Bulletin 214

Download Bulletin 214

June 2020 – Bulletin 214
Message from the Chairman – Keith Penny
The Shannon Corner flooding 1981 – Mick Taylor
Tew many Roberts: just who was the first prior of Merton? – Katie Hawks
Memories of VE Day – Albert A J Smith
Where are those stall risers? – David Haunton
Ravensbury Manor plaque
Richard Lines 1929–2020
and much more

VICE PRESIDENT: Judith Goodman
CHAIR: Keith Penny

BULLETIN No. 214 JUNE 2020

Interior with the Artist, Oil painting by Dewey Bates (see p.5)

Programme June 2020-December 2020 2
Message from the Chairman 2
‘The Story of the Huguenots’ 3
‘Members Meeting’ 4
Merton Heritage Centre Activities 6
‘History of Croydon Airport’ 7
‘More than 300 years of Cricket on Mitcham Green’ 8
The Shannon Corner flooding 1981 – Mick Taylor 9
Tew many Roberts: just who was the first prior of Merton? – Katie Hawks 10
Local History Workshop: 24 January 2020: Benedict Wharf site; puzzling ‘Ejecter’;
Wandsworth Gas WW1 colliers; ‘Treasure map’ 14
Albert A J Smith’s memories of VE Day
Richard Lines 1929-2020
Where are those stall risers? – David Haunton 16
Ravensbury Manor plaque

For each Visit, please book at mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk. Pay Bea on the day.
Monday 29 June 11.00amAVisit to Watermen’s Hall
16-18 St Mary at Hill, Billingsgate, London EC3R 8EF
Guided tour £15 per person
5 mins walk from Monument Underground Station
Friday 17 July 2.00pm AWalk on Mitcham CommonMelanie Nunzet leads us: we meet at Mitcham Junction Station. No charge.
Thursday 13 August 10.30am AVisit to The Reform Club
104 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5EW
£15 per person We join a guided tour.
Dress code: Gentlemen to wear a collared shirt, no jeans or trainers. Ladies to dress with similar
formality. Between Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross and Green Park Underground stations.
Thursday 10 September 12.15pm AVoyage on Regents CanalJoin a 50min tour from Little Venice to Camden Lock. Adult £12 Senior £9
London Waterbus Co. boats are moored on the south side of Browning’s Pool by the Waterside
café boat, on the towpath directly below Warwick Crescent W2 6NE in Little Venice.
For each Meeting, please check with a Committee member, or on our website, that they
will be held.
Saturday 10 October 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton’Archaeology in Merton’
An illustrated talk by leading archaeologist Dave Saxby, MOL
Saturday 14 November 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, MertonAnnual General Meeting, followed by ‘Members Meeting’
Short talks by various members
Saturday 12 December 2.30pm St James’ Church Hall, Merton’Anthony Sadler and the goings-on in Mitcham Parish’
An illustrated talk by local historian Dr Edward Legon
St James’ Church Hall is in Martin Way, next to the church (officially in Beaford Grove).
Buses 164 and 413 stop in Martin Way (in both directions) immediately outside.
The church has a tiny car park, but parking in adjacent streets is free.
Visitors are welcome to attend our talks. Entry £2.

At our last meeting in St James’s Hall, we made sure (not entirely earnestly) that we had plenty of space per
person and took care over what we touched. How simple and innocent that all now seems! I can but hope that

you arealltolerating,if notenjoying, your confinementtohome, and thatyouand thoseyouknow andlovehave

escaped sickness. You will not be surprised to know that the April meeting was cancelled, as were workshops,
committee meetings and the annual lunch. Any programme we advertise now is subject to alteration, and our
separate programme insert will appear in the September Bulletin. Although all libraries are shut, I ask you to

look at page 6 to see the arrangements made by Sarah Gould and her staff at Merton Heritage Centre. The editor

of the Bulletin is, as ever, keen to receive contributions short or long, either research or memories, that you may
have had time to set down during the present extra time at home. For September’s edition contributions on the
‘what I did during lockdown’ theme are welcomed, along with observations on the changed sights and sounds

of our Borough. Let us look forward to our next assembling for visit or meeting, whichever may come first.

Keith Penny



On 14 December 2019, author Joyce Hampton, who called herself a Huguenot, told us something of the history
of these French Protestants, perhaps the most successful of the many groups of refugees to arrive in Britain.
In the 16th century, France was dominated by the Catholic church, until thinkers such as John Calvin protested
about aspects of its practice. A massacre at Wassy of worshipping Huguenots initiated the French Wars of
Religion (1562-1598). There were numerous peace treaties during the period, but in 1572 the bridegroom of a
prominent Huguenot-Catholic wedding was shot, resulting in the widespread murders of Huguenots on 24 August
(St Bartholomew’s Day). When Henri IV of Navarre succeeded to the throne, his promulgation of the Edict of
Nantes (1598), promising freedom of worship, brought a temporary end to the Wars. However, the massacre of
Nègrepelisse, among others, under Louis XIII was a chilling portent; under Louis XIV Huguenots found their
freedom further eroded, and themselves under more pressure to convert to Catholicism, with tortures and their

children taken away as young as five years old. These attacks were called the ‘dragonnades’. The crisis came

with the 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes; Huguenots were thereafter not to stay in the country, but were
forbidden to leave – the alternative was to turn Catholic.

The trickle of refugees into Protestant England became a flood. Most Huguenots entered through the Cinque

Ports, and then moved via Canterbury (where Huguenot services were held in the French Chapel in the crypt

of the Cathedral), to London, where they settled in groups in areas such as Spitalfields, Soho, Greenwich, and

Wandsworth. This was part of a general French diaspora, to Switzerland (particularly Geneva), Hungary and

Russia (and thence to Americaand Canada). The Dutch East India Company offered land in South Africa (later

called Franshoek, ‘French-corner’) and tools: the Huguenots who took advantage of the generous mortgages
there developed vines on the land and founded the South African wine industry.

In England the 1686 Relief of the Poor Act (of much benefit to Huguenots) led to William III’s Royal Bounty
specifically for them. Not all
were destitute; richer ones helping the poorer in a form of welfare state and

founding the French Hospital in 1718. Many Huguenots set up in trade, with silk weaving being one of the major

specialisms. Other frequent trades included hat-making, gold- and silver-smithing, dyeing, making furniture,

especially cabinets, and glass tableware. However, by 1851 Dickens records a sad decline in their prosperity
because of the march of technology and changes in fashion.
Joyce then gave us a sample of prominent British Huguenots and their works. They include Henry Portal, in

1724 the first governor of the Bank of England, John Caspar who had the idea of a formal Stock Exchange,

David Garrick the actor (whose parents came from Bordeaux) who paid for a memorial temple to Shakespeare,
and Peter Mark Roget of the Thesaurus. Others founded Friendly Societies, such as the Foresters, to help in
illness or unemployment. Paul de Lamarie, the great 18th century
silversmith, was born in the Netherlands but worked in London,
and made much use of the hopeful legal plea of ‘Finders Keepers’.
Courtauld’s art gallery is a Huguenot foundation, as was the Swan &

Edgar department store. Locally, Wandsworth’s first Huguenot was

noted in 1631, a Huguenot (French) church was founded in 1682,
and the ‘Mount Nod’ cemetery for Huguenot burials soon after.
Many came here from Dieppe, bringing their skills as silk dyers,
metal workers and hat makers, and many prospered – Nick Garth, a
weaver in Summerstown, was rich enough from his calico printing
businesses in Mitcham to leave £1000 to the Weavers Company when
he died in 1726. The skills persisted – the 20th century velvet robes
for Edward VII were made by descendants of Huguenot weavers. The

entertainmentworld benefits from descendants such as Len Goodman,

Lawrence Olivier and Simon Le Bon. Founded in 1550, the French
Protestant church in Soho Square (right) is the last Huguenot church
in London, now housed in a Grade II-listed 19th century building.

