March 2006 Bulletin 157
Mitcham and some Recusant Catholic Families J Pile
200 Years ago – Merton Place after Nelson J A Goodman
Kate Vaughan – an Ornament to the Musical Stage J A Goodman
Cricket at Streatham – the early days J W Brown
From Monty’s Postbag E N Montague
Wandle in Literature 4. Rudyard Kipling J A Goodman
and much more
PRESIDENT: vacant PRESIDENT: vacant
VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Lionel Green and William Rudd
BULLETIN NO. 157 CHAIR: Judith Goodman MARCH 2006
PROGRAMME MARCH – JUNE 2006
Saturday 18 March 2.30pm Raynes Park Library Hall
‘St Pancras Station: 1865-2007 – a journey through history’
Roderick Shelton, architect and historic buildings consultant, is the speaker for this illustrated
lecture on a remarkable piece of Victorian architecture and engineering.
Raynes Park Library Hall is in Aston Road, close to Raynes Park station,
and on or close to bus routes 57, 131, 152, 163, 200 and K5
Saturday 29 April 2.30pm Morden Baptist Church Hall
‘The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century’
The speaker will be Michael Symes, well-known as a writer and lecturer on many aspects of
Morden Baptist Church is on the corner of Crown Lane and Grasmere Avenue, and is close to the town centre
and the Underground station. It is on or near to many bus routes. There is a small car-park.
Thursday 18 May A Day in Farnham
Meet at Clapham Junction station for the 10.00am train to Farnham. The visit to this attractive
and historic town will include a guided walk by a local historian – cost £3 a head. Numbers are
restricted. Please contact the Secretary to book a place.
Saturday 24 June 1.45pm Visit to Royal Hospital Chelsea
The guided tour of this superb and important building, designed mainly by Christopher Wren,
will cost £2 a head. Please contact the Secretary to book a place.
COACH TRIP TO HUGHENDEN MANOR ON WEDNESDAY 19 JULY
An information/application form accompanies this Bulletin.
Please note that National Trust members must have their membership cards with them
for free entry. Write it in your diary now!
The Society’s events are open to the general public.
You are invited to make a donation to help with the Society’s running costs.
MERTON PRIORY – A GLIMPSE OF GREATNESS
Some 50 members and visitors gathered at St John’s Church Hall, High Path, on 3 December for Lionel
Green’s talk and the launch of his long-awaited book. Lionel has been researching Merton Priory for more than
50 years, and has explored every aspect of its history. He has squeezed as much as possible of his knowledge
into the book, but the talk could only cover one area – the links which the priory had with the great and
(occasionally) the good.
So we observed kings and queens visiting the priory for various reasons – from royal councils to royal sports.
We met archbishops and bishops – attending important gatherings or hiding away when in disgrace. We found
leading statesmen – both churchmen and laymen – some at the height of their powers, some about to fall. We
were introduced to scholars, many of them canons of Merton, who influenced the intellectual life of medieval
and Tudor England and beyond. Merton Priory was often at the centre of national and international affairs –
political, religious and intellectual.
If you missed Lionel’s fascinating talk, don’t worry – its all in the book!
The talk was followed by a lively and far-ranging session of questions, and Lionel was able to offer answers
and insights in every case.
We are grateful to Lionel for another informative and enjoyable afternoon, and for making available his vast
store of knowledge in a form that will give further hours of pleasure and instruction.
Lionel Green A Priory Revealed using material relating to Merton Priory, published by Merton Historical
Society in association with Merton Priory Trust, 2005, price £7.50 (£6 to MHS members) plus £1 postage,
x + 130pp, many illustrations. ISBN 1 903899 52 4
I first became acquainted (although, unfortunately, not in person) with Lionel Green in 1951 when he contributed
four chapters to Evelyn Jowett’s A History of Merton and Morden “published in connection with local Festival
of Britain activities”. Two of those chapters were titled ‘A Description of Merton Priory’ and ‘A Monk’s Life’.
Today, more than half a century later, Lionel has produced a book of his own, devoted entirely to the subject so
close to his heart. Lionel’s earlier essays were accomplished enough, but the present book is clearly the result of
a lifetime’s further study and devotion to Merton Priory, and it brings those results together in a form that both
the interested public and the specialist will find fascinating. A Priory Revealed is the first full-length book
about Merton Priory to appear since Alfred Heales published his Records of Merton Priory in 1898, and it is
appropriate that Lionel has managed to get his work into print in advance of the eagerly awaited definitive
report by the Museum of London Archaeology Service on recent excavations on the priory site. Lionel’s timely
book will serve as an excellent introduction to the technicalities of the excavation report that we can expect
A Priory Revealed, which bears the subtitle “using material relating to Merton Priory”, draws upon a wide
range of primary and secondary sources in order to describe, in a most accessible way, the organisation and life
of not only Merton Priory, but Augustinian houses elsewhere in the British Isles. However, the focus of attention
throughout the book is always on Merton, its buildings; its life; its organisation; its personalities; and the
important part played by the priory on the national stage during the Middle Ages. A Priory Revealed was
clearly written to appeal to a wide readership. The language is easily understood, and technical terms are
explained in a glossary, but paradoxically it is this very simplicity of language and sentence structure, frequently
resulting in single-sentence ‘paragraphs’, that breaks up the flow of the narrative. The resulting unevenness is
unfortunately reflected in the visual appearance of the page, as the editors (or typesetters) have – unwisely in
my view – departed from convention by abandoning indented first lines for new paragraphs and separating
paragraphs by double-spacing. One particular editorial problem appears to have been the integration of background
information with detail specific to Merton. However the text does improve considerably in both respects as the
Surprisingly, but very successfully, Lionel begins with a ‘prologue’ describing in lively detail the demolition of
the priory church and conventual buildings in 1538, following the surrender of the house to Henry VIII’s
commissioners. These scenes of destruction are followed by an introduction that takes the reader back to the
origins of the monastic idea in the early years of the 4th century AD. The story is continued with the foundation
of the Augustinian order in the 5th century; its eventual introduction into England; and the foundation by Gilbert
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 2
the Norman in 1114 of an Augustinian community at Merton. The first two chapters recount what is known
about Gilbert, and subsequent chapters cover such subjects as the priory precinct and its buildings; the Augustinian
canons; the office of the prior; the educational rôle of the priory; the monastic day; the internal administration
of the priory; the administration of the granges; and the surrender of the priory. Peter Hopkins has contributed
an important chapter of the priory’s local possessions, which will be of considerable interest to the local historian,
based as it is on a good deal of original research. The map (scale not stated!) shows the location and boundaries
of these properties with a considerable degree of accuracy. Each of the sections, although quite short, is packed
with detailed information, nearly every statement being backed by a reference to its source, necessitating the
use of no fewer than 350 footnotes. The practice of numbering the footnotes in one continuous sequence
throughout the book is a considerable improvement on that of beginning a new sequence for each chapter, and
I would recommend this for all of the Society’s publications, especially the ongoing series of Mitcham Histories
by Eric Montague. The comprehensive index is also an important feature of the book.
