.
Here also are found answers, or well-informed related speculation, to such questions as: why
did .a well-to-do Hampshire
family with land to farm (and probably a property portfolio to manage). and (eventually) seven
daughters to settle in life, launch
their only son into a career in the Church?; why was Walter (probably) educated at Merton
priory, and what did that education
entail?; what was the connection between Merton priory and Mauger’s Hall, situated on the east
side of the Cornmarket, a few
yards north of Carfax, and where Walter probably lodged while a student at Oxford?; are any of
the surviving representations
of Walter reliable evidence of his actual appearance, and why was he eventually assigned the
.differenced. arms of Clare?;
why is it likely that Walter’s fall from his horse, and subsequent death, occurred, not in
Kent, but in Lincolnshire or Northamptonshire?;
and why did The Sunday Times in 2000 include Walter among the 200 wealthiest individuals in
Britain since 1066?
In spite of .lack of detail. regarding Walter’s personal life, a convincing portrayal is
provided of .a fascinating, multi-faceted
character, at ease in all levels of society, a clerk who (eventually) became a bishop; a much
loved and respected counsellor and
friend; a generous host; a senior Royal servant (King’s Clerk); Chancellor of England (twice,
and effectively Regent when
Edward I was away on Crusade); successful property speculator and developer; a first class
lawyer and conveyancer; an
educational visionary, and . at all times a devoted family man.. The only hint of
dissatisfaction comes from the Rochester
Chronicler, Haddenham. Perhaps Walter was not as active on behalf of the diocese as he might
have been, but it is suggested
that his health may have been failing (he was only bishop in the last three years of his life)
and in the spring of 1275 he was at
Merton priory ‘spending much time on writing his will.. Visits to Oxford and attending
Parliament at Westminster follow, and
even a final trip up to Durham barely a month before his death.
Some continental European interests of the English church before the Reformation may surprise,
and at least one reader of this
biography, if again he passes Ghent on the E40 and glimpses the cupola of St Peter’s Abbey
there, will be reminded of Walter
and one thing he tried to do for Rochester while he was bishop.
The heading of this article is taken from an extract from the Latin Chronicle of Thomas Wykes,
Canon of Osney, as translated
by Thomas Braun, Dean of Merton College. The extract forms one of three appendices, which
together with an extensive index
and numerous maps, plans and coloured illustrations, complement the main text.
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
The 17th-century portrait of Walter
that is in the Bodleian Library
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 10
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOP
Friday 27 June 2003 . 8 present, Judith Goodman in the chair.
!!!!!Sheila Harris had received from a Mrs Brooks the original contract papers between her
George Blay, builder, relating to the erection of four houses in Bushey Road SW20. Agreed that
be sent to Surrey History Centre, but a copy would be retained in MHS archives. (Blay built
in and around Grand Drive in the 1920s and 1930s, including the large blocks of flats called
in Bushey Road.)
Also she had been sent by Katherine Watts, now living in Dorset, a typescript entitled .A
Child’s view of
Mitcham 1922-34.. She and her family lived in Berkeley Place, London Road (Plate 16 in Old
before moving to Western Road when the old houses there were demolished. (The site is now the
shops north of the Baron Grove junction with London Road.) An interesting account, it will
initially be considered
by the Editorial Sub-Committee.
!!!!!Sue Mansell reported on the recent demolition of the detached Edwardian (?) house latterly
used as Rose
Hill Community Centre (just over .our. boundary, in Carshalton), the history of which she would
research. Various sources were suggested, and Sue was recommended to start at Sutton Local
!!!!!Lionel Green had brought along Michael Franks. The Clerk of Basingstoke . a Life of Walter
borrowed from Ray Ninnis [see page 10].
He then he spoke about the appointments of bishops in medieval times, and how these were not
without controversy [see page 13].
!!!!!ENM outlined work in progress on re-writing his account of the calico-printing industries
at Merton Abbey
(first published 1992) to incorporate valuable new information provided by the late John
Wallace of the John
Innes Society, and Peter McGow of Croydon.
!!!!!Judith Goodman talked briefly on the Mitcham connections of George Haité (1825-71) [see
and his son George Charles Haité (1855-1924). Both were textile designers, and the son, who
lived most of
his life at Bedford Park, was also an artist and illustrator. Peter Hopkins was able to confirm
that a William
Haité had earlier lived at the weatherboarded house The Nook, or White House, in Phipps Bridge
Plate 13, facing page 70 of Evelyn Jowett’s A History of Merton and Morden), the site of which
!!!!!Don Fleming drew attention to an article in History Today on the former William Morris
home, Red House
at Bexleyheath, where, during work by the National Trust, new features are coming to light.
timed visits only.
