Bulletin 134

Download Bulletin 134

June 2000 – Bulletin 134
Ann Hallam, actress (1696-1740) – R Ninnis
The Athletic Fame of Mitcham – R A M Scott
Seeking Sanctuary at Merton – L E Green
Before the computer sent the bills – R A M Scott
The impact of the Scandinavian raids – E N Montague

and much more

Chairman: Hon. Secretary: Chairman: Hon. Secretary:
VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Arthur Turner, Lionel Green and William Rudd


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Wednesday 14 June 11am Old Battersea House
Meet 10.45 at 30 Vicarage Crescent SW11 to see ceramics by
William De Morgan, paintings by his wife Evelyn De Morgan,
and much more. Maximum number for group is 20.
The cost will be £2.50.
Old Battersea House is a 15-20 minute walk from Clapham
Junction, or take bus 239.
Saturday 22 July 2.30pm
Kensal Green Cemetery
Meet at main entrance at 2.15 for 2-hour guided
tour of this historic necropolis. Cost £4/£3 plus
£1 for tea and biscuits afterwards. Numbers are
The cemetery is opposite Kensal Green station,
which is on the Bakerloo line.
Saturday 12 August 2.30pm Beverley Brook walk
A Millennium event, beating the western bounds of the old parish of Merton, from Motspur Park
to Coombe Bridge. Led by Peter Hopkins and Judith Goodman. Meet outside Worcester Park
station, up side.
Saturday 9 September 2.30pm River Wandle walk
Another Millennium event, exploring part of the western bounds of Mitcham, from Merton Abbey
Mills to Morden Hall Park. Led by Eric Montague. Meet at the Wheelhouse.
The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.

who was buried in Mitcham churchyard 260 years ago this month.

The ancient parochial burial ground surrounding the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, in

Church Road,
Mitcham, in common with many other historic enclosures in the home counties, once contained a

number of
chest-tombs dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, each surrounded by iron railings. Most of

these tombs,
which were the memorials of the more prominent parishioners (or their relatives), have now lost

their railings,
and one such, standing close to the north-east corner of the church, has panelled sides of

white, probably Portland,
stone, carved into a baluster-like form at each corner, and topped by a moulded-edged grey


The inscription upon the ledger was recorded by Lysons about the year 1790 thus:
Charissimae suae uxori
Annae Hallam, Histrioni,
Ultimum hoc amoris manus
Maestissimus dedit
Gulielmus Hallam.
Intravit !Î
1696 .
Anno $.
Aet. 44
Exit %Ì
1740 .
Lysons commented: .Mrs Hallam belonged to Covent-
Garden Theatre, where she acquired considerable celebrity
by her performance of Lady Macbeth. She was much
admired also in the character of Lady Touchwood.1 To this,

Brayley merely adds that these are .two very opposite
characters.,2 as indeed they are.
However, the published work of American researchers now makes it possible to appreciate more

fully Anne

Hallam’s achievement3, even if the question of why she was buried at Mitcham has still to be

The beginning of the 18th century saw the management of the few licensed London theatres of the

day pass from
the hands of courtiers into those of professional theatrical people, usually actors.4 These

latter still produced the

plays, especially the Restoration comedies of the earlier period, together with Shakespeare’s

comedies, tragedies
and histories, and also the work of their own contemporaries, such as John Gay’s The Beggar’s

The appearance of women on the English stage became general only after 1660, and two members of

the earliest

generations of English actresses were still alive in 1720, the year from which it is possible

to follow Anne
Hallam’s London career. Anne Bracegirdle (c1663-1748) had been inactive since 1707, but Anne

Oldfield (16831730)
played to the last year of her life. They, like Anne Hallam, excelled in both tragic and comic


Evidently no portrait of Anne Hallam, or even a representation of her in one of her roles, can

be found,5 but in the
work of the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) social, political and moral comment and satire,

so much the
preoccupation of the contemporary theatre, and that theatre itself, received lasting imagery.6

Hogarth was a
friend of the theatre manager John Rich,7 and one or two of his works represent aspects of Anne

theatrical life.

It seems that Anne may have married into the family of Robert Parker, manager of strolling

players and puppeteer,
whose activities are recorded in 1676 in Norwich, and probably in London, including managing

booths at
Bartholomew Fair, until 1704. Anne is said to have come to London, as Mrs Parker, from Norwich,

where ‘she
had signalized herself so greatly as a Member of the company … that she received an

invitation from Mr [John]
Rich to join his company at Lincoln’s-inn-Fields. Theatre. Here she appeared on 15 October 1720

as Regan in
King Lear and, three days later, as Melinda in Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer (another two

very .opposite.

During the 1723-24 season Anne, as Mrs Parker, played 16 principal and secondary roles,

including Isabella in
Measure for Measure. Her salary fluctuated somewhat, but her benefit on 17 April 1727 brought

in gross receipts
of £74.4.6. Some time before 1726 she married Joseph Berriman, a minor actor at Lincoln’s Inn

Fields, who died
in 1730.

The Beggar’s Opera, the most famous and popular of ballad operas, was first performed at this

theatre in 1728.
Anne was evidently not in it, but Hogarth’s painting of the Newgate Prison scene in Act III is

of interest because
it is said to be the only pictorial record of the interior of this theatre, in which Anne

played for more than half the
period of her London career.8

The grave of Anne Hallam in Mitcham churchyard


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William Hogarth: Rich’s Triumphant Entry

For the time being Anne continued to act at this theatre as Mrs Berriman, but by 27 September

1731 she had
married William Hallam, and she continued as Mrs Hallam till the end of her career. Anne’s

husband William
Hallam (1712?-1758?), actor, dancer and manager, was the son of Thomas Hallam, .the progenitor

of a line of
British and American actors and actresses on the stage for at least 120 years.. William himself

appeared in
London theatres – at Goodman’s Fields in 1729, in 1730 at the Haymarket, and in 1732 at

Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Rich’s removal of his company from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to his new theatre in Covent Garden was

recorded by
Hogarth in his engraving Rich’s Triumphant Entry. This shows the actors following Rich’s

carriage crossing the
Piazza. It might be supposed that Anne is in this triumphant procession, as she played Mrs

Marwood in Congreve’s
The Way of the World at the opening of the new theatre on 7 December 1732, and we are told that

‘she remained
an ornament of that company until her death.. The majority of events at Covent Garden during

its first hundred
years were of a dramatic rather than operatic nature, but no doubt some of the audiences who

saw Anne Hallam
and her colleagues would have attended the opera seasons of 1735-37, when Handel’s Atalanta,

Alcina and
Berenice had their first performances at this same theatre.9

In the theatre of the day the prevailing style of delivery of lines was stilted and high-flown,

and the stage
.business. was influenced by, among other factors, the combination of apron or fore-stage with

the proscenium
arch, and its doors at either side, through which all the actors entered .down stage.. It has

also been pointed out
that the .intimate conditions of the Restoration playhouse made all the more striking the

ranting and canting of
speach[sic] in tragedy and the kind of large, artificial gesture that was normal before

Garrick.. When it opened
in 1732 the Theatre Royal Covent Garden was less intimate, but its deeper galleries introduced

new problems
for the actor to be seen and heard.10 The development of larger theatres may have worked

against the more
naturalistic trends introduced by Garrick, and may explain how, later in the century, an

unsympathetic critic
saw the renowned Sarah Siddons:

.The most confirmed idiot of the theatre, who has seen her exhibit but three different

characters can tell by

the position of one arm when to expect an Ah! And by the brandishing of the other when to

expect an Oh!11
Anne herself was described as .a large unwieldly person., but so able that she was constantly

encouraged by
her audiences to play roles .which received no advantage from her figure.. The actor James Quin

ridiculed her size one morning at rehearsal by asking the prompter what a large barrel which

stood on the stage
was doing there. Before the prompter could answer Quin cried, .I see what it is: Mrs Hallam’s

stays in which
she played Monimia last night.. Monimia is the eponymous tragic heroine of Thomas Otway’s The

Orphan; the
twin sons of her guardian are in love with her and, in despair, kill themselves. Finally she

takes poison.12 A part
in which it might be supposed that the possession of a slim girlish figure would be an

advantage, if not indeed
essential! One actor’s bitchy reaction to another’s performance and appearance may have been

par for the
course, but it is perhaps satisfying to hear that Quin himself was later to suffer equally

acerbic comment on his
failure to compete with the superior talent of the, younger, Garrick.13


Whatever her appearance and style (surely very different from that of modern performers) in

either tragic or comic
roles, Anne evidently met and, sometimes it seems, exceeded the expectations of her audiences.