Based as it is on a wide range of documentary and printed sources, A Priory Revealed repays careful reading
and frequent reference to the footnotes. For example, having recently read the Oxford Dictionary of National
Biography entry on William Warenne, fifth earl of Surrey, I was particularly interested in Lionel’s reference
(p.64) to the Pipe Roll of 25 Hen. III, recording the setting up by the king in 1240 of a cross to the earl’s
memory. Warenne had died in London on the 27th or 28th of May that year, and the cross presumably marked one
of the resting-places of the bier on its journey to Lewes Priory where the corpse was buried. The Pipe Roll
records that the cross was set up outside the gateway “near the crossroad to Carshalton”. Lionel rightly suggests
that the gateway would have been in the south-east part of the precinct, but precisely where was the gate, and
what was the contemporary road to Carshalton? The site of the gate may well have been on Jacobs Green near
the present junction of Liberty Avenue and Christchurch Road. The road to Carshalton may have been Church
Road. I would take issue with Lionel’s suggestion that the road to which the gateway gave access was a droveway,
as I think it unlikely that the earl’s funeral cortège would have been allowed to suffer the indignity of traversing
a sheep or cattle track. In any case, Lionel’s suggested continuation of the Carshalton road on the line of Green
Wrythe Lane, or Cannon (sic) Sheephouse Lane as it appears on the ‘Arundel Map’ of c.1632, is equally
problematic, as this was probably never more than a local droveway linking the Merton Priory estate of Maresland,
partly in Mitcham and partly in Carshalton, as shown on Peter’s map, with the common pastures of the latter
township. Droveways are a particular interest of mine, and I have discussed this matter in some detail as an
example of the way in which Lionel’s meticulous referencing may stimulate and aid further research.
The Merton Historical Society is once again to be congratulated on its excellent record of publication at reasonable
cost. A Priory Revealed is very well illustrated, with more than 60 photographs, maps, and line drawings. The
definition of most of the photographs, both early and recent, is remarkable, given that they are printed on the
same paper as the text. I have a personal tendency to judge local history publications by the number of maps
they contain – the more the better, and by this standard the present volume rates highly! However, I do not feel
that the idea of superimposing small reproductions of early 20th-century photographs of the priory wall on a
fuzzy reproduction of an extract from the first edition (c.1870) 25-inch OS map was a particularly happy one.
The map itself, which is evidently the one used by Heales and overprinted with the precinct wall (a fact,
incidentally, that is not acknowledged) would have been far more useful in its original form. I would recommend
the interested reader who does not possess Records of Merton Priory to obtain Alan Godfrey’s reduced scale
reproduction of the 1894 edition of the 25-inch map, London Sheet 142. This covers the same area, but does not
show the precinct wall.
This is an excellent book of which the author and
everyone else concerned can be proud, and I am
sure that it will prove very popular. I would advise
anyone with an interest in Merton Priory to
purchase a copy without delay, as I know from
bitter experience that hesitation in obtaining locally
published books with short print runs so often
results in disappointment. Local societies have to
think very carefully before ordering reprints.
One of a set of three or more broken
14th-century floor tiles, discovered
A Priory Revealed is available at our monthly meetings,
from the chapter house site in 1976. These
or from our publications secretary, 57 Templecombe
seem to be part of a chain of dancers.
(Reproduced by courtesy of J Scott McCracken) Way, Morden, Surrey SM4 4JF (+ £1 p&p)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 3
JOHN PILE contributes a note on
MITCHAM AND SOME ROMAN CATHOLIC RECUSANT FAMILIES
Judith Goodman last year drew attention to the fact that Mitcham appears to have been a significant centre of
Roman Catholic recusancy in the late 16th century.1
A recusant was one who refused to attend Church of England services when such attendance was a legal
requirement. Consequently there could be Protestant as well as Roman Catholic recusants, but the term is more
usually applied to those who adhered to the ‘Old Faith’ and acknowledged the supremacy of the pope rather
than the English head of state, and had been convicted and entered on the Recusancy Rolls. Despite its separation
from Rome, the Anglican Church remained Catholic in the sense that it maintained an essentially unbroken
tradition from pre-Reformation times, and it is customary to speak of Roman Catholic rather than Catholic
recusancy during the period under consideration.
