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. Similar disputes flared up over the centuries, one case in 1553 leading to the drawing of the earliest maps of Morden and its surroundings, now in The National Archives (TNA MPB 1/25/1-2). Tracings of these maps, called ‘plotts’, have been made by MHS member John Pile, and these tracings can be downloaded here:
Click on the links below to download the transcripts without images.
- SHC K85/3/31: 16th-century copy of proceedings in King’s Bench: Archbishop of Canterbury against named Morden tenants concerning ‘trespass in the lord’s common of Sparofeld’: 1378
- WAM 1833: Writ of arrest – seizing Abbot’s cattle: 1396
- WAM 1831: Writ of arrest of the assailants of servant of Abbot of Westminster at Morden: 1397
- WAM 1837: Writ of arrest of the assailants of servant of Abbot of Westminster at Morden: 1397
- WAM 1838: Writ to summon juries from view of Morden to try case between Abbot and the inhabitants of Cheam: 1397
- WAM 1839: Writ to summon juries from view of Morden to try case between Abbot and the inhabitants of Cheam: 1397
- WAM 1832: Writ of arrest of the assailants of servant of Abbot of Westminster at Morden: 1397
- WAM 1834: Writ of arrest – seizing Abbot’s cattle: 1397
- TNA SC 8/188/9369: The Abbot and convent of Westminster request remedy, stating that while their tenants at Morden were holding a procession, William and John Yerd and others from Cheam attacked them, stealing their cross and banners: 1415 (French)
- WAM 1850: Composition concerning common rights in ‘Sparfield’ Common of ‘Rother’ beasts of the tenants of the lordship of Mordon: 1530
- TNA E 315/122: Dispute before Court of Augmentations between tenants of Morden and Cheam regarding rights of common in Sparrowfeld, during which two ‘plotts’ or plans of the area were produced: 1553 (This case was described in The Home Counties Magazine Vol. 1 (1899) pp.284-285, quoting additional sources not yet identified)
Two other sheriff’s writs are also preserved among the Westminster Abbey muniments, one relating to a break-in in Sutton, and another to outstanding debts:-
- WAM 1881: Writ of arrest – breaking into Abbot’s close at Sutton: 1396
- WAM 1835: Writ of arrest – outstanding debts to Abbot: 1397
Or click on the thumbnails below to download the transcripts with images.
The initial transcriptions and translations by Dominic Alexander and Peter Hopkins have all been checked and corrected by Dr Mark Page.
Writs: comparison with 17th-century transcripts