Further notes from overseas: the name ‘Huguenot’ is of uncertain origin – it could be French, or German, or
Swiss dialect. Until 1955 you could take your documented Huguenot ancestry to France and regain French
citizenship. During WW2 in Vichy France the Resistance included many Huguenot descendants. In particular
Pastor André Trocmé of the region of Le Chambon gave shelter to thousands of Jews, especially Jewish children,
sent from Alsace-Lorraine to his area of south-west France. Joyce recommends a visit to the Huguenot temple
in Lunevry, where her ancestry comes from.

David Haunton



On 11 January 2020, a small but brave audience (it was cold outside) was entertained and instructed by short

talks given by five Society members on a notable variety of subjects.

Norma Cox took us on a short walk round four west Merton factory building sites.
250 yards from Shannon Corner is 247 Burlington Road, home of Decca Navigation

Co from 1948. The firm made a pioneering navigation system which allowed ships
and aircraft to determine theirposition by receiving radio signals from fixed beacons

(right). In the 1960s they manufactured marine receivers for the 820 series and the

final generation 9950 series station, as well as equipment for the Decca Navigation
stations. The firm was taken over by Racal in 1979 and the radar interests by Racal

in 1980. Early Racal-Decca radars dropped the Decca name which mariners had
trusted for years, but outcry from marine customers prompted its return. In 1999

Decca Navigator was made superfluous by the advent of GPS. In 2000 Thales took

over Racal / Thompson CSF. The Burlington Road site was closed and bricked up in
2006. The building was in poor condition in 2013 when Merton Council gave notice
for it to be improved. The building is still vacant today.

150 yards to the east is Tesco New Malden, with its large
car park. This whole site was occupied by the Bradbury
Wilkinson factory from 1917 to 1987 which engaged in
security printing for many countries and produced share

certificates, bonds, stamps, money notes, and cheque books

(left, courtesy Maldens and Combe Heritage Society, Peter

A short distance from Tesco, on the Bushey Road slip road
was a factory known locally as the ‘Nurdin & Peacock’ site,
well known for its iconic Art Deco clock tower. The factory

started in fact as British Salmson, an off-shoot of French Salmson, and before WW2 the firm made aero engines

(a 1915 one is now in the Science Museum) and elegant cars. The company adapted to general engineering in

1939-1945 for the war effort. After WW2 the company moved to Glasgow and made printing materials. In 1947

the factory was sold to Napier Engines and Fuel Management Systems who also made small components of a

high precision nature. Equipment from the Napier factory was supplied in cases marked with the words ‘Tested

and Sealed in Raynes Park’. Napier Aero Engines closed in 1963 and the building was bought by Lucas. Nurdin
and Peacock owned the building in 1980, for they put in many planning applications to change the use of the
building from a cash and carry to their own IT department. Nurdin and Peacock had extensions built including

a second floor extension in 1993. The factory had been locally listed in 1992. It was finally owned by Thales

from 2000 and in 2016 the building was demolished.

The adjacent Decca factory in Bushey Road opened in 1965. It was a modern five storey production facility

manufacturing marine and airborne receivers. There were also development laboratories for avionic receivers

and flight navigation components. After the various take-overs, the factory ceased production in 2006. It was

pulled down in 2012 and replaced by a huge Next store in 2015.
Norma ended by thanking Surrey Industrial Group, Maldens and Combe Heritage Society and LBM (Merton
Memories) for their help.

Dave Haunton shared discoveries about the painter
Dewey Bates. First, he apologised for having selected
the wrong lady as Dewey’s widow for his biography
in On the Wandle. (The real widow was the Kate
Mary Bates who died in Portsmouth in 1935, not the
one who died in Hastings in 1948.) Dave showed two
of Dewey’s pictures mentioned in workshop reports,
Portrait of George Clausen (1896) and No.38 Red Lion
Square in the rain (1878), and then related the insights
of expert art-historian Joanna Banham of the Victorian
Society about The Portrait (1879) (right). The picture
is of the artist’s studio, a newly fashionable subject, and
shows Dewey’s expertise (in textures of tiger skin and


lady’s gown, and in the folds of the white throw-cloth), his culture (Japanese screen, pictures, and plate, vase

and classical bronze statuette
on the mantelpiece), and, as an artist, his claimed raffishness (general disarray,
bread, jug, empty bottles). Lastly, Dave tentatively identified the site of Interior with the Artist (1880) (see

p.1) as ‘Ackworth’ in Streatham High Road, by inspecting the framing of the windows. This was the house of
Dewey’s photographer friend Leonard Blake, with whom Dewey was staying at the time, and thus the portrait
of the lady is of Leonard’s wife, Mrs Annie Blake.
Dick Bower spoke about The Men of the Wrythe. This name refers to the First World War soldiers who lived
in a tiny but densely-populated part of Carshalton. Defined by four roads, which all still exist, the 1847 tithe
apportionment map shows the area to contain many small properties, while entirely surrounded by green fields.
An 1868 map shows the area further built up with terraces, remaining quite distinct from the big houses that

then characterised Carshalton. Number of houses and population expanded steadily, until in 1913 the area held
St Andrew’s church, three beer halls (one named the Cottage of Content), one real pub, and 145 houses. The

men were mostly labourers, either on the farms or in the local brickfields. From this crowded location nearly
250 men left to fight in the First World War, of whom 45 did not return. Early on, Fred

Bird, the landlord of the Cricketers pub, set up a board to list the names of those who
went, headed Heroes of the Wrythe Gone to Fight for England 1914, but he stopped
adding names after the death (from appendicitis) of his adopted son Willie Bird in
August 1915. After the war, Fred had a cross erected in the churchyard of St Andrew’s
in memory of both Willie and the Heroes. There is now a new memorial on the Wrythe
listing all those on the original Willie Bird memorial and all those who fought in the
First World War. The families of the Wrythe had many connections with each other,
and many descendants are still living in the area. A booklet has been produced (right)
which relates the stories of some of ‘the men who went’ from the Wrythe. (Available

for £5 fromDick via dick.bower@btinternet.com. Cheques to Wrythe MemorialEvents.

Bank transfer can also be arranged.)
Keith Penny mused on responsibilities at The Elms, Mitcham, part of a Poor Law scandal. Mitcham had several

Poor Law institutions run by Unions from inner London, with dense populations, great poverty, and shortage
of land, so they nearly all established premises further out, in Surrey and Middlesex.
The Elms, a mid to late eighteenth century mansion house, was from early 1849 home to some 200 children

from the parish of St George in the East, an area of wretched poverty. The Union had to find space away from

inner London to accommodate its many pauper children. In common with some other Unions it had farmed out
its children to Mr Bartholomew Drouet’s ‘Establishment for pauper children of Metropolitan Parishes’ situated
in the north-west angle of the crossroads at what is now called Tooting Broadway. Sudden urgency came from
a letter received by the Union from the central Poor Law Board warning of the ‘extremely dangerous’ condition
of the children in Mr Drouet’s establishment, and advising that they should be moved ‘with the least possible
delay under medical superintendence to places properly prepared for them which should be well ventilated
rooms where there can be no danger of overcrowding’ – so we can infer that the opposite conditions had been
the norm at Mr Drouet’s establishment. The Elms was immediately useful for the St George in the East Poor
Law Union, simply because it was empty and had previously been used to accommodate young people (albeit
only around thirty sons of the gentry).

