A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Mersea, East (St. Edmund)
MERSEA, EAST (St. Edmund), a parish, in the union of Lexden and Winstree, hundred of Winstree, N. division of Essex, 9 miles (S. S. E.) from Colchester; containing 331 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1844 acres, whereof 72 are common or waste; it occupies the eastern portion of the Isle of Mersea, and is bounded on the north by Pyefleet channel, and on the east and south by the Colne, near its confluence with the Blackwater. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £21, and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £427, and the glebe comprises 20 acres. The church has a square stone tower, which formerly served as a landmark. A national school is partly supported by a bequest of £200.
Mersea, West (St. Peter and St. Paul)
MERSEA, WEST (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Lexden and Winstree, hundred of Winstree, N. division of Essex, 9 miles (S.) from Colchester; containing 917 inhabitants. The parish comprises the greater portion of the Isle of Mersea, which is about five miles in length and two in average breadth; and is connected with the main land on the west by a causeway named the Strode, for the maintenance of which an estate of 46 acres, producing £70 per annum, is appropriated. The surface is diversified with hill and dale, and richly wooded. From various remains, Mersea appears to have been occupied by the Romans, and to have been the residence of the Count of the Saxon Shore, or some other Roman officer of distinction. During the Danish invasions of Britain the isle was a frequent landing-place, and in their retreat here the invaders were besieged by Alfred the Great. In 1730, when some alterations were made at West Mersea Hall, a very fine tessellated pavement was discovered, 21½ feet long, and 18½ broad. The trade in oysters was formerly extensive, but it has greatly diminished, being limited at present to the supply of a few Dutch vessels. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £22; patron and impropriator, Thomas May, Esq.: the great tithes have been commuted for £500, and the vicarial for £230. The church, situated at the extremity of the isle, is a small ancient edifice. There is a place of worship for Independents; and a school is endowed with the interest of £200. The parish contained a Benedictine convent, dedicated to St. Peter, which was a cell to the abbey of St. Audoen, at Rouen, in Normandy.
Mersham (St. John the Baptist)
MERSHAM (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of East Ashford, hundred of Chart and Longbridge, lathe of Shepway, E. division of Kent, 3¾ miles (S. E.) from Ashford; containing 751 inhabitants. The parish comprises by measurement 2417 acres, of which 1276 are pasture, 908 arable, 190 woodland, and about 28 in hop plantations. The South-Eastern railway passes through the western portion. A fair for pedlery and toys is held on the Friday in Whitsunweek. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £26. 16. 10½., and in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury: the tithes have been commuted for £630. 10. 6.; there is a glebe-house, and the glebe comprises 40 acres. Over the west door of the church tower, which stands on the south side of the nave, is a very curious window, in the later English style. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Merstham (St. Catherine)
MERSTHAM (St. Catherine), a parish, in the union, and Second division of the hundred, of Reigate, E. division of Surrey, 3½ miles (N. E.) from Reigate; containing 1130 inhabitants. It comprises 2535a. 1r. 18p., of which 1585 acres are arable, 597 meadow and pasture, 235 woodland, and the remainder gardenground and common. The Reigate stone, called also fire-stone, is found here, under beds of chalk and chalk marl; a considerable quantity of it was used in the erection of old Windsor Castle and Henry the Seventh's chapel. The Brighton railway intersects the parish. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury, valued in the king's books at £22. 1. 8.: the tithes have been commuted for £574, and the glebe comprises 26 acres. The church, standing on a knoll, was erected about the time of Henry VI., and is principally in the later English style; the tower is in the early style, and surmounted by a wooden spire.
Merston (St. Giles)
MERSTON (St. Giles), a parish, in the union of North Aylesford, hundred of Shamwell, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 4¼ miles (E. S. E.) from Gravesend. This place is parochial in its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but in other respects is part of Shorne. It is a sinecure rectory, in the patronage of the Crown, valued in the king's books at £2. 13. 4; net income, £69. The church is in ruins, and its site is included in a plantation of about five acres, called Chapel-wood. There are some traces of ancient fortifications.
MERSTON, a parish, in the union of West Hampnett, hundred of Box and Stockbridge, rape of Chichester, W. division of Sussex, 3 miles (S. E.) from the city of Chichester; containing 104 inhabitants. The Arundel and Portsmouth canal passes through the parish. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 4. 7., and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £260, and the glebe contains 7½ acres. The church is partly in the early and partly in the decorated English style.
