June 2016 – Bulletin 198
A Nelson Descendant – Anna Bullock
For your Bookshelf: Windows onto the Poor Law, All Change on Mitcham Common
Memories of The Canons – Irene Burroughs
John Mantell, vicar of Morden, curate of Merton, but NOT canon of Merton priory! – Peter Hopkins
34-40 Morden Road, Merton – Peter Hopkins
and much more
VICE PRESIDENTS: Eric Montague, Judith Goodman
CHAIR: Keith Penny
BULLETIN No. 198 JUNE 2016
The Canons, photographed
by Irene Burroughs in 1975
Programme June – October 2016 2
‘Recent Researches: Part 2’ 3
‘Cheam Pottery’ 4
The MHS Annual Lunch – a personal view – David Haunton 5
‘The Syon Abbey Herbal’ 6
From our Postbag – Ana Bullock 7
‘The Looting of the Wanborough Hoard’ 8
A Note on the Wanborough Hoard – David Haunton 9
For your Bookshelf: Windows onto the Poor Law, All Change on Mitcham Common 5, 9
Local History Workshops:
4 March: Tail-Waggers Club, Kings Head, green spaces, dower/dowry, trolley-bus pole,
John Mantell, Lady Capel, Holborn Union Workhouse, C H Blume, home movies, railway stations 10
15 April: unarchived.co, priory wall, Hall Place, Wandle Trail, 120 Kingston Road, SINS, enquiries 12
Memories of The Canons – Irene Burroughs 13
John Mantell, vicar of Morden, curate of Merton, but NOT canon of Merton priory! – Peter Hopkins 14
34-40 Morden Road, Merton – Peter Hopkins 16
PROGRAMME JUNE – OCTOBER 2016
Members who wish to join a visit, and who have not yet booked their place, please contact Bea Oliver
Thursday 16 June 11.00am
David Rymill conducts A Walk in Old Malden
Meet at St John’s Church, off Church Road, Old Malden, KT4 7RY (Some parking in church lane)
Train: From Malden Manor on the Wimbledon–Chessington line, turn left under the railway
bridge to Manor Drive North, walk uphill 200 yards to small roundabout; turn right into Church
Road; after 100 yards turn right again into the narrow unsurfaced (but signposted) church lane.
Bus: 213 from New Malden or North Cheam. Alight at The Plough, walk down Church Road
(opposite the shops); after 400 yards continue straight ahead at the small roundabout. Then as above.
Wednesday 13 July 11.00am
Visit to Fulham Palace and Garden
Meet at entrance in Bishop’s Ave, London SW6 6EA (Turn left from Fulham Palace Road)
Either District Line from Wimbledon or 93 bus from Morden/Wimbledon, both to Putney Bridge
Thursday 4 August 10.30am
Visit to F W Paine, Funeral Directors,
24 Old London Road, Kingston
Tea followed by a talk on the history of the company and a tour of their museum.
From Kingston Station walk down Clarence Road: Old London Road is a turning near the Bus Station
Visit to Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, WC2A2LL
Cost £10 per person. Other people may join us for the tour.
Please note photography is not allowed within the precincts.
Travel: District or Circle Line to Temple Underground Station
Saturday 8 October 2.30pm Christ Church Hall, Colliers Wood
‘Brief History of the Crystal Palace’
An illustrated talk by the well-known enthusiast and author Michael Gilbert
Christ Church Hall is next to the church, in Christchurch Road, 250m from Colliers Wood
Underground station. Limited parking at the hall, but plenty in nearby streets or at the Tandem
Centre, 200m south. Buses 152, 200 and 470 pass the door.
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.
The annual programme folder is enclosed with this Bulletin.
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
For the second time in a year, the Society’s accumulation of local artefacts has been made homeless. In March
Merton Borough Council asked for a storage rental of £40 per week, which adds up to £500 a year more than
the total income from Members’ subscriptions. It did not prove possible to come to any alternative arrangement
with the relevant Council department, which was anxious to maximise the income from its premises. Members
of the Committee therefore conveyed to homes and garages all items except the largest, including those that had
been set aside for use by Sarah Gould, the Heritage Officer. Some items are being offered to specialist museums,
and some items that are neither rare nor of specific local interest have been offered for sale.
CAN YOU HELP?
Can you offer space for a storage box or two for up to a year? Dry conditions needed.
Do you have an Ebay account that you could use to sell one or two items?
Do you have time to help catalogue the Society’s collection of papers and photographic slides? We can’t make
our collections accessible to Members or to anyone else until we know exactly what we’ve got.
If you can help, or would like to know more before offering, please get in touch via
Keith Penny, Chairman
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 2
‘RECENT RESEARCHES: PART 2’
David Luff’s presentation was on ‘Sindy and her family tree’, which will be the subject of a future article.
David Haunton had been investigating The Surveyor’s Chain: Its rise and fall. Having noticed a plaque on
the bridge taking Ashcombe Road over the Wimbledon–Tooting railway line, one day David stopped to read it
and was startled to notice that (in 2015!) it gave a distance in miles and chains. This ‘antique measure’ turned
out to be a lot less antique than expected.
Medieval measures of distance were notoriously undefined. They included the mile (about 5000 feet), the furlong
(200-240 yards, depending where you were in the country) and the famous ‘rod, pole or perch’of about five and
a half yards. In Tudor times, however, a need arose for a more exact measure of distance, perhaps stimulated by
the market in seized monastic estates, as ‘New Men’ demanded to know just how much land they were buying.
Land area is measured by making a scale drawing, and calculating from that. The first measured plans of estates
appeared in the 1570s, while the use of a chain for land measurement, length unspecified, is first recorded in
1579. Parliament stepped in, being full of New Men, and in 1592 an Act formally defined the length of the
mile, furlong and chain, and the size of an acre. This is apparently the first time the chain appeared in print:
presumably it was based on the experience of some surveyors using metal chains in some multiple of the rod.
The advantage of a chain, of course, is that in contrast to a rope it neither shrinks nor can it be stretched.
In 1624 Rev Edmund Gunter proposed (and probably had been using) a Surveyor’s chain of 22 yards, made
up of 100 links, each one 7.92 inches long. An odd number, but then he was a mathematician and astronomer,
interested in calculation. Indeed he invented decimal notation (and the decimal point) for the easier treatment
of fractions. There were competitors – Rathbone c.1610 suggested 100 links to a pole, in a 2-pole (11-yard)
chain, while 40 years later Wing (1669) proposed 80 links to a 22-yard chain – but Gunter’s chain became the
preferred practical standard for estate surveyors and canal builders.
This brings us back to our railways, which were mostly laid out in the 19th century, before our area was ‘covered
in bricks’. The chain was used to calculate the size of the area occupied by the tracks and stations (to compensate
the landowners), and to measure the distance from the local terminus, to give simple designations to bridges
and other structures for which the railway company was responsible. Railways of course have bends as well as
straights, and the curves were laid out using arcs of circles, presumably for ease of ordering , and the radii were
measured in chains. A 20-chain radius was taken as normal practice, but some of our local curves are noticeably
sharper than this: there is a 15-chain curve visible at Mitcham Junction, while on leaving Sutton station for
Wimbledon the driver has a steep drop followed by a 13-chain bend, apparently known as the ‘wall of death’!
