A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Sanderstead is a country parish 3 miles south-east of Croydon. The parish is on the chalk, with considerable surface deposits of gravel in the southern part. It contains 3,151 acres. It lies high, Purley Down being nearly 400 ft., Sanderstead Down adjoining Riddlesdown in Coulsdon, above 400 ft., Selsdon Hill added to the civil parish of Sanderstead from Croydon in 1883, above 500 ft., and the ground near the church 550 ft. above sea level.
The joint Brighton and South Eastern Railway Company's lines pass through the extremity of the parish on the north-west with Purley Oaks station in it, and the Brighton Company's line to East Grinstead tunnels under it or passes through it with a Sanderstead station. Both, however, are on the outskirts of the parish. Consequently, though houses have grown up along its edge where it touches Smitham Bottom near South Croydon along the road to Purley, the greater part of the parish has remained comparatively rural, the population in 1901 being 1,001, and excluding Selsdon, and the part of the parish within Purley ecclesiastical district, only 506.
Sanderstead is rich in ancient remains. In the north of the parish at Croham Hurst, a wooded hill on ground now acquired by the Borough of Croydon as an open space, are remains of hut circles described by Mr. Clinch. (fn. 1) Neolithic flints are frequent here and at Purley. In 1884 Anglo-Saxon interments were found at Sanderstead by Mr. Garraway Rice. (fn. 2)
Purley Beeches, a very picturesque piece of wooded down, has been recently acquired as a public open space; but before this there were no common lands in Sanderstead, the open downs being private property. The village and church stand on the summit of a steep hill. The churchyard is well cared for and contains three fine old yews and some other trees. Adjoining the churchyard on the south and east sides, but divided from it by a tall holly hedge, are the grounds of Sanderstead Court. (fn. 3)
Though the parish is not nearly so closely built over as Coulsdon a considerable number of villas as well as larger houses exist. Selsdon Park is the seat of Mr. Wickham Noakes, J.P. Unstedbury Wood evidently takes its name from the family of Ownsted, resident in the manor of Sanderstead (q.v.) at an early date. At the end of the 18th century John Horne Tooke lived at Purley in the house of William Tooke and there began the 'Diversions of Purley.'
In the Domesday Survey SANDERSTEAD was found to belong to the abbey of St. Peter of Hyde at Winchester. (fn. 4) The manors of Sanderstead and Warlingham were contiguous and the ill-defined boundary led to much quarrelling between the Abbot of Hyde and the Abbot of Bermondsey, who were lords of the adjoining manors. In 1272 there was a lawsuit between them to establish the proper boundaries, the Abbot of Bermondsey complaining that his neighbour had taken 16 acres of land in one place and a rood and a half in another. (fn. 5) In 1276 the Abbot of Hyde impleaded the Prior of Bermondsey for setting up a gallows within his manor of Sanderstead, the prior maintaining that it was within his own manor of Warlingham. (fn. 6) At the taxation of Pope Nicholas the manor was valued at £16 2s. 3¾d., (fn. 7) and in the same year its lands were augmented by the grant of a carucate of land from John de la Sale. (fn. 8) In 1310 the abbot granted an annuity from the manor to Master Jordan Morant, (fn. 9) and in 1339 Richard Woodstock paid 5 marks for the king's licence to retain the manor. (fn. 10) The abbot and convent appear to have always let the manor on short leases; in 1323–4 they received licence to lease it with appurtenances, except the advowson, to Walter Bishop of Exeter for ten years at a yearly rent of £20. (fn. 11) In 1348 they had let it at farm to Nicholas and Thomas de Chynham, who refused to pay the fifteenth of wool, which in addition to the tenth had been granted by the people of England to the king, asserting that church lands paid only the tenth. (fn. 12) Sanderstead continued the property of Hyde Abbey until 1538, when the abbot surrendered to Henry VIII. (fn. 13) The following year the king granted the manor to John Gresham (fn. 14) (Lord Mayor of London in 1537) and renewed the grant in fee in 1545. (fn. 15) He was knighted in 1546 and before his death, ten years later, (fn. 16) he devised the estate by will to his wife Katherine for her life with