Merther (St. Merther)
MERTHER (St. Merther), a parish, in the union of Truro, W. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall, 5 miles (W.) from Tregoney; containing 408 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on St. Clement's Creek, an inlet of the river Mopus, is distinguished for the treaty concluded at Tresilian Bridge, between Sir Ralph Hopton, on the part of the royalists, and Sir Thomas Fairfax, on that of the parliamentarians, in 1646, by which Cornwall was surrendered to the latter. Abundance of excellent stone for building is quarried. The creek is navigable for barges up to Tresilian Bridge; and the two great roads from London to Falmouth viâ Launceston and viâ Plymouth, skirt the parish. The living is a perpetual curacy, formerly annexed to the vicarage of Probus, from which it was separated in 1532; net income, £57; patrons, the Parishioners; appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church, Oxford, whose tithes have been commuted for £250. The church is an ancient structure. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. William Hals, author of the Parochial History of Cornwall, resided at Tresawson, in the parish.
Merton (All Saints)
MERTON (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Torrington, hundred of Shebbear, Black Torrington and Shebbear, and N. divisions of Devon, 5¾ miles (N. by W.) from Hatherleigh; containing 763 inhabitants. The parish comprises 3536 acres, of which 335 are common or waste: pipe-clay and potters'-clay are found on the moors. Potheridge House, the birthplace, and for some time the residence, of the celebrated General Monk, who rebuilt it, was a noble structure, with a chapel attached, and some magnificent stables which yet remain; the mansion is now a farmhouse. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20. 15. 7½., and in the gift of Lord Clinton: the tithes have been commuted for £365, and the glebe comprises 66 acres.
Merton (St. Peter)
MERTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union and hundred of Wayland, W. division of Norfolk, 2¼ miles (S. S. W.) from Watton; containing 164 inhabitants. It comprises 1361a. 1r. 20p., of which 738 acres are arable, 491 pasture, and 86 woodland. The Hall, the seat of Lord Walsingham, is a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, containing many stately apartments, some of which are hung with ancient tapestry in good preservation; the park is richly wooded, and much of the timber is of luxuriant growth. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6. 0. 5.; patron, Lord Walsingham: the tithes have been commuted for £201. 14., and the glebe consists of 25 acres. The church, situated in the park, is an ancient structure with a round tower; the chancel contains several monuments and brasses to the family of De Grey, and in the south window are effigies of St. Edmund, and of Robert Clifton, in stained glass.
Merton, or Martin (St. Swithin)
MERTON, or Martin (St. Swithin), a parish, in the union of Bicester, hundred of Bullingdon, county of Oxford, 4 miles (S. by W.) from Bicester; containing 230 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £110; patrons and impropriators, the Rector and Fellows of Exeter College, Oxford: the tithes were commuted for land in 1763. The church is an ancient edifice, with a tower formerly surmounted by a lofty spire, which was taken down in 1796. Near it is the manor-house, erected in the reign of Elizabeth, and now occupied as a farmhouse. A branch of a Roman road runs through the parish.
Merton (St. Mary)
MERTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Croydon, W. division of the hundred of Brixton, E. division of Surrey, 9 miles (S. W. by S.) from London; containing 1914 inhabitants. The name in Domesday book is Mereton and Meretune, a Saxon compound of mere, a lake or marsh, and tun, a town or vill. According to some writers, the place was the scene of the murder of Cynewulf, King of Wessex, in 784, and also of a battle between the Danes and the Saxons, in 871; but doubt exists as to its identity with the Merton referred to by ancient historians. In 1115, a convent built of wood, for Canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, was founded here by Gilbert Norman, sheriff of Surrey; and Henry I., in 1121, granted to the community a charter of incorporation and the manor of Merton, towards the erection of a church in honour of the Virgin Mary: the priory was rebuilt of stone in 1130, and was liberally endowed by subsequent benefactions; at the Dissolution its revenue was valued at £1039. 5. 3. In the reign of Henry III., Walter de Merton, lord high chancellor of England, and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, founded here a seminary of learning, which he subsequently removed to Oxford, on the foundation of Merton College. A parliament was held at the priory in 1236, when statutes were enacted which take their name from the place: on that occasion the prelates attempted to introduce the imperial and canon law, but were met by the memorable reply of the barons, Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari. Here was concluded the peace between Henry III. and the Dauphin of France, through the mediation of Gaulo, the pope's legate; and here, also, Hubert de Bourg, chief justice of England, found a temporary asylum from the displeasure of the same monarch. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., a considerable part of the conventual building was still standing; and it appears that a garrison was established here; for, in July, 1648, orders were issued by the government for putting the place in such condition that no further use might be made of it to endanger the peace of the kingdom. In 1680, Merton priory was advertised to be let, when it was described as containing several large rooms and a very fine chapel. The only vestiges are the outer walls, constructed of flint and rubble, which are nearly entire, and inclose a space of about sixty acres.
