Parishes: Malden

Pages 523-525

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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Meldone (xi cent.), Maldone, Melden, Maiden, &c. passim.

Maiden is a small village nearly 3 miles southeast of Kingston. The Hogsmill Stream divides it from Talworth in Long Ditton. It stands upon the London Clay, being one of the few ancient villages in Surrey which stand on this soil. An outlying part of the parish, separated from the rest of it by Talworth and Chessington and adjacent to Ashtead and Letherhead commons, 3 miles or more away from the main portion, was amalgamated with Chessington in 1884. Ecclesiastically the latter parish has always been a chapelry of Maiden.

The London and South Western Railway line to Epsom runs through Maiden, and Worcester Park station is in the parish. Worcester Park represents the 120 acres which Henry VIII took from the manor of Merton College in Maiden to add to Nonsuch Great Park, but most of the residential neighbourhood now known as Worcester Park is in Cuddington.

The present parish measures rather more than a mile in each direction, and contains 842 acres. It is a rural parish not very thickly inhabited. It must be distinguished from New Maiden, a new district in Kingston parish; especially as the parish of Maiden is under the New Maiden Urban District Council.

The history of Maiden is involved with that of Merton College, Oxford. Walter de Merton, chancellor of England and Bishop of Rochester, whose foundation of Merton College, Oxford, afforded the example and pattern of statutes which were followed by all subsequent collegiate foundations in Oxford and Cambridge, is commonly said to have founded a college first at Maiden. Walter was called de Merton, probably from education or residence there. His parents, it appears from his will, were buried at Basingstoke. But he was very possibly of the family of the Wateviles who held Maiden and much other land under the Clares. His arms, as recorded at Merton College, were differentiated from those of Watevile, and he probably acquired Malden Manor from his own relatives (see account of manor). His charter of 1264 (fn. 1) implies that the manor was for the benefit of scholars in the schools of Oxford, and that the only 'college' at Malden consisted of a warden and priests who looked after the property. It is only the modern perversion of the word 'college,' to mean a sort of school, which has led to the confusion. The grant of Malden Church by the priory of Merton to Walter for the same end bears out the same explanation. The revenues of the church were for the support—'Scolarium in Scolis degentium, et ministrorum altaris Christi in ipsa domo (sc. the manor house of Malden) commorantium'. The scholars were in schools (the plural term possibly showing that the reference is not to the foundation at Maiden). The 'college' of three or four priests was in the house at Malden. The latter migrated to Oxford after the foundation there was complete. A John de Maiden was Provost of Oriel College in 1394–1401.

The national schools were founded in 1869, and enlarged in 1878 and in 1881.


At the time of the Domesday Survey MALDEN formed part of the large fiefs of Chertsey Abbey and of Richard de Tonbridge. It was chiefly included in the land of the latter, whose holding in Malden was four hides with a chapel and a mill. The land of Chertsey was assessed at one hide less a virgate. (fn. 2) Chertsey must have lost at an early date her lands in Malden, for there is no further mention of the abbey in connexion with this parish, and the only overlords mentioned in later times are the descendants of Richard de Tonbridge. The overlordship passed through Eleanor sister and co-heiress of Gilbert de Clare to the Despensers, and descended to Isabel, Countess of Warwick. (fn. 3) It probably came to the Crown, as Long Ditton (q.v.) came, by the settlement of the Countess of Warwick's estates upon her daughters in 1474, the subsequent attainder of their respective husbands, the Duke of Clarence and Richard III, the restoration of the estates to the widowed Countess of Warwick, and her immediate settlement of them on Henry VII.

In 1086 Robert de Watevile was tenant of Maiden under Richard de Tonbridge, and William de Watevile held of Chertsey. (fn. 4) In 1225 the Wateviles' holding in Maiden was three knights' fees, and at this date Richard de Vabadun impleaded Hamo de Watevile concerning these fees. (fn. 5)

Before 1216, however, the Wateviles seem to have subinfeudated a part at least of their holding (fn. 6) to a family with the local name. Eudo de Malden son of William held land here in the reign of Henry II. (fn. 7) A Brian son of Ralph and his wife Gunnora, possibly Eudo's daughter, held land in Malden in the early 13th century, (fn. 8) and in 1205 they disputed the possession of the advowson with the Prior of Merton (see advowson). Brian was succeeded by his son Eudo de Malden, who held two knights' fees in Malden. (fn. 9) In 1249 Eudo's cousin and heir Peter de Cuddington alias de Malden with the consent of William de Watevile granted the manor of Malden to Walter de Merton, (fn. 10) to whom a further conveyance of the manor with the reversion of a third part of two knights' fees which Cecily widow of Eudo Fitz Brian held in dower was made in 1247 by Simon son of Richard, (fn. 11) apparently an attorney of Peter de Malden. (fn. 12) A grant of free warren in the demesne lands of Malden, Chessington, and Farley was made to Walter de Merton in 1249. (fn. 13)

