The parish of Morden is one of the smallest of the
ancient Surrey parishes, containing only 1,475 acres,
of which 255½ acres are arable land, 632¾ permanent
grass, and 33 woods. (fn. 1) It is one of the few examples
of the situation of the village and entire parish on
the London Clay. On the north it is bounded by
Merton, the line passing through fields; on the
south-east it is bounded by the Brighton road from
Sutton to Mitcham which separates it from Carshalton
(although some yards before the cross-roads near
Rose Hill House the boundary goes up into the
fields again); the Ewell and Merton road separates
it from Sutton and boundaries across the fields from
Cheam and Malden on the west, while the River
Wandle separates it from Mitcham. The parish,
which is still quite rural, includes the greater part of
Ravensbury Park, which is now being cut up for
villas. There is also a large park called Morden Park
and a small wood called Chesny Wood. Morden
Park was inclosed by Mr. Ewart in the 18th century.
The house, which was also built by him, is now the
seat of Mr. John Wormald. Morden Common was
on the western border of the parish. The high road
from Clapham to Ewell, Epsom and Letherhead passes
through Morden at a point 9 miles from London.
A by-road branches off to the north-east in the
direction of the adjoining village of Mitcham; on
reaching the western border of the grounds of Morden
Hall a cross-road from Mitcham again connects with
the main road, a triangle being thus formed with its
apex towards the west, where the church and the
main portion of the village are situated.
Mrs. Gladstone's free convalescent home is situated
in the parish. The school, built in 1731 and enlarged in 1872, was endowed by Mrs. Elizabeth
Gardiner, whilst the land was given by Mrs. Elizabeth
Garth (see Charities). An infants' school was built in
1889. The Sunday school was started by subscription
The railway line in course of construction from
Wimbledon to Sutton passes through the parish.
The first mention of MORDEN is in
968, (fn. 2) when Edgar confirmed previous
gifts of lands to Westminster Abbey,
including Morden. Edward the Confessor also confirmed 10 mansae to the abbey. At the time of the
Domesday Survey the manor belonged to St. Peter,
Westminster. In the time of King Edward it was
rated at 12 hides and in 1086 at 3 hides. (fn. 3) In
1234 (fn. 4) the Abbot of Westminster granted to Matilda
the daughter of Baldric 1 virgate of land in Morden
at a rent of 4s. a year. (fn. 5)
At the Dissolution the £10 rent of assize proceeding from Morden was appropriated to the office of the
extrinsic treasurer of the monastery. (fn. 6)
The manor was sold to Lionel Duckett and
Edward Whitchurch, (fn. 7) but the next year licence was
given them to sell to Richard
Garth. (fn. 8) In his family the
manor, rectory and advowson
remained until 1872. (fn. 9) Richard
Garth, who died in 1787, left
three daughters, and the manor
was entailed to each for life
and to the second son of each
in turn. The eldest, Mrs.
Meyrick, (fn. 10) had no sons; the
second, Mrs. Lowndes Stone,
had two; the third, Lady
Frederick, had several sons.
About 1872 Sir Richard
Garth, (fn. 11) grandson of Mrs.
Lowndes Stone, formerly Chief Justice of Bengal and
M.P. for Guildford, sold the manor to Gilliat Hatfeild, (fn. 12) the father of the present owner, Mr. Gilliat
Hatfeild. Morden Hall, which seems to be on the
site of the old manor-house, was occupied as a school
about 1840. (fn. 13) Mr. Gilliat Hatfeild, lord of the
manor, now resides there. The house has some
good wrought-iron entrance gates.
Garth. Or two lions passant between three crosslets fitchy sable.