Here are just a
few of the many roles (in addition to that of Lady Macbeth and the others mentioned elsewhere

in this article) that
Anne is recorded as playing:

In Shakespeare: Elizabeth in Richard III; Gertrude in Hamlet; the Duchess of York in Richard

II; Evandra in
Timon of Athens; Constance in King John; Joan de Pucelle in Henry VI pt 1; Queen Katherine in

Henry VIII;
Calpurnia in Julius Caesar; Mrs Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

In Restoration comedy: Lady Touchwood in The Double Dealer and Araminta in The Old Bachelor by

(and Zara in Congreve’s only tragedy The Mourning Bride); Alithea in Wycherley’s The Country

Wife; Clarissa in
The Confederacy and Lady Brute in The Provoked Wife by Vanbrugh; Anne Lovely in Susannah

Centlivre’s A
Bold Strike for a Wife.

Anne Hallam’s roles in works by contemporary playwrights are represented by Lady Easy in The

Careless Husband;
Amanda in Love’s Last Shift; Elvira in Love Makes a Man, all by Colly Cibber; and Hermione in

The Distressed
Mother, Ambrose Philip’s adaptation of Racine’s Andromaque.

It is also noted that .in addition to her frequent and fruitful labours at Lincoln’s Inn Fields

and Covent Garden,
Anne Hallam probably assisted her husband in his fair-booth enterprises. She had herself acted

in booths at the
fairs and in the minor theatres..

In the early summer of 1733 the Hallam family went strolling, for William’s parents and

brothers and sister all
seem to have been recorded at the Watling Street Theatre, Canterbury, in June of that year, and

Anne herself
attracted great attention as Lady Macbeth, a part in which she was already famous.

Later in 1733, during the time of Bartholomew Fair, William managed and acted in a booth in

Hosier Lane. At this
fair again in 1737 .Hallam’s Great Booth. was .over against the Hospital Wall., and probably

his brother Adam
had a booth .at the bottom of Mermaid-Court. at Southwark Fair in September 1738. Hogarth’s

painting and
engraving of Southwark Fair of 1733 shows, among other entertainments, a play being enacted

within a booth
under the sign of the Trojan Horse, and it was the strolling companies, and the eventually

successful efforts of
Walpole’s government to stop them, that drew Hogarth’s comment in The Strolling Players (1737,

1738). Anne was a signatory to a petition to Parliament against the pending Bill to regulate

the theatres in 1735,
but the relevant Act came into force in 1737, three years before her death.14

Meanwhile, in 1735, Anne’s father-in-law Thomas Hallam died as a result of being struck in the

eye by the long-
lived actor Charles Macklin (1697?-1797) during an argument over a property wig. There are two

reminders of
this incident: firstly in the tangible form of Macklin’s memorial tablet on the interior south

wall of St Paul’s
church, Covent Garden, where the tragedy seems to be alluded to in the relief of a theatrical

mask with a dagger
(not the cane with which the fatal blow was delivered) passing through the left eye.15 The

incident occurred in the
green room of Drury Lane Theatre, and a less tangible reminder of it is the persistent sighting

of what is thought
to be the ghost of the remorseful Macklin, and is to be found noted under the entry for the

Theatre Royal Drury
Lane in popular works on .Haunted London..16 Also, Thomas Hallam himself is depicted in an

engraving published
in Chester in 1750 in which a hand holds a stick against his left eye while he holds a wig in

his left hand.17

In 1739 Anne’s husband William opened Diversions and Entertainments at the theatre in Leman

Street, Goodman’s
Fields, Whitechapel, but soon he .received a crushing blow in the death of his talented wife,

Anne, who was
earning excellent money as a first-line performer at Covent Garden and was no doubt assisting

William’s management
labours.. However, his venture in Goodman’s Fields was eventually successful, and in 1744

.legitimate drama.
began to be performed there. Thereafter the theatre’s fortunes varied, and it was closed in

December 1751. After
this William turned his attention to organizing a theatrical company under the leadership of

his younger brother
and partner Lewis, to go to America. This was the first full British company to go there, and

it is of some significance
in American theatrical history. William may have visited it there around 1755, when he sold his

property, interest
and goodwill in the venture to Lewis. Thereafter, back in London, William’s fortunes seem to

have been at a low
ebb, and he is thought to have died in 1758.

In April 1740 Anne evidently ended her career in her most celebrated role, Lady Macbeth, .in

which she gave
greater pleasure than any person who appear.d before her., said the London Daily Post, and

tickets could be had
.at Hallam’s house, Leman Street, Goodman’s Fields. (at or close to William’s theatre); her own

address in recent
years had been in the locality of Long Acre and Lincoln’s Inn Fields. She died on the morning

of 5 June 1740, and
on Sunday 8 June her corpse was .carried in a very handsome manner. to Mitcham in Surrey .to be

buried in the
churchyard.. The Mitcham burial register under 8 June records .Anne the Wife of Mr.William

Hallam — from
London.. Elizabeth Carter Hallam, wife of her husband’s brother Adam, was taken ill at the

funeral and died the
next day, and the burial register under 15 June has this entry: …. the Wife of Mr.Adam Hallam

— in the new Isle..18


Evidently the north aisle of the nave had recently been rebuilt, the foundation stone having

been laid in July
1738.19 Although the church was rebuilt about 1820, a number of older inscribed grave slabs

remain in the floor
of the present structure, some possibly still marking the relevant places on interment. But

there is no record of
the name Hallam occurring among them before they were covered by the wooden floor laid in 1991.

Adam Hallam, who played at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres, had married Elizabeth

Carter at the
Chapel Royal, Whitehall, on 22 May 1738 (Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House had served as the

Chapel Royal
since the Whitehall fire in 1698).20 They lived .next door to the chapel in Great Queen

Street., on the south side
of that street, behind which was Wild Court, where, at No.6, Anne Hallam lived.21

At her death Anne was not resident in, nor even visiting, Mitcham, but there must surely have

been some local
personal or family connection (and the two separate burials seem to strengthen the likelihood).

In 1727-28 a
Richard Hallam paid the Mitcham Poor Rate of 1s.10d.,22 and this same name appears in the

parish’s burial
register under 26 August 1736.23 Various parish records contain the family names of Berriman,

Carter and
Parker, so further research might establish the connection.24 However, it is a matter of

speculation as to whether
Anne would have been aware of the Mitcham associations when she played Lady Raleigh – Elizabeth


-in a play entitled Sir Walter Raleigh.25
Although Anne Hallam’s chest-tomb in Mitcham churchyard is somewhat weathered, there seem never

to have
been any inscriptions on the side and end panels. However, the ledger has five lines inscribed

in italics (in
addition to the Roman lettering recorded by Lysons). These read:
Life’s but a Walking Shadow
a meer PLAYER
That struts [and fre]ts a while
upon the Stage
And then is heard no more


The ledger stone has been fractured and repaired with cement, so that part of the inscription

(given here in
square brackets) is illegible. However, the adjective .meer. can be clearly read, and

presumably was thought
less likely to be seen to cast doubt on an actress’s merits than might .poor., and .a while.,

just as clearly
readable, was substituted for the inapplicable .his hour..26 Though not the words of Lady

Macbeth, this is
surely an otherwise most apt quotation (Act V, scene v), deftly adapted by her husband from the

play in which
Anne Hallam gave her most memorable performance.

