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what it is at present ; for according to the account given in Domesday, there were about 2880 acres of arable land, and 8 acres of Meadow; the remainder consisting of woods, heaths, and wastes. The whole was rated to the Danegeld in the time of King Edward the Confessor at 9600 Acres ; and the survey when the common was enclosed in 1797, represented the manor as containing 9872 acres.
The meaning of the name Croindene, as given in Domesday, is a Valley for Sheep ; the etymology being Crone, Sheep, and Dene, a Valley. This derivation appears to be established by the situation of the Old Town, in the opening of a rich and beautiful vale, and as Camden observes, “lying under the hills." This vale skirting the bottom of Banstead Downs*, extends some miles up the country, having the hills, formerly covered with woods,
Banstead Downs were anciently famous for imparting a fine flavour to the mutton which had been fed upon them, and it is said that this excellence in the niutton was derived from the quantities of wild thyme and junipers growing there. These Downs are celebrated by the Poet Dyer, in his Fleece. They are also remarkable for their healthy situation ; for the London Physicians used to prescribe a residence in their neighbourhood as the patient's last resource.
See Dugdale & Camden.
on the East side, the West being open to the Downs. Though the name of Croydon has been very differently and corruptly written, it has varied from its original much less than many others. The proper names of places as contained in Domesday, and other antient records, were so changed and disguised after the conquest, by the circumstance of the Normans introducing their own language and orthography, that in many instances, they are to be discovered but with difficulty ; consequently we find the name of this place written Crondon, Croidon, Craydiden, and more lately Craydon, as it is called by the lower classes of people at this day.
There is, however, another not improbable etymology of the name, differing from the one we have cited from Domesday. It may be that Croydon has received its name from the quantity of chalk in its vicinity ; for in Surrey no soil of this description is to be found nearer London than Croydon. According to this notion it would seem that the name Craydon, is compounded of the old norman or french word Craye, or Craie, Chalk, and the saxon word Dun, which means Hill; and thus the signification would be a town near chalk hill. In favour of this supposition may be mentioned the villages of Foot's Cray, St. Mary's Cray, and Crayford, in Kent, and not far from Croydon; all which derive their name from the river Cray, which flows near them in a part of the Country abounding with Chalk.
It is the opinion of some that the Noviomagus mentioned in the Itinerary of Antoninus* was at, or near Croydon ; upon this point, however, antiquaries have not agreed. According to Somner, Burton, and Bishop Stillingfleet, this Roman station was at Crayford, in Kent, in which county Bishop Gibson also considers it to have been placed : on the other hand, Camden, Talbot, Horley, and Gale, are of opinion that it was Woodcote *, near Croy
* Antoninus was an able geographical writer; in what age he lived is not known. Of his valuable performance above mentioned, there have been several editions ; the most approved is by Gale, printed in London, quarto, in the year 1709.
† Concerning Woodcote and the Noviomagus, Camden gives the following account: “ Two miles from hence (Wimbledon) to the South, upon the very top of the hill is a little wood, called at this day Woodcote, where are the plain remains of a small city, and several wells built of little pieces of flint; the neighbourhood talk much of its populousness, richness, and number of its Aldermen. This I take to be the city which Ptolemy calls Noiomagus ; Antoninus Noviomagus ; nor need I insist on any other arguments for it, besides that of distance: for 'tis ten miles from London, and eighteen from Vagniace, or Maidstone,
don; and the learned Dr. Stukely, author of the Itinerarium Curiosum, who had supposed it to have been at Wellend or Crayford, was induced to change his opinion, being persuaded that Noviomagus was at, or near Croydon, where Talbot had placed it.
Croydon was rendered a place of importance as long ago as the year 1273, by the interest of Archbishop Kilwardby, who obtained for it the privilege of holding a market on Wednesdays ; and in 1276, the right of a fair during nine days, beginning on the vigil of St. Botolph, the Abbot, that is to say, on the 16th of May. In the eighth year (1314) of King Edward II. Archbishop Reynolds obtained a similar grant of a market to be held on Thursdays, and a fair on the vigil and morrow of St. Matthew's day. And again in the 18th of King Edward III. (1343) Archbishop Stratford obtained a grant of a market to be kept here on Saturdays, and
as is hinted by an old Itinerary. Those, therefore, are very much out of the way, who have placed this Noviomagus either at Buckingham or Guildford. It was the chief City of the Regni, and known to Marinus Tyrius, a very ancient Geographer, whom Ptolemy takes upon him to censure, because he had put Noviomagus, in Britain in a more Northerly climate than London, and in the method of his itinerary, set it more to the South.
a fair on the feast of St. John the Baptist. The market is held at present on Saturdays only, and is well supplied with corn and all kinds of provisions.
Camden in his mention of Croydon, says of the Bourne (a saxon word which means a brook or torrent), “ For the torrent that the vulgar affirm to rise here sometimes, and to presage dearth and pestilence, it seems hardly worth so much as the mentioning, though, perhaps it may have something of truth in it.”
Antiquity of Croydon continued.
In Doctor Fuller's History of the Worthies of England, among the gentry of this County, returned by the commissioners in the year 1443, (the 12 of Hen. VI.) are mentioned the names of the following gentlemen of Croydon,
Roger Elinbrig, Arm.