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Merton, outer borough (1991 pop. 161,800) of Greater London, SE England. The area is largely residential with some industry, including tanning and the manufacture of silk and calico prints, varnish and paint, and toys. An annual fair dating from Elizabethan times is held within the borough at Mitcham, and one of the largest mosques in Europe is in Morden. Merton also contains Wimbledon, England's tennis headquarters; the first Wimbledon Championship match took place in 1877. Cricket and golf matches are also played. George Eliot lived in Wimbledon. Merton has remains of a priory that was founded in 1115 and destroyed by Thomas Cromwell. Walter de Merton, Lord High Chancellor to Henry III and founder of Merton College, Oxford, and Thomas à Becket were educated at the priory. Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton lived together in Merton Park.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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