The village is on the spring line between the chalk of the North Downs and London Clay, and there are springs that are the source of the Hogsmill River. Ewell, now part of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell, is in the north east quarter of Surrey, not far from Greater London.

The area was used by prehistoric man and there have been finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Ewell village was a large settlement on Stane Street, the Roman road from London to Chichester.

There were Saxons in Ewell and in 1086 Domesday Book recorded it as a royal manor valued at 16 and it remained in the hands of the King until granted to Merton Priory in 1158.

In Tudor times, Ewell lost some of its land when Henry VIII had Nonsuch Palace built in the neighbouring parish of Cuddington.

Construction of Nonsuch started in 1538. It was finished by the Earl of Arundel in 1556 and sold by his son-in-law, Lord Lumley to Elizabeth I in 1592. It declined in favour in the 17th century and was demolished between 1682 and 1688. Excavation has revealed a highly decorated building possibly designed under the guidance of continental specialists.

Much of the surrounding parkland survives as Nonsuch Park.

Ewell, Nonsuch Park entrance, c.1955 Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

Ewell, Nonsuch Park entrance, c.1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin was restored in 1974/5 after fire damage the previous year, and at the southern end of the churchyard is the Old Tower of c.1500; a remnant of the pre-Victorian church.

There were several mills on the Hogsmill River, including gunpowder mills which opened in 1754 and were active for more than 100 years.

The arrival of the railway in 1847 attracted people to Ewell and a growing commuter population. However, in 1900 the area was still largely rural, with some 20 farms.

The 20th century saw big changes. Some 80 men of the parish died in the First World War. The electrification of the railways in the 1920s had a big impact. Services to London became more frequent and this encouraged developers. Stoneleigh Station on the Waterloo line was built on virgin farmland in 1932 and the houses built around it formed what is now the Stoneleigh district, a suburb with a distinct identity.

In 1933 Ewell was amalgamated with Epsom to form Epsom and Ewell Urban District Council, which became Epsom and Ewell Borough Council in 1937.

Although many historic buildings were demolished as a result of post Second World War development work, some fine old buildings remain in High Street, Spring Street and Church Street and there are numerous public parks.

The Star, Ewell Photo: Charles Abdy

The Star, Ewell
Photo: Charles Abdy

 

Bourne Hall, Dog Gate Photo: Charles Abdy

Bourne Hall, Dog Gate
Photo: Charles Abdy

Ewell, Nonsuch Mansion Photo: Charles Abdy

Ewell, Nonsuch Mansion
Photo: Charles Abdy

Did You Know?
A Saxon burial, accompanied by a spear, dagger and shield boss was found in 1962 during the site clearance for the Church of the Latter Day Saints, East Ewell.

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2 Responses to Ewell

  1. C. Kingston says:

    It is inaccurate to say “there ‘were’ Saxons in Ewell.” Ewell as we know it was in fact founded by the English/Saxons. It was and still is an indigenous English settlement. ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is a misguided and misdirected academic name for we the actual English. That is those of us who are of English stock/ethnicity. We (our nation) did not suddenly disappear after 1066, we were still by far made up the majority of the population of England. (remember the English (Angles/Saxons/Jutes) named England after themselves/their shared ethnic and cultural name, England land of the English) ..the Normans only making about 2%.

    We also recognized ourselves as being of English stock and ethnicity, and were calling ourselves English long before 1066.

    You will find the majority of Surreys place-names are English. Our early English language being used to denote and create these names. Of course some names of were later Norman addition or Norman add ons to existing English place-names.

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