Bulletin 140

Download Bulletin 140

December 2001 – Bulletin 140
The Pommeroy Beneficence – L E Green
The Mitcham Virgate – J Pile
Rev Henry J Wharton, Vicar of Mitcham – E N Montague
The Story of No.70 Christchurch Road – E N Montague
A View of London Road Morden c.1760 – P J Hopkins

and much more

VICE PRESIDENTS: Viscountess Hanworth, Lionel Green and William Rudd


Saturday 1 December 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre
.Reigate Priory.

Like Merton Priory, the one at Reigate was an Augustinian foundation, but its career since the
Dissolution has been very different. Audrey Ward, founder of the Reigate Priory School Museum,
has published a book about the Priory, and will outline its history in this illustrated


Saturday 26 January 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre

.The Vestments of Westminster Abbey.
Rosemary Turner, of this Society, is also a member of the Guild of St Faith, who restore and
conserve the Abbey’s vestments and furnishings, and make new ones when required. Her

talk will describe this important work.

Saturday 23 February 2.30pm Snuff Mill Environmental Centre

.The Great Exhibition of 1851.
Richard Milward of the Wimbledon Society is always a popular speaker. He has recently been
researching a landmark event of the 19th century, and we expect an entertaining and informative
talk. Illustrated with slides.

(The Snuff Mill Centre, in Morden Hall Park, is on bus routes 93,118,157 and 164. Drivers use

the garden centre
car-park. Take the path across the bridge; go through the gateway and turn right. The Snuff

Mill is straight ahead.)

Thursday 28 February 7pm Annual Dinner at Morden Hall

So successful was the dinner on 28 February 2001 to mark 50 years of the Society that the
Committee has decided it should become an annual event. Cost will be at the (reasonable) set
menu price, with several choices. Numbers are needed, so please ring Sheila on 020 8540 6656
by 7 February.

Thursday 14 March 2pm Visit to Surrey History Centre

The Centre is at 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, about 15 minutes walk from the station. Local
buses pass the centre. You can park at the centre, access from Kingsway. There is a group

for the visit of £20; numbers limited to 24.

The Society’s events are open to the general public, unless otherwise stated.


Friday 24 August 2001 . 9 Members present

!!!!!Sheila Harris spoke about a possible visit to Morden Park House and had written to that

end. In response
Sheila had a reply from the Registrar, Gemma Cox, saying that Merton may take part in London

Open House
next year and could the Society provide tour guides. The event could be combined with the

launch of the
book about the house, with which Bill Rudd is associated.

Surrey Archaeology Society is producing a book on the Archaeology of Surrey. Peter Hopkins had

asked to provide details of relevant societies, museums and sites of interest within the Merton

area. The
information to include, inter alia, a brief description of the organization or site, location,

accessibility by
road and public transport. Peter had prepared a draft, which he passed round for comment and


As a footnote to Eric Montague’s book about Park Place Judith Goodman showed us
a picture of General Sir Josiah Champagné who was the brother and executor of General
Forbes Champagné of Park Place, Mitcham.
An article entitled .A .New. Set of Saxon Bounds for Wandsworth. by Nicholas Fuentes
had been published in the Wandsworth Historian; within the piece Mr Fuentes had relocated
the bounds of Merton as given in the charter of AD 967. Judith corresponded
with Dr Keith Bailey concerning this and been advised that he would be writing an
article refuting the first.

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!!!!!Don Fleming told us that he enjoys reading published diaries and letters. He gave an

extract referring to
Morden Hall, from Ancestral Voices and Prophesying Peace by James Lees-Milne, an inspector for

National Trust. On page 393, the entry for Tuesday 21st December 1944, says: “The shortest day

. Eardley
and I went to Morden by Tube. The House is nothing, a comfortable Victorian Mansion. It is the

Park and
Grounds in this horrid suburban area that count. There are some 120 acres, it will be useful to

the local people,
and I think on the whole the National Trust are right to hold it, although it’s aesthetic value

is slight”.

Don has completed his investigations into Wards. Briefly he told us that they were in existence

in 1066 and
probably from the 10th century. Originally they were named for the alderman who had

jurisdiction, so when
the alderman changed so did the name, later the wards were named for places, for example, Tower

Portsoken in the City of London. Don’s script will be published in future Bulletins.

Following the visit to Merton College, Oxford, Lionel
Green referred us to page 37 of History and Heroes of
Old Merton by Kathleen Denbigh, wherein she suggests
that the building shown on the seal of the Priory indicates
that the tower of the Priory would have a finial at each
corner, like the College tower. This writer and others in
attendance were unable to see any correlation between
the two. Lionel passed round pictures of a number of
other ancient seals for our perusal, the representation of
the buildings on all of them were similar.

Referring to adverts on the walls of buildings Bill Rudd said that Herrington’s and Foster

Bros. are in
Sutton. He had seen another on the corner of Hamilton Road and High Street, Merton, which

although partly
obscured could be interpreted as ‘Townsend & Son, Gents Outfitters and Hatters ‘who were in the

according to directories, from the 1900s to the 1940s. There is another one on the side of a

hostelry further
along the road, this one advises of .The Beer House, [Arena] Bar.. It is now the Kilkenny

Tavern, previously
the Dark House.

When a postman, Bill had to deliver telephone directories and collect the old ones for return.

He had managed
to retain one for Kent and showed us a copy of the dialling codes before we went to all

numbers. We
remember some such as FAIrlands, CHErrywood, LIBerty, VIGilant.

!!!!!Madeline Healey said that she had heard that Anglo-Saxon swords had been discovered during

the work
being carried out at Morden First School. No one present knew about this and thought that it

was probably
a rumour, although a watch was being kept, as the site is in an archaeological sensitive area

being close to
the route of Stane Street.
Stephen Turner


Friday 19 October 2001: Judith Goodman in the chair.

!!!!!Bill Rudd and Judith Goodman have been going through the Evelyn Jowett bequest to the

Department. He had brought along some items, including a photograph of Gilliat Hatfeild, who

bought the
Garths. Morden estate in the 1880s. He also showed us aerial photos from about 1929 to the

early 1950s.
Clearly shown was Morden station and shopsc.1929, the Rose Hill development in 1949 and

Hatfeild Mead
in the early 1950s.

