Ewell (St. Mary)

EWELL (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Epsom, partly in the First division of the hundred of Reigate, E. division, but chiefly in the First division of the hundred of Copthorne and Effingham, W. division, of Surrey, 5½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Kingston; containing, with the liberty of Kingswood, 1867 inhabitants. This place, in Domesday book written Et-well, signifying "at the spring," was anciently of more importance than it is at present; and about half-way between it and Cheam, within the parish of Cuddington, was the splendid palace of Nonsuch, erected by Henry VIII., and taken down in the reign of Charles II. There are still some remains of that celebrated edifice, which, for costly magnificence and splendid decoration, was, as its name implied, unequalled by any building of the kind. On elevated ground formerly within the park, is an artificial mound about half an acre in extent, surrounded by a wall having circular bastions at the four angles, with intervening curtains, and in the centre of which stood the banqueting-house, a building about 25 feet square, and three stories high: the approach to the mound was by three double flights of steps, some of which are still visible. These remains of the wall and bastions are now within the pleasure-grounds of Mr. Monro, whose grand-uncle, T. Calverley, Esq., erected a mansion in the ancient style of English architecture near their site, named Ewell Castle.

The parish comprises 2391a. 1r. 19p. of arable and pasture, in nearly equal portions: the soil is chalk, gravel, and clay, alternated with sand; and the surface, though generally level, is diversified with hills of moderate elevation. Brick earth of excellent quality is found in abundance. The village is situated on the high road to Dorking and Worthing, and is well paved, and amply supplied with water. There are some gunpowder and flour mills, employing about 50 men, and set in motion by the Kingsmill, a stream which has its source in the parish, and falls into the Thames at a place called Hog's mill, Kingston. The market, held on Thursday, has long been discontinued; the fairs are on May 12th, for cattle, and October 29th, a very large mart for sheep, at which from 30,000 to 40,000 are frequently sold. The parish is within the jurisdiction of a court at Kingston, for the recovery of debts to any amount; and courts leet and baron are held at Michaelmas. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £277; patron and impropriator, the Rev. Sir George Glyn, Bart.: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1801. The church is an ancient structure, and contains several brasses and handsome monuments, particularly an altar-tomb in the south side of the chancel, of veined marble, on which is a beautifully sculptured figure in white marble, of Sir William Lewen, Knt., in his robes as lord mayor of London. The first stone of a new parish church was laid in June, 1847. A district church was built in the liberty of Kingswood, in 1835. In the grounds of the rectory-house, several fossils and coins have been found within the last few years. There is a place of worship for Independents. A national school, established in 1816, is partly supported by an endowment of £22 per annum; and Mrs. Fendall bequeathed £1000, which purchased £1758. 19. 6. stock, whereof the interest is applied to the benefit of the poor. Richard Corbet, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, an eminent divine and poet, was born in the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.