Sir John Nixon, 1857-1921, British General

Sir John Nixon, 1857-1921, British General

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General John Nixon

Career soldier. Entered the army after attending Sandhurst (1875). From 1878 he served in the Army of India, rising to the rank of General by 1914. In 1915, after the Turkish entry into the First World War, he was appointed to command the Mesopotamian expedition, intended to protect British oil supplies by occupying the area round Basra, and initially controlled from India. After initial success, the expedition ran into trouble when Nixon's over optimistic reports led the government to sanction a march on Baghdad under Sir Charles Townshend. After being defeated by the Turks at the battle of Ctesiphon (22-26 November 1915), Townshend was forced to retreat to Kut, where he was besieged from December 1915 until April 1916, when he surrendered to the Turks. Nixon's attempts to relieve Townshend all failed after the Turks built fortifications down river of Kut, and he was replaced in January 1916. An Army inquiry into the disaster ran from August 1916 to 1918, and although Nixon received most of the blame, for his inaccurate reports, he was considered to have explained himself, and he was not punished.

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War

John Nixon (General)

Sir John Eccles Nixon, GCMG, KCB (* 16. August 1857 in Brentford † 15. Dezember 1921 in Saint-Raphaël) war ein britischer General.

Nixon wurde am 16. August 1857 in Brentford als Sohn eines Hauptmanns der Britischen Armee geboren und am Wellington College und der Royal Military Academy Sandhurst ausgebildet.

1875 trat er in das 75th Regiment of Foot ein und nahm am Zweiten Anglo-Afghanischen Krieg teil. Ab Ende 1901 bis zu dessen Ende kämpfte er im Zweiten Burenkrieg. Es folgte der Dienst in Britisch-Indien, wo er 1912 das Kommando über das Southern Command erhielt. 1915 wurde ihm das Northern Command übertragen.

Am 9. April übernahm er die Befehlsgewalt über alle britischen Truppen in Mesopotamien. Sein Vorgehen sollte auf die Sicherung der Ölquellen und der ostwärts führenden Pipeline sowie der Sicherung des Wilaya Basra abzielen und einen Plan für einen möglichen Vorstoß auf Bagdad ausarbeiten.

Am 3. Juni 1915 gelang dem ihm untergeordneten General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend die Einnahme Al-Amarahs. Townsend stieß weiter vor und nahm am 29. September 1915 das über 300 Kilometer entfernte Kut ein.

Am 23. Oktober erhielt Nixon die Erlaubnis auf Bagdad vorzustoßen, allerdings nur unter der Voraussetzung, dass er es auch halten könne. Zwei indische Divisionen wurde im als Verstärkung zugesagt.

Townshend wartete deren Eintreffen nicht ab, sondern traf am 22. November in der Schlacht von Ktesiphon auf die von Feldmarschall Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz und General Nureddin Pascha geführten osmanischen Truppen. Geschlagen musste er sich auf Kut zurückziehen. Die Osmanen nahmen am 8. Dezember die Belagerung von Kut auf und nahmen am 29. April Townshends Kapitulation entgegen.

Im Januar 1916 legte Nixon das Kommando wegen angeblich schlechter Gesundheit nieder und wurde im August vor eine Sonderkommission geladen, die sich mit den schweren Rückschlägen in Mesopotamien und der Schlacht von Gallipoli beschäftigen sollte. Sein Vorgehen wurde als zu optimistisch verurteilt und er als Hauptverantwortlicher für die Niederlage ermittelt. Weitere Konsequenzen blieben jedoch aus.


The figures after the names indicate the number of hearths on which the occupier had to pay.

1665 1673 1674
Empty, M r . Pryor ow. r 02
Earl of Lodderdale 26 Empty, Duke of Lotherdale 26
George Pryer 07 M r . Pryor 07
Maior Grinstone 15 Empty, Thom: Gunstone ow r 15
Robt. Lea 04 Rob. Leay 04
Paul Ginderley 07 M r . Ffilkins 07
Ric. Gower 11 M. r Goare 11
Geo. Whitten 04 Geo. Whitton 04
W m . Read 02 — Duckett 02 Cha. Hatton 02
Martin Stappilles 02 Empty 02 W m . Smyth
John Shuley 01 Empty 02 Wdd. Hutton 01
— Miller 04 John Miller 04 John Miller 04
John Foster 02
W m . Branson 02 W. Bramson 03 W m . Branson 03
Wdd. Coggesell 02
Empty 07 Jona. Cook 07
Edw. Greene 02 — Stanell 02
Rich. Weekes 04 Ric d . Weekes 05 Empty 04
Ralph Sharwood 02
Thomas Greene 02 Thom. Greene 02
John Storrey 03 Mr. Storye 09 M r . Stoney 09
Owen Lewis 09 Empty 03 Empty 07
W. Brogden 06 Wm. Bragden 06
M rs . White 09 Empty, M r . White ow r . 09
Robt. Clarke 12 Robert Clarke 12 M r . Clarke 06
M r . William 06
Wdd: Smith 02 Widow Smith 02 Wd. Smyth 02
M rs . Bateman 04 Edw d . Thompson 04 Edw. Thompson 04
Nich: Baker 02 Ric d . Baker 02 Rich d . Baker 02
W m . Homes 02 Thos: Stones 02 Thom. Smith 02
Beni Arthur 10 Kaye Esq 10 Esqr: Kage 10
John Branson 02
W m . Riles 02 W m . Ryles 02 W m . Rayles 02
M r . Plowman 07
Owen Cope 02 Owen Cope 02 Owen Cooper 02
Baron Turner 23 M r . Johnson 10 M r . Johnson 10
M r . Hinde 11 Empty, M r . Blocke own r . 11
John Ives 07 John Ives 07 John Ives 07
Francis Blake 13 Francis Blake 13 Fran. Blacke 13
Sam. Boxker (sic.) 07 Simon Baxter 07 Simo. Baxter 07
W m . Bitterfeild 02 W. Butterfield 02 W m . Butterfeild 02
M rs . Skillett 02 John Foster 02 John Tayler 02
Empty, Poulson ow nr . 04 Empty 04
Wdd. White 06 Wid: White 02 Wd. White 02
Wdd. Burden 02
W. Crosse 02 Rich. Finder 02
Anth. Odam 02 Anth Odam 03 An o Odum 03
Wm. Lewis 05
Marquisse of Dorchester 31 Marq. of Dorchester 31 Marques of Dorchester 31
Tho. Collett, esq. 11 Empty 11 Thom: Collett Esq r . 10
— Coppenger 05 M. Beaumont 05 M r . Beomont 05
W. Prue 04
Chr. Keemer 02 M r . Keymer 04 M r . Keymor 04
Edw. Thompson 02 Robt. Poulsen 02 Robt. Poulson 02
Tho. Weden 02 John Taylour 02 Thom. Kirke 02
Tho. Barnes 02 Thos: Barnes 03 Thom. Barnes 02
Nic: Andrews 04 Nich: Andrewes 04 Mich. Andrews 04
W m . Nicholls 06 Empty 06 W m . Nicholls 06
John Bill 24 John Bill 23 John Bill Esq rr . 20
— Flood 02 — Flood 02 — Flood 02
Thos Conce 04 Thos. Sconce 04 Tho. Sconne 05

The order of the names in the lists of 1665 and 1673 has been modified to tally with that for 1674.