The crisis was cholera: Mr Drouet himself was asking for children to be moved, even as he was asking for
permission to have more burials in the Tooting churchyard. It was agreed by St George’s that The Elms was
well adapted to the purpose, and a rental of £100 p.a. was agreed on 11 January 1849, Mr Prince, the owner,

understanding that only children certified as free from disease would move in. The first 100 arrived on 29 January,

as advertisements were placed to recruit a schoolmaster and a matron. By 10 July the children at Mitcham were

reported to be ‘in a healthy condition’, although the same report noted an ‘offensive ditch’in front of The Elms.

Up to 200 children remained at The Elms until their removal to premises at West Ham in September 1852, after

which possession of the house was delivered back to Mr Prince’s agent.
The Poor Law scandal was the conditions in which so many children were kept in Mr Drouet’s establishment.
The Elms was better than that, but it can hardly have been as airy and uncrowded as the Poor Law Board
recommended. What struck me as I read the St George’s Minute Book was the lack of curiosity, bordering on
negligence, of the gentlemen who went regularly to inspect the parish’s children at Drouet’s and The Elms.
Month after month they reported that the St George’s children were ‘healthy and satisfactory’, except for one
month in 1845 when they noticed ill health. A month later the children were again ‘healthy and satisfactory’.
Even in December 1848, when cholera was known to be on the move in London, and a fortnight before Mr


Drouet was requesting fresh burial permissions, the children were still ‘healthy and satisfactory’. Institutional
standards of health, hygiene and diet then were different from what we would now expect – and no doubt the

relevant children were smartened up for inspection when it was known that the gentlemen from the Poor Law
Board were coming – but one suspects that the men concerned were going through the motions and satisfying
the rules by inspecting and reporting, without any real curiosity about the children’s real needs. The other thing

that interested me about the children’s short stay at the The Elms was that ‘offensive ditch’- were there drains

of any kind? Was there a reliable water supply? (See also: Peter Higginbotham’s website workhouses.org.uk)

Tony Scott introduced us to Isaac Wilson, the Mitcham philanthropist, and his various hospitals. We will print
his talk in full in the September Bulletin.
And finally and all too briefly, Keith Penny used some of Bill Rudd’s slides to take us into the foyer of the

Odeon cinema in Morden one evening in January 1973, where the audience had enjoyed Carry On Abroad at
the last-ever performance before the cinema was closed.

David Haunton

SARAH GOULD updates us on

I am now working from home, as are other library and heritage colleagues. Merton Libraries and the Heritage

Centre are currently closed, but we are still endeavouring to offer a service. I and some of my voluntary team
will be doing our best to answer local history enquiries with the resources available to us.


Although the new sensory exhibition and reminiscence sessions, produced as part of these projects to support
visitors with additional needs, are currently off limits due to the lockdown,
visitors will be able to access some
of our new audio-guide info online via the GuideID app – the links for this are as follows:



You can access a range of Merton heritage trails via the IZI Travel App – this is free to download from https://

izi.travel/en The Merton material is shown at: https://izi.travel/en/search/merton
These can either be used while walking the physical trails during your lockdown exercise stints, or you can
experience the routes, the images and the audio via your PC, laptop, tablet or phone.

There are a number of other heritage activities to lighten the lockdown, accessible via the Puzzles and Activities
tab from the Merton Memories homepage or see https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/activities


The Heritage team has produced a range of resources to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day (VE75). Visit

https://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/ve75 to access online displays, period film, crafts, ration book recipes and
puzzles. Further film footage and reminiscence material and heritage trails are being added continually.

The Merton Memories website now features a World War II slideshow and we have highlighted our digitised
wartime images collection on www.merton.gov.uk/memories
MERTON MEMORIES PHOTO ORDERS – our contractors will not be able to provide hard copy prints for

customers after 17 April but they will be offering a digital download service for us at £4.99 per image. I will be

adding some information on this to our Merton Memories website www.merton.gov.uk/memories.


In light of the coronavirus pandemic, we have cancelled our plans to stage the annual Discovery Day in May. As
things stand we are looking at rescheduling to September or possibly later in the year, subject to recommendations

regarding the pandemic. September has the benefits of better weather but I want to avoid a clash with the

Mitcham Heritage Day or London Open House. I would welcome feedback on this from those organisations
that always give so generously of their time to support this event. I would be interested to hear your thoughts
on the timing and an appropriate format for this event.


The National Archives is offering FREE access to its digital records for as long as they remain closed, though

you do need to register with them. All those wills you always wanted to look at! Maximum of 50 items, and
only ten at a time. Visit their website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/digital-downloads



On 8 February Graeme Roy, a trustee of Historic Croydon Airport Trust, reminded us that the centenary of

Croydon as the first London International airport would fallin only a few days time, on 29 March 2020. The site
began in 1915, as RFC Beddington, one of several airfields set up from which fighter aircraft, mostly Sopwith

Pups (left, photographed at Beddington), could try to intercept Zeppelin
airships and Gotha bombers on their way to bomb London. It covered a large
area in Beddington, split into two by Plough Lane running north-south across
the middle. Later a smaller area was added to the east, over the Croydon

boundary, but known briefly as ‘Waddon’airfield, to accommodate the new

National Aircraft Factory (NAF) no.1. The new eastern border was, and still
is, Coldharbour Lane, later the Purley Way or A23.
Post-War, there were so many war-surplus aircraft for sale that NAF no.1 was redundant. The RAF reduced

the rôle of the airfield to training pilots (one of whom

was the Duke of York, later King George VI), and
then sold it in 1919 to civilian interests. Because the

airfield (‘Croydon’from 1920) was so near to London,

several new airlines arrived, to pioneer air routes to far
destinations, such as Paris and Prague, justifying the
claim of ‘London’s International Airport’ (right). Ashort
video gave us an impression of the temporary buildings
on either side of the passengers’ entry road, and the
white picket fence guiding them to the reception area.

For the next 20 years there was no concrete area for the

aircraft – they took off and landed on grass. The first

‘airliners’ were converted military biplanes – the single-
engined De Havilland DH 9A and the twin-engined Handley
Page O/400 (left). Several airlines were merged in 1924 to
form Imperial Airways: their pilots were still seated outside

thecabin, which was noisy and draughty, butequipped with

wicker chairs, curtains and luggage racks. Smoking was
allowed despite the wood and fabric construction; the weight
of passengers was critical so all were weighed before being
allowed on board. But above all, flying was glamourous -Amy Johnson maderecord-breaking flights in Jason
from Croydon; Lindbergh flew into Croydon, two days after he flew the Atlantic, to be met by huge crowds.

In 1928 new Croydon Airport buildings, including the extant passenger terminal and control tower, were built
close to the A23. New purpose-built airliners appeared, notably the majestic four-engined Handley Page HP42,

which flew routes from Croydon to South Africa and Australia (taking as much as two weeks for the journey).

Some of their routes crossed deserts by following ploughed lines across the terrain.

In the 1930s Croydon Air Traffic Control instituted the first set of ATC rules, including the now-universal

‘Mayday’ (from m’aidez in French) as a distress call. Every commercial aircraft with wireless called the tower
for instruction, initially using Morse code and later using voice. The ATC stafflistened for messages in a corner
of the tower. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, airmail was more important than carrying people, as it paid better.

