Skip to main content

Full text of "Some West Surrey villages"

See other formats



. ' .' - 












ulitb an Introduction 










To L. J., 









PREFACE - xiii 



The course of the Tillingbourne Gomshall still unspoiled Shere and its pic- 
turesqueness The home of art Mr. Leader at Burrows Cross ' Essira,' 
'Schyre,' 'Shire' and 'Shere' The church and the history of the manor 
' Shere Vachery ' and the Butlers ' Shere Eboracum ' and the Uuke of York 
The Wars of the Roses Touchet, Lord Audley Reginald Bray Parson 
Sawcliffe's will Edward Woods and St. Valentine's Day Canterbury pilgrims 
and Shere Church Wakes and drinkings in the churchyard Shere sheep- 
stealers : a clever capture George Grote and Mrs. Grote at The Ridgeway i 1 1 


Reginald Bray : warrior and church-builder, courtier and politician How he helped 
to make Henry VII. King His position and influence as one of the King's 
advisers Architect of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and Henry VII.'s Chapel, 
Westminster William Bray: lawyer, antiquary, and historian How and 
when he wrote ' Manning and Bray' His industry as a septuagenarian Edits 
and transcribes Evelyn's ' Diary ' A diarist himself 12 18 


Henry Drummond and Edward Irving The Albury Conferences How they came 
about Their outcome What it meant to Albury Founding of the Catholic 
Apostolic Church The building of the new 'cathedral' Drummond as a poli- 
tician An anti-frec-trade pamphlet Member for West Surrey Some election 
notes His position in the House of Commons His style as a speaker His 
personal popularity and worth - 1927 




Albury Park and the Howards Evelyn and the Arundelian marbles Cobbett's 
praise of the gardens Heneage Finch and Albury The old church and Albury 
in the Middle Ages Church closed by Drummond Two noted Rectors 
William Oughtred, the mathematician His studious life Narrowly escapes 
sequestration Samuel Horsley The Silent Pool Weston Wood and House 
Elias Ashmole, the antiquary Albury eighty years ago An unsavoury reputa- 
tion The new church Martin Tapper's home The first rifle club Early 
volunteering 28 41 


In praise of Chilworth Vale Postford Ponds A John Leech story A legend of 
Postford House The gunpowder-mills Early history of the industry 'A 
little colony of powder-makers ' Surrey powder and cannon in the Civil War- 
Sir Polycarp Wharton's hard case The paper-mills Bank-notes The print- 
ing works and John Ruskin Chilworth manor-house The Newark Abbey 
monks and St. Martha's Church Tolls from Canterbury pilgrims William 
Morgan and his epitaph The South Sea Bubble and the vicissitudes of fortune 
Morgan Randyll Richard Holditch and the Duchess of Marlborough Earl 
Spencer's steward and the ruins of the church-tower Druidical and Roman 
remains St. Martin's Church, Blackheath Shalford - 4251 



Peaslake, a sequestered hamiet Through the Hurtwood to Holmbury St. Mary 
Felday in olden days Holmbury St. Mary Church Holmbury Hill and the 
Battle of Ockley From the hilltop to the weald The ' Great Forest ' in 
primitive days Traces of the Romans Ewhurst, a quiet and lonely village 
Sequestrating the living John Winge and his parishioners 52 60 


Cranleigh before the railway days High turnpike tolls Village life fifty years ago 
Cranleigh Church The story of a missing brass Thomas de Cranley 
Baynards and Sir Thomas More's head A haunted house Thomas Lyon 
Thurlow and the Guildford election of 1852' The Destruction of Thurlacherib ' 
Vachery Pond and the sixteenth-century ironworks Cranley and Cranleigh 
Recent progress Hascombe and its rebuilt church 61 73 




How the Onslows came to Knowle The first Speaker Onslow Elizabeth and her 
Parliament Sir Edward Onslow's quiet and pious life Sir Richard Onslow 
That 'fox of Surrey" A moderate Parliamentarian Attacked by Wither 
Suspected by Cromwell Joins in urging the Protector to accept the Crown 
One of Cromwell's peers Assists in promoting Charles's return, and hopes 
for some distinction at the Restoration, but is almost excluded from the Act 
of Indemnity Sir Arthur Onslow His universal popularity Attacked by the 
Court Presented at Quarter Sessions Defends rioters and defies Judge 
Jeffreys The election of 1679 Great demonstration at his funeral 7483 



The least explored district in Surrey Its characteristic features Alfold, the Black 
Country of the Middle Ages The Surrey ironworks Method of working 
Government regulations How and when the industry declined Dunsfold 
Church Its bench-ends The holy well Doing penance in the seventeenth 
century Chiddingfold and glass-making An old market-town The church 
Dr. Layfield's experiences as the victim of Puritan |>ersecution The Crown Inn 



(a) Hambledon and Willey : From Chiddingfold to Hambledon Hambledon 
Common Witley'* literary and artistic associations George Eliot at The 
Heights J. C. Hook at Pinewood Witley village street The church and the 
manor. (6) Thunley and Frensham : 'The Kroom Squire" and Thursley 
The iron days The squatters A smugglers' haunt The hutmen's depreda- 
tionsLocal superstitions Borough Hill Thor"s Stone and the Witch's 
Caldron J. C. Hook and Churt Frensham Pond - 98108 



Eashing village and bridge Was Eashing an Anglo-Saxon Burh ? The theory 
untenable Richard Wyatt, of Hall Place His family troubles and his bene- 
volenceThe Wyatt Almshouscs Pcper Harow Park and Church Alan 
Brodrick buys the estate The new mansion A contumacious Rector Owen 
Manning Oxenford Grange and its tradition* Elstead Church- 109 1 19 

ix b 




Tilford Bridge and Tilford Green The King's Oak and Bishop Brownlow North 
Isaac Watts at Tilford House Charlotte Smith Her pathetic life-story 
Waverley The coming of the White Monks Their piety and their husbandry 
The building of the Abbey Church King John and the Cistercians Great 
rejoicings on the completion of the church Privilege of sanctuary attacked and 
upheld Last days Layton's visit The Abbot's vain appeal to Thomas Crom- 
well - - - 120129 



From Waverley to Seale Crooksbury and its pines Cutmill The summer track of 
the Canterbury pilgrims Seale Church Poyle House and Hampton Lodge, 
and the I'uilles of Hampton, Oxfordshire Puttenham village Thomas Swift's 
eulogy Puttenham Heath and the late Queen Compton Mr. G. F. Watts 
the mortuary chapel and home arts and crafts Compton Church and its history 
The upper sanctuary - 130 139 

INDEX - 140143 











- 3 

- /"ting 4 

- 8 
., 10 


- facing 16 

From the portrait painted and engraved by John Linnell the print 
lent by Mr K. M Bray. K.C. 

From a print lent by I^ord Ashcombe. 


From a photograph by Lloyd of Albury. 



From an engraving in Manning and Bray's ' History of Surrey . ' 

ALBURY OLD CHURCH, 1837 - - 32 









PEASI.AKE - facing 52 



HdLMIil-RY ST. MARY CHURCH - 59 CHURCH - -facing 62 


s|. 1'hlhkV. H\-COMHF, C/A'C./ 1220 - - '7' 

From Canon Musgrave's 'Church of St. Peter. Hascombe.' 

xi t> 2 

List of Illustrations 


From Canon Musgrave's ' Church of St. Peter, Hascombe.' 

KNOWLE HOUSE, 1840 - - facing 74 
From an engraving in Brayley and Britten's ' History of Surrey.' 

ARTHUR ONSLOW - facing 76 
From a print lent by Mr. A. W. R. Sowman. 



By permission of the Venerable Archdeacon Sapte. 



From a print lent by Lord Ashcombe. 



WITLEY CHURCH - facing 98 




From a print lent by Lord Ashcombe. 


From a print lent by the Carpenters' Company. 


From a print lent by Lord Ashcombe. 




WAVERLEY ABBEY IN 1737 - -facing 126 
From a print lent by Lord Ashcombe. 



COMPTON - 137 


HE distinctive charm and picturesqueness of our South- 
West Surrey villages, some of the notable men and 
deeds associated with their annals, some links with the 
past which may still be traced these are the subjects 
to which the following pages are devoted. I have made 
on attempt to supply the copious detail for which we 
turn to the works of the county or parish historian ; 
nor have I sought to dwell at any length upon many of the interesting 
questions on which the antiquary and the careful student of Church archi- 
tecture would assuredly enlarge. My aim has been much more modest, 
and will be fully achieved if I have succeeded in indicating to all who 
know and love West Surrey somewhat of the store of information con- 
cerning men and things of bygone days which may be discovered in the 
village records of a singularly fascinating corner of the county. 

As the phrase just used implies, the rambles I describe have been 
confined to a very small portion of Surrey. Some boundary had to be 
defined if the scope of the book was to be kept within reasonable limits, 
and none seemed more convenient on the whole than the rather arbitrary 
lines which mark the area of the South -Western (or Guildford) Parlia- 
mentary Division of the county. The chief towns in this area Guildford, 
Godalming, Farnham, and Haslemere full of interest though their history 
is, obviously lie outside my present purpose. Haslemere, it is true, has 
not yet attained official municipal status, but its recent growth has 
unquestionably robbed it of its title any longer to be ranked with the old- 
time villages of our countryside. 

Mention is made in the text of some of the writers to whose well- 
known works I have referred. Needless to say, Aubrey's ' Perambulation.' 
Manning and Bray's exhaustive volumes, and Brayley's useful compilation 


have been indispensable. Mr. H. E. Maiden's scholarly history of the 
county, and Mr. Ralph Nevill's well-known volume on ' Cottage Archi- 
tecture in South-West Surrey ' have similarly been freely drawn upon. 

I have also gratefully to acknowledge the very cordial assistance accorded 
by many well-known residents. My thanks are specially due to the Lord- 
Lieutenant, who, in forwarding the introductory note which bears his 
signature, mentions two points of interest that may be conveniently 
referred to here. Thus Lord Midleton suggests that the Thor stone 
which is mentioned by Mr. Baring Gould in his ' Broom Squire,' and 
which is the boundary-stone of the junction of the three parishes of 
Thursley, Elstead and Peper Harow, is not, according to local tradition, 
the true Thor stone, and has evidently been erected as a boundary-stone. 
Lord Midleton believes that Mr. Baring Gould was misled by Mrs. Gooch 
of Thursley, who, he understands, is now convinced of the mistake. The 
real stone is said to be that near Cricklestone Hill, north-east of that 
indicated, and close to the spot where the manors of Thursley and Peper 
Harow join. 

Lord Midleton also gives the following as among the old Surrey names 
which go back to the Conquest, and even to an earlier date, and are still 
in current use in West Surrey : Stovold, Enticknap, Evershed, Chalcraft, 
Covert or Cover, Steere, Heather, Caryll, Boxall, Snelling, Harpe. 

I have further to thank Lord Ashcombe for kindly permitting me to 
reproduce some old prints from the unique collection in his possession, and 
for help in other ways too numerous to specify I am indebted to, among 
others, the Earl of Onslow, Sir George Bonham, Sir W. C. Roberts- 
Austen, Ven. Archdeacon Sapte, Canon Dundas, R.D., Canon Mus- 
grave, R.D., the Revs. G. G. Harvey, E. Hill, W. H. Winn, and E. Dean, 
Messrs. R. M. Bray, K.C., A. E. Anderson, R. J. Askew, H. Fairmaner, 
T. J. Lacy, S. Rowland, A. W. R. Sowman, George Tayler, George 
Unwin, and David Williamson. 

E. A. J. 


LL who appreciate the extreme beauty of the tract of 
country bounded northwards by the Chalk Downs 
and southwards by the sand ridge will welcome the 
appearance of the volume of which these few lines are 
intended as a preface. It is well that some memorial 
should be preserved of scenes and buildings many 
of which are yearly changing, while some are rapidly disappearing. 
Could the shade of William Cobbett revisit Hindhead, he would fail to 
recognise in the villas of the Surrey Switzerland the unprofitable wastes 
upon which he expended so much needless indignation. Next to the 
exquisite beauty of its village greens and downs and commons, enough 
still remains of the rural architecture of Surrey to give the county a charm 
of its own. 

' So far more safe the vassal than the lord ' is an old Surrey proverb, 
the truth of which no one can fail to recognise who compares the 
number and picturesqueness of the half-timbered cottages, and of some 
old farm-houses, with the comparatively modern mansions built by 
owners of the soil, who have changed far more rapidly than their humbler 
dependants. Their memory will at least be preserved in the pages of 
this volume, when their place will probably know them no more. The 
author has entered upon his task as a labour of love, and has earned the 
gratitude of all, and they are legion, who are familiar with the matchless 
beauty of a district now brought within an hour of the great Metropolis. 



It is well that pen and pencil should have combined to chronicle its 
attractions. There are names of yeomen and husbandmen still familiar 
in some districts, the owners of which can be traced back in old leases 
and terriers, even to Domesday Book itself. 

The dry and somewhat barren soil, so great an attraction to 
residents in the present day, was not coveted by the Norman conquerors, 
into whose hands the manors of Earl Harold, comprising nearly the 
whole of Surrey, passed after the Battle of Hastings. The dozen or 
so of his retainers, among whom the Conqueror parcelled them out, 
built but few castles for themselves, and were well content to let their 
tenants construct their own residences where the land was fit for tillage, 
leaving the remainder undisturbed in all its natural beauty of woodland, 
gorse and heather. And thus it comes about that, within thirty-five miles of 
London, there are some 600 tracts of open common within the county, left 
in much the same condition in which they were when the Thanes, who 
were once their owners, died almost to a man for England under the 
banner of their chosen monarch. To preserve at least the memory of what 
is passing away is a task well worthy of those who love Nature in all her 
beauty, and care to recall the daily life, habits, and artistic tastes of bygone 





HAVE marked out but a small corner of Surrey for the 
purposes of these desultory rambles so small that the 
sturdy pedestrian could easily traverse it from east to 
west, or north to south, in less than a day, and the 
energetic cyclist could ride round its boundaries in the 
same space of time with no special exertion. But its 
interest and attractiveness to the leisurely rambler are 
not to be judged by such standards as these; and, narrow as our limits 
may appear on the map, we shall find ourselves amply repaid, I am 
confident, for the quiet sauntering, with frequent pause and digression, 
that we have in view. 

In nothing, indeed, is West Surrey more remarkable than in the 
variety of its scenery. Although almost its whole extent may be easily 
visible on a clear day from any one of its well-known view-points, we shall 
know no monotony of scene. We shall pass from tall chalk cliffs to leafy 
glen ; from trim village green to broad seas of furze and heather ; from 
the banks of placid streamlets, through thick growths of pine and larch, 
to the summits of the sandhills which overlook the wide expanse of the 
Weald, with the South Downs looming as a dim blue line on the horizon. 
This assuredly is a country to saunter in and to linger in. We profane it 
by hastening through it from end to end at racing speed ; and, though in 
historical tradition or legendary lore its inheritance may be less than that 
with which the wild country of the West or the Border has been endowed, 
we shall find that there is not a village nay, scarcely a hamlet which 
cannot claim some link with the past, some notable name or memory, 

Some West Surrey Villages 

some relic of bygone days worthy of passing thought, on the part, at 
least, of those over whom Surrey has thrown her spell. 

I can promise little of the minute detail which the soul of the antiquary 
loveth. Enough for our purpose if the cursory gleanings of a leisurely 
rambler serve to indicate something of the human interest that fittingly 
supplements the charm with which Nature has endowed the hills and 
dales and breezy heathlands of South-West Surrey. 

It was Grant Allen's conviction that for 'quiet English scenery in its 
highest form of perfection, one could not do better than try the long 
straight dale ' along which the Tillingbourne runs from the lower slopes 
of Leith Hill to the Wey. 

In the same strain of hearty admiration Blackmore wrote in 'Dariel'- 
for, as every Surrey reader recognised, the ' Pebblebourne ' of the story 
could be no other than our Tillingbourne 'a very lovely valley winding 
wherever it ought to wind, and timbered just where it should be, with the 
music of a bright brook to make it lively, and the distance of the hills to 
keep it sheltered from the world.' 

We can, therefore, scarcely hope to choose a better approach than this 
valley affords to the fragment of Surrey which we are about to explore. 
The pastoral peace, the rich, rural beauty of the vale, flanked on the one 
side by the bold escarpment of the chalk downs, and on the other side 
by the woods and glens and heaths which cover the northern slopes of the 
sandhills, form a fitting prelude to the wilder and still more varied regions 
which we shall presently reach. 

It would be pleasant to begin this our first ramble high up on the 
uplands, where the Abingbourne and the Tillingbourne rise, and to follow 
the stream after the two rivulets have joined forces from Abinger village, 
perched up some 700 feet above sea-level, down to Abinger Hammer, 
whose marshy lowlands were the home of the medieval iron-works of 
which we shall hear more anon. But as our present purpose is rigidly 
to confine ourselves within the boundaries of South-West Surrey, we will 
join the Tillingbourne Valley at the hamlet of Gomshall, just mid-way 
between Guildford and Dorking. 

It matters little indeed by what route we approach our starting-point 
whether by rail from east or west ; on foot over the Downs, across the 
wild ' no man's land ' of Netley Heath, and down the steep descent of 

Gomshall and Shere 

Colekitchen Lane ; by the main-road from Dorking, which carries us past 
Westcott and the glorious woods of Wotton whatever our route, our 
first impression of the hamlet will be favourable. Seen beneath a summer 
sky, its pretty cottages overgrown with jasmine, roses, and honeysuckle, 
' its wild waterside vegetation, its great gardens of lush watercress,' charm 
the eye at once. 

Gomshall has been spared by the speculating builder. Despite a rebuilt 
tannery, we can say of it to-day, just as Grant Allen said of it fifteen or 
sixteen years ago, that it ' still remains in the bowery, flowery stage of the 


native English village.' Its mill-pond still retains its old-time aspect- 
note that the dam that confines the brook rises almost to a level with the 
old tiled roofs of the small buildings below ; and the Tillingbourne in 
these parts, happily, is still a pure and peaceful stream, with a profusion 
of rushes on its banks, and a rich growth of Canadian water-weed upon 
its bottom. 

In such surroundings we may well be tempted to linger. But the 
hamlet boasts little of historical or antiquarian interest that need detain 
us, and as yet we are only on the threshold of the Tillingbourne country. 

3 B 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

Moreover, we could hardly wish for a pleasanter mile of main-road 
rambling than that which lies before us when we bend our steps towards 
Shere. Fine elms and beeches meet overhead ; the soft music of the 
stream now and again whispers in our ears. Netley Pond, chill and 
desolate-looking on a dull winter's day, picturesque and placid beneath 
a cloudless sky, is presently to be seen on our left. On our right, on the 
slope of the down, we speedily descry Netley House and Netley Woods, 
the name they bear carrying us back to the distant days when the property 
belonged to the Netley Monastery in Hampshire. Soon we reach Shere. 

I can attempt no eulogy of Shere. Often praised, I do not think it has 
been overpraised. A more charming scene than that on which one looks 
from the churchyard, or the banks of the stream just above the church, it 
is difficult to name. But the pen must signally fail in any endeavour to 
catalogue characteristics or indicate picturesque nooks and corners which 
have again and again tested the artist's skill to the utmost. 

For though Shere may not eclipse Newlyn in its ' school ' of artists, it is 
essentially the home of art. Is there any other village in the country 
which can point as Shere can to a single house which has in turn been 
the residence of three Royal Academicians Gilbert, Holl, and Boehm ? 
For years past, too, Shere and the surrounding country has proved the 
training-ground the nursery, if I may use the term of many a landscape- 
painter, notably of the gifted young artists who have made their way 
South from Scotland. Sir Arthur Clay resided here for some time, while 
Mr. B. W. Leader's intimate connection with the village dates back 
nearly to the sixties. 

Mr. Leader, whose home at Burrows Cross on the uplands south of 
the village was originally built for and owned by Frank Holl, will tell you 
that, though thirty or forty years have elapsed since he and Vicat Cole 
were first busy hereabouts, the district still possesses the same charm 
that it owned then for the landscape-painter. To-day, indeed, it wears 
almost the same guise that it wore half a century since, save, perhaps, for 
the large new houses scattered here and there among the hills. And 
to-day, as of yore, its sandy lanes, its narrow valleys, its wealth of larch 
and pine, its bits of gorse-clad common and heath, are prolific in subjects 
which never weary. Mr. Leader himself frankly confesses that most of 
his well-known Surrey scenes are to be found within a very short 
distance of Burrows Cross, and not a few of them actually within its 








Gomshall and Shere 

grounds. A group of fir-trees not twenty yards from his studio has 
figured more than once on the walls of Burlington House. 

Shere can boast of other associations of interest besides those which 
spring from its connection with recent English art. Even though I 
intentionally refrain from any attempt to sketch its history in detail, I 
must not omit mention of some names in its annals that were once 
prominent in the noisier and busier outside world. And with such topics 
in view, to say nothing of the heed which must be paid to its smuggling 
and sheep-stealing legends, and its vanished importance as a seat of the 
cloth trade, we need make but passing allusion to the familiar contro- 
versy as to the spelling of the village place-name. 