The Ottoman Empire had conquered the region in the early 16th century, but never gained complete control. Regional pockets of Ottoman control through local proxy rulers maintained the Ottomans' reach throughout Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). With the turn of the 19th century came reforms. Work began on a Baghdad Railway in 1888 by 1915 it had only four gaps, and travel time from Istanbul to Baghdad had fallen to 21 days.

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company had obtained exclusive rights to petroleum deposits throughout the Persian Empire, except in the provinces of Azerbaijan, Ghilan, Mazendaran, Asdrabad, and Khorasan. [8] In 1914, before the war, the British government had contracted with the company for oil for the navy. [8]

The operational area of the Mesopotamian campaign was limited to the lands watered by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. The main challenge was moving troops and supplies through the swamps and deserts which surrounded the area of conflict.

Shortly after the European war started, the British sent a military force to protect Abadan, the site of one of the world's earliest oil refineries. British operational planning included landing troops in the Shatt-al-Arab. The reinforced 6th (Poona) Division of the British Indian Army was assigned the task, designated as Indian Expeditionary Force D (IEFD).

Aside from oil, a major British interest in Mesopotamia, especially in the minds of politicians like Austen Chamberlain (Secretary of State for India) and former Viceroy Lord Curzon, was in maintaining British prestige in the eyes of India's Muslim population. At first the campaign was run by the India Office and Indian Army, with little input from the War Office. [9]

The Ottoman Fourth Army was located in the region. It was composed of two corps: the XII Corps, with the 35th and 36th Divisions at Mosul, and XIII Corps, with the 37th and 38th Divisions at Baghdad.

On 29 October 1914, after the pursuit of Goeben and Breslau, Breslau bombarded the Russian Black Sea port of Theodosia. On 30 October the High Command in Istanbul changed the force distribution. On 2 November Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha expressed regret to the Allies for the actions of the navy. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Sazonov said it was too late and that Russia considered the raid an act of war. The Cabinet tried to explain that hostilities were begun without its sanction by German officers serving in the navy. The Allies insisted on reparations to Russia, the dismissal of German officers from the Goeben and Breslau, and the internment of the German ships until the end of the war, but before the Ottoman government could respond, Great Britain and France declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 5 November. The Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress's official Declaration of War came on 14 November. [10]

When the Caucasus Campaign became a reality with the victorious Bergmann Offensive, Enver Pasha sent the 37th Division and XIII Corps Headquarters to the Caucasus in support of the Third Army. The entire XII Corps was deployed to the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Fourth Army Headquarters was sent to Syria, to replace the Second Army Headquarters, which was sent to Istanbul. In place of the Fourth Army was the "Iraq Area Command" with only the 38th Division under its command. [11]

Mesopotamia was a low priority area for the Ottomans, and they did not expect any major action in the region. Regiments of the XII and XIII Corps were maintained at low levels in peacetime. Lieutenant Colonel Süleyman Askerî Bey became the commander. He redeployed portions of the 38th Division at the mouth of Shatt-al-Arab. The rest of the defensive force was stationed at Basra. The Ottoman General Staff did not even possess a proper map of Mesopotamia. [12] They tried to draw a map with the help of people who had worked in Iraq before the war, although this attempt failed. Enver Pasha bought two German maps scaled 1/1,500,000. [ citation needed ]

1914 Edit

On 6 November 1914, British offensive action began with the naval bombardment of the old fort at Fao, located at the point where the Shatt-al-Arab meets the Persian Gulf. At the Fao Landing, the British Indian Expeditionary Force D (IEF D), comprising the 6th (Poona) Division led by Lieutenant General Arthur Barrett with Sir Percy Cox as Political Officer, was opposed by 350 Ottoman troops and 4 guns. After a sharp engagement, the fort was overrun. By mid-November the Poona Division was fully ashore and began moving towards the city of Basra.

The same month, the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, contributed to the Allied war effort by sending forces to attack Ottoman troops at Umm Qasr, Safwan, Bubiyan, and Basra. In exchange the British government recognized Kuwait as an "independent government under British protection." [1] There is no report on the exact size and nature of Mubarak's attack, though Ottoman forces did retreat from those positions weeks later. [13] Mubarak soon removed the Ottoman symbol from the Kuwaiti flag and replaced it with "Kuwait" written in Arabic script. [13] Mubarak's participation and previous exploits in obstructing the completion of the Baghdad railway helped the British safeguard the Persian Gulf by preventing Ottoman and German reinforcement. [14]

On 22 November, the British occupied the city of Basra after a short fight with soldiers of the Iraq Area Command under Suphi Bey, the Governor of Basra. The Ottoman troops abandoned Basra and retreated up the river. After establishing order in the town the British continued their advance, and at the Battle of Qurna they succeeded in capturing Subhi Bey and 1,000 of his troops. This put the British in a very strong position, ensuring that Basra and the oilfields would be protected from any Ottoman advance. The main Ottoman army, under the overall command of Khalil Pasha, was located 275 miles to the north-west around Baghdad. They made only weak efforts to dislodge the British.

1915 Edit

September, British offence

November, British offence (detail)

On 2 January, Süleyman Askerî Bey took over as head of the Iraq Area Command. With Gallipoli, the Caucasus, and Palestine taking priority, the Ottoman Army had few resources to move to Mesopotamia. Süleyman Askerî Bey sent letters to Arab sheiks in an attempt to organize them to fight against the British. He wanted to retake the Shatt-al-Arab region at any cost.