In WW2 fighters and bombers were based at Croydon from 15 August 1940 onwards, while concrete runways

arrived, as did Transport Command in 1944. Croydon as
a major civil airport was doomed with the choice in 1946
of Heathrow as the main point of UK entry; it closed in
1959, the last commercial departure being a De Havilland
Heron to Rotterdam on 30 September (right), piloted by the
appropriately-named Captain Last. The Roundshaw housing

estate was built on part of the WW1 Beddington airfield.

The Trust (www.historiccroydonairport.org.uk) now guards
the memories and the Battle of Britain memorial, and opens
the terminal building once a month. The London Borough

of Sutton have published four excellent well-illustrated books on the history of the airfield, from which I have

stolen our pictures. David Haunton



At the monthly meeting of MHS on 14 March, we learned in a fascinating talk by MHS member Adrian Gault,
Treasurer of Mitcham Cricket Club, what an important role his club has played in the history of cricket, not
just locally but internationally as well. Mitcham Green is the oldest continuously used cricket ground in the
world. Although the evidence for the precise date of its foundation rests solely on a print entitled Crickette on
Ye Olde Meecham Green, which is no longer extant, it is thought to be 1685 and this is what appears on the
club badge. Cricket began to be played in the late 17th century, predominantly in southern counties. There was

interest and support from the lords of the manor and other local dignitaries, mainly because the game offered

them opportunities to gamble on the outcome. A document from 1707 indicates that cricket on the Green was
by then well established, which supports the club’s estimate of its inception. In 1736 The County Journal stated
that ‘The great match which was played between the Gentlemen of London and those of Meecham in Surrey,
was won by the former by a considerable number of notches’ (the method of scoring in those early days).

One of the earliest Mitcham players was John Bowyer (1790-1880), who apparently was given a shilling by Lord
Nelson to ‘drink confusion to the French’ and was buried in Mitcham churchyard with his bat. Even in those
days, there were professionals; Bowyer played around the country for money – he was paid £10 for a match in

Sheffield (worth around £600 these days, Mr Gault suggested). Another famous local man was Tom Sherman
(1825-1911), who first played as a right-arm fast bowler for Mitcham in 1844. He went on to play for Surrey

and a number of England teams (a modern style of national test side had not been created at this point). He in
fact ran the New All-England XI for four years from 1858. He was killed when he was run over by a pony and
trap on St Mark’s Road. His contemporary at Mitcham, Charles Lawrence, went to Australia and brought the

first (aboriginal) team back to play over here.
Despite being a batsman ‘of modest
(in 36 first-class matches he
scored only 507 runs at an average of 9.38), another Mitcham man, Charles Hoare

(1819-1869), was the first captain of Surrey County Cricket
Club following its

formation in 1845, leading them from 1846 until 1850. In 1850 they won all four of

their first-class inter-county matches and could thus be considered the ‘Champion

County’. Tom Humphrey (1839-1878), who at only 5ft 4in was known as ‘The

Pocket Hercules’, went on to form the first great opening partnership for Surrey
with Harry Jupp. He was the first to score a thousand runs in a season. His brother,

Richard, went with W G Grace’s team to Australia. James Southerton (1827-1880)
(right) played for three different counties, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, and toured
Australia with Grace in 1873/4 and again with Lillywhite in 1876/7, during which

he played in the first Test match in Melbourne. Early in his career he was a batsman,

but earned fame as a bowler when at the age of around 40 he became an early spinner, taking a huge number
of wickets with his new overarm technique. He went on to be the landlord of The Cricketers pub on the Green
and was immensely popular, as a result of which his funeral attracted a large crowd. His memorial can be seen
in the parish churchyard.

W G Grace himself played on Mitcham Green twice, in 1875 and 1876, when his
presence attracted 3,000 spectators.Tom Richardson (1870-1912) (left), one of
Surrey’s and England’s greatest fast bowlers, was a very generous man, especially
to tail-enders. He is supposed to have retorted when criticised for letting them score

off the edge ‘If they play well enough to touch them, let them have the runs’. His

name is on the honours board at Lord’s for having taken 11 wickets in a match.There
is a silver brick at The Oval that commemorates the winners of the 1914 County
Championship. Seven of the names were of men who had played for or lived in
Mitcham, including Jack Hobbs and Herbert Strudwick. Herbert Strudwick (1880-
1970) was one of England’s greatest wicket-keepers (his career 1,493 dismissals
remain the third highest ever), but he struggled to get into Mitcham’s First XI, because
of an apparently better keeper called Clark who retained that position. Curiously, it

was the vicar’s daughter that introduced him to the idea of keeping wicket.
Andy Sandham (1890-1982) continued to play for Mitcham while being half of a very successful opening

partnership for Surrey with Jack Hobbs; they made at least a century for the first wicket on no fewer than 66

occasions. Sandham played 14 Tests with England and scored 325 in a match against the West Indies. One of

the Mitcham players in the first match on the Green after WW1, which was against the Australian Imperial

Forces team that included three future Test players, was Burn Bullock. He also played for Surrey a few times


but, more significantly, came back to the town in 1929 to take over as landlord of the King’s Head. When he
died, his widow kept the pub and the name was later changed to the Burn Bullock, which of course is still there
but in a very sorry state.

The Ruff Memorial Stone, which stands in the west corner of the Green, was erected in 1963 in honour of Tom
Ruff, mayor of Mitcham and a local businessman with a great love of Mitcham Cricket Club. Along with Burn

Bullock he was one of those who kept the club active during the Second World War. The Stone records the
names of outstanding Mitcham cricketers, initially with 16, a further 18 being added in 2014. Women cricketers
are seen as a key part of the future of Mitcham Cricket Club. Their team is now known as the Sapphires but the
club has been open to female members from very early on. Molly Hide, England captain for nearly 20 years

either side of WW2, frequently played on the Green and another England player, Hazel Sanders, was a member.

In 1937 the Surrey WCA took on the
Australian Women on Mitcham Green

in the final match of the visitors’tour.

The event drew a huge gathering of
10,000 spectators.The juniors are also
important for the future and the club
puts a lot of work into developing them.
They formed a Guard of Honour at the
2019 South Africa vs Bangladesh World
Cup match at The Oval.

Dick Bower

Mitcham team to take on Tom
Richardson’s XI, a match to celebrate the

pavilion opening in 1904

MICK TAYLOR has some more information on


The last issue of the Bulletin had two photographs I had taken of flooding at Shannon Corner. At the time I

submitted the pictures I was unsure of the date, which I can now confirm was Thursday 6 August 1981.
The local Guardian had a report on the flooding in the following (Thursday, as usual) issue. They reported that
the downpour happened between 9.15 and 9.45am. The council’s rain gauge in Morden Hall Park showed that
15 millimetres of rain fell in that period, and this was followed shortly after by a further downpour that produced
another 33 millimetres. Chris Carter, Merton’s Director of Technical Services, said ‘It’s the kind of storm we
only get once every 30 years, but on this occasion we had two ’30 year’ storms in one day.’

