Tadworth
The name of Tadworth is thought to be Saxon in origin, and means the enclosure or farmstead of Tad (personal name). Stone Age man probably roamed the area as remains have been excavated on the Common near Lower Kingswood. Low grade iron ore has also been found up there so it is likely that it was worked there in the Iron Age and the Roman era. The Romans certainly had a villa on Walton Heath and probably used the entire area for grazing. With the coming of the Saxons we have the first definite history. It is not known where Tad's farm actually was, but it must have had a water supply so it is possible that it was somewhere near Meare Close Pond, opposite which was situated Odin's Pond until it was filled in. During housing development at Tadworth Farm a large Saxon burial ground came to light.

In the Domesday Book it is recorded that in the time of Edward the Confessor the Manor had already been divided into North and South Tadworth. Tadeorde ( South Tadworth) was held by two brothers, and Tadorne (North Tadworth) by Earl Harold and sublet to Godtovi. The Normans gave South Tadworth to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who sublet it to Ralph. North Tadworth was given to William de Braiose, and sublet to Holsait.

Subsequently both Manors were given to the Church, North Tadworth to the Priory of St Mary Overie, Southwark, and South Tadworth to Merton Abbey. North Tadworth remained a single farmstead until modern times when its lands were developed as part of the Preston Estate. South Tadworth became the modern village of Tadworth. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries it passed to the Crown and became part of the Honour of Hampton Court, the tenant at that time being John de Steward, who remained in situ until 1551. In 1553 it was acquired by Edward Herrendon and thereafter passed through various hands until 1694 when it was bought by Leonard Wessell, a rich merchant. He built the manor house known as Tadworth Court in about 1700.The property changed hands many times until it was bought in 1885 by Mr Charles Russell, afterwards Lord Russell of Killowen, and Lord Chief Justice of England. He lived there until his death in 1900, his widow remaining in the house until 1906. It was then sold to the last private owner, Mr Charles Morton, who was a great benefactor to the village. Finally in 1924 the estate was sold to Richard Costains Ltd. The House and grounds became the Country Branch of Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, and is now The Children's Trust. The remainder of the land was developed for housing.

The Parish Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1912, on land given by The Tattenham Corner Land Company, the chief shareholder being Sir Cosmo Bonsor, Lord of the Manor of Kingswood. For many years it was a chapel of ease to Kingswood, but in 1955 it became a Parish in its own right. There are two other places of worship in the village. The Baptist Chapel was founded in 1822, and was originally situated in Tadworth St on land owned by Tadworth Court. The new owner Mr Tritton did not approve of them and so refused to renew the lease. Within six months the church members had purchased a new site in Chapel Rd and the new building was formally opened in 1883. In 1966 the Roman Catholic Church of St. John was built in the Avenue.

One of the landmarks of Tadworth is the windmill. This is situated in the garden of Millfield, but can be clearly seen from the paths on the Common. There used to be two mills on the site, both post mills. One was destroyed in1890 and contained an inscription stating it was built in 1799. It is thought the remaining one dates from around the same time. By the 1890's it was worked by steam and in early photos the tall chimney can be seen. Milling ceased in 1902 when the miller Mr E.W.Smith died.

Apart from Tadworth Court only two very old houses remain in Tadworth, Hunters Hall in Chapel Rd which dates from the 16th Century, and Meare Close House which may date back to the same time, but is certainly 17th Century. All the other cottages which used to cluster around Tadworth St were pulled down in the course of the 20th Century and modern houses erected instead. Tadworth Cottage, built in 1817, is the only survivor.

The coming of the railway in 1901 being the cause of the sudden rush of development, Tadworth was no longer a small hamlet tucked away in the hills, but within easy reach of London. The lands of Profitts Farm and Corner Farm were rapidly built upon, the Tadworth Court Estate following in the 1930's, with the Tadworth Park development in the 1980's. Mercifully it is surrounded by Banstead Commons, Walton Heath, and Epsom Downs all forming part of the Green Belt, and so is hopefully protected against further building.

Along the western boundary of the parish there are some white painted iron posts, with the City of London arms picked out in red. These are the Coal Posts, and are situated in a ring approximately 20 miles from London. They marked the area within which the City could levy duty on coal and wine. The tax was used for improvements, including the preserving of open spaces within the area. It was used in the fight to keep Banstead Heath and Commons. The most obvious one can be seen along Epsom Lane North, near the junction with Oaks Way.

Information courtesy of Walton & Tadworth Local History Society.
www.waltonandtadworthlhs.org.uk
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