Early on the morning of 12 April, Süleyman Askerî attacked the British camp at Shaiba in what became known as the Battle of Shaiba. He had about 4,000 regular troops and about 14,000 Arab irregulars provided by Arab sheiks. Although the irregulars proved ineffective, the Ottoman infantry launched a series of relentless attacks on the fortified British camp and later attempted by bypass it. When the British cavalry and infantry counterattacked Suleyman Askari pulled his troops back. The next day the British attacked his defensive positions. It was a hard fought infantry battle in which the British infantry overcame tough Ottoman opposition. Ottoman losses numbered 2400 men killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, as well as two artillery field pieces. [15] The retreat ended 75 miles up the river at Hamisiye. Süleyman Askerî had been wounded at Shaiba. Disappointed and depressed, he shot himself at the hospital in Baghdad. [16] In his place Colonel Nureddin was appointed commander of the Iraq Area Command on 20 April 1915. Nureddin was one of the few officers to reach high command without the benefit of a staff college education. He did, however, have extensive combat experience. [17]

Due to the unexpected success British command reconsidered their plan and General Sir John Nixon was sent in April 1915 to take command. He ordered Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend to advance to Kut or even to Baghdad if possible. [18] Townshend and his small army advanced up the Tigris river. They defeated several Ottoman forces sent to halt him. In July 1915, a force led by G. F. Gorringe captured the city of Nasiriyah, capturing the Turks' largest supply depot in southern Mesopotamia. Logistically, his advance was very difficult to sustain, but it was sustained.

In late September 1915, amidst the recent defeat of Serbia and entry of Bulgaria into the war and concerns about German attempts to incite jihad in Persia and Afghanistan, Grey (Foreign Secretary) and other politicians encouraged a further 100-mile push to Baghdad. The CIGS Murray thought this logistically unwise, but Kitchener advised the Dardanelles Committee (21 October) that Baghdad be seized for the sake of prestige then abandoned. [9]

Enver Pasha worried about the possible fall of Baghdad. He realized the mistake of underestimating the importance of the Mesopotamian campaign. He ordered the 35th Division and Mehmet Fazıl Pasha to return to their old location, which was Mosul. The 38th Division was reconstituted. The Sixth Army was created on 5 October 1915, and its commander was a 72-year-old German general, Colmar von der Goltz. Von der Goltz was a famous military historian who had written several classic books on military operations. He had also spent many years working as a military adviser in the Ottoman Empire. However, he was in Thrace commanding the Ottoman First Army and would not reach the theater for some time. Colonel Nureddin the former commander of the Iraq Area Command was still in charge on the ground. [17]

On 22 November, Townshend and Nureddin fought a battle at Ctesiphon, a town 25 miles south of Baghdad. The conflict lasted five days. The battle was a stalemate as both the Ottomans and the British ended up retreating from the battlefield. Townshend concluded that a full scale retreat was necessary. However, Nureddin realized the British were retreating and cancelled his retreat, then followed the British. [19] Townshend withdrew his division in good order back to Kut-al-Amara. He halted and fortified the position. Nureddin pursued with his forces. He tried to encircle the British with his XVIII Corps composed of the 45th Division, 51st Division and 2nd Tribal Cavalry Brigade. [20] The exhausted and depleted British force was urged back to the defenses of Kut-al-Amara. The retreat finalized on 3 December. Nureddin encircled the British at Kut-al-Amara, and sent other forces down river to prevent the British from marching to the relief of the garrison.

On 7 December, the siege of Kut began. From the Ottoman perspective the siege of prevented the Sixth Army from performing other operations. From the British perspective, defending Kut as opposed to retreating back to Basra was a mistake since Kut was isolated. It could be defended, but it could not be resupplied. Von der Goltz helped the Ottoman forces build defensive positions around Kut. The Sixth Army was reorganized into two corps, the XIII and the XVIII. Nureddin Pasha gave command to Von der Goltz. With the reorganization the Sixth Army laid siege to the British. New fortified positions established down river fended off any attempt to rescue Townshend. Townshend suggested an attempt to break out but this was initially rejected by Sir John Nixon however he relented. Nixon established a relief force under the command of General Aylmer. General Aylmer made three major attempts to break the siege, but each effort was unsuccessful.

1916 Edit

On 20 January, Enver Pasha replaced Nureddin Pasha with Colonel Halil Kut (Khalil Pasha). Nureddin Pasha did not want to work with a German general. He sent a telegram to the War Ministry "The Iraq Army has already proven that it does not need the military knowledge of Goltz Pasha . " [ citation needed ] After the first failure, General Nixon was replaced by General Lake. British forces received small quantities of supplies from the air. These drops were not enough to feed the garrison, though. Halil Kut forced the British to choose between starving and surrendering, though in the meantime they would try to lift the siege.

Between January and March 1916, both Townshend and Aylmer launched several attacks in an attempt to lift the siege. In sequence, the attacks took place at the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad, the Battle of the Wadi, the Battle of Hanna, and the Battle of Dujaila Redoubt. These series of British attempts to break through the encirclement did not succeed and their costs were heavy. Both sides suffered high casualties. In February, XIII Corps received 2nd Infantry Division as a reinforcement. Food and hopes were running out for Townshend in Kut-al-Amara. Disease was spreading rapidly and could not be cured.

On 19 April Field Marshal Von der Goltz died of cholera. On 24 April, an attempt by the paddle steamer Julnar to re-supply the town by river failed. With that there was no way the British could resupply Kut. After repeated attempts to break through, the Ottoman attacks on the city. Rather than wait for reinforcements, Townshend surrendered on 29 April 1916. The remaining force in Kut-al-Amara of 13,164 soldiers became captives of the Ottomans. [21]

The British viewed the loss of Kut as a humiliating defeat. It had been many years since such a large body of British Army soldiers had surrendered to an enemy. Also this loss followed only four months after the British defeat at the Battle of Gallipoli. Nearly all the British commanders involved in the failure to rescue Townshend were removed from command. The Ottomans proved they were good at holding defensive positions against superior forces.

The British refused to let the defeat at Kut stand. Further attempts to advance in Mesopotamia were ordered by the politicians on the War Committee (18 September), including Curzon and Chamberlain, who argued that there would be no net savings in troops if a passive policy in the Middle East encouraged Muslim unrest in India, Persia and Afghanistan, and despite the opposition of Robertson. [22]

A major problem for the British was the lack of logistical infrastructure. When ships arrived at Basra, they had to be unloaded by small boats which then unloaded their cargo which was then stored in warehouses, which there were not enough of in Basra. Ships often sat for days waiting to be unloaded. Then supplies had to be sent north along the river in shallow draft river steamers because there were almost no roads north. Usually the amount of supplies being sent north was barely adequate to supply the forces in place. A plan to build a railway was rejected by the Indian Government in 1915, but after Kut it was approved. [23] After the defeat at Kut, the British made a major effort to improve the ability to move men and equipment into theater, and keep them supplied. The port at Basra was greatly improved so that ships could be quickly unloaded. [24] Good roads were built around Basra. Rest camps and supply dumps were created to receive men and material from the port. More and better river steamers were put into service moving supplies up river. [25] New hospitals were also set up to better care for the sick and wounded. As a result, the British were able to bring more troops and equipment to the front lines and keep them properly supplied for a new offensive.