' Essira ' in Domesday, ' Schyre ' in the twelfth century, ' Schire ' in 
the thirteenth, ' Shyre ' in the fourteenth, ' Shere ' in the fifteenth, 
' Schyre ' again, as well as ' Shere ' and ' Sheire,' in the sixteenth, ' Shere ' 
in Aubrey, ' Shire ' in the first Census of 1801, and in Manning and 
Bray, ' Sheire ' in the opinion, apparently, of the South-Eastern Railway 
Company when they built their ' Gomshall and Sheire ' station, and 
' Shere ' again in general acceptance nowadays here unquestionably is 
abundant controversial material. But to all such controversies let us cry 
truce, and agree that ' Essira Shire Shere ' represents, not ' Shire ' in 
the wide sense in which we know the term, but a detached portion or 
share of a larger territory. 

And having thus cleared the ground of one preliminary stumbling- 
block, let us turn for a few minutes to other and more significant vicissi- 
tudes in local history. Of these changes we shall find useful outward 
and visible hints if we enter the church where judicious repair has 
happily taken the place of reckless ' restoration ' and note three of its 
most interesting mementos of bygone days. I refer to (i) the mutilated 
brass of John Touchet (or Towchat), Lord Audley ; (2) the three red 
roses in the scraps of fifteenth-century glass in the window of the north 
chapel ; and (3) the Bray, or hemp-breaker, which has served for so many 
centuries as the crest of the family of Bray. And to discern the true 
significance of these memorials of the past we must dip slightly into the 
dry pages of manorial records. 

First, then, we note that just at the end of the thirteenth century the 
manor of ' Essira ' was split up into two portions : one, comprising a part 
of the parish of Shere and the hamlet and park of La Vacharie, was 


Some West Surrey Villages 

known as ' Shere Vachery '; the other, which included a further portion of 
Shere, and extended also into the parishes of Cranleigh and Rudgwick, 
was known as ' Shere Eboracum.' The former became the property of 
the Butlers, the Earls of Ormond, who figure so conspicuously in Irish 
history, and was, in fact, their chief English seat. On the other hand, 
Shere Eboracum, after many changes of ownership, passed into the hands 
of Richard, Duke of York, round whose pretensions to the throne the 
Wars of the Roses centred, who, after his defeat at Wakefield, was 
hurried to the block, and whose head, crowned in mockery with a paper 
diadem, is said to have been impaled on the walls of the city from which 
he took his title. 

It was fortunate for Shere and its neighbourhood that Surrey, to a 
great extent, escaped the devastation which this civil strife wrought in so 
many portions of the country. For while Shere Eboracum was in the 
hands of the Duke of York, and many of the chief land-owners of the 
county were on the same side, the Butlers of Shere Vachery were sturdy 
Lancastrians, as the red roses in the parish church serve to remind us 
to-day. Thus, living, so to speak, side by side, partly in the same 
parish, and with but the thin manorial boundary-line between them, the 
adherents of the two households were ranged in opposite camps. Happy 
indeed was it if they were not drawn into the fierce combat, which left so 
deep a mark in many an English home and homestead. 

But though Shere itself seems to have passed through the time of 
crisis peacefully enough, it was not long before Jarnes Butler, fifth Earl 
of Ormond, of Shere Vachery, met with as sad a fate as his nominal 
neighbour, the Duke of York. Within a year, in fact, the Yorkists had 
avenged their defeat at Wakefield in the bloody victory of Towton Field, 
and Ormond was among the victims who were sent to their death at 
Newcastle. Truly those were troublous times, as, indeed, almost the 
next page in the annals of Shere Manor further testifies. But before we 
pass on, we ought, I think, to note that Shere has some cause to hold the 
Butlers in grateful remembrance, for the mansion at Vachery was their 
favourite English residence. The house, long since pulled down, was 
probably the most important place in the neighbourhood, since, of all the 
leading families who owned estates in this part of Surrey, that of the 
Butlers seems to have been the only one that was constantly resident. 
To them, possibly, Shere owed its early pre-eminence in this portion of the 


Gomshall and Shere 

countryside ; and, more probably than not, their benefactions, with the 
impetus which flowed also from the visits of the Canterbury pilgrims, 
materially helped forward the work of Church enlargement which bit by 
bit transformed the old Norman church mentioned in Domesday into the 
building of the size and character we see before us now. 

On Ormond's death Shere Vachery was escheated to the Crown, and 
by Edward IV. it was granted to Touchet, Lord Audley, whose brass is 
the next relic of the past which claims our attention. In the hands of 
this family, however, the estate was not destined to remain long ; for 
Audley's son and heir, James, ' was a ruined man such as are apt for wild 
rebellions,' and became one of the leaders of the Cornish Revolt in 1497. 
Marching from the West through Somerset and Wiltshire to Winchester, 
and then across Surrey probably by the Pilgrims' Way the rebels 
passed the last resting-place of their leader's father in Shere Church 
on their way to Blackhcath. There the final fight took place. The 
insurgents were decisively beaten ; Audley was taken prisoner, led from 
Newgate to Tower Hill in a paper coat torn and painted with his arms 
reversed, and there beheaded. 

High among Henry VII. 's advisers at this time was Sir Reginald Bray, 
against whom the rebels, in their outcry against taxation, were loud in 
their clamour. It seems probable that Sir Reginald came into possession 
of the Manor of Shere some little time before James Touchet met a 
traitor's death on Tower Hill. But, whatever the exact date of this 
transfer, it was at this juncture, and, broadly, under these circumstances, 
that the close connection was established between the family of Bray and 
the parish of Shere which is indicated in the hemp-breaker in the fragments 
of old glass still to be seen in the parish church, and which has since been 
maintained in unbroken succession for more than four centuries. 

Of Reginald Bray himself, as well as of one of his descendants to 
whom Surrey folk will always be indebted, I shall have more to say 
hereafter. But we must not quit the church without a passing glance at 
two other memorials upon its walls. The brass of Robert Sawcliffe, or 
Scarcliffe, who was Rector of the parish at the beginning of the fifteenth 
century, perpetuates the memory of a singularly kindly parson. In his 
will one of many wills containing quaint bequests by former residents 
which have been preserved he provided that his bier should be covered 
with just 24 yards no more and no less of black cloth, which after his 


Some West Surrey Villages 

funeral should be given to poor parishioners to pray for his soul and the 
souls of his benefactors. Further, two torches, of 5 pounds each, were 
to be kept burning, one at the head, the other at the foot, of his tomb; 
and, finally, after other legacies had been provided for, the residue of his 
goods was to be sold and distributed either to poor old couples burdened 
with large families or to poor maids for their marriage. Evidently Parson 
Sawcliffe, just four centuries ago, had discerned little social 
among his flock which are with us to this day ; and for this kindly thought 
he certainly deserved to have the 'honest priest to sing for his soul for a 
year and longer, if possible, in the church of Schyre,' for whom provis 
was also made in his last will and testament. 

Finally, we cannot fail to observe the tablet which tells us how a 
certain Mr Edward Woods, late of Kingston, provided, in 1857, for a 
curious observance on St. Valentine's Day which is still maintained. 
He left to this parish,' we read, ' 500 in the Three per Cent. Consols ' 
-alas ! the Three per Cent, is now sadly out of date-' 2 a year each to 
seven widows, and i to the minister to preach a sermon on the i 4 th o 

February for ever.' 

It is quite time, however, to turn from the manor and its records, and 
the church and its memorials, to the village life of Shere in the past. 
Sequestered as the parish is and must always have been, its quietude was 
broken from time to time. The summer pilgrims to and from Canterbury 
who sauntered along the valley between Guildford and Dorking of course 
made Shere one of their halting-places. Probably the rough crosses s< 
to be detected on the chalk stones of the south doorway were wrough 
by their daggers ; and, close to the quatrefoil and hagioscope on the north 
wall of the chancel, you may also discern the threshold and entrance- 
as the Rev H. R. Ware conjectures*-to the hermit's cell into the 
quatrefoil opened. Here some worthy anchorite may have passed his 
days, pleading for alms whilst keeping constant watch upon tl 

of the church. . 

After the stir and bustle caused by the recurring visits of the pilgrims 
had died away, Shere Churchyard, in keeping with the general custo 
of the Middle Ages, was frequently the scene of high revels. The church- 
wardens' accounts, happily preserved, from Henry VI.'s reign to nearly 
the end of that of Elizabeth, make frequent mention of these festivit 
* See ' Three Surrey Churches.' 


Tt/aa f. 8 

Gomshall and Shere 

Thus, we read of a ' wake ' on the Day of Pentecost which brought in 
565. no small sum, be it remembered, in those days. Again, the ' King- 
game ' was played with profit at least twice whilst Henry VIII. was on 
the throne. On ' Hokmonday ' 8s. was received from the collection of 
pennies by the married women ; while at a ' drinking ' made by one John 
Redford at his own expense no less than 7 33. <jd. was collected from 
strangers attending at his instance. 

Shere, however, was not wholly given over to revelry. Aubrey 
whose perambulations in Surrey began in 1673, and extended over twenty 
years tells us that the village was ' considerable for the fustian weavers, 
and has been so anciently.' Nay, more, he recorded the legend that the 
parsonage was ' built on wooll-packs, in the same manner that Our 
Lady's Church at Salisbury was ; that it is likely enough some tax might 
be laid on the woolpacks towards the building of it.' As to this latter 
theory, there is, perhaps, something to be said for the explanation one 
writer has suggested, that the foundations of the house may have been 
laid on woolsacks filled with concrete. However this may be, we know, 
of course, that the cloth trade, which flourished in Guildford in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, extended into several of the neigh- 
bouring villages, and Shere among the number probably found in it a 
source of profit, or at least a means of subsistence for the fair-sized com- 
munity which had gathered round the church. 

In Shere, as in Guildford, the time came when this industry passed 
away. In later years the village could boast of a small market, and resi- 
dents still living can recall the days when, as a relic of market-day 
customs, the farmers would meet at the White Horse once a week to 
learn the news from the weekly paper. 

Less than a century ago smuggling and sheep-stealing were not 
unknown in the district. London Lane which starts almost from the 
centre of the village to climb the steep face of the Downs was just the 
type of unfrequented bypath which best served the purpose of the 
illegitimate trader, whose pack-horse, with his burden of contraband 
goods, stealthily made his way from the coast over the South Downs and 
through the forest. Mr. Askew, well informed as he is in all that relates 
to Shere's past, can throw no light upon the history of the exceptionally 
capacious cellars of his interesting old house, the White Horse. Hut 
bearing in mind the reputation which Shere and Albury enjoyed during 

Some West Surrey Villages 

the latter part of the reign of the third George, we may not unreasonably 
assume that such spacious and convenient hiding-places as these were 
turned to account for other than purely agricultural purposes. 

Of these sheep-stealing days ' A Son of the Marshes ' has given us 
some interesting stories in more than one of his charming volumes ; and 
although he is careful not to identify persons or places concerned, we may 
not be far astray if we locate one incident he relates in the wild country 
which was to be found within living memory in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Shere. It is Maurice, an old woodman, who tells the story of the 
' desprit gang in the forest,' banded together for housebreaking, smuggling, 
sheep-stealing, and ' all that wur bad,' and of their ultimate capture 
when the gentry round at last made up their minds to hunt them down 
like foxes. In Maurice's words : ' One o' they ' the gentry ' drove up 
to London in his carriage, an' he see the head people at Bow Street his 
valet it was told us and a while arter that some new, rough-lookin' 
customers was sin moochin' an' wanderin' round. To look at, they was 
a more desprit-lookin' lot than the old uns. They got in tow with 'em 
quick, too, and told 'em as they could take all as they could git, and would 
find 'em a better price by a long way than what they'd bin gettin'. They 
brought fast-trottin' ponies an' light spring-carts to take the game an' 
other things away. Some o' th' old gang, just to see what stuff the new 
chums was made on in case a scrimmage came, kicked up a row an' hit 
some on 'em. They was soon satisfied, however, fur they hit out most 
terrible, an' some on 'em they throwed up on their backs, with a turn o' 
the foot like, enuf to bust 'em. Arter that they would do anything to 
please 'em, and the new uns, jest to prove to 'em as all was right an' 
square, turned gold over to 'em, as earnest for the jobs they had before 
'em. When everything was ready for action like, they planned a house- 
breakin' job for one thing, an' a game-harryin' bit fur another, all on it 
to come off the same night. The night afore that they'd done some 
sheep-stealin'. They was bold over it, fur they killed 'em in the fold an' 
they dressed 'em there, an' left the skins. The night come, an' they was 
full swing at their bad work, with the ponies and carts close handy, when 
a whistle was blowed. All at once the new mates collared 'em an' clapped 
a pistol to the head o' each on 'em. Other men rushed up from some 
hidin'-place, and the handcuffs was on 'em in a jiff afore they know'd 
where they was. 'Twas a rum lot o' game the carts took off that night.' 


Gomshall and Shere 

Botany Bay was the result for the culprits ; the ' foresters,' in 
Maurice's words, were able for the first time for many years to sleep in 
peace, and Shere itself, needless to say, has long been as law-abiding as 
any parish in the county of Surrey. 

Long as we have dallied in Shere, we must not quit it without refer- 
ence to one further interesting name and memory. The birthplace of one 
historian, the village subsequently became the home of another widely 
famous man of letters. Seven years before George Crete's death his 
wife chose as their country residence a modest house with a few acres of 
land on the high ground south of the railway, where the latter is crossed 
by the road from Shere to Ewhurst. It was named The Ridgeway, after 
Mrs. Crete's birthplace, and in it both the historian and his widow spent 
their closing days. An attractive, quiet retreat it no doubt was for a City 
banker, who, while eminent also as a writer, a philosopher, a politician, 
was always shy. And what memories of the great Reform struggle, of 
the early fight for the ballot, of the rejoicings in 'History Hut' on 
the completion of her husband's ' History of Greece,' of Mendelssohn, 
Chopin, Liszt, Jenny Lind, and Ary Scheffer, to name only a few of her 
distinguished friends, Mrs. Grote brought with her to this Surrey home. 
To the last she retained her masterful self-reliance, her almost over- 
powering individuality, and her true kindness of heart. ' She reigned 
wherever she went,' we are told. 

In Shere she was respected and admired, and in a sense feared. To 
the villagers to this day she is ' Madame Grote ' of august memory. The 
old-fashioned yellow carriage in which she constantly drove was a familiar 
subject of comment, and some Guildfordians to-day can still recall her 
visits to the town, and the air of queenly supremacy with which she 
accepted her husband's deferential homage as he escorted her to and 
from her carriage. When at the ripe age of eighty-seven she entered into 
her rest, her body was borne to Shere Churchyard by her village neigh- 
bours, the older generation of whom still have a kindly place for her in 
their thoughts. 

M c 2 



HAVE incidentally noted in the preceding chapter the 
close and unbroken connection which has existed for 
over four centuries between the family of Bray and the 
manor and parish of Shere. In this long record two 
names are specially conspicuous, and there would be 
but scant excuse if we quitted the village without 
gossiping awhile concerning the life-work of both 
Reginald and William Bray. 

Reginald Bray, on whom, as we have seen, Henry VII. bestowed the 
manor, was much more than a Surrey squire. Warrior and church-builder, 
courtier and politician, his crest is fully entitled to the prominence it 
enjoys in Westminster Abbey and St. George's Chapel, Windsor. We 
can trace the story of his career only in outline from the records that 
have come down to us. But even in this rough form it is full of incident 
and interest, and not without the element of romance so often to be found 
in the lives of the strong men who won their way to the front in the 
stirring days at the close of the Wars of the Roses and the founding of 
the Tudor dynasty. 

The part that Bray played in those epoch-making changes was all the 
more noteworthy, since he owed his advancement mainly to his own merit. 
Belonging to a family of some standing in Bedfordshire and Bucks, his 
fortunes seem to have been linked early in life with those of the Countess 
of Richmond. We know, at least, that he was receiver-general and 
steward of the household to her second husband, Sir Henry Stafford, and 
the degree to which he had earned the confidence of the Countess and her 
connections secured him his first opportunity of winning distinction on a 
wider field. This opportunity arose when Morton, Bishop of Ely, con- 
ceived, with the Duke of Buckingham, the daring scheme of uniting the 

Reginald Bray and William Bray 

discontented Yorkists with the remnants of the Lancastrian party by the 
marriage of the Princess Elizabeth to the Earl of Richmond, and the latter's 
advancement to the throne. Morton was then the Duke's prisoner at 
Brecknock, and bray was recommended by the Bishop for the communica- 
tion of the affair to the Countess as an old friend who was in her service, 
' a man sober, secret, and well-witted, whose prudent policy had compassed 
matters of great importance.' To Brecknock, accordingly, Bray was 
summoned, and there the design was first disclosed to him. He returned 
to the Countess, and, having obtained her consent to the marriage, was 


sent by her on a secret mission to Henry in Brittany to prepare him for 
the high honour in store for him if he would swear to marry Elizabeth 
of York. 

At the outset all seemed to go well with the scheme and Bray's part 
in it. But, as we all know, the first attempt to carry it fully into effect, 
under Buckingham's leadership, utterly failed. Henry, unable even to 
land, was driven back to Brittany ; Buckingham paid the penalty of his 
failure with his head. For a time the prospect seemed quite hopeless. t . 
The story even got abroad that Richard meant to marry Elizabeth himself; 


Some West Surrey Villages 

while Henry, influenced possibly by this rumour, contemplated wedding 
a sister of Sir W. Herbert, who was all-powerful in Wales. 

Richard, however, was compelled by popular clamour to disown the 
marriage attributed to him, and Henry's relations and supporters Bray 
among them saw their opportunity as the popular discontent with 
Richard's rule grew in bitterness and volume. At length the die was cast, 
and Henry landed at Milford Haven and advanced into Leicestershire. 

Now, circumstances combined to make Bray's position at this juncture 
distinctly critical. After the .abortive Buckingham revolt his mistress, 
who had married Lord Stanley as her third husband, had been deprived 
of her lands by Richard for conspiring in her son's favour. Richard, 
however, had thought it politic to treat the Stanleys as loyal friends. 
Accordingly Lady Margaret's name was not included in the general act 
of attainder, but her husband was granted the use of her lands for life, 
provided he kept his wife ' securely in some quiet place, without any 
servant or company,' that she might not stir up more intrigues. Bray, 
however, remained faithful to his mistress and Stanley. 

Naturally enough, Richard, directly after Henry had landed, bethought 
him of Margaret and her household. He ordered Stanley to repair to 
him at Nottingham, or send his son Lord Strange in his place. When 
the son was sent, the King intimated to the father that his presence also 
would be required, as the case was urgent. Lord Stanley pleaded sickness, 
and Richard's suspicions, already strong, were amply confirmed when 
Lord Strange, after vainly attempting to escape, confessed that the whole 
family had been in communication with the enemy. Still, however, he 
averred that his father intended to join the King's standard, and he 
consented to remain as hostage for his father's loyalty. 

Under these conditions Stanley, with his household, took care to 
preserve the appearance of good faith as long as it was possible to do 
so. But his real intentions were apparent enough to Richard just before 
Bosworth, when the latter asked for immediate help from the Earl and 
was refused. The King's reply was to order Lord Strange to be beheaded 
forthwith. Fortunately, some of his attendants procured a respite of the 
sentence until the issue of the battle had been declared. The issue was 
not long in doubt, and doubt was changed to certainty when Stanley, 
who had cautiously held aloof at the outset, deemed it safe to throw in 
his lot with Henry. 


Reginald Bray and William Bray 

The sequel is familiar enough to all of us. It was Reginald Bray 
who found the King's crown in a hawthorn bush, and it was Stanley who 
placed it on Henry's head on the battle-field, while the men raised the 
memorable and significant salute, ' Henry ! King Henry ! King Henry !' 

Bray's services were promptly and generously rewarded. At Henry's 
coronation he was created a Knight of the Bath. Within a year he was 
appointed keeper for life of the royal parks at Guildford, Henley and 
Pirbright. Moreover, the King's full confidence thus won was retained to 
the last nay, was strengthened as the years passed. He and Morton 
and Fox (afterwards Bishop of Winchester, of whom we are reminded 
at Farnham Castle by the tower which still bears his name) were the 
leading members of the King's Council ; and Bray's position in this 
triumvirate was so conspicuous that, as we have seen in the case of the 
Cornish revolt, whenever a tax was felt to be offensive, the people were 
apt to blame him for it. Bacon, too, has left it on record that Bray had 
the greatest freedom with the King of any counsellor, although he signifi- 
cantly adds that it was ' but a freedom the better to set off flattery.' 
Both Bacon and popular opinion seem, however, to have been unjust to 
Bray. There is good reason for believing that he and Morton were, in 
fact, the two counsellors who dared to remonstrate, and did actually 
remonstrate, most freely with Henry on any act of injustice. 