In 1544 Henry VIII granted a mansion and farm
called SPITTELL, stated to have belonged to
Merton Priory, to Sir William Forman, Sir William
Roche, Sir John Coote and William Fernley (fn. 14) ;
in 1602 the same was granted to John Roche (for
whom see Cheam) and Thomas Roche and the heirs
of Thomas. (fn. 15)
In 1562 Laurence Stryfe and Thomas Reve were
granted a mansion and farm called HOBBALDES,
lately belonging to the House of Jesus of Bethlehem,
by grant of Philip and Mary, and formerly parcel of
the monastery of Merton. (fn. 16)
The church of ST. LAWRENCE
consists of a continuous chancel and
nave, a vestry at the north side of the
chancel, a south porch and a west tower. (fn. 17)
The church was entirely rebuilt in the year 1636
in a pleasant Gothic style, largely through the
liberality of Richard Garth, who died in the year
1639, and is buried in the chancel. A general
collection was also ordered to be made in the year
1635, towards the cost of rebuilding the church, in
many of the southern counties and in the cities of
London and Westminster. The gallery at the west
end was erected in the year 1792, the vestry in the
year 1805 and the south porch within comparatively
recent years. The church is built of red brick with
stone quoins and dressings and tiled roofs.
The east window of the chancel is of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery of a somewhat
eclectic character within a two-centred head. In the
north wall of the chancel and nave are five windows,
the easternmost now altered to form a doorway to
the vestry. These are of two acutely pointed cinquefoiled lights within a two-centred head with a pierced
and foliated spandrel. In the south wall are three
similar windows, with doorways at the east and west
end. All the windows have external labels.
The tower is of three receding stages, with an
embattled parapet; the window mullions and dressings
are of stucco. The tower arch is plain and twocentred. In the south wall of the ground stage is a
square-headed doorway, and in the west wall a squareheaded window of three trefoiled lights. The bellchamber is lighted on all four sides by square-headed
windows of two trefoiled lights. The ringing
chamber is lighted by single trefoiled lights on the
north and south.
Morden Church from the South-east
Externally the walls of the nave and chancel are
crowned by a plastered frieze with a small moulded
brick astragal and fillet by way of architrave, the
cornice being formed by the projecting eaves of the
roof. The east and west gables have moulded stone
The roof is finished with a plaster barrel vault, the
tie-beams and king posts being exposed. The tiebeam against the east wall of the chancel is cut away
to clear the window and joined by arched timber
with a carved pendant at the apex. The two south
doorways of the nave retain their original panelled
doors and ironwork.
In the east window of the chancel is some
17th-century glass. In the two side lights are figures
of Moses and Aaron surmounted by canopies of mixed
Gothic and Renaissance design, supported by Corinthian columns. The ground upon which the figures
stand is paved with alternate squares of green and
yellow, and the background to each is formed by a
window of three round-headed trefoiled lights.
Below the figures are square panels containing appropriate scriptural texts. The two centre lights are
inscribed with the Commandments upon a yellow
Below this, and occupying the lower part of both
lights, is a design of uncertain subject, which has
been variously taken to represent Zacharias coming to
the High Priest, the Pharisee and the Publican, and
St. Paul and the Gaoler. The dexter figure wears a
brown vestment, while the sinister figure has a robe
of blue. The head has disappeared and been replaced
by a helm, evidently taken out of a piece of heraldic
glass somewhat earlier in date. The walls of the
apartment in which the figures are placed are of
masonry, and there is a bay window in the centre.
The pavement is of green and yellow squares. The
upper portion of the lights containing the Commandments was renewed in 1828, but is said to have been
exactly copied from the originals. The lead-lines
follow the contours of the design. The cherub heads
lights were pained at the same date, but form no
part of the original design.
The altar-table, which is of somewhat unusual
type, and the rails are of 18th-century date. The
pulpit, a 'razéed' three-decker, bears the date 1720
and the initials of the donor, Elizabeth Gardiner, who
also gave the altar-cloth, which is of crimson velvet
with a border of gold braid. The font is modern.
In the chancel floor is a ledger slab to Richard
Garth, who died in the year 1639. On the slab
is a shield of his arms with the crest of a goat.
