March 2004 – Bulletin 149
Wimbledon’s Lord Mayor of London – E Lilley
Charles Greaves of Merton Place & his Family – J Latham
John Mantell Canon of Merton Priory – P J Hopkins
James Lackington – J A Goodman
Wandle in Literature: Davy’s Salmonia – J A Goodman
My Hat! The Medieval Titfer – L E Green
Jim Hadland of Manor Farm, Mitcham – J Goodson
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. 149 CHAIRMAN: Peter Hopkins MARCH 2004
Saturday 13 March 2.30pm The Burn Bullock
.The History of Pub Names and Signs.
David Roe, one of our members, will give a slide presentation showing examples of pub
signs which illustrate the origins of names, or depict English humour, customs, traditions and
historical figures. He will include examples from Merton and surrounding areas.
The Burn Bullock meeting-room is reached through the public bars and up the stairs.
Saturday 3 April 2.30pm Mitcham Library Hall
.Rockets, Rains and Roman Candles . a History of Fireworks.
Fireworks were invented in ancient China, but probably reached Europe only in the 14th century.
In this country the first record is a display for Queen Elizabeth in 1572. In his talk Dr Gerry
Moss, Chairman of Surrey Industrial History Group, will consider the history as illustrated by
displays, the various British manufacturers, such as Pains, and the range of fireworks you are
likely to encounter and how they work.
Saturday 8 May 11.30am . 1.00pm A Visit to Guildford
Meet in Guildford High Street opposite the clock by the Tunsgate Arch.
Our guide, Marjorie Williams from Guildford Museum, will take us to the medieval
undercroft, St Mary’s church, Abbot’s Hospital chapel, Holy Trinity church, Guildford House
and Guildford Museum. The cost will be £2 per head.
The rest of the day is then free for independent visiting . cathedral, castle, Dapdune Wharf
(National Trust) are some of the possibilities.
Saturday 12 June 1.30pm A visit to the Museum in Docklands
Meet outside the Museum, which is on West India Quay. Nearest stations are West India Quay
or Canary Wharf (DLR), or Canary Wharf (Jubilee). The cost will be £5 per head or £3
The Burn Bullock is on the corner of London Road and Cricket Green, Mitcham, near several
bus routes and close to Mitcham Tramlink stop. It has a small car-park,
Mitcham Library, in London Road, is well served by buses and has a small car-park.
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.
MERTON IN WARTIME
The Snuff Mill Centre was comfortably full on 6 December for Tom Kelley’s reminiscences as a
Merton. Displayed before us was a goodly assortment of wartime memorabilia, and our speaker was
attired in Civil Defence Officer’s uniform. Tom had something to say about each item displayed.
The various types of civilian gasmasks were described, one complete with the original cardboard
books reminded us that every family had to register with food shops for dairy produce, bread,
jam, sugar and
meat. Points had to be redeemed for many other goods, and coupons for clothing. This was a
worrying time for
shoppers, but children never went hungry. In retrospect, perhaps mothers went without in order
to achieve this.
Wartime posters produced by the Ministry of Information recalled memorable catchphrases:
costs lives.; .Be like Dad . keep Mum.; .Dig for Victory..
There was no street lighting, and air-raid wardens ensured obedience to strict rules governing
the .black-out. in
every home. Then we heard the sound of an air-raid warning, and Tom spoke of sleepless nights
in a damp air-
raid shelter in the garden, with the violent noise of anti-aircraft guns, the recognisable
drone of German bombers
and the crump of bombs landing nearby. Each morning boys collected shell-fragments and, at
At the commencement of the war some families were issued with Anderson shelters, consisting of
sheets of metal placed in a deep hole and covered with the displaced soil. Later in the war
shelters were provided, being a large metal table with strong corner angle-irons.
Tom recalled the night of 20 September 1940 when there was a deafening roar of a crashing
Junkers 88 bomber.
It passed a few feet over the roof of the Nelson Hospital and crashed on a house in Richmond
Avenue, killing all
the crew. Local boys claimed gloomy trophies, including a human thumb. Tom held aloft a piece
German airman’s uniform.
Every street had its Air-Raid Precaution post, where wardens were on duty during a raid.
Buckets of sand were
kept there, with a stirrup-pump to deal with fires from incendiary bombs. This was the cue to
observe a relevant
stirrup-pump and incendiary bomb. Tom often gives talks to schoolchildren on the subject, and a
once wrote to thank him for the talk .and for showing her an incestuously bomb..
A lively chat ensued with much audience participation. We finished with the sounding of .All
Clear. and a
round of applause.
EILEEN LILLEY contributes a note on:
WIMBLEDON’s LORD MAYOR OF LONDON
Alderman Robert Finch, whose normal address is in Wimbledon village, is this year living in the
House. He is the Right Honourable the 676th Lord Mayor of London. He was born in Ootacamund,
1944, the son of a British army officer on active service in Italy. He was educated at Felsted
School in Essex,
and the College of Law. On qualifying in law in 1969 he joined Linklaters, and was elected a
partner in 1974.
His first step on the road to becoming Lord Mayor was in 1992, when he was elected Alderman for
Street Ward, and then Aldermanic Sheriff in 1999. He was master of the Solicitors. Company in
2000-1 and is
a Court Assistant of the Innholders. Company, Honorary Liveryman of the Chartered Surveyors.
an Honorary Freeman of the Environmental Cleaners. Company.
Other responsibilities of his include membership of the Court of the Honourable Artillery
Company and the
Courts of the Bridewell Hospital and Christ’s Hospital. He is a Church Commissioner, a member
of the Council
of St Paul’s Cathedral, a governor of the College of Law and a trustee of Morden College.
His wife Patricia is a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, and is a director of
Lee House, a
residential home in Wimbledon. The couple have two daughters . Alexandra and Isabel . both of
their father’s interest in the arts, both now working in the arts industry, having obtained
degrees in Art History.
They have a house on Chichester harbour where they can relax and enjoy sailing, walking and
Lord Mayor loves to race in the harbour, whilst the Lady Mayoress tends her garden.
The Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal for 2004 is ‘supporting Music and the Arts..
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 2
YORK HOUSE AND PRICE’s CANDLE FACTORY EXCAVATIONS
On Saturday 17 January Karl Hulka spoke to an enthusiastic audience of members and visitors at
about this important site in York Road, Battersea, SW11. Karl’s role as site director was to
monitor the excavation,
which was undertaken following an evaluation in 1998, Price’s having decided to move all their
the Far East, thus freeing most of the site for development.
The modern factory was knocked down, but what lay beneath was at first thoroughly confusing.
rebuilding over the course of several centuries, with much re-use of material, meant that brick
analysis was no help
for establishing a chronology, and the archaeologists had to resort to mortar analysis.
It was clear that the site had a very long history of use, well placed as it was for river
transport. There was a
prehistoric ditch at the south end, and Bronze Age pottery fragments were found in this area.
The excavations also
revealed a medieval cellar which pre-dated the building c.1475-80 of York House, which was the
house of the Archbishop of York, who also had a town house in Whitehall. Archbishop Lawrence
probably did not live to see the completion of his Battersea house.