Although John Donne (1573-1631) is not known to have been a recusant, he had a Roman Catholic upbringing
and his sympathies almost certainly lay in that direction during his period of residence in Mitcham from 1605
to 1611, between three and four years after his clandestine marriage in 1601 to the 17-year-old Ann, daughter of
Sir George More of Loseley Park near Guildford. Sir George was initially furious about the marriage, and he
had Donne committed to the Fleet Prison. However Donne was soon released and eventually reconciled with
his father-in-law, possibly through the intervention of Ann’s cousin Francis Wolley, who had given the couple
room in his house at Pyrford during the first years of their marriage. John Donne’s period at Mitcham is said to
have been one of the most productive for his writing and research.2 Robert Bald refers to Donne’s “spirituality
climaxing at Mitcham in anguish and despair of his own salvation”,3 and Dennis Flynn suggests that his private
devotions at Mitcham were “essentially Catholic”.4
Among the Donnes’ neighbours in Mitcham were their friend Sir Julius Caesar Adelmare,5 and, possibly, the
Whitneys, who would also have been known to the Donnes. Henry Whitney, the lord of the manor of Biggin
and Tamworth, had married in 1590 Anne, who is almost certainly to be identified with the daughter of Nicholas
Saunder of Ewell, a prominent recusant whose name appeared in the Diocesan Return of Recusants of 1577.6
Moreover, Nicholas Saunder was a close friend of Donne’s father-in-law.7 Henry Whitney’s mother, also Ann,
was the daughter of Robert Wilford, and, I believe, the Ann Whitney who was convicted for recusancy on 13
February 1587/88 and fined for three months’ recusancy from 25 March 1587 (Exchequer Pipe Roll for 1587/
88).8 The Whitneys sold the manor of Biggin and Tamworth in 1603 to John Caryll of Warnham in Sussex,9 a
member of another family well known for its steadfast adherence to the Old Faith.10 Remarkably there is also a
family link between John Donne and the Whitneys – Donne’s sister-in-law Mary More married Sir Nicholas
Throckmorton Carew, the son of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, whose wife Ann Carew was the sister of Isabel
Carew, the wife of Nicholas Saunder.
Also owning property, and probably residing in Mitcham at this time, was Sir Walter Ralegh, whose wife was
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton Carew’s sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth (Bess) Throckmorton, Maid of Honour to Queen
Elizabeth, had married Ralegh in secret in 1592, much to the displeasure of her royal mistress.11 Ralegh’s
property in Mitcham was probably the jointure of his wife, whose family had succeeded the Carews as owners
of the manor of Mitcham.12 The family connection between John Donne and Sir Walter Ralegh was that his
wife’s sister Mary was sister-in-law to Sir Walter’s wife.
OUTLINE PEDIGREE SHOWING JOHN DONNE’S RELATIONSHIPS
TO HENRY WHITNEY AND SIR WALTER RALEIGH
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 4
It is clear that quite limited research in published materials may reveal unsuspected and often significant links
between some of the apparently unrelated figures that appear within the pages of such well-used sources as the
Victoria County History of Surrey. This is particularly true for those figures associated with the Roman Catholic
faith in Mitcham during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when active family and friendship networks
were of vital importance in sustaining proscribed religious activity. Although personal documents such as
private letters and diaries may be rare, a knowledge of relationships may be gained that will help us to understand
the extent and quality of the social interaction that undoubtedly occurred between certain of the inhabitants of
Mitcham during this period.
1 Merton Historical Society Bulletin 154 (June 2005)
2 D Colclough, ‘John Donne’ in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
3 R C Bald John Donne: a life (ed. W Milgate) Oxford (1970)
4 D Flynn, ‘Donne’s Catholicism II’ in Recusant History 13 (1975)
5 E N Montague and W A Turner , ‘The Residence of Sir Julius Caesar Adelmare in Mitcham’ in Surrey Archaeological Collections 67 (1970) pp.87-94
6 Catholic Record Society 12 (1921)
7 Surrey Archaeological Collections 54 (1955) p.98
8 Catholic Record Society 71 (1986)
9 Victoria County History of Surrey 4 (1912) p.231
10 R B Manning Religion and Society in Elizabethan Sussex Leicester (1969) pp.250-252
11 R Michell The Carews of Beddington Sutton (1981) pp.56-58
12 Victoria County History of Surrey 4 (1912) 229.
‘LUDLOWS AND PENFOLDS – THE STORY OF THE LETTER BOX’
Maximum capacity was reached once again at the Snuff Mill Environmental Centre for the Society’s January
meeting. This was a talk by Neil Lloyd on letter boxes, and members remembered his stimulating and amusing
talk on London’s Underground railways exactly a year earlier. We anticipated another engrossing experience,
and were not disappointed.
The first letter box was introduced in Jersey
in 1852 and claimed to be invented by
Anthony Trollope. In the following year they
were provided in Guernsey and in England.
Boxes then appeared in various shapes and
sizes. The first box in London was set up in
Ludgate Circus in December 1854, which
was a squat metal box surmounted with a
boss. Some of the public believed it was a
stove provided at the expense of the parish.
A pillar box at Rochdale has a lamppost
rising from the cap. The oldest box in
England still in use is an octagonal example
at Carlisle. The first London letter box
In 1866 J W Penfold designed a hexagonal box, and the present cast-iron cylinder in red, with its milled edge
convex cap, dates from 1879.
In order to save both space and costs, wall boxes in brickwork were introduced in 1857. Later, lamp boxes were
introduced. They were fastened to a lamppost or telegraph pole. Another variant was the wooden bracket box
(the Ludlow) for use under cover. At Llandrindod Wells railway station is an example in the open, but an
elaborate pitched roof covering has now been provided for it.
All examples were suitably illustrated with excellent slides, and Neil’s ability to describe locations in the local
accent was appreciated.
PS. A survey of letter boxes in the Leatherhead district was undertaken from October 2002 to June 2003, and
the list revealed boxes from all reigns from Victoria, including Edward VIII.
[Would this be something the Society could undertake – a survey of letter boxes in Merton, Mitcham and
Morden? – Ed.]
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 5
‘SIR RICHARD HOTHAM AT BOGNOR: ONE MAN’S DREAM’
I suspect that many of us did not know much about Sir Richard Hotham, except perhaps that he had a road named
after him in South Wimbledon. So, what was his dream? He loved the seaside and wanted others as wealthy as
himself to enjoy it too. So, at Bognor, he decided to build lavish houses for them, with the wealth he had acquired
from the East India Company. Many, many years later, Billy Butlin had the same dreams – but he built wooden
chalets for the less well-off to be able to afford these delights too.
