Lower Morden and Morden Park
Discovering the Past 1: by Peter Hopkins
In producing this booklet of 25 double-spread pages, Peter offers us a rich source of material, most of which appears in print for the first time and is the result of a great deal of original research into a wide range of documentary sources. A general survey of Morden parish from AD 1 to the year 2000 leads the reader into a detailed account of 20 locations into which Peter has divided Lower Morden. The whole is illustrated with 47 maps and 39 photographs old and new, all reproduced to a remarkably high standard for a desk-top publication.
The introductory section of the booklet explores the development of Morden from a small settlement on Roman Stane Street to the population explosion of the 1920s and '30s. With the departure of the Roman legions in AD 410 Morden disappears from view for more than five centuries, emerging from the 'Dark Ages' in the 11th century as an estate owned and managed by Westminster Abbey. The manor remained with Westminster until the Dissolution, when it came into the hands of the Garth family. The Garths were the 'squires' of Morden until the latter part of the 19th century, overseeing and directing the changes from open-field agriculture to a landscape of enclosed and individually tenanted farms. Two quite remarkable maps show Morden in the 14th and 16th centuries.
This booklet will undoubtedly serve for many years to come as an important source for anyone with an interest in the area, from the experienced local historian to the general reader curious about the history of this locality.
Review by John Pile in MHS Bulletin 132 (Dec 1999)