Only the lower parts of a small section of York House were
found. The walls were constructed of chalk, faced with
brick, as solid brick walls would have been far too
expensive. The bricks were made on the site. The surviving
fragments of the building included a few rooms and one
corner tower. An interesting discovery was a large safe
constructed at the corner of what must have been a strongroom.
The kitchen had a fine tiled floor, and there was other
evidence of high quality craftsmanship in the window
detailing and chamfered brick doorways.
Remains of a flowerbed, with brick edging, were found
beside the corner tower. There was a moat at least on the
south and east sides, and four garderobes (two were cosily
side by side) were identified, which would have discharged
into the moat. The first record of the moat being cleaned
was in 1530(!). Some fragments of decorated glass from
an upstairs window were found in a garderobe.
In the 16th century York House was lost to the church . by 1530 it was being used as a
brickyard for Hampton
Court. By the 1580s the strong-room seems to have become a prison, perhaps for Papists. There
had been bars
across the window and graffiti were found on the walls.
There was extensive rebuilding and new work around 1600, including filling in the moat and
installing new drains.
The resulting large house may perhaps have looked like Fulham Palace, where, as at York House,
there were twin
ovens. Reigate stone was used for some of the new work, brought probably from a wharf known to
have stood nearby.
By the end of the 17th century a new York House was on the site, perhaps with cupolas on corner
floored corridors date from this period. Remains of the old house had probably become a store.
Fifty years on the
leaseholder was required to spend £300 refurbishing the house, and she then sublet it as a
sulphuric acid works.
From 1753 it housed the short-lived Battersea enamel works . flagons and crucibles have been
found . and it has
been established that hand-painted, not just transfer-printed, objects were made . contrary to
and much to the surprise of the V&A.
In the late 18th century another new house was built (or rebuilt), with a new courtyard,
cesspits and even what may
have been a heating system using hot air. It was this house that was acquired in the mid-19th
century by the firm that
became Price’s and was already established next door. A steam engine with two huge flywheels
which operated a belt-and-pulley system. Price’s went on to demolish the house and build a new
factory . by the
1920s they were the biggest candle-makers in the world. This building, in its turn, has now
been pulled down, but
was completely documented beforehand.
Karl Hulka pointed out the marked fluctuations between high- and low-status use of the site
over the years. Now
most of it is being turned over to (decidedly high-status) residential use as desirable
.riverside. apartments. Three
months were allowed for the archaeological investigation, with just Karl and a machine driver
at first, but up to 40
workers ultimately. Now the excavated remains have been replaced by an underground car-park.
This most interesting and well-illustrated talk was given an appreciative reception by the
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Excavation of the probable strong-room in the
Archbishop of York’s 15th-century Battersea Palace
(Photograph by Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 3
SPITALFIELDS . FROM THE ROMANS TO THE 18TH CENTURY
There was a .full house. for a most fascinating and entertaining talk by Chris Thomas of Museum
Archaeological Service on Saturday 7 February at the Snuff Mill Centre. It was a densely packed
archaeological history, told with a light touch, of digs over the last 20 years or so.
It is a vast site, with one Victorian building retained, as it was protected, and the rest
demolished. The first dig
concerned the Roman cemetery, and seven pots were found down a well, dating from 120 AD. 150
found, and in some of these the dead had been laid in chalk. Many grave goods were discovered,
glass phials and bottles, and some more personal items, like beads and bracelets. These had
been in a wooden
box (decayed) lined with copper.
There was a group of four high-status burials, including a stone sarcophagus lined with lead,
in which a large
glass vessel had been placed, about 30cm (a foot) in height. Amazing details can be deduced
techniques, including DNA analysis. Chris Thomas told us of the young woman whose coffin this
was. She had
been about 25 years old. There were traces of her silk garment with gold edging, and she, it
could be proved,
came from southern Europe, probably Spain!
Extract from Wyngaerde’s view of ?c.1522-44, showing St Mary Spital Priory from the south
This cemetery was about 300-400 metres outside the City. The site was
not used again until the founding in 1197 of St Mary Spital (Hospital),
originally St Mary Without Bishopsgate. It could house 60 people, and
was to help vagrants, the sick, the poor and migrants. It was built to the
usual pattern . men on one side, women on the other, and the chapel
down the middle. In the 1230s a priory was founded, with a house for
Later, a second, larger, hospital was built on top of the cemetery, with
180 beds. Some wooden vessels have been found, and also a set of
small keys, perhaps to lockers. After this came houses, workshops and
residences for retirement i.e. almshouses, housing for widows and the
.deserving poor.. Some well-preserved square stone lamps were
uncovered. The canons also had their own separate infirmary
The medieval cemetery was used as an overflow from the City. 10,502 skeletons have been
unearthed, and there
were probably 18,000 in all. Some were buried in stacks, 12 at a time. Some had been buried
clutching a Papal
Bull, of which the lead disc had survived. Priests were buried with a chalice and paten.
Between 1280 and 1300 there were mass burials in pits, and it would be interesting to know what
numbers of people died of. It seems famine was the most likely cause. In all 3500 were buried
in this way.
There was a charnel house for bones, with a chapel on top. In the middle of the cemetery there
was a large pulpit
for sermons and proclamations, to which thousands of people came. This continued after the
Dissolution of the
monasteries (mention is made in Pepys’s Diaries).
In 1539 the monasteries were closed, and this
hospital was not reinstated thereafter, as some were.
Half the ground was then occupied by the
Gunners of the Tower of London (shared for a
time by the Honourable Artillery Company). On
the rest desirable houses were built out, and
gardens laid out, for the wealthy. A Civil War
fort was erected, with a lavish house for the
Master Gunner, in the cellar of which were found
two corked bottles. Upon investigation they were
found to contain madeira . at that date not a
From the 1680s onwards a lot of redevelopment took place, and dozens of houses were built. In
the cesspits in
their gardens many artefacts have been found, giving much information about domestic life.
Chris Thomas told us that a book about the excavations and finds is to be published in April.
It was a most attentive audience, and I am sure we all felt we had learnt a great deal of
interest in a short space
of time, and will be tempted to find out more about this ancient London site.
Extract from Agas’s map showing the site of St Mary Spital
and the Old Artillery Ground, c.1560-70
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 4
DR JACKIE LATHAM has kindly contributed the following article on
CHARLES GREAVES OF MERTON PLACE AND HIS FAMILY
Although the Greaves family remain a shadowy presence, if mentioned at all, in most accounts of
purchase from them in 1801 of Merton Place, Peter Hopkins’s well-researched history of the
estate, A History
of Lord Nelson’s Merton Place, also names Charles Greaves with his partners in the calico
printing business on
the Wandle River.1 Greaves purchased a gentleman’s estate in Merton but he was also engaged
there in trade.