!!!!!Peter Hopkins showed us a picture of London Road, Morden, about 1760, that Canon Livermore

had used
in the original version of The Story of Morden and its Churches, and an extract from the 6″

Ordnance Survey
map of 1867 for comparison. (see p.15 of this Bulletin)
Peter showed a newspaper article which reported that the original lamp used in William Holman

painting The Light of the World (which has a Malden setting) had been found. It was among the

of his patron, Thomas Combe.

!!!!!Don Fleming spoke about the Victoria County History series which was begun in 1899. The

comprehensive ever undertaken – too comprehensive – it even included flora and fauna. In 1933

University took it under its wing. This year work begins to put VCH on-line, and to bring the

volumes out in
paperback. But we may have to wait some years yet before Surrey appears.

!!!!!Judith Goodman spoke about James Hudson (d.1889), said, by local newspapers and by

Chamberlain, to
have been son-in-law to Thomas Crib, Nelson’s gardener. He is likely to have been the source of

some of the
stories about Nelson at Merton Place. In fact Crib’s wife was Mary, not Emma as Chamberlain

says, was
born in Wimbledon, not Merton, and seems to have been the wrong age for one of the Crib


Judith also spoke about two indentures for the Merton
Abbey printworks: one from 1846 relating to Thomas
Welch of Mitcham (probably Love Lane) who printed
tablecloths shown at the Great Exhibition; and one
from 1881 when William Morris took the site.

!!!!!Madeline Healey had brought along a family copy
of the centenary booklet published by the Wandsworth
Gas Company in 1934. It was very well produced, on
good paper, with interesting photographs. She will
provide photocopies for the Local Studies Centre, the
Wandle Industrial Museum and the Society.

Don Fleming
Date of next workshop: Friday 11 January 2002 at 7.30 pm at Wandle Industrial Museum

Merton: Mr T Welch’s Table-cloth Printing Works The Illustrated Exhibitor and Magazine of Art



The second in our series of Mitcham Histories is now available.
Written by our own Eric Montague, North Mitcham will be a
welcome addition to the collections of members and friends alike.

North Mitcham included an estate belonging to Merton Priory in
medieval times, and later became the centre for the production of
the world-famous Mitcham Lavender. This 160-page book traces
the history of the area, from its Saxon origins to the present day.

At a special members’ price of £4.80 (full price £5.95), it is ideal

for that extra Christmas present!
Copies of Mitcham Histories 1: The Cricket Green, are still available
at the same price. Or buy the two for just £9.50!

Both titles will be available at meetings or from our Publications
Postage is an extra 80p for each book, or ring Peter
to arrange collection.

Volume 3 is in preparation. The sooner we sell volumes 1 and 2,
the sooner we can publish the rest of the series.

Mitcham Histories: 2
E N Montague

RAVENSBURY PARK WALK . Saturday 18 August

A short stroll along the Wandle from Mitcham Bridge to Ravensbury Mill . a familiar walk, but

there was so

much to discover under the guidance of our own ‘Mr Mitcham’, Eric Montague.
At Mitcham Bridge we were shown the 1882 boundary plaque on the parapet, with Mitcham to the

north and
Morden to the south. On the far bank is ‘Happy Valley’, two acres bought in 1915 by Richardson

Evans (founder
of the Wimbledon Society, then called the John Evelyn Society) and given to the National Trust

in memory of
Octavia Hill.The main channel of the Wandle is 11 miles (19 kilometres) from its source to its

mouth. In the
short distance we were walking it falls five feet.

We stopped next on the footbridge by the lake, and saw a cedar of Lebanon
on what had been the lawn of Mitcham Grove, the mansion of banker
Henry Hoare from 1786 to 1828. The site was excavated by Surrey
Archaeological Society in 1974/75, and evidence was found of a medieval
house as well as Roman potsherds. Owned by Thomas Smythe, a high-
ranking Elizabethan civil servant, his descendants remained for 200 years.
In 1773 it became the home of Alexander Wedderburn KC, later Lord
Loughborough, who had conducted Lord Clive’s defence. The house
was demolished around 1845, and the site was used by early film-makers,
before being taken over by Hovis Ltd as a cricket field. The present Watermeads Housing Estate,

which won a
Civic Trust Award for its design, was built between 1975 and 1977. The lake was created for

flood control.

Moving on to the entrance to Ravensbury Park itself, we heard that the manor of Ravensbury

extended from
Beddington Corner to the edge of Morden Hall Park, in both Mitcham and Morden parishes. The

name is
thought to refer to a former owner, perhaps Ralph Fitz Robert of Rouen (c.1180) or his

contemporary Ralph de
Tankerville. In the 13th and 14th centuries the manor was held by the de Mara or de la Mare

family, and from
the 16th to 19th centuries it belonged to the Carews of Beddington. In the 17th century much of

the present park
was used as crofting grounds for bleaching cloth, and the ridges can still be seen, as can the

branch of the river
which supplied the water. On the break-up of the Carew estate, Ravensbury House and the

surrounding parkland
was purchased by George Parker Bidder of Mitcham Hall. In 1912 Harold Bidder, who in 1951

became the first
President of our Society, built a ‘Queen Anne’ style house near what today is the junction of

Morton Road with
Wandle Road. The house was demolished in the 1930s, but the former coach-house and part of the

wall still
survive. Between 1888 and 1922 Colonel Bidder had excavated the nearby Anglo-Saxon cemetery,

where 238
Romano-British and Saxon graves have been discovered, dating from AD 450.600.

Our next stop was by the interpretation panel, where we admired the variety of exotic trees .

Ginkgo, Swamp
Cypress, Indian Bean, Californian Laurel, Chinese Cow Tail Pine, massive 200-year-old London

Plane, and
also the Gunnera (‘giant rhubarb’). A total of 16¼ acres of the former parkland, part in Morden

but most in
Mitcham, was bought by the two councils in 1929, and opened by George Lansbury MP. The park has

run-down since 1965. The pleasure-boats have gone because the river was said to be too polluted

at the time.

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At the site of the old Manor house, we saw the scanty remains of the
bow-fronted porch of the 18th-century façade added to an earlier house.
Merton Historical Society organised a dig here in 1973 and 13th- and
14th-century pottery was found. In 1753 the tenant, John Arbuthnot, a
gentleman farmer and a friend of Wimbledon’s Lord Rockingham (Prime
Minister in 1766), was responsible for diverting the road from Morden
to its present route, though the old lane survives within the park.