Sylvia Endacott, a local historian from Bognor, told us that at 62 Sir Richard moved to Bognor, which at that time
consisted of just a few cottages and fishermen’s huts. He had considered Hayling Island, but thought this too
remote. First he stayed with a friend of his called Captain Blanchard. There was good limey soil, ideal for building,
so he bought a great deal of land, for £6000. Most of the town would be built on his land.
On 18 January 1787 he laid the foundation stone for the first
public bathing place, and ceremonies still take place in the town
on this date. He built a large house for himself, now called Hotham
Park House, said to be based on his house in Merton, which later
became famous as the home of Nelson and the Hamiltons. This
new house had an imposing clock-tower, which housed a clock
especially made for him in London. It is still working today. The
house stands in the middle of an impressive park, which also
includes an icehouse, and has its own chapel.
Many very large buildings followed. It is interesting to note that
much of the gravel used came from Wimbledon Common, taken
Hotham Park House, Bognor (from Bognor
there by barge. Sir Richard knew Brighton and wanted his
Regis: a brief guide to places of interest Bognor
buildings to rival the prestigious ones there. East Row was 142ft
Regis Local History Society 1981)
in length. The central section had a dome and was in the middle
of a crescent. (Many of these large buildings have been turned into retirement flats or have been used as schools or
by the University of Chichester.) There was once a move for Bognor to be renamed ‘Hothamton’. Sir Richard died
on 14 March 1791, and his grave is in the churchyard of South Bersted. It states that he was “the founder of
Bognor”, and a wreath-laying ceremony takes place each year on 18 January.
Within five years of his death the Crescent was built. A map of 1817 still showed a lot of fields, and part of the
coast was washed away. A coaching house called ‘The William Hardwick’ was there in 1820, and has since been
refurbished. The great change came with the advent of train travel. This brought Sunday visitors to Bognor, often
2500-3000 in the summer. Bathing machines appeared, and later a pier. Sir Richard had always longed for a royal
connection for Bognor, as Brighton had enjoyed. He got it, slightly, when a Bowes-Lyon was connected with the
building of the pier. In the 1800s fine Regency houses contained large families, who came for the summer season.
Then later King George V came to convalesce in Craigweil House, and so Bognor got the coveted ‘Regis’ to its
name. Wouldn’t Sir Richard have been pleased! In 1944 the Council took the park over, and it became known as
Hotham Park. A trust now helps to keep it going. Hotham Park House itself is now private flats.
Sylvia Endacott was an entertaining and relaxed speaker. We all enjoyed her knowledge and enthusiasm for
Bognor and its history, which so much involved one of Merton’s prominent former residents. South Wimbledon
Community Association’s Centre in Haydons Road, which was the venue, stands on land once owned by
PS I have come across an article in a file in the parish office at St Mary’s, Merton, which gave more information
about Sir Richard, before he went to Bognor, which may be of interest.
He was born in York in 1722, moved to London and was apprenticed to a hatter. In 1743 he married Frances
Atkinson – probably his boss’s daughter – and they had a son, who only lived for one day. He set up business in
Lincoln’s Inn as a hatter and hosier and seems to have become prosperous. His wife died in 1760, but he was
married again quite soon, to Barbara Huddart. About this time he joined the East India Company and made a lot
more money fitting out their ships. In 1764 he bought Moat Farm, south of Merton High Street. The property had
been built c.1750 and he proceeded to improve it. He renamed it Merton Place. He took part in local affairs and
bought more land in the area, and went on to build a new house, which he called Merton Grove (though it was in
Wimbledon), which stood where Cecil Road is now. After his second wife died, in 1777, he became an MP for
Southwark, and served for four years. At this time he decided to sell Merton Place and move to Bognor. So, the
story was continued in our lecture on 11 February.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 6
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 9 December 2005. Five present. Judith Goodman in the chair.
Peter Hopkins referred to the kindness of friends. Member John Pile had sent him articles from the new on-
line version of the Dictionary of National Biography, covering various Tudor worthies connected with
Merton and Morden. Peter was also grateful to Bill Rudd for making available to him a transcript of part of
the 1802 Survey of the Merton Abbey estate. Peter had made notes some years ago, but Bill’s transcript
gives all the details, which helps to make sense of the 1805 plan of the estate. A full transcript of the whole
survey, now in the Lambeth Archives in Camberwell, is obviously needed.
Finally Peter reported that he had completed his initial translation of the medieval court rolls for the manor
of Morden. A lot of work still remains to be done, but Peter had been surprised to discover that many
wealthy Londoners held property in both Morden and Merton in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Rosemary Turner had been responding to articles in the local Guardian newspaper. She had obtained
permission to have the February 2004 article on Mitcham cricket reproduced in the East Surrey Family
History Society Journal. She had also followed up the newspaper’s appeal for information regarding the
war memorial at All Saints School, Wimbledon. A member of West Surrey Family History Society has
recorded most of the war memorials in Surrey, but unfortunately this was not one of them.
Bill Rudd has long wondered why so many ‘outsiders’ were buried at Morden. Some lived just across the
parish boundary in Mitcham, such as Henry Hoare of Mitcham Grove, or various members of the Rutter
family, famous for snuff milling at Ravensbury. Bill has been investigating the Stanton family, whose six
children were baptised at Morden. In 1861 and 1862 the father was recorded in the parish registers as a civil
engineer of St Johns Wood. By 1863 the family was living at Wimbledon Hill, and they were still there in
1864. The last two children were born in 1870 and 1871 respectively, when they were living in Mitcham,
but Bill cannot find them in the 1871 census for Mitcham. He will try the local directories next.
Moving forward a century, Bill showed a cutting from a local newspaper of April 1976 reporting an attempted
‘stick-up’ at the NatWest Bank in Crown Lane, Morden. The manager stood by the window, and mouthed
“phone the police” to a passer-by, and the two robbers were promptly arrested!