On the whole, therefore, I fancy we may legitimately think of Bray, 
the King's counsellor, in the kindly words of Hall : ' a very father of his 
country, a safe and grave person, and a fervent lover of justice, insomuch 
that if anything had been done against good law or equitie, he would 
after a humble fassion plainly reprehende the King, and give him good 
advertesement how to reforme that offence and to be more circumspect 
in another lyke case.' 

Whatever our verdict on Bray, Henry, it is clear, both trusted and 
enriched him. He was endowed with many an estate, and promoted to 
many a high and profitable office ; and the wealth and the influence thus 
obtained he turned to account in at least one direction for which we have 
cause to thank him to-day. Both St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and 
Henry VI I. 's Chapel, Westminster, owe much to his architectural taste 
and skill. In the case of the former he seems to have been chiefly 
responsible for the carrying out of the improvements ordered by the King. 
His arms and device are to be seen again and again in the ceiling and the 


Some West Surrey Villages 

windows. Some of the nails in the doors have hemp-breakers for their 
heads. The chapel in the middle of the south aisle, known to-day as the 
Bray Chapel, was built by him to receive his body, and in his will he 
provided that his executors should, ' with all the goods and issues and 
profits of his lands, make and perform the new works of the body of the 
said church, and thoroughly finish them according to the form and intent 
of the foundation.' He left, too, a benefaction of 40 marks a year to the 
Dean and Canons for distribution among ' 13 poor men and women at the 
door of the said chapel.' 

Bray, I think we shall all feel, well earned the place of honour 
accorded to both his name and his body in the most beautiful of the royal 
chapels of this country. But not less fitting is it that his memory should 
be linked with Henry VII. 's chapel at Westminster. It is not merely 
that he was the official architect of the chapel, and as such laid the 
foundation-stones, in conjunction with the prior and others, ' at a quarter 
to three,' as the records precisely relate, on January 24, 1503 though he 
died long before the work was complete. But, as Dean Stanley has 
pointed out, the chapel itself, in so much of its adornment, typifies the 
union of Henry's right of conquest with his claim of hereditary descent. 
On the one hand it is a glorification of the victory of Bosworth ; on the 
other hand, like King's College Chapel at Cambridge, it asserts everywhere 
memories which carry us back to John of Gaunt. 

And when we think of Bray's first journey to Brecknock, to be there 
apprised of the union of the two Roses which Morton and Buckingham 
had conceived ; of his secret mission to Brittany to win Henry's adhesion 
to the scheme ; and, finally, of the curious turn in Fortune's wheel which 
made him the finder of the crown thus boldly won, we can scarcely help 
feeling that the planning of such a sanctuary could not have been 
entrusted to more appropriate hands than his. 

We have wandered far from Shere and its peaceful valley in thus 
briefly tracing the fortunes of the Lord of the Manor to whom the first of 
the Tudor Sovereigns was much indebted. But though we may have 
no reason to think that Reginald Bray's architectural talents were ever 
exhibited on Shere Church, it is pleasant to trace the connecting-links 
which may be said to exist between this Surrey valley and church and the 
stately piles at Windsor and Westminster. 

Nor ought we to pass on without recalling the debt due to another 




(From the portrait painted and engraved by John I.inm-11.) 

Reginald Bray and William Bray 

member of the same family, whose virtues are eulogized on a memorial 
tablet on the south wall of the church. For when we in Surrey refer to 
our Brayley or our Murray or our local guide - book, we are still 
profiting by the labours of William Bray. To Manning and Bray's 
history of the county, which first saw the light in three folio volumes 
in 1809 to 1814, every student of Surrey's past must sooner or later turn. 

Compared with the career of his illustrious ancestor, William Bray's 
life was singularly uneventful. Born in Shere in 1736, he became the 
articled pupil of John Martyr, a prominent solicitor in Guildford, and, 
after practising on his own account in London, he was appointed a clerk 
of the Board of Green Cloth, through the good offices of John Evelyn of 
Wotton. All through his life his leisure hours were given to literary and 
antiquarian studies. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and 
a frequent contributor to its journal. But though he published early in 
life an account of his journeyings in the Midlands and the North, he was 
well advanced in years before he employed himself upon the work with 
which his name is chiefly associated. Late in the eighteenth century his 
friend, Dr. Owen Manning, Vicar of Godalming and Rector of Peper 
Harow, conceived the project of compiling the first comprehensive history 
of Surrey which had been attempted since Aubrey's gossipy pages were 
penned. Manning, however, died with the greater port of his task still 
undone. Bray undertook to complete it. The labour involved was great, 
and Bray performed it with the utmost conscientiousness. Thirteen or 
fourteen years elapsed before the last sheets left the printer's hands. 
Meanwhile Bray had visited every parish and church in the county, and 
as the outcome of his zeal and research produced a history which ranks 
to this day among the best works of its class and period in our language. 
This was the achievement, we should remember, of a septuagenarian 
scholar, for Bray was in his sixty-fifth year when Manning died, and 
seventy-eight when the history which bears their joint name was com- 

Even now, however, Bray was not content to be idle. No sooner was 
the history out of hand than he set to work upon the preparation of the 
memoirs of his neighbour and patron Evelyn. This, again, was no 
trivial undertaking, for John Evelyn's diary extended over 700 quarto 
pages ' in a very small, close hand,' besides a smaller volume dealing with 
the last nine years of his life. Practically the whole of this mass of 

17 D 

Some West Surrey Villages 

matter was transcribed by Bray with his own hand between his eightieth 
and eighty-third birthday. How can we who live in a shorthand and 
type-writing generation withhold a meed of genuine admiration for the 
patient industry of this venerable lawyer-scholar ? 

William Bray himself was also a diarist, in deference to the fashion of 
his time. In his careful notes we read of the meetings of a social club 
which had its rendezvous from time to time at Wotton Hatch and 
Dorking, and we get glimpses, too, of personal travelling expenses in 
suggestive contrast to present-day charges. Sixpence for breakfast at the 
Jolly Farmer, Bramley ; i 45. for a fortnight's board and lodging in 
London ; 2s. for dinner and wine at the King's Head, Dorking. Conceive 
the feelings of a Surrey squire nowadays if confronted with hotel or club 
tariff framed on this modest scale. 




HEN we ramble on from Shere to Albury, let us leave 
the main-road and turn to the left by the White 
Horse along the lane known as Lower Street. Pass- 
ing many a quaint old cottage, we follow the course 
of the Tillingbourne until we come to a foot-bridge 
across the stream. Here we note the fine avenue of 
limes which formerly led to the ' extraordinary good 
parsonage ' mentioned by Aubrey as ' encompassed about with a large 
and deep mote' full of fish. We, however, cross this stream, and 
climb the hilly lane for a short distance ; then, bearing to the left, we 
take a path which leads through Silverhill Wood, a charming bit of 
woodland on the outskirts of Albury Park. Presently we have a glimpse 
of the roof and chimneys of the mansion, and then, as we dip down 
towards the main-road, the 'cathedral' of the Catholic Apostolic Church 
comes in view. 

Involuntarily the question arises, How is it that this sequestered spot 
in the Tillingbourne Valley, as ' sweetly environed ' as Wotton itself ' with 
delicious streams and venerable woods," became ' a visible kind of Bethel ' 
for a religious body which at one time sought and hoped to implant its 
faith throughout Christendom ? The answer is found in the curious fate 
which brought together two notable figures in English life seventy 
years ago. 

Henry Drummond and Edward Irving had little enough in common 
when the former was a boy at Harrow and the latter one of Adam Hope's 
scholars in the Annan Academy. But by the inscrutable decree of fate 
they were to meet under the roof of Albury House in a series of conferences 
destined to issue in the founding of a new Church, which, whatever the 
final judgment passed upon its claims, must always have a place in the 

19 n 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

history of English religious thought. To us this strange development 
has a special interest, inasmuch as we certainly cannot fully know and 
understand the Albury of to-day unless we know also something of the 
part which Drummond played in its history. 

Henry Drummond, in Carlyle's words, was a ' singular mixture of the 
saint, the wit, and the philosopher'; his strongly-marked individuality 
ran into so many opposite extremes that there was some truth in the 
saying that ' his right hand was always at war with his left.' When he 
bought Albury in 1819, he had barely reached the prime of life ; but he 
was already a man of note. At the head of the banking firm which bore 
his name, and which had been founded by his ancestors for the secret 
arranging of the Jacobean finances, he possessed both wealth and social 
position. To these inherited advantages were added exceptional intellectual 
gifts, a restless energy which carried him into many different spheres of 
activity, and a sense of duty which prompted him, in Mrs. Oliphant's 
words, from his youth up, to dedicate everything he had and was to the 
service of God as that appeared to his vivid and peculiar apprehension. 
Independent in judgment at times wayward and captious to a degree 
only possible to a man born to great riches ; in full touch with the world 
of society, of finance, and of politics he had already sat for three years 
in the House of Commons for the borough of Plympton Earle yet never 
more deeply engrossed than when studying the mysteries of faith ; caustic 
in his criticisms of the foibles and superstitions of others, yet prepared 
himself to follow whithersoever his own convictions might lead him, 
Drummond was a marked and powerful personality in whatever circles 
he moved. 

Early in life Drummond had attached himself to the ministry of 
Edward Irving, and had figured in the remarkable congregation which 
the great Scotch preacher had gathered round him in Hatton Garden. 
But the two men were not brought into close sympathy until Irving's 
task in translating ' Ben Ezra ' began to strengthen his belief that the 
Second Advent was at hand, and to spur him on to the zealous study 
of prophecy in the light of this conviction. Kindled by the same zeal, 
Drummond invited Irving and other ministers and laymen who were 
interested in the immediate fulfilment of prophecy to meet beneath his 
roof at Albury in Advent, 1826, 'to compare views with respect to the 
prospects of the Church at the present crisis.' Irving tells the story of 

Henry Drummond and Albury 

the gathering with many a characteristic touch in the preface to ' Ben 

Ezra ' : 

' In answer to this honourable summons, there assembled about twenty 
men of every rank, and Church, and orthodox communion in these realms ; 
and, in honour of our meeting, God so ordered it that Joseph Wolff, the 
Jewish missionary, a son of Abraham and brother of our Lord, both 
according to the flesh and according to faith, should also be of the number. 
And here for eight days, under the roof of Henry Drummond, Esq., the 
present High Sheriff of the county, and under the moderation of the 

(From an old engraving.) 

Rev. Hugh M'Neile, the Rector of the parish of Albury, we spent six full 
days in close and laborious examination of the Scriptures.' 

Irving proceeds to show how a day was set apart for each subject, and 
how the labour of each day was divided into three parts. First came a 
' morning diet ' before breakfast, when the subject of the day was ' opened ' 
by a member of the party previously chosen. At the mid-day diet at 
eleven o'clock, after prayer (generally by Drummond), each member was 
asked to state his convictions on the subject laid before them in the 
morning. This diet lasted four, and sometimes almost five, hours, and 
after dinner the members proceeded ' to the work of winding up and 


Some West Surrey Villages 

concluding the whole subject, but in a more easy and familiar manner, as 
being seated round the fire of the great library room.' 

We shall do both Drummond and Irving injustice if we fail to remember 
that the studies to which they set themselves appealed also with special 
force to many of the most devout Christians of the day. For this parliament 
of prophecy was essentially a product of the times. It was one sign of the 
religious awakening which in various forms followed after a long period 
of torpor, and which began to be manifest when the upheavals and the 
storm and stress of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic struggle 
gradually died away. 

Into the movement which Irving's ardour first inspired, and whose 
birthplace was, as we have seen, the library of Albury House, Drummond 
threw himself heart and soul. The help of his purse, of his invaluable 
social influence, and his untiring energy, was freely given to the new cause. 
But some wholly unlooked-for developments speedily took place, and 
those members of the orthodox Evangelical party who had been most in 
sympathy with the Albury studies found their credulity and their loyalty 
tested by the strange manifestations of the gifts of tongues which were 
reported first in Scotland and subsequently in London among Irving's 
own flock. 

Men of more moderate views fell away ; the conference at Albury in 
July, 1830, was the last of the series; dissensions and difficulties ensued. 
Irving's expulsion from the Presbyterian Church further precipitated 
matters, and finally he and his sympathizers and adherents drifted together, 
and assumed a definite organization as a distinct religious body, firm in 
its belief in the imminence of the Second Advent not less firm in its 
belief at that time in ' miraculous ' manifestations of which it is difficult 
for most of us nowadays to read without a smile. In such a body as this 
Drummond's influence speedily proved great, if not actually paramount. 
To him, as to Cardale, Irving himself then, alas ! nearing the end of his 
too strenuous life was subordinate. 

On subsequent incidents in the early history of the new Church it is, 
of course, unnecessary to dwell here ; but developments in Albury call 
for a brief notice. In the first conferences under the Squire's roof the 
Rev. H. M'Neile, a prominent Evangelical, who was then Rector of the 
parish, and afterwards Dean of Ripon, had taken part. But he had 
drawn back when the study of the prophets had produced ' prophesyings ' 


Henry Drummond and Albury 

on the part of the students, and later on the movement was to have in 
him a severe, although never a bitter, critic. So it came about that at 
Albury itself Mr. Drummond and the friends of the same type of thought 
that he gathered round him there found themselves without any definite 
mission and authority. The need was met by Drummond's appointment 


as pastor of the church at Albury at a gathering of the faithful at Newman 
Street, and by his subsequent elevation to the rank of ' Angel.' 

To the village and parish of Albury the Squire's acceptance of the new 
faith necessarily meant much. We see one result in the cathedral close 
by the park gates, erected at Drummond's cost ; we see another in the 
abandonment of the old parish church within the park, and the provision 


Some West Surrey Villages 

of a new church, also at Drummond's expense, almost in the centre of the 
village, as to which I shall have more to say presently. And even to this 
day, despite the havoc death has wrought in the ranks of the original 
members and leaders of the Church, Albury with its cathedral, its chapter- 
house, and the picturesque timber houses adjoining, retains its special 
pre-eminence as a chief centre of the organization. 

From Drummond the religious enthusiast let us turn to Drummond 
the politician. There is certainly no reason for suggesting that his faith 
in the distinctive doctrines of the Catholic Apostolic Church ever waned. 
On the contrary, he was ever active in its behalf. He travelled almost 
from one end of Europe to the other for the furtherance of its aims, and 
he most munificently aided in the erection of the Gordon Square 
Cathedral. And yet, to say the least, it is a little curious to find that, 
shortly after posting down to the Archbishop of York at Nuneham in 
1836 to warn him of the approaching end of the world, Drummond was 
ready and eager to re-enter political life. He plunged with characteristic 
ardour into the Free Trade controversy in 1841. In a pamphlet which 
ran through several editions he confidently challenged McCulloch's plea 
for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Here are a few characteristic passages 
from it, interesting, I think, to us even now from the insight they give 
into the political standpoint of a man who in some respects was head and 
shoulders above many of his contemporaries : 

' If corn were introduced duty-free to-morrow, it is doubtful whether 
the really poor people would benefit by it for six months.' 

'The landlords have done one foolish thing already in allowing the 
manufacturers to be admitted into the House of Commons on the same 
footing as themselves, and now they are to be bullied or coaxed, as the 
case may be, into a similar act of suicide.' 

' Cheap postage ! The cost of letters was reduced so as to make a 
serious defalcation in the revenue, whilst the gain goes directly into the 
pockets of rich merchants, and benefits them alone ; the most foolish 
measure that was ever adopted, and which ought to be instantly repealed 
and the old system restored.' 

' In 1830 the war was begun of numbers against property. This is the 
root of the matter, privileged classes or not, equal or exclusive rights ; 
equality of rights constitutes a republic; privileged classes constitute a 
monarchy ; for a monarchy without privileged classes having exclusive 


(From a photograph by Lloyd, of Allmry.) 

Henry Drummond and Albury 

rights is the English translation of the motto of the baseless dynasty of 
Louis Philippe, " Un trone entoure" d'institutions r^publicaines." 

How strangely this echo of a far-off controversy sounds in our ears 
to-day ! 

But pamphleteering did not long content Drummond. Six years later 
(1847) he re-entered Parliament as one of the members for West Surrey, and 
this seat he retained though not without two stiff contests till his death 
in 1860. Even in his election addresses Drummond showed his individu- 
ality. Thus, in 1852, when he and Mr. Evelyn were being strenuously 
opposed by Colonel Challoner, of Portnall Park, Chertsey, he dealt with 
the two burning topics of the day in a style which was essentially his own. 
The electors were told that the suddenness with which the Corn Laws were 
repealed had ' produced the ruin of many farmers and distress to most 
landlords ; but since the labouring classes were never so well off as at 
present, no Minister dare attempt to reimpose a Bread Tax. We had a 
right, however, to expect that . . . the beverage of the people should be 
as free from taxation as their bread ' in other words, that the duty on 
malt should be reduced. For the rest, Drummond was mainly concerned 
with the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. He was stern to resist the ' recent 
aggression of the Pope upon the Prerogative of the Crown,' and the 
arguments by which, as he alleged, it was supported. ' The title of the 
House of Brunswick to the Throne, every institution in the country, the 
domestic peace of each family, can be secured only by putting down these 
arrogant claims.' 

His opponents in their election squibs did not spare Drummond's 
rhetoric. They twitted him with his 

' Outlandish jargon, 

So hard to believe, and known but to few. 
Which fell on the ear without meaning, 
Unlike the words firm of the men of true Blue.' 

Party feeling ran high in these days, and there were election disturbances 
at Farnham and Godalming, provoked, as Colonel Challoner alleged, by 
' hired gangs armed with bludgeons.' 

But Drummond's personal popularity had not even Cobbett declared 
that he knew no man in England more worthy of his estate ? always 
stood him in good stead in Surrey, and five years later he again success- 
fully resisted the attack of the ' men of true Blue.' 

25 K 

Some West Surrey Villages 

In the House of Commons his position was in some respects unique. 
He spoke frequently and on many topics as his collected speeches, 
edited by the late Duke of Northumberland, attest and he was always 
listened to with respect and attention. He was fundamentally a Tory of 
the old school, but in every act and word his independence of judgment 
asserted itself. Whatever Ministry was in power, his seat was the corner 
one below the gangway on the Ministerial side. Similarly, he always 
voted for the Budget, by whatever party it might be introduced, on the 
broad principle that the Government of the country must be carried on. 
' I support every Government,' he once told his constituents in Surrey. 
' Upon the majority of subjects they alone have sufficient information to 
enable them to decide ; and it is safer to cast my lot on the side of 
information than on the side of fidgety ignorance.' There was much 
that was paradoxical in his attitude towards some of the topics of the 
day. While he offended Protestants by his assertion of doctrine that 
seemed to them essentially Romish, he was, as we have seen, violently 
opposed to Papal supremacy in any shape or form. Himself a link 
between the territorial and moneyed aristocracy, he applied the same 
caustic wit to venal voters and to Dukes and Knights of the Garter. 
And let me in justice add that while strenuously upholding the rights of 
property, no one more frankly recognised or more faithfully discharged its 
duties. He lived up to the picture he himself conceived of the landowner 
who was continually employed improving his estate, and continually 
looking beyond his own personal interest in it. 

As an orator he could in his own way easily hold his own with the 
leading speakers of the day witness his encounters with John Bright as 
to the Crimean War. We can, perhaps, best realize something of the 
effect his speeches produced in the House of Commons from the graphic 
pen-picture given in the Morning Star forty years ago by one who knew 
him well : 

' A tall, slender, white-haired figure, perfectly upright, and scrupulously 
attired in black . . . delivering slowly, almost inatidibly, and with perfect 
gravity, a speech that proclaimed an entirely independent position. . . . 
Through lips that hardly seemed to part there came trickling forth a thin 
but sparkling stream of sententious periods, full of humour and sarcasm, 
learning and folly, boldness and timidity, bigotry and charity, and every- 
thing antithetical. The strongest contrast of all seemed that between the 


Henry Drummond and Albury 

speaker and his hearers. Everybody but himself was excited by laughter, 
or anger, or pleasure ; he alone seemed perfectly unmoved a speaking 
statue, shaking the sides of all men within hearing, and some who could 
not hear caught the contagion of laughter.' 

Always a free-lance, always paradoxical and antithetical, always some- 
what lacking in ballast, Drummond never acquired the power in politics 


which his talents, his social position, and his genuine earnestness might 
have won for him. But there was so much that was notable and 
picturesque in his personality, and so much that was attractive and 
admirable in his disposition, that his memory will always be affectionately 
respected in Albury and West Surrey. 