The chain gradually fell out of use in the 20th century, being superseded successively by the steel tape and the
laser theodolite. So the surveyor’s chain is now history, and the measurement itself is only of use to cricketers
and to railway maintenance managers. DH
Chains are everywhere: left to right: Hillcross Avenue, Raynes Park (both measured from Waterloo) and Mitcham Junction
(measured from London Bridge)
MERTON HERITAGE DISCOVERY DAY
REMINDER: Saturday 28 May at Morden Library from 12.30 to 4.30
INDOORS: Demos of the Carved in Stone website; filmed interviews with descendants of WW1 combatants
Royal Photographic Society Display; St. Helier Estate exhibition; Heritage societies’ stalls
Six short talks on different aspects of Merton’s past (including one by Keith Penny)
ON THE FORECOURT: London Screen Archives open air cinema
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 3
On Saturday 13 February, Clive Orton, editor of the London Archaeologist magazine, enlightened us on the
various discoveries at the archaeological sites known as the Cheam Potteries.
There have been five main discoveries relating to the medieval pottery industry in Cheam village. An amateur
excavation at Parkside in 1923 was directed by Charles Marshall, a local architect. He found a medieval kiln
(Cheam 1) with many waste pots, some almost complete. A replica of this kiln was built for the Museum of
London. In 1936 Marshall reported finding more wasters at 19 High Street, and in 1940 traced more to the car
park of The Harrow pub. In 1969 Martyn Morris found two kilns
at 15–23 High Street, one similar to Cheam 1, mainly destroyed by
the building of the second completely different one, Cheam kiln 2
(right, copyright Clive Orton). The wasters were similar to those
discovered in the 1936 and 1940 digs. Finally, in 1978 Norman
Nail excavated most of the garden of Whitehall (a house of c.1500),
finding wasters of white ware and fragments of kiln furniture in the
filling round a well, apparently from the nearby Parkside kiln. At
the time, only preliminary work was done on the pottery, which was
finally catalogued by our speaker’s Time Cheam project in 2010–12.Both kilns belong to the ‘twin-flue updraft’
type, with hot gases passing through the closely-stacked pots. Little was known in 1923 about the design of
medieval kilns, and as more were found, Marshall’s interpretation of Cheam 1 looked more and more unusual,
so in 1991 the kiln structure was reinterpreted. The debate reopened when the finds from the Whitehall garden
were examined, as they seem to support Marshall. From the discovery of a twisted stack of tiles fused together,
and a tile with a jug rim embedded on either side, it was evident that tiles were used in the construction.
There is documentary evidence for potters in Cheam in the 1390s, and even some names (supplied by MHS):
Walter the potter, and John and Nicholas Waterservant (though this may be an error for ‘Walter’s servants’).
Cheam was one of many sites that produced pottery for the London market in the medieval period. It is special
because it has easy access to the white-firing clay of the Reading Beds, which can be used to make a superior
pot which is almost water-tight. Other kilns, such as Kingston, used a similar clay, but many of London’s
suppliers did not.
Cheam produced two sorts of pottery, known as Cheam White ware (the majority) and Cheam Red ware. The
difference in colour is due solely to the absence or presence of iron in the clay used. Cheam White ware is
found in London from about 1350 to perhaps 1450 or 1500, while Cheam Red ware is not found in London, but
seems to date to about 1500. Cheam White ware was made in Kiln 1, and in
the earlier High Street kiln, and large quantities were found at The Harrow
and in Whitehall garden. Cheam Red ware was made in Kiln 2. The main
products were jugs, divided into small biconical ‘drinking’ jugs, of about
one pint capacity, and larger rounded ‘pouring’ jugs, holding two to three
pints. A distinctive feature of the biconical jugs is the unique way that the
handles are attached, which Marshall called ‘skewered’ (holes are pierced
in the body, and the softer handles squished into them). In the Whitehall
assemblage, jugs comprise 90% (with three biconicals for every rounded
one) and small dishes 5%, while all other forms (e.g. cooking pots, lids,
skillets) total 5%. So Cheam seems to be a ‘niche’ producer.
The Whitehall material has more affinities with Kingston ware than the other Cheam sites do, so possibly this
represents the start of the Cheam industry, set up by potters moving from Kingston c.1350. Next may come
Parkside, then High Street, and finally The Harrow. The conventional view is that Cheam stops producing jugs
in white ware around 1480 to 1500, in the face of large-scale imports of stoneware mugs from the Continent.
But such mugs were being imported throughout Cheam’s working life, so perhaps it was not just the competition
from stoneware that killed off Cheam White ware, but some additional factor, such as salt-glazing.
We still know very little about Cheam Red ware. Clive’s guess is that it was an unsuccessful attempt to diversify
after the Cheam potters had lost the London drinking jug market to the stoneware potters. Pottery very similar
to Cheam Red ware (known as Nonsuch ware) is found considerably later, in the final phases of Nonsuch Palace
(1660-80). Is this the final flourish of a fading local pottery industry?
Both pictures are included in The medieval potters of Cheam by Clive Orton (2015, Carshalton and District
History and Archaeology Society Occasional Paper No.5) £3.00
Cheam White Ware: Rounded and
Biconical Jugs (copyright LAMAS)
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 4
THE MHS ANNUAL LUNCH – A PERSONAL VIEW
Superbly organised by Sheila Harris, 33 members and guests (less one, alas, unavoidably absent by injury) much
enjoyed our Annual Lunch at the Taste Restaurant on 25 February. The date is set to be as near as possible to
the anniversary of the meeting in1951 which founded our Society.
On a sunny day in a cheerful attractive room our Lunch went very well indeed. We were seated at circular tables
for six or seven people. Large jugs of still water were already on the tables, and were unobtrusively replenished.
With a choice of three starters, mains and desserts, all nine dishes were very favourably received. Pressed salmon
(flaked with herbs and pressed between smoked salmon layers) was a popular starter: attractively garnished,
it was most eye-catching. I nearly took a photo. The very tasty boeuf bourguignon with dauphinoise potatoes
was the most popular main course, though not quite so pretty. With mine I sampled a very nice Bordeaux (at
the correct temperature!) and was tempted to a second glass. And enjoyed the decent coffee afterwards. Service
was nicely organised so that everyone at a table was served the same course at the same time: I was interested
to note that one of the three waiting staff for each table thus had to carry three full plates at once – all part of
the training. No plates were dropped.
Keith Penny made the usual short speech thanking staff and students, at which point Amy Taylor, the restaurant
manager, surprised us by replying. This is a first for any Lunch in any restaurant that I have attended. She
noted that this was the third consecutive year MHS had been kind enough to choose the venue, and rather
sweetly thanked us for our continued support. So we all left feeling very charitable and eleemosynary, as well
as extremely well-nourished. I, for one, intend to return.
Taste Restaurant, South Thames College, London Road, Morden SM4 5QX
020 8408 6560; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
See the current menu at www.south-thames.ac.uk : two starters, two mains and
two desserts plus a different option for each course each week, developed by the
students. Book for Lunch 12-2.30pm Wednesday to Friday during term time,
Friday offering a buffet service only.
Remember that this is a training establishment. DH
FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF: 1
Windows onto the Poor Law: comparing the Croydon and Godstone unions from 1835 to 1866 by Brian Lancaster
This scholarly publication sheds light on a period in which the Croydon Union changed
from serving a rural district to an urban one, whereas the Godstone Union stayed
rural, having no towns anywhere near the size of Croydon and Mitcham but only
two ‘townlets’, Godstone and Bletchingley. The Unions were administered by their
boards of guardians: most of Godstone’s guardians were farmers while Croydon’s
included men from the professions and business, better able to administer a large
organisation responsible for providing help to the destitute.