Judith Goodman had found a treasure at the Nelson exhibition at Merton Heritage Centre – a plan of the
Merton Place estate accompanying the sales particulars of 1823. We can now identify the exact position of
Nelson’s home within the bounds of lot 28 (see pages 8-9).
Further treasures are also on their way. Judy had been contacted by Martin Riley of Woodbridge, Suffolk,
who has an archive of family papers relating to the Bennets and the Leaches, textile printers at Merton
Abbey, which he would like Judy to edit for publication.
Judy also brought along a transcript of an insurance policy of 1753 detailing the rooms and outbuildings of
Growtes, the former copyhold property which became the Tudor manor house of Morden. The transcript
had been given to her by the late John Wallace, from a manuscript in the Guildhall Library, London, and will
be a useful addition to the information already available.
Judy had also received interesting
correspondence from members John
Brown of Streatham, on the early days of
Streatham cricket (see page 12), and John
Pile of Bedhampton, Hampshire, on
Hampden William Pratt (1851-1920), who
was educated at Morden Hall Academy.
Between 1875 and 1878 Pratt was assistant
to architect Richard William Drew whose
family were property developers in
Streatham in the 19th century. Drew also
designed several important buildings in the
Havant area. Both John himself and Brian
Bloice of the Streatham Society are
interested to know more about both men.
Morden Hall, drawn by G A Storey,
also an ex- pupil of Morden Hall
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 7
200 YEARS AGO – MERTON PLACE AFTER NELSON
Nelson, in his will, dated 10 May 1803,1 left Merton Place, the house, to his mistress Lady (Emma) Hamilton,
together with up to 70 acres (28ha) of land of her choosing. He had enlarged the Merton Place estate to more
than 160 acres (65ha), but there was still money owing on the purchases, and more than half had to be sold. The
pieces of land chosen for sale were those which lay north of the present Quicks Road, west of Morden Road and
south of the present Nelson Gardens. To the 70 acres left Emma added two more, at the south-east corner of the
property, buying them from Nelson’s trustees.
However, by 1808, Emma, who spent most of her time and a great deal of money in her house in Mayfair, had
run up so many debts that she was compelled to try to dispose of Merton Place. It was offered for sale, with its
land, but failed to sell. Quite why is not certain. It could have been because buyers fought shy of a house with
both sad and scandalous associations. But it could also have been, as Nelson’s surveyor had noted, that the
house was badly situated – on flat, damp ground close to a busy road. It was, moreover, close to Merton’s
industrial quarter, on the Wandle. Nearly 20 years earlier, a traveller to Cromford in Derbyshire, while admiring
Arkwright’s pioneering mills there, regretted that parts of beautiful rural Derbyshire would soon become “as
noisy as Cashalton [sic] or Merton in Surrey”.2
In the event a group of friends, headed by Abraham Goldsmid of Morden Lodge, rallied round poor Emma,
stepped in and bought the estate and advanced her some money to pay the most pressing debts, hoping that it
still would sell.
But Merton Place continued unsold. Goldsmid died in 1810, and Emma herself in 1815. Some of the land had
been disposed of, but most of the property was still on the market – it was advertised in the Times for instance
on 22 March 1815:
“A CAPITAL FREEHOLD MANSION and LAND, Surrey.- To be Sold by Private Contract, by Mr.
LEONARD, a capital FREEHOLD FAMILY MANSION and Offices, called MERTON PLACE, formerly
the residence of Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, very desirably situate at Merton, 7 miles from London, in
the county of Surrey; containing five spacious bed chambers, with dressing rooms and water closets, and
eight servants’ rooms, two large drawing rooms, a dining room, library, and gentleman’s dressing room,
convenient servants’ offices of every description, excellent cellars for wine and beer, detached dairy and ice
house, a spacious lawn and pleasure ground, intersected with gravel walks, and a sheet of water, a large
kitchen garden and orchard, with green house, &c. a paddock of rich pasture land skirted by extensive
shrubbery walks: the whole contains upwards of 22 acres, enclosed with lofty park paling; also three
contiguous enclosures of arable land, containing 17 acres, in a fine state of cultivation. To be viewed only
with tickets, which, with particulars, may be had of Mr. Leonard, surveyor and valuer of estates, Parson’s-
Green, Fulham: and at his office in Covent-garden Chambers, where a plan of the estate may be seen.”
However it did not sell, and in 1822 Asher Goldsmid, who had
inherited the estate from his brother, stipulated in his will that the 31
acres (12.5ha) in Wimbledon and the 17.5 acres (7ha) remaining in
Merton were to be put on the market by his trustees. Most of the
Wimbledon land however was still owned by the Goldsmid family in
the late 1840s.
The last parcel on the Merton side, surrounding the house, was not
sold until 16 September 1823.3 The house had been pulled down,
having stood empty for 15 years, and the land was offered in 31 lots
“adequate for detached villas”. The plan accompanying the sales
brochure showed a layout of very long narrow plots. Plot 28 was
“… 110 Feet in Front, opening behind to a Width of 250 Feet,
including the Orchard, which is surrounded by a Plantation, also
a small part of the Kitchen Garden as staked out, and the
advantage of a portion of the Pond therein.
UPON THIS LOT THE MANSION RECENTLY STOOD.
The lofty Front Wall with Stone Coping to the extent of this
Lot, the ornamental Bridge cased with Stone over the Canal,
inclining to the Ancient Sloping Lawn, beautifully studded with
rare Trees, and the Well will be included in the present Purchase.”