The new commander, General Maude, despite receiving secret orders from Robertson not to attempt to take Baghdad, [22] was given additional reinforcements and equipment. For the next six months he trained and organized his army. At the same time, the Ottoman Sixth Army was growing weaker. Khalil Pasha received very few replacements, and ended up disbanding the weak 38th Division and used its soldiers as replacements for his other divisions, the 46th, 51st, 35th, and 52nd. [26] Robertson changed his mind when it seemed that the Russians might advance to Mosul, removing any Turkish threat to Mesopotamia, and authorised Maude to attack in December 1916. [27]

Indian anti-aircraft machine gunners in action during the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad

Description of the Structure.

The elevation of the PaymasterGeneral's office to Whitehall shows a dignified treatment of brick with stone dressings. The design displays a vertical composition of three parts, the pedimented gable adding importance to the centre. As has been mentioned above, the main portion of the building was erected in 1732–3, by John Lane. The northern annexe was added in 1806, and efforts were made to effect a harmony with the main front (Plate 32).

The present stone facade to the western front of the building was originally the park front of No. 37, Great George Street, (fn. n36) and was taken down and re-erected in its present position by H.M. Office of Works in 1910 (Plate 34). It took the place of a plain brick front, relieved with brick bands at the various floor levels, as shown in the view reproduced on the next page. Certain internal alterations were carried out at the same time, including the provision of a new kitchen and refreshment-room on the topmost floor.

Some of the rooms have their walls panelled, and contain moulded stone mantelpieces.

Room No. 1, at the ground level, was originally used as stables for the Horse Guards. It had a brick-vaulted ceiling, which has recently been removed and the room converted into an office.

Paymaster-General's Office, west elevation before 1910

The most important room in the building is that of the PaymasterGeneral on the ground floor. The walls are panelled in deal in two heights, and finished with an enriched entablature comprising a modillion cornice, a pulvinated frieze with laurel and entwined ribbons, and a moulded architrave. It should be noted that the cornice and the frieze are in plaster. The mantelpiece, which is the central feature of the southern end of the room, comprises a carved wood surround with a broken pedimented overmantel (Plate 40). The northern end is divided by Ionic pilasters into three bays, consisting of an arched recess with a doorway on either side and circular lights over (Plate 40). The panelling was originally fixed in the house (demolished in 1806) on the site of the northern annexe. From Plates 38) and 39 it will be seen that it was found necessary to make certain alterations to admit of the panelling becoming adaptable for its present position, and that when the new western front was erected further alterations had to be made on account of the positions and sizes of the new windows.

Room No. 1 before conversion

Room No. 1 after conversion

The lobby adjoining is panelled and has decorative features complementary to the room (Plate 41).

Room No. 10 on the first floor has the walls panelled in two heights and finished with a moulded cornice.

Room No. 11 has the walls covered with square panelling, with a cornice similar to that in room No. 10. The mantelpiece consists of a mitred architrave moulding in stone around the fire opening (Plate 42). and a good ornamental cast-iron grate (Plate 42).

Room No. 25 on the second floor has plain square panelling and a shallow moulded cornice. The fireplace has a moulded stone architrave and a good ornamental cast-iron grate (Plate 42).

In room No. 14 is a handsome grandfather clock in a walnut case (Plate 41). The clock face bears the name "Windmill, London," with the date 1710 and the Royal Arms over.

The staircase to the front portion leading from the first to the second floor has turned balusters and a closemoulded string (Plate 43). The main staircase leading from the hall by the Paymaster-General's room has a more substantial balustrading (Plate 43). A small winding staircase (Plate 44). which leads out of room No. 33 on the second floor gives access to the attics, and appears to be of an earlier date.

Paymaster-General's Office, staircase leading out of room No. 33

General Douglas Haig (1861 - 1928)

Douglas Haig © Haig was British commander on the Western Front for most of World War One. The huge casualties that his military strategy produced has made him a controversial figure.

Douglas Haig was born in Edinburgh on 19 June 1861 into a wealthy family who owned a whisky business. He studied at Oxford University and in 1884 went to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He then served as a cavalry officer for nine years, mainly in India. He later took part in the Sudan campaign (1897 - 1898) and the Boer War (1899 - 1902). In 1906, Haig went to the War Office as director of military training. His responsibilities included the organisation of a British Expeditionary Force (BEF) for deployment in the event of war with Germany. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Haig was commanding the BEF's 1st Army Corps, whose overall commander was Sir John French. By the end of 1915, it was clear that French was ill-suited to the role, and in December Haig was appointed commander in chief in his place.

In an attempt to break the stalemate on the Western Front and relieve the pressure on the French at Verdun, Haig ordered the Somme offensive, which began on 1 July 1916. The British army suffered 60,000 casualties (just under 20,000 of whom were killed) on the first day, the highest in its history, and Haig's conduct of the battle made him one of the most controversial figures of the war. In July 1917, a new offensive - the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele) resulted in further heavy casualties, but did succeed in weakening the German army and helped prepare the way for its defeat in 1918.

Haig believed that the war could only be won on the Western Front. This caused friction with Lloyd George, secretary of state for war and prime minister from December 1916 who disagreed with this strategy, supported alternative schemes and intrigued against Haig. The great German attacks of the spring of 1918 almost broke the British army, but inspired the creation of a single command of allied forces on the Western Front under the French commander Ferdinand Foch, strongly supported by Haig. Between August and November 1918 the Allied forces under Haig's command achieved a series of victories against the German army which resulted in the end of the war.

Haig served as commander in chief of British Home Forces from 1918 until his retirement in 1921. He also helped establish the Royal British Legion and worked hard to raise funds for it. He was created an earl in 1919 and died on 28 January 1928.

