The Wider Parish

Some history of our Parish Streets

Deburgh Road

Deburgh Road runs from Haydons Road in the west to its junction with Hanover Road in the East. It was a victim of a ‘hit and run’ bombing raid in the last war which destroyed The Sultan public house and almost destroyed All Saints’ Church – only saved because the bomb failed to explode.

Originally the road was much longer, but was shortened as part of the ‘Merton Plan’ which saw much of the housing in the area demolished. All Saints’ C of E School now stands where the road would have continued.

Here is some earlier history from The Friends of Merton Priory

Origins of street names in the neighbourhood of Merton Priory – Hubert de Burgh c.1180-1243
Many of the streets around All Saints Church are named after people connected with Merton Priory. De Burgh Road is one of these.
Born around 1180, Hubert de Burgh was to become Chief Justiciar to Henry III and one of the most powerful men in England. He effectively ruled the countryfor twelve years, from Henry’s succession at 9 years old in 1216 until his coming of age in 1228.
Among his notable achievements Hubert, as Constable of Dover Castle,defeated the French invasion fleet off Dover in 1217. But by 1232, following various intrigues, he had lost favour with King Henry who issued a warrant for his
Hubert fled to Merton Priory – which he knew well – seeking sanctuary.(1) Whereupon the King instructed that he be seized. 20,000 armed Londoners subsequently converged on Merton, but fortunately, the Archbishop of Dublin
prevailed on the King to disperse them.(2) Hubert then made for his home at Bury St Edmunds. The King, however, was persuaded to have him seized en route at Brentwood. Hubert received warning of this and sought sanctuary at the church of St Thomas a Becket, but was forcibly apprehended and taken to the Tower of London. This violation of sanctuary raised such a storm that he was returned to the church in Brentwood, but was starved out after a forty day siege. He was taken as captive to Devizes castle where after several months and adventures he was eventually “admitted to the benefit of a full pardon” in 1234. He died in peace and honour in 1243. His descendants exist today.

[1]. Merton Priory Records p80(Sept 28th 1222). p81(14th May 1223). p89 (26th March 1227).
pp95-96 (Sept 1232)
[2]. Charlotte Yonge. Preface to “The Constable’s Tower”. 1891
J.F. Friend of Merton Priory.

Gilbert and Norman Roads

There are two roads in the parish of All Saints, South Wimbledon, which along with De Burgh Road, remind us of the premier Augustinian priory which existed nearby. Hubert de Burgh (c1170-1243) was familiar with the priory and also the church at Brentwood named after one of its alumni, St Thomas a  Becket. One road is named after him, and two others, Gilbert Road and Norman Road are named after the priory’s founder, Gilbert the Norman.

Gilbert was godson of Henry I and his wife Matilda.  Matilda took a special interest in Merton Augustinian Priory.

Gilbert was was given the ville of Mitcham in Dec 1114 *. He built a church there and invited several Augustinian canons from the Augustinian priory of Huntingdon to come and live in community. He eventually gained the king’s permission to begin an Augustinian priory. He had been sheriff of both Huntingdon and Surrey.

Gilbert was hard working and attentive, and his status enabled the interest of nobles and the Bishop of Winchester. Bishop Giffard of Winchester visited the community, and on his way, saved a young boy from being blinded for theft. By 1117 the first building of Merton Augustinian Priory on the River Wandle was finished and Gilbert led the 15 canons then living in community and a crowd of local people into the first building of the new priory on the River Wandle. This was at 3pm on Ascension Day 3rd May 1117. The Office of None was said at 3pm and on this first occasion a Processional was also sung  – “Salve festa dies”. Thus began a new lively and very influential chapter in our nation’s Christian history, very quickly producing a martyr (St Thomas a Becket ) and a pope (Nicholas Breakspear). Later, Merton College, Oxford, would be founded from the priory.

Gilbert was very soon able to begin a school at the priory, and procured the services of a teacher from Bologna who became known as Guy de Merton.

Gilbert died on Sunday 7th August 1125.

* See The Records of Merton Priory

There are two significant Christian signposts put in place by Merton Augustinian Priory. One is The Cross, and the other is Ascension Day. Gilbert chose Ascension Day 1117 for the inauguration of his priory. Nicholas Breakspear was accepted at the priory and laboured in Scandinavia and France, where in both countries Ascension Day is still a national holiday.

March 2020

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