Morden Manorial Leases

WAM Register Book 2 fo.212, (c) The Dean & Chapter of Westminster

From 1359 the abbey’s demesne at Morden was leased to tenant ‘farmers’. Unfortunately the early manorial leases have not survived, but the abbey’s Registers or Lease-Books, dating from 1485, contain copies of the last three leases of the demesne at Morden. The final lease of 1511 included the rectorial tithes of the parish, and the right to hold manorial courts, in addition to the lease of the demesne lands of the manor. It was for 60 years, and was subsequently assigned to other lessees. Surrey History Centre has two assignments of this lease, as well as sub-leases of the tithe corn.

Henry VIII declared himself Head of the English Church, and closed down the monasteries. Although Westminster Abbey was used for Coronations, it was surrendered to the Crown in January 1540.

A Rental of the demesne from 1547-50 survives at The National Archives.

The manor of Morden remained Crown property until 30 June 1553, when Edward VI sold it to Edward Whitchurch, a London haberdasher, and Lionel Ducket, a mercer, together with property in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire, for £699 18s 1d.

As the manor was still at lease, Whitchurch rebuilt a copyhold property called Growtes, while Ducket occupied a Ravensbury copyhold.

Edward VI died a week after the sale, to be succeeded by Mary, an ardent Roman Catholic.

Whitchurch was a prominent Protestant, and had been involved in the printing of Miles Coverdale’s ‘Great Bible’. He was also the official printer of both Prayer Books of Edward VI. On Mary’s accession he went into hiding, selling the Morden estate to Richard Garth on 7 March 1554. The bargain and sale, which includes a room by room inventory of furniture and fittings of Growtes, survives at Surrey History Centre, and we are grateful to them for allowing us to reproduce images and transcripts of these documents on the page relating to Tudor Morden.

Click on the links below to download the transcripts without images.

Or click on the thumbnails below to download the transcripts with images.

The translations are by Peter Hopkins and have been checked and corrected by Dr Mark Page.