Charles Greaves came of farming stock from the High Peak area of Derbyshire where the family
are buried in
the nearby village of Hope. He moved to London, and set up as a linen draper in Cheapside where
in 1777 he
and his partners insured their stock (contained in three houses and a warehouse) for £10,000.2
In 1875 he
married Ann Pierrepont, herself the daughter of a linen draper, and by 1899 the shop had been
moved to St
Paul’s Churchyard. The family were members of the Church of England and the children were
of the evangelical societies, particularly the London Society for Promoting Christianity
amongst the Jews as
well as the British and Foreign Bible Society.3
As a successful merchant Charles Greaves in 1792 bought the small country estate, Merton Place,
financial help of his partners, John Leach, James Newton and William Hodgson4 and joined with
Leach, already successful and innovative calico printers, in the Merton Abbey Print Works on
the Wandle. (The
site was taken over in 1904 by Liberty & Co.) Today the 18th-century colour house and the
are preserved as Grade II listed buildings at Merton Abbey Mills.5
The Colour House and Wheelhouse, Merton Abbey Mills
drawings by Peter Harris for The Historic River Wandle . The Merton Section (1992)
Living now at Merton Place, Charles Greaves made a commitment to the parish church of St Mary
where Newton and Leach were already churchwardens. The vestry minutes show Greaves’s
1795, signing .for partners and self. in support of a scheme to provide cheap bread for the
.industrious. poor of
the parish. In subsequent years he was appointed surveyor of the highways, overseer of the poor
In 1799 where he might have signed the minutes as churchwarden the place is left blank; perhaps
illness, which The Times called .tedious.6 had begun.7
When Charles Greaves died in November 1800 the house had to be sold quickly and within a year
bought it; the negotiations, carried out by Emma Hamilton while Nelson was at sea, dragged on
1801. Emma urgently wanted possession in order to make the house worthy of England’s hero, but
she was up
against .that false mother greaves who never intended with her cant. to move out before the
agreed date and
when Nelson’s agent was sent in person to see Ann Greaves ‘she had the impudence to say well
let milord come
down with one servant and stay with us till the thing is finished we will make it comfortable
to him..8 Emma
was certain that it should make no difference to .Mrs Greves. if she moved out a few days
before the arranged
date,9 but even before Nelson’s arrival on 23 October Sir William Hamilton was pleased to write
.already the Canal is enlivened with ducks, & the cock is strutting with his hens about the
Emma’s improvements to Merton Place, Nelson’s early death and the decline of both the estate
herself have often been recounted. Meanwhile, the Greaves family returned to St Paul’s
Churchyard where the
family business continued though they ended their partnership on the Wandle.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 5
It was a gifted family. The four eldest sons went into trade in the
city, the eldest, James Pierrepont Greaves (1777-1842), trading until
the effects of the Napoleonic Wars led to his bankruptcy in 1810.
Having worked to pay off his creditors in 1816 11 the following year
he experienced ‘some strong interior visitations. and he yielded
himself up to .Love’s own manner of acting regardless of the
consequences..12 That is all we know of the mystical experience that
changed his life. In 1818 he went to Switzerland where he worked
with Pestalozzi, the educationalist, whose own views about the innate
goodness of children and the importance of love were in stark contrast
to the prevailing orthodoxy but wholly congenial to J P Greaves.
After teaching at the protestant seminary in Basel, from which he
was dismissed for unorthodoxy, he moved to Tubingen where he
attempted, outside the university, to reach the students. .interior
consciousness. through his theosophy until he was expelled from
Wurttemberg for subversion.13
Returning to England in 1825 Greaves aimed to promote infant education and to spread his own
God’s love living in every person. Briefly he was honorary secretary of the Infant School
expelled for unorthodoxy; he then led an itinerant life gathering disciples and living
all stimulants, cooked food and especially meat. With his bright eye and magnetic glance to
disciples. descriptions all allude, Greaves was a charismatic personality, who, as a mystic
attracted many and repulsed a few. He developed his own idiosyncratic vocabulary, rich with
and neologisms, often linking nouns in threes (Love, Life, Light), to express his own vision:
the need to
reform man through a recognition of the Divine Spirit, Love, that lives in everyone.
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James Pierrepont Greaves
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Alcott House, Ham Common, near Richmond
Greaves’s most significant act was to set up a
community in 1838 at Ham Common near
Richmond. It was named after Bronson Alcott
(father of Louisa M Alcott), the American
educator who visited it in 1842, arriving shortly
after Greaves’s death. Alcott House, also known
as The Concordium, was a vegetarian community
and school which tried to spread the theosophy
and spiritual dedication of Greaves. It lasted for
ten years, a long life for such an eccentric venture,
which always found it difficult to recruit members
who would share the harsh diet and rise at 5.30
am, or earlier, to live a life ordered by bells. As a
result it took in those who, in a world without
social security, were prepared, for want of
anything better, to put up with the harsh regime.
They made their exit as quickly as possible.
The community’s publications included the periodical The New Age and they were interested in
marginal practices: hydropathy, phrenology, mesmerism, astrology. However, though Greaves did
in his aim of converting England and the world to the need to bring about change through
love, the community did manage to initiate two important national developments.14 In 1841 the
treatment was set up at Alcott House by Carl von Schlemmer who came from Graefenberg in Germany
he had learnt the art of the water cure from its originator, the peasant Vincent Priessnitz.15
From this start the
cold wet sheet treatment was quickly to spread through England with establishments to which
and other great Victorians flocked. Greaves, who was living in London where he held a weekly
salon, came to
Alcott House for the water cure but sadly died. Though the community continued with morning
cold baths, they
seem to have discontinued the extended treatment.
Alcott House was also significant for its promotion of vegetarianism. Though its own dietary
extreme, drinking only water and eventually avoiding all cooked food including bread, it
provided the venue in
1847 for a .physiological conference. and banquet which led directly to the founding of the
at Ramsgate that same year.16 The Society still flourishes.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 6
The closest to James Pierrepont Greaves of his siblings was Mary Ann Greaves, who remained a
active Church of England evangelical, spending years in Switzerland trying to stiffen the
dedication of protestants
and ready to condemn the Genevan professors as heretics as they, in her opinion, slipped into
unbelief. She left
a most interesting diary of her missionary journey through Italy on behalf of the British and
Society; she was an intrepid and self-confident woman.17
Three sons of Charles Greaves followed their father and elder brother as merchants in the city.
The son Charles
accompanied his sister on her Italian travels distributing (with less enthusiasm than his
sister) St Matthew’s
gospel in Hebrew to convert the Jews but he appears later to have modified his evangelical
supported the scientific publications of Henry Brougham’s Society for the Diffusion of Useful
Another son, Alexander Greaves, having travelled to South America on behalf of the British and
Society, was bankrupted, entered Cambridge as a sizar and was ordained in the Church of England
but he, too,
fell away from his evangelicalism, rejecting eternal punishment. He went to New York where he
undogmatic interpretation of Christianity not unlike that of his elder brother James.19 The
fourth son to go into
the city was Pierrepont Greaves; after support for the Jews Society and suffering bankruptcy in
the city, he
moved to Chorley in Lancashire where he established a muslin factory and gained national fame
circles by healing a crippled girl.20 Richard, the youngest of the Greaves brothers, rejected
trade and entered
Oxford University, was ordained in the Church of England and began a career as a great
and brother-in-law to the Bishop of Calcutta . himself a leading evangelical. But by 1834
Richard was publishing
an unorthodox attack on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England and like his brother
up his orders and lapsed into some kind of theosophical belief.21
Charles Greaves had made the long journey from farming
in the Peak District to successful trading in the City of
London and the purchase of a small estate which became
famous as Emma Hamilton’s .paradise Merton..22 His
gifts of independence and commitment can be seen in
his children’s diverse search for truth; like him they were
prepared to leave the safety of their roots.
