A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Cuddington measures nearly 4 miles from north-west to south-east, and is scarcely a mile in breadth. It contains 1,859 acres, and extends over the usual variety of soils, the southern part being upon the chalk downs, the centre on the Woolwich and Thanet beds, the rest upon the London clay. There is no village of Cuddington; Henry VIII pulled down the church, the old manor-house, and the village, to make Nonsuch Palace. (fn. 1) It appears possible from its position that the destroyed church and village were in this neighbourhood, and if this was the case they were placed in the usual situation, close to the foot of the chalk, either on the chalk itself or on the Thanet beds. There is no instance, on the northern side of the chalk-hills, where the parishes extend from the chalk on to the clay, of the old church and village being on the clay. It is unlikely that Cuddington was differently placed from the others, but no map older than the time of Henry VIII exists. The Manor Farm is on the chalk and the Thanet sand, and may show the neighbourhood of the old manor-house.
The South Western Railway line from Wimbledon to Letherhead crosses the parish, with a station at Worcester Park, opened in 1859; and the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway line to Epsom passes through it. This was first opened as the Croydon and Epsom Railway in 1848.
After the destruction of Nonsuch in 1671–2 the land in the parks was thrown into farms, of which more than one had evidently existed before outside the park pales. The place, however, existed in name only. There was no ecclesiastical parish; the land was taxed with Ewell, but separately rated, with its own overseers.
The present house, known as Nonsuch Park, is the property of Captain W. R. G. Farmer. It is not on the site of the palace, but is on the confines of the old Little Park, in which the palace stood. It was built for Mr. Samuel Farmer by Sir Jeffrey Wyattville, in supposed 16th-century style, early in the 19th century (1802–6).
In the last fifty years, as railways extended, houses have grown up near the site of Worcester Park and have received the name of Cuddington. Worcester Court is the residence of Mrs. Hanney, and Home-steads that of Mr. C. A. Harris, C.B., C.M.G. In 1894 a church was built at Worcester Park, which is now the parish church, though certainly upon a very different site from the original one. There is also a Primitive Methodist chapel.
Cuddington and Nonsuch Park were, according to Leland, the site of pits for obtaining fire-clay. Subsequently Nonsuch pottery and tiles were known, but they were in reality made in Ewell. (fn. 2) There used to be gunpowder works on the Hoggsmill Stream, called generally the Malden Mills or the Long Ditton Mills, but they were actually in Cuddington parish. (fn. 3)
The earliest mention of CUDDINGTON is in connexion with Chertsey Monastery, the alleged first endowment of which in 675 by Frithwald, subregulus of Surrey, and Bishop Erkenwald included thirty dwellings at Ewell cum 'Cotinton.' (fn. 4) The confirmation of this charter by Athelstan in 933 (fn. 5) mentions the village of 'Cudintone'; and Edward the Confessor in 1062 confirmed to the monastery six dwellings at 'Cudintone.' (fn. 6) No further mention of Chertsey in connexion with Cuddington occurs after this date, however, (fn. 7) and in the Domesday Survey it is declared to have been held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Earl Leofwine, the younger brother of Harold. (fn. 8) At the date of the Survey (1086) it was held by Ilbert de Laci, lord of Pontefract, of Odo of Bayeux, (fn. 9) and on the forfeiture of his estates for high treason by Robert son of Ilbert, was bestowed by Henry I on Hugh de Laval. (fn. 10)
In 1203 Guy de Laval forfeited his English estates for joining with the French king against John, (fn. 11) who in the same year granted Cuddington to William de St. Michael, who was to render to Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester (who had claimed the estates of Guy as his right by inheritance), the same farm which he, William, had been wont to render to Guy. (fn. 12) Laurence de St. Michael was holding land in Surrey in 1233, (fn. 13) and in 1236–7 he appears as party to a fine concerning lands in Cuddington. (fn. 14) He or his son died in 1283, leaving a widow Margaret, four sons—Laurence, William, Thomas, and John—and four daughters. (fn. 15) It was probably the eldest son Laurence who in 1289 sought to replevy his land in Cuddington which had been taken into the king's hands for default. (fn. 16) In 1331, 1332, and 1333 courts were held in the name of Thomas de St. Michael, (fn. 17) who in 1333 settled the manor upon himself for life, and after his death upon Laurence son of John de St. Michael and Joan his wife and their heirs. (fn. 18) In 1337 the manor was held by Laurence, (fn. 19) who appears indifferently in records of this period under the name of Codington (Cuddington) or St. Michael, the latter, however, occurring but rarely after this date.