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By the entrance to Hengelo Gardens, named after Merton’s twinned town of Hengelo in Holland, we

saw the
red-brick wall of the former Ravensbury Print Works, founded around 1690 by Peter Mauvillain, a

calico and
silk printer of Huguenot extraction. The works flourished in the 18th century, but was bankrupt

by the 1850s.

Our final stop was by the millstone set up behind the Ravensbury mills, used as the logo for

the Wandle
Industrial Museum who are still hoping to obtain funding to move to their Ravensbury Mill site.

Built about
1805, this Grade II building, with two wheels still intact, was occupied by the firm founded by

John Rutter,
tobacco and snuff manufacturer, until 1925, and then by Whitely Products until the 1980s. The

first mill buildings
on this site were built around 1680.

Thank you, Monty, for yet another interesting and informative afternoon. And it didn’t rain!

Peter Hopkins

A copy of Monty’s detailed notes on five Wandle walks are held by the Wandle Industrial Museum

for the use of guides.



Still essentially a tiny village, separated from Croydon by open and wooded greenery, Addington

has an attractive
church, one or two typical Surrey flint-and-brick cottages, a picturesque early 19th-century

working forge and a
one-time palace. On 13 September a large party of members and friends travelled there by

Tramlink and was met
at the church by local historian Pat Tongue. She talked to us about the history of the building

and about Addington
in the 19th century, when it was the country home of the Archbishops of Canterbury. She then

encouraged us to
wander around the church and ask questions.

The chancel dates from the 12th century, and its stepped triplet windows are unusual and

original. The narrow
13th-century south aisle has three bays, with alternating round and octagonal piers. However,

the north aisle, most
of the exterior and the rebuilding of the 18th-century tower all date from the 19th century.

Much of this work was
paid for by William Howley, the second Archbishop to live at Addington. He was the last of the

after his death the revenues of the see came under the control of the Ecclesiastical


There are some handsome monuments to local families. The Leighs are commemorated in 16th-

century engraved brass
and 17th-century stone. A striking marble urn (by Robert Mylne, c.1775), once described as a

.pickle jar. by Sydney
Smith, wit and cleric, is the memorial to Lord Mayor of London Barlow Trecothick; that to his

first wife Grizzel (.who
to an elegant form and mind united a virtuous and religious disposition.) is a finely carved

inscription plate.

Six Archbishops of Canterbury lived at Addington between
1808 and 1896, and the first five are buried here and
commemorated by an ornate cross on a pedestal in the
churchyard. Within the church can be seen a window to Tait
(1868-82), brasses to Howley (1828-48) and Longley (186268),
and stone memorials to Sutton (1805-28) and Sumner
(1848-62). Archbishop Benson (1882-96, and father of E F
Benson of .Mapp and Lucia. fame), who chose to be buried at
Canterbury, is remembered in the painted decoration of the

The palace, where we assembled in the afternoon, was bought by Act of Parliament in 1807 as a

summer residence
for the Archbishops, replacing the .Old Palace. in Croydon, whose low-lying site had become

unhealthy. Our
guide was the enthusiastic building manager and curator. Addington Palace was built 1773-9 as

Addington Lodge
or Place, for Barlow Trecothick. The architect was Robert Mylne (to whom, incidentally, Wandle

House in Riverside
Drive, Mitcham, is sometimes attributed). It is of Portland stone, in Palladian style, and was

built originally as a 3-storeyed
balustraded block, with wings and end pavilions. Additions in similar style were by Henry

Harrison in
1829-30, for Archbishop Howley, and then, at the end of the 19th century, Norman Shaw

remodelled the interior
and added a floor, for F A English, a South African diamond merchant who bought the house when

Temple decided to dispense with it.

The palace’s later history includes use as a Red Cross hospital, a golf clubhouse, a hotel and

from 1953 to 1996 the
headquarters of the Royal School of Church Music. Owned by Croydon Corporation, it is now

managed as a
banqueting and conference centre, and country club. The attractive stables serve as the

clubhouse for the golf
course, which is separately run. The RSCM has moved to Box Hill.

After an introductory talk in the imposing .great hall. drawing-room, we were shown over the

other main rooms of
the ground floor, which have had changing uses over the years. Dining, breakfast, morning and

music rooms,
under whatever names, are all handsomely fitted, with stone fireplaces, decorative plasterwork

ceilings and lavish
woodwork. Archbishop Sutton and his household always worshipped at the village church, but

Howley’s additions
on this floor included not only a chapel but a library. The choirboys. robing-room was

converted by Norman Shaw
into a striking games room for the diamond merchant, and the main staircase and domed skylight

above it also date
from this period. The present decor of the house includes many (untitled) reproductions of

familiar portraits,
ranging from pre-Tudor to Edwardian, and some of our party (naming no names) became quite

distracted during
the tour, trying to identify the subjects!

Behind the house stands an enormous cedar of Lebanon, a reminder that .Capability. Brown worked

here for
James Trecothick in 1781-2. The landscaped grounds drop away towards the village, giving an

unspoilt view of
the church tower framed by trees.

As we ate a lavish tea in this agreeable setting at the end of our tour, we all felt we had had

a particularly interesting
and enjoyable visit. Our thanks to our two local guides and to Sheila Harris for making the


Judith Goodman

Addington Churchyard and Archbishop Tait’s Grave E Walford Greater London (1883-4)



On Saturday 29 September five intrepid explorers under the leadership of Martin Boyle, Warden

at Mitcham Common,

set off to explore. This was the visit originally scheduled for 16 June, but rained off.
We heard that the Common is run by a Board of Conservators drawn from Merton, Sutton and

Croydon, and one
from the City of London, while finance comes from the three boroughs, together with rent from

the golf club, who
use a sizeable area of the Common. In contrast to Wimbledon Common the Conservators cannot levy

a local rate.

We set off along paths through wooded areas, passing sites of rare plants, across the acid

grassland (for which the
Common is known), to Seven Islands Pond. Here we heard the sad story of the avian botulism of a

few weeks earlier.
Notices were posted to keep dogs away, but little could be done for the birds.

