A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Cheam is a parish on the northern side of the Chalk Downs, 3 miles north-east of Epsom, 5½ miles south-west of Croydon. It measures about 3½ miles from north-west to south-east, and is about a mile wide, of a regular form, containing 1,909 acres. It is chiefly agricultural, with nearly 800 acres of permanent pasture. It is of the usual type for parishes on the north of the Downs. The old village and church are on the Woolwich Sand, and the extremities of the parish reach southwards over the chalk and northwards over the London Clay; Cheam Common and North Cheam are on the latter. The common fields were inclosed by an Act of 1806. (fn. 1) In the village and south of it are large chalk-pits. Prehistoric remains seem to be confined to a few flint flakes picked up on the Downs. The Beverley Brook rises in the chalk in Cheam parish.
The London, Brighton and South Coast railway to Epsom has a station at Cheam, and Belmont station on the line to Epsom Downs is just on the border of the parish. A new neighbourhood of villas has grown up here upon the Chalk Downs. Worcester Park station, on the London and South Western railway to Epsom, is just beyond the parish to the northwest. At this point the new residential district of Worcester Park extends into Cheam parish.
The old village lies round the meeting-place of the road running north and south from Malden to Banstead with the Sutton and Ewell road, about a mile west of the former town. Many of the cottages are of some antiquity and are generally constructed of timber framing, weather-boarded on the outside and roofed with tiles, though some are built of brick. The village is, however, fast becoming modernized, and a modern settlement is growing up along the road to Malden and on either side of the main Epsom road. The church stands in the centre of the old village, about 100 yards back on the east side of the Malden road, while on the opposite side of the road is the rectory, a two-story red brick building, with attics in the tile roof. It was for the most part erected in the 18th century, but the west wing is probably of the 17th century, refaced with brick-sized tiles when the main block was built. South of the rectory stands 'Whitehall,' a two-story building with overhanging upper story and tiled roof, the residence of Miss Killick, whose ancestors have occupied the house for several generations. The original structure was evidently a small rectangular farm-house half timbered, and appears to have been built in the 16th century. In the latter part of the 18th century most of the external walls were covered with weather-boarding that has obliterated its original Tudor detail. The house is entered from a timber porch at the north end of the east wall, over which is a room, with a central newelled staircase occupying a corresponding position on the west. Apparently in the 17th century the present drawingroom was added to the west of the northernmost chamber, and in the 18th century a new kitchen was built to the south-west of the old one. To the north of the house is a large 16th-century cellar, entered by a flight of steps from the garden of a small cottage. The walls of this cellar are of stone, and it is covered by a three-centre barrel vault of brick. To the west of and leading out of the large cellar is a smaller one, but much of this has fallen in. What was the original purpose of these vaults is purely a matter of conjecture.
The school, held in its early days in Whitehall House, now in the Manor House, a large red brick house, has been famous for a longer period than any other private school in the country. In 1665, by reason of the Plague in London, several sons of London gentlemen were sent to Cheam, (fn. 2) and the school seems to have continued ever since. It was in the hands of an eminent clergyman and educational reformer, the Rev. W. Gilpin, in the 18th century, and of Charles Mayo, who conducted it on the Pestalozzian system, in 1826. It is now a well-known preparatory school in the hands of Mr. A. S. Tabor.
The National school was founded in 1826. A girls' school was added in 1869, and a school at Cheam Common in 1878. Cheam Common (infants') was built in 1906, Belmont school in 1902. New school buildings are now being erected.
Cheam Park adjoins the modern Nonsuch Park. The original Nonsuch parks were probably partly within this parish, for the manor of West Cheam was in the king's hands when he began to build Nonsuch. The proximity of the royal palace of Nonsuch, and the frequent residence of all of the kings and queens there from Henry VIII to Charles II, involved considerable exactions and labours on the local inhabitants. Hence 'the Council to the Lords of the Admiralty understand that divers persons claim exemption from land carriage of timber for the navy by reason of their personal attendance' (fn. 3); and among these were the inhabitants of Cheam and Ewell in regard of service for the king's house at Nonsuch. On many subsequent occasions (fn. 4) the privilege seems regularly to have been impugned, and as constantly to be re-established until it was discontinued in the time of the Civil War.