remainder to his third son Edmund and his heirs male. (fn. 17) Edmund died in 1586 and left the manor by will to his son Richard and his heirs. (fn. 18) In 1590–1 Richard sold it to John Ownsted (fn. 19) (sergeant of the carriages of Queen Elizabeth) (fn. 20) and Joan his wife. John Ownsted died seised in 1600. Having no issue he devised Sanderstead to his wife Margaret for life. After her death his sisters Anne Knepp and Joyce Holloway were to have one third and his cousin Harman Atwood the remaining two thirds. (fn. 21) By 1618 Harman Atwood had bought the moieties of the one third from John Ownsted's sisters or their heirs, (fn. 22) and in 1653 he died seised of the whole. (fn. 23) He was succeeded by his fourth son Harman, who died in February 1676–7. The estate remained in the Atwood family until 1759, (fn. 24) when John Atwood died without issue, having devised it to his wife for her life with remainder to his nephew Thomas Wigsell, an attorney of New Inn, London, who died in 1778. The estate then became the property in turn of his nephews Atwood Wigsell and the Rev. Thomas Wigsell and of his niece Susannah, who all died without issue, and in 1807 it devolved on Atwood Wigsell Taylor, who assumed the name of Wigsell. He died in 1821 and was succeeded by his son Colonel Wigsell, who died after 1880. His successor was Captain F. Wigsell Arkwright, who died about 1902, and the present lord of the manor is Mr. E. F. Wigsell Arkwright. (fn. 25)
It appears that the Abbots of Hyde had a grange attached to the manor, which was pulled down at the dissolution of the monastery. The well remains, 350 ft. deep. A manor-house called Sanderstead Place was built out of the materials, and perhaps on the site of the grange, which was south-west of Sanderstead Court. It was pulled down about 1800. The present manor-house, called Sanderstead Court, was rebuilt by Harman Atwood, and has his initials and arms and the date 1676 carved above the entrance doorway. (fn. 26) He died 16 February 1676–7, and must have rebuilt it within a year of his death. There was evidently an earlier house, as the Atwoods are described as of Sanderstead Court in 1586. (fn. 27) The house contains a great hall dating from the 16th century, but decorated in the 18th century. This is two-storied and has fluted columns with Corinthian capitals. The moulded brick chimneys are worth notice. Some years ago a secret chamber is said to have been discovered behind the chimney of the hall. It was, however, partially closed up and may have been nothing more than the recess of a great open fireplace. There is a room called 'the Queen's room,' in which Queen Elizabeth is said to have slept, but it is doubtful if the room is of so early a date.
PURLEY (Pirelea, xii cent.; Pirle, xv cent.).
—A charter quoted by Manning and Bray in their history contains a 12th-century grant by John, Abbot of Hyde, to William son of Osbert de Purley of a moiety of a wood called Nithea in the manor of Sanderstead. (fn. 28) The property was augmented in the reign of Richard I by the purchase of half a hide of land from Hugh de Wingham and confirmed by the abbot, of whom it was held. (fn. 29) There are various charters extant relating to the purchase and exchange of land by the Purley family. (fn. 30) In 1332 Reginald de Purley had the bishop's licence to hear divine service in his oratory in Sanderstead, which in 1346 was also granted to John de Purley. (fn. 31) Towards the end of the 14th century the lands appear to have been divided.
—In 1377 Simon son of John Oliver quitclaimed to Nicholas Carew certain lands which had formerly belonged to John de Purley. (fn. 32) Nicholas Carew died seised in 1432, leaving the estate in trust for his granddaughter Joan and her heirs. (fn. 33) Joan married William Sanders, and her greatgrandson Thomas Sanders, who was knighted by Edward VI and was Remembrancer of the Exchequer, settled the manor of East Purley on his wife Alice, daughter of Sir Edmund Walsingham. Sir Thomas Sander died seised of East Purley in 1565. (fn. 34) According to Manning and Bray, (fn. 35) Edmund son of Sir Thomas and Alice conveyed the reversion in 1580 to Arnold King, who sold it to Edmund Gresham; it certainly formed part of the estate which Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Richard Gresham licence to alienate to John Ownsted in 1590, (fn. 36) and from that time it has descended with the manor of Sanderstead.