At Malden Walter de Merton, Chancellor of England, founded the house of the Scholars of Merton, which he endowed in 1264 with his manors of Malden, Chessington, and Farley. (fn. 14) It seems clear that the scholars did not reside at Malden, for in his charter Walter de Merton states that he founded the house at Malden for the support of twenty scholars residing in the schools at Oxford or elsewhere and of two or three priests residing in the house itself, which seems as though the intention of the founder was that the warden and priests of a religious house at Malden should be 'a college' to manage the revenues of certain estates to be applied for the maintenance of themselves and certain scholars at one of the universities. In 1274, on the founding of Merton College in Oxford, the warden and priests were removed there. (fn. 15)

The manor has ever since belonged to Merton College, the Wateviles retaining their overlordship as late as 1287; (fn. 16) subsequently Malden was held directly of the successors of the Clares. (fn. 17) In the reign of Elizabeth an attempt was made by the Crown to obtain the manors of Malden and Chessington from the college, in order to bestow them on the Earl of Arundel in exchange for Nonsuch. The college was prevailed upon to make a lease, inclusive of the advowson and appropriation, for 5,000 years under a yearly rent of £40. The queen at once passed on the lease to the earl, who made a grant to Joan mother of John Goode. The college, being dissatisfied with these alienations, applied for ejectment against the possessor. (fn. 18) A compromise was effected by which the lease was assigned to trustees for the benefit of the then holder for eighty years, after which it was to revert to the college, who were to have the advowson immediately. In 1633 the college obtained a confirmation from Charles I, who reserved the 120 acres which Henry VIII had seized. (fn. 19) The eighty years' lease expired in 1707, and the manor was surrendered to the college by Dame Penelope, widow of Sir Thomas Morley, heir of Goode. The demesne lands were afterwards granted to Richard Willis, Dean of Lincoln, later Bishop of Winchester, whose descendants continued to hold the same on lease. (fn. 20) The Manor House is now the residence of Mr. E. B. Hansen.

Merton College, Oxford. Or three cheverons party and countercoloured azure and gules.


The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST consists of a chancel, nave, south chapel, south aisle, and south-west tower. The nave and chancel were erected in 1875, before which year the present south chapel was the chancel and the aisle the nave. It is recorded that the nave and tower were built in 1610, but it is probable that the chancel, which leans to the north, was erected at least a century earlier.

The modern chancel and nave are built of red brick with stone dressings; a modern archway opens from the chancel to the chapel, and an arcade of two bays separates the nave and south aisle.

The south chapel or old chancel measures 17 ft. 3 in. by 18 ft. 1 in.; it has an east window of three lights with plain pointed heads. In the south wall is a small square piscina with old jambs and mutilated basin and a modern lintel. The south window of the chapel is an old one of two four-centred lights, repaired outside with cement. Across the entrance to the chapel is a modern wood arch. The aisle and former nave is 29 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft. 9 in., and has two south windows each of two lights with fourcentred heads. The tower is built of red brick and consists of three stages; the ground stage, which is 12 ft. square inside, has a modern west doorway; the second has old windows with four-centred arches in square heads; the third has a two-light window in each wall with four-centred arches in a square head; the mullions have been removed. The parapet is plain brick.

All the fittings are modern; the font has a marble bowl on a stone stem. In the south chapel window is a panel of glass dated 1611 containing a shield of the arms of Mynors:—Quarterly (1) Azure an eagle or and a chief argent; (2) Sable a fesse argent; (3) Argent a bend between six martlets gules with a crescent or on the bend; (4) Argent a sun gules. On a mantled helm over is the crest of a man's arm grasping a black lion's paw in the hand. Two wall monuments in the chapel are to Sir Thomas Morley, who died in 1693, and John Goode, 1627. In the tower are gravestones to John Hammett, who died in 1643, and others of later date. There are six modern bells in the tower. The plate consists of a silver cup and cover of 1622, and a set of 1768.

The registers begin in 1676, the first volume containing baptisms from 1677 to 1806, marriages 1676 to 1754, and burials 1678 to 1807. The second has baptisms from 1806 to 1812, and burials 1807 to 1812; the third contains marriages from 1759 to 1812.