Don also produced photos and correspondence relating to the early days at Banstead Hospital,
passed to him
by a retired nurse for safe-keeping. It was agreed that these should be offered to Surrey
!!!!!Peter Hopkins produced an impressive array of annotated maps of Merton .village. produced
of the 1844 Tithe Map, and circulated pages from his computerised transcripts of the Merton and
Land Tax records 1780-1831. These, on disk, now form a potentially valuable database for future
providing information on land ownership and occupation.
!!!!!Bill Rudd concluded a useful meeting by describing findings from his latest up-dating
survey of retailing
outlets in Morden. Commencing over half a century ago, he has created a unique (and revealing)
changes in shopping habits.
From his .archive. he recently offered the Heritage Centre for exhibition an autographed
programme of a
performance of Cavalleria Rusticana at Covent Garden in 1967, in which Morden’s Amy Shuard sang
role of Santuzza. Miss Shuard was first discovered as a schoolgirl by music teacher Miss Knight
and went on
to become an international opera singer.
Finally he was pleased to report that (perhaps prompted by an article contributed to
theBulletin) the Bazalgette
tomb in St Mary’s churchyard, Wimbledon, is to be restored, with help from English Heritage.
Dates of next workshops:
Friday 26 September and Friday 21 November at 7.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum
All are welcome
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 11
DON FLEMING reports:
THE .ELIZABETH. EXHIBITION AT GREENWICH, or WELCOME
It is remarkable that just one word, .Elizabeth., has brought the crowds to the National
Maritime Museum for
this exhibition, which is running from 1 May to 14 September.
She was born on the site where the exhibition is, on 7 September 1533, and died on 24 March
1603 at her palace
of Richmond . so it is appropriate she should return, after 470 years.
Dr David Starkey is the guest curator, who has done a superb job with the help of a talented
team who have
supported him on this project. Subtle use of lighting and theatrical effects enhance this
The best use of this is on the armour of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, which is the
first thing you see on
entry. He murdered two people when he was young, and was a lout. This did not stop him being
popular at court.
This gives us some clue as to the composition of Elizabeth’s court. He had been a favourite of
Henry VIII, made
a fortune and was a good, tough, soldier. Also on display is the tournament armour of Robert
Dudley, Earl of
The exhibition is in sections . Young Elizabeth; Elizabeth’s England; Threat to the Crown (Mary
Queen of Scots,
of course); Expansion; and the Spanish Armada.
Throughout there are portraits of Elizabeth painted at various stages of her life. My favourite
is the first you see
on entering, painted when she was just 14, at about the time of her father’s death. She has a
slightly chubby face
with a pointed chin. Her beautiful hands hold a book of devotion. At her right elbow is a large
open book, to show
us how studious she was. At this time she was nowhere near the throne, but I felt I was being
Elizabethan ‘spin.. She wears a beautiful red dress and a string of pearls, for purity, which
she would wear all
her life. Her black eyes look directly at me, questioning and suspicious, vulnerable and
There are letters she wrote and documents she signed. One letter is written in her most
beautiful handwriting to
her half-brother, King Edward VI. Cheerful and cheeky, it starts .Like as a shipman in stormy
down the sails, tarrying for better wind, so did I, most noble King, .. She was 19.
One year later, in the spring of 1544, Edward was dead, and her half-sister Mary on the throne.
being escorted to the Tower of London on suspicion of treason. The writing of her letter to
Mary at this time
shows she was under great stress, and fearful. Many years later she said this was the most
dangerous time of
her life. She thought she would be beheaded as her mother had been.
Also on display are her saddle – she was an expert horsewoman – and her locket ring, which
opened to show
miniatures of herself and her mother, Anne Boleyn, with their joint motto .Always the Same..
For the price of my ticket I also received a booklet Transcripts of Key Documents which is
I have two minor quibbles:
On approaching the entrance there is a large screen which showed Dr
Starkey glaring at me, which reminded me of Orwell’s 1984.
There is very little about Elizabeth’s residences.
However, this is an excellent exhibition, and I intend to visit it again – but the
young lady who handed me my ticket told me it is packed at weekends.
PS This is the first verse of a poem by Sir John Davies in honour of Elizabeth:
E mpresse of flowers, tell where away
L ies your sweet Court this merry May,
I n Greenewich Garden allies? [= alleys]
S ince there the heavenly powers do play
A nd haunt no other vallies.
[With two more verses this acrostic poem spells out ELISABETHA REGINA.]
We have learned with sadness of the death on 14 August of Margaret Carr. She had been a member
years and served as Honorary Secretary for 4½ years between 1988 and 1992. Margaret was an
presence at lectures and visits and contributed several reviews to the Bulletin. In her quiet
way she was a great
support to the Society and will be much missed.