Yet cases of neglect were more frequently reported in the Croydon Union, leading to
official enquiries by the Poor Law inspectors: one woman lay unburied for a week;
two Poor Law medical men were dismissed for neglecting their patients; and a master
of the workhouse was dismissed for forcibly cutting a vagrant’s hair against his
wishes. Another issue in Croydon led to an enquiry, when two clergymen resigned
as guardians in protest at the Union’s high spending on wine, beer and spirits, and on
unnecessary staffing. The inspector’s conclusions forced the guardians to economise.
Godstone’s guardians were more reluctant to spend money, obliging their sole and desperately overworked
relieving officer to tramp horseless from parish to parish to visit and relieve the poor, but the Union did not
escape censure: two parish officers in Oxted defrauded the parish of large sums of money intended for the Union.
Why, although the Croydon Union was better organised, were there more reported cases of neglect than in the
Godstone Union? The author has some answers to this paradox in his conclusion.
The publication is Volume 19 Part 8 of the Proceedings of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society,
published in September 2015, and is priced at £6.95 (add £1.60 p&p). It can be ordered from booksellers (ISBN:
978-0-906047-30-9) or from Brian Lancaster, editor of the Society’s Proceedings, c/o 68 Woodcote Grove Road,
Coulsdon, CR5 2AD, making cheques payable to the CNHSS.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 5
‘THE SYON ABBEY HERBAL’
The Last Monastic Herbal in Britain
On Saturday 12 March, John Adams, FSA and Syon Abbey Research Associate, intrigued an appreciative
audience with a wide-ranging talk, touching on Syon Abbey, medieval surgery, distinctive headgear, librarianship,
illnesses and treatments, as well as the Herbal itself.
We started with Henry V, who was struck in the face by an arrow during the battle of Shrewsbury on 21 July
1403. The arrow shaft broke off, leaving the head embedded. The wound was probably on the right side of the
face, as all contemporary portraits of Henry show his left side only. A dry account by the doctor who eventually
removed the arrowhead makes no mention of the time taken or the suffering of the patient. The final extraction
must have occurred close to 23 July, the feast of St Bridget of Sweden, as in 1415 Henry founded Syon Abbey
as a Bridgettine community, just before his invasion of France (the Agincourt campaign); John remarked that
the foundation might be viewed as a form of religious insurance. Bridgettine practice is unusual – their altar
is at the west end of the church, and in the community of 25 men and 60 women the sexes never meet. Even
the church is divided between them, with separate areas and entrances. The abbess and nuns wear a distinctive
headgear of white cross-bands and a temple-band, with a red heart in the centre of the forehead.
Syon abbey (or nunnery) was dissolved
in 1539, and the buildings later
completely destroyed. The site of
the church is now under the rear
lawn of Syon House. The monastic
library was beside the church, near
to the west end, and a special Library
Room was probably built in 1488.
The last librarian (Custos Librarie)
was Thomas Betson (right, c.1500),
who was appointed in 1481 and stayed in post until his death in 1517: he wrote both the Syon Abbey Library
Catalogue and the Herbal in the Library.
The library catalogue lists some 10,000 titles, in about 1747 volumes.
(The present whereabouts of only 43 of these are known.) About
53 volumes, of which 18 were printed, contained some 250 titles
covering medical subjects. These included plant guides, such as
Treatise on the suitability of herbs, flowers, seeds and roots for
collection and conservation, two herbals in addition to Betson’s,
and a major section on medical astrology. The manuscripts could
be beautifully illustrated, such as the Herbal of Apuleius (right:
Wormwood), originally compiled c.300 AD, copied faithfully for
perhaps eight generations, and finally printed c.1450. The catalogue
is not a mere list, but organised by lettered and numbered sections:
eg. the Medical (B) section included B.1 Astrology and B.5 Urine.
The Library was extensive and contained many rare works: eleven
of the medical books appear to have been the only known copies
in Britain. Further, the only recorded British monastic medical
books in English were at Syon: two copies of Gilbertus Anglicus
Compendium seu Lilium medicinae (one with ‘Toothache’marked
in red), and one copy of Macer Floridus De Viribus Herbarum.
Betson’s Herbal is a notebook containing a list of Herbs followed by a list of Remedies. The Herbs is based on
a list compiled by John Bray (d.1381) and contains about 700 named plants in English, Latin, Greek, French
and Arabic, such as ‘Ayle (Gallice) or Gallik (Anglice)’and ‘Urtica (Nettill)’ and has been assessed as ‘probably
the most accurate of the many lists of [herbal] synonyms of the time’. The principal ailments treated in Betson’s
Remedies are Cancer (5 occurrences), Conception and Pregnancy (9) (rather surprising for a nunnery?), Gout
(9), Dysentery (11), Dropsy (13), Fevers (21, of which six are for quartan fever, alias malaria) and Sore Eyes
(24). There are also eight recipes for Cosmetics. Most of the plants listed by Betson were noted growing in the
abbey gardens by William Turner, a herbalist, when he viewed them in 1548; the Research Associates have
established that many are still there.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 6
Plants missing from Betson, who wrote before 1517, include Potato (first noted 1565), Tobacco (1573),
Gooseberry (1533), Horseradish (1597), Tomato (1604), Banana (1697) and Jesuit’s Bark (quinine, 1694).
Oranges and Lemons appear as ‘Pomum citrine’ or citrus apples. However, Betson was sometimes better
informed – he mentions Samphire, for which the earliest OED quote is 1542.
Dangerous herbs avoided by Betson, or his sources, in the Remedies include Hemlock, Mandrake and Aconite,
while Deadly Nightshade is only mentioned once. Hellebore, which can also have dangerous repercussions,
occurs only twice, as a laxative and to provoke purging. Pennyroyal, which can have an abortifacient effect, is
mentioned six times in Betson without any mention of its dangers.
Our speaker briefly discussed medieval medicine, mentioning the requirement for confession before treatment,
diagnosis by examining the urine, the c.1430 carving of a nun wearing pince-nez spectacles in Salisbury cathedral,
and the preference for herbalism over surgery. A Syon document lists the qualities needed in an Infirmarian:
‘strong and mighty to lift and move them…often change ther bedding and other clothes, ley to her [their]
plasteres, give hem ther medicyns, and mynster unto them mete and drynke, fyre, water and other necessaryes,
nyght and day after the counsel of the physician….’
‘not squames [squeamish] to handle hem and wash hem; not angry nor unpaciente, though one have the vomett,
another the flyxe, another the frensy – now cryeng, now syngynge, now chidying, now fyghtyng. For ther be
some maner of sekeness that provoke the seke to angyr, and when the matyr is drawn into the brayn, it alyeneth
ther mendes [minds].’
Some odd remedies called for birds. ‘For Gout: take an owl, bake it to powder, before turning it into an ointment.’
(John commented that this striking recipe is fairly widespread across manuscripts, time, and English dialects,
and is memorable for its weirdness.) Another says for Epilepsy: ‘the same recipe as a cure for the falling sickness
but use Raven or Jay’, while Cancer ‘is cured by the head, feet and intestines of a baked Crane’.
Finally we were reminded that some of these recipes actually work – the recipe for an ‘eye salve’ in Bald’s
Leechbook (Old English, ninth century) includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile. Nottingham
University’s microbiology team recently recreated the remedy and tested it on large cultures of MRSA. The
remedy killed up to 90% of MRSA bacteria – the effect of the recipe rather than one single ingredient.
FROM OUR POSTBAG
Ana P Bullock writes from Bath:
[Having read with interest the ‘Nelson at Merton’ article on our website, Ana requested a copy of our A History
of Lord Nelson’s Merton Place (Hopkins, 1988). Her explanatory email contained the following information.]
