Explore the author's map to discover strange stories from Mitcham and the surrounding areas.
'Mysterious Mitcham' is the online sequel to the original 'Strange Mitcham', which contains stories not found on this website:
Second (2011) edition is now available in paperback and eBook formats.
Part 1 - Mitcham:
The Phantom Cyclist
of Mitcham Common
(update to Strange Mitcham)
A Dark Figure on Mitcham Common
Tales from the
'Calico Jack': The
Playful Ghost of
Lacks the Drapers
The Faces on the Walls:
The Haunted Cottages
in Tramway Path
The 'Haunting' of
Soldier of Graham
The Legend of
Remember the Grotto
The Phantom of
An Apparition at
Woof & Sabine
Haunted Rooms at
The Phantom Cat
Mitcham's (not so)
The Kingston Zodiac
The 'Ghost Tree'
Medicinal Plants and
A Magical Tree
The Wrath of God
A Ghostly Experience
in Morden Road
Mitcham Clock Tower:
When Time Ran
The Rosier Family
The 'Ball of Fire'
UFO over Mitcham
UFO over Tooting
Bec Common, 1990
Part 2 - South of
The Ghosts of
Church & Churchyard
The Figure in the
A Spectral Cavalier
'Haunted Mitcham' Facebook group:
Facebook group set up
by Geoff Mynn in
Thanks to the
and Merton Council
there are some very
maps of Mitcham
Download for free
via this link.
The Mitcham Ghost
Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Wandsworth (covers Balham, Battersea, Putney, Tooting & Wandsworth):
Ghosts and legends of London:
Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Lambeth (covers Brixton, Clapham, North Lambeth, Norwood, Stockwell & Streatham):
The Poltergeist Prince
The remarkable true story of the Battersea poltergeist:
On the edge of Beddington Park, a short distance to the south of Mitcham Common, stands an imposing redbrick mansion. This is Carew Manor (known earlier as Beddington Park House), and it is a building with a long and interesting history.
Above: Carew Manor. (James Clark, 2010)
In 1344, the manor of Beddington was purchased by Sir Richard and Elizabeth de Wylughby. The mid-14th century also saw the arrival in the area of Nicholas Carew, a descendant of the Carews of Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire. Nicholas rose to the office of keeper of the privy seal, and this important position earned him a considerable sum of money. He married the de Wylughbys' daughter and, by his death in 1390, he had built up a large estate centred on Beddington. His family would dominate the area for centuries.
The manor has been graced by a number of royal visitors over the years, including Henry VIII and James I, but the best-known visit was one from Queen Elizabeth I. By this time, the estate had passed to Sir Francis Carew and the occasion is remembered chiefly because of Sir Francis' clever gift to England's Virgin Queen.
In that era of courtly intrigue, noblemen were constantly vying for power and a royal visit would encourage the host to outdo his rivals. Sir Francis knew that the cherry was a symbol of virginity and, being a keen gardener, he had the idea of covering a cherry tree with a tent to delay its flowering. Consequently, when Elizabeth visited him in August he was able to present her with the out-of-season fruit, a novelty that delighted Her Majesty.
Above: Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (artist unknown).
One of Sir Francis' sisters married a courtier named Nicholas Throckmorton, and this marriage produced a child, Bess. In around 1592, Bess secretly married Sir Walter Raleigh, and Raleigh's ghost is said to haunt both the churchyard next to Carew Manor and nearby Beddington Park. (This is covered more fully in The Ghosts of Beddington Park and Beddington Church.)
'Beings who were not of this world'
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Carew's fortunes had started to decline. Gambling debts had taken their toll, as had the mistake of backing the Royalists during the Civil War. By 1709, the estate had become old-fashioned and run down and, although he lacked the wealth of his ancestors, the owner (another Nicholas) decided to have the house rebuilt. Two deep wings were added, flanking the Tudor great hall, but soon after the building work was complete the north wing was gutted by fire and the whole interior destroyed. This part of the house remained in ruins for many years and was still largely empty in 1859, when the Carew estate was sold.
The idea that Carew Manor is, or was, haunted was recorded in 1884 by E Walford, who quoted a gentleman by the name of Unwin, author of a Guide to Bromley and its Neighbourhood.
"As we look towards the noble facade of the old mansion," wrote Unwin, "our gaze wanders to the northern wing, and we recall the story once current that this portion of the hall was haunted by beings who were not of this world."
This tale was already over a century old when Unwin wrote about it, and it seems to have started during the years that the uninhabited north wing remained a burnt-out shell. A belief grew up that the wing had been abandoned due to the "pranks of some mischievous spirits or goblins, who pulled up the boards of the floor as often as they were nailed down."
Unwin saw the deserted wing at first hand, and wrote that the "windows were bare of curtain and blind; no human being was ever seen at them; no light ever gleamed from them during the hours of darkness."
Given such an evocative description it is easy to understand how superstitious minds might populate the wing with otherworldly creatures. The most likely explanation of course is that Nicholas never rebuilt the burnt-out wing because he had simply run out of funds.
In 1762, Nicholas's son died without leaving any male heirs and the estate passed from one relative to another until, in 1828, it came into the possession of Charles Hallowell Carew, an Admiral who had served with Nelson during the Napoleonic Wars. Three decades later, Charles's grandson gambled himself into bankruptcy and, in 1859, the house was sold.
A few years later it underwent heavy alteration to convert it into an orphanage, which function it served from 1866 until 1939, becoming known as the Royal Female Orphanage Asylum. Today, Carew Manor is in use as a school and there are no longer any reports of uncanny goings-on. Little of the original structure survives, although the Tudor great hall remains and is occasionally open for public viewing.
The manor may still have a few secrets however, hidden below the ground. There are stories of a secret tunnel or tunnels connecting Carew Manor with such places as the Archbishop's Palace at Croydon, and Nonsuch Palace near Cheam: these stories are covered in Under Beddington.
[Source: Walford, E. (1884) Greater London: A Narrative of its History, its People, and its Places, Volumes I and II, London, Paris and New York, Cassell & Co. Ltd.]