The North and east fronts of Merton Place c.1805
(reproduced by courtesy of Merton Library and Heritage Service)
Peter Hopkins, A History of Nelson’s Merton Place, Merton Historical Society, 1998. A full
account of J P Greaves will be found in J E M Latham,
Search for a New Eden. James Pierrepont Greaves (1777-1842): The Sacred Socialist and his
Followers, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press,
Madison Teeneck; Associated University Presses, London 1999. J P Greaves is entered in the
Dictionary of National Biography.
Sun Insurance 11936, vol. 263, p.80, Guildhall Library, City of London.
See the Minute Books of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, 1811-
1816, Bodleian Library, Oxford University. The British
and Foreign Bible Society archives, Cambridge University Library, contain family letters dated
See Hopkins, op. cit. p.5.
E N Montague, Textile Bleaching and Printing in Mitcham and Merton 1590-1870, Merton Historical
Society, 1992, pp.78-82; The Historic River
Wandle, Merton Historical Society, 1992, pp. 10, 18, 22.
The Times, 7 November 1800.
Merton Vestry Minutes, 1738-1806, 6253/1/1, Surrey History Service, Woking.
Letter of October 1801, Nelson Papers, BRP/4a, Greenwich Maritime Museum.
Letter of 6 October 1801, Transcript E111, the Nelson Museum and Local History Centre,
10. A Morrison, ed., The Hamilton and Nelson Papers, vol. 2, 1894, p. 176.
11. London Gazette, 12 March 1816, p.496.
12. Quoted in Charles Lane, .Bronson Alcott’s Works., The Dial, vol. 3, 1843, p.423.
13. Charles Lane, .James Pierrepont Greaves., The Dial, vol. 3, 1843, p.288.
14. The fullest account of this experiment in communal living is to be found in my Search for a
15. C von Schlemmer, Hydropathy, the Cold Water Cure of Diseases, Madden & Co, London, 1842.
16. Truth-Tester, Temperance Advocate and Healthian Journal, 1847, p. 121.
17. The diary is in private hands.
18. Letters of Charles Greaves in the Brougham Papers, University College London Library.
Alexander Greaves, The Gospel of God’s Anointed, London, 1827 and
Reflections on the Statements and Opinions Published in the Free Enquirer, New York, 1829.
20. See the exhaustive discussion in the Christian Observer, vol. 30, 1830.
21. Richard Greaves, An Urgent Plea for an Immediate Revision of the Articles and Homilies of
the United Church of England and Ireland, Hamilton
Adams & Co., London, 1834.
22. Morrison, op. cit. p.172.
Dr Latham’s book, Search for a New Eden. James Pierrepont Greaves (1777-1842): The Sacred
Socialist and his Followers, usually costs £35 but we have a few special order forms which
offer it at a 20%
discount, for £28 including postage and packing.
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MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 7
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOP
Friday 21 November 2003, seven present – Judith Goodman in the chair
Sheila Harris had received from a Mrs Parrish of Banstead a copy of three World War II cartoons
for the Merton AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) magazine in 1941. There were ten issues of the
called The Berkeley Grill (why?), produced between January and Christmas in that year. It was
the cartoons should be published in the Bulletin, with an appeal to readers to supply further
Can anyone name the artist (initials possibly RWM)?
GAWD .ELP THE JERRYS IF THEY INVADE MERTON!
.NOW THEN LADDIE..
WHO’s ON D.P. TO-NIGHT?
In 1941 England suffered some of the most severe bombing raids of WW II
and men and women of the Auxiliary Fire Service were under great pressure
to save lives and contain damage caused by the Luftwaffe, and many heroic
actions by them were recorded by the National Press.
During the same year, as a diversion and amusement for their colleagues and
their families, the members of Merton A.F’s. launched its own magazine which
included original artwork, cartoons, stories etc. contributed by them.
Ten issues of the magazine – named .The Berkeley Grill. were produced between
January and Christmas 1941, and as the artwork was original there was only
one copy made of each issue – which included these cartoons.
Madeline Healey had brought along a large album of cigarette cards, many Edwardian or
WW I, and all in mint condition. Of particular local interest were sets produced by Rutter’s of
and Taddy’s of Morden. A fascinating collection and probably unique.
Bill Rudd reported on his continuing work recording the changing pattern of retail outlets in
Morden . an
interesting social study, potentially of great value to future local historians.
Peter Hopkins had recently obtained a copy of an early 19th-century Poor Rate book for Merton
which augments information on residents known from the later Tithe Survey. He had also
copies of Morden parish records from the late 18th and early 19th century, which add to
by a survey of Morden in 1745. Printed and made more readily available than in the past, both
should prove invaluable to future researchers, particularly family historians.
Don Fleming’s contribution, typically humorous, included an account of his attempt to purchase
history book in Islington, two contrasting studies of Nelson’s wife and, more seriously,
changes mooted in
the Sutton Library.
Judith Goodman shared her delight at identifying Sir Humphry Davy, an avid angler, as the
source of some
references to the Wandle as a trout stream of note, and to Nelson’s skill with the dry fly [see
ENM concluded by identifying his self-imposed priority of writing up old researches for
whilst resisting pursuing fresh lines of enquiry. He confessed to only two recent deviations .
something of the background of Thomas Hammond, who dabbled in real estate during the 1650s, and
correspondence with the textile curator at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, on the specimens of
calicos held in their museum.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 8
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOP
Friday 30 January 2004 – Judith Goodman in the Chair
Bill Rudd took us back to his schooldays, having discovered a school timetable in his 1939
Autumn term was his last term at No 2 Central School, Canterbury Road, as he left school at 14.
favourite subject was Science, which he still enjoys as a member of Merton Scientific Society.
History! His teacher made it as dry as dust. The usual subjects appeared on the timetable
Languages – he gave up French after two terms!
At the AGM Peter Hopkins appealed for volunteers to check transcriptions of local documents.
Bazley not only offered, but has completed checking Peter’s transcription of the Merton Land
Tax of 1780.
1831, and spotted several errors on Peter’s part! Many thanks, Desmond. Anyone else interested?
drew attention to the local history articles in the new Borough magazine, My Merton.
His main contribution was on John Mantell, Canon of Merton Priory [see pp.10-11].
Sheila Harris tested our knowledge with the local history quiz in our local Guardian. We were
discover that Pope Adrian IV was educated at Merton Abbey Mills! Perhaps that is why there has
one English Pope! The final question had surprised Sheila . .Where is the Wandle Industrial
Hopefully this will encourage many more to visit, when it reopens after repairs to the heating
thanks to Sarah Gould for letting us meet in the warm at The Canons.]