In 1355 courts were held in the name of Sir Simon de Codington (Sheriff of Surrey in 1353 and 1362) and Katherine his wife. (fn. 20) Sir Simon married, secondly, Idonea, and died before 1378, in which year the manor was settled by trustees on Ralph son of Simon (Sheriff of Surrey in 1400) and Anne his wife. (fn. 21)
In 1470 the manor was surrendered to John Codington by his mother Margaret widow of Thomas Codington. (fn. 22) The manor was finally sold in 1538 by Richard Codington and Elizabeth his wife to Henry VIII, (fn. 23) who annexed it to the honour of Hampton Court, and commenced there the erection of the magnificent palace of Nonsuch.
In 1547 a messuage and lands in the manor of Nonsuch alias Cuddington were granted by Edward VI to Sir Thomas Cawarden (who was Sheriff of Surrey in 1547) to hold for 21 years for a rent of £5 5s. 8d. In 1550 Cawarden was appointed Keeper of the King's House of Nonsuch, 'called the Banketyng House within the Park there.' (fn. 24) The Banqueting House was a separate building from the Palace, which was not completed until later. In 1556 the reversion of Cawarden's lease, with the additions of the capital mansion of Nonsuch or Nonsuch Place, with appurtenances in Nonsuch, Ewell, Cuddington, and Cheam, and all that park called the Little Park of Nonsuch, was bestowed on Henry, twelfth Earl of Arundel, (fn. 25) Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII and Lord High Steward of the Household to Mary and Elizabeth. The Earl of Arundel died in 1580, (fn. 26) having bequeathed all his manors and lands to his son-in-law Lord Lumley, upon whom he had already settled Nonsuch. Lord Lumley died in 1609, and was succeeded by his nephew, Splandian Lloyd. (fn. 27) The latter dying without issue was succeeded by his brother Henry Lloyd, (fn. 28) whose grandson of the same name died in 1704. Robert Lumley Lloyd, son of Henry, was rector of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and chaplain to the Duke of Bedford, whose patronage he acknowledged by bequeathing to him all his possessions in Surrey, including this estate. (fn. 29) In 1755 the manor, rectory, and advowson of the vicarage were sold by the duke to Edward Northey of Epsom, (fn. 30) who died in 1772, leaving this estate to his son William Northey. (fn. 31) The latter died in 1808, (fn. 32) and was succeeded by his cousin William Northey, on whose death the estate passed to his brother, Rev. Edward Northey, Canon of Windsor. (fn. 33) Edward Richard Northey, son of the latter, was holding the manor in 1821, (fn. 34) and his son, Rev. E. W. Northey, M.A., of Epsom, is lord of the manor at the present day.
—The whole of the former village of Cuddington, with its mansion and church, were swept away by Henry VIII to make room for the palace afterwards known as Nonsuch, and its two parks—the Great Park or Worcester Park (containing 911 acres), and the Little Park (containing 671 acres). The palace was never completed by Henry VIII, but had alread attained sufficient splendour to evoke from Leland the lines—
During the next reign Sir Thomas Cawarden, Keeper of the Banqueting House, in accordance with a royal mandate entertained there 'at the Quenes Majestie's House,' the French ambassador, M. de Noailles, and his wife. (fn. 35)
In 1556 the reversion of Cawarden's lease was granted to the Earl of Arundel, with the additional grant of the Little Park and the palace (vide supra) which he is said to have completed. (fn. 36) He in 1559 entertained there Queen Elizabeth, when, we are told, 'her grace had as gret chere every nyght and bankets; but ye sonday at nyght my lord of Arundell made her a grete bankett at ys coste as ever was sene, for soper, bankete, and maske, wt drums and flutes, and all ye mysyke yt cold be, tyll mydnyght; and as for chere, has not bene sene nor heard. On Monday was a great supper made for her, but before night she stood at her standing in the further park, and there she saw a course. At nyght was a play of the Chylderyn of Powlles and theyr mysyke master Sebastian Phelyps and Mr. Haywode; and after, a grete banket, wt drumes and flutes and the goodly bankets and dishes as costely as ever was sene, and gyldyd. . . . My Lord of Arundell gayfe to ye Quene grace a cubard of plate.' (fn. 37) Queen Elizabeth paid frequent subsequent visits to Nonsuch, and in 1590–2 purchased the palace and park of John, Lord Lumley, heir of the Earl of Arundel, in exchange for lands to the value of £534. (fn. 38)