Martin explained that, from time to time, trees that were healthy, but in the wrong place, had

to be felled in order to
preserve the Common’s important habitats. The grassland was cut to keep scrub at bay, but late

in the season, after the
flowers had set seed. Some garden escapes such as Michaelmas daisies could be a nuisance, but

others were easy to

On then to the Bidder memorial, to pay our respects to the man who, in the late 19th century,

was instrumental in

saving the Common from being either built over, or dug up for gravel.
We plodded up Mill Hill (created by tipping), but then disaster struck. A rumble of thunder,

and the heavens opened.
Instead of the view from London round to the Surrey hills – just sheets of rain. We slithered

down the other side and
fled for hot cups of tea in the Mill House.

Margaret Carr


As a Millennium project Surrey Archaeological Society set up what has evolved into its Villages

Study Group,
whose brief is to investigate the origin and growth of villages in the historic county. The

main emphasis is on
maps. Members of the group meet regularly for day workshops at different venues, and on

Saturday 20 October
they came to The Canons. Anyone interested was welcome to attend during the day.

Two of our Society’s members gave presentations, but this reporter could only attend after

lunch, and therefore
missed Eric Montague’s talk about .Mitcham and Wicford., which was followed by an illustrative

walk. However,
Peter Hopkins had an afternoon slot in which he briskly surveyed various techniques for

producing maps on
computer, including effective use of colour and hatching.

Graham Gower, who works at Lambeth Archives, spoke about ‘settlements in the Parish of

Streatham. and
illustrated his talk with his own illuminating .activity. maps. And the final speaker was Alan

Crocker, a paper
mill specialist, on some .Merton Mills..



Surrey History Centre in Woking will be closed for stockchecking from Monday 3 December to

Saturday 15
December inclusive, re-opening on Tuesday 18 December. Holiday closures are 22-26 December, 31

and 1 January, with normal openings again from Wednesday 2 January 2002.

John Pile has sent a striking reference, which he came across recently, to the industrial

development of the
Wandle in the 18th century. The Hon. John Byng (1743-1813) used to amuse himself by spending

many weeks of
each summer from about 1781 to 1792 touring round different parts of this country, and writing

down his
observations and adventures. His journals were published in the 1920s. On a visit to Cromford,

Derbyshire he
inspected and was impressed by Arkwright’s mills there (the Old Mill of 1771, and the Massons

Mill of 1783).
However he commented, …. these vales have lost their beauties … [and] every rural sound is

sunk in the clamours
of cotton works.. And he went on to regret that .the quiet and wild scenery … [would] …

quickly become as
noisy as Carshalton or Merton in Surrey..

In press accounts of the newly refurbished BA Concorde which has begun to fly to New York

again, fittings
in .blue Connolly hide. have been mentioned. Sadly Connolly’s have now moved all their

operations to
their main site in Kent, but for the better part of a century Wandlebank SW19 was their

address. Rolls
Royce, the Palace of Westminster, the QE2 and the new British Library are past and present




The Evelyn Jowett Memorial Lecture was held on Wednesday the 17th October 2001 in St Mary’s

church, Merton, a very appropriate venue on two counts – Evelyn Jowett was a member of the

congregation for
many years, and the subject was Nelson. We are grateful to the Vicar for use of the church, and

he welcomed
members of the Society. Our Chairman, Lionel Green, then introduced Joan Walpole Reilly and

Bernard Winter,
who were to entertain us, and confessed that, though he moved away long ago, St Mary’s was his


home, as he had been a choirboy here many years ago.
Joan Walpole Reilly told us that John Braham was the greatest tenor of his time. He
was the composer and author of the hugely popular song The Death of Nelson,
although it was not entirely original. He sang it, dressed as a sailor, in 1805, just
after Trafalgar – a grieving Britannia pictured at the back of the stage. The audience
was overwhelmed, and there were many encores. The popularity of this song
continued for many years. When it was sung in 1811 at the Lyceum theatre a .large
lady. in a box called for water and smelling-salts – this was Emma Hamilton. It

seems strange to us that such songs were sung in the middle of opera performances,
such as Guy Mannering, taken from the novel of Sir Walter Scott.
There have been patriotic songs since late in the 18th century, of which Heart of

Oak was a good example. Charles Dibdin wrote 90 sea songs, of which the best
known is Tom Bowling. These two were beautifully sung for us, unaccompanied,

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John Braham as a young man

by Bernard Winter.
After the Battle of the Nile in 1798 Nelson became the national hero of the sea. Lloyds and the

East India
Company rewarded him, as the Napoleonic Wars damaged their trade. Nelson was so great a hero

that he was
loved and admired even in the occasional defeat (such as Boulogne). We know that at this time

John Braham
visited Abraham Goldsmid at Morden Lodge, and most probably Emma Hamilton sang a duet with him

to the
tune of God Save the King.

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The darker side of the picture was that there was no help for those sailors injured in the
war. They had to beg on the streets, and there were Cockney songs telling of this. Pamphlets
were sold on the streets giving the words of these songs.

In the 1840s John Braham went to America, but The Death of Nelson did not go down well
there. It was too patriotic. There audiences preferred The Bay of Biscay. The fame of The
Death of Nelson did not diminish in the Victorian era. In 1885 it was sung by a boy tenor at
the Olympic theatre in Dublin, and this was quoted by James Joyce in Ulysses.

In 1905 it was sung at the Proms conducted by Sir Henry Wood in the centenary year of the
Battle of Trafalgar. Subsequently Wood composed his famous Fantasia on British Sea Songs.
We all enjoyed the excellent singing of Bernard Winter, and in order not to be too melancholy
at the end of the recital he regaled us with a song recounting the loss of the sailors.


John Braham as

Orlando in The in 1820, when the Navy scrapped the wearing of these.
Cabinet by Thomas
Dibdin 1802
So ended an unusual and enjoyable meeting.
Lorna Cowell

Ray Ninnis, whose exceptional study of St Olave, Mitcham, appeared in the last issue of the

Bulletin, has been in
touch with Dr Stephen Porter of English Heritage about the 3-dimensional figures of Moses and

Aaron, once in the
Tooley Street church, and since lost. Ray noted that the only other such pair which he knew of

in a London church
was at St Michael Paternoster Royal, but he can now add that there is another pair in the

chapel cloister at the
Charterhouse (The Buildings of England, London 4: North 1998 p.619).