Lionel Green recommended two exhibitions at the British Museum . Buried
Treasure and Enlightenment. The latter includes the sculptured head found
in the walls of Merton Priory and donated to the Society of Antiquaries by
Sir William Hamilton. Lionel then read a paper on Isabella, Edward II’s queen,
which will appear in the June Bulletin.
Having successfully completed his MA, Eric Montague has offered several
essays for the Studies in Merton’s History series. Mitcham Histories 5: Lower
Green West is with the editorial committee, and he has already begun work
on No.6, the area around Mitcham Bridge and the Watermeads. For centuries
Reigate manor claimed £1 in annual quit rent for mills and 30 acres land in
Mitcham, the last occasion being in 1940, when the manager of Mitcham
Hair and Fibre Mills received a demand for several years. arrears!
Monty has also updated his notes on the Merton Abbey site, having received input from several
He is hoping that the Society will produce a reliable and comprehensive collaborative study,
prehistoric times to the present day.
Judith Goodman has been
set a challenging task. Mr
Hotchin from Stanmore
has sent her three 1950s
photos of Epsom Races
Special Service buses in
various locations in
Morden, and wants to
know in which roads they
were photographed! Bill
Rudd identified one as St
Helier Avenue, and the
others were on the St Helier
Estate, but Judy will be
braving the weather to
check out the likely sites.
Does anyone recognise this
Dates of next workshops: Friday 19 March at The Canons at 7.30 pm and
Friday 14 May at 7.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.
Sculptured head fromMerton Priory
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 9
PETER HOPKINS has teased out the story of one of the last canons of Merton Priory:
JOHN MANTELL, CANON OF MERTON PRIORY, CURATE OF MERTON
AND VICAR OF MORDEN
It was salutary to read Lionel Green’s article in the December Bulletin on .The Destruction of
a Priory.. The impact
on the local community must have been traumatic. But what of the Augustinian canons whose way
of life was
brought to such a dramatic end? Many of them had lived there for almost the whole of their
lives, for it was common
for young children to enter monasteries as oblates. At the election of a new prior of Merton in
1520 four of the
canons, called as character witnesses, stated their age and the number of years they had been
canons. Andrew Panell
was aged 58 and had been a canon for 40 years, John Marshall aged 53 had been a canon for 37
years, John London
aged 30, had been a canon for 17 years and John Sandwyche aged 35 had been a canon for 27 years
. since he was
eight! None of these names appear in the list of the last canons of Merton at the dissolution
in 1538, but no doubt a
similar range of ages and membership applied at that time.
I have recently come across two articles from past volumes of Surrey
Archaeological Collections. Volume XLV, published in 1937, has an article on
‘surrey Incumbents in 1562. by Geoffrey Baskerville and A.W. Goodman, and
Geoffrey Baskerville also wrote the article in Volume XLVII, published in 1941 .
a study of .The Dispossessed Religious in Surrey.. When the smaller abbeys and
priories were dissolved, most of the inmates were transferred to other monasteries
or became parish priests, though the abbots and priors were retired on a pension.
When the rest of the monasteries were dissolved, all were given pensions, and the
majority were also appointed to parishes. In fact many had pre-empted the situation
and were already serving as rectors or vicars of the various churches under their
monastery’s control. Others had arranged for a member of their family to buy the
right to present the next incumbent to a church . the right of advowson . so that
once a vacancy occurred they could be instituted as rector or vicar of that church.
The article lists monks and canons from all the Surrey monasteries, with details of
the pensions, appointments and subsequent careers where known. Of the 15 canons
who signed the document of surrender of Merton Priory in 1538, all but three
received a pension of £6 13s 4d (=£6.67) a year, the exceptions being the prior,
John Ramsey, who had 200 marks (=£133.33) plus a house in London, the sub-
prior, John Debenham, with £8, and Thomas Paynell, who received £10. At least
ten of them are known to have been appointed to churches.
Signatures of Merton’s canons in 1538
St Mary Merton in 1806, from Dr Hughson’s Description of London,
engraved by F Haydon
Canon John Codyngton, whose signature
appears fifth on the surrender document,
became curate in charge of Merton parish
church. St Mary’s, built (probably rebuilt) by
Gilbert, founder of Merton Priory, was given
by him to the Priory. The canons were entitled
to receive the tithes for their own use, but
instead of appointing a vicar as in their other
churches, St Mary’s had been served by
chaplains, so John was a curate rather than
vicar. According to Major Heales, John had
been ordained priest on 24 September 1513,
probably as a youngster. He appears in a list of
canons in 1520 and had been appointed
sacristan of Merton Priory by 1530. John was
serving as curate of Merton by 1541, according
to the records of Bishop Gardiner’s visitation.
John’s surname suggests that he probably came from the village of Cuddington, which Henry VIII
razed to build
Nonsuch Palace. Merton Priory held the rectory and advowson of the church of Cuddington. Canons
who had place
names as surnames later changed these surnames [see Lionel Green’s article in Bulletin 135
(September 2000)], and
in 1540/41 John Codyngton witnessed a will as .John Mansell alias Codington.. .John Mantell.
Mantill, Mantyll and Mantle) was curate of Merton in 1562, according to the responses to
questionnaire of 1 October 1561. However, he also served as vicar (not rector as stated by
Geoffrey Baskerville) of
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 10
Morden, being instituted in 1552. His time at Morden was short for, like many of his
colleagues, John had married and, when Mary I succeeded her brother Edward VI to
the throne in July 1553, the clergy were soon forced to choose between wife and parish,
and John, refusing to give up his wife, resigned from Morden in 1554. It is not known
whether he also had to resign as curate of Merton for a time, but he was described as
.of Morden. in a Morden will of 1559/60.
John Mantell’s father-in-law, Henry Cored alias Kok, of Merton, died in 1546/7, leaving
all his clothes to John. He also left a pair of sheets and a candlestick to the vicar of
Morden, and another pair of sheets and the sum of five shillings to (Mr?) Codyngton.
John Codyngton, priest, was a witness. This might suggest that John Codyngton and
John Mantell were not one and the same, or that John used both names interchangeably?
The Merton parish registers begin in 1559, and the baptisms of four of John’s children are
recorded as, sadly, are the
deaths of three of them . Matthew Mantyll bapt. 1.6.1563, bur. 28.6.1563; Alicia Mantell bapt.
4.5.1565, bur. 31.5.1571;
John Mantyll bapt. 14.9.1567, bur. 10.3.1568; and Agnes Mantle bapt. 21.1.1571. The marriages
of three Mantell girls
also appear in the registers, and it seems likely that these were John’s older daughters .
Elizabeth Mantyll married
James Heron 26.5.1575; Jane Mantell married Alyn Taylor 10.9.1579, and Ann Mantill married
11.10.1589. Ann was buried 21.12.1597, after giving birth to two daughters, and Richard Taylor
Banson 30.5.1598, and had three more children.
