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Thomas Taylor's Survey of Ewell in 1577: 1

2011/3 pp5–6


Thomas Taylor’s Survey of Ewell in 1577: I


In December 2008 Ewell in 1577 (Occasional Paper 48) was published. This was largely a copy of an article by Phillip Shearman published in Surrey Archaeological Collections in 1955. It was a transcription of the Thomas Taylor survey of 1577, but not a complete one: it confined itself to the opening portion, that describing the village itself.


We recently came across a complete transcription of the survey that was done in 1964 by John Dent, Borough Librarian of Epsom and Ewell, assisted by J.M.I. Griffiths. Both the 1955 and 1964 transcriptions were apparently based on the original survey held by the Muniment Room at Guildford. It is now in the Surrey History Centre at Woking. Barbara has re-typed the whole of the 1964 transcription to put it into digital format, and I have taken the opportunity to study it to see what was left out by Philip Shearman. The result is the following article which we are publishing in two parts.


The village part of the survey covered by Philip Shearman comprised 76 acres, one and three quarters roods, shared among some 40 villagers, the largest plot being ten acres with seven houses and cottages and one mill (the Upper Mill) all held by Elizabeth Horde.


Leaving the village, Taylor goes on to ‘the Common Fields of Ewell called the South Felde’ beginning at Hatch Furlong which is given as 23 acres spread over 14 holders. Then comes Neither Southlong Furlong, Upper Southlong Furlong, Estmark Furlong, Preesthill Furlong, Neither Missenden Furlong, Upper Missenden Furlong, Chilliefurlong. Next is Goldhord Furlong, a name to conjure with. Numerous other furlongs are listed.


In several places plots are located by reference to walnut trees. It is of interest that there is a Pirbery Furlong next to a Tayleshill Furlong. Today it is known as Purberry Shot, i.e. furlong has been changed to shot, which is the term used for Epsom cultures.


The Southfield holdings are summarised as having a total of 890 acres of arable land spread over 47 individuals.


The Common Downs which follow have location points which include rose bushes, holly bushes, a hawthorn tree and an oak pollard, also a number of pits and ‘a place where a cross did stand at three hills there’. The Common Downs are estimated to contain 240 acres.


Then comes a miscellaneous collection of holdings:

Landes in diuers common feldes and other inclosures seured and inclosed with divers howses edifices and buildings in certen parcelles thereof scituate lieing and being abowtes the Towne of Ewell as well of the west parte of the Ryver of Ewell begynning at certen landes called Furshilles adioyning upon the Common Felde called Southfeld and from thens going Northward unto a certain Sewer or watercourse being the boundary between the said Manor of Ewell and the Mannor of Tallworth and from thens retorning of thest parte of the said Ryver southwarde unto the south part of twoo closes called Churchfeldes not farre distant from the Church of Ewell.


The Churchwardens of Ewell holde to thuse of the parishe the common meade called Charman meade divided into two partes abutting upon the Ryver of Ewell of these and North partes and upon the said Northcroftes last specified of the south parte with a piece of waste ground at the southend of the said meade which is used as there Waye to the said meade. The first crops of which meade the said Churchwardens after tymes lett and take the proffites thereof to thuse of the Churche and afterwards the same is used as common grounde for the said parishioners contyning by estimacion six and half acres.


These miscellaneous holdings consist mainly of meadows and pastures: one held by the Lord of Rookesley was a sub-manor originally called Shawford, that being the name of the first owner back in the twelfth century. The name had many transformations and c.1480 it became Rokesley, the name of the then owner. It eventually became Ruxley. It appears as ‘a pece of medowe being flaggy and corse’. However, he also holds many other pieces of land including a ‘Close of pasture with a Coppice’.


The Lord of Ewell’s demesnes is listed. There is a ‘Mannor howse’ with a ‘barn stable an owtkitchen a yarde garden and orchard conteyning by estimacion one and a halfe acres’. The total of his demesnes is six and a half acres.


Nicholas Saunder ‘holdeth freely of the Mannor of Ebbesham ‘a myll for twoo Cornemilles and a fulling myll with a ponde scituate upon the Ryver of Ewell’ (this would be the Lower Mill).


These miscellaneous holdings are summed up as ‘the number of howses in and uppon the said inclosed landes – eleven howses and Cotages and one barn’. Fifteen holders are listed. The total acreage amounts to 550.


The first Common is called the Marsh, the west part of which abuts the manor of Horton and Ebbesham, ‘conteyning in thole by estimacion xxviij acres for trees there them not but ij trees and some furseys’.


The seconde Common called the Westheathe abutteth uppon the landes of Saunder Braye and upon landes of the Mannor of Rookesley called Keysfeldes and upon landes of George Evelen called Hulbridge close of thest parte, upon Cockeslane upon landes called Knightes felde and upon landes of Nicholas Saunder of the Northe parte, uppon the Mannor of Horton of the west parte and upon the landes of the said Mannor of Rookesley, of Edward Skeete and of Saunder Braye of the southe parte. In and upon which Common there ben three parcelles of wood and bushy ground replenished partely with pollards called hookes at iij seuerall corners of the said Common. The one wherof lieng and being at the southest corner the heires of Robert Rogers is said to clayme the proffittes of the woodes thereof by estimacion ― acres. The second lieng at the Northwest corner Nicholas Saunder claymeth the proffittes of the woodes therof conteyning by estimacion ij acres di [2½ acres] The third lieng at the south corner is also said to be claymed for the like proffittes of the woodes therof by Edmond Skeete. And being demaunded the reasons how whereby or wherefor the said three persons clayme the proffittes of the said iij hookes or corners euery of them, one Gate or Hatche and the same haue done and ought to be maytened by theire heires, and the tenauntes averre they haue hard it so claymed but in certenty for truthe whither they ought for the maytenance of the said gates to haue the proffittes of the said hookes they doe not seeme to justify but aunswer dowtefuly and uncertenly which Common in thole conteyneth by estimacion iiij acres, xx acres hauing divers pollards thereupon by my estimacion ij or more.



Charles Abdy

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