Rev. Daniel Lysons The Environs of London vol.I County of Surrey 1792 pp.357-58
Edward Wedlake Brayley and John Britton A Topographical History of Surrey [1841] vol.IV p.94
The source for this article is, except where otherwise noted, Philip H.Highfill Jnr., Kalman

A.Burnim and Edward A.Langhans A Biographical
Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in

London, 1660-1800 in 16 vols. 1973-93. I am
grateful to the staff of the Theatre Museum, Russell Street, Covent Garden, for drawing my

attention to this work; it would not otherwise have been
possible to write this article.
George Sherburn and Donald F.Bond The Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1660-1789) p.883

(vol.III of A Literary History of England ed.
Albert C.Haugh 2nd edition 1967)
Neither the Theatre Museum nor the National Portrait Gallery has been able to identify a

portrait of Anne Hallam.
Stuart Barton The Genius of William Hogarth 1972 reproduces the engravings after the works by

Hogarth referred to in this article.
Lawrence Gowing Hogarth Tate Gallery 1971 p.26
Stuart Barton op.cit. p.15
Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera 2nd edition 1979 p.111
10. J.L.Styan The English Stage 1996 pp.247,275
11. David Nokes’s review of Geoffrey Ashton’s Pictures in the Garrick Club, Times Literary

Supplement 27 June 1997
12. The Oxford Companion to English Literature ed. Margaret Drabble rev.edition 1998, p.716
13. Lawrence Gowing op.cit. p.44
14. Derek Jarrett England in the Age of Hogarth 1976 p.161
15. Personal observation
16. e.g. J.A.Brooks Ghosts of London: the West End, South and West 1982 p.62; and Peter

Underwood Haunted London 1973 p.65
17. Reproduced from a copy in Harvard Theatre Museum, in Highfill et al., op.cit. vol.7, p.43
18. Surrey History Centre, Woking, microfiche copies of registers of baptisms, marriages and

19. I am grateful to Mr.E.N.Montague for allowing me to study his unpublished History of the

Parish of Mitcham, where this information is to be found.
20. Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert The London Encyclopaedia 1983 p.38
21. John Rocque’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster etc. 1746
22. Surrey History Centre, Overseer of the Poor’s Accounts (LA5/4/112/35)
23. As in note 18
24. The Poor Rate assessment, March 1761, includes a .Mrs Hallam—-10s.5d.., Surrey History

Centre (LA5/4/3)
25. Highfill et al, op cit vol 7, p50 (author and date not given)
26. Personal observation
Grateful thanks are due to Eric Montague for his help and advice, but the writer alone is

responsible for any
errors and other faults.

Ray Ninnis



Snuff Mill Centre on 11 March 2000

A capacity audience on a fine sunny Saturday afternoon in March enjoyed a most informative and


illustrated lecture by Barbara Webb.
The first half of her talk centred on her research into the painting .Ophelia. by Sir John

Everett Millais, now in
the Tate (Britain) Gallery. It was the exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite paintings at that gallery

in 1984 that motivated
her to investigate into the river background to the painting, which was reputed to be the

Hogsmill River at
Ewell. On retirement Barbara was persuaded to write the text for a guide leaflet to a walk

along the Hogsmill
from its source in Ewell to Kingston upon Thames. During this task she started to investigate

into the exact spot
Millais had chosen for the background.

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John Everett Millais
From research at Bourne Hall Library she discovered that Millais and the painter Holman Hunt

had been in the
area during 1851, and both had written letters and diaries about their stay with Hunt’s aunt

and uncle at Rectory
Farm, Ewell.

From the letters and diaries we learn that in the summer of 1851 Millais and Hunt decided to

spend a day
exploring the Hogsmill, to find suitable backgrounds for their proposed paintings of .Ophelia

in the Stream.
and .The Hireling Shepherd., and that they found the spot a mile from the river source at

Ewell. At this time
they were lodging at Worcester Park Farm, which was very close to the river, and to the chosen

spot – which
.presented [Millais] with the exact composition of arboreal and floral richness he had dreamed

of, so that he
pointed exultantly saying .Look, could anything be more perfect?.., to quote Hunt.

The writings of Millais and Hunt, together with the 1851 census and a map of the area in 1866,

and comparison
of the actual painting and the wildlife of the river today, led Barbara Webb to locate the

place where Millais
probably sat to paint the river background. It was in a field by the riverbank shown on a map

of 1794 as Six
Acre Meadow. Today the field, owned by Merton College, is leased to the Borough of Kingston

upon Thames.
It can be visited by the public and is part of the Hogsmill River Walk. The evidence shows that

Millais sat on the
west bank of the river looking across it towards Old Malden’s Manor House, still there today,

and now a listed
building. It dates from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Barbara Webb also told us of her research into Holman Hunt’s painting .The Light of the World..

The hut on the
left of this picture was probably one of the huts of Worcester Park’s powder mills, which were

located close to
the Hogsmill. The hut door in the painting was previously thought to have been the door of Old

Malden church.

After the tea break, during which many of those present purchased copies of Barbara Webb’s book

and map of

the Hogsmill River, we continued with a slide presentation of the walk in the steps of Millais

and Hunt.
As we walked from Ewell downstream, comparing the slides of the river and today’s sites with

the writings of
Millais and Hunt of 1851, we knew we were motivated to embark on this quest, with Barbara Webb

as our
guide, in next year’s summer programme of outdoor events.

Sheila Harris



Over fairly recent years the grounds of The Canons have been developed by the London Borough of

Merton to
become the sporting heart of Mitcham. A swimming pool, training pool, large sports hall and a

room have been built, and there are also indoor facilities for badminton, and outdoor bowls and

tennis. Next
door, the grounds of Park Place are now used for .Little League. football, and there is also a

small running-

In the early years of the 20th century the area was quite different. William F J Simpson, the

lord of the manor,
lived in Park Place with his wife Mary and his two sons and two daughters, and The Canons was a

private house
owned by Simpson and let out to a succession of gentlemen and their families. Prompted partly

by the death of
their elder son, also William, in the first World War, and partly by a debilitating illness

suffered by Mary, the
Simpsons moved out of Park Place in 1917. The property was leased to the YMCA until 1922, when

it was sold
to the News of the World Organization. Houses for News of the World employees were built along

Commonside West and Madeira Road frontages, and the grounds were laid out as an athletics

sports ground,
with a running-track, jumping pits and so on, for the staff. Simultaneously, the newspaper ran

a campaign to

improve the international standing of British athletics.
Mitcham Athletic Club was founded in 1920 by S H Coleman. As soon as the
News of the World sports ground was opened in 1923, Mitcham AC started to

train there for track and field events, although its headquarters remained at the
White Hart public house at Cricket Green.
The excellent training facilities provided soon attracted outstanding athletes

to Mitcham AC, and before long its members were representing their country
in international events. The first of these was Muriel Gunn who represented
Britain in the long-jump at the World Games of 1926 and 1930 and at the
European Games of 1931. In 1930 she broke the world record for the long-
jump, and in her career competed in 31 international events.