E 2 



HAVE in the previous chapter briefly sketched the career 
and character of Henry Drummond, not only because 
he was one of the most interesting personalities in 
West Surrey fifty years ago, but also because, as I 
have already hinted, the Albury of to-day so visibly 
bears the impress of his influence. But Albury Park, 
to the borders of which our ramble from Shere has 
brought us, has historical associations which date back long before his 
days and the founding of the Catholic Apostolic Church. To-day the 
property of the Percys, by the marriage of Drummond'sVeldest daughter 
with the late Duke of Northumberland, the estate was bought in the 
middle of the sixteenth century by the Howards, who still hold land in 
other parts of the county from which they take their title of Earl of 
Surrey. The purchaser was Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, whose 
fame is perpetuated by the collection of Arundelian marbles. But the 
Earl, owing possibly to his prodigality in the latter connection, was short 
of cash, and, the purchase - money for Albury not having been paid, 
the mortgagee took possession. However, matters were subsequently 
arranged satisfactorily, and a few years later we find Henry Howard, 
who afterwards succeeded his brother as the sixth Duke of Norfolk, 
owning and beautifying the property. 

And here we are broughHn touch with another familiar Surrey name. 
An intimate friendship had long existed between the Evelyns and the 
Howards. Evelyn tells us how he and Henry Howard lodged, together at 
Padua, and ' lived very nobly ' ; how, too, his son John had been brought 
up among the Howards' children at Arundel House until, ' for feare of 
perverting him in the Catholic religion,' he was forced to take him home. 
And this friendship had a twofold sequel of some interest to us in Surrey 

Albury Park and Vilkge 

as well as to Oxford. To quote the diarist's own record, when Evelyn 
went to Arundel House, he found that the precious monuments which his 
friend's grandfather had gathered with so much cost and industry ' were 
miserably neglected, scattered up and down the garden and other parts 
of the house, and, moreover, exceedingly impaired by the corrosive air 
of London.' Accordingly, just as he had induced his friend to bestow 
his famous library upon the Royal Society, so now he persuaded him to 
present the marbles to the University of Oxford. 

Immediately afterwards, and possibly in acknowledgment of prompt 
compliance with this suggestion, Evelyn visited Albury, and designed for 
its owner ' the plot for his canal and garden, with a crypt through the 
hill.' Portions of Evelyn's handiwork still remain. The canal has been 
drained, but a part of the crypt exists, and the long terrace of perfect 
greensward and the remarkable hedge are among the glories of Albury 
to-day. William Cobbett was so free with his superlatives, whether in 
praise or censure, that they do not always count for much ; but his eulogy 
of these gardens, and his version of the means by which he made himself 
acquainted with them, are very characteristic. He tells us in his ' Rural 
Rides ' how, having heard a great deal of this park and of the gardens, 
he wished very much to see them. As his road to Dorking lay through 
Shere, and skirted the outside of the park, he guessed there must be a way 
through the park to Shere. He fell upon the scheme of going into the 
park as far as Drummond's house, and then asking his leave to go out at 
the other end of it. ' This scheme, though pretty bare-faced, succeeded 
very well.' Mr. Drummond not only granted this request, but, ' in the 
most obliging manner,' permitted him to ride all about the park and to 
see his gardens. His detailed description of all he saw concludes witli 
this emphatic tribute : ' Taken altogether, this is certainly the prettiest 
garden that I ever beheld. There was taste and sound judgment at every 
step in the laying out of this place. Everywhere utility and convenience 
is combined with beauty. The terrace is by far the finest thing of the 
sort that I ever saw, and the whole thing is a great compliment to the 
taste of the times in which it was formed.' 

To return, however, for a moment to the history of the estate. From 
tin- seventh Duke of Norfolk Albury passed to Heneage Finch, the 'silver- 
tongm-d,' afterwards Marl of Aylesford and Lord Chancellor. Finch's 
career, as we all know, affords ample material for controversy. Here I 


Some West Surrey Villages 

need only refer to two incidents in it which are not without a local interest. 
Finch, apparently, was member for Guildford, and living at Albury, when, 
as Solicitor-General, he was so much impressed by James II. 's first speech 
to the Council that he asserted that he could repeat the King's promises 
word for word, and was accordingly requested to prepare the report 
embodying this declaration, which was afterwards officially published. 
When, however, the enthusiasm created by these emphatic pledges began 
to give place to suspicions, and these suspicions in turn gave place to 
vigorous discontent, Finch swung right round with the rising tide of 
popular indignation. Turned out of office for opposing the King's attempt 
to set aside the Test Act, he was one of the counsel selected to defend the 
seven Bishops. 

Here, again, his impulsive ardour was displayed. Every reader of 
Macaulay will recall the vivid description of the scene when Finch's 
persistence in addressing the court prevented judgment being at once 
recorded for the Bishops on the technical plea that the publication of 
their petition in Middlesex had not been proved. Finch's inopportune 
oratory, his desire to shine when better men than he were content to sit 
still, gave time for Lord Sunderland to reach the court, and supply the 
needed link in the chain of evidence. For a brief space Finch was the 
most unpopular man in the country ; but when, after all, victory was 
won on the broader issue, he was applauded almost as universally and 
almost as absurdly as he had been reviled only a few hours before. He 
had been unwilling, it was now discovered, that his case should be decided 
, on a point which would have left the great constitutional question still 
doubtful. His tactics had secured a more complete and significant triumph 
for the popular cause, and national gratitude for the service so rendered 
took tangible form in a handsome piece of plate, which in due course was 
brought to Albury. It was, however, not destined to become a family 
heirloom, for early in the eighteenth century Albury House was burnt 
down, and the presentation plate was lost or stolen during the fire. 

From the mansion and its owners we must turn to the record of the 
old parish church, which still stands within a stone's-throw cf the house, 
but which, as one sequel to the Albury conferences, has not been used for 
parochial worship for the last sixty years. 

Somewhat desolate the ruins look even in the brightest sunshine, for 
little more than the shell now remains of the greater part of the fabric. 





Albury Park and ViUage 

The eye, of course, is quickly caught by the gorgeous colour of the 
mortuary chapel at the end of the south aisle, designed by Pugin, and 
rich in the blazonings of the Drummond family. But the bare gray walls 
of the rest of the building carry us much further back than the advent 
of the Drummonds. They remind us of the entry in Domesday Book 
which recalls the existence of a church and a parish mill at Albury in the 
Conqueror's day. Closer inspection, moreover, will disclose a possible 
link with a still remoter past. The bases of two columns are wrought 
in Surrey marble, and tradition alleges, rightly or wrongly, that these 
came from the Roman station on Farley Heath, two miles away. Both 
Salmon and Bray quote, and apparently accept, this theory. Martin 
Tupper, with the imaginative touch which belongs to the poet, went still 
further. He conceived that the Roman quarter to which these blocks 
of marble once belonged may have been superseded by a pagan altar, 
then gained for triumph for a Christian church about which dwellers may 
have congregated, to be dispossessed in turn by hordes from Denmark. 
It is a pretty and attractive theory, but evidence in its support is necessarily 
slight; and as so competent an authority as Mr. H. E. Maiden hesitates 
to endorse even the conjecture that these two pillar bases were originally 
part of a Roman encampment on Farley Heath, we must be content to 
leave the matter in doubt. 

Nevertheless, we are apparently justified in believing that the Albury 
which figures in Domesday as ' Eldeberie,' or the ' Old Bury,' took its 
name from the Farley ruins, while the antiquity of the church itself is 
indisputable ; and whatever the vicissitudes which ultimately befell the 
building, we are here undoubtedly at the spot which was for generations 
the centre of Albury's parochial life. 

Like Shere and St. Martha's, Albury felt the ebb and flow of the 
yearly tide of the Canterbury pilgrims ; and it is with this old Albury, 
rather than with the modern village, which we shall presently reach, that 
we must associate the May Day scene at the close of the twelfth century 
which Martin Tupper pictures in ' Stephan Langton.' 

' And there was a merry, chattering crowd, and a good store of ballad- 
singers and itinerant fools and mountebanks, with a bear-leader and 
monkeys, an antique Pontius and Judas, and a juggler or two, and 
fortune-telling gipsies with their following of happy, true believers ; there 
were crippled old soldiers, and pilgrims with their scallops full of Eastern 


Some West Surrey Villages 

marvels, strange but true ; and there were chapmen and pedlars hawking 
their wares, and some of the new-fangled and much-mocked sect of 
begging friars ; and a sprinkling of batlike monks and nuns good people 
enough and charitable, wondering at the gladness of a sunshine holiday.' 

However this may have been, such population as Albury possessed in 
later years migrated further westward, especially to the hamlets known as 
Little London and Weston Street. Possibly, as regards the latter, the 
presence of the gun-powder mills, which for a time flourished on the banks 
of the Tillingbourne here, as at other points along the stream, had much 
to do with the growth of a community of a fair size at this spot. 

On this ground alone much can be urged in defence of Drummond's 
action in deciding, when the new cathedral was in course of erection, to 
close the old church, sad though it is to see a building so rich in memories 
of the past now neglected and forlorn. The site he offered for the new 
church is much more central and convenient to the parish as a whole. 

Other considerations were entitled to weight. The churchyard was 
full, or nearly full, and Drummond was naturally opposed to its extension 
within his park, which, after all, is not very large. Moreover, certain 
definite practical drawbacks, as well as an undefined sense of restraint, 
must always attach to the use of a parish church when it adjoins the 
Squire's mansion so closely as was the case at Albury. But over and 
above all this, Drummond was no doubt influenced to some extent by 
purely personal circumstances. The then Rector, Hugh M'Neile, as we 
have seen, had shown some sympathy with the Irvingite movement in 
its earlier stages ; but he had later on fallen away from it, and did not 
hesitate to condemn what he believed to be its errors, though he had to 
do so within a stone's-throw of the Squire's mansion. Nay, more, it is 
quite possible that on a summer evening, with the church windows open, 
M'Neile's eloquent exposure of the Catholic Apostolic heresies may have 
been perfectly audible to Drummond himself while sitting in his own 

We can, then, feel but slight surprise at his decision, and Drummond, 
it is only right to add, both provided a new site and erected the new 
church entirely at his own expense. Still, Bishop Sumner so greatly 
objected to the change that he declined to consecrate the new building 
for some time after its completion. Since then the old church has only 
been used for interments, the last taking place in the eighties, when Lady 



< '. 

Albury Park and Vilkge 

Gage was buried. The roof was then in such an unsafe and unsatisfactory 
condition that attention was called to it by the Rector, and as a result it 
was removed by the Duke's orders. Probably, I may add, the mortuary 
chapel in the church will be the future burial-place of the Dukes of 
Northumberland, as the vault in Westminster Abbey to which they have 
a prescriptive right is now quite full. 

In addition to Hugh M'Neile, whose name Evangelical Churchmen 
still hold in honour, two men of special note served within the walls of 
the dismantled church. 

William Oughtrcd, the mathematician, after five years' incumbency at 
Shalford, came to Albury in 1610, and lived for fifty years in the parish ; 
and very suggestive and interesting arc the glimpses we can obtain of his 
quiet life here, engrossed in studies which won him wide fame. It was 
while living in the family of the Earl of Arundel as tutor to his second 
son that he compiled his ' Clavis Mathematics,' the work which more 
than any other helped to make his position among the scientists of his 
day a very notable book in its way, which ran through many editions. 
It dealt more thoroughly and systematically with algebra and arithmetic 
than any previous treatise, and embodied practically all that was then 
known on the subject. As, perhaps, few amongst us recall, it first 
employed the symbols X for multiplication and : : for proportion, which 
are nowadays familiar to every schoolboy. A copy of the edition of 
1647 lies before me as I write. It is dedicated to Sir Richard Onslow 
and his eldest son, Arthur Onslow, of whom we shall hear more later on ; 
and in an introductory note to the reader Oughtred explains with much 
quaint precision how it came about that he undertook this ' new filing,' or 
rather forging, of his key, and how his desire was to ' reach out to the 
ingenious lovers of these sciences, as it were, Ariadne's thread to guide 
them through the intricate labyrinth of these studies, and to direct them 
for the more easie and full understanding of the best and ancientest 

Other treatises followed, and Oughtred's reputation was noised abroad. 
He was frequently invited to reside in Italy, France, and Holland, and 
his correspondents included the most eminent mathematicians of the day. 
J>ut Oughtred was not to be tempted far or often from his own parish. 
Once a year he visited London ; for the rest his time was given to his 
books and to the pupils who came to his rectory from all parts. ' As oft,' 

33 f 

Some West Surrey Villages 

he says, ' as I was toiled with the labours of my own profession, I have 
allayed the tediousness by walking in the pleasant and more than Elysian 
fields in the diverse and various parts of human learning, and not of the 
mathematics only.' The confession tallies entirely with the account of 
his habits given by his eldest son, who told Aubrey that his father ' did 
use to lye in bed till eleven or twelve o'clock with his doublet on ' ever 
since he could remember. He always studied late at night, and ' had his 
tinder-box by him, and on the top of his bedstaffe he had his inkhorn 



New Forged and Filed: 

Together with 

A TreAtife of the Relblution 

ofallkindcof AffeQcd /Equa, 

tions in Numbers. 

With the Rule of Compound 

Ufury ; And demonftrjtion oi the 

Rule of falfe Mition. 

And a raoft eifie Art of delineating all 
manner of Plaine Sun-Dyalls. Geome- 
trically taught 

B Y 

L N T> O 2\C, 

Printed byTuo. H* R P E R.fbrR i c 11. 

WHITAIE* , and are to be fold at his 
,. (hop in Prals Church-yird 1647. 











n t TO 

fixt.' He slept, indeed, but little, and sometimes ' went not to bed for two 
or three nights, and would not come down to meals till he had found out 
the quaesitum.' One anxious episode, however, disturbed the even tenor 
of Oughtred's ways. As a faithful Loyalist he had a very narrow escape 
from sequestration. He was accused before the Ecclesiastical Com- 
missioners, and would have met with the fate which had befallen many 
another honest man, had not his friends appeared in such numbers on 
his behalf that, although ' the chairman and many other Presbyterian 
members were stiff against him, yet he was cleared by the major number.' 


Albury Park and Vilkge 

Despite his deep concern at the Puritan despotism, Oughtred seems to 
have enjoyed a green old age. We read that he handled his cube and 
other instruments at eighty as steadily as others did at thirty, a fact which 
he himself attributed to ' temperance and archery.' The story has been 
handed down that his death was due to his great joy at learning of the 
Restoration ; but if so, the news of Charles's return to Whitehall in May 
must have travelled very slowly to Albury, for the venerable Rector, who, 
whatever his merits or demerits as a parish priest, is fully entitled to our 
respect as a scholar, passed to his rest on June 30, 1660. Although his 
name finds no place or mention in the new church, the parish has one 
characteristic relic of his incumbency. The entries in the parish register 
from 1610 onwards, written by Oughtred in the neatest and most careful 
manner, are in striking contrast with the almost illegible scrawl on the 
previous pages. 

Rather more than a century after Oughtred's death Albury was one of 
the two livings in Surrey held by Samuel Horsley. His connection with 
the parish was, however, short-lived, and we need only note his name 
here to recall the fact that he subsequently became by rapid promotion 
Archdeacon of St. Albans, Dean of Westminster, and Bishop of St. David's, 
Rochester, and St. Asaph, and shared prominently in the political and 
theological controversies of his day. 

When we quit Albury Park and the old church, we are within a few 
yards of the Silent Pool, which is said to have suggested to Tennyson 
Keats' description of Neptune's cave. Martin Tupper claimed to have 
invented both the name and fame of this placid lakelet, with its bluish, 
translucent water embosomed among the trees ; and no doubt ' Stephan 
Langton ' did much to preserve and popularize the legend attaching to 
the spot. Hut one fails to see why the pool should have been robbed of 
its old historic name as ' Sherbourne,' or, in Aubrey's days, ' Shirburn 
Spring.' King John, so the story runs, was enamoured of the fair 
daughter of a woodman, and surprised her whilst bathing in the pool. In 
her terror the girl lost her hold of a branch of a tree and sank with a loud 
scream into deep water. Hearing her cry, her brother rushed to her aid 
and plunged into the pool, only, however, to share his sister's fate. For 
generations afterwards, as tradition affirmed, the figure of a girl with hei 
arms clasped round her brother might be seen at midnight beneath the 
still and silent surface of the water. 

35 v 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

Further westward, as we approach the Albury of to-day, the rich 
foliage of Weston Wood comes into view. The house and manor take 
their name from one Thomas de Weston, to whom the estate, formerly 
part of the Manor of Gomshall, belonged far back in the days of the first 
Edward. There were Westons here till the middle of the fifteenth 
century, as memorials in the old church once attested. Of the Elyots, 
who subsequently owned it, there are also records ; so, too, of George 
Duncomb, a prominent lawyer who acquired much land in this neighbour- 


hood in the seventeenth century, and was one of the Knights of the Shire 
for Surrey in the second Protectorate Parliament which offered Cromwell 
the Crown. A hundred years later Weston was in the hands of Robert 
Godschall, a Lord Mayor of London, who died during his -year of office. 
Later on it was sold to the Hon. Robert Clive, a younger son of the first 
Lord Clive, and later still it was inhabited by the ' humane Malthus.' 
When in comparatively recent years the mansion was pulled down, the 
fine mahogany staircase was removed to the County Club at Guildford. 


Albury Park and Vilkge 

A man of far wider note than those whose names have just been 
mentioned was also for a time resident here. I refer to Elias Ashmole, 
Evelyn's old friend, ' the greatest virtuoso and curioso that was known,' in 
the verdict of some of his contemporaries. With his chief work, a history 
of the Order of the Garter, and his antiquarian researches generally, we 
need not concern ourselves ; but we should not fail to note the curious 
chain of coincidence by which the Arundelian marbles given, as we have 
seen, to Oxford University by one Surrey resident (Henry Howard), at 
the suggestion of another Surrey worthy (John Evelyn), were ultimately 
lodged in a building which owed its existence to a third Surrey resident 
(Elias Ashmole), and all three of them, for a time at least, neighbours in 
the Tillingbourne Vale. Ashmole, it may be recollected, gave to Oxford 
his own collection of antiquities, including those bequeathed to him by 
Tradescant, the Dutch botanist and naturalist, with whom he had at one 
time lodged. The suitable home for these collections which the University 
provided is known to all of us this day as the Ashmolean Museum the 
first museum of which we have any record in this country; and, curiously 
enough, it was in the basement of this museum the Arundel marbles 
were afterwards lodged. 

A short distance further and we find ourselves in the Albury of to-day 
the Weston Street of less than a hundred years ago. Very quiet and 
peaceful the village is, with its mill, its picturesque cottages, and its 
pleasant houses of larger build, and the Tillingbourne quietly wending its 
way in and out amongst them. Here, if anywhere, too, the vale is well 
wooded and rich in trees, worthy of Sylva's country. 

But Albury was not always as idyllic and law-abiding as we see it now. 
If we happen to turn back to the report of the Commission appointed to 
inquire into the condition of the rural districts in the Southern counties 
after the outbreaks of disorder and rick-burning which occurred in so 
many parts of the country early last century, we shall find that this 
particular district obtains distinctly unfavourable notice. While Surrey, 
Kent, and Sussex are reported on in satisfactory terms as a whole, the 
Commissioners unkindly add that the blackguardism of the three counties 
seemed to have congregated in Shere and Albury. No doubt this was 
partly accounted for by the isolation of the district in those days ; but in 
part, also, it must be attributed to the influence of the smuggling practices 
to which reference has already been made. As a matter of fact though 


Some West Surrey Villages 

it may be unpleasant to have to record it Albury was very far removed 
from a model village even when Drummond first came on the scene eighty 
years since. The village constable did not care to enter the village inn 
still known as the Drummond Arms alone on a winter night. And local 
gossip still cherishes one characteristic story of those days : A man, accused 
of murder, had been tracked from Albury to a hut on Farley Heath. 
Here the constables found him in bed, apparently suffering from a severe 
attack of ague ; his wife was busy making a posset for him by the fire. 
The illness appeared so genuine that the police felt convinced they had 
followed the wrong clue ; they were about to retire, when they happened 
to catch sight of a pair of boots under the bed thickly laden with fresh 
mud. This, of course, was sufficient to arouse suspicion, and the invalid 
was promptly arrested. But the constables' triumph was short-lived, after 
all. Their prisoner managed to prove an alibi by establishing the fact 
that he was twenty miles away from the scene of the crime with which 
he was charged. Here, again such were the vicissitudes of the law in 
those days however, justice won in the long-run ; for it turned out that, 
though guiltless of the first offence of which he was accused, the man 
was actually concerned in another murder in the district to which his 
alibi referred. 

