September 1998 – Bulletin 127
A Merton murder story – J Pile
Merton Copper Mills – P McGow
To Runnymede via Merton – L E Green
Richard Simpson, Vicar of Mitcham 1844-6 – E N Montague
‘In Pursuit of Spring’: Edward Thomas – J A Goodman
Some Merton Field Names – J A Goodman
Memories of Wandle Road Morden 1920s – M Vandervlies
and much more
VICE PRESIDENTS: Arthur Turner, Lionel Green and William Rudd
BULLETIN NO. 127 SEPTEMBER 1998
Saturday 19 September 2.30 pm ‘A Walk Around West Barnes’
led by Pat Nicolaysen
Pat gave the Society’s 1997 Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture under this title. The walk will
illustrate some aspects of the history of this perhaps little-known district, whose name dates
from the days of Merton Priory.
Meet outside Motspur Park station (Earl Beatty and Library side)
(Trains from Wimbledon and Raynes Park)
Wednesday 21 October (Trafalgar Day) 8.00 pm Church of St Mary the Virgin, Merton
.The History of St Mary’s Church. by Graham Hawkes
Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture
Graham Hawkes has been closely involved with the life of St Mary’s for many years, and has
made its history his special study. He has lectured many times on the subject, and has now
kindly agreed to speak to the Society’s members and visitors about this ancient church.
(The church is in Church Path, Merton Park, near bus routes 152, 163 and 164.)
Saturday 7 November 2.30 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
Annual General Meeting
After the business is concluded Pat Elliott will give a talk on .Christmas Customs..
Saturday 5 December 2.30 pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
.The Archaeological History of Carshalton House and Water Tower.
Archaeology continues to shed light on the history of two of the most distinguished
buildings in our near neighbourhood.
(For the Snuff Mill Centre drivers should park in the Morden Hall Garden Centre car-park
and take the path across the bridge, go through the gateway and turn right towards Morden
Cottage. Buses 118, 154, 157, 164.)
The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
FRIDAY 12 JUNE 1998 – Lionel Green in the Chair
Session opened by Bill Rudd, on the family history trail, explaining the difficulties of
finding more about the
Revd. White, master of the Morden Hall Academy. White is not in the Oxford or Cambridge Alumni,
Crockford’s Clerical Directory of c.1838. Neither is he in the NGI. The 1841 census records
him, his wife
and household at the Hall, but in 1851 he was not mentioned. Had he died? Son Thomas was born
Lambeth, and this leads Bill to Camberwell, where the hunt continues.
In Morden churchyard Bill is puzzled by the inscription on a tombstone of an Edwin Austin Rudd
relation) .Agent and Musician., who died in 1929 answering .The Last Call. and is buried in a
grave with others of his family. He seems to have been a ?music hall ?artiste of some renown.
There is also
the mystery of an Arthur Thomas and his phono-fiddle, still to be resolved – watch this space
Finally, Bill is continuing his pursuit of Randalls, the sugar confectionery manufacturers of
Merton (hunt started by loan of old sweet tin to Sarah Gould for her high street exhibition at
Bill has discovered photocopies of hitherto unknown business registrations at the Heritage
have led him to Bourne Hall in search of information about Nellie and Edward Randall of Epsom.
He is not
stuck yet, and we shall hear more!
Bill Sole produced photocopies of item .Traces of Roman road found on Crown site. in Merton &
News of 3 June 1960. A significant layer of chalk and flints lay precisely on the projected
line of Stane Street
from Newington Butts. This is not on the SMR, so Bill has notified English Heritage (NGR ref TQ
He recalled seeing another layer (‘slab.) of chalk, also on the line of the road, between
Morden and Ewell, in
the back garden of Morden vicarage. This was viewed by a representative from the Museum of
dismissed it as possibly from a cowshed. Bill is not convinced.
Judith Goodman next, on the Nelson trail. Young (nephew) George Matcham’s diary still eludes
her, as do
Cockerell’s original survey notes on Merton Place (cf. Jack Russell’s book). Search in the
at National Maritime Museum at Greenwich not helpful in this particular line of enquiry, but
the same place
yielded some of (niece) Charlotte Nelson’s letters to her mother – delightful reading. One
of reception planned for Nelson’s arrival at Merton Place. (C. was taken under Lady Hamilton’s
spent school holidays at Merton.) Another mentioned Dr Parrott from Mitcham being called to
extract one of
Charlotte’s teeth. Quest next led Judith to home of former MP Sir Nicholas Bonsor at Liscombe
helpful and enthusiastic, a direct descendant of Charlotte, he also has some of her letters,
including one dated
1802 which mentions a projected visit to see Mr Goldsmid’s hot houses at Morden. Clearly there
more to be discovered.
Peter Hopkins has been supplied by correspondent (and member) John Pile of Havant with
photocopies of a
survey of Morden conducted in 1312, and now in Cambridge University Library. The survey lists
acreages and land use of the demesne lands, plus names of freeholders and customary tenants –
in piecing together a picture of medieval Morden, when it was an estate held by Westminster
Surrey Record Office Peter has seen a tithe survey of Morden dated 1583, recording acreages and
of farms and landholdings. Yet another piece in the jigsaw!
ENM reported completion of work on the history of North Mitcham, copiously illustrated, fully
indexed and bound. Two more – Pollards Hill/Commonside East, and the Upper (Fair) Green nearly
completing the set of 16 similar volumes, covering the whole of Mitcham. All in typescript and
on disc, but
will they ever be published?? Work on the Fair Green book has highlighted the origins of the
raised the thought that .Old Bedlam., a multi-period house incorporating a medieval first floor
hall above an
undercroft (well recorded by topographical artists before demolition c.1853) could have been
messuage with houses over. belonging to William Mareys in 1362 (cf. Victoria County History IV
He had received a letter from Peter McGow of Croydon with sale particulars of Merton copper
mills in 1832
giving new details of the premises (see page 6).
Sheila Harris described two recent visits, one to Arundel Cathedral to view the annual Corpus
of flowers.; and the other to Bletchley Park, which she knew from her teacher-training college
to most of us at the time, the latter was the highly .hush-hush. wartime code-breaking
Best-kept Secret.). It is now in the hands of a trust and being developed as a complex of
museums. Open to
the public, it sounds a very interesting place to visit. (For details ring 01908 640 404.)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 2
Workshop was concluded by Lionel Green, who outlined a paper (to be published in a later
explaining the difference(s) between an Abbey and a Priory – all very complex, but hopefully
become clear when we can take it in slowly.
E N Montague
FRIDAY 24 JULY 1998 – Judith Goodman in the chair
Eric Montague told us of the .Ghost Town of Longthornton. (Mitcham). .Squire. Blake of
Farm, West Barnes in Merton, bought up the old strip field of Longthornton in the 1850s to
detached villas. Meanwhile a chemical factory was being set up on nearby Lonesome Farm. The
smells emanating from this ensured that the villas would not sell, and they were never
the skeletons of the buildings survived until 1914. The unusual width of present day
Longthornton Road is
the only evidence of .Blake’s Folly..
