Imperial's Narrative


Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)


CHESSINGTON, a parish in Epsom district, Surrey; 2 miles SSE of Esher and Claremont r. station, and 3¾ S of Kingston-on-Thames. Post town, Kingston-on-Thames. Acres, 1,229. Real property, £1,729. Pop., 219. Houses, 44. The property is divided among a few. Chessington Hall, now a farm-house, was the residence of Samuel Crisp, the author of the tragedy " Virginia, " and often visited by Dr. Burney. An artificial mound, now covered with wood, bears the name of Castle Hill, and seems to have been the site of an ancient fortification. Roman coins have been found near it. The living is a p. curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Malden, in the diocese of Winchester. The church is early English; was restored in 1854; and contains a monument of S. Crisp.


COPTHORNE, a hundred in Surrey. It lies around Epsom and Leatherhead; contains eleven parishes and part of another; and is cut into two divisions, first and second. Acres, 14,909 and 19,745. Pop. of the whole, 13,964. Houses, 2,523.

CUDDINGTON, a parish in Epsom district, Surrey; near Cheam r. station, and 1 mile NNE of Ewell. Post town, Ewell, under Epsom. Acres, 1,827. Real property, returned with Ewell. Pop., 148. Houses, 30. Nonsuch Palace, noticed in our article Cheam, was here. The parish has no church; and ranks ecclesiastically as part of Ewell.

EPSOM, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Surrey. The town stands at the foot of Banstead downs, on the London and Leatherhead railway, 10 miles SE of Croydon, and 18 SSE of London; and it is connected also with the London and Brighton railway at Croydon by a branch railway, which -includes a sub-branch from Sutton to the town's neighbourhood at the race-course.

Its name is derived from the ancient Northumbrian princess, Ebba; was originally Ebbasham; had become corrupted, at Domesday, into Ebbisham; and passed easily into its present form of Epsom. The place, though known to the Saxons, does not appear to have acquired any consequence till the 16th or 17th century. A palace built by Henry VIII., at Nonsuch, 2 miles NE of it, seems to have brought it into some notice; and medicinal wells, toward Ashtead, about ¾ of a mile to the W, soon afterwards gave it celebrity. These wells, in the time of Elizabeth, were frequented by persons from surrounding places for ulcers; and they began about 1646 to be frequented also by persons from a distance for many diseases. A work by Lord North, published in 1645, made them known to the fashionable world as fine saline spas; and general reputation, in the time of Charles II., drew to them great numbers of wealthy citizens, courtiers, and nobles, and even made them a resort of the King himself and some foreign princes. So many as sixty coaches of visitors to them might often be seen on one day; new inns and numerous new houses were built for the accommodation of visitors; one of the new inns is said to have been the largest then in England; and a comedy by Shadwell, called "Epsom Wells, " was highly popular at the London theatre. The wells, however, became rapidly neglected and deserted after the time of Queen Anne; they resisted several successive attempts to bring them back to reputation; and at length the public rooms connected with them passed into ruin, and were pulled down in 1804. The waters retain all their former properties, and are remarkable chiefly for yielding sulphate of magnesia. This salt was long manufactured from them, and was sold, in the time of Charles I., at five shillings per ounce; but it eventually came to be so easily and cheaply obtained from other sources as to take the place of one of the commonest of drugs, under its popular name of Epsom-salts.

Races are said to have been instituted at Epsom by James I., while resident at Nonsuch; they formed a chief amusement to visitors during all the period of the wells being in fashion; they have been regularly held every year since 1730; and they acquired enormous prominence from the institution of the Oak's race in 1709, and of the Derby in 1780. They are run on a four-mile course, on the downs, about 1½ mile S of the town; they take place in May, and continue four days; and they draw such a concourse as is to be seen in no other country than England, and not in England itself, at any other place or time. The lowest estimate of the number of persons present makes it 100,000. The grand stand was erected in 1829-30, at a cost of £20,000; accommodates 7,500 persons; is a prominent object in a considerable Landscape; and commands a clear view to St. Paul's cathedral and Westminster abbey.

The town lies low, and is irregular and scattered; but its environs include vantage grounds with extensive views, and contain a great number of modern villas. A clock-tower stands in the market-place; was built in 1847; consists of variegated bricks, with red stripes; and has an original and handsome appearance. The town hall or court-house was built in 1848. The parish church was rebuilt in 1824, with the exception of the tower; cost nearly £7,000; and contains a monument by Flaxman to Parkhurst the lexicographer, three other monuments by Flaxman, and one by Chantrey. Christ church, on Clayhill, is a newer structure, small but neat, built of brick, and in the Tudor style. A Wesleyan chapel, built in 1864, is in the French-Gothic style, of stock bricks with red and blue bands; and presents some originality of appearance. There are four other dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, an endowed school, an alms-house, aggregate charities £277, the royal medical benevolent college for decayed medical men, and the district work-house. The medical college is a handsome edifice of 1855; and the workhouse is a structure of better appearance than many of its kind, and in the Tudor style.