After the Church Settlement of Elizabeth Cheam still remained a great recusant centre. Sir John Lumley, Lord Lumley (1534–1609), lord of the manor of Cheam, was accused of participation in the scheme to marry Mary to the Duke of Norfolk in 1570, and the Fromonds, who held a lease of the manor and a capital messuage in it, were from about 1615 to 1680 involved in criminal proceedings for recusancy. Thomas Fromond (fn. 5) was granted a lease of the site of the manor of East Cheam for thirty years on 8 October 1530 at a rent of £7, and Bartholomew Fromond surrendered it for a regrant at a rent of £7 for twenty-one years. In 1579 Bartholomew died, (fn. 6) and his son William succeeded him. In 1607 William died, (fn. 7) and Bartholomew inherited the estates which are delimited in a grant by William Fromond to Bartholomew his son. (fn. 8) Besides these the Lloyds or Floods (who inherited the manor) certainly had Romanist sympathies. In 1615 an information was laid against Bartholomew Fromond of Cheyme or Cheam (fn. 9) for lodging a Jesuit for three nights, one Henry Flood. In 1621 (fn. 10) there was a grant to Sir John Leigh of Burstow Lodge as long as the estates remained in the king's hands for the recusancy of Bartholomew Fromondes or Furmens 'who retained his one third in East and West Cheam and Mitcham.' Again in 1633 (fn. 11) there is another information against Bartholomew Fromond for harbouring one Henry Flood, alias Francis Smith, alias Rivers, alias Seymour, a Jesuit; in 1638 (fn. 12) Francis Smith, 'aged almost four score years,' was released from a long imprisonment and at once went to Fromond's house. Fromond endeavoured to bribe the pursuivants off, but had to avert proceedings by petitioning the council. By 1650 (fn. 13) Bartholomew Fromond was dead; in 1652 his widow's second husband William Howard of East Cheam begged discharge of lands in East Cheam held in right of Elizabeth his wife, widow of Bartholomew Fromond, who was a Protestant. In 1654 William Baggs (her third husband) still had to beg leave to contract for the sequestrated two thirds. Again we have in 1650 Mary Flood (the widow of the lord of the manor) petitioning against sequestration of two thirds, and on 1 August 1650 the oath of abjuration was administered to her. In 1680 a similar claim was still made on William Fromond.
There are several old place-names recorded, some still extant. In a grant from William Fromond to Bartholomew dated 12 July 1560 we find 'Hasdell Close, Lamp Close, The Gate, Pyghtell, Bassetland, Little Bassett, Bassett Lane, Bell Yard, Hackard's Close, Pylford's Bridge (now Pulford Bridge), Dobbescroft Pit, Little Moreland, Fylsefeld, Rythe, Shepehack's feld, Longlands, Mareland.' Other names are Spensares, Swynkers, (fn. 14) a close of land called Cockfeld, (fn. 15) and Spasfeld. (fn. 16) Two mills are mentioned in a fine of 1583. (fn. 17)
The earliest mention of Cheam is in the alleged charter of 727, (fn. 18) by which Frithwald, subregulus of Surrey, with Bishop Erkenwald, confirmed to the monastery of Chertsey '20 hides of land at Cheam, with the swine pasture in Danewald.' The original grant was said to be in 675 A.D. Next we have on December 15 933 (fn. 19) Athelstan confirming to the ' venerable family which is in Chertsey' the lands formerly possessed by that abbey, including Cheam. A little later, 946–55, (fn. 20) we find Athelwold leaving his brother Edric 'Cheam' by will; but this can hardly refer to the same extent of territory. Again in 967 (fn. 21) Edgar confirmed the donation of 727 made by Frithwald to Chertsey.
