A branch of the Saunders family appears to have flourished in Charlwood in Surrey from at least the time of Edward II (1307-1327), and it has been asserted that they arrived there from the suggestively named Sanderstead, about 14 miles to the north-east, having lived there from the time of the Norman Conquest. There is no reference to the family in the Roll of Battle Abbey, nor in the Domesday Book, but it seems feasible that they were a Norman family.

The primary sources for the early history of the family are Harleian MS 1433 (dealing with the earlier generations), Harleian MS 1397, and MS 2.D.14.153 in the Herald's College. The earliest contemporary mention of the Saunders family in Charlwood appears to be in 1314, when a William Saundre was called to witness a deed. It would appear that his contemporary James Saunders of Charlwood was succeeded by his son Matthew, by his son Stephen [1403 Manor Roll], and then by Stephen's son Thomas. Thomas and his wife Joan were formerly recorded in an inscription in the church porch at Charlwood [Harl MS 1397], and were succeeded by their son William (d. 10 Aug 1481) who married Joan (d. 1470), the daughter of Thomas Carew of Bedington. Both Thomas and William appear to have supported the insurrection of 1449. The descendants of William and Joan's son Richard inherited Charlwood and held the property until the 17th century, while Erasmus, the grandson of their son Henry, moved to Pembrokeshire sometime before the 1570's and established the West Wales line of the family. This branch of the family (and much detail of the earlier history to this point) is well documented in Francis Green's article in West Wales Historical Records, Vol II, pages 161-188 (1913, Carmarthen), an electronic copy of which is available on Ivan Sanders' website. There are numerous references to the family in published historical works, including Brayley's Topographical History of Surrey (iv 266) and the Victoria County History of Surrey. Ruth Sewill and Elizabeth Lane's book The Free Men of Charlwood (1951, Garland Press) includes a substantial section on the Saunders family. The family bore arms (displayed on John Konvalinka's Sanders page) and are also mentioned in various Surrey Visitations.

John Konvalinka's Sanders page also includes an outline of several generations of the Saunders family of Surrey backover from James Saunders of Charlwood (above) to Sir Leonard de Sandersted, but I'm not currently sure of the source of this lineage.


This page was last updated 01 February 2007