Dr Porter tells him that these figures are of alabaster and were carved for the Charterhouse by

John Colt the younger
in 1636. They formed part of the chapel reredos. Dr Porter has recently co-written an article

which discusses the work
of John Colt at the Charterhouse chapel. This is S. Porter and A. White .John Colt and the

Charterhouse Chapel.,
Architectural History 44 (2001) pp.228-36. Members who know the Hospital of the Holy Trinity,

or Whitgift
almshouses, in Croydon (Society visit in May 1999) will probably recall the wooden commandment

table there, of
c.1601, with painted figures of Moses and Aaron. This example is cited in the article.



VISIT TO MERTON College, Oxford?

LIONEL GREEN has another instalment of the Merton Priory story to tell in

A previous article recounted the beneficence of the Keynes family to Merton (Bulletin No.138

.Ralph de Cahaigns.).

Mention was made of the gift to Merton Priory of the church of Kahaynes or Cahaigns in Normandy

about 1172.
The church or cell, or perhaps a grange at Cahaigns, was 18km from Falaise, Normandy, south of

the Vire road.
There had been problems over the right of patronage, and about 1180 the priory sought to

exchange properties
with the Benedictine monastery of St Fromond near Vire. This would have given Merton Stamford

Castle plus
five churches in the town and other property, but for some unknown reason the exchange never

took place.

In 1266 negotiations took place for a revised exchange of properties with the Augustinian abbey

of St Mary du Val
in Normandy, whereby each gave up a cell to the other .by the will of the patrons of both

The patron of Val abbey was Henry de Pomeroy (1235-80), and it was an ancestor of his, Gosselin

de la Pomerai

(d. c.1139) who ‘so largely endowed the house of Austin canons of St Mary du Val, that he may

be regarded as its
true founder. in 1125.2
Ralph de la Pomerai, Gosselin’s father, fought at Hastings and had been a childhood friend of

William the Conqueror
in Falaise. He took his name from La Pommeraye, 16km west of the town. William rewarded Ralph

with 59
manors, mostly in Devon, and it was some of these possessions that Gosselin gave to St Mary du

Val. He also
founded a small priory at Tregony, Cornwall, before 1125, which became part of the endowment of


In exchange for the cell of Cahaigns, Normandy, owned by Merton,
Val abbey offered theirs of Tregony, Cornwall, and all other Pomeroy
estates in England. These included the churches of Berry Pomeroy,
Stockleigh Pomeroy, Ashcombe, Buckerell, Clyst St George,
Upottery, and St Lawrence, Exeter, all in Devon; the churches of
Tregony and Hissy in Cornwall, and the church of Oare in Somerset.
There were also the important manors of Berry Pomeroy with
demesne lands in Worthy Berry, of Teyne in Christow and the lesser
tithes of Smallridge.

Some of these possessions may have been leased to Merton
previously, for on 29 August 1259 the priory presented a clergyman
to Clyst St George.4

The bishop involved with the estates in Devon and Cornwall was
Walter Bronescombe, and on 28 June 1266 he issued a licence for
the exchange to take place.5 Merton made arrangements with the
patron of the living of the Pomeroy properties on 22 January 1267.
Henry de Pomeroye was granted a charter to hold the demesne lands
of Berry at Worthy Berry by the concession of the priory, and the
patron was given the right of presenting a clerk to the canonry at

On 16 March 1267, the abbot of du Val sent his proctor to effect the exchange. The patron of

the Merton cell and
all the French possessions involved in the exchange was the Keynes family.7 On the part of

Merton, the prior
granted and confirmed .all land which they possessed in lay fee at Kahaynes and elsewhere in

Normandy as well
of wood as of plain, and in corn-land, pasturages and commons, but subject to due and

accustomed fees and
services..8 The Merton Cartulary records that on 14 July .it was agreed that for equality of

partition the Priory
should pay the Abbey thirteen marks sterling per annum at Merton on the feast of St John the

Baptist..9 An
agreement of 16 August 1267 gave the manor of Teyne Canonicorum to Merton in frankalmoign, .but

is to admit
a fit person presented by the family of Pomeroy to pray for their souls etc. and he is to give

them [the Merton
canons] three acres in Berry to store their fruits [of the field] on..10 The bishop issued a

decree pointing out that the
priory had the undertaking to find suitable clergy for the cures of St James and St Kybi11 in

Tregony. He ordered
that .they shall be entitled to receive for their own use the greater tithes of corn and hay,

and all returns and
pensions and all tithes of mills..12

Although called a priory, Tregony was not a true monastery, but became designated an .alien.

priory because the
revenues were sent abroad to the mother house. The buildings often consisted of just a church

with no claustral
buildings. Accommodation for the few priests would consist of a dormitory and dining area on

the upper floor of
a two-storied house.

St Nectan, Ashcombe


A separate deed provided for three priests to be retained at Tregony to keep up divine

services.13 Conventual life
proved difficult, and on 26 April 1282 bishop Quivil of Exeter agreed that the priory be

reduced to a grange and
staffed by a single canon.14

A Nicholas de Tregony became a canon of Merton, and when Gilbert de Ashe died in 1292, he

became prior,

elected on 28 April and installed on 1 June 1292. He died on 26 September 1295.
On 14 March 1534 Merton priory decided to lease the rectory and lordship of Tregony-Merton to

Nicholas Prideaux
(d.1560) for 40 years,15 and later that year, on the feast of the Holy Cross (14 September), he

purchased the

Register of W. Bronescombe (bishop of Exeter 1258-80) 1889 p.275; A Heales The Records of Merton

Priory London 1898 p.146
E B Powley The House of de la Pomeroi 1944 pp.1,9,14
3. Archives de la France Monastique xvii 1914 p.133
4. Register of W.Bronescombe 1889 s.a.1259 p.125
Heales 1898 p.149. Bronescombe was no stranger to Merton. He had been archdeacon of Surrey

1247-57 and stayed at the priory on 15 March 1258
(Heales 1898 p.132) and 25 March 1260 (Heales 1898 p.137)
6. Heales 1898 p.156

Ralph de Cahaigne (Kaines, Keynes) was a great benefactor of Merton. He and his wife Alice gave

land in Peckham, Kent, and the churches of
Coombe Keynes, Dorset, and Somerford Kaynes, Gloucestershire. Both his mother and his wife were

buried at Merton Priory, and when he died in
1174 his name was entered in the Annals of Merton. Surrey Archaeological Collections 36 (1925)

