Resources

1 Reminiscences

Merton Historical Society has published a number of recollections by local residents in our series of Local History Notes.

Most of these are by Mitcham residents with memories ranging from the 1920s to the 1960s, though there are a few relating to Merton and to Morden. We even have reminiscences from the 18th and early 19th centuries,

We would particularly welcome reminiscences of local commercial and industrial activities.

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2 Share your Memories

If you would like to share your own memories of the area in bygone days, please leave a message in the box below:

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3 Memories of Morden Between the Wars: a ‘Chat Show’ held in September 2012

In September 2012 the Society organised a ‘Chat Show’ hosted by Peter Hopkins with guests who grew up in Morden in the 1930s and whose families lived in Morden before suburban development in the area. Audio clips and photographs can be accessed from the links on this page. The audio clips have been rearranged by topic, and include some of the questions and comments from the audience at the end of the meeting.

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4 A Century of Change

In March 2017 Peter Hopkins was asked to create an exhibition on A Century of Change in Lower Morden and Cannon Hill, for an Open Day celebrating the 60th anniversary of St Martin’s Church, Camborne Road, Morden.

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Charters and cartularies

There are several original charters relating to properties granted to or by Westminster Abbey, some still bearing the seals of the parties involved. Many charters and other agreements were copied into the Abbey’s cartularies. The cartulary known as the Westminster Domesday (WD) has copies of several documents relating to Morden. As some of the original documents have been damaged by damp, and others have been lost, the cartularies are of great value to the researcher.

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Documents relating to the Church and Clergy of Morden

The cartulary known as the Westminster Domesday (WD) contains copies of a collection of official documents relating to the abbey’s appropriation of the rectorial rights to tithes of the parish of Morden in 1301. Vicars were appointed to serve the spiritual needs of the parishioners, and agreements for the support of the vicars were recorded in 1331 and 1442/1443. 16th-century copies of these agreements survive at Surrey History Centre, as part of a fascinating collection of documents relating to a late 16th-century dispute over tithes between the vicar and the lord of the manor. Earlier documents relating to clergy also exist, and the Register Books also include some information on the appointment of clergy.

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Excavations

During the 1960s and 1970s the Society was involved in archaeological investigations on the following local sites threatened by development.

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Family History

Several members of the Society are involved in researching their family history.

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Manorial Documents

Translations of most of these Morden manorial documents, including court rolls and more than 100 account rolls are being added to this website and can be viewed or downloaded.

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Medieval freehold properties in Morden

Surrey History Centre holds documents that trace the descent of some freehold properties in Morden from the mid-15th century until 1602. The earlier history of these properties can be discovered from entries in the manorial court rolls.

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Morden Fee in Ewell

Ewell was a royal manor until granted to Merton Priory in 1121, but there were several small estates, some of them independent manors and some held from the other manors. Westminster Abbey claimed 2 hides of land in Ewell by right of a charter of archbishop Dunstan and king Edgar in 959AD, which exists only in a 12th-century fabrication This holding was not specified among the Abbey’s estates in 1086, but its estate in Morden, described in 969AD as 10 hides, was assessed at 12 hides in Domesday Book, suggesting that the Ewell lands were already part of the Morden estate. By the late 13th century, when the extant manorial court rolls and manorial account rolls begin, the tenants of these Ewell properties formed a separate tithing within Morden manor, with its own head tithingman [capitalis decennarius] and ale-taster [cervisie tastator] and, according to a survey of Ewell undertaken in 1408 by Merton Priory, Westminster Abbey’s holding there was called Morden fee.

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Morden Manorial Account Rolls

A major source of information for the study of the manorial economy is the sequence of manorial account rolls that begins in 1280. Though there are many gaps – no accounts survive for the period 1359-1387 or from 1412-1440, and only a dozen thereafter – over 100 can be consulted at the Muniment Room (WAM), a dozen at the Society of Antiquaries London (SAL), and one at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

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Morden Manorial Court Rolls

A number of manorial court rolls survive, though many are missing. Those covering the period 1296-1300 and for 1327-28 are in the Muniment Room at Westminster Abbey, while the British Library has those for 1378-1422, 1435-58, 1461-1503, 1507-9, 1512-29, 1534-43, and 1655. Extracts and copies of entries from 16th-century court rolls can be found at the British Library, at Lambeth Archives and at Surrey History Centre, which also holds the court rolls from 1594 to 1901 and a 1535 Steward’s memorandum of the rents and other payments made at the manorial courts.

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Morden Manorial Leases

From 1359 the abbey’s demesne at Morden was leased to tenant ‘farmers’. Unfortunately the early manorial leases have not survived, but the abbey’s Registers or Lease-Books, dating from 1485, contain copies of the last three leases of the demesne at Morden. The final lease of 1511 included the rectorial tithes of the parish, and the right to hold manorial courts, in addition to the lease of the demesne lands of the manor. It was for 60 years, and was subsequently assigned to other lessees. Surrey History Centre has two assignments of this lease, as well as sub-leases of the tithe corn.

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Morden Manorial Records

Westminster Abbey had owned an estate in Morden (usually spelt Mordon) from before the Norman Conquest. It is fortunate that many of the medieval manorial records are still in existence, mostly in the Muniment Room at Westminster Abbey, though some documents have found their way into other archives. Translations of all the known documents have been added to this website and can be viewed or downloaded from these pages. Images of these documents have also been added alongside the translations, by courtesy of the various archives.

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Parish Records

The Parish Registers for Morden and Wimbledon to 1812 were transcribed, indexed and published in the early 20th century.

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Praise for MHS Project

As a follow-on from the BBC series, there is a monthly genealogical magazine called Who Do You Think You Are? We are very pleased that the February 2012 issue contains a short piece on our ‘Medieval Morden’ project, which aims to publish on our website a photo, transcription and translation of every medieval record relating to Morden.

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Resources

The Society encourages research into a number of aspects of our local history, as listed on the right.

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Sparrowfeld Common

There are several 14th-century sheriff’s writs and other documents dealing with disputes over common rights in Sparrowfeld Common, particularly with tenants in neighbouring Cheam.

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Tax receipts relating to medieval Morden

There are several tax receipts, for both royal and ecclesiastical taxations, which include valuations of the manor and the parish church. Two examples have been transcribed and translated and the rest have been summarised.

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