The Gallipoli Campaign

Contemplating the Ottoman entry into the war, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill developed a plan for attacking the Dardanelles. Using the ships of the Royal Navy, Churchill believed, partially due to faulty intelligence, that the straits could be forced, opening the way for a direct assault on Constantinople. Approved, the Royal Navy had three attacks on the straits turned back in February and early March 1915. A massive assault on March 18 also failed with the loss of three older battleships. Unable to penetrate the Dardanelles due to Turkish mines and artillery, the decision was made to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to remove the threat (Map).

Entrusted to General Sir Ian Hamilton, the operation called for landings at Helles and farther north at Gaba Tepe. While the troops at Helles were to push north, the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps was to push east and prevent the retreat of the Turkish defenders. Going ashore on April 25, Allied forces took heavy losses and failed to achieve their objectives.

Battling on Gallipoli's mountainous terrain, Turkish forces under Mustafa Kemal held the line and fighting stalemated into trench warfare. On August 6, a third landing at Sulva Bay was also contained by the Turks. After a failed offensive in August, fighting quieted as the British debated strategy (Map). Seeing no other recourse, the decision was made to evacuate Gallipoli and the last Allied troops departed on January 9, 1916.

History of the Society

James Glaisher,
Royal Meteorological Society

“The British Meteorological Society” was founded on Wednesday 3 April 1850.

On that day, a small group of gentlemen met in the library of astronomer Dr John Lee’s home, at Hartwell House in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. They gathered “to form a society the objects of which should be the advancement and extension of meteorological science by determining the laws of climate and of meteorological phenomena in general”. Other founding members present that day included James Glaisher (pictured right) and Samuel Charles Whitbread, who was the Society’s first President.

The next meeting took place on 7 May 1850, by which time the number of members had increased to 90 individuals, and included famous meteorologist Luke Howard, known for naming clouds.

The Society became “The Meteorological Society” in 1866 when it was incorporated by Royal Charter, and the “Royal Meteorological Society” in 1883, when Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted the privilege of adding ‘Royal’ to the title.

In 1900, the year of the Society’s golden jubilee, the number of members exceeded 600. Amalgamation with the Scottish Meteorological Society took place in 1921, with member numbers increasing to 904 that year. After 1921, the annual subscription was raised from £2.00 to 3 guineas (£3.15).

In May 1946, the Society’s monthly magazine, Weather, was first published. After World War II, numbers continued to increase, reaching 1,714 in 1947. The increase in membership both during and after the war resulted from a heightened interest in meteorology, especially amongst those who served in the Royal Air Force.

Membership numbers peaked at 3,691 in 1997, comprising a mix of meteorologists, both amateur and professional, from around the world. HRH The Prince of Wales became the Society’s Patron in 2002. In 2015, the Society celebrated its 165th anniversary.

Today, the Society is open to anyone with an interest in observing and understanding weather and climate with around 3,400 members. The Society remains dedicated to advancing meteorology and climate science through a broad programme of activities.

The Society's archive is located in Exeter, in the National Meteorological Archive, at the Met Office.

The archive holds rare books, personal papers of notable meteorologists and old meteorological photographs as well as Council and committee papers.

The originals of the Beaufort Wind and Weather Scales are also owned by the Society, and cared for by the team at the National Meteorological Archives

The Society has a dedicated Special Interest History Group. If you would like to learn more about the history of the Society along with the history of meteorology in general, please contact the History Group.

Without the dedication and leadership of many distinguished meteorologists and other scientists, the Society would not have survived for over a century and a half. The following is a list of those who have served the Society as President. The list gives the years these people served as President, along with the month and year the pen portrait was published in Weather. An asterisk indicates that the person is still alive.

Americans win more than a battle at Saratoga

British general and playwright John Burgoyne surrenders 5,000 British and Hessian troops to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York, on October 17, 1777.

In the summer of 1777, General Burgoyne led an army of 8,000 men south through New York in an effort to join forces with British General Sir William Howe’s troops along the Hudson River. After capturing several forts, Burgoyne’s force camped near Saratoga while a larger Patriot army under General Gates gathered just four miles away. On September 19, a British advance column marched out and engaged the Patriot force at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, or the First Battle of Saratoga. Failing to break through the American lines, Burgoyne’s force retreated. On October 7, another British reconnaissance force was repulsed by an American force under General Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Bemis Heights, also known as the Second Battle of Saratoga.

Gates retreated north to the village of Saratoga with his 5,000 surviving troops. By October 13, some 20,000 Americans had surrounded the British, and four days later Burgoyne was forced to agree to the first large-scale surrender of British forces in the Revolutionary War.

Burgoyne successfully negotiated that his surviving men would be returned to Britain by pledging that they would never again serve in North America. The nearly 6,000-man army was kept in captivity at great expense to the Continental Congress until the end of the war.


Merton is a parish of about 1,763 acres, occupied for the most part by market gardens on the south and west, and by increasing numbers of small houses connected by unbroken lines of streets with Lower Wimbledon on the north. The Beverley Brook forms the boundary line between Merton and New Malden. The soil is mostly London Clay, but the old village with the site of the priory is on gravel and alluvium of the River Wandle.

An award was made for the inclosure of Merton Common in 1817, under an Act of 1816. (fn. 1) Some common fields had apparently been inclosed earlier. (fn. 2)

The fame of Merton is derived from the ancient priory of Augustinian canons, commonly called Merton Abbey, of which a few walls still remain. These are for the most part built of flint. One wall lies along the north side of the railway line about 100 yards west of the station, and another runs east and west south of the station. Two calico-printing factories were founded on the site in the 18th century, one by Francis Nixon, whose art of copper-plate calico-printing is celebrated in his epitaph. (fn. 3) In 1725 the chapel of the priory still existed, but was not used for services. (fn. 4) The wealth of the priory and its position near London made Merton the scene of various public events during the Middle Ages. The kings often stayed there, and the statute of Merton was there enacted in 1236, whereby Roman civil law was rejected. Hubert de Burgh took sanctuary at Merton on his fall in 1232, and was violently removed from the church. Walter de Merton, chancellor of Edward I, was apparently a native of the parish. Thomas Becket was at school at the priory (fn. 5) and William of Ockham was possibly educated there. (fn. 6)

Before the opening of the railways Merton was completely rural, though the road to Epsom and Dorking ran through it, on which coaches were frequently passing. There are now four railway stations in the parish, Merton Abbey and Raynes Park on the London and South Western, Merton Park and Morden on the London, Brighton and South Coast railway.

