Outer borough of south Greater London, created in 1965 and comprising the former municipal boroughs of Beddington and Wallington, Sutton and Cheam, and the urban district of Carshalton; population (2001) 179,800. The borough is the site of Nonsuch Palace, built by Henry VIII, and demolished in the 17th century; the parish church of St Nicholas, rebuilt in 1862; and All Saints Church (1865).
Other features include one of the first nursery schools in England, founded in 1909, the central library, opened in 1975, and a large shopping mall, St Nicholas Centre, built in 1991. Industries in the borough include engineering, building, electronics, and the manufacture of plastics, vinyls, perfumes, chemicals, audio-visual equipment, and cricket bats.
History Sutton was probably a Saxon settlement in the 6th and 7th centuries. It expanded in the mid-19th century, after construction of a railway line, and became an early commuter town. It has remained a residential area.
Places of historical interest Settlement in the area dates from the Stone Age; a camp of this period has been excavated at Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton, and Roman remains have been found in many parts of the borough. Beddington consisted of two manors in Domesday, one of the manor houses still survives, its great hall dating from the 15th century; it is now Carew Manor Special School. One owner of the house was Sir Francis Carew, the famous horticulturalist. Elizabeth I came twice to visit his gardens, where he grew plants brought back by Sir Walter Raleigh from the New World. The 13th-century church contains many memorials to the Carew family. Cheam was given by King Athelstan to Christchurch monastery at Canterbury. In 1018 Archbishop Lanfranc appropriated half the manor and at the Reformation both parts passed into secular hands. Between Cheam and Ewell was the site of Nonsuch Palace, built by Henry VIII to rival the palaces of Francis I of France. Elizabeth I used it often, but subsequent sovereigns did not, and it was demolished in the 1680s. The site was excavated in 1959–60. Cheam School, attended by Prince Charles, seems to have originated in a school moved from London at the time of the 1665 plague, but the present buildings are modern. Sutton was held by Chertsey Abbey from the 7th century until 1537. Wallington too had medieval origins. These were all small agriculturally based communities until the mid-19th century when the advent of railways led to their rapid development as residential suburbs of London.