The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and four chief inns; and is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place. A market is held weekly; and a fair on 25 July. Malting, brewing, and brick-making are carried on; and there are several nursery grounds. The town is returned as conterminate with the parish; but, in that view, includes the hamlet of Horton. Acres, 4,389. Real property, £26,821; of which £122 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1841, 3,533; in 1861, 4,890. Houses, 831.

The property is much sub-divided. The manor belonged to Chertsey abbey. Pitt Place is the residence of Francis M. Head, Esq.; the Elms, of J. Pearson, Esq; Woodcote Green, of E. R. Northey, Esq.; Garlands, of Alex. Crowe, Esq.; Horton Place, of John Trotter, Esq.; and Woodcote Park, of R. Brooks, Esq., M. P. The parochial living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Christ church, in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £350. Patron, the Rev. W. Speer. Boucher, who made collections for an improved edition of Johnson's Dictionary, was vicar; and Parkhurst, the lexicographer, was a native. The sub-district contains also the parishes of Cuddington, Chessington, and Ashtead, and part of the parish of Ewell. Acres, 12,377. Pop., 7,908. Houses, 1,398.

The district comprehends also the sub-district of Carshalton, containing the parishes of Carshalton, Banstead, Sutton, and Cheam; and the sub-district of Leatherhead, containing the parishes of Leatherhead, Fetcham, Great Bookham, Little Bookham, Stoke-D'Abernon, and Cobham. Acres, 41,180.

Poor-rates in 1862, £12,396.
Pop. in 1851, 19,040; in 1861, 22,409.
Houses, 4,002.
Marriages in 1860, 93; births, 634, of which 28 were illegitimate; deaths, 373, of which 121 were at ages under 5 years, and 15 at ages above 85.
Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 868; births, 5,331; deaths, 3,358.
The places of worship in 1851 were 19 of the Church of England, with 6,426 sittings; 8 of Independents, with 1,088s.; 2 of Baptists, with 100s.; 4 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 469s.; 2 undefined, with 106s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics.
The schools were 20 public day schools, with 1,750 scholars; 52 private day schools, with 1,034s.; 15 Sunday schools, with 948s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 34s.

EWELL, a village in Epsom district, and a parish partly also in Reigate district, Surrey. The village stands at the head of the Hogs-Mill rivulet, adjacent to both the Croydon and Leatherhead railway and the Wimbledon and Leatherhead railway, 1¾ mile NNE of Epsom; and has stations on the railways, and a post office under Epsom; was formerly a market-town; and still has fairs on 13 May and 29 Oct. The parish includes the liberty of Kingswood. Acres, 4,221. Real property, £14,740; of which £35 are in gas-works. Pop., 2,195. Houses, 427.

The property is much subdivided. Ewell House is the seat of the Rev. Sir G. L. Glyn, Bart.; Ewell Grove is the seat of Sir John R. Reid, Bart.; and Ewell Castle, a modern edifice, is the seat of J. Gadesden, Esq. The Hogs-Mill rivulet rises at the intersection of the roads to London and Kingston; runs to the Thames at Kingston; and gives motion, in its course, to several corn and gunpowder mills. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £277. Patron, the Rev. Sir G. L. Glyn, Bart. The church was built in 1848, at a cost of £5, 600; and is in the decorated English style. The tower of the old church serves now as a cemetery-chapel, and is an edifice of flint and stone. The new church has monuments of Sir Richard Bulkeley, Lord Mayor Sir William Lewen, and Lord Mayor Sir Richard Glyn. The vicarage of Kingswood is a separate benefice. An Independent chapel was built in 1864; a mechanics' institution in 1860; and large national schools in 1861. Charities, £172. Bishop Corbett, of Norwich, was a native.


HORTON, a hamlet in Epsom parish, Surrey; 1 ½ mile N of Epsom. Horton Place and Horton Lodge are seats here; and the former belonged to Lord Baltimore, and passed to the Trotters.


LONDON, BRIGHTON, AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY, a railway system from London southward to Brighton, and to places east and west of the main line, and along the coast. It was originally an amalgamation, in 1846, of the Croydon and the Brighton; it now includes also, by amalgamation or otherwise, the Banstead and Epsom-Downs, the Bognor, the Uckfield and Tunbridge-Wells, the Horsham and Guildford Direct, the Mid-Sussex and Midhurst Junction, the West End of London and Crystal Palace, the Mid-Sussex, the Lewes and Uckfield, the East Grimstead, the St. Leonards, and the Surrey and Sussex Junction; and it has a joint interest in the West London Extension, the Tooting, Merton, Wimbledon, and the Victoria Station. The company was authorized, in 1858, to construct a line of 17¼ miles between Shoreham and Henfield, opened in 1861; in 1 860, to make some alterations in its coast lines, and in the West End and Crystal Palace line, and to construct a line of fully 5 miles from Croydon to BalhamHill; in 1862, to construct lines of 5½ miles in Surrey and Sussex, including a junction at Brixton with the Chatham and Dover, to enlarge the stations at London bridge and Bricklayers' Arms, and to own and work steam-vessels; in 1863, to construct a line of 5 miles from Dorking to Leatherhead, lines of 4½ miles in Camberwell and Lambeth, a new line of 2½ miles at Croydon, and lines of 14¼ miles in connexion with the South London and other lines; and in 1864, to run steam-vessels to France and the Channel islands, and to construct lines of 20 miles from the Ouse viaduct to Uckfield and Hailsham, lines of 15¾ miles between Tunbridge-Wells and Eastbourne, lines of 4¾ miles in and near Battersea, several short lines of aggregately 7¾ miles in Surrey and Sussex, and a short line and a station at Kemptown. The receipts on capital account, at 30 June 1865, amounted to £13,874,164.