In 1801 Merton became the home of the Hamiltons and Nelson. On 15 September 1801 Nelson bought Merton Place, an early 18th-century house, built probably by Mr. Robert Dorrill, who settled Merton Place by name on his daughter Mary Meriton in 1709. By Nelson's will it was left to Lady Hamilton, who sold it in 1808. The house was pulled down about 1840. It stood near the west end of Reform Place, but further back, towards Nelson Grove Road. (fn. 7) The well which supplied it with water is in the back yard of No. 61 High Street. The grounds are now marked by Nelson Road, Trafalgar Road, Victory Road, Hardy Road and Hamilton Road.

Opposite the church, standing in grounds inclosed by high brick walls, is Church House, a large early 18th-century building of two stories, now in a very dilapidated condition, the upper part being used as workshops. The external walls are covered with plaster, the roof is of tiles. The house faces north and south, the south being the principal front, and is approached through a fine wrought-iron gateway standing between brick piers surmounted by stone vases. The house is E-shaped and has at the back two semi-hexagonal bay windows. The hall is a fine panelled room, but unless immediately repaired will soon be in decay. Spring House, another building of about the same date, stands in a road to the north of the church. It is a brick building of three stories with a wooden cornice, Doric entrance doorway and tile roof. The 'King's Arms' in the High Street is an 18th-century hostel. Opposite the wall by the railway lines stands Abbey House, an 18th-century building of no great interest. The external walls are covered with plaster.

The paper mills of Messrs. Read & Co., called Merton Abbey Mills, probably represent the Amery mills (see below under manor), which date back to the days of the Conquest. Close by these mills are some extensive watercress beds. The Merton Abbey Works of the Morris Company glass painters and furniture printers and the Merton Abbey silk-printing works of Messrs. Liberty & Co. occupy the site of the calico-printing factories mentioned above. (fn. 8) The manufacture of japan and varnish is also an industry of the parish.

Merton School (National) was founded in 1865, and the present building erected in 1870. Abbey Road (National, infants) was built in 1856 and enlarged in 1894. The Council School, Botsford Road, was started in temporary buildings in 1906.


The earliest mention of land at MERTON is in the year 967, when Edgar granted to EarlAlphen and Elswitha his wife 20 cassatas of land at Merton near Wimbledon and Mitcham, and at Dulwich. (fn. 9) It is not certain whether this land is identical with that which formed part of Harold's holding (perhaps as king) immediately before the Conquest. At the Domesday Survey this was held by William I, and was assessed at 20 hides. It had a church, and two mills worth 60s., and sixteen houses in Southwark belonged to the manor. (fn. 10) The place was then populous, with fifty-six villein holdings and thirteen bordars. Appurtenant to the manor were 2 hides held by one Orcus in another hundred. In 1086 these were valueless. Also the Bishop of Lisieux held 2 solins in Kent which at the time of King Edward and after the Conquest had belonged to this manor. (fn. 11)

By a grant of Henry I (fn. 12) the 'vill of the Crown called Merton' was bestowed on the canons of Merton in frankalmoign, free of all taxation and jurisdiction, to be used for the construction of a church which was to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary. (fn. 13) Henry II and Richard I also confirmed this grant. (fn. 14)

About 1348 litigation arose concerning the customs of the manor. Stephen in the Hale, John Jakes, Richard Est and other men of the Prior of Merton complained of his unscrupulous exaction of services and customs such as had not been went when the king held this demesne. (fn. 15) The men alleged they held only by fealty and rent but the prior exacted one day's forced labour a week, and compelled their services for mending a ditch called Le Brok, shearing the prior's sheep for two days (for which they only received ½d. a day), mowing his meadows for a day and a half, with pay of 1½d. a day, each man also having to find three men for three days to carry the prior's hay, and for three half-days to take the grain, for nothing. Further, the prior exacted for twelve days a year twenty-four men to reap his corn with an allowance of ¾d. for four days' food, and ½d. for eight days' food. Further, they had to sift the prior's malt from the Feast of St. Andrew to Christmas, with a 4d. fine for any leakage, and to harrow 1 acre for a loaf worth ¼d. besides which the prior exacted ten eggs a year from each on Good Friday. The upkeep of the bridge between Merton and Kingston was also one of their tasks. Their sons could not escape this bondage by taking holy orders without paying the prior a fine, and none might sell their own corn or cut down their own timber without the prior's licence. To all these and other allegations the prior could only aver the men were his serfs, a charge they denied, and to prevent them from prosecuting the suit he tried to impoverish them by heavily distraining them by their goods and chattels. (fn. 16)

Merton Priory. Or fretty azure with eagles argent at the crossings of the fret.

At the Dissolution Merton with its members was valued at £49 12s. 5d. and the farm and the mills at £4 10s. (fn. 17) The manor was granted by Philip and Mary to the priory of Sheen in 1558. (fn. 18) It afterwards remained in the Crown until 1610, when it was granted, but without the mills or advowsons of churches, to Thomas Hunt of Hammersmith for £828 8s. 9d., (fn. 19) who retained it until 1637, (fn. 20) when he joined with others in conveying it to James Haward. (fn. 21)

In Hilary 1664–5 it was held by Penelope Haward, daughter of James, and John Long and his wife Mary, apparently another daughter. (fn. 22) In 1675 William Godman and Dorothea his wife, probably the third sister, quitclaimed the manor to Penelope and her husband Nicholas Philpot. (fn. 23) In 1699 Nicholas Philpot, apparently a son, (fn. 24) sold it to John Dorrill, (fn. 25) in whose family it remained until the latter part of the reign of George III. (fn. 26) John Chambers Dorrill sold it in 1801 to John Hilbert. (fn. 27) In 1820 Francis Merritt held it in right of his wife Elizabeth, and assigned it to Joseph Benwell and Joseph Kage, probably trustees, with the two mills (fn. 28) (which he had apparently acquired from the owners of the site, see below).

In 1887 Sir John Innes, M.P. (one of the large local landowners), appears as lord of the manor. The manorial rights are now extinct.

