East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972

Previous Page Index Next Page SAXON MOLESEY

About 666 A.D. Erkenwald, later bishop of London, founded the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter at Chertsey. He secured from Frithwald, sub-king of Surrey, under Wulfhere, ruler of Mercia, a charter endowing the abbey with much of the surrounding land, including "Mulesei", with all the "Fields, Woods, Meadows, Feeding, Rivers, and all other things rightly belonging thereto". This implies that a thriving settlement was established here by the seventh century. To ratify the charter Frithwald, "on account of his ignorance of letters", put his hand upon the altar and subscribed the sign of the cross. The abbey's lordship over Molesey was thus secured, and was ratified several times during the next two hundred years.

In the ninth century the district was ravaged by a Danish invasion. The abbot of Chertsey and all the monks were massacred. The abbey was destroyed and the surrounding country, presumably including Molesey, devastated. The land was later restored to the abbey. A charter restating the abbey's property was drawn up at "the royal town, called in English, Kingston", and signed by King Athelston. A confirmation by King Edgar in 964 specified that "twenty mansas in Molesey which Edwy had unjustly diverted" be restored to the abbey, their rightful owner.

By the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), Molesey had been divided between four Saxon thanes named Aulric, Toco, Tovi, and Ullward, but no records survive to explain why and when the land was taken from Chertsey Abbey and granted to others.

All books copyright © R G M Baker, all rights reserved.
Images © 2006 M J Baker and S A Baker, all rights reserved.
Web page design © 2006 M J Baker and S A Baker, all rights reserved.