LONDON AND SOUTHWESTERN RAILWAY, a railway system from London to the southwestern counties. It was authorized, in 183 4, as a line from London to Southampton, under the name of the London and Southampton railway; it renounced that name, and took its present one, in 1839; it commences near Waterloo bridge, proceeds southwestward to Basingstoke, then goes in a southerly direction to Southampton; it was extended, by the incorporation of the Southampton and Dorchester, along the coast to Dorchester; it also has branches to Hampton-Court, Chertsey, Guildford, Farnham, and Alton, -and, by Andover, to Salisbury, Exeter, and Exmouth,also from Bishopstoke to Romsey and Salisbury, and to Gosport; it is connected by a short branch from Fareham, with the London, Brighton, and South Coast; it has an interest, jointly with the London, Brighton, and Sonth Coast, in the portion from the junction of the two lines at Cosham into Portsmouth; and, by the incorporation of the Windsor, Staines, and Southwestern, it possesses a branch through Richmond to Windsor, with a loop at Barnes, crossing the Thames to Kew, Brentford, and the main line beyond Hounslow.

Its aggregate productive extent, in 1866, was 493¾ miles. The company was authorized, in 1858, to lease the Salisbury and Yeovil; in 1856, to construct a line of 50 miles from Yeovil to Exeter; in 1859, to arrange with the Brighton and South Coast respecting the through traffic between London and Portsmouth, and to form a branch in the neighbourhood of Kingston; in 1860, to extend the Exeter line, to connect that line with the Bristol and Exeter, to lease the Exeter and Crediton, the North Devon, and the Bideford, and to wield permanent powers for working steam-vessels between English and French ports and the Channel islands; in 1862, to lease or purchase the Wimbledon and Dorking; in 1864, to construct a line, 2¾ miles long, from Chertsey to the Staines and Wokingham, and a line, 6¾ miles long, from the Hammersmith and City, and the North and Southwestern Junction at Kensington to Richmond; and, in 1865, to amalgamate the Salisbury and Yeovil and the Exeter and Exmouth, the Salisbury and Yeovil and the Thames Valley,and to construct new lines of 6½ miles in Surrey, a line of 5½ miles from Bideford to Great Torrington, and a line of 9 miles from Pirbright, by Aldershot, to Farnham.

The Southwestern system also, by amalgamation, purchase, lease, or agreement, comprehends, in its working, the Wimbledon and Croydon, the Wimbledon and Epsom, the Salisbury market-branch line, the Stokes Bay, the Staines and Wokingham, the Exeter and Crediton, the Lymington, the Epsom and Leatherhead, the Wimbledon and Dorking, the Portsmouth, the Andover and Redbridge, the Petersfield, the Chard, the Southampton and Netley, the Ilfracombe, and the Mid-Hants, and, jointly with the London, Brighton, and South Coast, the Tooting, Merton, and Wimbledon. The total receipts, on the capital account, at 30 June 1865, were £14,583,765.


NONSUCH-PARK, a seat in Cheam parish, Surrey; between the two Epsom lines of the Southwestern railway, under Banstead downs, 2½ miles N E of Epsom. It belongs to W. F. Farmer, Esq.; is a modern castellated edifice; was originally built after designs by Wyattville; has been much altered and enlarged; and contains some curious leather tapestries. A palace of the same namestood within the park, at an angle between the avenue.and a footpath toward Ewell; was founded by Henry VIII.; was given, in an incompleted state, by Elizabeth, to the Earl of Arundel; was completed by that Earl; re-verted to Elizabeth, and was frequently occupied by her in the latter part of her reign; was the seat of Queen Anne of Denmark, and of Queen Henrietta Maria; was occupied, in the time of the Commonwealth, by Gen. Lambert and Col. Pride, the latter of whom died in it; was given, by Charles II., to Lady Castlemaine, with the title of Baroness; and was taken down, and the materials of it sold, by Lady Castlemaine, after she became Duchess of Cleveland. The palace included an outer court, 150 feet by 132, and an inner court 137 feet by 116; and it was garnished with a series of bas-reliefs, of subjects from the heathen mythology, inserted between the timbers of the outside walls.


OAKS (The), a seat of the Earl of Derby in the E of Surrey; on Banstead Downs, 4¼ miles E by N of Epsom. It was built, on the site of an inn, by the Hunters'club; was the place where Gen. Burgoyne wrote his" Maid of the Oaks; " and gives name to the Epsomraces on the Friday before Whitsuntide.


WORCESTER-PARK, a r. station in Surrey; on the London, Epsom, and Leatherhead railway, 3½ miles NNE of Epsom.