Thomas de Purley, who died about 1377, left his lands called WEST PURLEY in trust (fn. 37) for John his son. John died before 1439, leaving a widow Agnes and two sisters Margaret Kyriell and Joan Frolbury. (fn. 38) The two sisters conveyed the estate to John Stopynden and John Kyriell. (fn. 39) It passed through the hands of various trustees, (fn. 40) and was finally sold to Thomas Ive, (fn. 41) to whom Agnes Woodstock, relict of Thomas de Purley, quitclaimed her right about 1462. (fn. 42) Margaret Coke, one of the daughters and heirs of Joan Frolbury, also quitclaimed to Thomas Ive in 1471. (fn. 43) From Mr. Glover's deeds, quoted by Manning and Bray, (fn. 44) it appears that Henry Polsted of Albury conveyed it in 1554 to Humphrey Covell, and his son John Covell in 1578 conveyed it to William Walter of Wimbledon, whose son Sir William conveyed it in 1617 to Matthew Bedell, merchant tailor. In 1636 Matthew Bedell died seised of the capital messuage called West Purley, (fn. 45) and by his will directed that it should be sold and various legacies paid out of the proceeds, with a proviso that if either of his sons-in-law would undertake to pay the legacies they might take the estate. Ralph Hawtrey, husband of Mary Bedell, elected to do so. (fn. 46) His son conveyed the estate to Lewis Audley, a major in the Parliamentary army and a man of some note in the Commonwealth. He was a justice of the peace, and marriages were celebrated at his house, according to an Act of Parliament dated 24 July 1653. (fn. 47) He really took the principal part in suppressing Holland's Royalist rising in 1648 and wrote a spirited account of the affair. He also dispersed the abortive Royalist rising in Surrey in 1659. He married Ralph Hawtrey's widow in 1647. (fn. 48) In 1661 Major Audley conveyed the estate to Harman Atwood, who already possessed East Purley, and it has since descended with Sanderstead Manor. (fn. 49)
—While Sir John Gresham was lord of the manor of Sanderstead (1545–56) John Comport was holding of him at will a messuage, one toft, 1 yd. of land, and 18 acres of land with appurtenances in Sanderstead. He desired Sir John Gresham to demise these premises to Robert Mellish for twenty years. Sir John consented on condition that Robert Mellish should at his own cost erect a new house upon the premises. (fn. 50) By an inquisition taken in 1627 it was found that Robert Mellish was holding at his death a mansion-house called Lymes Place in Sanderstead. (fn. 51) His son Henry Mellish, a Levant merchant, died in 1677. He left two sons, George and John, of whom George died, aged twenty-two, in 1603, and one daughter Mary, the wife of Mr. Walter Hampton, who left issue. Henry St. John was the only resident gentleman returned at the visitation of 1725. He and Henry St. John, son of Henry St. John, baptized at Sanderstead in 1716, married there in 1746, and buried there in 1773, may have lived at Lymes Place.
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, and south porch. (fn. 52) Although some axe tooling on the stones at the east end of the north aisle suggests an earlier date, the present church was begun about 1230. The earliest part is the eastern arch on the north side, with the respond (behind which is a contemporary piscina with segmental head and plain circular dishing to the drain) and the first pier. The eastern bay of the south aisle followed about 1250. About 1310 the two western bays on both sides were added, making an arcade of three arches to both aisles; and this rather suggests that the original nave may have had its western wall a little to the westward of the second column from the east, giving a length of about 28 ft. and showing an extension of about 15 ft. 6 in. westward for the whole building. Very singularly, however, this extension seems hardly to have been carried out before a further change was planned, involving the partial blocking up of the westernmost arch on both sides. This was caused by the erection of the tower; and part of the arches, together with the west responds, of the nave arcades may be detected built into the mass of masonry forming the abutments of the lofty tower arch. In the early 16th century a new window was inserted in the north aisle. In 1832 and later in 1846 extensive repairs were carried out, involving the renewal of nearly all the windows. At the earlier date the chancel would seem to have been almost wholly rebuilt, as appears from a stone tablet inserted in the south wall : 'The Rev. J. Courtney repaired ye chancel A.D. 1832.' (fn. 53) There are three windows on either side of the chancel, single lights, with cinquefoiled heads and hood mouldings, and as these correspond with the windows shown in Cracklow's engraving (1824) they are probably fairly correct reproductions. The east window, on the other hand, is of an entirely modern design, quite different from the old, which had simple intersecting tracery, and was set much lower in the wall. The wide chancel arch appears to date from c. 1310, and is of two chamfered orders with chamfered piers having imposts instead of