It seems that Merton Council was warned of the storm and had set up an ‘incident room’. They delivered

600 sandbags to the West Barnes Lane area where the Beverley Brook flooded to a depth of 15 inches. Radio

communication was established, as come midday the phones were out of action. No mobiles in those days! The
clean-up job carried out by the council took until 12.30 on the Friday morning. The workers had been put into
action at 6am on the Thursday morning, well before the storms hit. The drains had been unable to cope with

the downpours and some roads under bridges had been submerged to several feet. The flooding in some places

took the council by surprise, in particular in Merton Park and Cannon Hill. The Wandle had burst its banks in

Morden Hall Park, where water entered the council offices (in Morden Hall Cottage). Parts of the park were

covered by ‘wall-to-wall’ water. Plans were in place to evacuate people from certain locations. Some homes

and roads were badly flooded – Haydons Road had four feet of water at its junction with York Road. A picture

in the Guardian article showed cars in the Bradbury Wilkinson works at Shannon Corner (now Tesco’s) with

flood water up to the tops of their wheels.

My two pictures were taken between 4 and 5pm, yet that may not have been the end of the rain! The Merton
communication centre had been warned of another deluge around 10pm. At 9pm the centre was still getting

calls that the flood waters were still rising. Luckily the 10pm downpour didn’t arrive. On the Friday after the

rains the clean up began with sewers de-silted, gullies cleaned, manholes and roads checked. Some residents
had the experience of foul sewage in their gardens. I have pictures of our garden (in Lynmouth Avenue) with

water flowing down it. The water never entered the house but did flow under it through the rear air vents and

out of the air vents at the front of the house.


Anno domini MCLmo. Hoc anno
obiit dominus Robertus primus prior
Anno domini MCLXVII. Hoc
anno obiit Robertus secundus
prior ecclesie de Meriton’. Item
obiit Matildis imperatrix vIdus Septembris.
Anno domini MCLmo. Hoc anno
obiit dominus Robertus primus prior
Anno domini MCLXVII. Hoc
anno obiit Robertus secundus
prior ecclesie de Meriton’. Item
obiit Matildis imperatrix vIdus Septembris.
KATIE HAWKS poses a puzzle:

Frank Barlow, on p.18 of his biography of Thomas Becket, referred to the first prior of Merton as ‘Robert de

Tywe’. He presumably got this name from D Knowles et al., The Heads of Religious Houses, England and
Wales, 940-1216 (Cambridge, 1972), p.175. The Victoria County History lists the first prior as ‘Robert Bayle’

– with no reference to a source.1
The first two priors of Merton were both called Robert.Below are the entries noting the deaths of Robert I (1150)
and Robert II (1167) from the Annals of Merton (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 059, fols 163v. and
164v.), reproduced with the kind permission of Corpus Christ College.

Our chief sources for Robert I are the vitae
(lives) of Gilbert the Sheriff and Guy of Merton (the former has been
published by MHS; the latter is being prepared for publication). The Gilbert text tells us that Gilbert invited
Robert to leave St Mary’s, Huntingdon, where he was sub-prior, to become prior of Gilbert’s new foundation
at Merton (chap. 2). Further on, it says that ‘Robert, after spending forty-three years in the habit of a canon

and governing the church for thirty-five years, came to a happy final rest, leaving human affairs on the fourth

of January [1150]’ (Chap. 34). This suggests that Robert became a canon in 1107, which is about the time that
St Mary’s, Huntingdon, became a house of regular canons.2 It is likely that he was at least 20 when he joined
Huntingdon, but very probably older,3 and so he would have been at least in his sixties when he died.

After a couple of years at Merton, Robert managed to persuade Gilbert to move the priory from his site to a
better one up the road. Here we have the first indications of Robert’s character.
We know that he was one of
the Huntingdon canons by whose ‘good deeds they had spread widely the sweet smell of their reputation’, but
he was also a man of tact and good sense. Gilbert seems to have had no objection to the move, even though it
meant pulling down his buildings. He and Robert were to be found ‘pacing the area, now on horse, now on foot;
now marking out the space in which to build the church; now measuring the boundaries of the cemetery; now
deciding whether it was possible to lead the water from the old channel to another place; showing where the
mill should be moved to and where vineyards could be made’ (chap. 4).4 Robert also managed to help Gilbert
obtain the royal grant of 1121, and to persuade other nobles to patronise the Priory.

The life of Guy of Merton gives us a few more glimses of Robert’s character. Robert encouraged Guy to become
a deacon and then a priest – and then to become prior of Taunton and Bodmin. Guy needed careful handling: an
intelligent and generous man, he was quite emotional, and inclined to punish himself in his piety.
Robert, we
are told, stopped Guy starving himself with his fervent fasting. He also allowed Guy back to Merton after Guy’s
breakdown caused by the loose behaviour of the canons of Taunton. From these sources, Robert seems indeed to
have been as the author of the life of Gilbert described him: ‘the lord Robert of holy memory, first prior of that
church, a man exalted in everything, in knowledge, pre-eminent in prudence, elegant in eloquence, foremost in

judgement, exceeding in generosity and liberality, outstanding in pity and compassion’ (chap. 34). But he is not
described as Robert de Tywe, nor Robert Bayle: we know what he was like, but we do not know who he was.
All Knowles’ sources call him Robert. These references were:

William of Newburgh (who himself lifted his information from the cartulary of Holy Trinity, Aldgate).5
Both assert that Merton’s canons came from Holy Trinity, but this is probably a mistake, stemming from
too many St Mary’s.

the Flores Historiarum, Eton MS. 123, in H Luard, Flores Historiarum (RS, 1890), vol. i, p.lii.

The Annals of Merton, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge MS. 059,6 (see illustration above).7

The Annals of Plympton, in F Liebermann, Ungedruckte anglo-normannische Geschichtsquellen (Strassburg,

1879, repr. Ridgewood, NJ, 1966).

M Gibbs, Early Charters of the Cathedral Church of St Paul, London (Camden 3rd series LVIII, London
1939), no.154.8

The Annals of Winchester, in H Luard, Annales Monastici, vol. ii, p.45. Luard’s marginal note calls him
‘Robert Bayle’, but the text merely says ‘Robert, first prior’.9
None of these sources refers to Prior Robert as anything but Prior Robert. Robert I may well be Robert Bayle,
but the origin of this appellation is, as yet, unknown. The first printed reference to it is Daniel Lyson’s Environs
of London (1792).10 He does not provide a reference. ‘Bayle’ occurs in the 19th-century editions of Dugdale’s
Monasticon, but not in the original; nor does it appear in Stowe’s Annals.11 Bishop White Kennett’s compilation
of ecclesiastical information (BL Lansdowne MS 935, f.176v) merely calls him Prior Robert. ‘Bayle’ (‘Bailey’ in
modern spelling ) is not rare enough to be useful to us in itself,12 and where Lysons got it from is still a mystery.

In the life of Gilbert, chap. 12, we are told that:
‘cum dominus Robertus, qui primo subprioratus ac postea prioratus officio eidem congregacioni prefuit,

illuc uenisset et ibidem relinquere seculum decreuisset, frater illius dominus Hugo ecclesiam de Tewia

gratia fratris illi loco donauit.’