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 8
Left and above: Sales Particulars of 1823: Merton Local Studies Centre
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 9
The detached villas never materialised. Nelson Grove Road and minor roads off it were soon laid out, and
terraces of shoddily-built small houses on tiny plots began to appear all over the area, which became known as
Nelson’s Fields. Ultimately the Smith/Mackrell family of Clapham, owners of the Merton Abbey estate, acquired
most of the Merton land once owned by Nelson. In 1905, to mark the centenary of Trafalgar, they gave an acre
of this land as a park, Nelson Gardens, and installed a commemorative engraved stone. (On the other side of
Morden Road, also on land once owned by the naval hero, his name lives on in that of the Nelson Trading
One of the Society’s publications, Peter Hopkins’ A History of Lord Nelson’s Merton Place (1998), covers the
full story of the estate, with many maps and illustrations. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the story
of Nelson at Merton. It costs £2 (£1.60 to members), and is obtainable at Society meetings or by post from Peter
Hopkins, Publications Officer, 57 Templecombe Way, Morden, Surrey SM4 4JF. Cheques payable to Merton
The full text of the will, including all the codicils, can be found in Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas The Dispatches and Letters of Lord Nelson Vol VII
(August 1805-October 1805) Colburn, London 1846 pp.ccxxi-ccxl. The modern facsimile reprint of Nicolas by Chatham Publishing, London
(1998), is widely available.
2 C B Andrews (ed.) The Torrington Diaries [Hon. John Byng, later 5th Viscount Torrington] Vol II Eyre & Spottiswoode, London (1935) p.195:
entry for Friday 18 June 1790
3 Sales particulars: Merton Local Studies Centre
KATE VAUGHAN – AN ORNAMENT TO THE MUSICAL STAGE
In Chamberlain’s little book about Merton1 he wrote a page or so about Gate House in Merton High Street,
which once stood on the site later occupied by Wimbledon Palais de Danse. He mentioned some of its occupants,
including Admiral Isaac Smith, and a Captain Barber, who, as he put it, was “followed by Colonel Wellesley, a
descendant of the ‘Iron Duke’, and subsequently by Kate Vaughan, the celebrated actress”.
As is usually the case with Chamberlain’s information, this is accurate – up to a point: interesting but repaying
research. Colonel Wellesley was not a descendant of the Great Duke, and Kate Vaughan was not a subsequent
occupier but a simultaneous (though perhaps intermittent) one. They were a couple. In fact they were a married
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography devotes more than a page to Kate Vaughan, including a picture of
her.2 There is no entry for Wellesley, though there is for his father – and, among others of his relatives, for his
Frederick Arthur Wellesley was the third son of Henry Richard Charles Wellesley, the first Earl Cowley, who
was the youngest son of Henry Wellesley, a brother of the first, and great, Duke of Wellington. Earl Cowley had
served as our ambassador to France. Frederick, born in 1844, reached the rank of colonel in the Coldstream
Guards, and held minor diplomatic posts in Vienna and St Petersburg. In 1873 he married a daughter of Lord
Augustus Loftus, who divorced him nine years later. Their son became a page to Queen Victoria.
Kate Vaughan, whose real name was the charming one of Catherine Candelin, was born c.1852 in London, the
daughter of a theatre musician, and was trained as a dancer, making her debut in 1870 at a music hall. Her career
blossomed both as dancer and as a burlesque actress. She pioneered the ‘skirt dance’, which was a more ladylike
forerunner to the can-can, and she delighted audiences at the Gaiety in a long series of musical productions.
Clement Scott wrote of Kate:
“What more charming artist in the expression of ‘poetry of motion’ has the modern stage ever beheld
than Kate Vaughan? … This light and fragile creature was the first exponent of the petticoat and skirt
dance, never in the least degree suggestive, a dance that intervened pleasantly between the rough-andtumble
exhibitions of ‘Wiry Sal’ and her companions, and the equally objectionable high-kicking and
‘splits’ of the present time. Petticoats should be respected, not outraged; Kate Vaughan respected them,
and made them respected.
“It was ever the greatest of treats to watch Kate Vaughan dance alone, or waltz with her favourite companion
Teddy Royce, whirling around as light as a feather, and waving in the air her dainty lace pocket-
handkerchief, without which dancing to her seemed impossible. It was one of Kate Vaughan’s tantalising
tricks to give her audience just enough to make them wish for more. She seemed to say as she valsed or
pirouetted off the stage, ‘If you want to see any more, dear friends, you had better come another evening.’
And they did.”3
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 10
John Hollingshead was another who remarked on her “air of
refinement and … distinct and graceful style of dancing”.4
In June1884 Kate married Wellesley and briefly retired from
the stage. Wellesley took a lease on Gate House in December of
that year.5 He and Kate must have rattled around in that very
large house, whose extensive garden to the rear and side included
an ornamental canal and gravel walks. Perhaps they did a lot of
entertaining. And indeed Hollingshead wrote, “I am indebted
to [Kate Vaughan’s] friendship … and that of the gentleman she
married, Colonel the Honourable F. Wellesley, for many days
and nights that I shall always remember with pleasure”.6
However Kate soon returned to the stage, dancing at Her Majesty’s in a ballet called Excelsior. But then her
health seems to have become a problem and she gave up dancing to concentrate on comedy acting, setting up
the Vaughan-Conway comedy company with H B Conway. For a few years she was well received in Sheridan’s
classic comedies, among others, and then briefly returned to burlesque – but she had lost her old touch. She
voyaged to Australia and to South Africa for her health, and Wellesley divorced her in 1897. Finally she
returned to South Africa in 1902, opened a theatrical tour in Cape Town, which failed, and died in Johannesburg
early in 1903.
The lease of Gate House had passed to Henry Winch QC ten years earlier,7 and Frederick Wellesley had moved
to Winchfield in Hampshire. He married yet again, more or less within the family this time, for in 1911 Evelyn,
widow of the third Duke of Wellington, became his third wife. He reached a ripe old age, living until 1931.