Elizabeth I from an early miniature portrait
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 12
We congratulate Wandle Industrial Museum on their new exhibition, which marks the bicentenary
opening of the Surrey Iron Railway. They have also produced an all-colour fold-out guide to The
Railways of the Wandle Valley (£2 from the Museum).
Autumn talks in Streatham Society’s programme include .The Work of English Heritage in London.
(Malcolm Woods) at 8pm on 3 November at Woodlawns, 16 Leigham Court Road, SW16.
At Merton Heritage Centre look out for exhibitions on .Lower Mitcham. (to 20 Sept), .Wandle
Mapping Project. (30 Sept-25 Oct) and .Merton during the 1980s.(11 Nov-12 Jan). Upstairs there
reprises of .Golden Jubilee. (23 Sept-5 Oct) and .999. (28 Oct-8 Nov).
Coming up is London Open House Weekend on 20-21 September. Information from
www.londonopenhouse.org and local libraries.
This year’s Heritage Open Days, everywhere except London, are 12-15 September. Information from
www.heritageopendays.org or Heritage Open Days, The Civic Trust, 17 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y
5AW. Mole Valley, for example, has an ambitious programme of events. Tel: 01306 879 327.
LIONEL GREEN finds that Merton priory was involved in:
SETTLING 13TH-CENTURY CHURCH DISPUTES
Priors of Merton were often called upon to arbitrate in church disputes. In 1221 Westminster
Abbey chose the prior
to help settle a quarrel with the bishop of London [Bulletin No.137 March 2001 p.13]. Here is
In February 1235 Henry Sandford, bishop of Rochester, died. The monastic chapter met, and on 26
elected a new bishop, master Richard of Wendover. He was eminently suited, being a scholar,
rector of Bromley and
law officer of the diocese. Archbishop Edmund Rich felt that he had to defend the rights of
Canterbury of which he
was trustee, and refused to confirm the election. The monks of Rochester turned to the pope to
do so. Pope Gregory
IX appointed the abbot of Walden, the prior of Merton (Henry Basing) and the archdeacon of
determine the matter in England, as papal judge-delegates.1 If the enquiry was not finalised
within four months it was
to be remitted to the pope.2 The matter was not resolved within the four months, and on 29
August 1236 the pope
mandated the abbot of St Alban, the prior of Merton and the archdeacon of St Alban to
reconsider the case and
decide within four months.3 The pope disallowed the findings of the panel on technical grounds
(out of time?). The
Rochester chapter sent representatives to the papal Curia to plead their case in Rome, and
finally Richard of
Wendover was allowed to be elected, but without prejudice to the archbishop’s right of
patronage over the see of
Rochester. In November 1238 the archbishop consecrated Richard in the Augustinian church of St
. a monastery founded by canons from Merton 115 years earlier. Four years later Richard of
petitioned by the canons of Merton .whom he was bound to hold in special favour for their
shining life and conversation.
to appropriate to them the church of Ryarsh, Kent.4
1 H Wharton Anglia Sacra 1691 I pp.348/9 This recounts the lives of English prelates to 1540.
2 Cal. of Papal Registers Vol. xviii p.148; A Heales Records of Merton Priory 1898 p.98
3 Heales op.cit. p.100 4 Heales op.cit. p.110
LIONEL GREEN on a topical story with echoes from the past:
SITUATIONS VACANT 2003 . BISHOP OF HEREFORD
A job advertisement for the post of bishop of Hereford has appeared in certain church
must be over 30, and no interview will be necessary. Applicants need not even be a priest.1
The see of Hereford was founded AD676. When a vacancy for bishop occurred in 1129 Pain
of Hereford, and Miles de Gloucester, royal constable, recommended an Augustinian canon, Robert
to be elected, but Robert was loath to accept. His CV would have stated that he had studied
under Anselm of
Laon, and became an Augustinian canon at Llanthony. Briefly he worked in the building trade as
a mason at
Weobley, and later returned to Llanthony as prior. Robert was consecrated bishop of Hereford at
on 28 June 1131 and was impressed by the standards maintained by the canons at Merton.2 Miles
became earl of Hereford in 1141, but Bishop Robert found he had to excommunicate him two years
unreasonable demands on church lands. Robert died in 1148 when attending the Council of Reims.
1 Thomas Becket was not a priest when he was elected archbishop in 1162.
2 M L Colker .Latin Texts concerning Gilbert, founder of Merton. in Studia Monastica 12 (1970)
p.243: ..though he had inspected many
Augustinian houses, he approved of the practices of none so much as Merton..
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 13
DAVID LUFF gives the background to
THE EXCAVATION OF BENNETT’s MILL 2002
Until the summer of 1974 the former
millpond and the waterwheel channel
from the former Bennett’s works were
still part of the Liberty Print Works site.
Across part of the channel during my
Liberty years there used to be a small
wooden building which was always
referred to as .the lab.. Harry Green
used it as an office-cum-laboratory of
sorts. Harry used to be the works dyer,
mixing the dyes for the fabrics, and not
the colours used for printing.