‘lord Robert (who was first sub-prior and afterwards rose to the office of prior of that community) came

and decided in that same place that he would leave worldly things behind him. His brother, the lord Hugo,

then gave the church at Tew on account of his brother.’
This would seem to refer to Robert, the second prior (1150-1167), who was sub-prior of Merton before he
succeeded Robert I as prior.13 The word ‘eidem’, the dative of ‘idem’, usually means ‘the same,’ and here refers
to ‘congregacioni’. The passage works literally better if the sub-prior were prior of the same congregation – i.e.
sub-prior and then prior of Merton. This would mean that it refers to Robert II. But ‘eidem’ need not mean ‘the
same’: it could mean ‘this very’, an emphatic meaning Merton, as opposed to Huntingdon, where Robert I was
sub-prior. Keith Penny translated it as ‘that congregation’, which keeps the ambiguity (and is therefore a true
translation!). The construction ‘primo subprioratus ac postea prioratus’ would also suggest that the sub-prior
was prior of the same place. However even this is not conclusive, and the sentence could be split up thus, with
the ‘ac’ actually separating the places:

cum dominus Robertus, [qui primo subprioratus {Huntingdon}] ac
prioratus officio

congregacioni prefuit {Merton}]

So, while this seems to suggest Robert II, it could refer to Robert I. A previous passage (chap.2) says:

‘Tandem uero celitus inspiratus, proconsul memoratus eiusdem loci priorem petiit ut suis studiis

concurreret atque uirum uenerabilem Rodbertum, illius ecclesie tunc subpriorem..’

‘At length the sheriff, inspired by heaven, asked the prior of that place to join him in his plans and to

grant him for this undertaking the service of Robert, then the much respected sub-prior of the church.’
The text refers to Robert as sub-prior of Huntingdon Priory. When it refers to him again by name in the same
section, it is ‘Robert, who was now prior’ (‘iam facto priori’). He is called the ‘lord prior’ (‘dominus prior’)
thereafter. The next time the name ‘Robert’ is mentioned is the passage in chapter 12. Robert I has already,
therefore, been referred to as ‘subprioratus’, and the reference to ‘subprioratus’ in chap.12 could thus be picking
that up. In this case, the sentence would refer to Robert I, and ‘eidem’ would mean ‘this’ rather than ‘the same’.

We are certain, however, that one of the first two priors Robert was ‘Robert de Tywe’, a spelling of Tew, of

which there are several villages in Oxfordshire. Robert de Tew was the brother of Hugh de Tew, who gave

Duns Tew church to Merton Priory.
Heales14 has a grant from 1150 x 1167 to Elias le Haneswell ‘to hold of them in fee and inheritance, their land
of Mildecumba’, which Heales identifies as Milcombe, Oxfordshire.
This grant was witnessed by Hugh, priest
of Tew (Tiwa, a variant spelling), Walter of Tew (de Tiwa) and his brother Peter, and Richard, Thurbert and
Augustin, servants of the Prior. Here we have a connexion between Merton Priory and (Duns) Tew, and between
Merton Priory and the family of de Tew. The family members mentioned here are Walter and Peter; Hugh the
priest is very probably a family member, too.

The de Tews were a local gentry family who held lands in Duns Tew and Adderbury. We learn a lot about the
de Tews in a land dispute in Leicestershire which went to court in 1212 and was only resolved two years later.15

The claimant was one Walter de Tew, who asserted his right to the land in question through long inheritance.

He had a brother, John, who appeared for him on occasion. Walter was the next heir (‘proximo heredi’) to Hugh
(and probably his nephew). This Hugh was the son of Walter, whose father was also called Hugh. The VCH


suggests that the latter Hugh is the one pardoned 30s. danegeld in Oxfordshire in 1130.16 Hugh succeeded his
brother Joibert to the family lands. Another entry for Walter’s land case spells Joibert as Goibert, holding the
lands ‘unde Goibertus Senescallus regis avi regis Henrici patris’ (‘from Goibert the steward in the reign of
Henry, grandfather to the father of the king’ – i.e. Henry I).17 In the Domesday survey, one Goisbert is named as
an Oxfordshire tenant of Robert de Tosny, baron of Stafford.18 In 1200, Walter de Tiwa was working for Ralph
de Grafton, sheriff of Worcestershire; this Ralph was one of the Tosny descendants.
The de Tews also held
land in Adderbury of the Staffords (the de Tosny family).19 Some connexion with the Staffords can therefore be

assumed, and that may mean that the Domesday Goisbert was a de Tew. As families preferred certain forenames
(the de Tews had a particular predilection for Hugh and Walter), Goisbert could plausibly be put at the head of
our family tree. In about 1129, Gilbert, Robert and Peter, sons of Hugh de Tiwa, witnessed a charter for Robert
d’Oilly, and in 1130, Gilbert witnessed another charter.20 This Hugo might have been Goisbert’s son; if so, another
son could easily have been Goibert as well, the ‘s’ being a possibly silent French ‘s’. ‘Gilbert’ could easily be a
variant spelling. Hugh the younger (whom we will call Hugh II) married Mabel, and they had Walter and Roger.

Hugh II was an associate of Robert d’Oilly, and as well as witnessing charters for him, he gave land to Robert
and Edith d’Oilly’s Augustinian foundation of Oseney Abbey, around 1129.21 Walter I was granted life interest
in the land of Hugh’s gift in 1160.22 Oseney Abbey was itself a landowner in Duns Tew. How Robert (I or II)
ended up at Merton is unclear, but it is interesting that his family patronised two Augustinian establishments.

We can to an extent sort out the generations of the de Tews. From the 1212 land dispute, the family tree looks
like this:
Walter and John were in court from 1212 to 1214. The Walter

who fought the land case could be identified with the clericus
comitatus (sheriff’s clerk) of Oxfordshire in 1234.A John de Tiwe
was sheriff of Oxfordshire 1235-1238 -possibly the brother who
appeared for Walter during the case.23 These
offices would be
quite in keeping for our de Tews, as one of the established local

ruling families who had connexions (largely by being tenants)
with both the Stafford and the
d’Oilly families. Walter and John
were adults by 1212, and were still active office-holders in the

1230s. They were probably born c.1190 – perhaps earlier, in the
1180s. Whatever Hugh III’s relationship was, he is likely (but not
definitely) to be the previous generation.
If so, his birth would
have been sometime from the 1150s to the 1170s. His father was
Walter (I). This is probably the Walter who witnessed the 1150 x
1167 charter for Merton. His brother was Peter. The grant of Hugh II of c.1129 names his sons as Walter and
Roger; it is possible that Peter had not yet been born. Abirth date of the 1120s would certainly fit Walter.Hugh,
his father, was presumably dead by the time of the Merton charter of 1150 x 1167, as, if alive, he would have
been a witness as well. We could give Hugh a birth date of c.1100, in his late twenties when granting land, with
two small sons and one on the way.

If Hugh II were born in c.1100, he could be the brother of either Robert. Robert I was a canon in 1107. He
would have been at least twenty, as said above, and therefore born not after c.1187. Robert II was a canon by
or during the 1120s: the vita
of Gilbert the Sheriff implies that Robert II joined in or around 1117, and the vita
of Guy of Merton says that Robert II remembered Guy’s devotion: Guy died in 1124.24 Robert II himself died
in 1167. A birth date of the 1090s seems reasonable. This may suggest that Robert II was Hugh II’s brother,
if Hugh II were the ‘lord Hugo’ of the Merton gift. Walter and Peter would, therefore, have been Robert II’s
nephews, witnessing charters for their uncle in the 1150s or 1160s. However, they need not be so closely related:
in 1179, ‘Hugh, priest, and Walter de Tiwa’ witnessed another of Merton’s charters – this time regarding land
apparently not at all connected with the family.25 If the date of 1179 is correct, Robert II was by now dead, and
we are now on to the third Prior Robert (1177-1180), who was no relation at all: therefore, the reason that the de
Tews still witnessed charters for Merton was their connexion as patrons of Merton, not as relatives of the prior.