8. Heales 1898 p.148
9. Heales 1898 p.147

10. Devon Assoc.: Record and Trans. 15 (1883) p.440
11. St Kybi was a Cornishman, a cousin of St David, and founded a Celtic monastery in the Roman

fort at Holyhead c.540. Cuby (Cornish), Gybi
(Welsh), Kebii (Latin)
12. Heales 1898 p.149

13. Register Collegii Exoniensis (ed. C W Boase) p.321
14. D Knowles and R N Hadcock Medieval Religious Houses. England and Wales 1953 p.161n. The

grange was situated on the hill near the castle.
15. Ancient Deeds D1226 vol 3 p.552
0 50 KM

50 miles


Thury-Harcourt St Lô




St Rémy
Abbey du Val
St Omer


la Pommeraye


Pont d’Ouilly

5 KM


5 miles



JOHN PILE raises some points relating to THE MITCHAM VIRGATE:

In an attempt to arrive at some estimate of the size of the de Redvers. estate in Mitcham

during the 12th and
13th centuries, Eric Montague, in his recent book The Cricket Green (p.19), says that .the

extent of the de
Redvers lands in Mitcham is of course difficult to determine precisely, but if we take a

virgate to represent very
roughly 15 acres (6 ha), the average for Surrey, we arrive at an estate of roughly two and a

half hides, or some
300 acres (120 ha)..1 These calculations are either based on the mistaken assumption that the

hide contains
eight virgates, or Eric has made a simple arithmetical error. At the period under consideration

the hide was
generally reckoned to be 120 acres (48 ha), usually of arable land, and there were four

virgates to the hide. A
virgate, also known as a yardland, was nominally 30 acres (12 ha), and this was reckoned to be

the normal
villein holding on a medieval manor, upon which the tenant’s rents, labour services and other

dues were based,
but in practice neither the hide nor the virgate was of a consistent size from one manor to


If it is accepted that the Mitcham virgate may have been 15 acres (6 ha), then Eric has

erroneously based his
calculations on an eight-virgate hide. If, on the other hand, it is assumed that Eric has

correctly reckoned four
virgates to the hide, then his Mitcham virgate would be equivalent to 30 acres (12 ha). In the

absence of any
documentary proof for the size of the Mitcham virgate, it can only be guessed at, and it is not

very helpful to
adopt an average figure. John Blair has performed the useful service of collecting from various

sources the
sizes of 16 Surrey virgates, and these are found to vary from 32 acres (13 ha) at Farleigh to

10 acres (4 ha) at
Petersham.2 Assuming that the Mitcham virgate did not lie outside this range, the de Redvers

estate could have
been anywhere between 100 acres (40 ha) and 320 acres (128 ha) in extent. Although I do not

believe that an
.average. virgate is a very helpful concept, it may be of interest to note that for the 16

manors for which Blair
has definite data the average virgate is 17.7 acres (7 ha).

Another assumption that must be questioned is that the total area of a mediaeval estate may be

calculated from
the number of virgates it contained. As a measure of arable land the hide and the virgate were

applied to both
demesne and tenant ploughlands, and only occasionally in Domesday Book do we find pasture and

measured and assessed in these units. Throughout the Middle Ages the virgate or yardland is the

unit of
measurement and assessment for a villein’s holding of arable land in the open fields, and a

typical entry in the
court rolls might record the admittance of a tenant in villeinage to .a messuage and a yardland

of bondland with
appurtenances.. The messuage was the villein’s house and the land immediately surrounding it;

the use of the
term bondland signified that the holding was subject to the labour services and other dues

appropriate to the
condition of villeinage; and the term .appurtenances. would have covered the villein’s share in

the meadow,
rights of common in the manorial waste, and other resources
available to the tenant according to the .custom of the manor., No. of Holding % of
although not specifically mentioned in his copyhold title. As the tenants in virgates Tenants
proportion of virgated to non-virgated land could vary considerably 13 > 1 4.7