The village, which is situated on the small river Wandle, consists chiefly of one street; the houses are modern: the inhabitants are supplied with water from several springs, and from the river, over which a bridge was built in 1633, uniting this parish with Wimbledon and Mitcham. The printing of cotton, silk, and challis, is carried on to a considerable extent on the site of the priory; and at the north-east corner of the premises is a copper-mill. The London and South-Western railway passes between Merton and Wimbledon, at which latter place is a station. The living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of £93; the patronage and impropriation belong to Mrs. Mary Bond. The church, a structure in the Norman style with later insertions, was erected by the founder of the abbey, in the twelfth century; the arms of England and those of the priory, painted on glass, decorate the chancel window. There is a place of worship for Independents. In 1687, William Rutlish bequeathed an estate now producing £96 a year, directing the income to be applied in apprenticing children; and Rear-Admiral Sir Isaac Smith, in 1831, left £700 three per cent. reduced annuities to the poor. Thomas à Becket was educated here under the first prior; and Walter de Merton, a native of the place, also received instruction in the priory. Church House was the residence of Garrick and of Sheridan, the latter of whom was frequently visited here by George IV., when Prince of Wales. Earl Nelson enjoys the inferior title of Viscount Merton.
Meshaw, or Meshet (St. John the Baptist)
MESHAW, or Meshet (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge, South Molton and N. divisions of Devon, 5¼ miles (S. E. by S.) from the town of South Molton; containing 305 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 4., and in the gift of the Rev. W. Karslake: the tithes have been commuted for £110, and the glebe comprises 84 acres. The church contains several monuments to the Courtenays, by one of whom a handsome service of communion-plate was presented.
Messing (All Saints)
MESSING (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Witham, Witham division of the hundred of Lexden, N. division of Essex, 3 miles (E.) from Kelvedon; containing 758 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 2173 acres, of which 160 are woodland, and the remainder, with the exception of a few acres of pasture, all arable; the situation is elevated, and the soil generally light, and moderately fertile. The village has many handsome houses in its neighbourhood, and the beauty of the scenery renders it an agreeable place of residence. A fair is held on the first Tuesday in July. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Verulam: the tithes have been commuted for £430, and the glebe comprises 30 acres. The church is a handsome edifice, with an east window decorated with paintings of the six Christian graces: Sir William de Messing, the founder, was formerly represented in wood, in the north wall, recumbent, as a Knight Templar, but the figure was removed some years since.
Messingham (Holy Trinity)
MESSINGHAM (Holy Trinity,) a parish, in the union of Glandford-Brigg, E. division of the wapentake of Manley, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 7½ miles (W. by S.) from Glandford-Brigg; containing, with part of the township of East Butterwick, 1548 inhabitants, of whom 1368 are in the township of Messingham. The parish is bounded on the west by the river Trent, and comprises about 6000 acres of land, mostly arable, with a little wood: the surface is undulated, and the soil of various qualities, chiefly clay and sand; a portion of the surface has been fertilized by warping from the Trent. The village is large, and pleasantly situated on a slope. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the vicarage of Bottesford united in 1727, valued in the king's books at £10; net income, £598: it is in the alternate patronage of the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. The tithes were commuted for land in 1800. The church is a neat edifice, built, with the exception of the tower, in 1821. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a national school is supported by subscription.