From 1562 John and Joane Mantell and their family
Extract from the Merton Tithe Apportionment
also make regular appearances in the manorial court
Map of 1844, with the variousrolls of Merton. In 1572, John obtained the copyhold properties
tenement known as Hutchin Reads (plot 83 on the Tithe
Map), now lying beneath part of the Nelson Hospital.
In 1586 he obtained another copyhold property, known
as Our Lady House (plot 81), now covered by the shops
opposite the hospital on the corner of Watery Lane.
However, it seems unlikely that he and Joane lived in
either of these properties. In 1592 the court rolls record
John Mantell as occupying Matthew Lock’s freehold
property, later known as Church House (plot 67a).
William Taylor was tenant of .John Mantle, clerk. at
Hutchin Reads and James Heron at Our Lady House.
As we have seen, James Heron had married John’s
daughter Elizabeth in 1575, and two other daughters
had each married members of the Taylor family.
John Mantell died in 1593, a surprising 80 years after his ordination as John Codyngton, and
was buried at Merton
on 8 May. His widow Joane inherited a life interest in Our Lady House, with remainder to
Hutchin Reads was left to Ann and Richard Taylor, who were duly admitted to the copyhold on 25
It remained in the family’s ownership until 1619, when their daughters, Elizabeth Snell and
Margaret Trimmer, and
their husbands, surrendered the property to John Taylor, probably another relative.
James and Elizabeth Heron had eight children baptised at Merton, none of whom appear in the
burial entries. They
bought another Merton copyhold in 1593 but sold it in 1597. James died between 1597 and 1599,
married John Galley, the curate of Merton. John and Elizabeth inherited Our Lady House on the
death of her mother.
Joane Mantell is named in court rolls until 1599, but by 1603 she had married David Beven or
app Evans. .Jane
Bevans. was buried at Merton on 26 June 1603. David served as juror at manorial courts from
1603 to 1617, and as
aletaster in 1611 and 1614. Two daughters were baptised at Merton, in 1606 and 1611, the latter
buried the next day.
John and Elizabeth Galley surrendered Our Lady House in 1615 to Thomas Sergeant and his wife
Dorothy. It is not
known whether Dorothy Sergeant was Elizabeth and James Heron’s daughter .Dorothee., baptised at
1590. A gap in the extant court rolls until the beginning of the 18th century, obscures the
descent of this property.
Parish Registers of Merton transcribed by Steve Turner for East Surrey Family History Society
but not yet published. One correction by Lorna Cowell,
who also supplied the information on the 1540/41 will based on research by Richard Christopher.
The Court Rolls of the Manor of Merton (microfilmed by The Guildhall Library and transcribed by
Peter Hopkins but not yet published)
Geoffrey Baskerville and A.W. Goodman . ‘surrey Incumbents in 1562. Surrey Archaeological
Collections XLV (1937)
Geoffrey Baskerville . .The Dispossessed Religious in Surrey. Surrey Archaeological Collections
Major Alfred Heales . The Records of Merton Priory (1898)
Cliff Webb . Surrey Will Abstracts Vol. 6:75 & Vol. 14: 94 . West Surrey Family History Society
microfiche. Information from Lionel Green.
from a mid 16th-century plan
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 11
JAMES LACKINGTON OF FINSBURY SQUARE AND MERTON
Ladies who chance to frisk this way,
With honest Hearts and Spirits gay;
A serious moment give to one,
Who sleeps beneath this Earth and stone.
A better Daughter never liv.d.
A better Wife ne.er Husband griev.d.
To her the Claims of Kindred dear.
The tender Orphan would she rear.
Nor e.er did to the Grave descend
A more sincere or faithful Friend.
Think on her Virtues . Heave a Sigh
That Goodness such as hers should die.
And whether you are Maid or Wife
Go imitate her former Life.
And when to Heaven you yield your Breath
May you like her have Peace in Death.
This epitaph, familiar to those who visit the churchyard of St Mary, Merton,
is handsomely incised on an upright gravestone near the south-east corner
of the church. It commemorates .Dorcas Wife of J. Lackington Bookseller,
Finsbury Square.. She died on 27 January 1795 aged 45.
James Lackington was born in 1746 in Somerset, the son of a shoemaker. At ten a travelling
pieman, and at 14
an apprentice shoemaker, he then found work in Bristol, where he started to read and buy books.
After his first
marriage, to Nancy Smith, he left for London, with half a crown (12.5p) in his pocket. He set
up a combined
bookstall and shoemaker’s shop in Featherstone Street, just north of what became Bunhill
Fields. His stock was
a sack of old theological books for which he gave a guinea (£1.05) and some scraps of leather.
But a loan of £5
from a Wesleyan fund (for much of his life he was a practising Methodist), his own hard work
and his wife’s
thrift enabled him to build up a stock worth £25 and to give up shoemaking.
The Lackingtons moved to Chiswell Street, a little nearer in to the City, where in 1776 they
both caught fever.
Dorcas Turton, .the young woman that kept the house, and of whom [they] then rented the shop,
kitchen and garret., nursed them both, and fell ill herself. Nancy died, but Lackington and
Dorcas survived, and
shortly afterwards this .charming young woman. became the second Mrs Lackington. .Having drawn
prize in the lottery of wedlock., wrote Lackington .I repaired the loss of one very valuable
woman by the
acquisition of another still more valuable.. He was right; Dorcas loved books and proved most
helpful in the
By 1780 he had developed the trading policies that were to bring him both fame and financial
terms became (unusually for the time) cash only; he sold at rock-bottom prices, and he was a
pioneer dealer in
large quantities of publishers. .remainders., which he sold at cut price. He also bought up
whole libraries, and
was soon issuing catalogues of 30,000 volumes and more. By 1791, when his annual profits were
£4000, and he
wrote the first version of his Memoirs, he had installed himself with Dorcas in a country house
in Merton and
set up his own carriage.
Lackington is the source of a much-quoted description of late 18th-century Merton. In his
Memoirs he wrote,
‘surrey . appeared unquestionably the most beautiful county in England, and Upper Merton the
village in Surrey. So now  Merton is selected as the seat of occasional philosophical
retirement.. By July
he was making Merton his .chief residence., relishing its .fine air., and soon planning his
life so as to ‘spend
a few hours in the middle of three or four hours in every week in Chiswell St, devoting the
remainder of the evenings to my rural retreat.. .In fine weather., he wrote, .I never leave
this place for London,
but with great reluctance. I have a good private library, and with a book in my hand I wander
from field to field..
The .rural retreat. was Spring House, the early 18th-century house in Kingston Road, which was
the 1930s and replaced by the Spring House flats. As was quite usual at the time, the
Lackingtons leased rather
than bought their house, although they could have easily afforded to purchase.
Around this time Lackington became the proprietor of a shop with a frontage of 43 metres (140
feet) at the
southwest corner of Finsbury Square. Crowned with a dome from which flew a flag, it was called
.The Temple of
the Muses., and was one of the capital’s tourist attractions. Within was an immense circular
counter, round which
it was said was room enough to drive a coach-and-six. .Lounging rooms. were reached by way of a
and there was a succession of Galleries, where the stock was cheaper and shabbier the higher
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 12
Lackington was industrious, shrewd and vain. A tireless self-promoter, he would have been at
home on today’s
chat-show circuit, and his vaunted love of books seems to have died once his fortune was made.