65 1 23.6

from one manor to another, it must be concluded that the number
of virgates on a manor really tells us little about its total area. 55 ½ 19.9
Neither does it tell us how many villeins there were. As Barbara 143 < ½ 51.8 Harvey found when she analysed the Westminster Abbey estates 276 100.0 in Middlesex in Domesday Book (Table 1), less than a quarter of Table 1. Size of villein holdings on the Middlesex estates the virgated tenants actually held a virgate; the majority held less of Westminster Abbey in 1086. (Source: Harvey 1977) than a half-virgate.3 A number of interesting questions arise from this discussion, but I shall refer briefly to only one of them, having already wandered far enough from the original purpose of this note. Why does the virgate vary in size between one manor and another? One explanation is that the size of the virgate was related to the fertility of the soil - the poorer the soil the larger the virgate required to support the tenant and his family. Although this may appear to be a reasonable supposition, a direct relationship is difficult to demonstrate in all cases. However, in Northamptonshire, where David Hall has investigated the question, there does appear to be a broad correlation between yardland size and soil type, but it is clear that the quality of the soil was not the only factor involved.4 Another possible explanation which may be worth exploring is that on manors with a high population, but relatively little arable land, the allowance per tenant would be necessarily smaller than on a manor with extensive ploughlands and fewer tenants to provide for. A third possible reason for the wide variety of virgates is variation in the size of the acre. Throughout the Middle Ages, and indeed until the early 19th century, there was a wide variety of acres in use. The Statute Acre of 4840 square yards (0.4 ha) was fixed by the Assize of Measures in 1196, but the Customary Acre, which might vary from one manor to another, persisted until an Act of Parliament of 1824 largely removed them. In Sussex, for example, the customary acre varied in size from 3,226.6 square MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 140 . DECEMBER 2001 . PAGE 12 yards (0.27 ha) to 7853.58 square yards (0.65 ha).5 Is it possible that the Petersham virgate contained only 10 acres (4 ha) because the acres were large, whilst the Farleigh virgate contained 32 acres (13 ha) of a smaller size? These are not the only possible explanations for variation in virgate size, and it should be said that no satisfactory explanation for the customary acre has been offered since Frederic Seebohm opened the debate in 1914.6 The origin of the variable virgate is equally obscure and there is considerable scope for new research. One of the problems standing in the way of progress in this field at present is the lack of adequate data. Blair7 has collected reliable figures for the virgate in early mediaeval Surrey, but, as far as I am aware, there are no comparable figures for the customary acre. 1. E N Montague Mitcham Histories: 1 The Cricket Green Merton Historical Society 2001 p.19 2. J Blair Early Medieval Surrey Stroud 1991 p.72 3. B Harvey Westminster Abbey and its Estates in the Middle Ages Oxford 1997 p.203 n.3 4. D Hall The Open Fields of Northamptonshire Northamptonshire Record Society, Northampton 1995 ch.6 5. A E Nash .Perch and Acre Sizes in Medieval Sussex. Sussex Archaeological Collections 116 (1978) pp.57-67 6. F Seebohm Customary Acres and their Historical Importance 1914 7. Blair op.cit. A Mitcham character, by ERIC MONTAGUE: THE REV HENRY JAMES WHARTON MA Vicar of Mitcham (1846-59) and Schoolmaster (This note is prompted by a reference to Henry Wharton, vicar of Mitcham, in Desmond and Moore's Darwin,1 kindly brought to my notice recently by Judith Goodman.) The Rev Wharton was formally instituted in December 1846, following the resignation of Richard Simpson. His arrival at Mitcham must have presaged a dramatic change in life at the hitherto sedate early Victorian vicarage, for whereas his immediate predecessors were either single, or newly married men without families, Wharton's household comprised his wife Mary and their four young sons, together with a domestic staff of footman, cook, two nurses, two housemaids and a kitchenmaid. Furthermore, by 1851 (and probably before) Wharton was running a boarding school for boys at the vicarage, the census return for that year listing eight resident pupils aged between 12 and 14. Whether previous incumbents had also taken pupils - a not uncommon practice amongst parish clergy where the living was not particularly well endowed - is not clear. On cartographical evidence the eastern end of the present vicarage was extended and what might originally have been a schoolroom was added after 1847, but whether this can be attributed to Wharton or his successor, the Rev Wilson, is not known. One of Wharton's pupils was William Darwin, born in 1839, and the eldest son of the great Charles Darwin. The fee of £75 a term paid for drilling .Willy. in .nothing but Latin grammar. seems high, but was presumably acceptable. William, to his credit, did well, and his father, not one to under-rate the value of a good education and well able to pay for it, held to the view that .a boy who can conquer Latin can conquer anything. and wisely resolved not to disrupt the process. With his Mitcham schooling behind him, in February 1852 young William proceeded to Rugby, where at £120 all-in, the cost was surprisingly far less than at the Rev Wharton's establishment. It was not merely Latin however that William learned at Mitcham, for while there he overcame an adolescent awkwardness, and, putting away .grave and gruff manners. (his father's words), acquired an ability to .please everybody.. The fees charged by the Rev Wharton (presumably they were the same for all his pupils) contrast strangely with the remuneration of the organist, Joseph Barnby (later Sir Joseph Barnby, and a close friend of Sir Arthur Sullivan). As a young man, desperately in need of a post, he accepted the position of organist at Mitcham in the mid-1850s. The salary was small - £18 per annum - and he held the position for a bare three years, leaving in 1857 when his mother died. Barnby lived in a house on the far side of the Common, walking to and from the church across the heath, then the haunt of gypsies and, reputedly of .garrotters..2 Recalling his early childhood memories of Mitcham church, Robert Masters Chart (who was born in 1850) wrote, .I well recollect the Rev Henry James Wharton, the Vicar, who died in 1859, as a tall upright man, usually dressed in a tight frock coat and a white cravat; he was considered a very excellent reader. As a child, he taught me patience by the length of the service and the Sermons..3 (The latter generally lasted for 40-45 minutes!) Wharton was succeeded in August 1859 by the Rev Daniel Frederick Wilson MA, newly graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, who was to remain vicar of Mitcham for 59 years. 1. A Desmond and J Moore Darwin Penguin Books, London 1992 (1991) p.400 2. Information supplied by Canon Barnby (descendant) in a telephone conversation in April 1996 3. R M Chart .Mitcham Parish Church. in Old Mitcham Part I (gen. ed. H F Bidder) 1923 MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 140 . DECEMBER 2001 . PAGE 13 This contribution arose out of a Workshop session last year. ERIC MONTAGUE tells THE STORY OF No.70 CHRISTCHURCH ROAD. A number of people who, like me, passed through Colliers Wood fairly regularly during the summer of 1979 may have been dismayed to see what at first seemed to be the end of No.70 Christchurch Road, one of the last surviving examples of a pantiled and weatherboarded house in this part of the Borough. Although listed since 1976 as a Grade II building of architectural or historic interest, the little cottage at the corner of Fortescue Road had been looking rather woebegone for some time, and then suddenly the roof was off, and the next day only a few pieces of the 4"x2" timber framing remained. In too much of a hurry to stop, I consoled myself with the thought that I was at least witnessing part of Mitcham's history, even if it was a rather sad episode. It was in this frame of mind that a few days later I was rather puzzled (but encouraged) to see new timber-framing in position, bright green with preservative. A week later, weatherboarding was in place, and a new pantiled roof. Amazing! Here was a brand-new No.70 Christchurch Road, looking very much as it must have appeared when first built, some time early in the 19th century! I had photographed the original cottage in the 1960s, but