Peter Hopkins demonstrated some work in .electronic publishing., whereby maps can be displayed
computer screen, and any area selected to .zoom in.. Hyperlinks can be added to the map,
allowing one to
view maps of the same area at different periods of history, and to display information about
properties and estates. These can be further linked to detailed summaries of the history of
and additional links can be made to source documents, illustrations, biographical notes, family
anything else the author wishes to include!
Lionel Green talked about Adrian IV, the English Pope, and his links with Merton Priory. This
as an article in a future Bulletin. He is soon to visit a friend whose father worked with
William Morris at
Merton. Lionel also reported that the service in the Chapter House on 3 May had been written up
parish magazine of St Mary’s Merton. He also brought along a publication for Savacentre staff
excavations of the Priory site, and a recent publication by Michael Palmer called Tudor
Ian Aldridge mentioned a bishop’s mark that can still be seen on the priest’s door at St Mary’s
has promised to point it out when we visit St Mary’s for the Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture on
Peter Harris showed some recent acquisitions by the Wandle Industrial Museum. A photo of a
drawn van belonging to Turner’s Bakery at Fair Green, Mitcham; some photographs sent from
of a silk commemorative handkerchief presented in April 1843 by his workers to Mr Aitken who
drugs (textile dyestuffs, not pharmaceuticals!) mill at Mill Green, Beddington Corner; and a
Gilliat Edward Hatfeild’s will of 1941, whereby he left the Morden Hall estate and £30,000 to
Bill Sole braved the topic of .Prominent Women of Merton.. Pears Cyclopaedia only mentions Emma
Hamilton for the parish of Merton, though there are three possible contenders for Wimbledon –
Douglas, nine-times Wimbledon tennis champion between 1903 and 1914; actress Margaret
who went to school in Wimbledon, and author George Eliot, who lived over the border in
proposed Evelyn Jowett should be included, and other suggestions were made by his audience. Who
you think should be included?
Bill Rudd referred to the various sources he uses for researching the history of the St Helier
of electors, LCC minutes, and, most valuable of all, local newspapers. Adverts give details of
local shops, and local events are reported, such as Bill’s school production of The Mikado in
1935, and the
spontaneous street party, organised in just one day by residents of Evesham Green and Neath
George V’s Jubilee, and copied the next day by Bill and his neighbours in Easby Crescent.
Judy Goodman referred to the works of Edward Thomas, essayist and poet, born in Lambeth in
raised in Clapham, and killed at Arras in 1917. In his last published prose work, In Pursuit of
describes a cycle journey which took in a route through our territory. (See page 12 of the
Next Workshop dates: Fridays 25 September and 13 November at 7.30 pm at Wandle Industrial
Everyone is welcome at Workshop meetings. You don’t have to be actively engaged
in research – just come along and listen, talk and enquire.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 3
MARJORIE LEDGERTON welcomed some members to West Sussex:
A VISIT TO HORSHAM
The Horsham visit was arranged for 20 June so that the parish church would be a climax to the
walk through the
Causeway, as it was the annual flower festival. The 12 members (some familiar faces as well as
new ones) had
the added bonus of a beautiful sunny day. They had been free to explore the market town and its
museum in the
morning, and we met at 2.15 pm.
The name .Causeway. emerged c.1870. The earliest list of residents, made for tax purposes,
dates from 1524,
with 31 names. The following year saw a further seven added. The road was then called South
The 1841 census is the first source listing properties and occupiers, and the first Post Office
house numbers appeared in 1878.
Ten examples of medieval dwellings survive wholly or in part. All are now plastered over,
encased with brick,
weatherboarded or tile-hung. There are five post-medieval timber-frame houses, and four of
construction (earliest 1704). The latest is Bishop’s Court flats of 1980, between Minstrels and
The Museum (Nos 8-9, medieval) devotes a section to the history of the two houses. Next door is
medieval, with its pillared porch. Almost opposite is The Manor House (1704), the only Queen
Anne house in
Horsham. The southern end of its land was sold to the church, and now The Barn houses the
church offices and
various halls. Next door is post-medieval No.31, timber framed, with a pretty front garden. One
of only three
gardens, as most houses open straight onto the pavement. Opposite are Nos 11 and 12 with
frontages and tile-hung backs. On to No.17, medieval but re-faced and with a raised parapet and
(1703). This faces The Minstrels, two medieval houses joined together. Brick casings and
Horsham stone roof
-much photographed. The Minstrels was once owned by Grants of Croydon.
No.18 was once owned by the Shelley family. Nos 19 and 20, both weatherboarded, were described
in a deed of
1658 as a house in two parts. There are two front doors; it is the only house so divided. Next
door is the vicarage
which was rebuilt c.1841 and reduced in size in 1938, from six reception rooms and seven
bedrooms. A .manse.
stood on the site in 1235. The Chantry, almost opposite, has a Horsham stone roof (recovered
building), and its brick front hides a 3-bay medieval barn converted into a house. It was once
home to Hartley
Flagstones next door has a medieval frontage and post-medieval additions. Originally it was a
open-hall house. An upper floor was inserted and a chimney built c.1615, and cross-wings added.
has it that stone was .found. in the 1950s and incorporated!
Finally the church of 1247 on the site of a Norman church. The tombs of the grandfather and
father of Percy
Bysshe Shelley are here.
I have only commented on some of the 36 historic houses in the town. I have found the whole
but only reluctantly led the walk, after some persuasion from Sheila Harris, when the guide
found to be rather
on the left
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 4
VISIT TO WESTMINSTER
Nineteen members and friends went to the Palace of Westminster on 9 July on a visit arranged by
McDonagh MP, which seems to have been thoroughly enjoyable. (One latecomer, who can remain
anonymous, apparently had to be escorted to the group, by not one but two policeman, and
vouched for before being allowed to proceed!) Though the Mitcham & Morden MP could not be
herself, some famous figures were glimpsed, including the Rev Ian Paisley. The Bulletin for
1997 included a detailed report on last year’s visit.
VISIT TO SURBITON
On the hottest day (so far) of the year 13 intrepid members and visitors met at Surbiton’s
freshly repainted) 1937 station. Our route took us first on a wide loop through leafy .upper.
Hillcroft College, a handsome Norman Shaw- influenced house of c.1880 built for Wilberforce
the match family; italianate villas of the 1850s; the more ornate Oak Hill villas of the 1860s;
terrace from the 1870s now occupied by the Police Federation; through the Southborough
Area with varied houses of the 1890s onwards to Southborough House itself. Built in 1808 by
for Thomas Langley, who farmed 200 acres of surrounding land, it once commanded a splendid view
its 7-bay pedimented garden front across to Hampton Court.