1 W H Chamberlain Reminiscences of Old Merton Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, London 1925 pp.17-18
2 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 56 OUP 2004 pp.190-1
3 C Scott The Drama of Yesterday & To-Day Vol ii Macmillan, London 1899 pp.244-5
4 J Hollingshead Gaiety Chronicles Constable, London 1898 p.336
5 Lease dated 21 January 1885, Surrey History Centre 3057/1/3
6 Hollingshead op. cit. p.339
7 Lease dated 31 May 1893, Surrey History Centre 3057/1/5
Also consulted: various editions of Burke and Debrett
A garden walk at Gate House, postcard c.1900
From The Drama of Yesterday and
Today: Kate Vaughan
From Gaiety Chronicles:
Kate Vaughan is second from the right.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 11
JOHN W BROWN, a member both of this Society and of its near neighbour, the Streatham Society, has
been prompted by Roger Packham’s article in the December Bulletin to contribute a note on
CRICKET AT STREATHAM – THE EARLY DAYS
I read with considerable interest Roger Packham’s most interesting article on the foundation date of Mitcham
cricket in the last issue of the Bulletin.
Despite suggesting the reduction in the age of the noble sport in the parish by some 22 years, Mitcham can still
claim a long and distinguished history of the game within its boundaries.
I noted with particular interest that the earliest reference to cricket on Mitcham Green dates from 1731. My
main area of local history relates to the neighbouring parish of Streatham, where my studies to date have
revealed that the earliest reference to the game within its bounds dates from only five years later.
I have a reference to a match to be played on the “White Lion fields at Streatham” on Friday July 9th 1736. This
venue was probably located near the White Lion public house, which survives today on Streatham High Road,
although subsequently having been rebuilt. It would be fascinating to know if any players from Mitcham took
part in this game, but such details are probably now lost in the antiquities of time.
Although cricket was a popular pastime in Streatham in the 18th century, Streatham Cricket Club cannot claim
the same antiquity as its near neighbour in Mitcham, having been founded at the Horse and Groom pub in
Streatham on Monday May 5th 1806. At that time the club was limited to forty members who each paid an
annual subscription of five guineas, thus ensuring that the exclusivity of the group would be limited to the
gentry who could afford the membership fee.
On Tuesday January 27th 1807 a meeting was held at the London Tavern to revise the rules of the club and iron
out some problems which appear to have occurred during its first season. It would seem that some of the players
had been coming late to the crease, as it was decided that those members attending the game after “Half-past
Three o’clock by the President’s Watch, shall forfeit Half a Crown 1”.
Other members would appear to have adopted a colourful presence before the wicket, leading to the introduction
of Rule 15, which states that “Any Gentleman playing in coloured Jackets, Breeches, or Pantaloons, shall be
fined Half a Crown; Nankeen or White may be worn at pleasure”.
To encourage each player to give of their best, the club decided that each member on the losing side should pay
two shillings [10p] into the hands of the Secretary for every game lost.
No mention is made as to what purpose the money accruing from fines should be put, but needless to say the
preparation of the pitch and the refreshment of the players would have been considered worthy causes.
For almost eighty years the club played their hone fixtures on Streatham Common, where their wicket was
roped off to protect the surface of the pitch from the public. The club subsequently moved to their own ground,
which occupied a site now covered by Gracefield Gardens, named to commemorate the great cricketer W G
Grace, who played there on a number of occasions at the end of the nineteenth century.
[In the first line of Roger Packham’s article on page 14 of Bulletin No.156 (December 2005) the dates in
brackets should of course read “1685-1985”. Apologies from the Editor!]
REWCASTLE – A CORRECTION
In Bill Rudd’s contribution on Morden’s war memorial in the December Bulletin, he identified Donald R
Rewcastle as the Morden schoolmaster. He now writes:
“Donald R Rewcastle was the son of Joseph Henry and Mrs L C Rewcastle, master and mistress from c.1905 of
Morden School. The family lived at the old school house. Joseph Rewcastle also served as assistant overseer
and clerk to Morden parish council. The Rewcastles later transferred to the newly-built (1910) school in London
Road and moved to a house in Central Road. Joseph Rewcastle later served as rate collector for Merton &
Morden Urban District Council.”
‘WHAT’S IN LONDON’S LIBRARIES’
Do you want to know where to find a library in London with the book you want to consult?
The website www.londonlibraries.org.uk/will can help.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 12
. The late Patrick Loobey, local historian in Wandsworth and famed postcard collector, is being remembered in a
special exhibition at Wandsworth Museum, which runs until 19 March. Information on 020 8871 7074 or
. William De Morgan and the De Morgan Centre is the title ofatalk by a staff member of the De Morgan Centre
to be held by the Streatham Society at Woodlawns, 16 Leigham Court Road SW16 – 8 pm Monday 3 April.
. A 2-day conference is to be held at Dorking on 22/23 April celebrating John Evelyn – the Renaissance Man and
his Gardens. Information on 01483 763734 or 020 8393 0381
. The LAMAS Annual Conference of London Archaeologists is on Saturday 25 March in the Museum of London
Lecture Theatre 11am–5.20pm. Recent work in Greater London in the morning (John Phillips of Sutton will be
speaking about Carew Manor, Beddington), and Roman towns in the afternoon. Cost £5 (£4 to LAMAS members).
FROM MONTY’S POSTBAG
ERIC MONTAGUE keeps a file of ‘answers to correspondents’ and here is his reply to a researcher interested
in place-names with the element worth. She was enquiring about ‘worths’ in Mitcham. There are two.
Firstly, as a place-name Tamworth is understood to occur in a rental of 1531-2, recording the tenure of three
crofts of land in Mitcham by a William Pratt. Gover, Mawer and Stenton [The Place-Names of Surrey 1934] see
it as “probably a manorial name from the family of John de Tamworth”, and it is said to be listed amongst the
Feet of Fines for 1351 and in the Patent Roll of 1354. By implication, there is a link with the Midlands, but I
have seen nothing to substantiate this.
Precisely where in Mitcham Pratt’s three crofts were situated we don’t know, but in the ministers’ accounts
listing property belonging to the priory of Merton there is reference to the “Firma Man’ de Byggying ‘t Tamworth”.
Biggin can be identified with a farmstead in north Mitcham which was rented to tenants in the early 14th
century. Its site lay near the late Victorian Gorringe Park House, to the east of Figges Marsh.
