A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2, General; Ashford, East Bedfont With Hatton, Feltham, Hampton With Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The parish of Laleham lies on the level ground between the road from Staines to Kingston and the River Thames. It is long and wedge-shaped, the point of the wedge lying towards the south, and the Thames forms almost the whole of the western boundary. There is no railway line in the parish, and the nearest stations are at Staines, 2½ miles to the north-west, and at Shepperton, 2½ miles to the east. The main road from Staines to Kingston runs just within the northern boundary, and roads from Staines, Ashford, and Shepperton converge on the village. The parish is sparsely wooded, and is laid out almost entirely in fields. The village lies near the Thames, about midway between the northern and southern extremities of the parish. It is a typical river village of the kind that is found on the lower reaches of the Thames. The pleasant street, very quiet except in the summer months, winds among private houses and shops, and after passing round the church, widens out into the road to Ashford, and the houses continue northwards. A new street of small villas has been built towards the river, and there are a few houses of the bungalow type facing the tow-path. The Thames is here comparatively wide, and a fine open stretch affords good mooring for the house-boats which lie along its banks in the summer. There is no bridge over the Thames in this parish, Chertsey Bridge lying just beyond the boundary, but a ferry (punt) plies from a point near the village to the opposite Surrey bank.
A triangular piece of ground of about 200 acres on the Surrey side of the river is known as Laleham Burway. It is part of an island formed by an offshoot of the main stream, and is divided from the Abbey Mead of Chertsey on the south by a stream called the Burway Ditch, and by another stream from the meadow of Mixnams on the north. This land is included in Chertsey parish, and belongs to the manor of Laleham. It is mentioned as the Island of Burgh in the original endowment of Chertsey Abbey between 666 and 675, (fn. 1) and is described as separated from Mixtenham by water, which formed part of the boundary of the abbey lands, (fn. 2) but it is not clear which of the two lay within the bounds of the abbey. Tradition says that the Burway originally belonged to Chertsey, and that in a time of great scarcity and famine the inhabitants of Laleham supplied the abbey with necessaries which those of Chertsey could not, or would not provide, in return for which the abbot granted them the use of this piece of ground. (fn. 3) Whatever the truth of this story, it is certain that the abbey of Westminster when lord of the manor of Laleham held land on the Surrey side of the river, and that in the time of Edward I it held part of the meadow called Mixtenham also, for in a dispute with the abbey of Chertsey in 1278, Westminster agreed to release their right in this meadow in return for 4 acres of pasture contiguous with that which they already held (fn. 4) In 1370 they still held some pasture in Mixtenham. (fn. 5) Laleham Burway appears in a grant of the manor during the 18th century. (fn. 6) At the beginning of the 19th century it is described as paying no tithes or taxes to either Chertsey or Laleham parish. (fn. 7) It belonged to owners of estates within the manor of Laleham, and the pasture was divided into 300 parts called 'farrens,' the tenants of which were entitled some to the feed of a horse, others to the support of a cow and a half. A horse-farren would let for £1 17s. 6d. a year, and pasture for one cow for £1 5s., and when sold a farren was worth about £40. (fn. 8) This land was not inclosed under the Act of 1773 for inclosing the common fields of Laleham Manor in Chertsey, (fn. 9) and was specially exempted from the Act of 1808 for inclosing Laleham and Middlesex. (fn. 10) It was finally inclosed under an Act passed in 1813, (fn. 11) when the Earl of Lucan, lord of the manor of Laleham, acquired by allotment and purchase about 70 acres. Before its inclosure many cricket matches were played here 'by ennobled and other cricketers.' (fn. 12)
Laleham House, the seat of the Earl of Lucan, stands to the south of the village in well-wooded grounds of about 23 acres. It was built by Richard, the second earl, who bought the manor in 1803. Maria, Queen of Portugal, who spent her minority in England, lived here from 1829. George, the third earl (1800-88), served in Turkey and in the Crimea, and attained the rank of field-marshal. The charge of the heavy brigade at Balaclava was made under his direction, and he was himself wounded by a bullet in the leg. Lord Raglan blamed him for the advance of the cavalry on that occasion, and in consequence he returned to England and vindicated his conduct in the House of Lords (19 March 1855). (fn. 13) He was succeeded by the present earl in 1888.
