Sutton Rhymes

In Canto II of his poem "Alma; or the Progress of the Mind" first published in 1718, Matthew Prior wrote

So merchant has his house in town,
And country-seat near Banstead-down;
From one he dates his foreign letters,
Sends out his goods, and duns his debtors:
In t'other, at his hours of leisure,
He smokes his pipe, and takes his pleasure.

From "Folk-Lore of Women" by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer 1906


The downs in the vicinity of Sutton, Banstead, and Epsom, in addition to being noted for their sheep, which have given rise to various rhymes, have been in other ways equally famous, if we are to believe the following:--

"Sutton for good mutton,
Cheam for juicy beef,
Croydon for a pretty girl,
And Mitcham for a thief."

...And to give a further instance, a Surrey folk-rhyme is to this effect:--

"Sutton for mutton, Carshalton for beeves,
Epsom for whores, and Ewel for thieves."