by W J Rudd
In this booklet Bill recounts the history over more than 400 years of the building and the two principal families connected with it, the Garths and the Hatfeilds. Illustrated with drawings, maps and a family tree.
Review in MHS Bulletin 123 (Sept 1997)
ISBN 1 903899 05 2
Published by Merton Historical Society
2nd Edition – September 1998
Further information on Merton Historical Society can be obtained from
the Society’s website at www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk , or from
Merton Library & Heritage Service, Merton Civic Centre, London Road,
Morden, Surrey. SM4 5DX
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 1998
Detail from the 25 ” Ordnance Survey maps of 1875, reduced to 70% Detail from the 25 ” Ordnance Survey map of 1895, reduced to 70%
Cover illustration from E. Walford’s Greater London 1883/4.
held there. Since it was wartime some produce from the kitchen garden
was disposed of to British Restaurants and Civil Defence Canteens.
It is interesting to note that in the 1950s and 1960s the lawn was the venue
for an annual film stars’ garden party. The Merton and Morden U.D.C.
remained at Morden Hall until 1965 when the London Borough of Merton
was formed and it continued to house council departments until 1985 when
all departments moved to Crown House. The Hall was then used as a
Teachers’ Centre until vacated in 1991. Following extensive renovations,
in May 1996, under the retail division of Whitbread PLC, the Hall was
opened as a ‘Beefeater’ restaurant and conference centre.
from: “County Genealogies, Pedigrees of Surrey Families 1837”
collected by Wm. Berry, Registering Clerk in the College of Arms.
The estate or manor of Morden was Royal property in late Saxon times. Before
the Norman Conquest it had become the property of the Benedictine monastery
of St. Peter, Westminster, and remained so until the Dissolution of the monastery
in 1540, when it returned to the Crown.
In June 1553 Edward VI sold the manor of Morden to two London merchants,
Lionell Duckett (alias Datchett), mercer, and Edward Whitchurch, haberdasher,
for ‘ready money’. Lionell Duckett entered a quitclaim of the property on 2
July 1553 leaving Edward Whitchurch sole proprietor of the manor. On 6 July
the young king died and was succeeded by his elder sister, Mary.
With Richard Grafton, Edward Whitchurch was the publisher of Miles
Coverdale’s English Bible, known as the ‘Great Bible’, a copy of which, under
Henry VIII’s legislation of 1538, had to be placed in all parish churches. He
was also involved in the printing of the Prayer Books of Edward VI. The
accession of Mary I and the return to Roman Catholicism had brought peril to
many including Whitchurch who considered it prudent to ‘disappear’, though
he was to survive the vicissitudes of the times.
In the process of selling his manor of Morden, Whitchurch encountered a
rising young lawyer, Richard Garth, one of the so-called Six Clerks of the
Petty Bag in the Chancery, who bought the manor and advowson of the parish
church, including a newly-built manor house called Growtes, on 7 March 1554.
This stood near where Morden Lodge now stands, to the south of the Morden
Hall Garden Centre car park.
Morden remained the property of the Garths through several generations, but
in November 1682 Growtes was sold by Jane, widowed second wife of George
Garth II, and her step-son, Richard Garth III, to William Booth, gent. and
ceased to be the manor house of Morden. The Garths moved elsewhere.
Richard Garth III married but died in 1700 without issue, terminating the direct
male line of Garth in Morden. The estate passed by will (dated 1697) to a
relation by marriage, his stepmother’s nephew, Richard Boevey, who was to
change his surname to Garth. He is, for convenience, identified as Richard
Richard Garth IV married Elizabeth Emerson and a son, Richard, was born 26
May 1724. The son was four years old when his father died in 1728 and the
Morden estate was held in trust until his coming of age. Richard Garth IV was
buried at Morden, although the Garths by this time were living in Mitcham, as
evidenced by entries in the Mitcham parish registers. In the course of time the
son succeeded to his estate as lord of the manor as Richard Garth V.