Hugh the priest is another mystery. He was probably one of the de Tews – his name, after all, was Hugh.
Aristocratic families held advowsons, and until, like the de Tews, they gave them to religious houses, they
were in the habit of presenting members of their families as priests. He may have been a son of the Peter or
the Robert who witnessed the d’Oilly charter of c.1129 along with Hugh; and of course we also know nothing
about the female de Tews: it is inconceivable that Hugh, Robert, Peter and Gilbert did not have sisters. Perhaps
Hugh the priest was another brother of Walter (and Peter). But that is speculation.


Back to Robert, Peter and Gilbert, the ‘sons of Hugh de Tiwa’. A Gilbert and Hugh de Tew were witnesses to
another charter;26 their relationship is not described. It could be that they were brothers. If so, this would make
Hugh and Gilbert, and Robert and Peter all sons of Hugh. But here we get into difficulties.
We have from the
Merton evidence Prior Robert, brother of Hugh de Tew, c.1117. From the Oseney evidence, Gilbert, Robert,
Peter and Hugh, c.1129. From the court case evidence, Goibert and his brother Hugh, temp. Henry I. This
Hugh succeeded Goibert at least to the lands in Leicestershire; it is probable that Goibert was the elder brother
and he died leaving Hugh everything – in which case he cannot be the Gilbert of the Oseney charters, for in
these Hugh was doing a very head-of-the-family thing of giving parts of the patrimony to a religious house.
If this were the case, and Hugh were the Merton Hugh, then Goibert was dead by the time that Hugh gave
Duns Tew to Merton. We do not know when that was, but the Gilbert vita suggests that it was shortly after the
priory’s foundation (chap.12) – sometime between 1114 and c.1120. If this is so, then Goibert must have been
dead by c.1120 at the latest. On the other hand, Goibert could have been a younger brother with cadet lands in
Leicestershire – possible, but improbable. If they were the same generation as Prior Robert, we have another
the Oseney charter Robert cannot be either of our Roberts, for by 1129, Robert I would have been
described as prior and Robert II as subprior, or canon, or dominus at the very least.

What is certain is that we can put Prior Robert in the family of the de Tews. Which Prior Robert and how he fits
precisely into the family tree are less certain. Both Prior Robert I and Prior Robert II could have been Robert
de Tew. So far, no reason for calling Robert I ‘Bayle’ has been found. However, if he were called that, then
Robert de Tew would have to be Robert II. The de Tews kept their connexion to Merton over some generations;
they also patronised Oseney Priory, one of Oxford’s two great Augustinian houses. Duns Tew itself remained
a possession of Merton Priory until the Dissolution. The de Tews died out in name in the 13th century, with
Hugh IV having three daughters: Maud, Emma, and William (sic).27

1. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol2/pp94-102; Lionel Green, A
Priory Revealed
(2005), p.111, hedges his bets by calling the first
prior ‘Robert (Bayle) de Tywe’.
2. For a discussion of Huntingdon, see J C Dickinson, The Origins of the Austin Canons and their Introduction into England (London, 1950), pp.103-4.
3. Canons were in holy orders; custom dictated that the minimum age for holy orders was 25, although 20 seems to have been accepted: J Barrow,
The Clergy in the Medieval World (Cambridge, 2005), pp.40-1.
4. Colker read ‘vinaria’ (vineyards), but Martin Brett (in personal correspondence) suggested that it was, in fact, ‘vivaria'(fishponds).We know that
Merton had fishponds (Miller & Saxby, The Augustinian priory of St Mary Merton, Surrey: excavations 1976-90, pp.114-5); we do not know that
it had vineyards. Given that the previous conversation is about where the mill is to be moved to, fishponds are more likely than vineyards.
5. Guilielmi
Neubrigensis Historia sive Chronica Rerum Anglicarum, ed. T Hearne (Oxford, 1719), vol. iii, p.698 (available on archive.org). The
cartulary of Holy Trinity, Aldgate: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol7/pp223-235
6. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge MS. 059 has been digitised: https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/catalog/xj416ct0118
7. Thanks to the wonders of digitisation, you can see this whole MS at https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/catalog/canvas-4009099c9b67c4b7995764
8. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.184730/page/n171
9. https://archive.org/details/annalesmonastic01unkngoog/page/n109
10. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-environs/vol1/pp338-349

11. See, for example, the 1846 edition, https://archive.org/details/b30455832_0006/page/244;
Dugdale, https://archive.org/details/monasticonanglic01dugd_0/page/138;
Stowe, https://archive.org/details/annalsofenglandt00stow/page/n221
12. We pin our faith on Bishop White Kennett’s Collections.
13. Marvin L Colker, ‘The Life of Guy of Merton by Rainald of Merton’, Medieval Studies, 31 (1969), p. 257
14. The Records of Merton Priory (London, 1898), p.17: https://archive.org/details/recordsofmertonp00heal/page/16
15. Curia regis rolls, vol. vi, pp.249, 335 and vii, pp.70, 274
16. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol9/pp5-44; ed. J. Green, http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/cdonahue/courses/lhsemelh/materials/
PipeRoll31H1_PRS78.pdf, p.5; original at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/cdonahue/courses/lhsemelh/materials/Pipe%20Roll%201130_images.
17. Curia regis rolls, vi, pp.249, 335
18. K S B Keats-Rohan and David E Thornton, Domesday Names : An Index of Latin Personal and Place Names in Domesday Book (Woodbridge,
1997), p.98; K S B Keats-Rohan, Domesday People
: A
Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066-1166 (Woodbridge,
1999), p.224
19. Curia regis rolls, i, p.170; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol9/pp5-44
20. K S B Keats-Rohan, Domesday Descendants
: A
Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166 (Woodbridge, 2002),
p.736; H E Salter, Cartulary of Oseney Abbey i (Oxford, 1929), no.12
21. See, for example, Salter, nos.9, 290. Also, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol2/pp90-93; https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/
22. Keats-Rohan, Descendants, p.736. For Oseney more generally, see Dave Postles, Osney Abbey Studies (Leicester, 2008) , chapter 1.
23. G Pollard, ‘The Medieval Town Clerks of Oxford’, Oxoniensa XXXI 1966, p.45; I. J. Sanders, English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and
Descent 1086-1327 (Oxford, 1960), p.81
24. See the forthcoming translation of The Life of Guy of Merton by MHS.
25. https://archive.org/details/recordsofmertonp00heal/page/34
26. See fn.21
27. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol11/pp209-222


Workshop 24 January 2020 – Six present. Keith Penny in the Chair

♦ Keith Penny has examined a planning application for the development of the large Benedict Wharf waste site
in Mitcham. It is to be re-purposed to dense housing with some tower blocks, and a school. He had located
maps of 1894 and 1910, and a Google Earth photograph, to compare with the proposals. They retained the
site boundaries, internal ones, such as the Baron Walk footpath, as well as external ones. The site had been
full of gravel pits, with later railway sidings and lakes. In view of the proximity of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery,
Keith wondered if there is archaeological potential in the north of the site.
Keith suggested that a study of the Wandle tributaries might form a useful project.

David Haunton wondered about the function of a small electromechanical
device found in a member’s loft, with a tag bearing an
amateurish painted inscription ‘EJECTER (sic) seat / DANGER’ (right).
Our nearest aviation firm was Reid & Sigrist in New Malden, with
Hawker’s further away in Kingston, but the RAF museum at Colindale
had not yet responded to Dave’s enquiry. Acoaxial cable attachment
point was noted; it was suggested the device might be part of a Decca
Navigator or of a flight simulator. Any other offers?