Thomas Arnold lived at Laleham from 1819 to 1828. He settled here to take as private pupils a small number of young men preparing for the universities, and besides his own studies and those of his pupils he spent his time in assisting in the care of the parish. (fn. 14) After his appointment to the head-mastership of Rugby he still hoped to return to Laleham after he should have retired from public life. (fn. 15) His house, which stood at the end of the village, was pulled down in 1864. (fn. 16) His eldest and most distinguished son, Matthew Arnold, was born here in 1822. (fn. 17) After the family had removed to Rugby, he returned to Laleham as pupil of his maternal uncle, the Rev. John Buckland (1830-6). (fn. 18) He lies buried in the churchyard here, together with Thomas Arnold his eldest son.
The inhabitants of Laleham are chiefly dependent on agriculture, and the population returns of the last forty years show a decrease of over twenty per cent. The soil is light, and the subsoil gravel. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and mangold-wurzel. There are 1,301 acres in the parish, of which 550½ acres are arable, and 465 acres are laid down in permanent grass. Woods and plantations cover 36 acres. (fn. 19)
The following names of pastures occur in mediaeval times: Le Cottes, Watcroftes, Hotlowe, Henland, Charston, Chikenes, Middelwellethorn, Tuccemede. Churchwynnesland was originally held by a John Cherchwynn early in the 14th century. (fn. 20)
LALEHAM is mentioned as one of the four appurtenances of Staines in the charter of Edward the Confessor granting and confirming lands to Westminster Abbey. (fn. 21) At the time of the Domesday Survey, the abbey still held Staines and four unnamed berewicks, (fn. 22) and it is likely that Laleham was one of the latter, as the abbey held a large amount of land there in 1291, (fn. 23) and about the same time Laleham is described as one of those members of Staines which had belonged to Westminster from time immemorial. (fn. 24) The abbey continued to hold it until the Dissolution, (fn. 25) when the manor was ceded to the king, who caused it to be annexed to the newly-formed honour of Hampton Court. (fn. 26) Laleham remained in the hands of the king throughout the 16th century. The site of the manor had been leased by Westminster Abbey in 1538 to John Williams for seventy-six years, and in 1588 the site was leased on the same terms to Thomas Kay, (fn. 27) and in 1608 to Sir Thomas Lake. (fn. 28)
In 1612 James I granted the manor to Henry Spiller, (fn. 29) who was knighted in 1608. (fn. 30) He leased the site of the manor to a widow, Jane Thompson, and to Thomas Stapley, and litigation took place in 1630 touching the arrears of twelve years of rent and waste and spoil on the part of the defendants, Jane Thompson and others, (fn. 31) when it was alleged that the latter had neglected to give entertainment to the steward and surveyor of the manor and their servants, and had not provided 'fitt and competent meat drink and lodging for them.' Amongst other charges they were accused of not holding the manor courts, and of taking a new toll of 2d. for every team of large horses passing through the land of the Old Farm adjoining the river. (fn. 32)
In 1640 proceedings for recusancy were instituted against Sir Henry's wife, Lady Anne Spiller, and she was pronounced guilty on 5 May of that year. (fn. 33) Sir Henry took the king's side in the Civil War, and after being taken prisoner and confined in the Tower, (fn. 34) he proposed to compound for his estates for the sum of £8,611. (fn. 35) He died, however, in the early part of 1650, leaving half the fine unpaid, and James Herbert, who had married Jane Spiller, the granddaughter and heirat-law of Sir Henry, and Sir Thomas Reynell of Weybridge, who had married Sir Henry's daughter Katherine, between them paid the remainder of the composition, and were admitted to the lands on 12 March 1652. Laleham was apparently assigned to Reynell, and was inherited by his son, also named Thomas. (fn. 36) It passed to the latter's daughter and heiress Elizabeth, (fn. 37) who, as her second husband, married Sir Richard Reynell, son of Sir Richard Reynell of East Ogwell, Devon. (fn. 38) The manor was held jointly by Richard and Elizabeth, and by Richard after his wife's death. (fn. 39) On his own death in 1723 it was inherited by his son Sir Thomas Reynell. (fn. 40) The latter's son died unmarried in 1735, (fn. 41) and in the following year Sir Thomas conveyed the reversion to Sir Robert Lowther of Whitehaven, (fn. 42) sometime governor of Barbados. (fn. 43) Sir Thomas Reynell seems to have continued to hold the manor at any rate until 1741, (fn. 44) but by 1768 it was in the hands of Sir James Lowther, (fn. 45) who was the second son of Sir Robert, and was created Earl of Lonsdale in 1784. The year after his death in 1802 (fn. 46) it was bought by the Earl of Lucan, in whose family it remains at the present day. (fn. 47)
The grange belonging to the abbey of Westminster was apparently built about 1278. (fn. 48) It contained a room for the use of the monks. (fn. 49) A house was built about 1290, with stables for cattle and sheep, piggeries, and a garden. (fn. 50) The abbey already possessed one garden, (fn. 51) and apparently a good deal of fruit was grown in Laleham, for fruit to the amount of 23s. was sold to Roger the fruiterer of Wraysbury in 1385-6. (fn. 52) A smithy was built before 1300, but ceases to be mentioned after 1354. (fn. 53) There was a dovecote on the estate in the 13th century, (fn. 54) and as many as 189 doves were sometimes sold in the year. (fn. 55) The dovecote fell into disrepair in 1302, (fn. 56) and was still neglected in 1306, (fn. 57) after which there is no further mention of it.