Far pleasanter thoughts than these will, however, suggest themselves 
as we stroll through the village to-day, and, turning a little to the south 
from the main-road, reach the rising ground on which the new parish 
church stands. The building itself has little in its architecture to attract 
or detain us. It was modelled broadly on a church at Caen, and, though 
not ineffective in its way, it seems painfully modern and distinctly incon- 
gruous when compared, say, with Shere or Wotton. There is, nevertheless, 
a pleasant prospect from the hillside across the valley to the downs beyond. 
Martin Tupper's grave will certainly claim a passing glance, and the 
memorial cross to the late Duchess of Northumberland is a pleasing and 
fitting tribute to the genuine kindness and goodness of Henry Drummond's 

Still wending our way westward along the valley, we presently come 
to the modest house, with many gables, which was long the home of 
Martin Tupper. In his garrulous autobiography, Tupper has told us all, 
if not more than all, that it is essential to know as to his connection with 
the village from his youth to his ripe old age. The house came to him 


Albury Park and Village 

from his mother, having been bought, in 1780, by her uncle, Mr. Devis, 
who, as Tupper himself asserts, was long remembered in the village, not 
only because he always carried gingerbread in his pocket for the children, 
but also because he was known to them as ' the man mushroom,' seeing 
he was the first who ever had an umbrella in the place. To this quiet 
spot Tupper came as a boy after being at Charterhouse. He was for a 
time a pupil of Mr. Holt's, with Harold Browne, afterwards Hishop of 
Winchester, as his intimate comrade ; and, according to his own narrative, 
no antiquary or author could have more clearly shown the bent of his 


mind in youth. He used to search for coins with Browne on Farley 
Heath ; he formulated his thoughts on marriage, love, and education 
while still in his teens, and these aphorisms, ' in the manner of Solomon's 
Proverbs,' were submitted to the Rector by the girl-cousin to whom 
they were addressed. Mr. M'Neile, with an appreciation of the popular 
taste which the subsequent success of ' Proverbial Philosophy ' amply 
confirmed, warmly praised these productions, and recommended their 

The notoriety that might have thus been won early in life came in 


Some West Surrey Villages 

after years, and Tupper had the pleasure of receiving many distinguished 
visitors beneath his roof at Albury. I need make no attempt to summarize 
here the story of his aims and his manifold activities ; it will be found in 
abundant detail in ' My Life.' But one cannot wholly pass by the not 
unfounded claim that Tupper was, in a sense, the father, and Albury in a 
still larger degree the birthplace, of the volunteer movement. We may 
fairly hold that both the village and the man deserve honourable mention 
in this connection. As far back as 1848 and 1849 Tupper, in con- 
junction with his friends Evelyn and Mangles, and others, initiated the 
Albury Rifle Club, although friends jeered, and the Lord-Lieutenant 
(Lord Lovelace) thought such an organization illegal, and refused to give 
it his sanction. 

And before long these ardent spirits had the laugh on their side. 
The French invasion scare worked wonders. Not only did it prompt 
Tupper's brother Arthur to advise that the family plate at Albury House 
should be sunk in a well for safety, and Henry Drummond to suggest 
that ' mansions ' on the South Coast should be fortified as strongholds by 
filling the windows with grates and mattresses, and loopholing the garden 
walls ; it had a far more substantial and permanent result in the inaugura- 
tion of the system of national defence which Tupper and his Surrey friends 
claimed to have had in view ' before it was thought of anywhere by anyone 
else.' When thus the volunteer movement sprang into being, in 1859, 
Tupper's ballad called ' Defence, not Defiance,' gave the force the apt 
motto it still retains, and a year later, in ' A Rhyme for Albury Club,' he 
strove to remind the nation how much it owed to the ' club of crack shots 
upon Surrey Blackheath.' The lines are so little known nowadays that, 
despite their eulogy of Tom Wydeawake's foresight and persistence, they 
may bear quotation : 


' A rhyme for the Club, the brave little Club, 

That stoutly went forward when others held back, 
And, reckless of many a sneer and a snub, 

Steer'd manfully straight upon Duty's own tack. 
Though quarrelsome peacemongers did their small worst, 

In spite of their tongues and in spite of their teeth, 
We stood up for England among the few first, 
With rifles and targets on Surrey Blackheath. 

Albury Park and ViUage 

' Time was when Tom Wydeawake, ten years agone, 

Toil'd to arouse dull old Britain betimes, 
By example he shouldered his rifle alone ; 

By precept he showered his letter and rhymes ; 
With bullets he peppered old Shcrbornc's hillside, 

With ballads and articles worried the Press. 
The more he was sneer'd at, the stronger he tried, 

And would not be satisfied with short of Success. 

' And now is his Fancy the front of the van, 

And England an archer, as in the past >ears, 
And stout middle age carries arms like a man, 

And all the young fellows are smart Volunteers : 
And Herbert and Elcho, and Spencer and Hay, 

And Mildmay, and all the best names in the land, 
On a national scale achieve grandly to-day 

What Wydeawake schemed with his brave little band. 

' Then cheers for the Queen, for the Club, and the Corps, 

For Grantlcy, and Evelyn, and Sidmouth, and all ; 
With Franklin and Mangles, and six dozen more, 

The first to spring forth at Britannia's call. 
And long may we live with all peaceably here 

For olive, not laurel, is Glory's true wreath. 
But if the wolf comes, he had better keep clear 

Of a club of crack shots on Surrey Blackheath.' 

Of Tupper's later years in Albury one need say but little ; both his 
fame and his wealth waned. Hut stories are still cherished of the kindliness 
and egotism which characterized all his life ; and eccentricities and little 
errors of taste and judgment of which one may still hear may be overlooked 
in the recollection of the real affection Tupper bore for the district in 
which his lot was cast, and of his zealous efforts in many ways to spread 
a knowledge of, and to kindle a just enthusiasm for, its charms. 

Tupper's family vault was in the old church, but, in view of the 
formalities necessary to secure access to it after the church was closed, he 
decided that he and his wife should be buried in the new churchyard. 



TILL continuing our route westward, we shall not leave 
Albury village far behind before we enter Chilworth 
Vale. Cobbett's oft-quoted words at once recur to the 
mind the words which fervently cursed the paper- 
mills and the gunpowder-pills, but which with no less 
fervour eulogized the valley as one of the ' choicest 
retreats of man,' where ' the nightingales are to be 
heard earlier and later in the year than in any other part of England, 
where the first bursting of the buds is to be seen in the spring, and where 
everything seems formed for precluding the very thought of wickedness.' 

There is the right ring in these hearty phrases, for Cobbett, when 
Nature touched him, spoke strong and true. Chilworth the valley, not 
the somewhat desolate-looking cluster of cottages immediately near the 
railway-station which evoked Mrs. Ady's scorn always charms. No 
prettier prospect is to be seen in South-west Surrey than that afforded 
across the vale from the crest of St. Martha's Hill. Pleasanter woodland 
paths are not to be found than may be traced upon the slopes of its well- 
timbered hills. And in the valley itself, if we adhere to the main-road, we 
have ever-changing glimpses of streams and meadow, wood and down. 
The sound of running water is with us ever and anon ; indeed, here, more 
than anywhere else on our route so far, we feel and realize that we are in 
the river valley. The dark soil, the rich green of the pastures, the willows 
on the winding banks of the stream, the bulrushes and the sedges, all bear 
silent witness to the presence of the Tillingbourne. 

Presently we come to Postford Ponds, lying still and calm at the foot 
of the steep slope of the tree-clad hills. Here is no sound of babbling 
stream ; all is stillness and peace. The surface of the water is motionless, 
and reflects with singular distinctness the heavens above and the verdure 







From Chilworth to Shalford 

on the banks around. Two swans in the foreground repose gracefully, as 
if they, too, felt the absolute quietude of the scene ; the brilliant king- 
fisher which flits across as we stand at the water's edge is the only sign of 
movement which the eye detects. 

Amid surroundings such as these, who will not sympathize with John 
Leech in the story which Martin Tupper tells of their joint angling 
expedition to the pond ? 

' We went on a fine hot day, thinking less of possible sport than of 
sandwiches and sherry and an idle lounge on a sloping bank, and haply 
the calmly contemplative cigar. As we lay there, in dolcc far niente 


fashion, all at once Leech jumped up with a vigorous "Confound that 
float ! Can't it leave me in peace ? I've been watching it bobbing this 
five minutes, and now it's out of sight altogether hang it !'' ' with that 
hearty exclamation of disgust pulling up a brilliant two-pound perch, the 
glory of the day. Next week's Punch had a pleasant comic sketch of this 
petty incident, immortalized by the famous ' bottled Leech.' 

Of Postford House, close by, a more gruesome story is told. Seventy 
or eighty years ago a secret cupboard was discovered in the wall of the 
drawing-room. This was found to contain several forged plates for the 
piinting of bank-notes, and the discovery was thought to account for the 

43 a 

Some West Surrey Villages 

suicide a short time previously of a former owner of the paper-mill lower 
down the stream, who had evidently feared exposure and conviction. 

Only a short distance separates the placid beauty of Postford Ponds from 
the suggestive ugliness of the gunpowder-mills. One can never quite rid 
one's mind of the sense of incongruity suggested by the presence of such 
an industry on such a site. And yet, as every student knows, it was, after 
all, a very simple and natural sequence of events which led to the estab- 
lishment of this manufacture on the banks of the Tillingbourne 
300 years ago. 

When early in the sixteenth century John Evelyn's ancestors introduced 
the manufacture of gunpowder into this country, nothing was more natural 
than that they should set up the mills at Wotton (among other places), 
where the Tillingbourne supplied the water-power, and where abundant 
timber was available for charcoal-making. Later on these mills were 
disused ' for the danger the neighbourhood was in upon their blowing 
up, which frequently happened,' says Salmon and the manufacture was 
moved further down the same stream. For a time, as has been seen, it 
existed both at Shere and Albury, and finally it settled at Chilworth, where 
excellent facilities were found both as regards water-power and fuel. 

Hitherto England had been dependent upon Flanders for its supply of 
powder, and Elizabeth, anxious to remedy such a state of things, appears 
to have favoured this attempt to establish the industry among the Surrey 
hills. Workmen were imported from the Continent, and settled at Chil- 
worth under one Sir -Polycarp Wharton, who, however, afterwards 
quarrelled with the authorities and ended his days in prison. But the 
task which the Evelyns and he had set themselves to achieve was 
accomplished. There was no need to look across the seas for powder, 
and just as the cast-iron guns used in the Ciyil War were obtained from 
the Wealden ironworks, so most of the gunpowder consumed in the same 
strife was supplied from Surrey. Hence the efforts of the Royalists to 
secure control in the South - eastern counties when war broke out. 
Hence, too, the order issued by the Committee of the Two Kingdoms in 
1645, by which the manufacturer was forbidden to keep by him more than 
a fixed quantity of saltpetre, or to attempt to make more powder than the 
Government thought it would require. 

Aubrey found no less than sixteen powder-mills ' in this Romancy 
vale' forty years after the Civil War had ended. In his picturesque 


From Chilworth to Shalford 

phrase, it was ' a little commonwealth of powder-makers who are as black 
as negroes,' but a somewhat dangerous spot also, if we accept his further 
statement that ' five mills were blown up in little more than half a year's 
time.' Of the extent of the works at this period, we can, indeed, form 
some conception from the figures mentioned in Sir Polycarp Wharton's 
statement of his ' hard case.' For he claims that by contract with the 
Ordnance he was permitted to manufacture more than half of the total 
quantity of powder allowed to be made in the whole kingdom, and, 
moreover, that he had added new works and engines which ' rendered 
Chilworth works alone able to supply the stores with 325 barrels of 
powder weekly throughout the year, and that was much more than all 
the other powder-works in the kingdom could then furnish, without which 
it would have been impossible that the fleet could have been timely 
supplied with powder both at that and other times since.' 

Such superiority as this Chilworth nowadays could hardly claim. 
But despite the inevitable vicissitudes of trade during three centuries, the 
industry still flourishes in the valley. 

Not so the other manufacture the production of bank-notes, which 
Cobbett, it will be recollected, characteristically classed with the manu- 
facture of powder as two ' of the most damnable inventions that sprang 
from the mind of man under the influence of the devil.' For bank-note 
paper we have to look now to Laverstoke, in Hants, rather than to 
Chilworth. But the paper-mills at Chilworth were busy on and off till 
1871, when they were acquired by Messrs. Unwin, and utilized as 
printing-works, noteworthy as the first works of the kind in England run 
by water-power. It is interesting to know that Kuskin was informed by 
the firm of this new departure, which harmonized closely with one tenet 
of the gospel he so eloquently preached. In reply Ruskin wrote 
(Denmark Hill, March 25, 1872) that he was 'much encouraged by 
hearing of anything undertaken by pure water power, and would be 
grateful to hear of the success of the enterprise.' 

Success duly followed till, after the disastrous fire of 1896, which 
practically demolished the works, Messrs. Unwin moved to the banks of 
the Wey at Old Woking. Some vestiges of the blackened ruins are still 
to be seen at the picturesque spot, almost at the foot of St. Martha's Hill, 
where the Tillingbourne, as if shunning the powder-mills, glides peace- 
fully on its way to the broader waters of the Wey. 


Some West Surrey Villages 

Just above, a short distance up the hillside, and almost completely 
hidden by trees, is the Manor House, which at one time was so 
closely associated with the lonely chapel on the hill-top. Concerning 
St. Martha's Chapel itself, Mr. Palmer has told us nearly all that can now 
be told with any degree of certainty ; and there is no need to repeat here 
a story which in its main features is familiar to all who know the Hill. 
But concerning the Manor House and its owners, a few facts call for 

At Domesday Chilworth was one of the many manors in the hands 
of Bishop Odo, the Conqueror's half-brother, from whose greed it has 
been said that ' neither Englishman nor Norman, Churchman nor layman, 
nor the King himself, was safe.' When Odo fell into disgrace, this manor, 
with others, passed back to the Crown, and we know nothing more of its 
history until we find the Priors of Newark in possession, and responsible 
for the services at St. Martha's Church, of which they were the patrons. 
At first they were quite content that the priest who officiated should have 
his abode at Tyting Farm, on the slope of the hill just above Halfpenny 
Lane, where a pretentious modern villa residence now takes the place of 
an old gabled farmhouse. But directly the stream of pilgrims to and 
from Becket's shrine began to set in, St. Martha's ceased to be a mere 
isolated outpost of little value. One of the most notable points on the 
whole route, the Austin Canons were quick to grasp its importance, and 
in more ways than one they rose to the opportunities it offered. 

In place of the solitary priest at Tyting, a small colony of monks 
made their home on the site of the present Manor House, where traces of 
their presence are still discernible in some slight fragments of monastic 
building of early date, in the square terraced garden and the fish-pond. 
As an additional attraction to the pilgrims, relics of martyrs were 
collected in the church, and Farthing Copse and Halfpenny Lane remind 
us to this day of two of the tolls which the priors, with a keen eye to 
business, levied upon all who travelled along the route. Newark, in fact, 
for a time must have drawn no small portion of its income from this 
station at Chilworth. But the day ultimately came when the pilgrim 
army ceased to climb the hill-top, and, worse still, when Henry VIII. 
called upon Prior Richard to surrender Newark and all its belongings to 
the Crown. Thus Chilworth Manor and the old house of the monks 
became once more the property of the Crown. 



From Chilworth to Shalford 

Half a century later Chilworth was granted by Elizabeth to William 
Morgan, whose son was knighted at Cadiz in 1596. Of William Morgan 
himself we know little more than is told us by the inscription which was 
formerly to be seen on his altar-tomb in St. Martha's Church. Of this 
for a long period only two lines were visible : 

Take from thy Name but M even Morgan's breath, 
Stopt sweetly like an Organ, at his Death." 

The simile scarcely strikes the modern reader as happy. But it has 
the merit of harmonizing svith the rest of the memorial verse, which is 
curious enough and typical enough of the times to merit transcription 
in full from Aubrey's pages : 

' Sleep on thy Marble I'illow, worthy Sir, 
Whilst we, as I'ilgrims to thy Sepulchre, 
Visit thy happy Virtues with a Flame 
As hallowed as thy Dust, to sing thy Fame ; 
Whose sacred Actions with such Will are strung, 
They give the speechless Stone a speaking Tongue. 
If Virtue, that makes men to seem Divine, 
If all those glorious Beams that sweetly shine 
Upon gentility, and deck her Crest, 
Like fixed stars in Orbs, mov'd in his Breast ; 
Then in these scnceless Character of Stones, 
New Life gives Honour to his liveless Bones : 
The Soul's a Harmony, which best doth sound, 
When our Life plays the Mean, our Death the Ground. 
Take from thy Name but M even Morgan's breath, 
Stopt sweetly like an Organ, at his Death ; 
And with his swan-like Tunes did, singing, die, 
And, dying, sang out his Mortality. 
Then Sleep on still ; whose Life did nexer jarr, 
Can ne'er be less ; more may be than a Star. 
Good Knds of Men arc like Good Ends of Gold, 
Whereby we may make Angels, in which Mould 
Thy Virtues cast thy Bliss ; for, sure in Heaven, 
Angels weigh more, than ours stampt for Eleven.' 

A little later still Chilworth Manor passed to the Randylls, and here 
again we are curiously in touch with both our national and local annals. 
Morgan Randyll was one of the prominent Surrey politicians of his day. 
His name figures constantly side by side with that of the Onslows in the 
latter half of the seventeenth century, and he represented Guildford in 


Some West Surrey Villages 

Parliament on and off for thirty or forty years. But in the end his 
ambition overleapt itself. Small as the Parliamentary borough was, 
contested elections were terribly expensive matters, and somewhere about 
1715 or 1720 Morgan Randyll found himself so seriously in debt in con- 
sequence as local chronicles allege of his heavy political expenditure, 
that he was forced to sell Chilworth. 

The South Sea mania was at its height at the time, and a purchaser 
for Chilworth was forthcoming (1720) in the person of Mr. Richard 
Holditch, one of the directors of the great Bubble Company which then 
loomed so large in English life. But Mr. Holditch's sway as Lord of the 
Manor had not much more than begun before the crash came. The 
Bubble burst, and the private property of all the directors was confiscated 
for the benefit of the sufferers. Chilworth was thus once again in the 

By a curious turn of the irony of fate, the manor was bought by the 
' Great Sarah,' Duchess of Marlborough, with part of the proceeds of a 
judicious speculation by which she had netted no less than 100,000 
in the very same South Sea stock which had brought Holditch to 

During the twenty odd years that the manor remained in her 
possession, the probability seems to be that the Duchess was not often 
seen at Chilworth, for the manor was only one of many estates in which 
her great wealth was invested, and we know that Wimbledon Manor, also 
bought at the same time from one of the victims of the Bubble, became 
her favourite country seat. The Duchess, as we also know, quarrelled 
with everybody during the last years of her life, and not least with the 
members of her own family. So at her death (1744) her land was 
bequeathed, not to Charles Spencer, Lord Sunderland's eldest son, who 
became Duke of Marlborough in 1733, but to his younger brother, John 
Spencer, who, despite dissolute and extravagant habits, so far benefited 
by his grandmother's partiality for him that he inherited all her disposable 
property, Chilworth among the rest. 

For the sake of one trifling incident let us carry the history of the 
Manor House a stage further. John Spencer, son of the legatee named 
above, was created Viscount Althorp and Earl Spencer in 1765. On his 
death in 1783 his titles and estates passed to George John (grandfather of 
the present Earl Spencer), and if we may believe that usually most trust- 


From Chilworth to Shalford 

worthy historian, John Russell, the steward of this the second Earl was 
responsible for carting away the ruins of the west tower of St. Martha's 
Chapel ' to mend the roads.' Other times, other manners. 

Chilworth and St. Martha's, however, can point to links with a past 
much more remote than either the chapel or the Manor House suggests. 
There is abundant evidence that the wild heath which we overlook from 
St. Martha's Hill was the site of prehistoric and later settlements, for 


trenches round its main hills may still be clearly traced. Flint implements 
of all kinds are met with, but, with few exceptions, their age is neolithic. 
Their occurrence was known to Colonel Godwin-Austen, and to other 
distinguished geologists ; and in recent years Professor Sir W. Roberts- 
Austen has collected a series of implements which comprises many very 
beautiful flint arrow-heads of varied types, scrapers for removing fat from 
skins, and much rarer implements, such as saws with fine teeth, drills, 

49 H 

Some West Surrey Villages 

and carefully- worked and pointed flints, which were probably used for 
engraving and ornamenting bone. 

From the hill-top we may easily, if we wish, make our way to Guildford 
through the Chantry Wood or across Pewley Hill. Or we may wander 
in the opposite direction southward across the breezy stretch of heathland 
known as Blackheath, named probably, as Salmon has it, ' from the dusky 
colours of the heath or wild thyme which for many miles overspreads it.' 
Here the Volunteer Inn recalls the associations of the spot with the early 
days of the volunteer movement and the ' great review ' of 1864, to which 
I have previously alluded. And whether or not we visit the new Roman 
Catholic church, which architecturally has little to attract or detain us, 
we certainly ought not to fail to inspect the mission church of St. Martin, 
unique in design and in decoration, which lies half hidden by the roadside 
on the south-west corner of the heath. Built some ten years ago from the 
designs of Mr. C. Harrison Townsend, the severity of its external 
elevation has led to its being claimed as ' early British ' in style. It really 
is, however, a wayside chapel such as may be found anywhere in North 
Italy, and its resemblance to an Italian church will be closer when the 
west front is adorned with the proposed ' Annunciation ' in sgraffito work. 
Internally, the decoration of the church is very rich, the walls, though 
their treatment is still incomplete, being covered with marble and frescoes. 
The latter are of unusual interest, as they were executed by the method 
known as ' silicate painting,' examples of which are hardly to be met with 
elsewhere in this country. They are preserving their freshness perfectly, 
.though, for want of sufficient care in execution, the method failed so 
completely in the decoration of the Houses of Parliament. The frescoes 
at St. Martin's were painted by Mrs. Lea Merrit, who also gave to 
the church its much-admired altar-piece in oil. 