The reason I am interested is that I am trying to research Merton ahead of a visit there, by me and my husband,
David Bullock. He was adopted at six weeks, has the most wonderful adoptive parents, and finally decided last
year that he would attempt to trace his family. To his amazement, he discovered that he is a direct descendant
of Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton (through their daughter Horatia Nelson Ward, née Nelson). He is
the 4-times-great-grandson of Emma and Horatio, and also of Emma’s enduringly loyal friends, George and
Catherine Matcham. (Catherine, or Kitty, was Lord Nelson’s sister.) David’s line came into being after Emma
and Nelson’s grandson, Lt Col William George Ward, married George and Kitty Matcham’s granddaughter
Following an intense period of activity last year trying to research the full family tree, he established that there
are three remaining branches of the family, via Horatia Ward’s sons: (1) Horatio N Ward (b.1822) gives us the
Tribe and Anatol descendants; (2) Nelson Ward (b.1828) the Vedel and Mousavizadeh descendants and (3)
William G Ward (b.1830) the Style descendants.
David has posted a family tree showing the full extent of direct descendants of Horatio Nelson and Emma
Hamilton at davidbullock.uk/documents/nelson_family_tree.pdf. A copy of the family tree showing the twofold
Nelson lineage of the Style branch is at nmrn.org.uk/sites/default/files/familytreeluttoncream%20%283%29_0.jpg.
David’s sister, Lily Style, is launching the Emma Hamilton Society on 26 April. There is a simplified family tree
on the website (emmahamiltonsociety.co.uk). This society has been developed with the full cooperation of the
1805 Club (1805club.org), Mrs Anna Tribe, OBE, JP and family, and the Nelson Society (http://nelson-society.
com). Until recently the Tribes seemed to be the only branch of the family that were widely known, but this is
now changing. Some of the distant cousins are now in Facebook contact, and there are hopes that a meeting of
all the Nelson/Hamilton descendants may be possible in the not too distant future.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 7
‘THE LOOTING OF THE WANBOROUGH HOARD’
On Saturday 9 April, nearly 40 members ignored all the attractions of the
Grand National to hear retired Detective Inspector Alan Bridgman [right]
give a lively account of a crime against our national heritage, from the point
of view of the police.
He began by describing Long Common Field in Wanborough as having been
flat (ie. farmland) for 1600 years. Before that it had been the site of a Celtic
temple, with no buildings, but in the Roman period a typical ‘Romano-British’
temple in brick and tile had been built. It lasted for about 200 years, until
before 400 AD it was destroyed and the building materials re-used elsewhere.
At some point, someone buried a large hoard of coins, mostly Celtic, some
Roman, and at least one a contemporary (2000-years-old) forgery. It was later
estimated that the hoard had contained some 9000 gold and silver coins, with
a market value in 1985 of £1m-£5m. This was the biggest temple hoard found
at the time: the most prolific of the three then-excavated Celtic temples had
yielded only twelve coins.
In April 1985, Alan was desk Sergeant on night duty at Farnham police station. (At the time, this station of
Surrey Constabulary was open 24/7, with 20 staff; it had been built in 1851 and was demolished in 2014.) Alan
gave us a rip-roaring impression of the events of the next few days. A private detective came in to complain
of holes being dug in a barley field at night – for the second time – and asked for assistance in guarding the
field. Early one Saturday morning he phoned (using his huge new 1985 mobile phone) to say that 20 men were
digging holes in the field. Alan sent his forces (one radio car with two officers) who discovered that there were
indeed 20 diggers. They shouted the standard warning ‘Police! Stand still!’ and of course all the men ran away.
Despite that, the policemen made four arrests. Three said ‘treasure had been found’ and they were looking for
more, while one said he came at night because ‘that was his only time off’. They also said ‘the real villains are
the London gang, who come on Saturday nights’. They had no coins, but possessed metal-detectors and trowels,
and were charged with ‘attempting to steal items of unknown value’.
On Saturday night it was dark and raining; early Sunday morning a phone call alerted Alan, who sent eight
officers. Again the diggers ran off, but four were arrested. Two men were caught in a 4ft by 2ft trench which
was two feet deep; one was caught in a barbed wire fence; one ran into the field but fell down a hole someone
else had dug. When questioned, one refused to talk, one of those in the trench said he was ‘filling it in’ (but he
had come 50 miles from Crawley, and had a previous conviction for dealing in stolen coins), one ‘had been
offered £10 to dig holes’ (in the middle of the night!), and one from London had been ‘out for a walk’. Their
home addresses were searched, and more coins found.
Alan suggested that a formal Inquiry was necessary, but his local superior refused. Next week two letters to the
Chief Constable arrived, congratulating the police on their actions: one from the farmer (one Lord Taylor, of
Taylor-Woodrow Co.) and one from Viscountess Hanworth, president of Surrey Archaeological Society [and
of MHS], who was serving on the Surrey Police Authority. So an Inquiry did start, with Alan in charge and PC
Tapp as his assistant. The crime desk informed them that in 1984 there had been a Treasure Trove inquest on
14 gold coins, very properly reported to Guildford Museum. As a result of the inquest, the Crown had taken
the coins and awarded £1800 each to the two finders. The site was not revealed in court, but a marked map left
visible during a recess was inspected by a public gallery crowded with metal-detector club members. Thereafter,
coins from Wanborough appeared all over the world, as far as America, Europe and Australia.
Over the next three months, Alan’s team arrested a number of people including a soldier, who had bought a new
car for £8000 in cash. When interviewed under caution, he gave a truthful account (‘usually they lie’ said Alan):
he first knew of the site from an article in Treasure Hunting magazine; he had found 160 Celtic gold and silver
coins in a lane, and then 180 in the field, near the lane hedge; a coin dealer had offered £18,000-£20,000 cash,
with no receipt or invoice. Alan traced £40,000 in the accounts of the dealer, and arrested 24 people altogether,
for 31 offences. There were only three acquittals. The subsequent official excavation by Surrey Archaeological
Society found over 1000 coins, some scattered by treasure-hunters, but mostly concentrated in one area;
presumably the hoard had been buried in several sacks. Alan suggests it may have represented Boudicca’s army
pay chest. The recovered material is now in the British Museum, which mounted a tremendous display of it.
The fate of the Wanborough Hoard forced a change in the law of Treasure Trove, and was a major influence on
the establishment of the 2002 Portable Antiquities Scheme, Lady Hanworth playing a leading rôle.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 8
A NOTE ON THE WANBOROUGH HOARD
These details are summarised from ‘The Roman temple at Wanborough, excavation 1985-1986′ by M G
O’Connell and Joanna Bird, in Surrey Archaeological Collections, 82, 1-168, 1994
The excavation lasted four months over the winter, with the site having to be guarded day and night. A large
area had been churned up by treasure hunters, who had dug individual holes, presumably indicated by metal
detector signals, and thrown the spoil into holes dug by prior scavengers. Almost all the Celtic and Roman
coins recovered by the excavators came from treasure hunters’ spoil.
At least part of the coin hoard had been
scattered as a result of later activity on
the site, before the temple was built. That
activity included deposition of some
material of a religious nature, including
priestly regalia and votive offerings, such
as Iron Age coins. The regalia comprised
five headdresses of thin chains, and thirty
fittings from sceptres, all made of copper
alloy. Each headdress was made of four
equally-spaced chains depending from a
central finial, linked round the brow by
a further chain. These are likely to have
been fastened to a leather or fabric cap.