In 1599 Mr. Roland White wrote to Robert Sydney: 'Her Majestie is returned again to None-such, which of all other places she likes best'; and it was on the occasion of this visit that the Earl of Essex, having returned from Ireland without the queen's permission, burst into her bedchamber at ten o'clock in the morning, and though received kindly at the time, was committed four days later to the custody of the Lord Keeper. (fn. 39)
On 1 December 1606 the Earl of Worcester was appointed Keeper of the Great Park at Nonsuch, whence no doubt it acquired the name Worcester Park, and the lodge in it the name of Worcester House. (fn. 40)
The estate formed part of the jointure of Queen Henrietta Maria, and was visited by Charles I in 1625, 1629, 1630, and 1632. During the Common-wealth the palace was at first leased to Algernon Sidney for £150 per annum. The Government soon afterwards assigned the whole place to Lilburne's regiment, then in Scotland, as security for the men's pay. A letter is extant from Colonel Robert Lilburne to General Lambert, in which he offers on behalf of the regiment to sell Nonsuch to him. The men, it was thought, would be willing to accept 12s. in the £ for their debentures. (fn. 41) Certainly the Little Park and Palace were purchased by Major-General Lambert, (fn. 42) and in 1654–6 the Great Park and Worcester House were purchased by Colonel Thomas Pride, (fn. 43) who died in 1658 at Worcester House, the house in the Great Park.
At the Restoration Nonsuch House and Parks were restored to Queen Henrietta Maria. In 1663 the reversion of part of the estate (under the name of Nonsuch Great Park or Worcester Park, land called the Great Park Meadow, and the mansion-house called Worcester House) was leased by Charles II for a term of 99 years to Sir Robert Long, his late companion in exile, and at this date Chancellor of the Exchequer; one of the conditions of the lease being that Sir Robert should from time to time convert part of the premises into pasture without destroying the trees and bushes, so that the same might become fit for deer in case the king were minded to restore and make the same park a park as formerly, Sir Robert to be keeper of the park and have herbage and pannage. (fn. 44) During the plague year of 1665 Nonsuch Palace was fitted up temporarily for the offices of the Exchequer. In 1670 Sir Robert Long pleaded for another life in his lease, at the same time representing that during the late disturbed times the site had been converted into tillage, the wood all down, and that he, Sir Robert, had compounded with the queen for her interest, bought out the keepers, and paid £2,500 for repairs of the house. (fn. 45)
Sir Robert Long died in 1673, and his will (fn. 46) mentions that he settled his lease on his nephew. But in 1670 the palace and fee simple of both parks were bestowed by Charles II on Viscount Grandison and Henry Brounker, in trust for Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, (fn. 47) in that year created Baroness of Nonsuch, by whom as a means of settling her pecuniary difficulties the house was entirely dismantled, its contents sold, and the park divided up into farms. (fn. 48)
In 1710 the parks were held by Charles, Duke of Grafton, grandson of the duchess, (fn. 49) whose son in 1731 sold Worcester Park to John Walter his former steward. John Walter died in 1745, and was succeeded by his son George, afterwards knighted. The latter left two daughters, one of whom died single in 1749, while the other married Rev. — Clarke, who sold to Mr. Taylor, from whom it passed to William Taylor, who died in 1764. Mr. Taylor set up here a large gunpowder factory. (fn. 50) His heir, William Taylor, built a new house, called Worcester Park, in 1797. The property has long been divided. Worcester Park House is now the residence of Miss Wheeler.
The Little Park was sold by the Duke of Grafton in 1731 to Joseph Thomson, who built a house here and left it to his nephew, the Rev. Joseph Whateley, on condition that he should take priest's orders. On the death of Mr. Whateley the estate was sold to Mr. Farmer, who built a new house, (fn. 51) and is now the property of his descendant, Captain William R. G. Farmer.