If, however, we still cleave to the Tillingbourne Vale until our stream 
from the hills joins the Wey, it will not be long before we reach Shalford, 
with its fine expanse of common, its remnant of the old village stocks 
near the pretty modern church, the fourth of which we find mention on 
this site in the parish records, and its memories of a huge fair for the 
Canterbury pilgrims. 

In Shalford, as in so many Surrey villages, the old and the new are 
mingled in curious juxtaposition ; and as we ought not to quit the 
Tillingbourne Valley with lingering visions of the modern dwellings and 


From Chilworth to Shalford 

shops clustering round the railway-station, let us presently turn for a 
moment from the main Guildford road with its busy traffic. We shall 
forget the cyclist and the motorist and the modern builder if we stroll a 
few yards along the lane opposite the Sea Horse Inn, and find ourselves 


by the old mill, which, with its large projecting upper story, is almost the 
last surviving relic of bygone days now to be noted on the banks of the 
little stream whose course we have been pursuing westward from the foot 
of the chalk cliffs at Gomshall. 

H 2 



R. MEREDITH tells us that when Redworth set forth 
from Copsley on his cross-country ride to find Diana 
at ' The Crossways,' he ' struck on a southward line 
from chalk ridge to sand, where he had a pleasant 
footing in familiar country, under beeches that browned 
the ways along beside a meadow brook fed by the 
heights, through pines and across deep sand ruts to 
full view of Weald and downs.' 

We have no intention of emulating Redworth's haste, or of following 
his course across the county boundary into Sussex. But if, like him, we 
strike a line southward from the Tillingbourne Valley over the sand-hills 
to the Weald, we are assured of a particularly enjoyable afternoon's 
ramble, and one, too, which may be repeated by many different routes. If 
we select the direct road from Shere to Ewhurst, we can climb Pitch Hill, 
and win a view across the Weald inferior only to that which Leith Hill 
affords. But as we are not in Redworth's feverish haste, we will follow a 
more circuitous course, and bend our steps first by lane and footpath to 
the sequestered hamlet of Peaslake. 

A thin line of red in a steep cleft between the pine-clad hills, Peaslake 
even now may be easily overlooked, and might well feel, not many years 
since, that it was almost completely hidden from the world. Long after 
the ' squatters,' of more or less questionable callings and repute, first took 
up their abode on the hillside, there was so little traffic to disturb the 
seclusion of the hamlet that the sight of a two-wheeled conveyance was a 
rare phenomenon. 

All this, of course, has long since changed with the advent of a 
residential population and the coming of the cyclist. But despite the 
erection of many a modern residence on the neighbouring uplands, and the 


Peaskke, Holmbury St. Mary, and Ewhurst 

sojournings of summer visitors, Peaslakc itself still retains its essentially 
secluded and rural aspect. The village street if street it may be called 
runs for a short distance along the bottom of the valley, side by side with 
the tiny brooklet which is hasting on to join the Tillingbournc. Red-tiled 
cottages dot the hill-slopes at intervals ; and the deep dark green of the 
pines above is a fitting setting to the warm hues of the roof-trees. And 
the open hillside on either hand is always charming, whether with the 
brilliance of the gorse, the bright green of the whortleberry, the purple of 
the heather, or the brown and yellow of the bracken in winter. 

Peaslake to-day is prosperous as well as placid. Old residents will tell 
you that times have vastly altered since the days when the farm-labourer's 
wage was a mere pittance of a few shillings a week, and work not always 
easy to get even on those terms. I have one Peaslake friend, now 
prosperous and independent, with a cottage of his own, and his sons and 
daughters well placed out in the world, who likes to recall his early 
married life under these conditions. He will tell you how he and his wife 
' figured it out ' that their regular earnings only allowed them to spend on 
each meal three farthings a head for each member of their household, and 
how for other absolute necessaries they had to look to the extras earned at 
harvest and by pig-killing. Wages have, of course, risen since then, and 
with the steady growth of population have come increased opportunities 
of employment for the industrious working man, his sons and daughters ; 
and to-day it is Peaslake's boast that it is both thriving and contented. 
True, one grievance remains in the opinion of some of its residents : it 
still lacks the fully licensed public-house which ' Madame ' Grote so 
strenuously strove to secure. 

We climb the hills east and west of Peaslake, and find ourselves in the 
Hurtwood, the ' No Man's Land,' or ' forest ' of fifty or seventy years ago, 
which stretches up to the highest point of the sand-hills at Holmbury and 
above Ewhurst ; and even to-day, notwithstanding the changes all around, 
to which reference has just been made, this wilderness of pines and beech 
and heather retains much of its former wildness and isolation. The 
rambler may lose his way half a dozen times in the course of the afternoon 
on the tortuous paths which traverse a district where pedestrians are still 
relatively few, and where for the time being the familiar landmarks of 
the neighbourhood are invisible. Here, as much as in any part of Surrey, 
it is difficult to realize that we are virtually within an hour of London 


Some West Surrey Villages 

town, so complete is the isolation and the sense of rural solitude. And 
one can readily accept the story, for which Lord Midleton is the authority, 
that the late Mr. Sumner of Hatchlands used to say that on this wild 
heath he had made a bag of seven kinds of game pheasants, partridges, 
snipe, woodcock, black game, hares and rabbits in a single morning's 

Though landmarks and sign-posts be absent, we shall in due course 
emerge from the moor on the hillside, just above Holmbury St. Mary. 

Perhaps the beauty of Holmbury St. Mary is more quickly realized if 
we approach it either by the road from Abinger Hammer, or by the 
footpath from Abinger Hatch, through the meadows and the wood, that 
brings us just to the northern end of the village. Here we have before 
us the complete picture of cottages and pines and charmingly-placed 
church on the hillside which combine to give Holmbury its unique 

But fascinating, too, are the first glimpses of the valley which 
suddenly opens out before us now from the steep hillside. In a moment 
we have come upon a scene with a gracefulness, a trimness, a serene 
beauty of its own. Holmbury has essentially the air of quiet comfort and 
prosperity. Even its coffee-tavern and village institute is worthy of its 
surroundings. But all this is of modern growth as modern as the name 
it now bears. 

The Felday of old the few scattered cottages on the banks of the 
brook, or here and there on the common is fast disappearing in the 
sense that it is being merged in this newer growth. And yet, as in the 
case of Peaslake, we have not to look far back into the past to recall the 
times when the only inhabitants of the valley were the rough squatters, 
who for well-understood reasons of their own sought this seclusion from 
the rest of the world and contrived to appropriate just enough of the 
common land to erect a hut, which in time might become a passable 
cottage with a diminutive garden. A rough, wild district in those days, 
in which forest fires were even more frequent than they are now. 

And bearing in mind the conditions which thus existed even less than 
a century ago, I always feel that historically the most interesting building 
in the village is the tiny unpretentious Congregational chapel, half 
hidden among the trees on the hillside. This modest and archi- 
tecturally unattractive little building dates back to the old ' Surrey 


Peaslake, Holmbury St. Mary, and Ewhurst 

Mission ' of the Congrcgationalists. It was part of a sincere and 
praiseworthy effort to provide facilities for worship in portions of the 
wilds of Surrey, which had till then been neglected by other religious 
bodies. At Felday, long before Londoners had discovered the charms of 
the district, this chapel was for years the only centre in the hamlet for 
educational and elevating work. It was a mission outpost where admir- 
able pioneer work was achieved. 

Felday changed its name and changed it for the worse in the opinion 
of some old-time friends when in the seventies the ecclesiastical parish 


of Holmbury St. Mary was constructed by piecing together fragments 
from the six neighbouring parishes of Shere, Abinger, Ewhurst, Cranleigh, 
Ockley, and Ockham. Its parish church, indisputably one of the finest 
modern churches in the county, it owes to the munificence, as well as to 
the designs, of the late G. E. Street, R.A. In site and elevation nothing 
more effective could well be conceived, and but little study is needed to 
realize something of the care and skill which the architect lavished upon 
every detail of his designs. Internally the effect is, to the lay critic, not 
quite so pleasing. We miss the note of the highest simplicity, and the 
screen which cuts off the west end distinctly detracts from the general 


Some West Surrey Villages 

effect of the rest of the nave. But on such points why seek to dogma- 
tize? Everyone will agree that no architect, could have left a worthier 
memorial of his skill than this most perfectly-placed church among the 

Of the modern residences which have of late been erected on or 
near Holmbury Hill, one need say but little ; but of Holmbury House 
one ought to record that before it became the Surrey seat of the Hon. 
E. L. Leveson-Gower, it was the residence of Mrs. Marsh, the authoress 
of ' Emilia Wyndham,' as well as of the ' Memorials ' of Hedley Vicars. 
As everyone recalls, it was to Holmbury that the body of Bishop Wilber- 
force was brought after the fatal fall on Evershed's Rough, and beneath 
the same roof Mr. Gladstone spent at different times not a few week-ends 
when the pressure of his political work in town was greatest. 

Modern as Holmbury St. Mary unquestionably is, it has two links 
with a distant past. On Holmbury Hill, a little more than a mile south 
of the church, there are vestiges of a camp which, whether it be British 
or Roman in origin, shows clear indication of Roman science. It is true, 
no doubt, that such a fortification, perched on the top of a hill and away 
from water, is unlike the work of the legions, as Mr. Maiden fairly argues. 
And it seems more reasonable to assume, with him, that it belongs to the 
time when the Romans had departed, and when the Welsh of Surrey 
were alarmed by the progress of English invaders from north, east, 
and west. 

Be this as it may, we can reasonably believe that from Holmbury Hill 
we are looking down upon the scene of the great battle between the Danes 
and the English under Ethelwolf in 851, which looms so prominently in 
the story of the chroniclers. Henry of Huntingdon tells us how the 
Danes were exterminated by the West Saxons in a desperate fight ' hard 
by Ockley Wood,' and goes on to speak of the warriors charging together 
' as thick as ears of corn,' and of ' rivers of blood rolling away the heads 
and limbs of the slain.' And finally he shows that God ' gave the fortune 
of war to those who believed on Him,' and ' ineffable confusion ' to those 
who despised Him. We must remember, of course, that these are the 
picturesque touches of a chronicler who was certainly not an eye-witness 
of the scene he describes, but who was possibly echoing the phrases of 
some earlier ballad by which the memory of the conflict had been handed 
down to later generations. 


Peaslake, Holmbury St. Mary, and Ewhurst 

But this Battle of Ockley, though known to us only in vaguest outline, 
well deserved the importance given it in these early records. The Danes, 
after sacking London, were on their way through Surrey to Winchester, 
eager, probably, to meet and conquer the West Saxon King. ' Up the 
Stone Street from his post of observation upon the Channel, and perhaps 


from Arundel, came Ethelwolf and his son Ethelward, and the host of the 
West Saxons. The South Saxons and the scattered foresters of the 
Weald would flock to his standard upon the march. By the old English 
constitution every man on pain of being pronounced a worthless outlaw 
was bound to rally to the King's standard in such a crisis. And when 


Some West Surrey Villages 

the golden dragon of Wessex was in the field and the beacons blazing 
on the downs, and the answering smoke of Danish ravage was going up 
to heaven from London to the Weald, no true Englishman in Hampshire 
or in Sussex or in Surrey but came in the train of Ethelwolf to live or die 
with him.' 

Such are some of the vigorous words in which Mr. Maiden has 
conceived the scene. Victory, as we have seen, rested with the Saxons ; 
a check was given to Danish conquest, and the respite so won among 
the woods and on the hills of Surrey allowed time for the consolidation 
of West Saxon rule, and rendered possible the later triumphs associated 
with Alfred's name. 

Happily, we have few battlefields to visit in South-west Surrey, and 
we can speedily banish from our minds the thoughts suggested by these 
distant memories of the fateful struggle ' hard by Ockley Wood,' as we 
gaze upon the lovely prospect which Holmbury Hill affords. The view 
from here, as from Ewhurst Hill, closely resembles that to be obtained 
from Leith Hill, though it is not quite so extensive. On our right lie 
the richly wooded uplands, stretching from Godalming to Hascombe, 
and behind them the heaths and wild country that connect Hindhead 
and Farnham. Immediately to the south we overlook the whole expanse 
of the Weald. Possibly, on an exceptionally clear day, the distant gleam 
of the sea may be discerned through one of the breaks of the Sussex 

From the hill-top we drop down not quite to the Wealden clay itself, 
but to one of the southern spurs of the sand-hills that project into the 
Weald. Here we find Ewhurst village and church, almost hidden from 
our view when on the hills above, but nevertheless a landmark in olden 
days of the progress made in reclaiming and civilizing the great Wealden 
Forest. That the place owes its name to the fact that it abounded with 
yew, and was within the ' hurst ' (or woody country), we can readily 
believe. To-day, as we see for ourselves, the oak still flourishes on the 
deep clay soil, and centuries ago Ewhurst certainly was on the borders of 
the Anderida Silva of the Romans. 

No great effort of the imagination is needed to picture this wild stretch 
of country in primitive times, when, in addition to the thick growth of 
oaks and underwood, there were swamps in every hollow ; when the 
trunks of trees lay where they fell, blocking up water-courses, and still 


Peaslake, Holmbury St. Mary, and Ewhurst 

more closely entangling the mass of brambles ; and ' when beavers 
dammed the streams and wolves lurked in the thickets.' Who can 
wonder that the region was known as the ' uninhabited place ' ? 

This wild and uncultivated district completely cut off the county of 
Surrey from the south, and necessarily caused it to make all its communi- 
cations in early days with the north, east, and west. 

But the beginning of a change came with the Romans. Traces have 
been discovered of a Roman road, which entered Surrey north-east of 
Warnham, and ran northwards by Summersbury Wood to Ewhurst and 


Ewhurst Hill. Beyond the latter it cannot be traced, but more probably 
than not communication extended thence to the Roman station which 
existed on Farley Heath. Possibly the Romans carried their 'straight 
line ' from that point onwards to the gap in the chalk at Guildford, or, as 
several authorities have conjectured, by Stonebridge and Puttenham to 
Casar's Camp and Ewshot, in the extreme west of the county. Thus, 
in a measure, Ewhurst may have been put in touch with the outside world. 
After the Romans had gone, the subjugation of the great forest was 
no doubt achieved by slow stages. In it outlaws and the remnant of the 

59 i 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

conquered tribes found a. refuge and lived as hunters. By degrees its less 
inaccessible parts were utilized by the feeding of hordes of swine on the 
acorns, and several centuries later still the finding of iron and the develop- 
ment of the iron industry led to further inroads of civilization and a 
considerable clearing of the ground to provide fuel for the furnaces. 

To return, however, to Ewhurst Church and village. Throughout all 
these generations the records are of the slightest. Its manors were at 
different times held by the family of Bray, but otherwise no specially 
noteworthy names and incidents are linked with its annals. Nevertheless, 
we get just a glimpse of its parochial life during the Civil War. It 
appears from the minutes of the proceedings of the Committee for 
Plundered Ministers, in 1647, that some little trouble was experienced 
in bringing the parishioners ' into line ' with the views of the authorities. 
The rectory of Ewhurst had been sequestrated, and John Winge appointed 
to it. But in July, 1647, complaint was made in due form to the com- 
mittee that, ' notwithstanding the said sequestration, the parishioners of 
the said parish refused to pay their tithes in demand of the said seques- 

The parishioners were peremptorily ordered by the committee to do so, 
and John Hill, George Ellis, Overington Jeale senior, and Overington 
Jeale junior, four of their number, were to hand over to Winge the tithes 
and ' promts ' due unto him, or show cause to the contrary on the 2ist of 
July following. Apparently, however, the parishioners continued con- 
tumacious. For on July 21 the committee found that they had not 
given Mr. Winge the slightest satisfaction, nor did the culprits make any 
appearance in compliance with the order. Consequently instructions 
were given to arrest Hill, Ellis, and the two Jeales, and bring them before 
the committee to answer for their contempt. What happened we know 
not. But an entry in the parish register is significant : 

' 1647, 1648, 1649. No pties were Married in this Parish by mee 
Mr. Wing, those wch were nuptiated were joyn'd together by such 
Ministers as opposed the directory.' 

Nevertheless, Mr. Winge seems to have held his own in the long-run, 
and to have survived this contempt. Eleven years later (namely, in 
September, 1660) the register records, ' John Winge minester was bered.' 
His death, it will be seen, occurred within a few months of the Re- 




HE approach to Cranleigh from Ewhurst and the southern 
spurs of the sand-hills is to-day so pleasant, and the 
village itself presents so bright and prosperous an 
aspect, that it is not easy to realize its extreme isola- 
tion a century ago or less. True, some improvement 
was effected by the opening of the turnpike road 
between Guildford and Horsham in 1796 an event 
of sufficient importance to be commemorated by the erection by John 
Ellery of the obelisk still conspicuous at the cross-roads. Yet, even in 
Cobbett's time and later the roads and lanes of ' bottomless clay' which 
traversed the Weald were notorious for their badness. Again and again 
contemporary writers denounce them as always bad, and in winter almost 

In fact, Cranleigh, lying far from the chief arteries of traffic, and with 
the hills and wilds of Hurtwood to the north, and the Weald itself to the 
south, was to an exceptional degree cut off from the rest of the world. 
Moreover, even when in turnpike days the Horsham and Guildford road 
was tolerably well kept up, the tolls were almost prohibitive. As recently 
as 1846, when the railway had reached Guildford, the traveller from 
Cranleigh to the county town had to pass through no less than four turn- 
pike gates, paying at each gate sixpence in the summer and sevenpence- 
halfpenny in the winter for one horse, or a shilling and one and three- 
pence respectively if he drove a pair. If, indeed, he journeyed all the 
way from Guildford to Horsham, his tolls would cost him more than the 
whole journey from London to Portsmouth. 

So in the first years of the Victorian era, and earlier still, Cranleigh 
was of sheer necessity a self-contained little community, glorying, no 
doubt, during the bright golden days of summer in the rich luxuriance of 


Some West Surrey Villages 

its well-wooded environs, but conscious amid the mud and the snows 
of winter that it was thrown back upon itself for nearly all the necessaries 
of village life. 

Of course, all this has long been changed. Before the opening 
of the Guildford and Horsham line in 1865 good roads had taken the 
place of bad ; and with the advent of the railway the village entered 
upon an era of prosperity and progress of which there are ample proofs 

How much that progress has really meant to the life of the people ! 
Perhaps no one is better qualified to bear testimony on this score than 
the present Rector (Archdeacon Sapte), whose incumbency dates back to 
1846. Mr. W. Welch, in the interesting notes he penned a short time 
since, vividly sketched some of the conditions which then prevailed, and 
I quote a few suggestive sentences. 

' The farm labourers,' he writes, ' lived mostly in the houses of the 
farmers, and were hired by the quarter, while those who lived in the 
cottages paid rents varying from one shilling to two shillings, and 
received ten shillings to twelve shillings a week as wages. Of course, 
little meat but home-grown pork could be indulged in, and great must 
have been the rejoicing when the score of sheep which the Rector's dog 
(unfortunately for him) had worried were divided up among the poorer 
inhabitants. Most of the bread was baked at home, and well it might be, 
as the price of a small loaf was tenpence. There were no fireplaces and 
ovens in the cottages as we now see them. Coals, which came up by 
barge to Elm Bridge, and cost about thirty shillings a ton, were a luxury 
to be indulged in only by the well-to-do. Paraffin oil was not heard of, 
and even candles were not seen in the cottages, their place being supplied 
by home-made rushlights, ignited in most cases from the old tinder-box 
with flint and steel. Lucifer matches were no doubt sold here as early 
as 1830, when their form was somewhat similar to the crackers newfound 
in Christmas bonbons, but their price was very different from what it 
is now.' 

Of herbalists and witches or wise women there were not a few, and 
the Rector could tell of one patient who was ordered to eat nine mice 
and did it. 

On the contrast with modern conditions which these details suggest I 
need not dwell. The Cranleigh of to-day may know something of patent 



Cranleigh and Hascombe 

medicines, but it has lost faith entirely in witches. It enjoys most, if not 
all, of the 'amenities' of modern life; and in some respects, as we shall 
presently see, it has kept particularly well abreast of the times. But first 
let us look back a little further into its past. 