A fellow competitor in the World Games of 1930 was Kathleen Tiffen, who
ran in the 80m hurdles. She was one of four Mitcham AC women who competed
in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. She and fellow club member Barbara

Burke ran in the heats of the 80m hurdles. Barbara Burke succeeded in getting
into the final, but was unplaced. The third Mitcham AC member in these Games was Kitty Tilley,

whose family
were long-time Mitcham residents, and still live locally. She represented Britain in the discus

but did not win an
Olympic medal. The fourth competitor from Mitcham was Dorothy Odam, who won a silver medal in

the long-
jump. Three years later, in 1939, as Mrs Dorothy Tyler, she set a world record for the women’s

high-jump which
stood until 1948. Retaining a world record for this length of time is itself unusual, but

Dorothy Tyler’s additional
claim to fame was that she was an Olympic competitor over a span of 20 years, from Berlin in

1936 to Melbourne
in 1956, and won two silver medals.

Another outstanding woman athlete from Mitcham AC was Anne Smith, who ran in the 1964 Olympic


but did not achieve the medal list. In 1967 she broke the world record for the women’s mile and

1500m races.
The most renowned male athlete coming from Mitcham AC was Brian Hewson,
who was the fourth man in the world to run the 4-minute mile. He broke the
British Empire and Commonwealth record for the 1000m race in 1958, as
well as the European record for the 1500m race. He was also a member of the
world record-breaking 4×1 mile relay team in 1958.

Park Place, and the News of the World sports ground, was compulsorily
purchased by Surrey County Council in 1963, in order to re-build Mitcham
County School for Boys there, but the plans were dropped when local
government reorganisation resulted in the creation of the London Borough of
Merton in 1965. Mitcham AC continued to use the running-track, but
maintenance was by now minimal, and after a few years the club moved to
Carshalton, to the track in Wrythe Lane opposite St Helier Hospital. By 1979
they had returned to Park Place with about 180 members, and with permission
from the council to build a clubhouse there. In August of that year they were
still trying to raise the £8000 required when they heard that the council had
rescinded their permission for the building.


Disillusioned with the facilities in Mitcham, the club returned to the Carshalton
track after a few years and merged with Sutton AC, initially as equal partners.
Subsequently the Borough of Sutton improved the track and sports field
substantially, and it is now called the Sutton Arena. Mitcham AC has now
become a distant memory of .veteran. athletes.

Much of this information came from Mitcham AC records some years ago, via
Brian Hewson. Other material comes from the Mitcham AC handbook for
1938 in Merton Local Studies Centre, and from recent conversations with Phil
Munn, a .veteran. athlete. Olympic performances in particular have been
checked by reference to contemporary newspaper reports in The Times
(available on microfilm), and local papers held at the Local Studies Centre.

I knew some of the athletes personally. Mrs Kathleen Dale (née Tiffen) was
the mother of a class-mate of mine when I was in primary school. Mrs Kitty
Dyer (née Tilley) was a family friend of ours, and I met Mrs Dorothy Tyler on
several occasions, as she was a good friend of Mrs Dyer.

Illustrations from Mitcham Athletic Club: Handbook and Summer Fixtures 1938


With the recent demolition in Merton High Street of the Wimbledon Palais, alias Furnitureland,

we have lost a
much-loved landmark, with a remarkable history. Built in 1909 as a roller-skating rink, it was

advertised as .THE
RINK OF RINKS! The Prices are right, The Floor is right, Everything is all right.. However by

1913 the craze
had died down and the building had become an airship and balloon factory.

In 1922 it entered its longest phase, as Wimbledon Palais de Danse (though it is of course in

Merton), and
boasted possibly the largest sprung floor in the country. With the 1960s, and the decline of

ballroom dancing, it
branched out into other activities, such as wrestling and pop music, even hosting a Beatles

performance in
December 1963. Then bingo took over as its main function. But fortunes declined, until 1979,

when it was
acquired by Furnitureland, still with the famous sprung floor (the manager would demonstrate

how you could, by
jumping gently in the middle of the store, make all the sofas and bunk-beds rise and fall!).

In the 1990s the Society tried and failed to have the building listed, and last year an

application to re-develop the

site was approved. Furnitureland moved out, and now the building has come down.
The good news however is that the site is of great archaeological interest, being that of the

gatehouse of Merton
Priory. This building survived in the form of Abbey Gate House until demolished for the

skating-rink, and we can
hope that excavation will reveal something of its history.

Judith Goodman


The Society’s collection, informally known as .the store., has perforce led a wandering life.

Its most recent
home has been upstairs at Morden Park Library. But, as many members will know, in the latest

round of cuts,
rationalisations, call them what you may, this library, with the one at Wimbledon Park, has

been closed.

However, we have been offered more appropriate new accommodation, thanks to Merton’s Heritage

Sarah Gould. So Bill Rudd, who guards and orders the store, spent some busy weeks planning the

stages of the
move, dismantling large items and shelving, and doing some preliminary packing. On moving day,

Friday 14 April,
Bill, Sarah and four Committee members, with cars, spent the morning shifting the lighter stuff

from Lower
Morden Lane. Extra muscle, and a van, arrived in the afternoon, in the form of one of Sarah’s

sturdy volunteers
and a friend or two, and all the heavy items, safely and surprisingly quickly, then made the


Bill has now embarked on the task of arranging the store in its new quarters. In the future, we

hope it will be
possible for members and other interested people to have easier access to the Society’s

collection. We all owe
an immense debt of gratitude to Bill for the time, thought and physical effort he puts into

this arduous self-
appointed task. More news later. Meanwhile,

Thank you, Bill!



Hubert de Burgh, of Norman-Irish descent, was appointed chamberlain to King John. If we believe

history of this king, de Burgh was castellan of Rouen and responsible for the death of Prince

Arthur, grandson
of Henry II, who was also a claimant to the throne of England.

His first marriage was to Joan, daughter of William de Redvers, earl of Devon, and his second

in 1209 to
Beatrice, a daughter of Earl Warenne, but she died in 1214, leaving a son as well as much

property. De Burgh’s
third marriage was to Isabella, King John’s divorced wife, who died in 1217. In 1221 he married

Margaret of
Scotland, a young teenager and sister of the king of Scotland. But it was not until 1227 that

Henry III ennobled
de Burgh as Earl of Kent.

When the Magna Carta was issued, de Burgh was named a conservator, and appointed Justiciar.

Like other
royal ministers he had little sympathy with the Charter, being a firm believer in law and

order. Stephen Langton,
the archbishop, wished to restrict royal power over taxation without the assent of the Great

Council, and he
reissued Magna Carta in 1217. The forest clauses of the charter were expanded into the Charter

of the Forest,
which ensured that no man was to lose life or limb for taking royal venison. He also curtailed

recent extensions
of the royal forest.

It was Hubert de Burgh’s continuing and successful defence of Dover against the French invasion

in 1216 that
made him popular in all strata of society. On the death of William the Marshal in 1219 Hubert

de Burgh acted
as regent. Stephen Langton regarded himself as a successor of St Thomas Becket, having, like

Becket, exiled
himself at Pontigny. On 7th July 1220 the body of the saint was translated to a new shrine at

Canterbury. It was
the single-minded effort of the archbishop that won confirmation of the revised Magna Carta at

the Parliament
of Oxford in 1223. This was promulgated on 11th February 1225, but did not become part of the

until 1297.

The king declared himself of age in 1227 and a redistribution of royal castles took place, with

Langton taking
over the Tower of London, Canterbury, Windsor and Odiham. De Burgh retained Dover Castle. The

death of
Langton in 1228 left Hubert de Burgh virtually alone in the administration of the kingdom. To

increase royal
revenues he declared that in order for the monasteries to retain their privileges they must pay

for the renewal of
their charters. Thus we find him witnessing an important charter of Merton Priory on 26th March

1227, confirming
rights and privileges.1

The king now decided to win back lands on the Continent held by France, and at Michaelmas in

1229 assembled
a large force at Portsmouth, only to find he did not have enough ships. Hubert de Burgh was

blamed, being
accused of mismanaging treasury funds. Now the pope began to put pressure on England. He

demanded a tenth
of all income. The treasury was low, and the king blamed de Burgh. The practice of providing

papal nominees
to English parish churches was hated by de Burgh, and by 1231 the presentations of benefices

were being sold
in the papal market, with Italians taking the choicest. Hostility grew and rents were often

withheld, resulting in
charges being made by the pope against de Burgh for connivance in the revolt. The king charged

de Burgh with
accumulating treasure and depositing it with the Templars.