Some idea of the splendour of Nonsuch Palace may be gathered from the eulogies of contemporary writers, such as Leland and Camden, while it is described at length by Braun in Civitates Orbis Terrarum. (fn. 52) The Survey of 1650 gives a detailed account of the house and grounds. The commissioners' admiration of the splendid building and anxiety for its preservation can be clearly seen through the dry official language of their report. The 'capitall messuage or royal mansion house, commonly called Nonsuch [they say], consists of one fayer stronge and large structure of building of freestone of two large stories high, well wrought and battled with stone and covered with blue slate, standing round a court of 150 foote long and 132 foote broad, paved with stone, commonly called the Outward Courte,' and also of 'one other faire and very curious structure or building of two stories high, the lower storie whereof is of good and well wrought freestone, and the higher of wood, richly adorned and set forth and garnished with variety of statues, pictures, and other antick formes of excellent art and workmanship, and of no small cost; all which building lying almost upon a square, is covered with blue slate, and incloseth one faire and large court of one hundred thirty seaven foot broad, and one hundred and sixteen foot long, all paved with freestone, commonly called the Inner Court.'
The uses of the various rooms are noted; in the outer court on the ground floor were the buttery, the wine cellar, and fifteen other rooms occupied by Lady Holland's servants, the housekeeper, the gentlemen ushers, the quarter waiter, the groom porter, and Mr. Henry Jermyn. On the first floor twenty-one rooms are mentioned, three for Lady Denbigh, three for Lady Holland, a dining-room, drawing-room, and bedchamber for Lady Carlisle, two rooms for her servants, four rooms for the lord chamberlain, Lord Dorset, two for the queen's almoner, two for the maids of honour, and two for the housekeeper.
The outer court was entered through a three-story gatehouse, 'very strong and gracefull,' with embattled turrets at the angles, and a large room on the top floor 'very pleasant and delectable for prospect.'
The rooms of the inner court, being the royal apartments, were 'very faire and large,' many of them panelled and having 'spacious lights both inwards and outwards,' i.e. towards the court and towards the park. Another gatehouse stood between the two courts, an ascent of eight steps leading up from the outer to the inner court. This gatehouse was of freestone with corner turrets and a clock turret in the middle, and was 'of most excellent workmanship and a very speciall ornament to Nonsuch house.'
The rooms of the inner court were on the ground floor a guard chamber, two rooms for Lady Cary, two for 'Madam Nurse' the queen's back stairs, two for Madam Vautlet the queen's dresser, two for Dr. 'Myerne,' two for Madam Conget, two for the queen's priests, two for the master of the horse, two for the queen's robes, two for Madam Cyvet, two for the queen's 'querrier,' the queen's kitchen, a room for 'Mr. Cooke," and one for the queen's waiters. On the first floor were the presence chamber, the privy closet, the privy chamber, the privy gallery, the queen's bedchamber, the queen's back stairs, the king's bedchamber and back stairs, the queen's chapel, and two rooms for the Marchioness Hambleton. The inner court had wooden battlements covered with lead, adding 'a very great grace and special ornament to the whole building,' and had large angle turrets at east and west, five stories high, of timber covered with lead, 'the chiefe ornament of the whole house.' In the west turret was a large lead cistern, serving the whole house, including a white marble fountain in the inner court, supported by two brass dragons, and having a lead-lined marble basin on three steps. A 'belcone' in the middle of the privy gallery seems to have been specially designed to give a view of this fountain.
In addition to these two courts was a third and smaller kitchen court, adjoining the outer court on the east. The lay-out of the grounds is described. In front of the outer court was a stone balustrade with a bowling-green, 'railed with good postes, rails, and lattices of wood,' from which an avenue of trees led directly to the park gate. The privy garden, inclosed by a 14-foot brick wall, lay round and adjoining unto the three outsides of the inward court,' and was divided into 'allyes, quarters, and rounds set about with thorne edges,' rather neglected at the time, as was to be expected, but easily capable of repair. To the north lay the kitchen garden, also walled, and to the west a wilderness, its trees lately felled by 'one Mr. Bond, one of the contractors for sale of the late king's goods.' (fn. 53) North of the wilderness was an orchard.
In the privy garden, on the west side of the great turret at the west angle of the inner court, was a marble basin with a pelican through which the water was supplied, and near it a 'piramide' or spired pinnacle of marble. There were also two other marble 'piramides' called the 'Fawlcon perches,' having between them a white marble fountain set round with 'six trees called black trees, which trees beare no fruite but only a very pleasant flower.'
