WIMBLEDON, a parish and suburb of the metropolis, in the W. division of Brixton hundred, county Surrey, 3 miles S.W. of Wandsworth, 4 N.E. of Kingston, and 7¼ from London by the London and South-Western railway, which intersects the parish, or 16½ by the Wimbledon branch of the London, Brighton, and South Coast railway, both of which have stations here; there is also a branch line to Epsom and Leatherhead. It is situated on the Wandle, a small brook which here joins the Thames, and includes the Common, a level tract of uninclosed ground, surrounded by seats of the nobility and gentry, and which is at present used for the annual contests of the Rifle Association.
At the S.W. corner of the common is a circular encampment of 7 acres, called Cæsar's Camp, surrounded by a single ditch, which is still very deep and perfect. It is said to mark the site of an encampment of the Romans under Julius Cæsar in 54 B.C., and to be the spot where Ethelbert, King of Kent, was defeated in 568 by Ceaulin, King of Wessex.
The village, which is mentioned in Domesday survey as Wibbandun or Wymbandune, lies to the N.E. of the common, and consists chiefly of one street of good houses, with numerous seats and villas, including Wimbledon Park, belonging to Earl Spencer, and Cottenham Park, formerly a seat of the Duke of Wellington, but now cut up into villa residences. The English Copper Company erected mills here, and there are calico print works. It is said that Queen Catherine Parr, after the death of Henry VIII., occupied a house in the village, now a school; and Lord Burghley also resided here, and planted the avenue of elms on the common, near which is the seat where Wilberforce was visited by Pitt, and the house in which Horne Tooke died in 1812. The custom of Borough English prevails in the manor, of which Earl Spencer is the present lord.
The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of London, value £500, from voluntary contributions, and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, who are impropriators. The church of St. Mary is a Gothic structure, rebuilt in 1843. There are besides two chapels-of-ease, viz:, Christ Church, erected in 1859, and the Holy Trinity, in 1862. The parochial register commences in 1513.
The Wesleyans, Independents, and Baptists have chapels. There are National, industrial, and infant schools, also 6 almshouses, built in 1839 by subscription, and endowed with the interest of £1,000, the profits of a fancy fair held in the grounds of Wimbledon House. On digging in the grounds of Belvidere House in 1838, two figures of white marble, life size, were discovered several feet below the surface, one representing Summer and the other Winter.