Metfield (St. John the Baptist)
METFIELD (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union and hundred of Hoxne, E. division of Suffolk, 3¾ miles (S. E. by E.) from Harleston; containing 702 inhabitants, and comprising 2140 acres, of which 40 are common or waste. The living is a donative, in the gift of the Parishioners; the income is partly derived from 45 acres of land, bequeathed by Mr. Chapman. The tithes have been commuted for £450. The church is chiefly in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and a handsome south porch. The Independents have a place of worship. There are lands producing £80 per annum, for repairing the church and for parochial uses.
METHAM, a township, in the parish and union of Howden, wapentake of Howdenshire, E. riding of York, 5 miles (S. E. by E.) from Howden; containing 42 inhabitants. The township comprises 920 acres, of which two-thirds are arable. Metham Hall was built by Sir George Metham, whose family were long seated here. A Roman pottery, including fragments of urns and other vessels, has been discovered, about a mile distant from the line of the Roman military way.
Metheringham (St. Wilfrid)
METHERINGHAM (St. Wilfrid), a parish, in the Second division of the wapentake of Langoe, parts of Kesteven, union and county of Lincoln, 10½ miles (N.) from Sleaford; containing 1205 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the east by the river Witham, comprises by computation 6000 acres of land, chiefly arable. The soil in the western part is light, in the central of mixed quality, and in the eastern fenny; the surface is undulated, and the higher grounds command some pleasing prospects, and a fine view of Lincoln cathedral. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 0. 10.; net income, £300; patron, the Marquess of Bristol; impropriators, the trustees of Sleaford Hospital. The church is a handsome structure, in the later English style; it was burnt down, or greatly damaged, in 1599, and was restored in 1701. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Methley (St. Oswald)
METHLEY (St. Oswald), a parish, in the Lower division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 7 miles (E. S. E.) from Leeds; containing 1702 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the south by the Calder, that river here forming a confluence with the Aire, which is on the east. It comprises 3336a. 2r. 20p., whereof about three-fourths are arable; the soil is in a high state of cultivation, and the scenery is richly diversified. Some coal-pits here have been lately worked out. Methley Park, the residence of the Earl of Mexborough, originally a castellated edifice surrounded by a moat, has been much enlarged by the present earl, and is now a stately and elegant mansion. The village is irregularly built, and some of the houses are ancient: there is a small trade in malt. The Midland railway runs through the parish, and is joined in the vicinity by the York and North-Midland line, and also by the Leeds and Manchester line. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £25. 8. 6½., and in the patronage of the Crown, in right of the duchy of Lancaster; net income, £908, arising from 374 acres of land allotted at the inclosure in lieu of tithes. The church is partly in the decorated, but chiefly in the later, English style, with a square embattled tower and well-proportioned spire; over the south entrance is a statue of the tutelar saint, and the interior contains some ancient and interesting monuments. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists.
Methop, with Ulpha
METHOP, with Ulpha, a township, in the parish of Beetham, union and ward of Kendal, county of Westmorland, 5½ miles (E. N. E.) from Cartmel; containing 87 inhabitants. It is bounded on the south by the estuary of the Kent.
Methwold (St. George)
METHWOLD (St. George), a parish, in the union of Thetford, hundred of Grimshoe, W. division of Norfolk, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Brandon; containing 1441 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Lynn to Bury St. Edmund's, and comprises 13,192a. 3r. 9p., whereof about 4969 acres are pasture and meadow, 7921 arable, and 65 woodland. In the neighbourhood is a warren that once contained a great number of rabbits, the fur of which was in considerable repute. Here was formerly a market; and a fair is still held on the 23rd of April, for horses, cattle, &c. The inhabitants are exempt from serving on juries out of their own parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, annexed to the rectory of Cranwick, and valued in the king's books at £9. 1. 3.; impropriators, H. S. Partridge and W. L. Jones, Esqrs. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £1102. 10., and the vicarial for £340; the impropriate glebe contains 133 acres. The church, a handsome structure in the later English style, has an embattled tower surmounted by a crocketed spire; the chancel contains neat memorials to the Partridge family. There is a place of worship for dissenters. The proceeds of about 26 acres allotted at the inclosure, are distributed in money to the poor; and the occupiers of 72 tenements have a right of fuel on 365 acres of fen. Some slight remains are visible of the priory of Slewesholme, called Slusham, a cell to the monastery of Castle-Acre.