The site of MERTON ABBEY was granted in 1558 to the priory of Jesus of Bethlehem at Sheen. (fn. 29) But the same year Elizabeth came to the throne, and the property reverted to the Crown. In 1590 Gregory Lovell, lessee since 1582, (fn. 30) was granted a new lease for twenty-one years (fn. 31) and in 1600, in recognition of the signal service of Charles Earl of Nottingham, Lord Howard of Effingham, against the Armada, Nichola Zouche and Thomas Ware were granted various lands including these, on trust for Lord Howard, to whom they conveyed them in 1601. (fn. 32)

In 1605 Charles Earl of Nottingham conveyed the site to John Spilman, (fn. 33) who was knighted the same year. The following year Spilman and others assigned it to Sir Thomas Cornwall, (fn. 34) from whose hands in 1613 it passed to Sir Edward Bellingham and William Ashenden. (fn. 35) A certain Thomas Marbury also quitclaimed his right to Bellingham at the same time. (fn. 36)

In 1624 Sir Francis Clerke and Anne his wife conveyed the lands to Roland Wilson. (fn. 37) Mary daughter of Roland Wilson married Samuel Crisp. In 1662 Samuel Crisp and his wife, Edward Crisp, Roland Crisp and his wife, John Carleton and his wife, Edmund White and his wife, William Cox and his wife, and Humphrey Davy with his wife all conveyed the lands to Elisha Crisp, (fn. 38) who in 1668 sold to Thomas Pepys. (fn. 39) Thomas Pepys left a widow Ursula, who joined with Edward Smith and Olive his wife in a conveyance to trustees. (fn. 40) Edward Smith and his wife by themselves in 1696 sold to Susanna St. John, (fn. 41) who in 1701 conveyed to William Hubbald of Stoke near Guildford. He died in 1709 and in 1711 an Act was passed for selling his estates to satisfy his debts to the Crown. The site of the priory was sold to Sir William Phippard, kt., who by his will left the estate to his sons William, John (fn. 42) and George, and his daughter Elizabeth, wife of William Cleeves, (fn. 43) as tenants in common.

George died unmarried, having devised his share to William and John. John also died without issue in 1774, when the moiety which he held under George's will went to William. The rest of his estates he left to his niece Mary Cleeves, who married Richard Fezard Mansfield of Ringwood, co. Hants. (fn. 44)

The two mills called Amery Mills, with Amery Garden, formerly appurtenant to the manor, were in 1588 leased to John Penson for twenty-seven years. (fn. 45) In 1613 George Low and others were granted £4 6s. 8d. rent from these mills and other Sheen lands which had been granted to Edward Ferrers on 19 May 1609. (fn. 46) Later they seem to have been granted to Richard Burroll, who previous to his death in 1629 sold them to Sir Francis Clerke for £800, (fn. 47) from whom they devolved on Richard Fezard Mansfield in 1778 (vide supra). Before 1820 they seem to have been acquired by the owner of the manor of Merton.

In 1553 John Earl of Warwick and Sir Henry Sidney, kt., were granted MERTON GRANGE, which was the grange of the priory estates situated outside the gates of the priory. (fn. 48) After the death of the earl without issue in 1554 and the attainder of all his family his half was granted by Elizabeth to Sir Henry Sidney. (fn. 49) It included lands called 'Lyon,' 'Le Vynes,' Hallowmede and Sheephouse. Before 1629 the Grange was among the possessions of Richard Burroll, who sold it to Robert Bromfield for £2,100. (fn. 50)

A house and farm called WEST BARNES (formerly belonging to Merton Priory and valued in 1535 at £3 6s. 8d. a year (fn. 51) ) was in 1545 granted to Sir John Gresham of London, kt. (fn. 52) It comprised 200 acres. By his will of 1553 Gresham settled it on his younger son John, (fn. 53) who in 1612 sold to John Carpenter. In 1660 Robert Carpenter held it and in 1732 this family sold to John Budgen. In 1783 John Smith Budgen sold to John Midleton, who resided there in 1812. (fn. 54) The name still persists.

A house called MARTINHOLTS was in 1547 granted to Sir Ralph Lee. (fn. 55)


The church of ST. MARY consists of chancel 13 ft. 8 in. by 44 ft. 2 in., with modern organ chamber and vestry, nave 21 ft. by 72 ft., north aisle 13 ft. 8 in. by 57 ft. 6 in., and south aisle 9 ft. 8 in. by 57 ft. 6 in., internal measurements. The earliest part of the building is the west end of the nave, which dates from the 12th century. The church then consisted of an aisleless nave the same size as the present one and a chancel. Early in the 13th century the chancel was pulled down and a wider one erected. No other structural alterations appear to have been made until the middle of the 19th century, when in 1856 the south aisle of four bays was added, extending to within nearly 14 ft. of the west wall of the nave. Ten years later the north aisle and organ chamber were added, while in more recent times the vestry was built, and in 1897 an arch was built across the end of the nave between the west walls of the aisles and an old wooden gallery cleared away.

The walls of the nave and aisles are built of split flint with stone quoins and have tile roofs, though the chancel walls are covered with flint dash. The quoins and windows to the vestry are of brick.

The east window is of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery, all of which is modern except a few stones in the inner jambs. A wall arcade of equilateral arches running along the north and south walls divides the chancel into four bays. In the westernmost bay on the north side is the organ, and in the next is a two-light trefoiled window, the jambs only being ancient, and in the easternmost are single lancets. The organ chamber is lighted by a reset 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil taken from the westernmost bay of the north chancel wall (the next window of which is a copy). In the easternmost bay of the south wall of the chancel is a two-light window similar to the one opposite, which contains some pieces of old glass. The east light contains the royal arms, and in the west are those of the abbey. A late 16th-century monument covers a blocked-up lancet in the next bay, while in the westernmost division are an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights and a plain equilateral arched priest's doorway leading into a modern porch. This door has some pieces of mediaeval ironwork on it. The chancel arch is a chamfered drop arch and springs from the chancel walls.

The nave arcade is modern in 13th-century style. At the west end of the north aisle are the remains of a late 12th-century doorway re-inserted from the north wall of the nave when that aisle was added. The doorway has been badly pieced together, and only the semicircular arch mould, which is enriched with cheveron ornament, is original. On the door are some pieces of mediaeval ironwork, and on the outside is a much-restored and thickly painted 15th-century wooden porch standing on a base of flint and stone. The central opening has a fourcentred head, the side posts are carried up and support an embattled transom, while the mouldings on the head break away and take the form of an ogee head meeting on the transom. The spandrels are filled in with quatrefoils in circles, in which are placed small escutcheons. The roof is of tiles. There are three windows in the north aisle in 14th-century style and a similar window in the west wall.

The south aisle is lighted by four two-light windows in 14th-century style, inserted in 1907, and on the east by a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil, all of plate tracery. Across the nave, between the west walls of the aisles, is a pointed arch springing from shafts having moulded caps and bases in the style of the 15th century and built in 1897. To the west of this, in the north wall of the nave, is a small semicircular-headed window, the external head of which is new, while on the opposite wall is a similar window having a segmental head filled in with a modern cinquefoil. In the west wall is a 14th-century doorway, and above is a two-light window with modern tracery.