There was a windmill and a grain-mill in the 14th century, (fn. 58) and pastures on Windmill Hill and Grundmullhull are occasionally mentioned. (fn. 59) The abbey had a water-mill on the Thames, (fn. 60) which was considerably repaired in 1276, (fn. 61) and which appears to have been moved to a fresh place in 1302. (fn. 62) A mill is mentioned in a grant of the site of the manor in 1608, (fn. 63) and a water-mill belonged to the manor when it was held by Sir Henry Spiller. (fn. 64)
A weir called 'Depewere' lay between Staines and Laleham, and was given to the Abbot of Westminster in the 13th century by Gilbert son of John de Monte, together with the fishery, and also with three cart-loads of timber and two of brushwood from the Abbot of Chertsey's wood, for its upkeep. (fn. 65) Weirs are mentioned in a grant of the site of the manor in 1600, (fn. 66) and there is now a weir just beyond the parish boundary in Staines, and a second weir at the southern boundary opposite Chertsey.
A sailing boat was made for the bailiff of Laleham in 1290, at a cost of £7 4s. (fn. 67)
From about 1294 to 1304 the manor courts seem to have been held almost monthly, and generally on a date towards the end of the month. (fn. 68) After 1331 they were held three times a year, the court held with view of frankpledge falling always near the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. (fn. 69) The reeve (prepositus), who was responsible to Westminster for the manor, appears to have been elected by the homage, (fn. 70) and to have been usually a native tenant of the manor. Though the manor was generally managed by a reeve, the abbey occasionally appointed a serjeant, (fn. 71) or a collector of rents. (fn. 72) There are four court rolls extant of the reign of Henry VI, (fn. 73) and twelve are preserved at the Public Record Office which date from 1690 to 1721. (fn. 74)
LA HYDE or BILLETS.
In 1086 Robert Blund (Blunt) held 8 hides as a manor. (fn. 75) This land is ascribed to Laleham only, but it probably extended into the neighbouring parish of Littleton also, as the Blunts certainly held land there. (fn. 76) Littleton is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey, but as Westminster Abbey held the more important estate in Laleham, there would hardly be room in so small a parish for another manor estimated at as much as 8 hides. In the time of Edward the Confessor Robert Blunt's manor had been held by Achi, the king's servant, and it had then lain within the jurisdiction of Staines. (fn. 77) It was held of Robert Blunt by one Estrild, a nun. (fn. 78) Laleham is not mentioned again among the lands of the Blunt family, whose chief property lay in Suffolk, and who were barons of Ixworth in that county. (fn. 79) The last of this branch of the family, William Blunt, was killed at the battle of Evesham, and his estates were divided between his sisters, Agnes the wife of Sir William Criketot of Ovisdone, and Rose wife of Robert de Valoigne. (fn. 80)
In the reign of Edward III Robert de Eglesfeld held the manor of La Hyde in Laleham. (fn. 81) He held it by gift from his father, John de Eglesfeld, who was one of the heirs of John de Crokedayk. (fn. 82) The Eglesfelds and the Crokedayks were Cumberland families, (fn. 83) and it is possible that the latter represents a branch of the Criketots, and that the manor of La Hyde was part of the 8 hides held by Robert Blunt in 1086. There is, however, no actual proof of the connexion, nor is Laleham mentioned among the lands inherited by John de Eglesfeld from John de Crokedayk. (fn. 84) Robert de Eglesfeld son of John was chaplain to Queen Philippa, the consort of Edward III, and the founder of Queen's College, Oxford. (fn. 85) His manor of La Hyde apparently gave its name to a pasture known as the Hyde Acre. An extent taken in 1327 shows that it lay in Laleham, Littleton, and Staines, and that it had a house and garden, stables, a grange, and that there were in demesne 36½ acres of arable, and 9 acres of pasture; (fn. 86) the whole being worth £6 14s. 10½d. (fn. 87) In 1328, Robert de Eglesfeld granted the manor to Edward III in exchange for Renwick or Ravenswyk, a hamlet in Cumberland. (fn. 88) The king added La Hyde to the manor of Kempton, in Sunbury parish, and gave it into the custody of John de L'Isle, the constable of Windsor Castle. (fn. 89) The capital messuage and garden and demesne lands were then held by Roger Belet, the pantler (panetarius) of the queen's household, (fn. 90) an office which seems to have been hereditary in the Belet family since the reign of John. (fn. 