The sceptres or batons were formed of
a moulded handle attached to a wooden
shaft, which was ornamented by thin strips
of spirally wound copper sheet.
The temple, dated 160-170 ad, was subsequently built partly on top of this deposit, which may have been to mark
its foundation. The temple continued in use until the latter part of the fourth century, when it was deliberately
demolished and the finer building stones removed. The coin hoard had been buried in the same area, partly
within and partly outside where the later temple building stood.
The excavators recovered no fewer than 978 Celtic Iron Age coins and 63 Roman ones. The latest was a forgery
of a Roman issue dated 50-51 AD, so it is assumed that the hoard was deposited in the early 50s, though it could
be as much as 15 years later. Interestingly, there is a theory that a Celtic sacred grove may have been regarded
as a bank, rather as Hellenistic and Roman temples were treated, so the hoard may have been thought of as
having been deposited in an especially safe place.
David Bird, in the Introduction and acknowledgments, writes:
‘Support of various kinds came from a wide variety of people and organizations. The police were always helpful,
especially Alan Bridgman and Michael Tapp.’
FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF: 2
All Change on Mitcham Common by Janet Morris (2016, Conservators of Mitcham
Common) £5.00 plus £1.50 p&p
This book is a non-specialist account that chronicles the natural transformation of
the original grass heath on Mitcham Common into an exceptionally wide range of
habitats, including fully structured oak woodland. Explanations of how and why
the vegetation has changed, following historical changes such as tipping and hill-
building, give an insight into the immense complexity of the natural world. The
book is based on personal observations over more than fifty years and is extensively
It can be viewed on the conservator’s website (mitchamcommon.org) and is available
Mill House Ecology Centre, Windmill Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 1HT
Telephone: 020 8288 0453 email: email@example.com
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 9
LOCAL HISTORY WORKSHOPS
Friday 4 March 2016: Six present – Keith Penny in the Chair
Rosemary Turner had found two photos. One was of her grandmother
taken c.1950s, the other of her uncle’s wife in the late 1930s. They
are both holding a dog which looks to be the same one. Rosemary
wondered if it was the owner of this Tail-Waggers Club medal that
she had mentioned in a previous meeting.
A friend of Rosemary had been told as a boy that the Kings Head public house, later the Burn Bullock, was
named after Henry VIII because he had stopped there en route to Nonsuch. Henry died in 1547 and Nonsuch
was being built 1538-47. Eric Montague says in his Cricket Green book (Mitcham Histories 1) that the pub
was probably the oldest in Mitcham and the earliest part looked to be late Elizabethan. The first licensee
in the Vestry Minutes and earliest documentary evidence that he found was for 1661. He thought that the
naming or renaming of the pub could have been to celebrate the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. It was
on land that was formerly part of the grounds of the Mansion House owned by Thomas Pyner. In the early
17th century the estate was subdivided for redevelopment. From rent rolls of the Manor the Kings Head
was held by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.
Joyce Bellamy had attended the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust seminar. She outlined protective covenants
which have stood the test of time in forming the basis of long-standing landscape and amenity projects. She
quoted the success of the open area of Richmond Hill which was the result of an Act of Parliament passed
at the start of the 20th century.
The concept of a Green Belt around London started to show fruition in 1935 following a conference between
the LCC and local authorities in 1931. The LCC made grants in aid available towards the cost of acquiring
the land. The project was consolidated in the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938. The Wandle
Valley and Beddington-Mitcham swathe were too enclosed within the built environment to rank as green belt.
However, the Wandle Valley Regional Park now has official status, which has enabled important amenity
areas both in the immediate vicinity of the river and within the wider Beddington-Mitcham swathe to be
When the former LCC promoted new ‘out of county’ estates in areas where public open spaces could be
created, the spaces were protected by covenants. One example is the green space opposite St Helier Hospital,
where several attempts have been made to purloin this land – one associated with the rebuilding of the
Hospital, another for the playing fields to be covered with tarmac and used as a lorry park. In both cases the
protected status was made known and the proposals were withdrawn.
Dave Haunton had been proof-reading Volume II of Peter’s Medieval Morden, which explained the difference
between dower and dowry. Dower was a legal right: if a husband died before his wife she was allowed
one third of his estate for life, and became a dowager. Dowry was the property brought by the bride to the
marriage. In Latin this was maritagium; in modern Italian the word for the wedding service is still maritagio.
Dave had looked at notes of a Heritage Forum meeting: the list of structures considered for local listing
included the metal trolley-bus pole in Motspur Park referred to in previous workshops (Bulletin 197).
Peter Hopkins had been making further investigations into local Tudor cleric John Mantell (see page 14#).
Peter had also been looking at the West Surrey Family History Society published indexes on the 16th- and
17th-century Lay Subsidies (taxes), and had discovered that a Lady Capel was assessed in Morden at £7 on
goods in 1641. At a previous Workshop, Peter had mentioned the 1641 will of an Ann Aldersey of Morden,
who left bequests to three daughters including Lady Capel, and to ‘the servants of the house where God
shall call me’ (Bulletin 196 p.8). No information is given as to the location of the property Lady Capel was
occupying, but the most likely is Spital Farm in modern Farm Road, which seems to have been vacant at
that time. Her stepson, Arthur 1st Baron Capell of Hadham, a leading Royalist, was executed in 1649.
Keith Penny had looked up the entry in the 1910 Valuation survey for the Holborn Union Workhouse
and dipped into the records of the Union, looking for information in addition to the description printed
in Mitcham Histories 14. The tower in the picture on p.90 was sixty feet high, equivalent to an upended
railway carriage. There was an oakum room, and next to it two crank rooms; Keith wondered if these were
punishment rooms where a friction-loaded crank had to be turned a specified number of times. There was a
yard for breaking stone and another for chopping wood. Nineteen mills were used to grind barley and wheat
– bread was baked next door in the school. A timber and iron ward, added later and designated “V”, was for
the treatment of venereal diseases. The Master’s House block contained a Board Room; Keith wondered
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 10
what became of the contents, as such places were often expensively furnished. Eric Montague remarked
on how little this self-contained institution had featured in local history: built for one thousand inmates, in
1911 there were 435 old men and 185 young ones, and 151 old women and 79 young ones, plus 28 resident
staff. By 1916 there were 612 inmates, over 200 lower than the previous year, and practically none of these
were able-bodied, so the internal economy of the institution could not function. Many had left to take up
wartime employment, and some had gone after receiving an old age pension. As the workhouse could no
longer sustain itself, laundry had to be sent out to local firms, and a local butcher, Edwin Birch in Church
Road, took the pigs fattened in the workhouse farm, whereas once this trade had gone to central London
markets. In August 1916 the Holborn inmates were moved to other houses in the Union, and £2,000 was
spent on works to equip the premises for use as a military hospital, though the Army declined to use the
workhouse beds and bedding. The mills were dismantled and the gas works sold. Though the latter might
have improved the air quality, a different kind of pollution came from the purchase of a Horsfall Destructor
for refuse. This large site functioned as a workhouse for only thirty years.
Keith had found on the internet a 1920s Italian poster for varnish made by C. H. Blume that described the
company as founded in 1873 in Magdeburg. Blume once had a factory in Western Road in Mitcham, until
the business was seized in 1916 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. First mentioned (as far as directories
are locally available) in 1898, the premises were moved by 1910–11 to the south-west side of the road. A
curiosity was the spelling of the firm’s name: in 1905–6 it was indeed “Charles H. Blume”, but in 1899 it
had been “Charles H. Bloom”. This would seem to be a reversal of the usual order of anglicising names.