On 29th July 1232 de Burgh was dismissed from office and accused of various crimes. Some of the

revenue of
his lands was used to compensate the alien rectors. A proclamation was issued in London that

the king would
receive complaints against de Burgh, and a day was fixed for hearing them. This pleased the

citizens, who
remembered that de Burgh had hanged the leader of a popular riot in 1222. He was allowed to

retire to Merton
Priory to prepare his defence, until 14th September. The king held a council at Lambeth, but

Hubert did not
attend and refused to leave the safety of the monastery. This infuriated the king, who ordered

the Mayor of
London to raise all the citizens who could bear arms, and take de Burgh dead or alive. It was

late in the evening
when the mayor caused the city bell to be rung out, and the citizens rejoiced when they heard

what was required
of them.2 Before it was light as many as 20,000 men set out for Merton brandishing arms and

waving banners,
and when he was warned de Burgh prostrated himself before the high altar at Merton, barefooted

and half clad.
The bishop of Chichester pleaded with the king and entreated for two horsemen to overtake the

Londoners. The
earl of Chester warned the king of the danger of the mob. The king took fright and revoked the

order, to the
disappointment of the crowd. De Burgh fled from Merton and sought sanctuary at a chapel at

Essex. Sanctuary was ignored, and de Burgh was captured and imprisoned in the Tower and tried

at the king’s
court on Cornhill on 10th November 1232. He was later removed to Devizes castle, whence he

escaped in
November to Chepstow, where Richard Marshall, earl of Pembroke, befriended him.

In 1234 the new archbishop Edmund Rich effected a reconciliation, so that de Burgh was

pardoned, and his
earldom restored. The death of Langton and the fall of de Burgh enabled the king to indulge his



for aliens, and hordes of Poitevins and Bretons were invited to occupy royal castles and fill

the judicial and
administrative posts of England. He chose Eleanor of Provence to be his queen, and, following

the wedding, she
came to Merton for the first time.

Hubert de Burgh retired to Banstead; he died .full of days. on 12th May 1243 and was buried at


1. A.Heales Records of Merton Priory 1898 p.89
2. Roger de Wendover Chronica vol.iv p.250

The following is taken from an article written by David Harries for Thames Water News and is

reproduced by permission.
His father, John Harries, used to send out the water rate bills by hand in the early years of

the 20th century and it is
interesting to compare this procedure with today’s computerised print-outs. John Harries’s area

covered Tooting Bec,
Balham, Wandsworth and Clapham, but there is every reason to suppose that in the adjacent areas

of Mitcham, Merton
and Wimbledon the same arrangements prevailed. (Morden was just a village at that time.)

Tony Scott

John Harries came to London from Carmarthenshire in the 1890s and obtained a position as a

clerk with the
Lambeth Water Company. In 1904 this enterprise became part of the Metropolitan Water Board

(MWB) and
John Harries was appointed a Collector for the Kennington Park District of London. Later, in

the 1920s, whilst
living at Norbury, he became one of three Collectors based in District 44, covering large areas

of Balham,
Clapham, Wandsworth and Tooting Bec. He was responsible for compiling the water rate ledgers

for the whole
of this area and keeping them up-to-date from the electoral roll, plus maintaining a check on

any change of
occupancy. The District 44 office was at 1 Station Road, Balham, and Mr Harries had to be there

in attendance
to receive payment from the public every Thursday from 10am to 1pm. The other two Collectors

did likewise
on two other days. There were no other staff in the office and there was no telephone.

All the office work was done at home in Norbury, where one bedroom was set aside as an office.

Again, there
was no telephone. It was there that the firm of carriers, Carter Paterson & Co. used to come

with their horse-
drawn waggon to deliver packages containing thousands of blank water rate demands, together

with boxes of
MWB envelopes. It was there that John Harries used to calculate, compile and send out the water

rate demand
twice a year. He had to write the occupier’s name, address and the amount of water rate on

every demand sent.
Having done this he had then to fold each one and insert it into a window envelope. Originally

the MWB
provided large sheets of postage stamps, each sheet perforated by the printers with the letters

.MWB., and each
stamp had to be accounted for. Later, the MWB supplied envelopes embossed with a postage stamp.

Water rate
records were kept in black leather-covered ledgers with marble edging.

Filled envelopes were tied into bundles of 100, and Mr Harries and his son used to take them on

the tram from
their home in Norbury to the Streatham GPO Sorting Office so that they would be delivered the

next day.
Streatham was in the London postal area but in the early 1930s Norbury was not.

The first sign of mechanisation to be introduced by the MWB for its Collectors was when Carter

delivered a large wooden box containing hundreds of rubber stamps, each one bearing the name of

a particular
street in District 44. The chore of writing the street name on every water rate demand became a

thing of the
past. Further mechanisation came in the form of a hand-operated numbering machine to stamp a

serial number
on every water rate demand sent out.

John Harries first wrote every letter concerning MWB business in draft form on scrap paper.

When satisfied
with the draft he then wrote it out again, in longhand, in a correspondence ledger which

contained a top leaf
marked .Original. and an undersheet marked .Copy.. Between these he placed a sheet of carbon

paper and
underneath the copy sheet he placed a metal sheet to enhance the print due to the carbon paper.

One day in the 1920s John Harries took his son on a nostalgic trip to Lambeth where he started

his Water Board
service and stopped outside an empty shop. He told his son that in the early 1900s he used to

call on a shoemaker
who lived there and would never pay his water rate. The man argued that as God supplied the MWB

with water
free of charge, he didn’t see why he should have to pay for it. Eventually the shoe maker

agreed a compromise,
he would pay his water rate by making a pair of boots for Mr Harries who would then pay his

water rate. Shortly
after John Harries died in 1948 his son found about ten pairs of Edwardian boots which had

never been worn
and these were given to charity – a fitting end to an agreement made with the shoemaker nearly

half a century

Postscript: Fifty years ago the MWB office in Mitcham was at the Fair Green, in the same

terrace as Lloyds Bank is today.
That too was only staffed for a limited number of hours per week. Possibly the staff had the

same office arrangements.



Readers may have wondered what .R&W. meant in the descriptions of convicts in Roger Reid’s

about his Mitcham ancestor in the last issue of the Bulletin. He has confirmed that it stood

for .reads and
writes., though one can guess that it often meant little more than the ability to sign one’s


The new exhibition at Merton Heritage Centre at The Canons, Madeira Road, Mitcham begins on 9

and looks at the story of sport in the Borough. The Centre is open on Fridays and Saturdays

from 10 to 5.
Admission free.

Peter Hopkins, as Publications Secretary, has been receiving orders for his own A History of

Lord Nelson’s
Merton Place Estate from many parts of the country and from abroad, since the Nelson Society

it in its newsletter. (The booklet is £1.60 to MHS members, £2 to others, at indoor events, or

plus 40p postage.
Cheques payable to Merton Historical Society.)

As part of its Millennium celebrations the Streatham Society is holding seven guided walks, on

afternoons between June and September. Details from Brian Bloice.

The summer exhibition at Surrey History Centre will celebrate the county’s mapmakers,

historians and
artists, 1620-1830. Admission is free. A day of related talks on Saturday 12 August costs £10

in advance.
Information/booking: Julian Pooley 01483 594601. The Centre is at 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking.