A chapel or church existed in Malden at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 21) and was then included in the property of Robert de Watevile. It was granted by Eudo de Malden before 1189 to the priory of Merton. (fn. 22) In 1245 the Prior of Merton unsuccessfully sued for a writ ordering Brian Fitz Ralph and Gunnora his wife to restore to him the advowson of the church of Malden. (fn. 23) Brian then contested the claim, (fn. 24) but seven years later he and Gunnora granted the advowson in frankalmoign to Walter, Prior of Merton, (fn. 25) who gave it back to them in exchange for some land in Malden. (fn. 26)

The priory, in 1264, at the request of Walter de Merton, released any claim which they had in the advowson to his house of the scholars of Merton. (fn. 27) The fine by which Simon Fitz Richard granted the manor of Malden to Walter de Merton had included a grant of the advowson, (fn. 28) but as the advowson is not included in Walter de Merton's endowment of his college, and as the right to the advowson had been in dispute earlier, it seems that Walter had preferred to wait for a formal and conclusive settlement with the priory. The college has ever since held the advowson. (fn. 29)

The chapel of Chessington in the same patronage is annexed to this church, though Chessington has a separate parochial existence. In 1291 at the taxation of Pope Nicholas the church of Malden was assessed at 12s. (fn. 30) The vicarage was endowed in 1279. (fn. 31) At the beginning of the 18th century the tithes of the demesne lands were demised by the college to the vicar, Dr. Bernard, together with a few acres of land near the vicarage house, (fn. 32) and this lease was continued to his successors.


Smith's Charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes.


  • 1. Harl. Chart. 53 H. 12 (copy) and at Merton Coll. Oxford.
  • 2. V.C.H. Surr. i, 317.
  • 3. Chan. Inq. p.m. 8 Edw. II, no. 68; Inq. a.q.d. file 286, no. 9; Chan. Inq. p.m. 49 Edw. III, pt. ii, no. 46; 18 Hen. VI, no. 3.
  • 4. V.C.H. Surr. i, 317.
  • 5. Maitland, Bracton's Note Book, no. 1077.
  • 6. They evidently retained some land in Malden, to judge by a grant from William de Watevile to Ascer de la Dune in 1235. Feet of F. Surr. 19 Hen. III, no. 189.
  • 7. Cur. Reg. R. 42 (7–8 John), m. 3 d.
  • 8. Close, 17 John, pt. ii, m. 16.
  • 9. See Feet of F. Surr. 31 Hen. III, no. 306.
  • 10. Kilner, Accts. of Pythagoras School, 60. To judge from his arms Walter de Merton may himself have been descended from the Wateviles, as the Maldens may have been; Merton, Malden, Cuddington being strictly names from locality, applied to branches of the same family. Farley (q.v.), which Walter de Merton also acquired, was held by Robert de Watevile in 1086, and it appears from the descent there that William de Watevile was heir to Peter de Malden or Cuddington when the latter conveyed it to Walter.
  • 11. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 31 Hen. III, no. 306.
  • 12. See Feet of F. Div. Co. 39 Hen. III, no. 123.
  • 13. Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 345.
  • 14. Harl. Chart. 53 H. 12; Feet of F. Div. Co. 55 Hen. III, no. 482. Licence from Richard de Clare for the assignment of Malden was granted in 1262. Heywood, Foundation Charters of Merton College, Oxford, 3.
  • 15. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 4.
  • 16. De Banco R. East. 15 Edw. I, m. 53.
  • 17. Chan. Inq. p.m. 8 Edw. II, no. 68; Inq. a.q.d. file 286, no. 9.
  • 18. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 3; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603–25, p. 593.
  • 19. Pat. 9 Chas. I, pt. v.
  • 20. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 3.
  • 21. V.C.H. Surr. i, 317.
  • 22. Cur. Reg. R. 42 (7 & 8 John), m. 3d.; Cott. MS. Cleop. C vii, 61–2.
  • 23. Rot. de Oblatis et Fin. (Rec. Com.), 329. See note above and Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.). 50.
  • 24. On the grounds that, first, Eudo was not seised ; secondly, that he executed the charter making his grant after he had entered the house as a canon ; Cur. Reg. R. ut sup.
  • 25. Feet of F. Surr. 1 John, no. 43, 44.
  • 26. Ibid. no. 92, 93.
  • 27. Cott. MS. Cleop. C vii, no. 21, fol. 142 (Cart. fol. cxlii, no. 329), and a copy at Merton College. The words of the release, 'Quidquid iuris habere potuimus seu nos habere dicebamus,' must refer to Merton's former ownership. In a return of the possessions of Merton, about 1242, the church of Malden does not appear ; Cart. fol. cxxv, no. 281.
  • 28. Feet of F. Surr. 31 Hen. III, no. 306.
  • 29. Egerton MS. 2031–4 ; Inst. Bks. P.R.O.
  • 30. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 206.
  • 31. Winton Epis. Reg. Orleton, i, fol. 110a ; Waynflete, i, fol. 21a.
  • 32. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 3.