capitals, moulded with beaded scroll, bell and necking. The nave arcades are of three bays, with arches of two orders, moulded with a small and a large chamfer. The capitals and bases of the eastern arch on the north side, which dates from c. 1230, have simple early mouldings. The mouldings of the capitals and bases of the east bay of the south arcade are of a curiously clumsy section, suggesting the handiwork of a local mason. The two western bays appear to date from c. 1310. The mouldings of the capitals and bases are characteristic of the period. The west responds, as mentioned above, are built into the abutments of the tower arch. All the columns and responds are octagonal. The hood moulding and corbel heads to all the arches are of stucco and date from c. 1832. The west window within the tower has modern tracery, apparently a restoration, as its form is similar to that shown in an engraving of c. 1770. (fn. 54) The windows of the side walls of the aisles are of two lights, squareheaded, without hood mouldings, the heads of the lights being cinquefoiled. An exception is the easternmost window in the north aisle and north wall, which has four-centred arched heads of flat pitch, trefoiled. The stonework is the original, and dates from about 1520. All these windows have plastered splays and lintels internally, so that it is difficult to say how far they represent old work. At the east end of each aisle is a two-light window of early 14th-century character, having a pointed reararch, with a sharp hollow on the angle. The tracery, which is modern, judging by Cracklow's plate (1824) does not accurately reproduce the original. A stone chamfered corbel or image-bracket adjoins the east window of the north aisle. Beneath the external sill of the corresponding window in the south aisle the basin of a holy water stoup is built in. On the inside behind the Audley tomb (see below) are two masses of rubble, which may be the remains of a small mediaeval altar. The western window of this aisle, a spherical triangle, is modern. Somewhat singularly, there is only one doorway, near the western end of the south wall of the south aisle. It is plain, of early 14thcentury date, with pointed head and continuous double chamfers. At present, as originally, the aisle roofs are continued in one long sweep from that of the nave; they are thus shown in the view of 1770, referred to above; but between this date and 1846 a view of about 1824 shows an upper story of brick, with high-pitched hipped roof and square windows, as built on to the old aisle walls, no doubt for the accommodation of a gallery. The same view shows the church as mantled with ivy, with which the walls are still largely covered. The north aisle seems always to have retained its long low roof, as at present. In the early part of the 19th century it had two plain 'cottage' windows, since replaced by the present stone openings. The whole construction of the tower proclaims it to be an insertion within the original nave area, of circa 1330, and is extremely curious and unusual, (fn. 55) the space inclosed on the ground level being a narrow oblong the entire width of the nave, while above two pointed segmental bridging arches span this space east to west, and upon the contracted area thus produced the thin external walls of the tower proper rise out of the roof. The central area is used as the baptistery, and in the lateral recesses thus formed the organ and large cupboards are placed; while the western ends of the north and south aisles are screened off to serve as clergy and quire vestries.
The windows of the upper story of the tower are square-headed chamfered slits, in the original firestone, placed immediately under the eaves of the spire. This spire, which is shingled, appears to be of ancient construction. Below these windows is a weathered set off or string course, marking the increased thickness of the lower walls of the tower. The quoins of the upper stage of the tower where visible on the south side are of long and short stones, and probably represent a repair of the 17th or 18th century. The tower arches are of two orders chamfered. The south porch is modern. It is faced with flint, and replaces an old one of timber.
The church is built of flints, originally covered with a thin coat of plaster, which remains in part of the west wall and buttresses of the tower, but elsewhere most of the walling surfaces appear to have been renewed in later and (as in the chancel) modern times. (fn. 56) The original dressings were in firestone, but of these little is now visible externally, owing to coatings of Roman cement (west wall) and general renewal in Bath stone. The firestone may still be seen in the quoins of the western buttresses, the upper part of the tower, and of the east wall of the chancel; also in the window in the north wall of the north aisle, the south doorway, and generally in the interior stonework. The roofs are tiled, and, except in the aisles, where they are plastered, appear to be modern, but that of the nave, which is cased with deal panelling, may be ancient.