The Wimbledon Society’s Museum of Local History at 26 Ridgway, Wimbledon, is now open on Sunday
afternoons as well as Saturdays from 2.30 to 5.00. There are interesting and well-designed

displays on many
topics, and it also has a large collection of pictures, maps and ephemera. Admission is free.

Bus routes 93
and 200 are close by.


Friday 10th March 2000 – Bill Rudd in the chair, six members present

Madeline Healey reported that ancestors of hers had been connected with the Chesterman family


Mitcham, mentioned by Steve Turner at the January Workshop as having lived on what was to be

part of the

site of the Methodist church, off Cricket Green.

It was the dialect/pronunciation of earlier Merton that Judith Goodman spoke briefly about.

Articles from
the Home Counties Magazine for 1902 and Bygone Surrey (1895) suggest that Surrey then had a

similar to that of Sussex or Kent, with some cockney overtones. There must be more to discover.

(There is
an intriguing reference in James Bass’s Edwardian Recollections [MHS Local History Note No.15]

to the
local pronunciation of Wimbledon as .Wimpleton..)

Lionel Green had been researching the use of place-names as surnames. The names of the canons

Merton at the Dissolution provide interesting examples. There will be an article by Lionel on

this subject in
the next Bulletin.

The medieval accounts held at the Muniment Room of Westminster Abbey cover the period 1280-

reported Peter Hopkins, and the 150 sheets contain much material relating to Morden. However,

they are
in Latin, and have not been translated. He had contacted Surrey Record Society for help and

advice. London
Metropolitan Archives offer a microfilm service.

Stephen Turner reported that a recent television programme Breaking the Seal related to the

area where
he and Rosemary live. The Barnett-Stanfords owned a tract of land which lies in Mitcham and

Norbury, and
Stanford Road takes its name from the family.

He also told us that Rosemary’s project on Merton Priory was coming into shape well.

Bill Rudd had been checking the references in Rev.T.L.Livermore’s The Story of Morden and its

to Edward Whitchurch and Lionel Datchett (or Duckett), who purchased Morden in 1553. He had

unable to confirm that Whitchurch was a colleague of William Tyndale, though he was undoubtedly

a protestant
publisher; he was also probably a member of the Grocers. Company. Datchett belonged to the

Company, serving a term as their Master, and also as Mayor. He was a partner of Sir Thomas

Gresham (also
a Mercer), who founded the Royal Exchange.

Judith Goodman



Friday 5 May 2000: Judith Goodman in the chair; 8 members and 1 guest.

We were pleased to welcome as our guest Lionel Ebdon, who brought along slides he had taken of

Christchurch Road during its reconstruction in 1979-80. This early 19th-century weatherboarded

was dismantled and rebuilt in replica, and Lionel had recorded the various stages. In 1853 it

was occupied
by Messrs Leach & Bennett, the textile printers, but little is known of its history. If any

member would like
to investigate further, Lionel has kindly donated his slides to the Society.

We also welcomed new member Colin Bearup, who raised some interesting questions about the

siting of
local churches. Morden, Malden and Wimbledon parish churches are all built on hills, whereas St

Merton is on a low-lying site. (Judy pointed out it is in fact built on a small area of

gravel). On further
investigation, Colin had noticed that most of the Surrey churches mentioned in Domesday were

often by a river, whereas later churches are on higher ground. Colin hopes to investigate this

further, as it
could provide a clue to the foundation dates of the various church sites.

””’Bill Rudd is continuing his work on the monasteries after which the St Helier roads were

named. He is reorganising
his files, and is gradually having 7″x5″ prints made of the 724 black and white photographs he
has taken over many years.

””’Sheila Harris mentioned the 25th Mitcham Carnival on 10 June, and the Merton Midsummer

Fair on 24
June in Morden Park, which is replacing the Green Fair. She also brought along a photograph of

an early
MHS display at an Arts Council event in the late 1960s or early 1970s. [Bill Rudd has

identified the
occasion as the Merton Borough Show on 1 September 1969, when the Society had a highly-praised

in the Merton Arts Council’s marquee. The event was reported in Bulletin No. 19, October 1969.]

””’Rosemary and Steven Turner mentioned the Kingston Project, which is organising the input

onto computer
of 19th-century data from a variety of sources, including census records and parish registers.

This will
enable family trees, and various charts to be created. A possible topic for a lecture next

year? Rosemary has
completed her GCSE project and is awaiting results. They have also had a family history enquiry

with the Smith family of Gatehouse, Merton, which they hope to share with us in due course.

””’Judith Goodman had been on the trail of Harry Bush, a local artist, particularly known for

his painting ‘A
Corner of Merton, 16 August 1940’ of bomb damage visible from his house. (No 158 in Judy’s

Merton &
Morden: A Pictorial History). He lived at 19 Queensland Avenue, one of Brocklesby’s houses, and

brought along a slide of his house. She has been to the Imperial War Museum to see this oil

painting, and
also saw some watercolours, one entitled ‘Bombed House in Merton’ which Judy has identified as

2 The
Path, which did not survive the war. Judy brought along photographs of the paintings and a

section from a
map of the area.

””’Peter Hopkins updated us on his project to get the medieval manorial records of Morden

translated. Surrey
Archaeological Society have found us a volunteer translator, and Westminster Abbey Muniments

Room is
getting an estimate for microfilming the documents. Peter has been looking at an Extent or

valuation of the
manor dating from 1312. The original is in Cambridge University Library, but a 16th-century

copy is in
Surrey History Centre. A marginal note on the latter enables us to trace the history of the

property known in
the 1930s as The Kennels (see Bulletin 129), on the site now occupied by Morden Park Baptist

Church, to
a tenement owned in 1312 by the last medieval rector of Morden, Gerard de Staunden.

””’Eric Montague has had a number of local history enquiries: Norfolk Record Office are

trying to follow a
link between Old Buckenham Priory and Merton Priory; a photograph of the Ravensbury Arms public

recently published as ‘from the 1920s’ was correctly identified as 1930s from the evidence of

trams, cars,
etc; a correspondent in South Australia has sent childhood memories of illicitly exploring the

empty Eagle
House Mitcham in the 1930s(?); English Heritage have responded to an enquiry about recent

excavations in
the gardens of Mitcham Vicarage (see Bulletin 133); these were limited to the area to be

disturbed by new
buildings, and finds included a horse burial and some late-Saxon pottery (no connection).

Peter Hopkins

Workshop dates: Fridays 14 July and 1 September at 7.30 pm at Wandle Industrial Museum.
All are welcome.


This year’s countryside fair at Morden Hall Park had a Viking theme. And why not?

By the early ninth century many ports and sea-coast towns in south-eastern England were

flourishing, linked to
Europe by a network of trade routes extending across the North Sea and the Channel. The coasts

had long been
vulnerable to sea raiders, but the 840s witnessed an increase in the frequency in piratical

Viking raids on
estuary and riverside settlements, where shelving beaches offered easy landing. Ludenwic, the

Saxon trading
town on the strand, to the west of the old walled city of London, was a particularly enticing

target. In 850/1 a
fleet of 350 ships entered the Thames, and, for the first time, a Scandinavian army over-

wintered in England,
encamped on the Isle of Sheppey. Canterbury was stormed and the Mercian king and his army were

put to
flight. On entering Surrey, however, the Danes encountered stronger resistance from the men of

Wessex, and
were eventually repelled.

