Malden Rushett

Malden Rushett, Kingston upon Thames

A crossroads hamlet situated south of Chessington World of Adventures in the southernmost part of the ‘tongue’ of the borough that protrudes into the Surrey woodland

Malden Rushett - Rushett Farm farmhouse

Eleventh-cen­tu­ry Malden ram­bled across two manors, one of which has since become Malden Rushett – a ref­er­ence to the rush­es that grew here. The manor was heav­i­ly wood­ed at the time of Domes­day Book and remained so for sev­er­al hun­dred years. Six­ty Acre Wood is a sur­viv­ing part of the ancient wood­land. Cul­ti­va­tion in the 17th cen­tu­ry made use of a tech­nique known as devon­shir­ing, or den­shir­ing – par­ing off old turf, burn­ing it and spread­ing the ash­es on the land.

Malden Rushett, also known as Low­er Malden, Low­er Chess­ing­ton or ‘the Rushett’, remained part of Malden parish until 1884 when it trans­ferred to Chess­ing­ton. Until then res­i­dents of the hamlet’s cot­tages had to go to (Old) Malden to be mar­ried, although they could be buried in Chess­ing­ton. Some years lat­er a tem­po­rary cor­ru­gat­ed mis­sion house known as an ‘iron church’ was erect­ed with room for six­ty cot­tagers, and ‘improv­ing’ lec­tures were giv­en here.

In the 1930s the South­ern Rail­way Com­pa­ny planned to extend the Chess­ing­ton branch line to Leather­head, with rib­bon devel­op­ment along the route and a size­able town with its own sta­tion, prob­a­bly built at Malden Rushett. The pro­pos­al was stymied by the out­break of the Sec­ond World War and then by post-war des­ig­na­tion of the area as green belt. A plan to locate an air­port at Byhurst Farm also came to noth­ing, but Rushett Farm (18th-cen­tu­ry farm­house shown above) has a turf airstrip and a hangar for light air­craft.

Locat­ed at 423 Leather­head Road (near the cen­tre of the map below), the Shy Horse pub was pre­vi­ous­ly called the Fox and Hounds. An inn of that name was in exis­tence here by the late 19th cen­tu­ry but the present build­ing appears to date from no ear­li­er than the 1930s.

Tele­graph Hill is in the extreme south of the bor­ough – and is its high­est point, at 240 feet. Like oth­er hills of the same name it was a bea­con point for the navy’s sem­a­phore sys­tem, relay­ing mes­sages from the admi­rals in Lon­don to the fleet at Portsmouth.

Postcode area: Chessington, KT9
Blog post: Diamond Geezer visits Telegraph Hill


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