Most of the paving in the nave and chancel is of stone slabs. The step levels in the chancel are wholly modern, as are also the tile pavement of the sanctuary, the font, the seating, and all the furniture, except a curious old oak settle of 17th-century date against the east face of the tower arch-wall, and a fine sanctuary chair of the same date having a carving, on the back, of Abraham offering up Isaac. The glass is entirely modern, but Manning and Bray (fn. 57) record as existing in their time in the east window of the chancel a triangle, emblematic of the Trinity.
The earliest monuments are those of the Atwoods and Ownsteds, beginning with a brass, now mural, in the chancel to John Atwodde (d ed 1525) and Dyones his wife. The man is shown clean shaven, with bushy hair, in a long gown with deep furred sleeves and broad-toed shoes, his hands joined in prayer; the woman in like attitude, with kennel headdress, furred cuffs, jewelled or embroidered cincture, having three roses in the centre, and pendant chains or cords terminating in three bells below the knee. The inscription, in black letter, reads: 'Off yor charite pray for the soull of John A Wodde and Dyones his wyfe which John decessid the xxx day of July, Ao d[omini]. MoVcXXVo, on whos soul ihũ have m'ci.'
On the opposite wall is a small brass of a group of ten children, apparently of the same date as the last, and probably originally belonging to it. As placed, however, a connexion is assumed, incorrectly, with the nine children mentioned on the inscription beneath, which reads as follows (fn. 58) : 'Here lyeth Nicholas Wood, the thirde sonne of John at Wood of Sandersted Corte who served Quene Elizabeth sens the second yeare of her Rayne . & deceassed the xiiith of May . 1586 and lefte behinde him a wife & children ix, vii sonns: harmon . John . Nicholas . Thom[as] . James . John . Richarde . Allis . & Mary.'
The last name is uncertain The brasses of Nicholas and his wife, which no doubt once accompanied the inscription, are missing. This inscription-plate is a palimpsest, on the reverse being one to Nicholas Pury. which reads: 'xv die Marcii Anno d[omini] 1585. Clauditur hoc templo Nicolaus Puryus heros armiger et Templi qui medii socius erat. Beati qui in Domino moriuntur.'
There was formerly another brass inscription to Henry Pollestede, gent., of Pirl'ew (Purley), citizen and merchant tailor of London, who died in 1556, which was also a palimpsest. It bore on one side the following: 'Here Restithe ye bodye of Henrye Pollestede late of pirllew gentilmā Somtyme Cittezein & marchant taylor of Londō which Henrye deptyde ye xxv daye of de[cem]ber Anô M.VcLVI. O whose soule Ihū haue mercy.'
The inscription on the reverse, according to Manning and Bray, (fn. 59) was to one William Bycklay, who died in 1467. It ran:
On the floor of the nave is a brass inscription to Mrs. Joan Ownsted, which reads: 'Here lyeth ye body of Johane Ounsted, late wyfe of John Ounsted Esquyer of sanderstede Corte, which Deceased the xviijth daye of January . 1587.'
On the south wall of the chancel is a fine mural monument to John Ownsted, who is represented in armour and a ruff, kneeling at a faldstool beneath a circular arch, on the soffit of which are flowers, a lion's head forming the keystone, with large roses in the spandrels. The flanking pilasters and the scroll-borders at bottom have delicate arabesque work, and above the cornice, between two obelisks, is the family crest on a background of scrollwork. The inscription runs: 'Here lieth bvried the bodie of John Ownsted esqvier, servavnt to ye most excellent Princess & ovr dread soveraigne Qveene Elizabeth and Seriant of her Maties Cariage by ye space of 40. yeres, he died in ye 66. yere of his age on the 9th of Avgvst. 1600.'
On the north wall of the north aisle, near to its eastern end, is a most gracefully designed monument to George son of Henry Mellish, who died 18 November 1693, aged twenty-three. He is represented in a flowing wig, and his epitaph, traditionally ascribed to Dryden, is as follows:—
'Here lies a Youth who Virtue's Race had Run,
When scarce his yeares of Man-hood were Begun :
So swift a Progress call'd for early Rest,
And plac'd his Soul Betimes among the Blest.