Thereafter incursions were by armies rather than by summer raiding parties, and in 865 the

Danes seized
Thetford, whence attention was directed to the subjugation of Yorkshire and Northumberland. By

870 they had
moved to a new base near Reading, and in 871 – .the year of battles. – Aethelred and his

brother Alfred’s West
Saxons were defeated at Basing and Meretun. The invaders over-wintered in London in 871-2,

using it as a base
from which to live off the surrounding countryside. Having overcome Mercia and East Anglia, the

Danes again
turned their attention to Wessex, and in 877 forced Alfred (who had succeeded to the throne)

into hiding. His
victory the following year and the treaty of Wedmore were followed by a brief respite, but

further fighting
ensued before Alfred could take control of London, the old city of which was in ruins, and its

trading satellite,
the Aldwych or .old port., largely deserted.

As evidence of the battle of Meretun having taken place at Merton, the discovery in the late

18th century of
‘several pieces of spears, swords, human bones, and other exuviae of a battle. to the west of

the Wandle
crossing (where there was a royal Saxon estate)1 is discounted by most authorities, who prefer

to place the
battle much further west. Similarly, the claims of Ockley to have been the site of a skirmish

(like Merton it is
situated on the old Roman road leading from London into the Surrey hinterland) are rejected in

preference to a
location deeper into the heartland of Wessex.

The repeated sacking of Chertsey Abbey is not in dispute, however, and in Blair’s view a

garbled account in a
13th-century cartulary, read in conjunction with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, indicates that the

monastery first
attracted the attention of Viking raiders in the late ninth century.2 Poulton places this event

around 871, when
Abbot Beocca, his priest Ethor, and 90 monks were killed, the buildings burnt, and the abbey’s

lands laid waste.
It was re-colonised in 884, probably as a secular minster, and in Poulton’s opinion .had

recovered sufficiently
by the early 10th century to tempt the Danes to further ravages..3

Numerous Viking broadaxes, swords and spears dating from the mid- to late ninth century have

been dredged
from the Thames. It is possibly to the second Scandinavian incursion that we can ascribe the

fine example of a
Viking sword recovered in 1981 from a silted-up watercourse at Mixnam’s pit at Chertsey.4 Of

Petersen type S
and inscribed .Ulfberit., the weapon is parallelled by well over 100 examples from all over

northern Europe.
Tentatively it has been attributed to a Rhenish swordsmith working in the late ninth to early

tenth century, and
its ribbon interlace ornament is seen as an example of a type having a predominantly Norwegian

distribution. In
England similar examples have come from the Thames at Battersea, from Shifford, Essex, and a

ditch outside
the town walls at Bath. On the Shepperton ranges in 1987 three more iron swords were found, one

lacking its
hilt, another having a bone handle, whilst the third is held to be of Petersen type L and is

dated 840-90.5

The 20-hide estate belonging to the bishop of Winchester at Beddington, Carshalton and Bandon,

on the slopes
of the North Downs near Croydon, was described c.900 as .recently stripped bare by heathen

men..6 From
Croydon itself, a wealthy estate held by Canterbury and a centre of religious importance, has

come a typical
Viking cache of looted silver, the only example known from south of the Thames, and all dated

to c.875. In quantity, the Croydon hoard (which was discovered in 1909 at the Old Palace) was

modest and consisted of eight pieces of silver bullion – fragments of armlets and rings known

as .hack silver. and,
importantly – a little over 185 coins. These were of mixed Mercian, East Anglian and Wessex

plus several Carolingian and Arabic pieces. The ascription of the hoard to Vikings is justified

by the coinage not
being a representative English collection, and in its design and decoration the silver bullion

is similar to hoards
recovered in Denmark.7


It requires little imagination to visualise the impact these recurring raids, followed by the

prolonged presence of

the Danish army in London, had on life in the settlements in north-east Surrey.
Eventually England north of Watling Street – .the Danelaw. – was ceded to the Danes under

Guthram, and in 886
Alfred set about refortifying the old city of .Lundenburg.. In the process Southwark –

Suthringa geworcke (the
defensive .work of the men of Surrey.) became the bastion of the north-east corner of the

county.8 Other
fortified strongpoints, recorded in the Burghal Hideage, were created to form a network of

hideage towns, 2530
miles apart, throughout Wessex. In Surrey Escingum, or Eschingum, situated on a bend in the

river Wey, and
identifiable with modern Eashing, was one such burgh, and was listed in 920 as one of the

fortified towns of
Wessex.9 Some of these strongpoints were already towns, whilst others developed into urban

centres. But only
the grassy ramparts remain today at Eashing, as at Burpham in Sussex.

In 911 Edward had taken control of London .and the land that belonged to it.. Athelstan, his

son, succeeded in
bringing the whole of England, including the Scandinavian kingdoms in the north-east, under his

London’s importance as an administrative centre began to emerge, and its role as a focus of

international trade
returned. It is thought possible that Guildford succeeded the burgh at Escingum in the tenth

century, when
Athelstan seems to have carried out a reorganisation of the towns in Wessex, replacing purely

defensive burghs
such as Eashing with defended commercial centres.10 The town has the appearance of being

deliberately planned,
and the evidence of a Saxon mint – silver pennies were minted here from the time of Edward the

Martyr (975

79) – gives support to the idea that Guildford was an important mercantile centre, possibly

enjoying borough
status, as early as the tenth century.11
Chertsey recovered towards the close of the ninth century and continued until 964 when, under

Edgar’s influence,
the abbey was reformed, traditionally with monks from Abingdon, and became a Benedictine house.

Order was
steadily re-established elsewhere in the county, and charters exist from the mid-tenth century

recording the
grant of the royal estate at Merton to favoured courtiers.12 Kingston became a town of

significance, and is
reputably the place of coronation of as many as seven Saxon kings, from Alfred’s son Edward

.the Elder. in 900
or 901 to Ethelred in 978 or 979.13

The underlying governmental structure of shire and hundred evidently survived the Danish raids;

for instance
the hundred of Wallington, an administrative district based on, and taking its name from, an

early Saxon royal
estate, and including Mitcham and Morden, persisted into the 19th century. Wimbedonnyngemerke

Michamingemerke, mentioned in the Mertone charters of 949 and 967, are identifiable with the

later parochial
boundaries of Merton with Wimbledon and Mitcham, and are further evidence of long-established

divisions.12 There is, moreover, record of quite rapid economic recovery, the bishop’s

Beddington estate, for
instance, being reported .fully stocked. by 900, with some 300 fully-grown livestock (of which

roughly half
were pigs and the rest sheep), seven bondsmen and 90 acres under crops.6

Towards the end of the tenth century, seeking to regain the Danelaw and taking advantage of

discord in England
following the accession of Ethelred in 979, the Scandinavians returned. Sporadic raids were

followed by
increasingly heavy attacks, with London coming under assault in 994. Although vigorously

defended (it resisted
the Danes for some 20 years), London finally succumbed. English resistance elsewhere was

gradually overcome,
and by 1016 Cnut was accepted as king of England.

It remains finally for us to consider the evidence for Scandinavian settlement in north-east

Surrey during the
late Saxon period. Even in the Danelaw, where the Norse element in place-name abounds, there

are difficulties
in establishing the actual degree to which existing communities were disrupted and the density

of the ensuing
Danish settlement. In the south-east the evidence is even more difficult to find. London, with

its widespread
trading contacts, must always have attracted merchants from all over northern Europe. The

Danish tombstone
from St Paul’s is proof of the adoption of Christian beliefs, and there are also fragmentary

examples of
Scandinavian-style carving in several churches. There were certainly Danes living in

substantial numbers in
provincial centres such as Oxford in the tenth century, and we can be sure that by the 11th

century the population
of the Home Counties was of very mixed ethnicity. One suspects that the Guildford street-names

of Tungate
and Swangate must have Scandinavian origins, and as a commercial centre the town can be

expected to have
attracted merchants and their families. Slightly more tenuous as an indicator of Scandinavian

influence is the
bone ice-skate – made from a red-deer metatarsal – found in excavations on the site of the Old

Vicarage at
Reigate in the late 1970s, which had yielded a large quantity of 11th -12th century pottery.