In the highest part of the park was a foursquare banqueting house, timber-built in three stories, with three cellars on the ground floor, a hall and three other rooms above, and on the top floor five rooms, with a lantern on the roof. Nearly all the rooms were panelled and amply lighted, and at each of the four corners of the house was a 'belcone placed for prospect.' The banqueting house was surrounded by a brick wall with projecting angle bastions. This wall is the only part now remaining. There were also a well-house, 'with a wheel for winding up of water,' and a wash-house close by.
Other buildings in the park were the under-house-keeper's house, with the saucery house for the yeomen of the saucer, and a well-house with a deep well, the stables, 'a little remote upon the north-east,' with barns and outhouses, and the keeper's lodge.
By 1665 Evelyn speaks of the gardens as 'ruined,' and though he remarks upon the wonderful preservation of the bas-reliefs in plaster, considering their age, he implies that they were perishing. The house must have needed a great outlay to keep it in repair. The description and the picture alike convey the idea of a somewhat barbaric magnificence overloaded with ornament.
The house was destroyed by orders of the Duchess of Cleveland, but not immediately after she received it. (fn. 54) That some of it, or of the separate banqueting house, was standing about the time of James II is proved by a MS. note in Aubrey's Wiltshire, by P. le Neve, Norrey, who writes: 'I saw it in James II's time or thereabouts. It was done with plaister work made of rye dough, in imagery, very costly.' (fn. 55) As late as 1757 the foundations of it could be traced round the courtyards. (fn. 56)
Of the original church the exact site cannot be determined at the present day. It was, with the old manor-house, at the foot of the downs between the villages of Cheam and Ewell. (fn. 57) It was swept away with the rest of the village in the reign of Henry VIII to make room for the palace and park of Nonsuch.
The present church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is an unfinished building dating from 1895, and situated at Worcester Park. It is in the style of the 13th century, and has flint-faced walls with bands of red brick and dressings of stone. It consists of an apsidal chancel, with organ chamber, south chancel-aisle, nave and aisles of three bays out of the five requisite to complete the building, the west end being closed by a temporary brick wall and west porch. The chancel has a wood-vaulted ceiling; its east walls are lined with marble; the reredos is of white marble and alabaster. Carved oak screens span the chancel arch. The nave has a clearstory of lancets and a panelled oak ceiling. The roofs are tiled. Over the nave roof is an oak fleche with a spirelet covered with lead. The pulpit is of carved stone; the font of stone with marble shafts. The churchyard is a triangular grass plot in which stands a tall elm and a few young trees. The communion plate is electro-plated, and consists of a cup, two patens, and a flagon.
The church of Cuddington was granted in the early 12th century by Hugh de Laval to Bernard the Scribe in trust for the Prior and convent of Merton, by whom it was retained from that date until the Dissolution. (fn. 58) By a charter dating between 1186 and 1198 the prior and convent granted to one, Master Hamo, a lease of the church for four years in consideration of 6 silver marks per annum. (fn. 59) In 1284 Pope Martin IV, upon a petition from the prior and convent, pleading poverty, consented to their appropriating the church to their own uses, reserving, however, a suitable sustentation for a vicar, and sufficient for the payment of ecclesiastical dues and other burdens, this appropriation being confirmed by letters patent in 1309. (fn. 60) The church was valued at £14 13s. 4d. in the Taxation of 1291. (fn. 61) In 1311 an episcopal ordinance was issued for the endowment of a vicarage, and Low Thomas of Kingston, priest, was presented to the same. (fn. 62)
In 1346 a suit took place between the king and the Prior of Merton, the king claiming the presentation to the vicarage by reason of the last vicar having resigned at a time when the temporalities of the monastery were in the king's hands during a vacancy of the priorship. (fn. 63) The court adjudged the presentation to the king.
At the Dissolution the rectory and advowson were valued at a total of £10, from which the vicar received £8 in a money payment of 2s. and a cottage for his dwelling. (fn. 64) At this time, or very shortly after, the rectory appears to have been held at farm by one William Cowper of Westminster and Cecilia his wife, who in 1539 resigned the remainder of their term in the same in consideration of other estates. (fn. 65)
In 1586 the rectory and the church, which had been pulled down, and the advowson, with tithes of grain, hay, &c., which in 1571 had been leased to Roger Marshall for twenty-one years, were granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Christopher Hatton, (fn. 66) who the next day conveyed the same to John, Lord Lumley, (fn. 67) and from this date the descent of the rectory followed that of the manor.