Carshalton is a suburban area of the London Borough of Sutton in Greater London, England. Part of the county of Surrey until 1965, it is located 10 miles (16.1 km) south-southwest of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured) and situated in the valley of the River Wandle, one of the sources of which is Carshalton Ponds in the centre of the village. The combined population of the five wards comprising Carshalton was 45,525 at the 2001 census. Carshalton is on the eastern side of the centre of Sutton Borough.
To the south of the area now known as Carshalton, remains of artefacts dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age have been found, suggesting that this was an early place of habitation. Prior to the Norman Conquest it is recorded that there were five manors in this location owned by five freemen.
Carshalton appears in Domesday Book as Aultone. It was held by Goisfrid (Geoffrey) de Mandeville. Its domesday assets were: 3½ hides; 1 church, 10 ploughs, 1 mill worth £1 15s 0d, of meadow, woodland worth 2 hogs. It rendered £15 10s 0d.
In the Domesday era there was a church and a water mill in Carshalton, which was then still made up of a number of hamlets dotted around the area, as opposed to a single compact village.
In the Middle Ages the land in the village was generally farmed in the form of a number of open fields, divided into strips. The number of strips which each land owner possessed was based roughly on his wealth. There was also an area of open downland in the south of the parish for grazing sheep.
Carshalton was known for its springs; these may have given the place its name Cars - Aul - ton. Aul means well or spring. A ton is a farm which was in some way enclosed. The meaning of the Cars element is uncertain but early spellings (Kersaulton and Cresaulton) may indicate connection with a cross or perhaps cress, watercress having been grown locally.
In his book History of the Worthies of England, the 17th century historian Thomas Fuller refers to Carshalton for its walnuts and trout.
Land was primarily put to arable use and the river Wandle gave rise to manufacturing using water power. A water mill to grind corn was mentioned in the Domesday Book. By the end of the 18th century it was recorded that there were several mills for the production of paper and parchment, leather, snuff, log-wood and seed oil. There were also bleaching grounds for calico.
There were timber framed houses from the end of the Middle Ages, and brick and wooden weather boarded houses from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. By the middle of the 19th century Carshalton's population was 2,411, making it, at the time, the largest village in what was to become the London Borough of Sutton. It had a very varied character with houses for the wealthy at one extreme and tenements in back yards at the other. In 1847 a railway line was laid from Croydon to Epsom through Carshalton, but the first station was built in fields south of Wallington. A station in the village itself was not established until 1868 when the Sutton to Mitcham Line was constructed. The development of Carshalton got into its stride in the early 1890s when the Carshalton Park Estate was sold for housing development.
Carshalton is mentioned in the following historic Surrey folk-rhyme:
During the Victorian era and into the early 20th century, Carshalton was known for its lavender fields (also see below under "Landmarks"), but the increasing land demand for residential building put an end to commercial growing.
From 1894 to 1965 Carshalton formed part of the Carshalton Urban District.