But he tells his
own story with relish and (apparent) candour, and it is an entertaining read. Some of the
headings in the index
give a flavour of the man:
.Why tradesmen on the Continent are all rascals.“
‘sunday-schools promote the sale of books.“
.Ladies now read and are become rational companions [and] have a just taste for books.“
.Lackington sells one hundred thousand volumes a year.“
Within a few months of Dorcas’s death Lackington married a connection of hers, Mary, and three
years later he
made over the whole of his business to a cousin, George Lackington, and moved to Thornbury in
He bought two estates nearby, and in 1805 he built a Wesleyan chapel and became a preacher. In
year he moved to Taunton, where he built another chapel. A final move took him in 1812 to
where, struck by the ‘spiritual Destitution. of the area, he built yet another chapel, known as
The Temple (an
echo of the secular .Temple. in Finsbury Square?), for £1700, and endowed it with £150 per
annum for the
minister. At the same time he built himself a handsome house nearby, called Ash Villa, and here
he died, in
In his will, apart from providing for family and friends, he left £100 to a local hospital and
£40 to the Prime
Minister .for the use of Government..
Lackington’s grave is in the parish churchyard in Budleigh, which had no Dissenters. burial
ground at the time.
He has a handsome tomb, but one thing is missing . the epitaph he composed for himself. For,
when he lived in
Merton, he was wandering one day in the churchyard (.this receptacle of mortality.), said to
himself, .Here is
good snug lying., sat down on one of the graves and wrote the following lines (the last six are
.Good passenger, one moment stay,
And contemplate this heap of clay;
.Tis LACKINGTON that claims a pause,
Who strove with Death, but lost his cause;
A stranger genius ne.er need be,
Than many a merry year was he.
Some faults he had; some virtues too;
(The Devil himself should have his due);
And as Dame Fortune’s wheel turn’d round;
Whether at top or bottom found;
He never once forgot his station,
Nor e.er disowned a poor relation.
In poverty he found content,
Riches ne.er made him indolent.
When poor he’d rather read than eat,
When rich, books formed his highest treat.
His first great wish, to act, with care,
The several parts assigned him here;
And, as his heart to truth inclin’d,
He study’d hard the truth to find.
Much pride he had, ’twas love of fame,
And slighted gold, to get a name;
But fame herself prov’d greatest gain,
For riches followed in her train.
Much had he read, and much had thought,
And yet, you see, he’s come to nought,
Or out of print, as he would say,
To be revis’d some future day;
Free from errata, with addition,
A new, and a complete edition.
James Lackington Memoirs of the First Forty-five Years 7th edition 1794
Dictionary of National Biography
The London Encyclopaedia ed. B Weinreb and C Hibbert 2nd ed. 1993
Mrs Audrey Walker of the Budleigh Salterton Museum kindly provided the information about
Lackington’s last place of residence, his will and his
grave. Ash Villa has gone, replaced by a car-park, and The Temple was rebuilt early in the 20th
(This article is a slightly revised version of one published in the John Innes Society
Newsletter No.118 (June 1993) and appears here by kind permission.)
Lackington’s portrait, forming the Frontispiece to the 13thedition of his Memoirs, in Merton
Local Studies Centre,
reproduced by permission of Merton Library and Heritage Service
SUTOR ULTRA CREPIDAM FELICITER AUSUS
.The shoemaker has profitably ventured beyond his last.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 13
THE WANDLE IN LITERATURE . an occasional series
No1: Davy’s Salmonia
A few years ago (see Bulletins 106, 109) the present writer described her search in Izaak
Walton’s The Compleat
Angler for two references to the Wandle that have often been attributed to him. One is to its
and the other to its trout marked with marble spots like a tortoise. Neither mention could I
biography of John Donne might also be expected to mention the Wandle, but does not. In fact the
not appear at all in either text (though later editors of The Compleat Angler refer to it in
one or two footnotes,
not by Walton). In fact I am happy to offer a small prize to any reader who locates the fishful
Our little river does nevertheless appear in literature of various kinds.
Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) is perhaps best known now for his invention of the miner’s safety
he is much more important in the history of science for his discovery of the alkali metals, his
chlorine and iodine, his electrochemical work, his investigation of the physiological effect of
(.laughing gas.), and for his role at the Royal Institution. However he was also, when he had a
keen on angling. And as well as publishing such texts asElements of Chemical Philosophy (1812)
to the Royal Society (1827) he distilled his reflections on his favourite sport into Salmonia;
or Days of Dry Fly
Fishing, published in 1828.1
While critics have always dismissed this slight book as a pale imitation of Walton’s The
Compleat Angler, for
us dwellers near the Wandle it has a pleasing local interest. Salmonia takes the form, copied
from Walton, of a
long conversation, in this case among HALEIUS (fisherman), POIETES (poet), PHYSICUS (natural
and ORNITHER (bird-catcher).2 It opens with Physicus saying to Haleius, .I dare say you know
excellent trout was caught: I never ate a better fish of the kind.. To which Haleius replies, .
I ought to know, as
it was this morning in the waters of the Wandle, not ten miles from the place where we sit, and
it is through my
means that you see it at table..
A little later on Haleius says, .. I can go back to Trajan,
who was fond of angling. Nelson was a good fly-fisher,
and as a proof of his passion for it, continued the pursuit
even with his left hand … And at this point there is a
footnote reading, .I have known a person who fished with
him [Nelson] at Merton, in the Wandle. I hope this
circumstance will be mentioned in the next edition of that
most exquisite and touching Life of our Hero, by the
Laureate [Robert Southey], an immortal monument raised
by Genius to Valour.. I was delighted to read this, having
been sceptical about Nelson fishing with only one arm,
and I suspect that this passage from Davy is the
(unacknowledged) source of the many references in the
literature to Nelson fishing in the Wandle.
On page 50 the Wandle is described as .the best and clearest stream near London., and two pages
on we read
that .. in the Wandle at Carshalton and Beddington, the May-fly is not found; and the little
blue are the
constant, and when well imitated, killing flies on this water …
Page 56 includes the Wandle as one of the rivers with a source in the chalk and with a constant
The very last passage in the book is as follows:
.HAL.- . yet, I hope, as long as I can enjoy in a vernal day the warmth and light of the
sunbeams, still to haunt
the streams . following the example of our late venerable friend, the President of the Royal
West], in company with whom, when he was an octogenarian, I have thrown the fly, caught trout,
a delightful day of angling and social amusement, in the shady green meadows by the bright
clear streams of the
1 The edition consulted was the 5th (1869), edited by Dr John Davy, his brother, and published
by John Murray
2 Walton gave his three characters Latin names: PISCATOR (fisherman), VENATOR (hunter) and
AUCEPS (bird-catcher). It must have been in an
attempt to outdo Walton that Davy chose to have four .Greek. speakers. Richard Halsey, a
classicist, points out that Davy’s HALEIUS should really
be halieus, and is either a misprint or, more likely, an attempt at Latinisation. ORNITHER, he
suggests, is another Latinisation of the Greek, but
slightly less unscholarly. POIETES is perfectly good Greek, and PHYSICUS is a normal
Latinisation from Greek physicos. SALMONIA itself he
allows to be forgivable, as salmo, salmonis does exist . in Latin. I am grateful to Mr Halsey
for his comments.