91) In 1337 these lands were granted to Roger to hold in fee by the services due, (fn. 92) though the estate still remained in the manorial jurisdiction of Kempton. (fn. 93) In 1366 Belet conveyed these and the reversion of all his lands in Staines, Littleton, and Laleham to the abbey of Westminster. (fn. 94) From this time it seems to have been merged in the abbey's manor of Laleham, and to have been distinguished under the name of Beletes tenement. (fn. 95) At the Dissolution it was probably represented by the 'manor' of BILLETS, which was valued separately from that of Laleham at the sum of £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 96) It was surrendered with the rest of the abbey's lands to the Crown, and was annexed to the honour of Hampton Court. (fn. 97)
The site of the manor was leased in 1538 to Thomas Cawarden, and later to Roger Rogers. In 1585 it was leased to John Keye (being described as 'Billets in Laleham' (fn. 98) ), and in 1606 to Henry Spiller, (fn. 99) to whom it was finally granted, with the manor of Laleham, in 1612. (fn. 100) The history of the two manors from that time was identical, and they were generally described as the manor of 'Laleham and Billets,' otherwise 'Laleham Billets.' The name of Billets is not to be found now in the parish, but land known as the Billet estate lies on the borders of the neighbouring parish of Staines, and perhaps represents that part of the manor which originally lay in that parish.
At the time of the Domesday Survey, the Count of Mortain held two hides in Laleham. (fn. 101) This land had been in the time of Edward the Confessor in the possession of the abbey of Westminster, under whom it was held by the bailiff of Staines, who could not sell it out of the soke of Staines without permission from the abbey. (fn. 102) The Count of Mortain gave it to the abbey of Fécamp, and the abbot still held lands and rent in Laleham in 1134, which he exchanged for other lands in France with Nigel son of William, nephew (nepos) of Robert, Earl of Gloucester. (fn. 103) There is no further trace of this land, but it is probable that it came again into the hands of Westminster Abbey, and that it was then merged in the manor of Laleham.
The church of ALL SAINTS, a little ivy-grown brick-faced building, though containing some 12th-century work in the nave, has been so altered and rebuilt that little really old work is left; at the present time it consists of a brick-faced chancel 21 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft. 4 in., a north chapel belonging to the Earls of Lucan, 21 ft. by 13 ft. 9 in., faced with 17thcentury brickwork, a nave 34 ft. by 15 ft. 4 in. of the 12th century, which had north and south aisles, of which the latter has been pulled down and the former rebuilt in modern times, and at the west end of the north aisle an 18th-century brick tower, covered with ivy, having a west doorway and round-headed windows.
There is no east window to the chancel, the space being occupied by a large picture of our Lord walking on the water with St. Peter; this is lit by a skylight above. On the north side the wall has been cut away towards the Lucan chapel, which is lit on the north and east by square-headed cut brick windows of three four-centred lights. On the south side of the chancel is a modern Gothic doorway.
The chancel arch is slightly pointed, of one chamfered order, with a chamfered abacus, all so covered with colour wash that it is impossible to be sure of its age. The nave has arcades of three bays of late 12th-century date, with edge-chamfered pointed arches on massive round columns with scalloped capitals; all the arches have chamfered labels, except the east arch of the north arcade. The label of the middle arch of this arcade has billet ornament on its label, re-used material from an arch of different radius. In the blocking of the south arcade are two modern two-light windows in 15th-century style, and in the western bay a doorway which looks like 14th-century work, leading into a red brick porch. At the west end of the nave is a gallery containing an organ, which hides a modern threelight window.
The north aisle has three modern two-light north windows like those on the south of the nave; at the west end is a gallery, and the east end opens to the Lucan chapel by a plain chamfered pointed arch.
In the chancel is a monument to George Perrott, baron of the Exchequer, who died 1780, and his wife Mary, 1784, and there are others of the 19th century. The font, at the west end of the north aisle, is modern, in 12th-century style.