If we make our way to the church, we shall notice at once that the 
fabric has suffered severely, both architecturally and in regard to its 
monuments, from neglect and at the hands of the restorer. It may be 
that the tower and the north transept arch were part of the original 
church on the same site referred to in Roger de Clere's grant of the 
advowson to John Fitz-Geoffrey in 1244. But the body of the building 
belongs plainly to the fourteenth century. The thickness of the tower 
walls is noteworthy, and it has been surmised that the junction of the 
nave and the chancel at one period in the history of the building is 
indicated by the massiveness of the piers now standing at the corner 
of the nave and transept. The present transepts are quite modern. 
They were built (1867) to take the place of two chapels which projected 
beyond the two aisles, and were separated from them by fine open-work 
screens described in Manning and Bray as ' lattices of curious and elegant 
workmanship.' Part of these screens has been utilized in the present 
pulpit, and part in the south (or Baynards) transept. 

The side-chapels just mentioned belonged as the transepts do now 
to the two chief manors in the neighbourhood : the north to Knowle 
and the south to Baynards. In Manning and Bray the south chapel 
is erroneously ascribed to Knowle and the north to Vachery. The latter 
error is patent, for when this portion of the church was built Vachery 
had a private chapel of its own. 

Of comparatively recent restorations and alterations it is not needful 
to speak here ; but I may mention that traces of fresco were found on 
the chancel and side-arches, but have now disappeared, and that a print 
in Hill and Peak's ' Ecclesiastical Topography of the County of Surrey ' 
(1760) shows two dormer-windows on the south side of the roof to light 
the galleries. The three sedilia, for Bishop, priest and deacon respectively, 
have been thought to favour the theory that the church was at one time 

The monuments, as I have said, have also suffered severely. The 
oldest now to be seen is the coffin-shaped lid with a cross cut on it 
which lies outside the church near the east window. Its date is early 


Some West Surrey Villages 

in the fourteenth century ; it may be the tomb of the projector of the 
present church. On the south side outside is a square tablet with a 
long inscription to Richard Mower, 1630, who seems to have improved 
the earth and made barren land rich. There are other stones in the 
church to Mowers, who, it has been conjectured, may have been descen- 
dants of Sir T. More of Baynards. 

In front of the altar there was a stone to Dame Onslow, 1679. Other 
members of the family are buried there, but no inscriptions remain. 
Of the fragments of several fine brasses which have escaped destruction, 
the most interesting is a small brass in the south side of the chancel, 
supposed to represent Richard Caryngton, Rector, who died in 1507. 
At the north side is a fragment in brass of what was once the most 
important tomb in the church, namely, that of Robert Harding and 
Agas his wife, whose father bought Knowle in 1467. To this plate a 
curious history attaches. It disappeared from the church during the 
restoration in 1845, and was sold at Reading, eventually passing into 
the hands of a collector of curiosities at Wallingford, on whose death 
it was again sold by auction in London. Here, luckily, it was identified, 
bought, and placed in Archdeacon Sapte's hands, to be again securely 
fixed in the church from which it was stolen more than fifty years before. 
Harding, who died in 1503, was a great benefactor to the church and 
village. His low altar -tomb was no doubt used also as an Easter 

In the churchyard we cannot fail to note the beautiful stone cross 
erected by the late Mr. G. E. Street to the memory of his second wife, 
who was originally buried here, but whose body has now been removed 
to Holmbury. 

One name stands out conspicuously in Cranleigh's list of Rectors. 
I refer to that of Thomas de Wykehurst (or De Cranley), who was 
probably born at Wykehurst Farm, and became Archbishop of Dublin 
at the close of the fourteenth century, just after Richard II. 's attempt 
to subdue the Irish and reassert English supremacy. The Archbishop, 
who was also Chief Justice or Deputy of Ireland, and something of a 
poet to boot, apparently did not relish his task ; at least, he found a 
subject for his muse in the refractory and unmanageable character of 
the Irish people as he conceived it. But he was a man of considerable 
parts, and earlier in life he bore his share in the making of the Oxford 


Cranleigh and Hascombe 

we know to-day. Before he became Rector of his native parish in 
1380 he had, as a Fellow of Merton College, shared in the advantages 
of the collegiate system instituted by William de Merton. When William 
of Wykeham decided to found New College, so that the benefits of the 
same system might be secured to the scholars of his foundation at 
Winchester, he chose Thomas de Wykehurst for the first Warden, and 
the latter accordingly forsook his cure of souls at Cranleigh to undertake 
these new duties. He entered on these on the vigil of Palm Sunday, 
1386, when, so we read, the first Warden and Fellows formally took 
possession of the new buildings of the college ' with solemn processions 
and litanies, commending themselves to the care and protection of the 
Almighty.' Later on Thomas became Chancellor of the University, and 
on his death (1417) he was buried, not in Dublin nor at Cranleigh, 
but before the high altar in the chapel of New College, where a brass 
to his memory is still to be seen. 

The Knowle and Baynards chantries, however, link the church and 
village of Cranleigh with more notable names than that of Thomas de 
Wykehurst. Concerning Knowle and the Onslows I shall have more to 
say hereafter. Of Baynards and its traditions we may conveniently speak 
here, even though the mansion itself is some distance away in the far 
south-east corner of the parish. Baynards, which is frequently referred 
to by Martin Tupper in ' Stephan Langton ' as the Surrey seat of Fitz- 
Walter, is one of the few haunted houses still to be found in Surrey. 
Nowadays, it is true, you will learn little of the legend attached to it, 
save from your guide-book. Still, not so many years ago, as credible 
historians relate, no villager in the neighbourhood would approach the 
house after nightfall for fear of the ghost, which was alleged to have 
made the place its home for generations. 

The story goes back over many, many years, and has survived many 
vicissitudes. It is traced (conjecturally) to the middle of the sixteenth 
century, when the head of Sir Thomas More, after his execution, was 
believed to have been preserved beneath the roof of Baynards by his 
favourite daughter, Margaret Roper, who resided there with her daughter, 
then the wife of Sir Edward Bray the younger. Now, we must bear in 
mind that the house in which poor Sir Thomas's head was thus believed 
to have found a temporary resting-place was not the mansion we now see. 
The ghost survived the demolition of the earlier house and clung to 

65 K 

Some West Surrey Villages 

the site even when Sir George More erected a new dwelling-house, 
and again when, fifty or sixty years ago, the Rev. T. Thurlow enlarged, 
restored, and almost rebuilt the mansion. 

But more than this : Margaret Roper herself was buried in St. Dun- 
stan's Church, Canterbury, and near her coffin her father's skull was 
placed in a niche in the wall. Further still, at least one critic has boldly 
asserted that Margaret Roper never lived at Baynards at all. And yet 
for years nay, for centuries the Baynards ghost continued to linger on 
the spot, and Sir Thomas More's head was alleged to have had an uncom- 
fortable knack of rolling audibly down the stairs of the house at midnight. 

With or without the alleged ghost, Baynards passed from the Mores 
to the Evelyns. John Evelyn speaks, among other things, of an avenue 
of a hundred splendid oak-trees planted by his brother, and cut down 
shortly afterwards to pay his debts withal. Subsequently the house 
became the property of the first Lord Onslow, who removed most of the 
old painted glass to West Clandon Church, where it may still be seen. 
At the beginning of the century the house was used merely as a farmhouse. 
A correspondent in Hone's Year-book (1831), who visited it, and found it 
very dilapidated, says he was told by the then housekeeper that in the 
great gallery, 100 feet long, an annual cricket-match used to be played by 
the men of Rudgwick against the Cranleigh team. 

But in 1832 the property was sold to the Rev. Thomas Thurlow, a 
nephew of Lord Chancellor Thurlow, and by him, as I have already in- 
cidentally mentioned, it was very thoroughly restored. A few years later, 
when still in the hands of the Thurlows, it was connected with an election 
episode which was long the talk of the countryside. The Rev. T. 
Thurlow's son, Thomas Lyon Thurlow, was particularly unlucky in his 
political experiences. Anxious to retrieve two previous defeats, he and 
his family strained every nerve to insure his success when he stood again 
for the borough of Guildford in 1852. The borough still returned a 
couple of members. All three candidates in the field fought stubbornly, 
and all were confident of victory. But at Baynards especially everyone 
was sanguine ; every preparation was made to celebrate fittingly the 
triumph which was believed to be imminent. 

The polling proved as close as had been expected. Out of a total 
electorate of 557, no less than 505 burgesses recorded their votes, leaving 
only 33 unaccounted for after deducting deaths and Government officials. 












Cranleigh and Hascombe 

But again the Squire of Baynards was doomed to disappointment, for the 
figures were: Mangles 370, Bell 251, Thurlow 244. 

The local humourists, of course, made the most of the incident. I 
have before me one of the many placards which appeared in Guildford 
after the result of the poll, worded thus : 

' A Bargain. 



On dark blue silk the owner having no 
use for it ! 

Apply to Mr. Strut, or at Baynards Park." 

Among a good many specimens of doggerel prompted by the occasion, 
the happiest was a parody of Byron's ' The Destruction of Sennacherib.' 
I quote a few verses : 


' The Lyon came down like a wolf on the fold, 
And his banners were gleaming with purple and gold, 
And his malice and spite were like foam on the se;i, 
When the wave rolls in tempest on deep Galilee. 

' Like the leaves of the forest when the summer is green, 
That host full of banter on Sunday was seen ; 
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown, 
Their hopes on the morrow were wither'd and strown. 

' For the Angel " Defeat" spread his wings on the blast, 
And he breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd ; 
And the hopes of the Tories waxed deadly and chill, 
And their spleen but once heav'd, and for ever grew still. 

' And the mother at Baynards was loud in her wail 
As thrice he had striven, it was hard he should fail ; 
And the might of the Lyon in triumph we tell 
Hath been crushed in the dust by the Mangle and Bell.' 

There have been many changes at Baynards since the days of the 
Thurlows, and it is matter for regret that a large proportion of the art 
treasures and interesting relics which were once gathered within its walls, 

67 K 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

and which included many old masters, some excellent Gobelin tapestry, 
and the charter-chest of Sir Thomas More, have now been scattered. 

Here, too, it may be convenient to note that little save the moat and 
fish-ponds now remains to remind us of the former importance of Vachery 
so called as the principal grange or dairy farm of the Manor of Shere. 
But in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the house must have been of 
considerable importance. It was often used as a residence by the lords 
of Shere, and the records show that it included in Edward I.'s time an 
oratory or chapel, to which a chaplaincy was attached, and that in 1362 
Eleanor, Countess of Ormond, obtained a license for the marriage of 
Walter Fitz- Walter (of Baynards) to her daughter, Eleanor Dagworth, 
' in the chapel of her manor of Vachery.' 

In more recent times Vachery played some part in connection with 
the Wey and Arun Canal. This undertaking was one of the many 
similar projects which figured largely in the public eye at the beginning 
of the last century, when ingenious engineers were busy planning 
ambitious schemes of inland waterways, and expatiated in eloquent phrase 
on the immeasurable advantages to trade and agriculture which would 
follow from their construction. 

The canal was constructed under Parliamentary powers obtained in 
1813 to provide a waterway from the Thames to Arundel Harbour by 
connecting the Wcy with the Arun. It started from the former river 
at Stonebridge, Shalford, and passed Wonersh Park, Ridinghurst, and 
Loxwood, running in all a course of some eighteen miles before it joined 
the Arun at Newbridge, near Billinghurst. Vachery Water was one of its 
chief reservoirs, and the authorizing Act contained special provision for 
compensation to the then owner of Vachery, Mr. T. Lowndes. The 
canal has long since met the fate which has overtaken most undertakings 
of its class. The Wey end is quite unnavigable now ; portions of its bed 
are dry and overgrown with grass and brushwood. But old residents still 
recall stories of the days when consignments of bullion were sent by this 
route from London to Portsmouth in barges guarded by soldiers. 

In still earlier days Cranleigh and district were the scene of another 
form of industrial activity. Hammer Farm and Hammer Lane, near 
Vachery, recall the fact that the stream running from Vachery Pond 
supplied the water-power for the ' forge in Cranleigh in the hands of 
Gardener,' on Lady Bray's property, which is mentioned in the list 


Cranleigh and Hascombe 

(dated 1574) of the principal ironmasters, forges and furnaces in Surrey. 
Of these Surrey ironworks generally I shall have more to say in a subse- 
quent chapter. Here it is enough to mention that one of the best 
specimens of the many iron firebacks of local manufacture which were 
previously to be found in the parish is that dated 1606, still to be seen in 
the Rector's study. 

Two other points may be noted in connection with Cranleigh at this 
period. ' Rowland's Stores ' are known to have been a shop at least since 
1603. It was formerly reached by a wooden Abridge across the stream, 
which then flowed along the side of the road for some distance, all the 
houses being reached similarly by wooden bridges. Oliver Cromwell 
once stayed at Oliver House, and gave Cranleigh a warrant to hold a 
fair every Tuesday. The parchment with his sign manual written across 
the Great Seal of England is still in existence, and is in the possession 
of Sir George Bonham. 

And before going further afield we must briefly record two or three of 
the notable developments of later years. The question often arises how 
and why has the ' Cranley ' of bygone years become the ' Cranleigh ' of 
to-day. The answer is more easily supplied and more prosaic than is 
often the case in regard to such orthographic changes. The provision of 
railway facilities and a modern postal service brought into prominence 
the risk of confusion between the names of the Surrey Cranley and the 
Sussex Crawley. The result was that representations were made (1867) 
from the parish to both the railway and postal authorities that much 
annoyance and inconvenience would be obviated if the second syllable 
read ' leigh ' instead of ' ley.' Some not unnatural opposition to this 
proposal was manifested on sentimental grounds, despite the fact that 
in the thirteenth-century deeds the spelling adopted was ' Cranlegh ' or 
' Cranelegh.' But the change was effected, and its practical usefulness has 
now secured for it almost universal adoption. 

In other ways Cranleigh has entered upon a new era since the advent 
of the railway. Its wide, breezy common, its pleasant aspect and health- 
giving air, its nearness to some of the choicest bits of Surrey scenery 
among the hills and in the Weald, have helped to attract to it a full 
share of the influx of residents and visitors which late years have 
witnessed throughout South-west Surrey. Moreover, the village itself, 
while still retaining much of its old-time character, has in many ways 


Some West Surrey Villages 

given proof of a thoroughly progressive spirit. Its village hospital, 
opened as far back as 1859, an d now half hidden amongst the trees 
which flourish in its garden, was the pioneer institution of the kind in 
the country. In the Lady Peek Institute, as well as in the chapel of 
Cranleigh School, it has enduring tokens of the interest in the welfare 
of the parish which the late Sir Henry Peek manifested in so many 
ways. And Cranleigh School itself, which dates back to 1865, has 
earned a place among the prominent educational establishments of the 

Presently we shall have to ramble from Cranleigh on to the ' fold 
country,' which lies so close at hand. But before we start on these 
wanderings, and before, too, we touch upon the associations of Knowle, 
we shall do well to make our way by Nore Farm to Hascombe. As 
we reach higher ground we gain many charming prospects of the Weald 
and of the range of sand-hills that we leave behind us. And Hascombe 
amply rewards us for our stroll. The village itself is picturesquely placed 
among the uplands to the south of Godalming. Its beeches on the high 
ridge to the south, which was formerly used as a semaphore station, 
have long been a famous landmark, and a portion of the ridge known 
as Castle Hill was the site of an ancient camp, which closely resembled 
that on Holmbury Hill. If it was not, as Mr. Nevill thinks, undoubtedly 
Roman work, it unquestionably shows traces of Roman science. Near 
at hand, too, are the Burgate chestnuts, overlooking a narrow coombe 
and commanding a view of the Weald which has not been overpraised 
as ' a bit of Spain it would be difficult to parallel this side of the 

But over and above all this Hascombe is proud, and justly proud, 
of its church. St. Peter's, Hascombe, unquestionably ranks, with St. 
Barnabas at Ranmore and with St. Mary at Holmbury, amongst the 
most noteworthy specimens of modern church architecture in Mid and 
West Surrey. Like them it bears striking witness to the revival which 
had touched even our remote rural parishes before the Victorian era 
had sped more than half its course ; like them it is notable for the 
zeal with which art and devotion have joined hands to do their 
utmost for the restoration and adornment of the village house of 


Cranleigh and Hascombe 

Unlike Holmbury St. Mary or Ranmore, St. Peter's, Hascombe, is, 
however, in one sense a restoration. A church existed on the present site 
in the thirteenth century, perhaps seventy or eighty years before the 
first Rector named in the list of incumbents from 1305 to the present 
time, which is to be seen on the walls of the edifice to-day. Many 
were the vicissitudes which befell this fabric in the course of centuries, and 
deplorable was the condition to which neglect had reduced it just before 
Canon Musgrave was instituted as Rector in 1862. ' A large, irregular 

(F. M., 1865.) 

opening ' took the place of the original chancel arch, ' with the wall 
above propped up by two heavy balks of timber.' There were ' great 
gaping cracks and rents in the walls; the unseemly west gallery with 
its barrel organ stretching across the nave, and all but touching the 
second rickety gallery on the north, propped up on four legs ; and an 
unseemly stove with its pipe frequently sending out dark smoke into 
the church, running through one of the windows ; other windows filled 
up with bricks and mortar.' The churchyard, which to-day charms the 
eye at once with its trimness and quiet beauty, was then dark and 


Some West Surrey Villages 

gloomy, shut in by large spruce firs, abounding in tall weeds and rank 
grass, with high mounds of graves piled up and carelessly kept. 

As for the fabric itself, either thorough restoration or entire rebuilding 
was imperatively necessary, and in the end the latter alternative was 
chosen. The last service in the old church was held in June, 1863 ; 
just a year later the new church, designed by the late Mr. Woodyer, 
was consecrated, and since then each successive year has seen some 
addition to the completeness of its equipment and its remarkable decora- 


(.F. M., 1864.) 

tions. Whether externally or internally, no greater contrast could well 
be conceived than that between the church as we see it to-day simple 
in architectural outline, but uniquely rich in its adornment and the 
cheerless and forbidding structure whose place it so worthily fills. Its 
walls are bright with colour ; its windows ' richly dight ' all have a 
story to tell. In little things as in great the same reverent care and 
refined taste are apparent. A village cathedral in miniature St. Peter's 
has been termed more than once by admiring visitors, and I do not 
know that the praise or the phrase is overstrained. A detailed description 


Cranleigh and Hascombe 

of its decorative work is given by Canon Musgrave in the privately - 
published account of the church he prepared some sixteen years ago 
for the use of his parishioners, and I may refer here to a few specially 
distinctive features. 

First, however, we should note that the porch contains much of the 
old oak timber used in the porch of the former building, and that the 
massive modern lock was made to fit the ancient key with which for 
two or three centuries the Rectors of Hascombe have been inducted. 
The oak cross of the Purbeck marble font was constructed from all that 
remained sound in the very old seat in the old porch. In the nave the 
eye is struck at once by the dado representing the post - Resurrection 
miracle of the Apostolic net, with its ' hundred and fifty and three 
fishes,' the exact number depicted on the wall. 

The glass of the lancet windows commemorates different scenes in 
the life of St. Peter, the patron saint of the church, of whom too, the 
pulpit bears a well-carved statuette. The chancel screen is noteworthy, 
not only because it dates back some four centuries, but also for the 
decorations recently carried out in memory of the late Mr. and Mrs. 
Rowcliffe, of Hall Place, whom Hascombe folk have good cause to 
remember with gratitude. The chancel windows mainly set forth scenes 
in our Lord's life in which angels are concerned, while the subjects in the 
spandrils above depict their ministrations to man. In the reredos the 
adoration of the Lamb is represented ; facing it on each side, to connect 
Hascombe with the nineteen churches of the deanery, are demi-figures 
of the patron saints of the churches. 

Much more might be said of the reverent work which gives to every 
corner of St. Peter's, Hascombe, a character of its own. But though 
I have necessarily touched only upon its most salient features, I have 
said enough to explain its unique interest and attractiveness to every 
rambler in these uplands just above the Weald. 




NE by one the links which visibly connected the family of 
Onslow with the parish and village of Cranleigh have 
almost wholly disappeared. The church now contains 
no memorial bearing a name once so familiar and so 
powerful in the district. In the outside world, what- 
ever may be the case with Cranleigh, there is some 
difficulty in recognising the local associations signified 
by the courtesy-title of Viscount Cranley. Further, just a century ago, 
the Onslows left Knowle for Clandon ; and the old house, which after 
their departure became a picturesque farmhouse, abounding in old oak, 
was pulled down by Captain Hanham. A small villa residence was 
erected on the site, and has since been enlarged by subsequent owners. 
The only remnant of the original house consists in some old linen-pattern 
wainscoting, formerly in a chapel attached to the house, and now in Sir 
George Bonham's study. 

And yet we should do scant justice to the men of note associated with 
the village in bygone days if we did not recall the names and glance 
hurriedly at the careers of two or three members of a family which, during 
and after its residence at Knowle, gained honourable prominence in our 
Parliamentary history. 

