Bandon Hill

Bandon Hill, Sutton

Also spelt as a single word, Bandon Hill is a railside residential locality without a station, situated on the east side of Wallington

geograph-3360573-by-Marathon - Lincoln monument - Bandonhill Cemetery

The dis­cov­ery of Roman funer­al urns (in the 1970s) indi­cates the pres­ence of a bur­ial ground on the site of the present Ban­don Hill ceme­tery as ear­ly as the 1st cen­tu­ry AD.

The manor of Ban­don was first record­ed in 1203. There is a slight pos­si­bil­i­ty that ear­ly res­i­dent Roger de Ban­don brought the name with him from else­where but it is much more like­ly that he took his sur­name from this place. Var­i­ous­ly spelt Ban­don, Ban­done and Ben­don in the ear­ly 13th cen­tu­ry, the name would have meant ‘bean down’ – the hill where beans are grown. In the Mid­dle Ages broad beans were an essen­tial food­stuff for the poor. Ben­hilton, anoth­er local­i­ty in the bor­ough of Sut­ton, also gets its name from the cul­ti­va­tion of beans on a hill.

As is often the case with the ‘down’ and ‘hill’ affix­es in Lon­don place names there is not much of a hill here­abouts, mere­ly undu­lat­ing ter­rain on the low­er dip slope of the North Downs, most­ly 50–60 metres (or around 160–200 feet) above sea lev­el.

In the Mid­dle Ages, Ban­don was a more impor­tant set­tle­ment than near­by Bed­ding­ton but all trace of it has van­ished and even its exact loca­tion is now for­got­ten. Loose­ly gath­ered around a manor house, the vil­lage prob­a­bly lay between Bed­ding­ton and Wad­don.

Hidden London: Pair of red-brick chapels linked by a wooden-framed porte cochère, Bandon Hill cemetery, by Robin Webster
Ban­don Hill ceme­tery chapels

The tau­to­log­i­cal name Ban­don Hill was a lat­er inven­tion, which was applied to the ris­ing ground south of Bed­ding­ton, to the set­tle­ment that began to take shape here after the Croy­don to Epsom rail­way line came through in 1847, and to the ceme­tery that was opened by Croy­don rur­al dis­trict coun­cil in 1900.

Ban­don Hill was an unplanned devel­op­ment, built a few hous­es at a time by small-scale spec­u­la­tors. The first streets to be filled with homes were Upper Road, the west side of Plough Lane and Bed­ding­ton Grove Road (now Sandy Lane North), which had an inn. Ban­don rail­way halt brought some com­muters dur­ing its brief exis­tence from 1906 to 1914.

Ban­don Hill pri­ma­ry school’s ‘Mead­ow Field’ site occu­pies the orig­i­nal loca­tion of St Michael and All Angels church, which had been estab­lished in 1872 and moved west onto Mil­ton Road in 1907. Ban­don Hill Methodist church opened in 1912.

The set­tle­ment expand­ed pro­gres­sive­ly through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry, first west­ward and then in all oth­er direc­tions until it met the neigh­bour­ing built-up areas. All avail­able gaps were plugged – except for the ceme­tery, the Demesne Road allot­ments, a cou­ple of sports grounds and Mel­lows Park, which has a bowl­ing green and café, among oth­er ameni­ties.

Since 1995, with the excep­tion of graves for cre­mat­ed remains, new bur­ial rights at Ban­don Hill ceme­tery have only been avail­able for reclaimed graves – which are old graves that have bur­ial space remain­ing but have not been used for at least 75 years. On 24 March 2006 the ceme­tery con­duct­ed its 30,000th inter­ment.

In addi­tion to its orig­i­nal home on Sandy Lane, Ban­don Hill pri­ma­ry school has expand­ed onto a site on Stan­ley Park Road (which, by any def­i­n­i­tion, is not in Ban­don Hill). The school attract­ed the atten­tion of the nation­al media in 2014 when the head teacher’s salary rose above £200,000. Her remu­ner­a­tion pack­age was sub­se­quent­ly reduced.

Except in the con­text of the ceme­tery and the pri­ma­ry school, Ban­don Hill’s name is not wide­ly recog­nised – though it does appear in sev­er­al street atlases, usu­al­ly spelt ‘Ban­don­hill’. Most res­i­dents sim­ply con­sid­er this local­i­ty to be part of Bed­ding­ton or (more often nowa­days) Walling­ton.

The African–British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, best-known for Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, was buried at Bandon Hill cemetery in 1912, following his death in Croydon at the age of 37.

Postcode area: Wallington SM6 (the area north-east of the cricket centre is Croydon CR0)
Further reading: Hedley Marne Gowans et al, Courts of the Manors of Bandon and Beddington, 1498–1552, Sutton Libraries and Arts Services, 1983
* The picture of the Lincoln monument in Bandon Hill cemetery at the top of this article is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Marathon, and the picture of the chapel buildings at Bandon Hill cemetery is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Robin Webster, both at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.