Over the chancel is a late 14th-century opentimber roof divided into three bays by framed trusses. The roof of the nave is plastered over, but the original plain moulded wall plate remains, and the tie-beams of principals to an early roof are still to be seen spanning the nave, though the framing has disappeared. The nave roof is continued down over the south aisle, but the north aisle is covered with a separate steep-pitched roof having trussed pitch pine rafters.

On the south wall of the chancel is a monument to Gregory Lovell of Merton Abbey, coiffeur to Queen Elizabeth, who died in 1597, and his two wives—Joan daughter of — Whithead, by whom he had one son and three daughters, and Dorothy daughter of Michael Greene, by whom he had five sons. The monument is of marble, and on either side is a small Corinthian column of red marble carrying an entablature of the same order. On the dexter side is the figure of Gregory kneeling in prayer, facing his two wives. In a panel beneath the man are figures of his children by his first wife facing his five sons by his wife Dorothy. The inscription is underneath, while above are three shields. In the middle are the quartered arms of Lovell, (1) Argent a cheveron azure between three squirrels gules, (2) Sable a cross between four lions or, (3) Vert two cheverons argent with three cinquefoils gules upon each, (4) Argent four bars gules (this should be Barry of ten argent and gules) a lion or with a crown party gules and or. The dexter shield is Lovell impaling Azure a cheveron between three hunting horns argent, for Joan Whithead, his first wife. The other shield is Lovell impaling Azure three harts tripping or with the difference of a crescent or, for Dorothy Greene his second wife.

In the chancel floor is a stone to 'Sir Henry Stapylton of Moyton upon Swale in ye County of Yorke,' who died 1679, while by the side is one to 'Grace ye wife of Thomas Robinson of Rokeby in ye County of York, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Stapleton 1676.'

Over the west end of the north aisle rises a small broach spire covered with shingle and surmounted by a weather vane, while at the base wooden louvres open into a belfry. Hanging against the south wall at the west of the nave is a painting of the bearing of the Cross, of the school of Van Dyke, the original being in St. Paul's, Antwerp.

Among the hatchments hanging on the nave walls is Lord Nelson's, while in the vestry is the bench which he is said to have occupied when attending service at the parish church.

There are five bells: the treble and second are modern, the third is by Thomas Mears, 1803, the fourth has a Latin inscription in black letter capitals, 'Sancta Margareta ora pro nobis,' together with two stops and a shield of the royal arms, and the fifth is by Bryan Eldridge, 1601.

The plate consists of two patens, one of which has a date mark 1709 and the other 1895, both having the Britannia stamp two cups, one of 1709, stamped similarly to the paten of that date, and the other of 1879. There is also a flagon, the gift of William Baynes and Hester his wife to the parish church of Merton, date mark 1717.

The registers are in six volumes: i, 1559 to 1656 ii, 1694 to 1714 iii, baptisms and burials 1700 to 1785, marriages 1700 to 1753 iv, 1754 to 1786 v, baptisms and burials 1787 to 1812 vi, marriages 1787 to 1812.

In the last register is an interesting notice of the baptism of the son of Bernard and Elizabeth Suckling, a relation of Lord Nelson, who stood sponsor to the child. The child was born in Norfolk on 17 August 1803, but the baptism was 'postponed on account of Lord Nelson's absence out of England on his Majesty's service' until 6 September 1805.

The ecclesiastical parish of ST. SAVIOUR'S, Raynes Park, was formed in 1907.

A Congregational chapel was built at Merton in 1818 and a Wesleyan chapel was endowed in 1890.


A church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey and was evidently included in the grant of the manor to the canons by Henry I. It was appropriated to the convent before 1291 (fn. 56) and the rectory was valued at £10 in 1535. (fn. 57)

No vicarage was ever ordained. Whilst in the possession of Merton Priory the church was served by a chaplain appointed by the prior, and after the Dissolution by a perpetual curate nominated by the impropriator.

The rectory was in 1553 granted to Thomas Locke and his wife. (fn. 58) In 1644 another Thomas Locke sold it to Katharine Highlord. (fn. 59) She devised it to Robert Wilson, her nephew, (fn. 60) who in 1697 conveyed it to Robert Dorrill, (fn. 61) who devised it to his daughter Mary in 1707. She married Henry Meriton, (fn. 62) who survived his wife and in 1733 sold to Joseph Chitty, from whom the rectory passed to his brother Sir Thomas Chitty. He devised in 1762 to his daughter Eleanor wife of George Bond, who was the owner in 1808. (fn. 63)

By 1842 Mrs. M. Bond as impropriator held the advowson, and from 1852 to 1858 a Mr. Wingrove, after which Mrs. Bond appears again as the patroness. From 1862 to 1874 the advowson was held by the Rev. William Edelman, the incumbent, and then by his widow (but from 1866 to 1871 by the Rev. S. Dawes). Mrs. Edelman continued holding the patronage down to 1881, when the Rev. Ernest Murray-Robinson became vicar and held it jointly with his wife up to 1896 in 1901 he married the Honourable Mary Hay, third daughter of Sir John Burns. In 1906 she married the Rev. Claude E. L. Corfield and still holds the advowson. (fn. 64)

Mr. Edward Collins, curate in 1725, complained to Bishop Willis that Mr. Henry Meriton, 'pretended patron,' had his own house licensed as a meeting house for Baptists (although none came), and had been guilty of outrageous behaviour in church, for which he was being then prosecuted in the Ecclesiastical courts. The curate's stipend was £14 a year, but former curates had made large sums by irregular marriages celebrated in the church as an unlicensed place belonging to the former abbey. Mr. Collins and his immediate predecessor had set their faces against such a practice. (fn. 65)


In 1687 Mr. William Rutlish left £400 for apprenticing poor children. By judicious investment this ultimately became £599 a year. Part has been used for the Rutlish Science School, and part is distributed in clothes, bread and coals.

Mr. Rowland Wilson in 1654 left 52s. a year for bread.

Mrs. Elizabeth Simon left £600 for general charitable purposes. In 1801 six almshouses were founded. These were lately untenanted and in a state of dilapidation owing to a dispute as to the title.

Mr. Richard Thornton left £7,076 in 1865, the interest on which is partly applied to the school and partly to bread and coals.

Half an acre of land in the common fields was left to the poor before 1798 by a person unknown.

There are smaller benefactions, including Henry Smith's, as in other Surrey parishes.


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