15 Malden Road - Cheam - Surrey - SM3 8QD - Tel: 07540 807 969

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A well-known Rector of Cheam was Lancelot Andrewes who wrote the famous meditation on the Magi: ‘A cold coming they had of it. Just the very worst time for a journey, and such a long journey.’ These words were taken by T.S. Eliot to open his famous poem, Journey of the Magi.


The Grade Two listed Old Rectory dates from the early 1500s. Looking on the left, you can see a line where the bricks change near the porch and the windows are lower. This is the oldest, timber-framed, part of the house. The ‘bricks’ are ‘mathematical tiles’ which were stuck on to the front of the timber-framed house to make it look smart and expensive.

The stables and old laundry are intact. The orchards and farmland which once fed the occupants of the Old Rectory are now occupied by the New Rectory and flats in Michelham Gardens.  The Rectory survived a bomb in the Second World War and you can see many pitted bricks on the outside wall to the left.

The Rectors of Cheam were also Bishops of Chichester for many years and the post is still an important Church position. One Rector, Anthony Watson, wrote an eyewitness account of Nonsuch Palace in 1538. He was Elizabeth 1st’s almoner, a key court position, and was about five minutes’ ride from Nonsuch from our garden door.

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It is tempting to imagine the Rectory, which would have formed a kind of B& B for prominent visitors to the Court, humming with gossip. Queen Elizabeth 1st said, ‘I love well of Nonsuch air’ and hunted in the park with her boyfriend, the Earl of Leicester. After he died and his stepson the Earl of Essex replaced him in her affections, Nonsuch was the scene of Essex’s downfall when he burst into Elizabeth’s bedroom without warning, finding her without wig or make-up. Previously, he had kept up the flattering fiction that she was an attractive woman whom he desired. She was conciliatory, fearing that this was a rebellion – but she had literally lost face, and he lost his head.

Later, Nonsuch was a centre of Catholic plotting to put Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. The Lumley family (as in the actress Joanna) lived here for years but the Palace decayed until Charles 2nd gave it to Barbara, Lady Castlemaine, a high-maintenance sexy piece, who had it pulled down and sold the stones to pay her gambling debts.

The Old Rectory is said to have more than seven ghosts. They are very shy and the house has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The house has recently been used for photography by American Vogue, Marks and Spencer, Viyella and for two short films. It is also our much-loved family home (and garden!).

The Old Rectory
15 Malden Road
Tel: 07540 807 969


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