always regretted not having recorded its remarkable resurrection. I was delighted therefore when about a year ago I received a call from Mr Lionel A Ebdon of 3 Lucien Road, Wimbledon Park asking me if I knew anyone who might be interested in some slides he had taken whilst .the old wooden cottage in Christchurch Road was being rebuilt.. I invited him to attend a workshop meeting (see Bulletin No.134 June 2000), when those present were shown the 11 transparencies he had taken between August 1979 and March 1980 of the work in progress and the final result. We all congratulated Lionel on his initiative, and he kindly offered the slides to the Society for retention. I have them in my possession at the present time, but feel they ought to go eventually to Surrey History Centre, together with a copy of this Bulletin, as a permanent record. This note affords me the opportunity of recounting something of the history of the cottage, illustrated with a photograph of it with its former companions, both of which have long vanished. The first documentary records of the cottage seem to be in the tithe survey of 1838, the register of 1846 and the accompanying map of 1847. It was then one of a pair, standing either side of a large barn-like building of similar construction to the rear. The premises were owned by James Moore, the noted grower of aromatic and medicinal herbs, and principal of the firm of Potter and Moore. The cottages were tenanted by John Pool and John Willett, and the third building was a textile printing shop occupied by a George Anderson (see Bulletin No.135 Sept. 2000). The land on which the buildings stood was tithe-free, suggesting it might originally have been owned by Merton priory. In 1853, following Moore's death two years previously, his estate was auctioned, the cottages and print shop being offered as Lot 51, which included six perches of land fronting the road acquired only a few years before from the, by then defunct, Surrey Iron Railway. The premises were on lease to Thomas and John Leach Bennett of Merton Abbey, and the central building was in use as a silk and holland printing shop. One of the cottages was occupied by Maria Poole [sic]. What had happened to John has not been ascertained, but it seems a reasonable assumption that it was the Pools or their family who were remembered in .Pool's Corner., the name by which the junction of Western Road and Church Road was invariably known in the 1940s and .50s. The 25-inch OS map of 1894-6 marks the same group of three buildings as .Willow Farm., but it must have ceased life as a working farm soon afterwards, for a local directory published a few years later shows the barn being used by a lath renderer, and one of the cottages tenanted by Robert Coombes, a .carman., and his wife Mary. Ownership of the property eventually passed into the hands of the Metropolitan Water Board. No.70 Christchurch Road SW19 (NGR TQ 2681 7008) remains on the current statutory list as a Grade II building. Detail from the 1894-6 Second Edition 25" to 1 mile OS map (pub.1897) (Rectangle comment XPMUser 24/05/2017 22:53:27 blank) Willow Farm, Christchurch Road, c.1914 MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 140 . DECEMBER 2001 . PAGE 14 PETER HOPKINS has been trying to identify A VIEW OF LONDON ROAD MORDEN c.1760 In the first edition of Canon Livermore's The Story of Morden and its Churches, since revised by Bill Rudd, there is a tiny photograph of an engraving, captioned London Road, about 1760. St Lawrence Church is visible in the background, but in the foreground are other buildings, on both sides of the road. My sense of direction is poor, so I took an enlarged photocopy of the picture to the October Workshop. With the aid of some aerial photographs of the area around the church, which Bill had brought as part of his contribution to the evening, we decided that the artist must have been to the north of the church, where the old road undergoes a double bend. John Rocque's Map of Surrey, also dating from the 1760s, shows five properties near the church. Two to the south of the church probably represent the George inn and the property now misnamed Manor House. One immediately to the north of the church probably represents the farm soon to be known as Morden Park Farm. The one to the north of that, and the one facing it on the eastern side of the road are probably the two properties shown in the painting. We do not know the name of the occupiers in the 1760s, but evidence from 1745 suggests that at that time the western property was in the occupation of Michael Churcher or Crutcher and the eastern one of Henry Webb. Within a few years a number of cottages were built on the western side of the road, first appearing in extant records around 1770. They may have been built as part of the new Morden Park estate as, in 1783, Richard Garth, lord of the manor, granted to Thomas Conway of Morden Park an 84-year lease of various cottages and a blacksmith's shop 'all situate between the church and the Great Gate leading from the turnpike to the messuage of Thomas Conway'.1 On the Tithe Apportionment map of 1838 these are plots 157-166, 169a-171, in the possession of George Cooper Ridge of Morden Park. Three others (167-169), were not in Ridge's possession, but were held directly from Rev. Richard Garth by their individual tenants. When Richard Garth V came of age in 1745 a document listed all his properties.2 These included a 'messuage and tenement with orchard, yards, outhouses, edifices and buildings and 5 acres in Churchfield, adjoining the highway leading to the Parish church', leased to Michael Churcher or Crutcher. These appear in the 1769 lease3 of the Morden Park estate to John Ewart: 'two parcels of land in Church Field adjoining the highway behind two messuages and an orchard over against the pound containing 4½ acres'; and 'two cottages belonging to the above'. We know, from references from 1797 onwards,4 that the pound was by the Churchyard, on 'a parcel of waste' later occupied by a wheelwright's shop (plots 172-173), so the farmstead would have been on or near plots 170-171. The land on the eastern side of the road seems to have been the ten acres known for centuries as Newbury. In 1745 part was held by Henry Webb and part by John Major, a blacksmith whose family also held the George inn (plot 179).5 John Major leased 'a messuage with outhouse sheds and orchard and one lower room or shop with Tyle Shed adjoining shop and coal shed and one other messuage with orchard yards gardens outhouses edifices and buildings', together with 'Great Waterdons' containing 10 acres (adjoining the Crown site) and 'Newberys' containing 4 acres. In 1838 the landlord of the George held a 3½-acre paddock in the former Newbury (plot 215), so John Major's 'Newberys' may also have been associated with the George rather than with his shop. Two adjoining paddocks . plots 207 (1½ acres) and 208 (4 acres) . were held by a James Peat and probably represent part of Henry Webb's former holding, described as 'a messuage or tenement with orchards barns stables yards outhouses offices and buildings', plus 'a pightle adjoining his messuage containing 1 acre 3 roods', plus 'a parcel of land called Newberry Close containing 4 acres 1 rood', and 'two closes commonly called by the name of Little Hobald containing 14 acres'. If plot 207 is to be identified with the 'pightle', which adjoined his messuage, Henry's farmstead would probably have been on plots 209-214. 1. Surrey History Centre K85/2/115. 2. K85/2/51. 3. K85/2/73; K85/2/303. 4. K85/21/3; K85/2/178-192. 5. Surrey History Centre K85/8/1; Surrey Quarter Sessions records; Abstracts of wills published by West Surrey Family History Society. 208215 MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY . BULLETIN 140 . DECEMBER 2001 . PAGE 15 COMMITTEE MEMBERS 2001-2002 The minutes of the AGM are enclosed with this Bulletin. SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions became due on 1 October. If you do not pay by banker's order and have not already paid direct, your subscription is now overdue. Please use the form which was enclosed with the September Bulletin. Membership is £6 for one person, £3 for any additional member of the household. Cheques are payable to Merton Historical Society and should be sent to our new Membership Secretary. AN APOLOGY In some copies of the last Bulletin there were pages on which the printing was rather faint. This was caused by a mysterious fault in the printing process, which has not recurred. We apologise to those members affected and hope that they were not seriously inconvenienced. 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 140 . DECEMBER 2001 . PAGE 16