Trout from the Wandle An illustration from the 1869 edition of Salmonia
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 14
LIONEL GREEN offers a sartorial snippet, which he calls:
MY HAT! THE MEDIEVAL TITFER
In the 12th century only the rich wore a head covering, which consisted of a close-fitting felt
hat. John Stow,
writing at the end of the 16th century, remarked that in medieval times official liveries worn
by citizens of
London at celebrations, did not include caps or hats.1 It was normal for livery to include a
hood which could be
worn either on the shoulders or on the head. In winter hoods were often trimmed with fur.
In February 1432 Henry VI, aged ten, returned to England after his coronation at Paris on 16
(Is the crown a hat?) John Wells, mayor of London, rode to meet the king and wore .a great
velvet hat furred..
This was considered exceptional.
Other head-coverings did not appear until Henry VII’s time in London when
noblemen began to wear square bonnets. Henry VIII favoured a felt round cap of
scarlet cloth or of velvet, with a brooch or jewel, and with a feather. Youthful
citizens of London began a fashion of wearing black woollen felt caps, but these
were light and in windy weather needed to be tied under the chin. They were
easily knitted, and varied in style.3 Aldermen took up the fashion . perhaps to
show that they were .with it.. A forerunner of the baseball cap!
The craze for knitted caps continued after Henry VIII’s death for about ten years.
When it ceased the city fathers, fearing the loss of trade, issued an edict in 1560
that all men must wear a cap on Sundays and holy days. Towards the end of the
century fashion changed from caps to hats. Thomas Dekker expressed his thoughts
on the cap:
Flat caps as proper are to City gowns,
As to armourers helmets or to kings their crowns.
Let then the City cap by none be scorn.d
Since with it princes. heads have been adorned.4
Hats began to be made of coarse wool felt, later mixed with beaver fur. Feltmakers
in London were incorporated a City Company in 1604.
1 J Stow Survey of London 1598 (Kingsford 1908 Vol ii p.193)
2 Henry’s later crowning at Merton priory on 1 November 1437 marked the occasion when
permission was given for him to share in the government
of England. This was five weeks before his 16th birthday.
3 Examples are in the Museum of London. A few have the suggestion of a peak at the front, and
one has a woollen .foreign legion. flap behind.
4 T Dekker The Honest Whore 1604 pt.2
Local History Notes 24: Local History Notes 25:
THE LIFE OF JAMES LACKINGTON, A CHILD’s EYE VIEW OF MITCHAM,
BOOKSELLER, 1746-1815 1922-1934
Judith has written an introduction to We are very grateful to Kathleen Watts for
Lackington on pages 12-13 of this Bulletin. letting us publish her childhood recollections.
Now you can buy your own edition of his Kathleen lived in one of the cottages which
formed Berkeley Place, built on what had been
autobiography, which merited the following
Killicks Yard adjoining Berkeley House and
comment from his editor in 1827:
Berkeley Cottage in London Road, Mitcham.
.It is easy to find more important
autobiographies than that of this pertinacious Full price 50p, members. price 40p.
bookseller, sceptic and methodist, but few
(Postage and packing 25p extra)
are more lively, curious, or characteristic..
Available at meetings or by post from our
Although much material of a general nature has Publications Secretary.
been omitted from our edition, this is a bumper
volume of 68 pages, but generously priced at
£2.95, and available to members at £2.40.
(Postage and packing 75p extra)
A sharp dresser of the mid-
from a copy of Froissart inthe Harleian Collection inthe British Library
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 15
COACH OUTING ON SATURDAY 10 JULY
We are very grateful to Pat and Ray Kilsby, who are again offering us a full day’s coach trip,
this time to the
historic city of Portsmouth, and a carvery meal on the way home. An information sheet is
included with this
Bulletin. Please book directly with the Kilsbys.
FROM OUR POSTBAG
Mrs Joy Goodson of Warminster Way, Mitcham, has been reading Eric Montague’s volume on Pollards
Commonside East and Lonesome. Her great-grandfather, Jim Hadland, bought 227 acres of Manor
Mitcham, when James Moore’s former farm was broken up and sold in 1888. Jim, whose father had
coachman at Blenheim Palace, raised cattle, horses and other animals, and died aged 49 after
being kicked in
the head by a donkey. He was also a master builder, and Marco’s factory was one of his
constructions. His wife
owned flats in Rialto Road, Mitcham and, in partnership with her brother Bill Crockston, opened
greengrocers and pease pudding shops.
One of their sons, Ernie, owned butchers shops and lived in style at Brixton Hill. The other
son, Sidney, was
Joy Goodson’s grandfather. He took over Manor Farm from his father, but he drank so much it
The farm was sold to Wates the builders, but he continued to rent it until he went broke and
the bailiffs came
and took the house and contents. He died aged 85 in September 1962, and is buried in Streatham
Mrs Goodson has many tales to tell of the family and the neighbourhood, and it is to be hoped
that she and her
brother will write these down for future generations.
There is still just time (till 14 March) to catch the fascinating Buried Treasure exhibition at
Museum. The theme is finds made by responsible metal detectorists and other members of the
ties in with the recent talk and article Nicole Weller did for us [see December Bulletin].
With reference to Eileen Lilley’s talk on City livery companies at the AGM, Janet Digby, one of
writes that she has put together a website www.london-footprints.co.uk with information about
London, which includes illustrated articles on the companies and their halls. There is also a
quiz for those
wishing to test their knowledge.
The LAMAS annual conference of London archaeologists will be held on Saturday 27 March in the
Museum of London Lecture Theatre, with the morning session devoted to Recent Work (prehistoric
Roman) and the afternoon to Archaeology of the Recent Past. Ticket application forms from Jon
Early Department, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN (email@example.com)
Historic Bart’s and Smithfield guided tours take place every Friday (except Christmas and Easter
holidays) at 2pm.
Meet at the Henry VIII Gate, St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Cost £5/£4. Telephone 020 7837 0546 for
Carshalton’s important 18th-century water tower in West Street is open every Sunday between
and late September from 2.30 to 5pm. Tel: 020 8647 0984. Admission charge.
Don’t forget Croydon Airport Visitor Centre, especially if you missed the Society’s enjoyable
It is in the listed terminal building in Purley Way and is open on the first Sunday of every
month from 11am
to 4pm. Admission free.
The annual service in the chapter house (beneath Merantun Way, accessible from Savacentre car-
park) will be
on Sunday 2 May. It will be a service of Nones at 3 pm. All are welcome.
On 6 April there will be a performance of T S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in the chapter
house. No further
details were available when going to press.
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
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 149 . MARCH 2004 . PAGE 16