There is convincing documentary evidence, in the form of insurance policies,
to show a building under construction by Richard Garth V in 1750. It does
not appear on a plan of the estate prepared for Garth in 1750, but the former
manor house Growtes is shown, indicating that it was still in existence and
occupied, though separate from what was to become the Morden Hall estate.
It seems fortuitous that the house was built at this time. In 1754 Richard
Garth V married Mary, daughter of Peter Leheup and his wife, Clara, daughter
of William Lowndes of Winslow, Bucks. Three daughters were born, who
were to become coheiresses to the Morden estate. Once more Morden had a
resident lord of the manor. The daughters married at St. Lawrence, Morden
Parish Church: Clara in 1774, to Owen Putland Meyrick of Bodorgan,
Anglesea; Elizabeth in 1775, to William Lowndes of Astwood Bury, Bucks.,
later inheriting the estate of Brightwell, Oxon. in 1789 and adding the surname
of Stone; Mary in 1778, to John Frederick of Burwood Park, Surrey. Each
subsequently went to live on her respective husband’s estate. After the death
of his wife in 1780, Richard Garth V moved to a house in west London.
On 1 July 1782 a 21-year lease on a capital messuage (Morden Hall) and
paddock of 13 acres, was granted by Richard Garth of Kensington, Middlesex,
to Thomas Sainsbury, esq. citizen and alderman of London. The estate then
was described as Moordon Place. A tobacconist of Ludgate Hill, Sainsbury
was Sheriff of the City of London 1780-81, Alderman 1778-95, and Lord
Mayor 1786-87. He was recorded as Colonel of the Red Regiment 1784-89
and Colonel 6th London Militia 1789-94. Thomas Sainsbury had left Morden
Hall by 1792.
Richard Garth V died in 1787 leaving his estate to his eldest daughter, Clara,
with her husband Owen Putland Meyrick taking all rights and appurtenances
as lord of the manor, but not the inheritance.
In 1793 the Morden Land Tax records showWilliam Branders, Esq. occupying
land. He was followed in 1796 by Sir Robert Burnett, occupying land and
houses. On 30 August 1804 a lease on Morden Hall for 21 years at £180 a
year was granted by Owen Putland Meyrick of Bodorgan, Anglesea to Sir
Robert Burnett of Morden. The land holding had increased to 39 acres. Sir
Robert Burnett was co-founder of the Vauxhall distillery of Messrs Fassett
and Burnett in about 1786, and as Sir Robert Burnett & Co. it is claimed to
be the oldest firm in Surrey. Robert Burnett was one of the lieutenants of
Division and a Commissioner of the Peace in Surrey, Sheriff of London and
Middlesex in 1794, knighted in 1795, and Lt. Colonel of the Loyal Lambeth
Volunteers. He died in June 1816, his wife, Anne Fassett, having preceded
The former lord of the manor, Richard Garth Q.C., was knighted in 1875 and
became Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature, Bengal, to preside
there till 1886. In 1889 he was sworn of the Privy Council. Retiring through
ill-health he was elected Chairman of the newly-formed Morden Parish
Council in 1894. He had been born in 1820 at Lasham, Hants. In 1847 he
had married his cousin Clara Lowndes, who died 15 January 1903 aged 78.
He died of grief 25 March 1903 aged 83, and both are buried at Morden.
The manor house had undergone many changes over the years. Extensions
were made to the west and east elevations, a bell was added, and the central
portico on the south front was enclosed. The new lord of the manor now
embarked on extensive improvements to his estate. Some buildings were
demolished, some adapted for other uses and new buildings were erected.
There is an ice house in the forecourt. Gilliat Hatfeild created a most
picturesque deer park which survived to the outbreak of the Second World
War in 1939. When he died 10 February 1906, his estate was valued at over
one million pounds net.
His son, Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, continued to run the snuff manufactory at
the Morden Hall mills until a strike of cigarette machine operatives in 1920,
when Taddy’s men, who were not in the union, and were already getting
better pay and conditions, came out in sympathy. When they turned down an
ultimatum, the owners closed down the business.
