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Sir Joseph Hood, after whom the Playing Field and the adjacent Woodland (and the recreation ground near Cannon Hill Common) are named, was a local benefactor, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Wimbledon.
At the time of the Reformation, the whole area, consisting of woods, arable and pasture land, belonged to the Priory of Merton. From the early 16th Century, and probably long before, an area between the Beverley Brook and the village of lower Morden formed Hobald’s Farm. It was bought by the Garths, Lords of the Manor of Morden, before 1611.
At some time during the 1860s, Richard Garth planted some land to the west of the farm with oak trees and it survives today as Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Wood. The wood contains more than one ancient woodland indicator spies, which presumably were surviving here in hedgerows before the wood was planted. As Garth had nearby dog kennels, he probably intended it as a hunting covert. Eventually, in 1931, the Urban District of Merton and Morden acquired the part of the estate now known as The Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field, including the wood.
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This page was last updated on Wednesday 23 April 2014