Another such our Age despairs to find
Of charming Person and accomplish'd Mind,
Where manly Sense and sweetest Temper join'd,
But Fame's large volume would be fill'd to tell
Those Qualities in which he did excell !
Then, Reader, dropp a Tear, and only say,
Death saw the Virtuous Youth prepar'd to pay
Great Nature's Debt, and called Before its Day.'
The most interesting monument in the church is the recumbent effigy in white Carrara marble, upon a large table tomb, composed of grey, white and black marble, to Mary Audley. It must originally, no doubt, have been placed east and west, but at some time—probably in 1832—it has been moved to its present very unsuitable position, standing north and south, blocking the end of the south aisle, where only one side can be seen and one of the inscriptions read. To the walls right and left are affixed a hatchment in marble and other heraldic ornaments, probably removed from the sides of the tomb when it was placed in its present position.
The figure of the dead woman in shroud and graveclothes is perhaps the finest monumental carving of
its kind in Surrey, and is equal to anything ever done
by Flaxman. Her head, with bound-up chin, rests,
as in the sleep of death, upon a tasselled pillow, and
the body lies upon a cord mattress rolled at the top
to form a bolster. On the cartouches at the ends of
the front hang shields; one bears the arms of Bedell,
a cheveron charged with a fleur de lis between three
scallops; the other is the quarterly indented shield
with the bend and eagles of Audley, her second
husband. The inscription on the black marble slab
of the front reads:—
Mathæ Bedelli Armigeri Filia,
Radvlphi Hawtrei, Vxor & Vidva,
Lvdovico Avdleio Armigero Renvpta,
Filivm peperit Lvdovicvm, Franciscam Filiam.
Mvlier Optima, Melior Marita,
Post Secvndi Conivgii Septenne Cvrricvlvm,
Divtinâ infirmitate Victa, Victrix patientia,
Die Ivnii xxix, Anno Christi MDCLV.
Ætatis Svæ 45. Divortivm sensit
A mole Corporis, havd Amore Conivgis,
Qvippe Radvlphi tvmvlo Lvdovici pectore cond
Vtroqz; Vidvata, fit, Consors Vtrivsq sine Zælotypia
Dvm Anima Feliciori Contvbernio Consors Cælitvm
Redivivi Corporis perennes Expectat Nvptias,
Hic iam sepvlti mox hinc proditvri.'
On what is now the east side of the tomb are inscribed the 25th, 26th and 27th verses of the 19th chapter of the Book of Job, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth,' &c. Manning and Bray state that near this monument, 'partly within a low arch within the wall, is a low altar-tomb, without inscription'; but of this no trace is now visible—possibly its remains are still behind the pewing that blocks the aisle.
Above the Audley monument, on the south wall of the south aisle, is a handsome monument of black and white marble, with pediment, Doric columns and heraldic embellishments, among which is a lozenge bearing the cheveron and scallops of Bedell. This commemorates Ralph Hawtrey and Mary his wife (the Mary Audley of the tomb below), the former dying in 1645, together with their fourth son John, who, as the concluding lines of the inscription record, was for four years rector of this church, dying in 1678. The inscription was illegible in Manning and Bray's time, but was copied by Aubrey.
The registers, which are in good condition, are contained in four books (fn. 60) : (1) baptisms 1565 to 1778, burials 1567 to 1778, marriages 1564 to 1672; (2) baptisms and burials 1779 to 1812; (3) and (4) marriages 1755 to 1812.
The church of Sanderstead is first mentioned in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas (1291). The advowson belonged with the manor to the abbey of Hyde, (fn. 61) and remained with the abbey until its dissolution, when it passed into the hands of the king and was granted with the manor to Gresham in 1545. (fn. 62) Aubrey implies that Harman Atwood, lord of the manor, who died in 1653, restored the appropriated tithes to the living and also built a rectory-house, (fn. 63) but there is no record of any appropriation, and the living is called a rectory in the grant of the advowson to Gresham. From this date it has always gone with the manor, except in 1674, when the bishop, and in 1715, when Joseph Lee presented. (fn. 64)