During World War I Gilliat Edward Hatfeild offered Morden Hall to the
London Hospital as an annexe for convalescent soldiers, and in the postwar
years for the convalescence of women and children. Mr. Hatfeild, a bachelor,
moved into Morden Cottage next to the snuff mills. When he died on 9
February 1941, he received a glowing obituary in the local press. He had
fought a battle against development but was magnanimous in defeat. He
was gifted with kindness and great generosity. He was a friend of children
and earned the love and respect of all those who came in contact with him.
His monument in St. Lawrence churchyard reads ‘Faithful to his Trust’.
In his will dated May 1938 he bequeathed the Morden Hall estate, which
included Morden Lodge, to the National Trust. The Merton & Morden Urban
District Council took a lease on Morden Hall on Michaelmas Day 1941. As
the estate comprised some 105 acres in Merton and Morden and about 55
acres in Mitcham, the two councils, the U.D.C. and the Borough Council,
agreed to share an endowment to cover debts. In February 1942 expenditure
of £1,425 was agreed to cover repairs and redecoration to adapt Morden Hall
as Council Offices. Early in May Council Departments moved in, and on 27
May 1942 an Ordinary Council Meeting of Merton and Morden U.D.C. was
On 19 August 1850 a lease for 21 years, at £110 10s. a year, was granted by
Rev. Richard Garth to Thomas Nickalls White, schoolmaster, who had taken
over the Academy from his father. The Census for 1851 records 73 pupils
aged between 7 and 15. There were 4 assistants, including Thomas’s younger
brother, Cornelius, and a Polish-born Prussian; 2 menservants, a cook, 2
housemaids and a kitchen maid.
Following the death of Rev. Richard Garth in 1862, the lordship of the manor
of Morden passed to his son, Richard Garth, barrister-at-law of Lincolns Inn,
London, then aged 42. On 28 September 1869, a lease for 21 years at £225 a
year, was granted by Richard Garth Q.C. of St. George’s Square, Middx. and
Morden, to Thomas Nickalls White, schoolmaster. The lease was endorsed 27
June 1873 as a surrender from Thomas Nickalls White to Gilliat Hatfeild Esq.
of Morden. Thus it was the end to Morden Hall Academy after over 40 years.
The last record appears in the Census for 1871. Most of the pupils had originated
from the Home Counties, some from other parts of England, and a few from
further afield and abroad. The house was to return to being a private residence.
The Hatfeild family had already stamped their mark in Morden in 1831, when
Alexander Hatfeild, George Friend and William Tomlin, of The Minories in
the City of London, tobacco merchants, were granted a lease for 14 years at
£400 a year, of the existing snuff and tobacco mills near the Academy, by
Elizabeth Lowndes-Stone, widow, of Manchester Square, Middx. In 1845
another lease was granted by Rev. Richard Garth of Farnham, to Alexander
Hatfeild, Henry Back and Friend Williamson. And again in 1859 by Rev.
Richard Garth to Alexander and Gilliat Hatfeild, of the Minories.
The several partners were bound up with the firm of Taddy & Co., established
in the 18th century in Fenchurch Street, and later moving to 45 The Minories.
Alexander’s father, John Hatfeild, had married Ann, daughter of James Taddy
of Margate, andAlexander had married, Eliza, daughter of John Gilliat – naming
their son Gilliat, a common practice of transposing surnames into Christian
names. Alexander, a director of James Taddy & Co., died in 1865, leaving his
son in charge of the Morden Hall mills.
Alexander Hatfeild, who lived at Hyde Park Terrace, had purchased land
including some at Phipps Bridge, and his son, Gilliat, likewise had acquired
land that had come onto the market from former occupants. Richard Garth
himself had encountered pecuniary difficulties. In 1872 the manor was sold
to the new local property owner, Gilliat Hatfeild. Sadly, the occasion was
overshadowed by the death of Hatfeild’s wife, Jesse Ellen, née Davis, on 5
May of that year. With the closure of the Morden Hall Academy, Gilliat Hatfeild
moved with his family into his manor house.
him in 1802. Though they were buried at St. John’s Southwark, hatchments
of Sir Robert Burnett, Knt. and Lady Burnett are to be found in St. Mary the
Virgin, Merton Parish Church.