Down again from the heights we took in Cottage Grove, modest dwellings of the 1850s, now very
and Victoria Road, which includes some of the earliest buildings of Kingston on Railway. This
Surbiton was called when it began to boom with the opening in 1838 of the first part of the
Seven of us had had enough of walking in the heat and departed at this point. The remaining six
members!) took in St James’s Road, with the Surbiton Club and the old cottage hospital (now a
site); handsome Maple Road, laid out by the water company in 1855, and still with three
(listed) houses of
that date; and St Andrew’s Square (Conservation Area) and church. These last are on land
developed in the
1870s. Polychromatic brickwork on the tall terraces and on Blomfield’s striking church (closed
alas) are a
feature here. Back towards the station past Claremont and Adelaide Roads and The Crescent.
retain some of the villas put up by Thomas Pooley c.1840, Surbiton’s first (and unluckiest)
The constraints of time and temperature meant that on this occasion we did not see The Elms
Surbiton Road, or walk along Queen’s Promenade (1856) beside the river.
The walk was based on a Surbiton trail sheet brought out in 1986 by Surbiton Rotary Club,
Upon Thames Society and Surbiton Historical Society, which now seems to be out of print. For
gripping story of Surbiton in the 19th century June Sampson’s All Change (1985) is essential
Merton’s libraries have it on the shelves.
As Editor, Judy is too modest to mention that she organised and led
the walk around Surbiton. She had put in a great deal of effort in
planning the route, entailing two preparatory walks. All who went on
the walk would like to thank Judy for a fascinating afternoon.
St Andrew’s Church, Surbiton
Late Regency cottage in Ewell Road
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 5
FOOTNOTES TO A MERTON MURDER STORY
JOHN PILE, once of Morden but a long-term resident in Hampshire, has some interesting comments
on some of the location-names in the article in the last Bulletin about the murder of Harriet
Mud Cottage This was probably built with mud, and, judging by the
position of the Merton Mud Cottage in the narrow neck of the exit-
funnel from Merton Common, it was probably a squatter’s cottage
built next to the droveway on a slip of common land. There are
references to mud construction in R W Brunskill’s Traditional
Buildings of Britain, 1981 (and later editions), and Houses (in .Collins.
Archaeology. series), 1982, and in M W Barley’s The English
Farmhouse and Cottage, 1961.
Blind Lane Normally a cul-de-sac. The term survives in the phrase .a blind alley.. However the
Lane was not blind at all, at least not from c.1745 when it is shown on Rocque’s London map.
The Windingshot field This name appears to refer not simply to a field with curved or .winding.
but to a shot or furlong in the open arable field to the south of Merton village before it was
addition of .field. to what was probably the pre-enclosure name suggests that by 1836 the
original name was
no longer applicable.
The open-field Windingshot would have comprised a number of strips or selions which may well
the long narrow plot at the northern head of which was built Merton Cottage. This strip of
land, as it is shown
on early editions of the 6-inch and 25-inch OS maps, has the typical reversed S-shaped sides
produced only by the action of the medieval plough. This strip had a width of about 21 yards
approximately 323 yards in length (scaled from the maps). The survival of a selion was not
unusual in areas
of piecemeal enclosure by agreement rather then general Parliamentary enclosure.
The entire shot would probably have had its long edges more or less parallel to those of the
and would therefore also have been .winding.. I have based my reconstruction of Windingshot on
boundary features shown on the large scale maps, but it is really no more than guesswork.
Watery Lane is quite a common name which was probably applied only to lanes which were
water, or over which water quite regularly flowed. This was certainly true of Watery Lane in
the village of
Funtington, West Sussex (SU 803083).
One of the advantages Peter Hopkins has in preparing this Bulletin for publication is that he
read it before it is printed, and can sneak in an early response to an article:
I was interested to read John Pile’s comments on Windingshot. It is strange that no other
occurrence of this
fieldname has so far been found among the surviving Merton records. The name Winding Shot also
once in Morden, in the 1838 Tithe Apportionment (plots 219-222), though the two northernmost of
fields had been part of land known as Great and Little Parklands from at least 1458 until 1804.
The acre strip belonging to the copyhold known as Merton Cottage was actually in Berefurlong, a
can be found in the Merton manorial court rolls from 1492 until 1869. This copyhold was
PETER McGOW has kindly allowed us to publish the following letter about the Merton copper
26 Clarendon Road
Surrey CR0 3SG
10 June 1998
Dear Mr Montague
I have read with interest your pamphlet on the copper mills, etc., at Merton Abbey. I note that
published in June 1997, but I have only recently acquired a copy.
I have a snippet of information about the mills which may be of interest. It is in the form of
advertisement in the .County Chronicle. for 3 January 1832 and succeeding issues, which
forthcoming sale by auction on 24 January of .The Capital Copper Mills on the River Wandle at
Bridge … by direction of the Executors of Henry Taylor, Esq. deceased..
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
Mud-walled cottages from Brunskill’s
Traditional Buildings of Britain
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 6
The property was described as follows:
.All those Capital and very extensive Copper Mills on that well-known and powerful stream the
river Wandle, with three large water wheels, driving several pairs of rollers, large hammers,
five heating furnaces, three refinery furnaces, two pairs of blast cylinders, a steam engine of
power, and every other requisite for conducting a concern of the very first consequence, with
dwelling, counting house, stabling, smith’s and millwright’s shops, yards, garden and two
cottages, held for nearly eleven years, at a low rent..
I find this rather puzzling. My initial thought was that, following this notice, the lease was
by the Shears, but there are earlier references to the Shears being in occupation; the first of
which I have
found is in .Picturesque Rides and Walks. by John Hassell, published in 1817. But on the other
seems unlikely that a sale of the freehold was being advertised. Perhaps there was an
tenants and sub-tenants. Do you have any information which might throw light on this matter?
Another point of interest is the association of Shears with the promotion of the Tooting,
Wimbledon Railway, authorised on 29 July 1864 (27 & 28 Vict.cap.325). The Act names the four
promoters, who were appointed to be among the first directors of the company. These were: John
Mansfield, Charles Robert Smith, John Leach Bennett, and William Shears.
Moreover, Section 31 of the Act specifically authorised the building of .a proper siding from
said Railway No.1 [i.e. the Merton Abbey loop] to the Copper Mills in the Parish of Merton in
Occupation of Messieurs Shears and Sons..
The Railway was opened on 1 January 1869, but apparently the siding was not constructed until
some years later. It is not shown on the early Ordnance Survey maps, and first appears on that
whereon it is noted as .Mill Siding.. This began from the northernmost of two sidings parallel
to the main
line to the east of Merton Abbey station, and ran on a curved course to the site of the copper
by that date had been replaced by .Merton Abbey Mills (Paper).. The siding is also shown on the
O.S. map, curtailed to run into the .New Merton Board Mills., sited south of the former mills.
had been taken up by the 1960s, perhaps when the board mills were rebuilt after the war.