♦ Madeline Healey brought some photos: of open fields looking
across where the pre-fabs were to the Surrey Arms, and the gates to
Morden Hall taken from Morden Hall Road. She also brought a share
certificate in the Wandsworth and District Gas Company, and a booklet
celebrating the company’s centenary 1834-1934.
This celebrates the company collier SS Ratcliff
(right), which became the ‘first steamer to
navigate the Thames bridges to Wandsworth’,
and the action of another collier, the SS Wandle,
which was shot at by a German submarine in
spring 1916, with both gun and torpedo. Though
damaged, the Wandle returnedfirefromher’gun
on a swivel astern’ while maintaining a zig-zag
course, and after half an hour fighting beat off
the attack.

♦ David Luff mentioned that the Chapter House is still suffering water and sewage problems and delays, and
that it is likely the projected Grand Opening will now delayed until April 2021.

♦ Peter Hopkins and Rosemary Turner discussed the ‘treasure map’ that had been handed to MOLA
archaeologists during excavations at the Priory in 1987 or 1988 (see Bulletin 147). This possible hoax was
in the form of a modern tracing (not the original) of a map of the ruins of Merton Abbey, drawn by a Dr
Shockwell between 1653 and 1727, apparently after 1697. This reproduced some known features of the
Priory, while also containing other, unknown, ones, and references to contemporary residents, some known,
but no documentary trace of Mr Stock(s) or Mr Betty has been found. Peter had tried very hard to reconcile
the unknown features with reality as revealed by subsequent digging, but could only do so by concentrating
on some, while discounting others. Or by looking at the others and discounting the some. I am afraid all
Peter’s efforts and ingenuity entirely failed to convince your scribe of the accuracy or honesty of the ‘map’.
David Haunton
Provisional dates of next Workshops: Fridays 3 July, 14 August and 2 October

2.30pm at Wandle Industrial Museum. All are welcome.


The six volumes of London Churches: An Architectural and Social History by John Blythe Smart (2019, 2nd

edition, Blythe Smart Publications, Freshwater, Isle of Wight) are now live on Kindle.
They cover the City, NE London, NW London, South London, Suburbs North and Suburbs South (which
discusses Wimbledon, Sutton and Croydon, among others). Some 1,400 churches are detailed, with over 1,000

pictures, and these cover every important edifice within Greater London. Parish maps are included. ‘The books

would provide a valuable tool for the genealogist and local historian.’


To mark the recent 75th anniversary, we reprint

ALBERT A J SMITH’s memories of VE Day

from MHS Local History Note no.36:

Growing Up on the St Helier Estate 1930-1950, School, Wartime and First Jobs

[At the time, Albert, aged 17, was working as a salesperson at Hope Brothers, an old-fashioned ‘Gentlemen’s

Outfitters and Shirt Manufacturers’ of Ludgate Hill in the City.]

The war in Europe ended when 8 May 1945 was declared a national holiday, except for the employees in public
transport, who kept the buses and trains running all day. The memory of the actual day is something to treasure,

totally incapable of reproduction or even of adequate description. In the morning of VE Day I still went to

the City, but by bike. I leaned my bike against the railings outside St Paul’s and attended the public service
of thanks-giving inside. After cycling home I teamed up with Stan Fiveash for the rest of the day and night,
and we went back into London and just wandered about. By the evening we were part of the crowd outside

Buckingham Palace, shouting our heads off, even if not knowing why. There were several appearances of the
Royal family and Churchill on the floodlit balcony, each to an ear-splitting roar. The atmosphere was almost

unreal, everyone with a permanent smile on their face, crowds everywhere, the streets a teeming, friendly
mass with spontaneous serpents of people, nearly always led by an American in uniform, weaving everywhere,
performing some silly routine and chanting. It was infectiously good-natured. As I walked back home from

Morden tube station through the estate late at night, every street had the remains of a bonfire burning in the

centre of the road, with folk standing about radiating happiness and friendship. Although VJ Day, 15 August,

when the war in the Pacific ended, was another public holiday and people took to the streets and tried to relive

VE Day, it was not the same; there cannot be two such days in one lifetime.

In Bulletin 210, MIKE POLLOCK recalled from Mitcham:

On VE day celebrations started with street parties. Our house, 13 Island Road, being half-way along the road,

was where all the main events happened. We children went to Wakefield Hall in Taylor Road where there were

tables for us to sit and have a meal. I was 5½ years old at this time.
My father had built a large ‘V’ sign which was painted red, white and blue, with coloured lights, hung up outside
our house, just visible in the photo of residents of Island Road….. My father supplied the music for dancing that

evening. Alarge bonfire was built in the middle of the road, which left the top of the concrete slightly pitted
for several years! Then we had fireworks later in the evening.

From, inter alia, an obituary in The Times, 24 February 2020:
Richard Lines (right, late in life) was the last survivor of Lines Brothers,

which from 1919 made Tri-ang trucks, Rovex and Hornby trains,
Scalextric racing cars, Meccano kits, Dinky Toys and Sindy dolls.
Like many British businesses, Lines struggled to live with US competition

in the 1950s and 1960s. Richard, son of Arthur, one of the three original

Lines brothers, bore the brunt of the family’s frenetic efforts to keep
up. Aged 19, in February 1948 he flew with the firm’s head salesman

on a tour of the Mediterranean and Middle East to revive pre-war toy
contracts, returning on 1 May. The next year he sailed to North America
for another two months. He was then put in charge of Tri-ang Railways,
which produced trains, track and railway accessories 1950-1965. In the

1950s the firm bought another train maker, Rovex, which was added to

Richard’s portfolio.
By 1961 Richard also had the uncommon job title ‘head of dolls’ at Hamley’s, to develop a rival to the American
Barbie doll. He walked down Regent Street asking girls to suggest a name, and the winner was Sindy. The next
year he moved back to run the main factory in Merton, Surrey, but kept travelling to Australia, New Zealand,
Russia and Japan, as well as the yearly Nuremberg Toy Fair. Lines Brothers went into receivership in 1971,
defeated by the constant US pressure. Richard had tuberculosis diagnosed in 1970, and stepped down from the

board. He retired in 1994, and, always an approachable figure, advised on and contributed to several collector’s

books and magazines about Lines Brothers products. He also appeared in a television programme, discussing
the design of the wartime Sten gun.




We published Norma Cox’s photograph of a still extant stall riser for a Victorian shop on the cover of the March
Bulletin. That one was for the butcher’s shop at 258 Haydon’s Road, built c.1890. It occurred to me that I
regularly see another, at 6 Merton Park Parade (1907, below)), which was also originally a butcher’s shop, now
a bakery. I wonder how many of these colourful advertisements still survive in our area. If there are a number,
they would make for an interesting article.

Could I appeal to members to send me photographs of any other stall risers they find? An approximate date

of construction of the building would be helpful, but we can look that up later, ‘after lockdown’. If you know
of an ornamented riser which used to exist but is no more, its precise address would be useful, as we can hunt
through old photographs. Notes and photos will reach me by snail mail at the address on p.16 or (preferably)
at editor@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk


The Tree Warden Group Merton


org.uk) have been doing
some woodland management
throughout the winter in
Ravensbury Park (with LBM
approval). While doing some
essential tree clearing, they
uncovered a corner of the
foundations of Ravensbury

Manor, with this plaque. (The

foundations were previously left
covered because of the amount
of vandalism experienced in the
past.) Does anyone know who

made the plaque and placed it


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website: www.mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk email: mhs@mertonhistoricalsociety.org.uk

Printed by Peter Hopkins