There is a brief reference in the Morden Land Tax records to William Lynch
from 1818, and to a Daniels from 1822, occupying the house. The name of
Jos. Daniels esq. on the site of Morden Hall, appears on a map dated 1823.
Nothing is known of either of these two gentlemen.
Owen Putland Meyrick died in 1825, and Clara Meyrick in 1826, to be
succeeded by Elizabeth Lowndes-Stone as coheiress to the Morden estate,
William Lowndes-Stone becoming lord of the manor, as Clara Meyrick had
no sons to succeed under the provisions of the will of Richard Garth V.
On 30 January 1830 a lease for 21 years was granted by William Lowndes-
Stone of Baldwin Brightwell, Oxon. to Rev. John White late of Richmond
but now of Morden, for Morden Hall and a meadow called The Island, for
the purpose of an academy. Nothing is known of Rev. John White. Biographic
details and academic qualifications have proved to be extremely elusive.
Morden Hall with its many rooms would have required certain adaptations
from being largely domestic to scholastic use. A plan that appears on the
lease shows a lawn to the north separated by water from the island meadow.
To the south was a large garden separated by water from the kitchen garden.
To the west near the road to Mitcham, the ancillary buildings comprised
coachhouses, coachman’s rooms, stables, brewhouse, cowhouse, granary,
woodhouse, hothouse and greenhouse. One building was later adapted as a
The Census for 1841 gives the first glimpse of the establishment of Morden
Hall Academy for young gentlemen. Rev. J. White and his son Thomas were
listed as schoolmasters, and 3 assistants included a younger son, Edward,
aged 17. There was 1 male and 4 female servants. The 64 pupils ranged
from 2 boys aged 8 to 1 boy aged 17, the largest number being 14 boys aged
11. An earlier source indicates there were 5 classes. It seems likely that
extra assistance in a variety of tasks came from the local community.
William Lowndes-Stone died in May 1830, leaving his family estates to his
eldest son, William Francis Lowndes-Stone. His widow, Elizabeth, as lady
of the manor remained in charge until she died in February 1837, when the
Morden estate passed to her second son, Rev. Richard Lowndes of Farnham,
Surrey, in accordance with the will of his maternal grandfather. Richard
Lowndes changed his surname by Royal Licence to Garth.
PEDIGREE OF THE GARTH FAMILY OF MORDEN
Elizabeth Dixon = Richard of Morden = Johan Wells, widow, née Bushe
Elizabeth = Robert George = Jane Duffield Alexander of = Alice Ward
Titchbourne of of
d.s.p. 1613 d. 1627
Dorothy = Richard Garth (II) = Beatrice ………..
Anne Carleton = George Garth (II) = Jane Bennett
Catherine = Richard Samuel = Elizabeth = William Gardiner
Stone Garth (III) Gauden d. 1719
d.s.p. 1700 d.1693 John Boevey = Elizabeth Bennett
Catherine = John Stone
Francis Lowe = Dorothy Stone Elizabeth Emerson = Richard Garth (IV)
Francis Lowe = Elizabeth Corrance
William Lowndes = Margaret
William Lowndes d. 1773
Lt. Richard = Bridget
Richard = Rebecca
Richard Garth (V) = Mary Leheup
= Catherine Lowe
d. 1789 1774
Owen Putland Meyrick = Clara
d. 1825 Garth
William Lowndes (from 1789 Lowndes-Stone) = Elizabeth Garth
John = Mary
Eliza Cox = William Caroline = William Francis Rev. Richard Lowndes = Mary
Lowndes-Stone afterwards Rev. Richard Garth
Clara Lowndes = Sir Richard Garth P.C., Q.C. Rev. Henry Garth
d. 1903 b. 1820 d. 1903 d. 1859