More about Blume’s company, and about many other pieces of Mitcham history, can be found on a website
mitchamhistorynotes.wordpress.com. Pictures of the workhouse can be seen at www.workhouses.org.uk/
David Luff has decided to digitise his home movies
and has been busy checking all his films and re-editing
and adding new material. The films include digging at
Merton priory, which has sound on the film, and others
with Merton Memories connections. These include a
charity bed push by the regulars of the Royal Standard
Colliers Wood and a Charles-and-Diana street party
in Cliveden Road, Wimbledon 1981.
David also brought these colour photos of some local
railway stations which he had recently bought at a
model railway show. The seller gave him a detailed
account of the building of the Tramway.
above: Mitcham Junction station (1976), while still a junction
left: Morden Road station (1980)
Photos copyright Alan Merralls
SURREY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY have started a new special interest group: ‘Early Modern
Studies Group’ encouraging the study of Surrey history 1500-1700. There is a shortage of modern published
research on this important period in Surrey history, which was a time of great change for the county. The
group will be running lectures and courses, including palaeography (handwriting), to help people with
their research and in reading the secretary hand used in old documents.
Contact: Surrey Archaeological Society at Castle Arch, GUILDFORD, Surrey GU1 3SX
Tel/Fax: 01483 532454 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or email directly to email@example.com
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 11
Friday 15 April 2016: Nine present – Rosemary Turner in the Chair
Our visitor, Micha Nestor, outlined her plans for podcasts and phone apps of local history, each covering
several sites within a one-hour tour of an area. She already has ten pilot areas, five of them in London. Her
website, www.unarchived.co, will shortly be launched. She asked for comments and local advice, of which
she received plenty. Our most important comment was that she make serious checks on the accuracy of the
information content, to avoid spreading spurious history.
David Luff had been clearing an area near the north end of the priory wall,
and discovered a 12in diameter pipe some 18in down, which is only three
inches away from the wall foundations (* on Google map right). Southwards
it may go under or through the wall; northwards it does not appear to connect
with any visible drainage system. David is much concerned that, while the
National Trust side of the wall (the eastern) was repaired to some extent
in 2015, the craftsman noted that there is much untreated damage on the
western (Sainsbury) side, due partly to unchecked tree growth.
Keith Penny had been looking at the addresses of the members of the Mitcham Military Tribunal. Dr Cato
Worsfold, the Military Representative, lived at Hall Place, Mitcham, described by the 1910 Inland Revenue
Survey as: ‘Detached, double fronted approached by carriage drive. 2nd fl. Attics 1st 7 beds, dressing room,
WC, bath Grd 3 recep outer & inner halls, cloak room, servants hall, kitchen. Coach house & 2 stall stable &
greenhouses. 3 paddocks, kitchen & pleasure gardens. Lawns etc. Well timbered & planted with fruit trees.’
Hall Place was one of several residences in pre-1914 Mitcham whose extent and grandeur is now difficult
to imagine. Dr Worsfold became the first MP of the new Mitcham constituency (see Bulletins 186 and 187).
Joyce Bellamy was pleased to note the Ordnance Survey have confirmed that they will mark and explicitly
label the Wandle Trail on the next editions of their maps covering our area. She also noted that the locally
listed Mitcham War Memorial on Lower Green West has now been put forward for Grade II listing, as it was
purpose-designed and built, rather than a standard design.
Cyril Maidment showed us some photos of 120 Kingston Road, given him by Marcus Beale. They were
taken some 40 years ago, and show details of the internal structure shortly before the modern conversion
into office accommodation. The MOLA report on their more recent examination of the building will be ready
shortly. Coincidentally, Keith Penny has been sent a photo of a signboard for Geo. C. Wood & Sons, Builder,
Decorator and Plumber, based at the house.
[Editor adds – It is evident from street directories that the Wood family occupied the premises from 1903,
inheriting the (mistaken) name ‘Manor House’ from the previous inhabitant, Mrs Wells. All houses in Kingston
Road were identified by name until c.1910 when the road was numbered. The ‘Manor House’ then became
no.122, being renumbered no.120, probably in 1915. Initially George Charles Wood worked as a plumber;
when the firm’s name changed to Geo. C. Wood & Sons in 1909 it became a builder and decorator, and
continued so until the premises were vacated in 1968.]
David Haunton showed us two of Bill
Rudd’s photos, of Universal Signs Ltd, 197
Garth Road, Morden. In October 1975 Bill
had entered these in the Sunday People’s
Crazy Sign competition, and when one
(right) was accepted for publication he was
awarded the princely sum of three pounds
as a prize. (And Bill kept a photocopy of the
Peter Hopkins has compiled a note of what is known of the 1820s artisans cottages at 34-40 Morden Road,
as our response to a request for any historical or architectural information that could support another Local
Listing application for these cottages (see p.16#).
Peter had sold a copy of our booklet on Merton Place to a lady whose husband is a direct descendant of Nelson
through his daughter Horatia (see p.7#). She also gave him news of the founding of an Emma Hamilton
Dates of next Workshops: Fridays 8 July, 19 August, 30 September
2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 12
IRENE BURROUGHS shares some of her
MEMORIES OF THE CANONS
One of my earliest memories of The Canons is of going there to a fête. I was in a group of youngsters, from
Gorringe Park Junior School, that did a display of country dancing. I think I was about nine years old, so it was
around 1960. My best friend was also in the group, and when we weren’t dancing, we went round all the stalls
and generally enjoyed ourselves. I remember being fascinated by the dovecote and, although I was young, I
realised that it must be very old. I am trying to remember if doves occupied the dovecot at one time – if not,
there were certainly some white pigeons with the ordinary ones!
It was whilst at a fête at The Canons, and I cannot now remember when it was, that an unrelated sporting event
started on the sports ground between The Canons and Park Place. It was a sunny late summer’s afternoon, and
as the fête came to a close, my parents and I wandered over and sat under the big trees facing Park Place and
watched a tug- of-war contest that was taking place. We stayed there some time. It was a lovely way to round off
the day, going from one enjoyable community event to another. Sitting on the grass in such leafy and attractive
surroundings, made it feel still very much North Surrey, rather than South London! I have a hazy memory of a
sports day taking place on the same sports ground when I was at Gorringe Park School. It probably did not make
much of an impression, as sports were not my passion (much to the disappointment of my father, who had been
a record-holding sprinter for Mitcham Athletics Club).
Another fête that sticks out in my memory took place in the late 80s.
I think it was organised by Mitcham Townswomen’s Guild. We knew
several women that belonged to it, and for years it was a thriving
local institution. I have some photographs of this event, although,
unfortunately, I have not found one of the troupe of ladies from an
exercise class. They were all ages and sizes, and gave a display to
music, dressed (as far as I can remember) in green leotards and
leggings. Refreshments, that day, were served inside the house.
During the 70s and 80s, The Canons was the sort of place my mother
and I would visit on a nice day, possibly after shopping in Mitcham,
often stopping to admire the fine lawn of the bowling green on the
way. We particularly liked going to sit in the walled garden on a fine
day. It was beautifully kept, with the beds packed with colourful
flowers during the spring and summer, and the little fountain playing
in the pond in the centre. We also liked walking round the pond by
the dovecot, and sometimes we were lucky enough to spot a jay in
the trees. I do not know if any are seen there now. I think during
this period I also went to one or two talks held at The Canons, possibly connected with the Historical Society.