The registers date from 1538. Book (i) contains baptisms 1538 to 1690, burials 1538 to 1682, and marriages 1539 to 1643; (ii) baptisms 1690 to 1692, marriages 1682 to 1683, 1643 to 1690; (iii) printed marriages 1754 to 1789 and 1801 to 1812; (iv) burials 1804 to 1812, baptisms 1804 to 1812; (v) marriages and baptisms 1789 to 1801, and burials 1789 to 1802, having threepenny stamps.
Laleham was from the earliest times a chapelry of Staines, (fn. 104) with which it was probably appropriated, but until the 15th century it was served by a separate vicar appointed by the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, patrons of the mother church. (fn. 105) By an order made by William, Bishop of London, however (probably between 1426 and 1431), the vicar of Staines was in future to appoint curates to the chapels of that church, but it was provided that if there were any vicar who had been canonically appointed to any of the chapels, he should remain there during his lifetime. (fn. 106) Apparently the order came into force at Laleham during the latter half of the 15th century, for the last institution to the vicarage took place in December 1439, and in 1492 Laleham is mentioned as a chapel in the institution to the vicarage of Staines. (fn. 107) At the Dissolution the patronage of the latter fell to the Crown. In 1542 the advowson of Laleham was separated from that of Staines, and was granted to the dean and chapter of the Cathedral Church of Westminster, (fn. 108) but there is no mention of an institution to the vicarage, and in 1550 Laleham appears again as a chapel of Staines in the presentation of that living which was then the gift of the Crown. (fn. 109) In 1560 the queen granted the vicarage and free chapel of Laleham to the newly-founded Collegiate Church of Westminster, (fn. 110) but again there is no record of any institution. (fn. 111) In 1612 the advowson was given with the manor to Sir Henry Spiller, (fn. 112) from whom it descended to Sir Thomas Reynell, (fn. 113) who presented immediately after the Restoration and again in 1662 and 1663. (fn. 114) It descended with the manor (q.v.), and thus came by purchase to Sir Robert Lowther in 1736. (fn. 115) In 1773 and 1778, however, Laleham is again mentioned as a chapel of Staines, (fn. 116) and during the early part of the 19th century it continued to be served by a curate of the mother church. At that time services were held on alternate Sundays with Ashford, although it is mentioned in 1826 that 'the inhabitants have the benefit of other preachers, who officiate occasionally.' The living was a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Earl of Lucan from 1858 to 1865, (fn. 117) after which it is called a vicarage. The advowson still remains with the Earl of Lucan.
In the 14th century 10 marks from the church of Oakham were paid yearly to the Abbot of Westminster's household. (fn. 118) These were given up by Abbot Littlington to the convent, and 10 marks from the church at Laleham were granted instead, for the supply of plate.
The rectory, which was held by Westminster Abbey till the Dissolution, was granted in 1602 to Guy Godolphin and John Smythe. (fn. 119) Godolphin sold his interest to Smythe, who conveyed the rectory to Urias Babington. (fn. 120) The latter died seised of it in 1606, having demised it to his younger son William. (fn. 121) Under the Commonwealth it was held by George and Robert Holmes, who in 1650 and 1657 conveyed their respective shares to William Powell or Hinson. (fn. 122) Before 1682 it came into the hands of Robert Gibbon, (fn. 123) in whose family it continued until Mrs. Elizabeth Joddrell, daughter of Phillipps Gibbon, sold it to Mrs. Mary Jeffreson, who in 1733 alienated to Samuel Freeman. (fn. 124) The latter's daughter Martha married Captain John Coggan, (fn. 125) who held the rectory in 1782, and as late as 1800. (fn. 126) In 1836 Mr. Conosmaker, Mr. Hartwell, and Mr. John Irving are mentioned as the impropriators, (fn. 127) but after this nothing can be learnt about the rectory.
In 1819 Mrs. Mary Hodgson, by will dated 4 September, bequeathed a sum of stock, now represented by £95 consols with the official trustees, the income to be given to the poor of the parish by the vicar and his successors to whom and in what manner he should think necessary.
By a scheme of the Board of Education, the Poor's Land and Dr. Pinckney's Charity were consolidated with the National School under the title of the 'Laleham School Foundation,' whereby the trustees were authorized to raise a loan of £300 by mortgage of the trust property, and to sell the railway stock for the purpose of the enlargement of the school buildings, at a cost of £500. A sum of £150 19s. 6d. was realized by the sale of the railway stock. The loan is subject to replacement within thirty years, and within the same period a sum of £174 consols has to be funded with the official trustees in lieu of the railway stock.