Below the main part of the inscription is inscribed
Ecclesie Amicus, in reference to his services to Morden
Church in contributing largely to its rebuilding,
and restoring the great tithes of which it had
been deprived. In the floor at the east end of
the nave is a slab with brasses to Thomas Hicks,
merchant, of London, and his wife Ellen, who
died in the years 1634 and 1667 respectively;
William Booth (called primus rector hujus Ecclesiae, in
reference to the restoration of the great tithes), who
died in the year 1670, and Edward Booth, his son,
a succeeding rector, who died in the year 1682. In
the floor of the nave, a little distance to the westward,
is a small brass, now partly covered by the pewing, to
Anne the infant daughter of the above-named
Thomas and Ellen Hicks, who died in the year 1623.
In the nave floor are also slabs to Dorothy the wife
of Richard Garth, who died in the year 1628;
Mrs. Jane Garth, the daughter of Sir Humphrey
Bennett, kt., the widow of George Garth, who died
in the year 1699; and to William Burrell, rector,
who died in the year 1704. There is also a slab,
partly covered by the pewing, to the husband of
Frances the daughter of George Garth, Zachary
Highlord (the Christian name is now illegible), who
died in the year 1653.
On the north wall of the chancel is a mural
monument to Mrs. Anne Garth, the wife of George
Garth and daughter of the Hon. St. John Carlton of
Holcombe in the county of Oxford, who died in the
year 1655. Hung on the walls is a fine series of
hatchments of the Hoare and Garth families.
There are three bells: the treble is inscribed
'R. Phelps 1717'; the second, 'R. Garth 1604'
by WS or SW; the third, 'Gloria Deo in Excelsis
1637' by Bryan Eldridge.
The communion plate consists of a silver-gilt cup
of 1633, inscribed 'St. Lawrence Church at Morton
Surry Anno Do[min]i 1633,' a silver-gilt paten of the
same date, two silver flagons of 1699 inscribed
'St. Laurence Church Mordon in Surry. Anno
Do[mini] : 1700,' a silver paten, with foot, of 1711,
inscribed 'Parish of Mordon, Surrey . 1843,' and a
silver cup of 1841. There is also a pewter plate,
and a modern alms-dish, recently presented, set with
The registers previous to 1812 are contained in
four volumes: (i) baptisms from 1634 to 1809,
burials 1634 to 1809, marriages 1634 to 1751
(the entries in the early 18th century are somewhat fragmentary); (ii) marriages 1754 to 1789;
(iii) marriages 1790 to 1812; (iv) baptisms 1809
to 1812, burials 1809 to 1812.
The advowson of the church
belonged with the manor to the
Abbot and convent of Westminster.
In 1283 the abbey attempted the appropriation of
the church, but did not complete it until 1300. (fn. 18)
This was effected without licence from the king, for
which a pardon was granted by Edward II in 1319. (fn. 19)
A vicarage was ordained in 1331. (fn. 20) After the Dissolution the advowson and rectory were granted with
the manor to Whitchurch and Duckett. Richard
Garth in 1631 endowed the vicarage with the great
tithes, from which time the living has been a
rectory. (fn. 21) The advowson descended with the manor
until the sale of the latter by Sir Richard Garth
about 1872. It was then acquired by the Rev. Preston
Kensall Winlaw, the father of the present rector. (fn. 22)
There is an inscription in the
church recording the following
1625. Henry Smith, as in other Surrey parishes.
1718. Mrs. Elizabeth Gardiner, daughter of
George Garth by his second wife Jane daughter of
Sir Humphrey Bennett, £300 for building and
endowing a free school in her native place, besides
gifts to the church (see monument in church).
1731. Mrs. Elizabeth Garth, lady of the manor,
land for the building of the school.
1776. Mrs. Elizabeth Garth, the same as above,
by will, £100 towards the master's salary.
1787. Mrs. Mary Garth, £100, the interest
among six poor housekeepers at Christmas.
1795. £300 in addition to the Gardiner bequest,
apparently increase of the original gift by sale of
1810. Mrs. Mary Bates, £7 10s. per annum for
1822. Mr. John Francis Fuller, the interest of
£125 in meat and peas for the poor.
1825. Mr. Owen Pretland Meyrick, the interest
of £118 for the same purpose.
1826. Mr. Edward Polhill, £1,000 for the
1827. Mrs. Clara Meyrick, lady of the manor,
£228 for blankets at Christmas.