Mr McGow hopes that his contribution may elicit more information. As a small start I can offer
In 1889 Dewey-Bates, the artist, published an account of the Wandle1, though, as he doesn’t
William Morris, it is possible that the article was written some years earlier. In any case he
refers to .the
disused copper-mill2 in the High Street of Merton, now a flock-mill.. In a directory for 18813
Company’s flock and wool carding mills are listed as at Merton bridge. In 18824 they appear as
Flock & Wool Co. (J Smith & Co). There are no more entries for the flock mills.
I believe that it was in these former copper-mill premises that Morris’s friend and colleague
Morgan5 set up his pottery kiln. Though it is known that De Morgan was working at Merton c.1882
end of 1887, the site has never been identified. However, an article dated 24 November 18836
.Turning out of the garden [at the Morris site] again, a few minutes along the high road bring
us to the
building where Mr De Morgan’s pottery is already manufactured, though the whole of the building
yet finished…. (De Morgan had ambitious ideas for his new kiln.)
It is clear from this that De Morgan was established in the High Street, and it seems that he
must have been
between Morris’s works and the Wandle, as there is no trace on the OS map of 1894-6 of a
building in the western stretch of the High Street.
1. Dewey-Bates, .On the Wandle., The English Illustrated Magazine, June 1889 pp636-644
2. The last directory reference to Shears. copper works that I have noted is in the PO
directory for 1868
3. Trim’s Wimbledon & Merton Directory 1881 p66
4. Kelly’s Directory for Surrey 1882 p1247
5. Stirling, A M W William De Morgan and his Wife 1922
6. The Spectator, 24 November 1883
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 7
LIONEL GREEN sets out Merton Priory’s connections to the stirring events of 1066 and all that:
TO RUNNYMEDE VIA MERTON
In medieval times monasteries acted as the news media by recording national events of their
annals provide narrative historians with details not recorded elsewhere. The Annals of Merton
exist at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MS No 59 ff 151b-173a), with details of events to
most important section of the Annals refers to those of 1216 and 12171, which covers the period
the signing of Magna Carta, the death of King John and the Peace Conference at Kingston and
On 13 July 1205 Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury and canon of Merton Priory, died. The
was triumphant, for the primate had prevented him from launching an expedition to recover his
on the continent. He chose the bishop of Norwich to be the new archbishop and assembled an army
Portsmouth. But the pope’s choice as archbishop was Stephen Langton. King John was outraged
choice had been rejected and refused Langton entry into England as well as seizing church
1207 England was laid under interdict by Innocent III and subsequently the king was
For seven years the churches in England were closed and silent. Philip Augustus of France
English king and threatened to invade. In 1213 John repented, accepted the pope’s desires and
at Winchester. On 1 August Stephen Langton, the new primate, arrived at Merton Priory
the bishops of London, Ely and Lincoln.2 In the following year the interdict was lifted and
the kingdom to the pope and received it back as a papal fief.
The king now wished to reclaim lost lands in France, but the barons in England and his Poitevin
had no wish to fight against the French king. German and English armies were defeated by the
Bouvines in July 1214. The barons then sought guarantees that the king would govern more
and predictably. On 17 May 1215 the rebel barons took control of London, and the king found
restricted mainly to territory south of the Thames. He based the court at Windsor, and on 28
received the royal regalia at Odiham. This had been in the custody of the Templars in London.
On 5 June
the king made a royal progress through friendly communities from Windsor to Winchester,
Merton. John arrived at the priory on Monday 8 June,3 and issued letters of safe conduct for a
deputation to .make and secure. peace. These were for a limited period until midnight on the
anticipated an early settlement.4 The king left Merton the next day and travelled to Odiham and
Windsor by nightfall for a conference with Langton. The king’s first business on the morning of
was to dictate letters to his military agents in the southern counties informing them that the
truce had been
extended to 15 June.
The barons were based at Staines, and between the two towns was the island of Runnymede with an
from each direction. A meeting with the baronial deputation went ahead and draft heads of
drawn up. This was the Magna Carta and dated 15 June, but this was because the truce would have
and the baronial garrison in London was to give up control on this date.
On 19 June the contracting parties pledged oaths of agreement, and all renewed their homage to
Between 19 and 24 June 40 copies of the charter were prepared and sent out from Windsor. The
chronicler records the accord as 23 June, which is also the day that the king finally left
Innocent III thought he was supporting John by annulling the charter, and in France the court
that John had been deposed. John himself was now contemplating a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the
year5 and began accumulating articles which he had deposited at various monasteries. On 27 June
the cellarer of Merton travelled to Winchester to return to the king three ceremonial staffs –
one with 45
rubies, another 22 sapphires, and the third 27 sapphires. Seven silver cups (weighing 20 marks
ounces) had also been deposited at the priory.6 Similar items were lodged by others in the
Marlborough on 4 July, and at Woodstock on 25 July 1215.7
In France the king finally decided to send the dauphin Louis to claim the throne of England.
Some of the
Anglo-Norman barons backed the French dauphin when he landed in Kent on 2 June 1216. Louis
Rochester on 6 June and entered London, where he was received by William Hardel, mayor of
Robert fitzWalter and others. There were .ceremonial acts of homage, first at Westminster and
later in St
Paul’s churchyard..8 Louis captured Reigate castle on 18 June and moved on to Guildford the
John spent the summer and autumn leading an army of mercenaries marching and counter-marching
rest of the country. In October 1216 he succumbed to sickness and died at Newark.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 8
Henry III was only nine when he ascended the English throne. Some of the more chivalrous of the
supported the young king, and the pope found himself guardian of a child. Louis was defeated at
of Lincoln which he was besieging in May 1217, and was unable to advance far from London.
were denied with the defeat in August of Eustace the Monk.9 Through the mediation of the pope’s
Gualo, a peace conference was called for 12 September 1217 and took place on an island on the
near Kingston. The Queen mother and the young king, together with the legate and William the
arrived first on the Middlesex shore and rowed out to the island, whilst Louis’s men were on
The dauphin was offered generous terms for the cessation of fighting. All debts due to him were
to be paid
together with an indemnity of 10,000 marks10 to finance his withdrawal from England. Even the
who supported Louis were to receive back their lands. In return the Channel Islands, which had
annexed to France (with Normandy) in 1204, were restored to the English crown. Gualo stayed at
priory from 17 to 23 September and was joined by Louis, the Queen mother and many nobles of
and France.11 All was settled by 18 September, and on the 22nd the dauphin returned to Merton
to hear the
injunctions re his penance. He was escorted from Merton to Dover and thence to France. London
to be won over, and according to the chronicles of Merton it was not until 29 October 1217 that
entered the city.12
1. Surrey Archaeological Collections 36 (1925) p43 The article compares the Annals of Southwark
2. Annals of Merton SAC 36 (1925) pp42, 48. They were William of London, Eustace of Ely and
Hugh of Lincoln.