The find site is
admittedly well outside the normal area of distribution of bone skates in the Saxo-Norman

period, but the use
of bone at this time is seen by the excavator as indicative of Viking influence, even if not at

first hand.14

Closer to London, in the Merton area, several personal and place names occur which seem to

demonstrate a
Scandinavian presence. Firstly, in Domesday we find that at the time of king Edward the

Confessor Tooting and


Wandsworth were held by a man called Swein. Swein, or Sven, is very definitely a Scandinavian

name. In its
various forms it was not uncommon in England, and the precise identity of this particular Swein

is not known.
One authority however has suggested he might have been Swein of Essex, a kinsman of the king.15

Next, in Mitcham, close to the Tooting border, we have Swains Farm and Swains Lane. As a

smallholding the
farm existed until the end of the 19th century, and the farmhouse remained until about 50 years

ago. Nothing is
known of its early history, but it is an interesting thought that it may have originated as the

homestead of an
Anglo-Danish settler.

The name also crops up in Morden, where we have William, the son of Sweyn, and a Robert le

Sweyn, whose

names appear in the muniments of Westminster Abbey in 1225 and 1296 respectively.16
The theory that there might have been Scandinavian settlement in Mitcham is further supported

by the place-
name Biggin, first occurring in documents of the early 14th century as a farmstead to the east

of Figges Marsh.
The name is fairly common in the Midlands, where it is derived from the Middle English

.bigging., meaning a
building or house. Mawer and Stenton, commenting that Mitcham is unusually far south to find an

example of
this place-name element, considered Biggin to be of Scandinavian origin.17 They concluded that

since it is of
relatively late appearance in the parish the name might be attributable to migrants from the

Midlands, where it
occurs as far south as Hertfordshire, which, until the country was united under Athelstan, was

on the borders of

Tamworth, as the family name .de Tamworth., also first finds mention in a record of land

holding in north
Mitcham in the early 14th century.18 It similarly implies a link with the Midlands and the area

under Danish
domination after the ninth-century treaty of Wedmore. We have already noted that by 1017,

following the death
of Edmund, London with the rest of England actually came under Danish rule. With Merton a place

of importance
at this time, and connected to London by a major highway, it would perhaps not be surprising to

find evidence
of Danish settlement in the vicinity.

Notes and references.

1 J.Edwards Companion from London to Brighthelmston (1801) Pt.II 25
2 J.Blair Early Medieval Surrey (1991) 94
3 R.Poulton .Chertsey Abbey. Surrey Archaeological Society Research Vol.11 (1988) 21
4 K.East, P.Larkin and P.Winsor .A Viking Sword found at Chertsey. Surrey Archaeological

Collections 76 (1985 1-9)
5 D.Bird et al .Archaeology in Surrey 1987. Surrey Archaeological Collections 79 (1989) 182
6 Blair op cit 49
7 Anglo-Danish Viking Project (various contributors) The Vikings in England (1981) and

J.Graham-Campbell .London and the Vikings. – talk given to the Standing Conference on London

Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology 23

october 1999
8 P. Brandon A History of Surrey (1977) 36
9 M.Gower .The Late Saxon Burgh at Eashing. Surrey Archaeological Collections 74 (1983) 125-6
10 M.Biddle and D.Hill .Late Saxon Planned Towns. Antiquaries Journal 51 (1971) 70-85
11 M.O.Connell .Historic Towns in Surrey. Surrey Archaeological Society Research Vol.5 (1977)

12 J.Goodman .Merton’s Two Saxon Charters. (unpublished study 1998)
13 A.McCormack and M.Shipley Royal Kingston (1988) 4
14 R.Poulton .Excavations of the Site of the Old Vicarage, Reigate. Surrey Archaeological

Collections 77 (1986) 17-94
15 J.Morris (Gen. Ed.) Domesday Book 3: Surrey (1975) 6,4
16 A.Mawer and F.M.Stenton The Place Names of Surrey EPNS Vol.XI (1934) 52
17 A.Heales The Records of Merton Priory (1898) 187-8
18 E.Ekwall Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Place-Names (1951) 42


The Editor has received the following letter, which she is happy to publish:
Dear Editor
I would like to make a small correction to the item on George Cole on page 3 in the Bulletin


March 2000 [January’s Local History Workshop Report].

I was not a .year or two. behind George Cole, but five months; the difference between April and
September. As he was in a class above I didn’t know him; we played with our own classmates.
In addition to performing in the St Helier Community Hall in Middleton Road, he must have taken

part in

the end of term entertainment. His first performance as an amateur before a paying audience was

three nights in the school musical play .Columbus in a Merry Key. in the Methodist Central Hall

in Green
Lane in March 1938. The local press report records that .the audiences were kept amused by the

of G.Cole as president of the savants who did not want America discovered.. He left school in




Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society on Friday 14 April at the Snuff-Mill Centre.

It was unfortunately only a relatively small audience that heard Mr Davison’s talk. At the last

minute the National
Trust had, with apologies to the Society, speaker and guests, closed the garden-centre car-park

at the official time,
because of recent expensive and messy problems with .travellers.. Although there was pedestrian

access some may
have given up and gone home.

Mr Davison had a varied selection of slides, and began by describing the topography of .old.

Croydon. Settlement had
begun on the eastern side of the Wandle valley. Gravel terraces, laid down during the

interglacial periods of the Ice
Ages in the Pleistocene, were fruitful sites for the archaeologist. As well as mammoth tusks

and rhino teeth, Mesolithic
and Neolithic tools, such as stone axes, have been found. Park Hill, the highest point in

central Croydon, has yielded
a Bronze Age site. There is believed to have been a Roman settlement somewhere nearby, but both

it and the course
of the Roman road through Croydon have eluded the investigators so far. There was a Middle

Saxon village clustered
near the church of St John the Baptist, probably a very early foundation. Mr Davison suggests

that converts from
paganism may have been baptised in the Wandle, which then flowed close by.

Croydon manor was an early holding of the
Archbishops of Canterbury, who by the 11th
century had improved and enlarged the hall
to palace status. Both this site and the
Whitgift almshouses continue to yield
information about their early histories.

When a house on Park Hill, where Roman
coins and pottery had been found in the 19th
century, came on the market in the 1980s,
archaeological excavation yielded Bronze
Age pottery and Iron Age loom weights. A
few Roman coins were found at a Whitgift
Street site in 1986, including one depicting
Emperor Carausius. This find, with an
earlier one of many coins in Wandle Road,
and a set of Roman pits and ditches
uncovered by MoLAS, suggests a local
Roman settlement, perhaps a mutatio.

Croydon’s famous Saxon cemetery was
discovered in the 1890s, when Edridge
Road was cut into the hillside parallel to and
above the main road. Some finds are in the
British Museum. A further extent of the
cemetery was found in 1992, when three
houses in Park Lane came down, but, after
an official hearing, it was left in situ. About
30 graves were found, and only one
cremation, confirming it as an early
cemetery. It appears that Park Lane marks
the eastern extent of the cemetery, inviting
the theory that it represents an earlier
landscape feature – the Roman road?

Recent improvements at the Whitgift almshouses had permitted small excavations beneath the

floors of the building.
Traces of the early adjoining tenement and the old Chequers inn were found – chalk flooring and

a flint-lined wall, as
well as medieval pottery.

Mr Davison briefly mentioned other recent work, such as medieval and Roman finds by MoLAS at

Mint Walk, and he

concluded by reminding us that the street layout of part of medieval Croydon still survives in

the Bell Street area. He

was thanked by Tony Scott on behalf of the audience for an interesting evening.
Judith Goodman

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

(Rectangle comment XPMUser
24/05/2017 19:43:18