The authenticity of these early Chertsey charters is, as is well known, very doubtful, and in 1018 the two vills of Mesteham (Merstham) and Cheam are said to have been granted to Christchurch, Canterbury, by Athelstan or Lifing, Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 22) In 1086 Cheam (assessed for 20 hides in the time of King Edward and then for 4) was held by the archbishop for the sustenance of the monks. Later there were apparently two estates, for West Cheam appears in the possession of Christchurch, Canterbury, and East Cheam as belonging to the archbishop.
—In 1291 the estates of Christchurch in Cheam were valued at £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 23) In 1316 the Prior of Christchurch received a grant of free warren in his demesne lands there. (fn. 24) The Valor Ecclesiasticus gives the farm of the manor as £5, the rent of assize £6 6s. 8d. and the perquisites of court as of no value. (fn. 25) Christchurch surrendered to the king in 1540, and West Cheam was annexed to Hampton Court. (fn. 26)
In 1563 Elizabeth for £885 sold to the Earl of Arundel West Cheam and some other lands in that neighbourhood. (fn. 27) On the death of the Earl of Arundel his son-in-law Sir John Lumley, Lord Lumley, inherited the Arundel estates in his wife's right, and in 1609 died without issue, thus terminating the new barony in tail-male which had been created in his favour by the patent of 1547, (fn. 28) when he petitioned Edward VI to reverse the attainder of his father, who had been executed for high treason in 1538.
The two manors then devolved on John Lord Lumley's sister's son Splandian Lloyd, in whose family they remained for two generations, when they were inherited by Robert Lumley Lloyd, the famous archaeologist. He set up a claim to the barony of 1547 (which, however, had been granted in tail-male), as against Viscount Lumley, Earl of Scarborough, the descendant of a younger brother of the great-grandfather of John Lord Lumley who died in 1609.
Robert Lumley Lloyd by his will dated 29 December 1729 left the manors to the Duke of Bedford, who sold them inter alia on 10 May 1755 (fn. 29) for £22,340 to Edward Northey, son of Sir Edward Northey, attorney-general in 1710, in whose family they have since remained. The Rev. Edward W. Northey is now lord of the manor.
—The archbishop's estate at Cheam was taxed at £10 in 1291. (fn. 30) An inquisition taken on the lands of Archbishop Thomas in the reign of Richard II mentions the manor of Cheam among his possessions. (fn. 31) This manor was included in the archbishop's bailiwick of Croydon. In 1535 the farm of the manor was £7; the perquisites of court were of no value because no court was held. (fn. 32) In 1538 Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, sold the manor of East Cheam to the king, (fn. 33) who in 1540 annexed this manor amongst others (fn. 34) to the honour of Hampton Court.
On 2 September 1554 Mary created Sir Antony Browne Viscount Montagu and granted him lands to sustain the dignity, amongst them East Cheam, (fn. 35) parcel of the honour of Hampton Court. In 1575 (fn. 36) Viscount Montagu sold the manor with view of frankpledge pertaining to it for £200 to the Earl of Arundel, with which the separate history of this division closed.
The archbishop claimed return of writs, view of frankpledge, pleas of withernam and assize of bread and ale at Cheam. View of frankpledge is mentioned as appurtenant to the manor in 1575. Manning and Bray, (fn. 37) however, quoting from court rolls, say that the tithingman, aletaster and constable were appointed at Merstham Court, and that a common fine and borghsilver were also paid by Cheam.
The manor or reputed manor of WIGHTS is only very occasionally mentioned. In 1523 Sir John Leigh died seised of this manor in West Cheam. (fn. 38) In 1544 it was conveyed by Sir John Leigh to the king, (fn. 39) who granted it with West Cheam to Henry Earl of Arundel, and it appears in all subsequent dealings by the Arundels and Lumleys, and follows the line of descent of the two other manors, in which it became merged.