3. Hardy, T D Itinerary of King John from the Patent Rolls 1835 (Record Commission) p108
4. Patent Rolls (Rot. Litt. 1201-16) 17 John m.24, p142b-3
5. Hardy 1835 Ibid. p149
6. Patent Rolls Ibid. p145
7. Hardy 1835 Ibid. p149
8. Annals Ibid. p50
9. Annals Ibid. p52 .Eustachius falsus monachus.
10. The Annals of Merton record 7,000 marks, p51
11. Annals Ibid. p53
12. Annals Ibid. p53
The Standing Conference On London Archaeology, known as SCOLA, of which this Society is a
has its Annual Conference on Saturday 17 October at the Museum of London. Under the title
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE speakers will examine the use of modern scientific techniques as applied
to archaeology. A conference leaflet is enclosed with this Bulletin for Society members in the
Book 4 in the Merton in Pictures series by Merton Library & Heritage Services has recently come
This one deals with the St Helier Estate and features some excellent photographs, mainly from
at Merton Local Studies Centre but including some from our own Bill Rudd’s family albums. There
brief history of the estate as introduction and the pictures have captions. Unfortunately no-
one saw fit to
ask Bill to check the text. He has already spotted many errors and written to the compilers
The book costs £4.95 from libraries. Enjoy the pictures but don’t believe all you read!
The Surrey Record Office, as most members will know, is moving to purpose-built premises in
where the collections from County Hall in Kingston, Guildford Muniment Room and Surrey Local
Library will be amalgamated. All is so far on schedule for the opening in the autumn.
However not quite everything from Kingston will be going to Woking. Sutton Heritage have
that the London Borough of Sutton Archives has been appointed Diocesan Record Office for the
and SRO has transferred back to Sutton all the parish registers and records for the parishes
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 9
ERIC MONTAGUE has a remarkable story from Mitcham:
In March 1997 the Society’s Hon Secretary received a letter from Martin Hagen MA of Heidelberg,
information about Robert Simpson (1820-76), son of Emily Cranmer and William Simpson of
I was able to give him a little information and to suggest further lines of enquiry. Few people
in Mitcham today
have heard of Richard Simpson, which is regrettable, for his story is a poignant one and
deserves to be better
known. The following notes (compiled in 1989) are offered to the Bulletin in the hope that
others may be
inspired to pursue the research further.
Vicar of Mitcham 1844-46
Emily Simpson, the daughter of James Cranmer, squire of Mitcham, inherited the manor of Mitcham
patronage of the living in 1828 on the death of the vicar, her brother, the Rev Richard
Cranmer. She took pride
in the family’s distant relationship with Archbishop Cranmer who, for his steadfast adherence
to the reformed
Church of England, died in the flames of martyrdom at Oxford in 1556. A devout Anglican all her
raised her four children, William, Richard, Robert and Emily, in the faith of the Established
Church. It was
therefore all the more extraordinary, and a source of great distress to her, that within the
space of five years
between 1843 and 1848 all four should renounce the Church of England and become Roman Catholic.
was her eldest son, William, who was converted to Catholicism in 1843. Her second son Richard,
three years later. He received his first formal education at Merchant Taylors. School, where he
proved to be an
outstanding pupil, matriculated at Oxford in 1839 at the age of 18, and obtained his Bachelor
of Arts degree at
Oriel in 1843, reading theology and metaphysics.2
This was a period of great religious ferment at Oxford. The efforts of the Tractarians and the
influence of the
Oxford Movement in the 1830s and .40s were largely instrumental in bringing about an Anglican
the teaching of Anglo-Catholics like John Henry Newman and Edward Pusey,3 both fellows of
Oriel, on the
solemnity of worship and the sacred mystery of the Church, made a great impression on many
the time. Richard Simpson was much influenced whilst at Oxford by the High Church sentiments
expounded by followers of Keble and Pusey, and his correspondence shows his deepening
conviction of the
sacred principle of the Mass, and the Transubstantiation of the elements of the Eucharist.4
In 1844 the Rev James Cowles Prichard, who had been the incumbent at Mitcham since 1841,
living. A fellow of Oriel from 1838-42, he was probably High, rather then Broad, Church. The
reason for his
leaving does not appear in local records, but it seems likely to have been on the grounds of
signed the vestry minutes for the last time as chairman in January 1844, and died in September
1848, aged 34.
In the autumn of the same year Richard Simpson, aged 24, was ordained as an Anglican priest at
vacancy at Mitcham could not have occurred at a more opportune time, and, newly married to his
Elizabeth Mary Cranmer, he was presented to the living, worth £265 p.a. and in the gift of his
was some apprehension amongst the congregation at the extent of the influence Tractarianism may
over their new vicar, but Richard had been able to convince his father and mother that his
inclinations were High
Church and not Roman.6 Within two years however he felt compelled to resign the benefice at
following the example of his elder brother William and that of Newman, left the Church of
England to become
a Catholic. It is evident from Richard Simpson’s notebooks and sermons of this period that at
the heart of this
decision lay his conviction as to the true significance of the Eucharist.
For many of the members of the congregation of the parish church at Mitcham the resignation of
vicar, and his subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism, was little short of scandalous, and
there was much
resentment. In the village as a whole the influence of prominent Evangelicals like the late
Henry Hoare of
Mitcham Grove was undoubtedly still strong, particularly amongst the older churchgoers who,
conservative and accustomed to the simpler forms of worship, would have looked askance at any
which, in their eyes, signified a move towards the ritual favoured by the High Church movement.
remotely approaching the practices of the Roman church would have been regarded by many with
and even abhorrence. Richard Simpson’s decision must therefore have been a particularly
for his mother, in whose right (exercised by her husband William Simpson) he had been presented
to the living
barely two years previously. She is said to have bitterly opposed his action, remaining
estranged from him for
the rest of her life.
The precise date of Richard Simpson’s resignation is not clear from the vestry minutes. As was
the custom, he
took the chair at the annual Easter meeting in April 1846, but thereafter the minutes are not
helpful. His last
formal act as vicar seems to have been the appointment of Edwin Chart as parish clerk at the
beginning of May.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 10
(Chart had in fact been deputising for his father since 1840.) The Revd John Hurnall, principal
of a small
boarding academy for the sons of gentlemen at The Glebelands, was re-appointed vicar’s warden
Simpson that April, but it is not known if he conducted services later in the year. By December
1846 the new
vicar, the Revd Henry James Wharton MA, had been installed, and we find him signing the minutes
at the meeting on the 10th, and being appointed by the vestry as a trustee of the Tate
Since it was no longer possible for Richard Simpson and his wife, who was also received into
Catholic church, to remain resident in the parish, they left Mitcham for the Continent, where
a notable command of the major European languages. Barred from priesthood in the Catholic
church by his
marital status, he took to work as a translator and as a tutor, and finally, on his return to
England, in journalism.
