The Environs of London: Volume 1, County of Surrey. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1792.
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The name of this place was written Mældune by the Saxons, being compounded of two words mæl, a cross, and dune, a hill. In the Conqueror's Survey it is spelt Meldone; in subsequent records it is written Meaudon, Maldon, and Malden.
Malden lies in the hundred of Kingston, in a very retired situation between that town and Cheam. It is nearly 12 miles from Hyde-park-corner. The parish is bounded by those of Cheam, Cudington, Mordon, Wimbledon, Kingston, Epsom, and LongDitton. The land is principally arable, and the soil a stiff clay. The parish is assessed the sum of 167l. 18s. 0d. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of 3s. 10d. in the pound.
The manor, in the Consessor's time, belonged to Erding; at the Conquest was held by the Watevilles, of Richard de Tonbridge; one ploughland was held by William Wateville of the abbey of Chertsey. In the 13th century it belonged to Walter de Merton (fn. 1), Lord Chancellor of England, who settled it upon the college which he founded at Oxford (fn. 2).
It appears to be a mistaken idea that Merton College was first established at Malden, (as a seminary of education at least,) and afterwards removed; the error seems to have arisen from a misconception of the words "domus scholarium apud Meaudon," in the founder's charter. By attentively considering the preamble of the charter, and a deed recorded in the register of Merton Abbey (fn. 3), it will be evident that it never was intended for the residence of the scholars. The founder says, "I give my manors of Meaudon and "Farleigh to the house of the scholars which I have established in my said manor of Meaudon; namely, for the support of twenty scholars residing in the schools at Oxford or elsewhere (fn. 4)." In the deed abovementioned, signed by Gilbert, Prior of Merton, the convent quits claim to the house at Malden, and grants the advowson of the church for the perpetual support of scholars in scholis degentium; and of a warden and priests in ipso domo commorantibus. It appears therefore, that the original intention of the founder was, to establish a religious house at Malden, consisting of a warden and priests, who were to manage the revenues of certain estates which he gave for that purpose, and apply them to the maintenance and education of twenty scholars at either of the universities. Afterwards, upon the establishment of Merton College, the warden and priests were removed to Oxford.
In the year 1578 the members of the college were induced to alienate this manor to Queen Elizabeth, upon a lease of 5,000 years (fn. 5). Her majesty wanted it for the Earl of Arundel, of whom she wished to purchase Nonsuch-house and park; and she immediately ceded to him her estate in it. Upon Lord Arundel's death, which happened soon afterwards, it passed to Lord Lumley, who married his daughter. About the year 1583 it was alienated to the family of Goode. In the year 1621, the members of the college, taking into consideration the illegal act which had been done by their predecessors in alienating this estate, came to a resolution to dispute the validity of the lease as contrary to the restraining act of Queen Elizabeth. The cause was some years in Chancery, and at last the parties came to the following compromise; that the advowson of the church should be immediately ceded to the college, but that the present possessors and their heirs should enjoy the benefits of the lease of the manor for fourscore years from that time. Under this agreement the family of Goode continued to hold the manor till the year 1707, when the lease expired; and the estate was surrendered to the College by Dame Penelope, widow of Sir Thomas Morley, and heir of —Goode, Esq. The college then leased it to Richard Willis, afterwards Bishop of Winchester; and it is still held by his descendants.
The whole of the manor is valued in the Conqueror's Survey at 7l. 12s. 0d. In 1291 the Prior of Merton had an estate in Malden which was taxed at 12 s. (fn. 6)
A part of Worcester Park, which was formerly called Nonsuch Great-park, is in the parish of Malden. In 1650 a survey of it was taken by order of parliament, when the park, with a messuage called Worcester-house, was valued at 550l. per annum, and was bought by Col. Pride at six years purchase (fn. 7). It was granted by Charles II. to Sir Robert Long, upon a lease of 99 years (fn. 8), but was afterwards included in the grant to the Duchess of Cleveland, and was alienated by the late Duke of Grafton to Sir George Walter (fn. 9). A considerable part of it is now the property of William Taylor, Esq. who has a franchise of free warren in the park.
In 1649 sixteen soldiers, being tried for stealing deer in Worcesterpark, were sentenced to the singular punishment of riding the wooden horse for an hour in Palace-yard, Westminster, with muskets tied to their heels; wearing the skin of a deer on their backs, and the following inscriptions on their breasts:—"For stealing and endea"vouring by force to steal deer (fn. 10)."
About a mile from Malden is a hamlet called Talworth, in the parish of Long Ditton. The manor, which is described in all the ancient records as being in this parish, was granted by Edward II. to Edmund of Woodstock; by Edward III. to Edmund Earl of Kent; and from him descended to Henry Earl of Westmorland (fn. 11), who alienated it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is now the property of the Polhills.
The church, which is dedicated to St. John, consists of a nave and chancel, which are separated by a wooden screen. At the west end is a square tower; the north side of the church is entirely overgrown with ivy. In the east window are the arms of Ravis, Bishop of London (fn. 12), who was born at Malden (fn. 13), and contributed to the rebuilding of the church. In the same window are the arms of Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester (fn. 14). Two other coats are in the south window of the chancel, and a north window of the nave (fn. 15). The grant of a brief for collecting money to rebuild Malden church bears date 1585 (fn. 16); but it does not appear that the work was undertaken before the year 1610 (fn. 17). The nave and the tower were then entirely rebuilt with brick; the chancel was only repaired, and still retains its old walls of flint and stone.
In the church are the tombs of John Goode, Esq. who died in 1627; Sir Thomas Morley, who died in 1692; Jane, wife of Sebastian Bruskett, Esq. who died in 1613; Mr. John Hamnet, who died in 1643; Charles Moseley, the late vicar, who died in 1760; and Mr. Francis Bowry, who died in 1772. In the churchyard are the tombs of Catherine Lady Walter, wife of Sir George Walter, of Worcester-park, Bart. and daughter of Sir William Boughton, Bart. of Lawford in the county of Warwick, who died 1733; and Thomas Whately, Esq. of Nonsuch-park, who died in 1765.
The church of Malden is in the diocese of Winchester, and in the deanery of Ewell. The benesice is a vicarage. The advowson was granted to Merton Abbey at an early period by Eudonius de Meldon (fn. 18); and was by that convent given to Merton College (fn. 19). The vicarage was amply endowed in the year 1279 (fn. 20). Since the college has been re-possessed of the advowson as mentioned above, an advantageous lease of such tithes as are not included in that endowment has constantly been granted to the incumbent. The church of Malden was taxed in 1291 at 12 marks (fn. 21). The vicarage is valued in the King's books at 8l. 0s. 5d. per annum. The neighbouring chapel of Chesington is annexed to it. In 1650, the commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of ecclesiastical benefices made it a distinct parish (fn. 22), in which state it continued till the restoration.
By the answer of Mr. Stephens, the vicar, to some queries of the Bishop of Winchester in 1725, (which is inserted in the Register,) it appears that the average of births was then 6, that of burials 4; and the number of inhabitants 110. The present number of houses is 22.