The manor of Biggin and Tamworth (to which there are no references before the Dissolution) survived into the
early 20th century, and exercised jurisdiction over a swathe of land extending from north Mitcham along the
border with Streatham towards Pollards Hill. This probably accounts for the name Tamworth being adopted
widely in the 19th century, and we have Tamworth farm, Tamworth House, Tamworth Lane etc. None, however,
seems to have existed earlier than the 18th century. I would love to be able to show that Pratt’s holding provided
the site of what a Victorian writer described as a “very old farmhouse” lying at the heart of the hamlet of
Lonesome on the Mitcham side of the boundary with Streatham, but there seems to be no documentary evidence
to take it back before the 17th century. The farm was, however, on rich alluvial soil on the banks of the River
Graveney, and its lands included strips in the adjoining East Field of Mitcham. The discovery of a Neolithic
axehead at Lonesome hints at early cultivation, and the area (so close to the Roman Road passing through
Streatham) is a prime candidate for early Saxon settlement.
‘Batsworth’, an enclosure at the edge of the West Field, or Blacklands, of Mitcham, is mentioned as early as
1229, and it has been suggested the name enshrines the memory of one Baecci or Baetti. As ‘Battesworth’ it
also finds mention in 1234-5 [The Place-Names of Surrey]. This is another riverine location, and within half a
mile there are several Romano-British sites, plus Stane Street and Mitcham’s Dark Age cemetery. As Long and
Short Batsworth – two enclosures in the West Field – the name persisted at the time of the tithe survey in
1846/7, and survives today in Batsworth Road. On part of the former Batsworth Road allotments (later occupied
by a school) Dennis Turner and I excavated a Romano-British site in the 1960s which produced three inhumations
plus occupational debris. Museum of London Archaeology Service have since undertaken further work on the
site and uncovered several more inhumations.
MERTON’S LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
There are to be local workshop sessions where anyone with an interest in the borough can have their say:
Mitcham Wednesday 8 March 1.30-3.30pm Vestry Hall
Morden Wednesday 15 March 1.30-3.30pm Baptist Church, Crown Lane
Wimbledon Thursday 23 March 5.30-7.00pm Community Centre St George’s Road
Colliers Wood Tuesday 28 March 6.00-8.00pm Community Centre High Street
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 13
We have some back issues of the Bulletin, available free of charge at meetings, or at 30p each if posted.
Here is a summary of the main stories, excluding reports of meetings and other news items:
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 15
THE WANDLE IN LITERATURE – an occasional series
4. Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling was born in December 1865 in Bombay. He left India at the age of five, when he and his sister
Trix were placed by their parents at ‘The House of Desolation’ or ‘Forlorn Lodge’ (its real name was Lorne
Lodge) in Southsea. After five years of misery there he spent five happy and formative years in North Devon at
United Services College, where the headmaster Cormell Price was an old friend of Kipling’s uncle Edward
Burne-Jones, and of William Morris (who was known as ‘Uncle Topsy’ to the young people).
Throughout this period Kipling spent Christmas holidays with the Burne-Jones family at The Grange, North
End Road, Fulham. Otherwise, when he was not away at school, he and Trix were looked after at a boardinghouse
at the end of Kensington High Street near Addison Road. Possibly, during these spells in London he may
have taken the opportunity to explore western and south-western London, including, perhaps, crossing the river
to the Surrey side.
In 1882 the precocious 16-year-old Kipling returned to India to start work as Assistant Editor on the Civil and
Military Gazette, Lahore, and seriously began his career as a writer.
His first published book of verse was Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, which appeared in 1886, published
by the Civil and Military Gazette. It was rapidly reprinted. One of the ‘other verses’ was:
THE MOON OF OTHER DAYS
Beneath the deep verandah’s shade, But Wandle’s stream is Sutlej now,
When bats begin to fly, And Putney’s evening haze
I sit me down and watch – alas The dust that half a hundred kine
Another evening die. Before my window raise.
Blood-red behind the sere ferash Unkempt, unclean, athwart the mist
She rises through the haze. The seething city looms,
Sainted Diana! can that be In place of Putney’s golden gorse
The Moon of Other Days! The sickly babul blooms.
Ah! shade of little Kitty Smith, Glare down, old Hecate, through the dust
Sweet Saint of Kensington! And bid the pie-dog yell,
Say, was it ever thus at Home Draw from the drain its typhoid germ,
The Moon of August shone, From each bazar its smell;
When arm in arm we wandered long Yea, suck the fever from the tank
Through Putney’s evening haze, And sap my strength therewith:
And Hammersmith was Heaven beneath Thank Heaven, you show a smiling face
The Moon of Other Days? To little Kitty Smith!
The poem had first appeared in another newspaper, the larger and more important The Pioneer of Allahabad, on
16 December 1884, when Kipling was still only 18 years old. Very much the effusion of a young writer, it tries
to capture the musings and sentimental reveries of a young Londoner transplanted to India. Was this youth
Kipling himself? True, there was a young lady he remembered from home – but more with anguish than with
fondness. Florence Garrard, slender, pale and indifferent, two years older than he, had fascinated him since he
was 14, when she had arrived at Lorne Lodge for a time, but she is an unlikely model for “little Kitty Smith”,
who sounds rather more cuddly! I suspect that the poem is a work of imagination only.
I would like to think however that he really did know a gorse-dotted Putney Heath, and surely he could see in
his mind’s eye the little Wandle, modest tributary of the medium-sized Thames, as he flattered it by transmuting
it into the much, much larger Sutlej, which mingles with the mighty Indus.
Rudyard Kipling Departmental Ditties … (10th ed.) Thacker, London 1898
Lord Birkenhead Rudyard Kipling Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London 1978
E W Martindell A Bibliography of the Works of Rudyard Kipling Bodley Head, London (2nd ed.) 1923
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor. The views expressed in this
Bulletin are those of the contributors concerned and not necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 157 – MARCH 2006 – PAGE 16