He died in Rome in 1876.2 Robert Simpson, the youngest of the three brothers, was ordained as a
priest in 1848
and took an active part in the establishment of the Roman Catholic mission and schools in
Mitcham. He became
seriously deranged mentally after his mother’s death of a stroke in 1858, and died a lunatic.
Emily Simpson, the
sister, became a Catholic in 1848, and entered a convent in 1852.
One can attempt to imagine the turmoil and anguish these events caused the Simpson family, but
of course changed greatly in the century and a half separating us from Mitcham in the 1840s,
and it is impossible
really to comprehend the depth of local feeling at the time. Richard Simpson was undoubtedly a
man. The acrimony surrounding his departure from the village of his youth must be a factor
behind so little
being said of him in published reminiscences of the period. It is certain that the loss of his
talents could never
have been fully appreciated locally when he felt obliged by social ostracism to leave the
In March this year it came as a pleasant surprise to receive another letter from Martin Hagen
Heidelberg), expressing thanks for the slight assistance I had been able to give last year, and
results of research on Richard Simpson’s musical work. Apologising (quite unnecessarily) for
earlier to my letter, Martin describes how
.Aside from his numerous publications on literary, religious and historical subject, Richard
Simpson was also
a prolific composer, a fact which is not (yet) widely known. Not only did he set the complete
cycle of Shakespeare’s
sonnets to music – a task never again achieved by any other composer, before or after, he also
musical versions of all the songs in Shakespeare’s plays, and set music to texts of many other
poets of the 17th
and 18th century, for instance Herrick, Donne, Carew, Shelley etc. The autographs of Simpson’s
achievements are stored in five large volumes at the British Library manuscript department.
.The first three volumes contain 163 musical versions of Shakespeare’s sonnets (for 9 of the
devised two versions, thus the higher number), most of them for voice and piano, with a
of part songs as well. As a basis for my forthcoming dissertation on settings of Shakespeare’s
general, and especially Simpson’s compositions, I have now prepared a complete edition of
sonnet-songs, only 13 of which have been published previously (1879). With the aid of musical
(and tedious hours of work, I might add) the edition has now a volume of 900+ pages. At present
I am completing
the musicological part of my study, ie the commentary for the edition, before turning to the
main body, ie
literary criticism, where I shall attempt to point out interdependencies between Simpson’s
his 1867 publication An Introduction to the Philosophy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets..
Martin included with his letter a copy of Simpson’s setting of Sonnet 16, dated January 15
1865, and is now
hoping to find a publisher for the complete work.
.The Simpsons were only slightly less prosperous and prominent in Lichfield than the Cranmers
in Mitcham. Richard Simpson’s
father, William, was the eldest of five children of Stephen Simpson of Coventry, who, in turn,
was the son of Joseph Simpson,
the barrister-at-law mentioned in Boswell’s Life of Johnson … As far back as 1764 the
Simpsons had been town clerks of
McElrath, D Richard Simpson 1820-1876. A Study in XIXth Century English Liberal Catholicism,
Parker, A D A Sentimental Journey in and about the Ancient and Loyal City of Lichfield, 1925,
Alumni Oxonienses 1715-1886 IV, 1888
Further biographical details are in
Altholz, J and McElrath, D The Correspondence of Lord Acton and Richard Simpson 1971 and
Notes: The Simpson Family in Mitcham, filed at L2 (920)SIM at Merton Local Studies Centre
Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882), Regius Professor of Hebrew and canon of Christ Church,
Oxford, had by coincidence
received his early education at Mitcham, where he attended the preparatory boarding academy
conducted by the Revd Richard
Roberts at Glebelands.
Altholz and McElrath
Information from Dr R A M Scott in a personal communication
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 11
.IN PURSUIT OF SPRING’
Edward Thomas was born in Lambeth in 1878 and died in the Arras offensive on Easter Day 19171.
1914 when he discovered himself as a poet2 he was best known as an essayist and writer about
(.norfolk jacket writing. he called it). Though he was always proud of his Welsh inheritance it
commons and parks of south-west London and the easily accessible bits of what was then still
Surrey that he
first learnt to love. As a boy he explored Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common, walked to
Mitcham Common, and gathered conkers at Cannon Hill, Merton3. At one stage of his life he was
a paper about Merton, but, if ever completed, it does not seem to have been published4.
Thomas’s last published prose work was In Pursuit of Spring5, ostensibly the account of a
cycling trip at
Easter, from London to the Quantocks. In fact he did not carry out this project in full at the
time, though the
whole route was familiar to him from many expeditions. The book is rather a .mood. piece than a
diary – subjective and discursive. There is a strange character, later called The Other, who
time to time on the journey, and can be identified as Thomas’s alter ego. The Other makes his
in Merton, buying a caged bird.
What follows is Thomas’s description, slightly shortened, of the route that took him on 21
part of the present London Borough of Merton. I believe the year to have been 1913, as Easter
Day that year
was the 23rd. He went by Plough Lane, Haydons Road, Merton High Street, Morden Road, London
and Epsom Road.
.[From Summerstown] my road led up to the Wandel6 and a mean bridge. The river here is
broadened for a
hundred yards between the bridge and the chamois-leather mill or Copper Mill7. The buildings
and along one side of the water; a meadow comes to the sedgy side opposite. The mill looks old,
boards where it might have had corrugated iron, and its neighbours are elms and two chimneys.
It is approached
at one side by a lane called Copper Mill Lane, where the mud is of a sort clearly denoting a
town edge or a coal
district. Above the bridge the back-yards of new houses have only a narrow waste between them
…. It was raining hard when … I turned to the right along Merton Road8. Rather than be
soaked thus early, I
took the shelter offered by a bird-shop9 on the left hand. This was not a cheerful or pretty
place … [It] was
perhaps more cheerless to look at than to live in, but in a short time three more persons took
shelter by it, and
after glancing at the birds, stood looking out at the rain, at the dull street, the
tobacconist’s, news-agent’s, and
confectioner’s shops alone being unshuttered10. Presently one of the three shelterers entered
which I had supposed shut; the proprietor came out for a chaffinch; and in a minute or two the
with an uncomfortable air and something fluttering in a paper bag … He mounted a bicycle, and
I after him, for
the rain had forgotten to fall. He turned up to the left towards Morden Station11, which was my
way also. Not
far up the road he was apparently unable to bear the fluttering in the paper bag any longer; he
got down, and
with an awkward air, as if he knew how many great men had done it before, released the
flutterer. A dingy cock
chaffinch flew off among the lilacs of a garden …
.For some distance yet the land was level. The only hill was made by the necessity of crossing
a railway at
Morden [Road] station. At that point rows of houses were discontinued; shops and public-houses
with a lot of
plate-glass had already ceased. The open stretches were wider and wider, of dark earth, of
squares, or florists. plantations12, divided by hedges low and few, or by lines of tall elm
trees or Lombardy
poplars13. Not quite rustic men and women stooped or moved to and fro among the vegetables:
waiting under the elms. A new house, a gasometer14, an old house and its trees, lay on the
farther side of the big
field: behind them the Crystal Palace. On my right, in the opposite direction, the trees massed
together into one wood.