For a while there was a small local museum located in the basement of The Canons. It was interesting to see this
old part of the building, which was a suitable setting for historical displays. The museum was only there for a
comparatively short time. In my opinion, this is a pity, as Mitcham lacks venues of cultural and local interest.
I was disappointed when the leisure centre was built,
as it was a large, modern building encroaching on a
green space and historical setting. I felt it would spoil
the seclusion of such an attractive site. Though I must
admit to enjoying the antiques market that was held
there once a month, and buying one or two treasured
I love looking at my photographs taken at The Canons
in the past, but I tend not to go there these days, as I feel
it is not what it was. Seeing such things as the erased
date on the dovecote, is sad. I am sure, though, that with
sufficient funding, there is great scope for sensitive and
[Irene wrote this article as her response to an appeal by Sarah Gould’s team for memories of The Canons. The
editor and Sarah Gould would welcome any other memories of the area.]
Mitcham Evening Townswomens Guild Fete 1988
Rear view of The Canons 1973
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 13
PETER HOPKINS apologises for leading members astray about
JOHN MANTELL, VICAR OF MORDEN, CURATE OF MERTON,
BUT NOT CANON OF MERTON PRIORY!
In Bulletin 149 (March 2004) I recounted what was known of ‘John Mantell, canon of Merton priory, curate
of Merton and vicar of Morden’. Sadly, what was then known was not correct! For decades experts had argued
that John Mantell, successively vicar of Morden and curate of Merton, was to be identified with the former
canon of Merton, John Codyngton or Cuddington, who served as curate of Merton in the years following the
dissolution of the priory.1 However, I have recently been researching into a court case involving a later vicar of
Morden, in which John Mantell gave evidence. Twice it is recorded that he had been vicar of Morden in 1552
and that in August 1591 he was aged 68.2 This would make him aged 15 at the Dissolution in 1538. As John
Codyngton had been ordained priest in 1513, it seems certain that we are dealing with two different people.3
One piece of ‘evidence’ that had persuaded me of their identity was some information passed to me by the late
Lorna Cowell, a stalwart of MHS and former administrator and archivist at St Mary’s church, Merton Park.
She told me that she had been told by researcher Dr Richard Christophers that in 1540/41 John Codyngton
witnessed a will as ‘John Mansell alias Codington’. However, when I recently asked Dr Christophers what he
could tell me about this will, he explained that it was the will of William Morrant senior of Merton and was in
fact witnessed by ‘John Cowdington priest’. The apparent double name was merely an interpretation based on
the traditional identification of Codyngton and Mantell!
So what do we know of these two clerics?
In his 1898 book The Records of Merton Priory, Major Heales
noted Codyngton’s ordination in 1513, his presence among the
canons in 1520, his position as sacristan at the priory in 1530,
and his signature on the deed of surrender in April 1538 (right).4
He was one of the canons of Merton assigned a pension by Henry VIII in May 1538,5 and in 1541 he was recorded
as curate of Merton in bishop Gardiner’s visitation.6 In that same year Sir Thomas Hennyng [or Hennage],
knight, who was holding the lease of the ‘rectory of Merton’ (the right to receive tithes, formerly held by the
priory), was paying the stipend to ‘Johanes Coddyngton’as curate of Merton.7As we have seen, he witnessed the
will of William Morrant in 1540,8 and in December 1546 ‘John Codyngton priest’ witnessed the will of Henry
Cored alias Kok of Merton who left bequests to his ‘son-in-law’ John Mantell, and to the (unnamed) vicar of
Morden and to ‘Mr Codyngton’.9 (This was another indication that Mantell and Codyngton were not the same
person.) However, he was not included in lists of former canons of Merton priory still receiving pensions in
1556 and 1558, which suggests that he had died by then.10
Was Cored/Kok’s ‘son-in-law’ the ‘John Mantle clerk’
who was appointed, by patronage of the Crown, as
vicar of Morden in December 1552 on the death of
Richard Adamson, vicar from 1542/3, and whose
signature appears on his institution bond (right,
reproduced courtesy of Hampshire Record Office)?11
‘Son-in-law’ could mean ‘stepson’ as well as ‘daughter’s husband’, but by 1562 Mantell was a married priest,12
and it is likely that it was his marriage that forced his resignation when Mary came to the throne in July 1553
– the evidence he gave in 1591 says that he had been vicar of Morden for only ‘halfe a yeare’.13 Robert Buste,
who had been curate at Morden since at least March 1549,14 was instituted vicar of Morden in April 1554 ‘on
the resignation of the last incumbent’.15 The lists of married clergy in the diocese of Winchester do not survive,
but in other dioceses it is clear that those clergy who renounced their wives were deprived of their current posts,
but could take up new appointments elsewhere.16 It is possible that Mantell renounced his wife and was then
appointed curate at Merton, but this seems unlikely, as a William Hall, in his will dated 1558, described himself
as ‘curate of Merton’,17 while in December 1559 John Mantell was described as ‘of Morden’ when appointed
overseer of the will of Nicholas Smythe of Morden.18 This was just one of five extant wills between 1557 and
1559 naming him as appraiser of the inventory, overseer of the will or a witness,19 perhaps an indication of the
support he still enjoyed among his former parishioners and neighbours – or was he just conveniently qualified?
Buste continued as vicar of Morden throughout the short reign of the Catholic Mary, and Dr Christophers
suggests that he was one of six Surrey clergy who resigned on the accession of Elizabeth and the return of
Protestantism, though he also points out that he was probably the Robert Buste who was the unmarried rector
of Titsey by 1562, until his death in 1581.20 Many Protestant clergy who had been deprived of their livings
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 14
under Mary were reinstated under Elizabeth, but John Mantell was not reappointed as vicar of Morden, Buste
being replaced by Henry Bradshaw, a married priest who was instituted as vicar of Mitcham in July 1559, and
was certainly also vicar of Morden by 1562, though no record of his institution at Morden has been found.21
In February 1559/60 a ‘Johannes Mantell’ was ordained as priest within the diocese of Winchester at Lambeth
Palace by Thomas Watson, bishop of Lincoln, as commissioned by the archbishop during the vacancy at
Winchester.22 If this was our Mantell, it would suggest that he had previously only been ordained as deacon.
By 1562 archbishop Parker’s clerical survey records John Mantell as curate of Merton – a married priest, of
medium learning [mediocritor doctus], resident in the parish and with no other living, and not preaching.23
Henry Bradshaw was one of the few Surrey clergy who were licensed to preach, the rest being required to read
from an approved book of homilies.
The manorial court rolls also mention Mantell in October of that year: ‘Sir John Mantell, the curate there, has been
set a day to scour his ditch leading from the east side of the church of Merton as far as the street called Churchstreate
in any place where it is needed to conduct the water out of Churchlane, and also to make at the east end of that ditch
a gate called A Grate to conduct the water across the ditch’.24 Baptisms (and burials) of his children are recorded
in the parish registers between 1563 and 1571, and the marriages of three daughters between 1575 and 1589.25
The Merton court rolls record his admission to two copyhold properties there in 1572 and 1586, though in 1592
he was living in Matthew Lock’s freehold property (later known as Church House) opposite the church.26 He
continued to witness wills of his Merton parishioners between 1563/4 and 1578/9.27
He was recorded in various episcopal visitations between 1567 and 1582,28 being ‘inhibited’ or suspended until
he exhibited his licence in 1568 and again in 1569.29 Apparently he is named in the records of clerical subsidies
paid to the Crown in 1566, 1572, 1583, 1592 and 1593, though I haven’t checked them.30
On 28 July 1589 he made his will, appointing his wife Joan as executrix, though he survived for a further four
years – Joan was granted probate on 30 May 1593.31 His burial on 8 May 1593 is recorded in the Merton parish
registers, as is the burial of Joan 10 years later, following her marriage to David Beven or app Evans.32 John was
survived by two or perhaps three daughters, Elizabeth Heron and Ann Taylor, who were to receive his copyhold
properties in Merton, and Jane, married to Allyn Taylor of Ewell who witnessed John’s will.