The church of ST. DUNSTAN, erected in 1864, stands on a new site to the north of the former church, the east end of the chancel of which has been preserved as a sepulchral chapel (fn. 40) to contain the monuments and brasses of the demolished structure. Two plans of the old church are still extant, one made early in the 18th century, the other in 1862. From these it would appear that the original building consisted of a chancel with a south chapel, a nave, a south aisle the same width as the chapel, and a west tower; but in the 18th century—the date 1746 on a rib in the ceiling probably gives the exact year—the south wall of the old nave and south aisle were pulled down and a wider nave was erected with a north aisle and south porch. The church stood thus until the erection of the present building, and had galleries over the aisle, the west end and south side of the nave and along the south side of the chapel.
What the date of the original building was is purely a matter of conjecture, but that it was not later than c. 1230 is testified by the arcade opening from the chancel into the south chapel, portions of which are still to be seen built into the west end of the south wall of the remaining piece of the chancel.
The east window is of the 15th century and has three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery under a pointed head and splayed inner jambs. The centre light is wider than the side lights and the foliations are subcusped. Internally, at the east end of the south wall the jambs of a window are visible, to the west of which was the arcade opening into the south chapel with pointed arches on an octagonal pier with a respond of the same section and moulded capitals. The easternmost of these arches is partly visible from the outside, but the east respond is embedded in the wall, only a small portion of a mutilated capital being now visible; more of the capital of the first pier can be discerned although much decayed. The lower part of the arcade is under the ground.
Along the north and south walls is a plaster entablature with a frieze ornamented with bunches of fruit and foliage in bold relief, while from the cornice springs an elaborate late 16th-century plaster barrel vault with intersecting ribs and moulded pendants, spaced alternately in three rows, one row along the ridge and one on either side. Towards the west end of the chapel is a plastered tie-beam having the main cornice returned along its sides, and a panelled soffit enriched with vine ornament and bearing the date 1746. The upper part of the beam above the cornice is chamfered back, and has modelled on its chamfers winged amorini and sea monsters. The walls, with the exception of the modern brick west wall, are rough-cast on the outside and plastered internally.
Let in a stone slab in the south-east corner of the chapel are several brasses. The earliest is set in the head of the stone and inscribed in black letter to John Compton, who died 16 January 1450 and Joan his wife, 6 September 1458. Below is a brass to William Wodeward, 'frater Rectoris hui' eccliē,' 9 January 1459. Immediately under this is the brass figure of a late 15th or early 16th-century knight in plate armour. The brass, which is only 6 in. high, is very much worn. In the slab on the dexter side of this small figure is the upper part of a woman, and on the sinister side the head and shoulders of a man, both with their hands in prayer and of the early 15th century. Another brass is inscribed to Bartholomew son and heir of Thomas Fromond, formerly of Cheam, Surrey, who died 7 July 1579. The brass in the foot of this slab has an inscription to Michael Denys, who died 15 January 1578.
To the east of the large slab are two smaller ones; the dexter slab contains four brass shields—(1) and (2) party cheveronwise, the upper part ermine, a cheveron between three fleurs de lis; (3) three roundels with a label of three points over, impaling a cheveron between three yard-sticks (Yarde); and (4) the same impaling a checky coat. In the other slab are two brasses, one the head and shoulders of a man, the other of a boy, both of early 15th-century date. At the west end of the chapel are two Purbeck floor slabs with indents for brasses. One shows indents for three shields and two inscriptions, and the other for the figure of a woman with an inscription under and four shields. Another Purbeck slab, in the middle of the floor, has matrices for the heads and shoulders of a man and woman and an inscription, while a much-worn slab in the east end of the chapel has matrices for shields and what were probably two sets of kneeling figures and an inscription. Hung in an iron stand are several palimpsests. On the centre brass is a shield with the arms of the see of Lincoln, while on the reverse are the arms of Fromond, party cheveronwise ermine and gules, a cheveron between three fleurs de lis or quartered with Checky argent and sable, for Ellingbridge; impaling Gules a cheveron or between three yardsticks argent, tipped gold, for Yarde. On another fragment are engraved two hands holding a heart, on which is incised 'Jh[esu] est amor me'?' while above the heart is 'Jhu . . . m'cy,' with a scroll under inscribed 'libera me dñe de morte'; on the reverse is a small 15th-century representation of the Trinity.