.It is so easy to make this flat land sordid. The roads, hedges, and fences on it have hardly a
reason for being
anything but straight. More and more the kind of estate disappears that might preserve trees
wasteful and pretty things: it is replaced by small villas and market gardens. If any waste be
left under the new
order, it will be used for conspicuously depositing rubbish …
.I welcomed the fences for the sake of what lay behind them. Now it was a shrubbery, now a
perhaps a rookery, or a field running up mysteriously to the curved edge of a wood, and at
Morden Hall it was
a herd of deer among the trees. The hedges were good in themselves, and for the lush grass, the
goose-grass, and celandine upon their banks. Walking up all the slightest hills because of the
I could see everything, from the celandines one by one and the crowding new chestnut leaves, to
the genial red
brick tower of St. Laurence’s Church at Morden and the inns one after another – the .George.,
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 12
Thomas, R George Edward Thomas – a Portrait OUP 1985 (1987 paperback edition consulted)
From Oxford Companion to English Literature ed M. Drabble 1985: .His work shows a loving and
of the English countryside, combined with a bleak and scrupulous honesty and clarity… [H]is
work is now highly
regarded.. Thomas’s most popular poem now is probably .Adlestrop..
Thomas, R George p143
Thomas, R George p74
Thomas, Edward In Pursuit of Spring 1914 (1981 reprint consulted)
Ruskin too favoured this .archaic. spelling.
This was Chuter’s leather-dressing works, which occupied the old copper mill site from c.1890
to 1960. Except for one
warehouse, the site has since been taken over by the electricity works.
Now Merton High Street
Kelly’s directory for 1910/11 lists Edward Henry Smith as a bird dealer at 57 Merton High
Street, which would indeed
have been on the left after turning right from Haydons Road. He had gone by the following year.
Thomas may have
been using artistic licence.
It was Good Friday
Morden Halt till 1951, when it became Morden Road station. The station is in Merton.
Nursery Road, off Morden Road, is a reminder that both market gardening and nursery gardening
were important to
the local economy.
The poplars of Poplar Road (by 1998 only one survives) would have been clearly visible from
Morden Road, as would
those which then stood at the Morris & Co site by the Wandle.
This refers to the Mitcham gasworks in Western Road.
(I am grateful to John Pile for directing my attention to Edward Thomas.)
A hundred years ago this year William Morris’s oldest and dearest
Until 27 September (Wed. to Sun. 2-5 pm) an exhibition called
Burne-Jones of Fulham is on at Fulham Palace to celebrate this
great Victorian artist. The display includes a small but varied
range of Burne-Jones’s work, plus family photographs and
drawings, views of old Fulham, memorabilia of Morris and some
William De Morgan ceramics. For the admission charge of £1
(50p concessions) you can also visit the Palace museum, housed
in the two rooms so far restored. The grounds cost nothing to
visit and contain some superb trees.
Edward Burne-Jones’s ‘stained glass’ caricatures
of himself (left) and William Morris (right). JG
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
SOME MERTON FIELD NAMES
Prompted by the .Windingshot. discussion on page 6 here are some further field names used in
with possible meanings:
The Slipe small narrow strip of land (which it was)
Black Meadow dark soil
Walk Field often land where cloth fulling had taken place, but unlikely here, adjacent
to Church Lane
Roundabout Piece land enclosed by, probably in this case, trees
Shoulder of Mutton Piece description (here accurate) of shape
Toppins Four Acre and Sculy Meadow perhaps commemorate farmers of earlier times. But Thorofare
Meadow seems a rather grand name for a small plot off Watery Lane, and how could any land in
be called Hilly Field?
Definitions from John Field, English Field Names 1972 and 1989
Field names from Peter Hopkins’s analysis of the Merton Tithe Map of 1844, recently published
Society at 75p (60p for members). Morden Tithe Map of 1838 is also available at £1. (80p for
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 13
A VISIT TO DAVID EVANS AT CRAYFORD
As mentioned in the March Bulletin David Evans World of Silk in Bourne Road, Crayford, is
block-printing demonstration days this year. I had booked a place on 4 April, and found my
visit full of
The Crayford textile industry began at the end of the 17th century, with calico bleaching on
the River Cray,
much as happened on the Wandle. By the 1770s textile printing was established there, apparently
copper plate process first introduced from Ireland at Merton Abbey. The site taken over from a
Applegath by David Evans and his brother (both London merchants) in 1843 had been used for a
of different printing processes. Its history since then has been mostly concerned with fine
Block printing was carried out here until the 1970s, but all commercial work is now done by
printing. David Evans produce their silks to order, and mostly for the top end of the market,
Liberty’s and other West End shops, and designers such as Margaret Howell. These days, though,
and Tie Rack are also among their clients.
There is a shop at the works, selling both ‘seconds. and perfect goods (and there is a café).
But for anyone
interested in textile history the star attraction is the excellent little museum. Here, as well
displays on relevant topics (William Morris in 1996), there is a lot to see on the growing,
spinning of silk; on the development of silk printing and the technology of dyeing; and on the
history of the
industry in the London area and specifically at Crayford and Bexley.
Not surprisingly there are all kinds of links between the industry on the Cray (and elsewhere)
and on the
Wandle. Individual designers, craftsmen, and owners moved about as businesses grew or shrank in
seemingly always precarious field. It was interesting to see that David Evans’s famous Derby
printed to a new design each year immediately after the race, were produced from the mid-19th
1969 for Welch, Margetson & Co. This firm was printing silks at Phipps Bridge, Mitcham, for
years in the middle of the last century. (It is still listed in the London telephone directory,
The block-printing demonstration was performed by John, now retired, who had originally learnt
(six years apprenticeship) in the north. Having heard, and read, our own Bill Rudd’s
description of the
process, I knew more or less what to expect, but as ever there is nothing like seeing it done
in front of you.
It was truly exciting to see a complicated pattern meshing together with absolutely no
John was using a block dating from about 1900.
This was followed by a screen-printing demonstration, which was also interesting. Though much
mechanised one could see that there was still some scope for mishaps of various kinds (leading
discounted ‘seconds. in the shop!).
