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The Registers of Merstham, Surrey, 1538-1812

Excerpt from The Registers of Merstham, Surrey, 1538-1812 The name Merstham has been variously spelt. The topographer Salmon, writing in 1736, calls it Mestham, but he adds that it was anciently spelt with an r as now. Mr. Thomas Fisher, churchwarden for eighteen years, has letters addressed to him with the name spelt in thirty-nine different ways. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we find it written Meyrstan, Merystham, and Marstham, but in Domesday Book it is Merstan. Many of the ancient inhabitants call it Mestam to this day, and do not sound the "th." Spelling, however, being formerly phonetic, we must turn our attention rather to the sound than to the letters. The derivation is probably from the word "Mere," defined as a marsh land or boggy swine-walk; and "stan," a stone, or house of stone. The situation and the fact of the lord's rent being paid in hogs, affords a considerable presumption in favour of this view, in preference to another possible derivation, viz., from the word "Moer," a boundary. As appears by Domesday Book, it was held by the Archbishop "de vestitu monachorum," presumed to mean for the clothing of the monks of Canterbury. There was a church and a mill and eight acres of pasture, and the lord's rent was twenty-five fat hogs and sixteen lean ones. The living is still in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was one of his peculiars. We gather something of the nature of the country in the time of Edward I. from the fact of his having in the year 1383 granted the right of free-warren of his lands at Merstham and various places in Kent and Sussex to one Edmund de Passeleye, but reserving the King's own rights within the Forest. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works."
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