The largest brass in this frame has an English inscription in black letter to Thomas Fromond (21 March 1513) and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heiress of John Yarde. Above the inscription are figures of the man kneeling at a desk with six sons behind him, while on the opposite side are the figures of his wife and four daughters. On the reverse of the inscription is a shrouded man, while the man with his sons and the woman with her daughters are each made up of two earlier brasses. The reverse of the man is the lower part of a woman kneeling at a desk, apparently of late 15th-century date, and a piece of canopy work with the upper part of a figure of St. John the Evangelist with the poisoned cup. On the reverse of the woman is a portion of the lower part of a woman kneeling at a desk and a part of a rudely-cut man's face.
On the north wall is an elaborate marble monument to Lord Lumley, who died in 1609. The monument consists of a white marble base inlaid with black marble panels and supporting at either end black marble columns, above which is an entablature. In the centre of the monument above the cornice is a shield with (1) Lumley, (2) the old coat of Lumley, Gules six martlets argent supported by two popinjays and the crest a pelican, while over the columns this device is repeated.
Arranged alternately on either side of the inscription are sixteen shields showing the Lumley descents as follows:—(1) Old Lumley impaling a saltire; (2) the same impaling a blank shield; (3) and (4) as (2); (5) the same impaling three cups; (6) the same impaling a saltire vair (Wallington); (7) the same impaling Thweng; (8) to (16) new Lumley (i.e. the new arms founded on the Thweng coat) impaling Holland, Nevill, Reedham, Harrington, Thornton, Edward IV, Conyers, Scrope, and Knightley. In the centre of the monument is a panel of red-veined marble with a long Latin inscription. Another Latin inscription below traces the descent of the Lumleys from Liulph the Saxon. Below the inscription are three shields : the centre one, John Lord Lumley; the dexter, Lumley impaling his first wife Joan Fitz Alan; the sinister, Lumley impaling his second wife Elizabeth Darcy.
Against the south wall is a marble monument to Joan daughter and co-heir of Henry Earl of Arundel and first wife of John Lord Lumley. The lower part of the monument is rectangular on plan, with the sides divided into panels by small Ionic pilasters, and is covered by a flat slab. Above this base against the wall is a panel carved in relief, with a lady in late 16th-century costume kneeling, while on either side of the panel are short pilasters of the Corinthian order supporting an entablature surmounted by elaborate scrolls having popinjays as supports at either end and crowned by a horse. In the end panels are carved the Lumley arms with their supporters : the dexter one a popinjay, the sinister a horse rampant holding a sprig of oak leaves in his mouth for Arundel, while on the dexter front panels are the figures of a boy and girl with a background in perspective, and in the sinister that of a girl only. The edge of the slab has an inscription in Roman capitals.
On the north wall is an elaborate monument to Elizabeth daughter of Lord Darcy of Chich, second wife of John Lord Lumley. It consists of two white marble pilasters of the Doric order, standing on a base and supporting an entablature surmounted by a panelled frieze flanked at either end by pedestals supporting obelisks, while over the panel are shields of arms. Between the pilasters is a deep recess in which is the recumbent effigy of Elizabeth daughter of Lord Darcy. The sides and soffit of the recess are faced with Purbeck marble, damasked with squares charged alternately with popinjays and cinquefoils. Incised on the west side of the recess are the arms of Lumley, and on the east those of Darcy, while in a panel on the back is an inscription. In the panel above the entablature is an inscription in Roman capitals, while on the base of the monument between an enrichment of strapwork and foliage is another like inscription : 'Vita est umbra brevis, qd mors nisi mortis imago vita, morte bona vivis, Eliza Deo.'