Hall Place, about a mile away, houses Bexley’s interesting local history collection, and is a
fine building in
its own right (the Society visited in 1994).
S D Chapman, .David Evans & Co, The Last of the Old London
Textile Printers., Textile History, 14 (I), 29-56, 1983
.The Crayford Textile Industry., London Borough of Bexley
information sheet, 1979
E N Montague, Textile Bleaching and Printing in Mitcham
and Merton 1590-1870, 1992
There is one more demonstration day on 3 October.
Book on 01322 559401. (Charge £2.50/£2). David
Evans World of Silk is open Monday-Saturday.
Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.
A textile block printer assisted by his helper,
the ‘tierer’, who provides a continuous
supply of colour from which the block is
(Rectangle comment XPMUser
recharged after each application.
(A David Evans photograph from Textile Printing, Shire Books)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 14
MRS MARGARET VANDERVLIES (née Rook), now 81, lived in Wandle Road, Morden for part
of her childhood. Her parents. house was the first bungalow after the junction with The Drive,
opposite what was the farm. The following account is an extract from her recollections of her
written for her grandchildren:
The first thing that I can really remember is walking beside Mum who was pushing a pushchair
to a new bungalow which Dad had built in Morden in Surrey. (Mum told me that I must have been
four years old.*) There was a lane on either side of the bungalow and lovely fields all around.
Nearby was a gypsy caravan and I used to go and talk to the gypsy who would sit at the top of
There was a large mirror behind her and a neat bed on the side. It always looked spotlessly
clean and I was
fascinated by it. Further up the lane were two railway carriages and people also lived there.
The road was called Wandle Road and the river Wandle ran nearby. It was so lovely as the
the only building on a new site. The situation was perfect as it was on a corner of two lanes
and open fields
all around. Opposite was a farm and once Dick and I were allowed to go into the farmyard as a
being made, starting from there. I think the title was either .In a Covered Wagon. or .Covered
There was a wagon and chickens flew out of the back of it. Years later I went back to look at
It was unrecognisable and the farm was a park.
When I started school I had to walk a mile and a quarter to get there. I used to take
sandwiches and milk
in a metal container. The milkman used to come with a little pony and cart which was open at
the back; it
was something like a Roman chariot. It had two large metal urns with the milk in them. There
were taps on
the urns through which the milk would come.
Dad had a large workshop and sawmill at the side of the bungalow. He also had horses and carts,
pony and trap. I can remember going for a ride in it to either Wimbledon or Tooting. Mum had a
her arms, so that must have been in 1921, when my brother Jack was born. Dad used to fell trees
were sawn up into logs. When Guy Fawkes night was approaching my parents used to send
my school and the children and their parents would come to a huge bonfire, made by wood
chippings from the workshop.
Being near to Epsom Dad took us to the Derby in a horse and wagon. I remember a curtain
shutting off the
driving seat, and there were two armchairs in the wagon for the ladies to sit on. (No doubt
they were there
for the occasion.) I don’t remember seeing anything of the race of course, in fact I suspect we
away from it. However I do remember there were lots of side shows and caravans.
Opposite our school was a church wall and peacocks used to sit on it and let their lovely tail
down. Once a year our school treat was held on the Hatfeild estate. Trestles were put up and we
a nice tea and as the river Wandle ran through the estate we were also able to have boat rides.
On one occasion I came home from school (it must have been my birthday because we only had
on our birthday and at Christmas) and there was a doll for me which Mum had dressed up as a
she had a wand! It was my cherished possession for a long while. Another present I well
remember was a
real blackboard and easel which Dad made for me one Christmas. It was big enough for me to have
really stretch to clean the board just like our teacher, so that made it super.
We also had Easter Eggs and my favourite was a marzipan one and the marzipan was in colours. I
sorry they no longer make these because I still like marzipan very much.
Dad had a car which was called a .Studebaker.. It seemed to have a long body, big mudguards and
running board which you don’t see on cars these days. I also seem to remember brass headlamps.
what intrigued me most were two little seats that used to pull up out of the floor. We also had
They were very happy days.
Eventually we moved to Norfolk.
* that is 1920 © Margaret Vandervlies
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 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 15
48th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
SNUFF MILL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE, MORDEN HALL PARK
SATURDAY 7 NOVEMBER 1998 at 2.30 pm
1 Apologies for absence
2 Minutes of the 47th AGM held on 8 November 1997
3 Matters arising from the Minutes
4 Duration of Presidential Tenure of office:
Following a suggestion at the last AGM, the Committee has considered this matter and submits
motions to the members:
a) That the term of office of the President should be three years, when he/she could stand for
b) That the maximum period of office should be three terms (nine consecutive years)
5 Chairman’s Report
6 Membership Secretary’s Report
7 Treasurer’s Report; reception and approval of the financial statement for the year, copies of
be available at the meeting
8 Appointment of President and a Vice-President. Election of Life Members.
Under its Constitution and Rules the Society is empowered to invite such persons as it deems
fit to serve
as President, Vice-President, or to become Honorary members of the Society.
a) Members will recall that at the Annual General Meeting in 1996 Viscountess Hanworth FSA, who
been the Society’s President since 1969, resigned the position for personal reasons. Lady
however indicated her wish to remain associated with the Society’s work, and, when approached
Chairman, expressed her readiness to serve as Vice-President if that is the wish of the
The Committee, having carefully considered the question of a successor to Lady Hanworth, wish
recommend to the members J Scott McCracken BA FSA MIFA as President of the Society. Scott
has signified that, if it is the wish of the members that he be invited to serve, he would be
pleased to accept.
b) The Committee wish to recommend to the membership that Viscountess Hanworth be invited to
serve as a
Vice-President of the Society.
c) Finally the Committee wishes to recommend to the members that our former Hon Treasurer Miss
Mould and Mrs Jess Bailey become Honorary Members of the Society.
9 Election of Officers for the coming year
b) Vice Chairman
c) Hon. Secretary
d) Hon. Treasurer
e) Hon. Auditor(s)
10 Election of a Committee for the coming year
11 Motions of which due notice has been given
12 Any other business
At the conclusion of the business part of the Meeting Pat Elliott will give a talk
NOMINATIONS for Officers and Committee members should reach the Hon. Secretary 14 days before
the AGM, though additional nominations may be received at the AGM with the consent of members.
MOTIONS for the AGM must be sent to the Hon. Secretary in writing at least 14 days before the
The MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY wishes to remind members that subscriptions are due on 1st October:
Single member £6
Additional member in same household £3
Student Member £1
A renewal form is enclosed with this Bulletin. Please return forms by post, with subscription,
membership Secretary, Mr C E Sole, or in person at a meeting.
Members who pay their subscriptions by Banker’s Standing Order please ignore renewal form.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 127 – SEPTEMBER 1998 – PAGE 16