1 G Baskerville and A W Goodman ‘Surrey Incumbents in 1562’ in Surrey Archaeological Collections [SyAC] XLV (1937); G Baskerville ‘The
Dispossessed Religious in Surrey’ in SyAC XLVII (1941); Lionel Green St Mary the Virgin Merton Park (2005)
2 Surrey History Centre [SHC] K85/3/19
3 A Heales The Records of Merton Priory (1898) p.349
4 Heales pp.349, 324, 331 and photograph facing p.348
5 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII 13.1 (1892) entry 963 pp.345-354
6 H Chitty Registra Stephani Gardiner et Johannis Poynet episcoporum Wintoniensium (1930) [Chitty] pp.174ff: British Library [BL] Add MS 34137
7 http://db.theclergydatabase.org.uk [CCED] Record ID 86261: BL Add MS 34137 (Miscellaneous)
8 London Metropolitan Archives [LMA] DW/PA/7/5 f.208r: Cliff Webb Abstracts of Wills in Archdeaconry Court of Surrey 1480-1649 (WSHFS CD
34 (2013), originally published as microfiche MW 1-18) [Webb] 2.349
9 LMA DW/PA/5/1546/32: Webb 14.94
10 SyAC XLVII p.14: The National Archives [TNA] E 164/31; Richard Christophers in a private communication citing BL Add MS 24196
11 Hampshire Record Office [HRO] 21M65/E4/4/1: institution bond; HRO 21M65/A1/24 f.5d: bishop’s register: Chitty pp.136, 119; extracted in SHC
12 Corpus Christi College Cambridge [CCCC] MS122 p.144: SyAC XLV p.113
13 SHC K85/3/19
14 R A Roberts ‘Inventories of Church Goods’ in SyAC XXII (1909) p.96
15 SHC K85/3/6, K85/3/19; Chitty p.138: HRO 21M65/A1/24 f.8d
16 G Baskerville ‘Married Clergy and Pensioned Religious in Norwich Diocese, 1555’ in The English Historical Review 48.189 (1933) p.45
17 LMA DW/PA/5/1558/127: Webb 14.692
18 LMA DW/PA/7/6 ff.82r-83r=85r-85v: Webb 6:75
19 LMA DW/PA/5/1558/165: Webb 14.727; DW/PA/7/6 ff.51v-52v: Webb 6.42 & Surrey Record Society [SyRS] XXXIX (2005) 12; DW/PA/7/6 ff.91r
91v: Webb 6.84; DW/PA/5/1558/118:Webb 14.684 & SyRS XXXIX (2005) 13
20 R A Christophers Social and Educational Background of the Surrey Clergy, 1520-1620 (unpublished PhD thesis, 1975) p.319; CCED Record ID
158327 (with errors): CCCC MS122 p.144: SyAC XLV p.109; CCED Record ID 191456: HRO 21M65 A1/27
21 CCED Record ID 86686: Canterbury Sede Vacante (Institution Book); CCCC MS122 p.144: SyAC XLV p.113
22 CCED Record ID 207958: Lambeth Palace Library Matthew Parker’s Register p.340: W H Frere Registrum Matthei Parker diocesis Cantuarensis,
A.D. 1559-75 I-III (1928-33)
23 CCCC MS122 p.144: SyAC XLV p.113; CCED Record ID 158365 (which incorrectly says ‘preaches’)
24 LMA Guildhall Library ms 34,100/205 roll 4 2v
25 Transcribed by the late Steve Turner
26 LMA 34,100/205 roll 4 3v, 5, 5v
27 LMA DW/PA/5/1563/8: Webb 15.189; SyRS XXXIX (2005) 54; DW/PA/5/1576/107: Webb 16.254; LMA DW/PA/5/1578/29: Webb 16.331
28 HRO 21M65/B1/9 ff. 13v, 71v, and an unnumbered folio; 21M65/B1/13 ff.14, 42, 69, and an unnumbered folio; 21M65/B1/15: SyRS XXIII (1956)
29 HRO 21M65/B1/9 ff.71v and an unnumbered folio
30 CCED Record ID 54679, 54824, 55010, 55175, 55245: TNA E179/56
31 HRO 1593 B 48
32 Transcribed by the late Steve Turner
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 15
PETER HOPKINS has responded to a request for historical information on
34-40 MORDEN ROAD, MERTON
These cottages, at the junction with The Path, a little to the
south of the South Wimbledon crossroads, are the oldest
surviving buildings in this part of Merton, having been built
within Nelson’s former Merton Place estate when that was
broken up after his death in 1805. They are shown on the 1844
tithe map of Merton and also on an undated Plan of Estates
and Titheable lands at Merton in Surrey, The Property of E.
H. Bond Esqr., now in Merton Local Studies Centre, which
I think was produced c.1827-1830. However, they are not
shown on the Ordnance Survey’s 2inch:1mile map of 1816
or on Edwards’ map of 1819.
The 1844 Merton tithe map (extract right) shows ten
cottages on plots 210-219, two (210 and 215) detached,
either side of two pairs of semi-detached (211-214), with this
terrace of four cottages (216-219) at the southern end. The
accompanying apportionment schedule shows that they were
owned by Daniel Sturdy as part of a 5-acre holding (plots
203, 210-220). Charles Skilton owned an adjoining 2 acres
(plots 201-202) and James Rolt almost 3 acres (plot 209).
A deed now in Lambeth Archives (Minet 12386) reveals that, on 24 November 1806, Daniel Sturdy of Clapham
(baker) and Robert Skelton (baker) had purchased from ‘the Rt. Hon. William Earl Nelson and William
Haslewood, devisees in trust and executors of the Rt. Hon. Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson deceased’:
Piece of arable land of approximately 4 acres and another piece of arable land of approximately 4 acres,
both now in clover, and four tenements situate in the Parish of Merton on west side of Merton Turnpike
Road, for release to Rt. Hon. Dame Emma Hamilton.
The four tenements mentioned in 1806 were on the northern edge, along the High Street, not the cottages in
The tenants of Sturdy’s ten cottages in 1844 were Sophia Ansell, John Wells, Elizabeth Parkinson, John Denby,
Maurice Rolt, Charles Winterflood, Joseph Redworth and William Barrett, two being unoccupied.
The Merton Land Tax records list
Winterflood among tenants of land
‘late Lord Nelson’ in 1826 and
1827 so, although these records
often took years to bring up to date,
it seems certain that the cottages
were in existence by 1826, but
they had probably not been built
Stanford’s Library Map of London
and its Suburbs of 1862 names
these four cottages Union Terrace
Another development within the Merton Place estate – Rose Cottage, 101 Hamilton Road – was built in 1814,
on the Wimbledon side of the road (see Bulletin 131, September 1999, pp.12-14).
Letters and contributions for the Bulletin should be sent to the Hon. Editor
at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this Bulletin are those
of the contributors concerned and not necessarily those of the Society or its Officers.
website: www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk email: email@example.com
Printed by Peter Hopkins
MERTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – BULLETIN 198 – JUNE 2016 – PAGE 16