On the east wall is a brass with a long inscription to 'Edmund Barret Serjant of ye wine cellar to King Charles who died in his 65th year, Augst 17° 1631, and his wife Dorothie Apsley who bore him 3 sons, Thoms Edmund & John, & one daughtr Constance. His second wife Ruth Causten bore him 3 sonns, Robert, Francis & Edward, and 2 daughtr Ruth & Margaret; also his eldest sonn Thomas Barret Clerk of ye wardrobe to King Charles April 28 1632 aged 36 s.p.'
On the east end of the south wall is a marble cartouche to Frances daughter of Samuel and Ann Peirson. She was born 30 September 1690, and died 31 May 1693. Another elaborately carved cartouche on this wall is to James Bovey, who died in 1695, and Margareta his wife, who died in 1714.
The modern church consists of a chancel with an apsidal end, north and south vestries, a nave in five bays, north and south aisles, a tower at the west end of the north aisle surmounted by a broach spire, and a south porch. The building is in eclectic Gothic, with pointed windows and arcades with columns having capitals carved in a manner reminiscent of early French work. The walls are externally of rough-axed rubble with ashlar dressings, but on the inside are faced with red bricks relieved with bands of brick of a purple blue colour. The columns of the arcades are of a fine grained grey stone, and the pointed arches have stone voussoirs introduced into the brickwork. The roofs are of pitch pine and are slated.
There is a peal of six bells. The treble is by John Warner, 1870; the second by Thomas Mears of London, 1835; the third and fourth by Richard Phelps, 1714; the fifth by John Warner, 1870; and the tenor by Pack & Chapman, 1778.
The plate consists of two silver cups, a silver paten, a silver plate and a flagon, all of 1755, and inscribed 'The Gift of Mrs. Jane Pattenson, waiting woman to her late Grace Diana first Wife of the Most Noble John Duke of Bedford 1755,' and two modern silver patens.
The registers previous to 1813 are in four volumes : (i) from 1538 to 1728, all entries; (ii) baptisms and burials 1729 to 1789, marriages 1729 to 1760; (iii) marriages 1760 to 1812; (iv) baptisms and burials 1790 to 1812.
There was a church in Cheam on the archbishop's land at the time of the Survey. The church seems to have been generally called Cheam, sometimes West Cheam. It was in the diocese of Winchester, but was a peculiar of Canterbury, the archbishops having the advowson. In 1538 (fn. 41) Cranmer sold to Henry VIII the manor of East Cheam, and this grant probably included the advowson. The Crown, in the grant to Sir Anthony Browne, reserved the advowson, which was granted by Elizabeth to the Earl of Arundel, (fn. 42) and it devolved on the Lloyds together with the manors. It was conveyed by Henry Lloyd, alias Flood, and Henry his son to Benjamin Holford on 1 October 1638. A fine for this purpose was levied Michaelmas 14 Charles I. On 22 November 1638 Laud acquitted St. John's College, Oxford, of £400 paid by it for the purchase of the living. On 19 December Holford conveyed the advowson to the college for £380. (fn. 43)
It may be observed that five of the post-Reformation clergy of Cheam attained episcopal rank, viz. Anthony Watson, rector in 1605, who became Bishop of Chichester; Richard Senhouse, rector in 1607, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle; Lancelot Andrewes, rector in 1609, who became Bishop of Winchester; George Mountain, rector in 1609, afterwards Archbishop of York; John Hackett, rector in 1609, who became Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
In 1824 Sir Edward Antrobus gave £1,000 for poor relief, subject to a charge for maintaining monuments. In 1872 J. T. Martin left £107 for poor relief. There is church land producing £15 a year for repair of the church.