A tranquil scene looking down the ditch, with
Liberty’s new office block to the left and Littlers
Close. Taken only twenty years ago, it is hard
to imagine now the industrial buildings that
once stood each side of the road (D Luff)
In 1972 Liberty sold the works to Vita
Tex Ltd, who then sold the southern part
of the site for almost as much as they
had paid for the entire works. The new
owner was the Construction Industry
Training Board. They had no use for
the millpond, and an immediate start was
made to drain and fill in.
One interesting aspect of the land sale
was that even though over 100 years
had passed since Littler had merged the
two works along with a complete
reconstruction, the easiest way to divide
the site recreated the former works area
of Bennett’s and John Leach.
The concrete foundation pillars of the former CITB workshops protruding through
those of Bennett’s mill. (D Luff)
Although the CITB used or made
alterations to most of their workshops
they did demolish the 1905 wash-house
along with the later 1968-built one. They
then built a number of workshops, and,
as the millpond area was considered
unstable and part of the screen store
shed was still standing, they were
constructed on the southern bank of the
Having corresponded with Parnall’s
wartime architect for the Liberty site,
and having seen all his plans for the
workshops, I do know that there were
none for the former Bennett’s mill site.
It was anyway far too restricted to be
of any real use. An access road would
have been an essential part, without
which no workshop could have
functioned, and one was never built.
To the left, two of the CITB workshops on the Bennett’s site, c.1980 (D Luff)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 14
With only trespass access to the site, an in-depth
photo record could not be undertaken. Uncovered
were extensive remains of building foundations,
and on both sides of the waterwheel channel.
Some were of the Liberty years, and a large
concrete block could have been for the post-war
oil tank for the boilers. The boilers were housed
in the middle one of three workshops and had the
flues running under the northern one to the
The Museum of London team found the remains
of a number of furnaces and possibly the site of a
steam boiler that was known to have been here
some time after 1802.
Along with fragments of woad, madder and indigo
dyes there were deposits of coal ash. Coal at this
time would have come from the Midlands along
the canals to the Thames at Brentford and then
down river. From Wandsworth it went by road or
the Surrey Iron Railway to the various customers.
My personal view is that Bennett would have
purchased coal from some coal merchant rather
than order directly from the mines, and therefore
would not have invested in an expensive siding
from the SIR. There is no known siding from the
SIR to Bennett’s mill, and had one been built it
would have required a bridge over the Pickle ditch.
The coal would have been expensive, but it is far
more efficient than wood or peat. The number of
furnaces, six of which I understand were
uncovered, along with the boiler, does indicate a
fair amount of coal being used. Just how much is
open to debate.
The entire site could not be completely
excavated due to the banks of Bennett’s
ditch having been raised as a prevention
against flooding. Liberty had washing
facilities alongside and across the ditch,
as most likely did Bennett and Littler.
These unexcavated foundations are all
that now remain of Bennett’s Mill. Once
the Museum of London team had
completed their dig, all the foundations
were broken up and removed before
the area was backfilled.
At one meeting I attended at Merton
Abbey Mills a spokesperson for
Countryside Properties plc, with hand
on heart, absolutely assured me that
they would protect and look after all
the local environment there, and its
history. In reply I told him his words
were a load of unprintable, and so far I
have been proved to be correct. [For a detailed history of the site see David Luff Trouble at
Historical Society 2002, (£2.40 to members; £2.95 to others) . Ed.]
The former waterwheel channel from Bennett’s mill, that had been
buried since 1974. Looking south to Bennett’s ditch (D Luff)
The former waterwheel channel from Bennett’s mill, looking north (D Luff)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 15
53rd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
SNUFF MILL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE, MORDEN HALL PARK
SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2003 at 2.30 pm
1 Chairman’s welcome. Apologies for absence
2 Minutes of the 52nd AGM held on 2 November 2002
3 Matters arising from the Minutes
4 Chairman’s Report
5 Membership Secretary’s Report
6 Treasurer’s Report: reception and approval of the financial statement for the year 2002-03,
which will be available at the meeting
7 Election of Officers for the coming year
b) Vice Chairman
c) Hon. Secretary
d) Hon. Treasurer
Appointment of the Hon. Examiner for the coming year
8 Election of a Committee for the coming year
9 Motions of which due notice has been given
10 Any other business
At the conclusion of the business part of the Meeting there will be short talks by members of
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 Agenda with you to the AGM.
The MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY reminds members that subscriptions are due on 1 October. The current
Single member £7
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 Secretary, or in person at a meeting. Members who have already arranged to pay their
by Banker’s Standing Order should ignore this 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
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 147 . SEPTEMBER 2003 . PAGE 16