The fragment of the tomb of Robert Harding and Agas his wife, 
which we have already noticed in the church, gives us the clue to the 
coming of the Onslows originally a Shropshire family to Surrey. 
Robert Harding was an Alderman and a goldsmith of London. Katherine, 
his daughter and heiress, became the wife of Richard Onslow, who was 
for a time Recorder of the City of London. In many ways the marriage 
appears to have been happily conceived. The Surrey estate which thus 
passed into Onslow's hands by his marriage was, in Arthur Onslow's words, 
' no small one for the age.' And Richard Onslow's abilities were sufficient 



1 < 

Knowle and the Onslows 

to win for him both fame and position in the public service. Bred a 
lawyer, he rose rapidly in his profession ; for although he died when in 
his forty-fourth year, he became successively Attorney of the Duchy of 
Lancaster, Recorder of the City of London, Solicitor-General, and the 
first of the three members of the family to occupy the Speaker's Chair in 
the House of Commons. 

We know little of Richard Onslow outside his political and professional 
career. The valuable Onslow papers published not long since by the 
Historical Manuscripts Commission give us but meagre personal details. 
But some interesting particulars have come down to us of one or two 
notable episodes in his Parliamentary record. One of these turned upon 
just such a question of procedure and constitutional law as our Parlia- 
mentarians of to-day love to seize and wrestle with, possibly to magnify 
into an issue of vital importance to the nation. 

Thus, Onslow was appointed Solicitor-General early in 1566, during a 
prorogation of Parliament, but whilst he himself was still a member of 
the House of Commons. When Parliament reassembled in September, 
he, in accordance with the custom then followed, received his writ of 
attendance in the House of Lords by virtue of his office of Solicitor- 
General. But when the Commons, meeting at the same time, proceeded 
to the election of a new Speaker, attention was called to the fact that the 
Solicitor-General, though a member of the Lower House, was absent. 

Here, obviously, were materials for a very pretty quarrel. Onslow 
was Solicitor-General. As such the House of Lords required his presence; 
the House of Commons, on its part, demanded his attendance as a 
member of their own body. The Peers, when appealed to, adopted an 
ingenious device. They sent Onslow himself to the Commons to demon- 
strate why and how it \\as that constitutionally he must perforce attend 
in the Upper House. The duty was faithfully discharged. We are 
told that the Solicitor-General alleged ' many weighty reasons ' in support 
of the Peers' contention. But his efforts were in vain. His fellow- 
members of the House of Commons turned a deaf ear to his arguments, 
adjudged him to be one of their number, and, to clinch the matter, pro- 
ceeded to elect him as their Speaker. Their victory was complete. And 
though perhaps no Speaker was chosen under similar conditions, Onslow 
appears to have filled the position with excellent tact, judgment, and 
firmness. For by virtue of his office Onslow figured prominently in some 

75 La 

Some West Surrey Villages 

of the many incidents which marked Elizabeth's management of her faithful 

The Parliament of 1566 was bent on securing some settlement of the 
question of the succession. It formally demanded the Queen's marriage 
or the naming of her successor. Elizabeth's retort was an injunction 
through Onslow as Speaker that they should proceed no further with the 
business. But to this behest the Commons were not prepared to submit. 
That ' hard and plain-spoken man,' Paul Wentworth, wanted to know 
whether that prohibition was not 'against the liberties of Parliament,' 
and hot debates ensued. When the Queen, in a fresh message, com- 
manded that there should be no further argument, she was met with a 
fresh request for freedom of deliberation. Here Elizabeth's tact and 
discretion came to the rescue. Through the Speaker she assured the 
Commons that ' she did not mean to prejudice any part of the liberties 
heretofore granted them.' Her command of silence was softened to a 
request, and the Commons, won by this graciousness, received the 
Speaker's message ' most joyfully with hearty prayers and thanks for the 

How Richard Onslow bore himself through all this turmoil we have 
scanty means of judging, but he appears to have been able to give firm 
expression to the dominant feelings of the House and to the limitations 
of the royal favour. Addressing the Queen, he is reported to have 
declared : ' By our common law, although there be for the Prince pro- 
vided many princely prerogatives and royalties, yet it is not such as the 
Prince can take money or other things as he will at his own pleasure 
without order ; but quietly to suffer his subjects^to enjoy their own 
without wrongful oppression.' 

Remembering the submissive language in which Elizabeth was usually 
addressed, there is a resoluteness about these words which can hardly be 

Onslow, nevertheless, did not suffer any loss of favour at Court for this 
firm stand for constitutional rights. He died in 1571, the year in which 
the Parliament next met after the stormy session of 1566. But his elder 
brother Falk was Clerk of the House of Commons throughout the rest of 
the reign. One of his daughters was Maid of Honour to the Queen, and 
his eldest son dying without children, his second son Edward was knighted 
by the Queen. 



To fact f. 76. 

Knowle and the Onslows 

Sir Edward seems to have spent his days quietly in retirement at 
Knowle. He was, we read, a ' person of eminent virtue and piety, and 
a Church Puritan.' But he made no attempt to emulate his father's 
example by taking part in public work ; and it was left to the next genera- 
tion to regain for the family the prominence in this respect which was 
won by the first Speaker Onslow. 

Sir Edward's eldest son dying without issue, Knowle passed to his 
second son, afterwards Sir Richard Onslow ' that fox of Surrey,' as 
Cromwell styled him, ' that artful man,' as his great-grandson, Arthur 
Onslow, afterwards described him. And concerning Sir Richard and his 
diplomatic, if somewhat tortuous, course throughout the troublous years 
from 1640 to 1660 we have learnt much. 

Richard succeeded to Knowle while still in his minority, and was 
knighted by James in 1627 at the age of twenty-three. When in his 
twenty-sixth year he was chosen a Knight of the Shire for the county of 
Surrey. The event is worth recording, for, as Arthur Onslow says with 
justifiable pride, ' it laid the foundation of that interest both in the county 
of Surrey and in 'he town of Guildford that our family have ever since 
kept up to a height that has been scarcely equalled in any county by one 
family.' Much esteemed in his own county, Onslow was appointed a 
justice of the peace five years later, and speedily ' bore the principal sway ' 
in county business and interests. With his great spirit and abilities strong 
ambition was, however, linked. He was ' much set upon raising his 
family,' and to this end he pursued a policy which his great - grandson 
does not hesitate to describe as artful and cunning. 

At the outset of the troubles with Charles, Onslow, whose sympathies 
were distinctly with the Parliament, unhesitatingly sided with the people. 
By command of the Commons, he raised a regiment of his own, appeared 
at Kingston in force in the nick of time to seize Justice Mallet when the 
latter was on the point of adjourning the sessions and repairing to the 
King ; was appointed one of the sequestrators of the estates of the 
Surrey Royalists ; took part in the siege of Basing House ; helped Waller 
to provide the sinews of war ; and when the Self-denying Ordinance was 
passed promptly resigned his command in the army. 

Up to this point there seems little cause for complaint ; but it is clear, 
nevertheless, that Onslow was not a whole-hearted Parliamentarian. Like 
a good many others, he was not prepared to go to extremities against the 


Some West Surrey Villages 

King. He wished only to ' restrain his power and to preserve the consti- 
tution upon a true basis.' Moreover and this we can well reconcile with 
all we know of his temperament and his aims ' he was a great enemy to 
the wild and enthusiastic principles of religion that prevailed during these 

Soon came the dispute with Wither the poet, the author, do not let us 
forget, of the familiar lines beginning : 

'Shall I, wasting in despair, 
Die because a woman's fair ?' 

Wither, as Governor of Farnham Castle, was under Onslow's orders, 
and the castle before long fell into the hands of the enemy. In his 
pamphlet ' Justiciarus Justificatus ' Wither alleged that his office was 
rendered inefficient by Onslow's jealousy and interference. Now, Onslow 
was not a man to remain passive under such an attack. He success- 
fully brought the matter before the House of Commons, which adjudged 
the reflections on his character to be false, scandalous, and injurious, 
fined Wither 500, and ordered the pamphlet to be burnt both at 
Kingston and Guildford markets. It is evident that this was quite as 
much a party victory as a personal vindication. For the tellers in the 
division were ' the principal men in the House ' the leaders of the two 
chief contending parties. Still, according to Arthur Onslow, it was a 
victory for Richard Onslow against Cromwell himself. 

Obviously, indeed, Onslow was already a suspect in the eyes of the 
' stalwarts.' Amongst the latter the impression was current, whether or 
not as a consequence of Wither's invectives, that Onslow was probably 
sending money to the King. In any case, we find him one of the 
forty-eight members of the House of Commons ' secluded ' by the army 
in 1648, and he was, moreover, among those who were treated with much 

During this seclusion Onslow apparently did not conceal his views. 
He acted upon frequent occasions, we are told, with great zeal and 
resolution against the then powers, but ' with so much prudence, too 
(which his enemies called by another name, and reproached him for), 
that he never subjected himself to any prosecution or public censure, 
though he was more than once very near it.' In 1651, however, Cromwell 
put his loyalty to the cause to a further test. He was nominated Colonel 


Knowle and the Onslows 

of a Surrey regiment and ordered to join Cromwell at Worcester. 
Onslow's belief was that he was put upon this service to try him and 
ruin him. That it was distasteful to him he did not attempt to hide, 
for though he is reported to have marched hard in order to reach 
Worcester in time, he himself subsequently confessed that he hovered 
about with his regiment until the fight was over. This was the incident 
which roused Cromwell's wrath and led him to avow that ' at one time 
or another he would be even with that fox of Surrey.' Later on, indeed, 
the Protector affirmed that if Onslow had come up before the fight it 
would have been uncertain which side he would have taken. In the 
same spirit, on another occasion, prompted probably by Onslow's promise 
to assist Penruddock's insurrection at Salisbury, the Protector declared 
that Onslow ' had Charles Stuart in his belly.' 

And yet, despite all these suspicions and suspicious circumstances, 
we find Onslow one of the Commons who in 1657 waited upon Cromwell 
to offer him the Crown. ' He was very earnest for making Cromwell 
King,' says Arthur Onslow, who adds : ' His speech shows him to have 
been a very able and artful man.' How reconcile this attitude with the 
lukewarmness in the Protector's cause at Worcester ? Two theories have 
been suggested. Onslow, always a Moderate, and always a believer in 
a constitutional monarchy, may have honestly thought that Cromwell's 
acceptance of the Crown was the best means of insuring peace and good 
government. But his critics were not disposed to put this charitable 
interpretation upon his action ; they preferred to attribute to him the 
sinister motive of seeking to facilitate the restoration of the Royal Family, 
and with it Cromwell's downfall. Or, if this theory was a little too 
Machiavelian to find favour, they fell back upon the suggestion that 
Cromwell had won him over by the promise of a peerage. 

In support of each view something may be urged. And for the last 
some colour is found in the fact that, after the Crown had been declined, 
Onslow was amongst the ' old nobility ' and gentlemen of the best 
families of rank in the nation who were summoned by Cromwell to his 
newly-formed House of Peers. Moreover, as additional evidence that 
some sort of reconciliation had been patched up, Onslow was later on 
included (as Arthur Onslow believes) among the four or five persons 
named to act as a sort of Cabinet Council to the Protector's son Richard. 

But whatever Onslow's motives or his actual relations with Cromwell 


Some West Surrey Villages 

in the latter's closing years, the time soon came when he had to trim 
his sails again. In the rapid changes which followed the Protector's 
death he was prompt to show his desire for the restoration of Charles. 
When he took his seat with the other ' secluded ' members in the 
Parliament of 1659, he was quickly in the front ranks of the Royalists. 
Appointed Gustos Rotulorum of Surrey, he was one of the Council of 
State who prepared the way for the King's return. Nay, so intimate 
were his relations with Charles's partisans, so zealous his services, that 
he was not without hope of some distinction at the Restoration. This 
hope, however, was not realized. Another disappointment was sustained 
in 1660. Onslow and his son both stood for election as Knights of the 
Shire when the Convention Parliament was summoned, and both were 
defeated. Onslow felt the repulse keenly, but the mortification was 
lessened by the burgesses of Guildford, who, having kept back their 
election for the purpose, returned father and son as representatives of 
the borough. 

Despite his friendship with Sir Ashley Cooper, it was for a time 
doubtful whether Onslow would not be exempted from the Act of 
Indemnity. His enemies had not forgotten the tortuous paths into 
which his diplomacy had led him. A paper of charges or reasons was 
drawn up in which some damaging accusations were levelled against 
him. Had he not arrested Sir Thomas Mallet at Kingston-on-Thames ? 
Had he not pulled down the King's powder-mills at Chilworth ? Did 
he not compare King Charles to a hedgehog? Onslow's friendships, 
if not his own record, saved him. He was duly included in the Act, 
and, ' able and artful ' as he always showed himself, made assurance 
doubly sure by taking out a special pardon under the Great Seal. He 
survived the Restoration four years, living in considerable reputation in 
Parliament and in his own county, and dying, it is said, from some hurt 
he received from lightning. 

What judgment can we pronounce upon such a career ? Allowance 
must be made, of course, for the uncertainty and confusions of the times ; 
for the natural desire of most men, however keen their patriotism, to 
preserve their own heads and their own estates amid such troubles ; and 
for the unfailing readiness of extremists on both sides to denounce the 
cautious but perfectly honest ' Moderate ' man as a time-serving comrade 
or a cunning traitor. 


Knowle and the Onslows 

And yet it seems quite impossible to reconcile the ins and outs of 
Richard Onslow's tortuous course with the steadfast patriotism of the 
statesman who consistently places his country's good before his own 
protection or advancement. One is driven back, however reluctantly, 
to Arthur Onslow's words, ' able and artful, very ambitious and much 
set upon raising his family,' for the key to a record and a character 
which nevertheless have to be assessed with due regard to the troublous 
days to which they belong. 

We seem to have wandered far from Cranleigh, but throughout all 
these years Onslow was closely linked with the life of the village. 
According to the parish registers, he occasionally officiated in the 
solemnization of marriages, possibly during the protracted but not very 
interesting proceedings as to the sequestration of the living, as to which 
the curious will find many details in the minutes of the Committee for 
Plundered Ministers. 

He was succeeded at Knowle by his son, Sir Arthur Onslow. Com- 
rades though they were in political life Arthur, who was elected M.P. 
for Bramber at the age of eighteen, thanks to the influence of the 
Earl of Arundel, of Albury, sat by his father's side in Parliament for 
many years the two men were in striking contrast. Throughout his 
life he was faithful to the ' country party,' the party which, though 
attached to the Church and Crown, yet leaned towards Puritanism, 
and viewed with disgust the extravagance and dissoluteness of the Court. 
He did not aim at political distinction ; he shunned political intrigue. 
In the words of his grandson, ' Besides the plainness and sanctity of 
his life, which drew much reverence towards him, he had all the qualities 
which make men useful to, and beloved by, their neighbours and country- 
men.' He was hospitable, generous, and very charitable to the poor. 
An active justice of the peace, he was ' in all the public trusts ' in the 
country. And so greatly were his services in requisition in ' reconciling 
law differences and advising his neighbours, that when he went a-hunting 
it was customary for the people where he happened to be to come out 
and detain him from his sport by consulting him concerning matters 
whereon they sought his counsel.' 

Nevertheless, Arthur Onslow had his battles to fight. He was not in 
favour at the Court. Towards the latter end of Charles II.'s reign he 
seems to have been marked out for persecution. He was removed from 

81 M 

Some West Surrey Villages 

the commission of the peace, and had his house searched as a disaffected 
and dangerous person. Both he and his eldest son were presented at 
the Surrey Quarter Sessions for words spoken at a bailiff's feast in 
Guildford, and for giving a gold chain and medal to the Mayor of the 
Borough on his appointment as High Steward. The last incident is 
linked with another episode in Onslow's career which redounds greatly to 
his credit. 

Some poor folks living near the Berkshire border of Surrey were 
charged with killing the King's deer from Windsor Forest, and they 
were to be tried for the offence by Judge Jeffreys. Their peril was great. 
They had killed the deer quite justifiably, for Guildford Park had been 
disafforested, and no part of Surrey was within Windsor Forest. But 
what chance had they of justice at Jeffreys' hands ? They sought 
Onslow's help, and he, characteristically enough, proved their friend. 
When on the opening of the Commission the Grand Jury was sworn 
in, some hint was given to the Judge ' that they were of a complexion 
not to do his business.' Jeffreys discharged them at once, and bade 
the Sheriff return another jury forthwith. But in this instance the 
Judge had reckoned without his host. Onslow was there, and interposed 
with the objection that no further proceedings could be taken under 
that special Commissiori, the powers of which had been exhausted. Irate 
as he was, Jeffreys apparently felt himself outmanoeuvred. He broke 
up the court in a rage, and with threats of vengeance on Onslow for 
having 'overreached him.' Onslow by his readiness and courage had 
saved the 'rioters,' against whom no further proceedings were taken. 

It augured ill for Onslow and his son that, when called upon to 
answer in the Court of King's Bench for the Guildford speech to 
which I have just referred, they should have to appear before the Chief 
Justice. Jeffreys soon showed that he had not forgotten the rioters' 
trial. But the threatened vengeance was luckily averted. Onslow's 
father-in-law, Sir Henry Tulse, was an alderman of the City of London, 
where Jeffreys was Recorder. Tulse's good offices seem to have been 
exerted on the accused's behalf. At any rate, the prosecution went no 
further, and in later years the Judge was ' much softened ' towards 
the man who had so pluckily and successfully resisted him at Guildford. 

We must not tarry now to dwell at length upon Onslow's election 
experiences, interesting though some of them were ; but I must not omit 





Knowle and the Onslows 

to note that he and George Evelyn of Wotton, brother of ' Sylva ' Evelyn, 
stood together in the memorable fight of 1679, which in Surrey, as 
elsewhere, proved fierce and obstinate beyond example. Their opponents 
were Lord Longford and Sir Adam Browne, and, in Arthur Onslow's 
phrase, it was a ' mighty and very expensive struggle.' Despite the 
best efforts of the Court party, Evelyn and Onslow won the day. They 
were again successful six months later, when another dissolution was 
suddenly sprung upon the country. Two years later still all the conditions 
were against them. James II. 's accession had been followed by a burst 
of hearty and short-lived loyalty. ' Through the arbitrary and partial 
friendship of the Sheriff, and the violence used towards them and their 
friends,' Onslow and Evelyn gave up the poll, ' although the majority of 
the electors was visibly with them.' 

To the last, however, Onslow retained the affectionate respect of his 
friends and neighbours. So vast a concourse of people of all conditions, 
in coaches, on horseback, and afoot, attended his funeral that the crowd 
is said to have extended almost the whole distance of three miles from 
Clandon (where his father had bought a hunting-lodge from Sir Richard 
Weston) to Guildford. And Bishop Mew of Winchester the fighting 
Bishop hastened to Cranleigh to perform the last offices. The King, 
indeed, took umbrage at the demonstration, ' as though something else 
was meant than a bare funeral ceremony,' when this manly, upright Squire 
was laid in his last resting-place in the church whose memories are 
distinctly the richer by its associations with his name. 

From this time forward the Onslows were less closely linked with 
Cranleigh. The family removed soon after the Revolution to the Clandon 
estate, where the second Baron Onslow, thirty or forty years later, 
erected the mansion which is now their chief seat. Old memories were, 
however, preserved by the choice of the title of Viscount Cranley when 
the earldom was created in 1801. 

83 M 2 



HE 'Fold country' the expanse of rich woodlands on 
the clay which stretches from the foot of Leith Hill 
and Holmbury and Ewhurst hills to the Sussex borders 
remains to this day the least explored district in 
Surrey. It is not far from the rail, and it is not the 
terra incognita which it was even thirty years ago. 
But in it the ' tripper ' is rarely, if ever, seen. The 
cyclist, when he traverses it, hurries on, for the most part unconscious of 
many of its claims to his attention, and neither the speculating builder nor 
the ' season-ticket-holder,' whose presence is so apparent in some other 
portions of the county, has yet marked it as his own. 

Nevertheless, the Surrey Weald is full of interest and charm. Cobbett, 
as most of us know, described it in his emphatic fashion as a district 
where the lanes are of ' bottomless clay,' and ' where, strictly speaking, 
only three things will grow well grass, wheat, and oak-trees.' To-day 
its roads may still for the most part be little more than lanes, which in 
bad weather are muddy enough, though not ' bottomless.' But thanks to 
the same stiff clay and the far-stretching oak-plantations, it is rich in 
woodland beauty. Fine old timbered farmhouses recall the prosperity of 
the yeomen of ' the Folds ' in times when, for many months of the year, they 
were almost shut off from the rest of the world. Now and again the 
Hammer ponds and legends of the glass-works suggest industries which 
nourished in this out-of-the-way region three or four centuries ago. 
Picturesque commons here and there remind us that we are still in the 
county of heaths and open spaces. In spring the bluebell and the prim- 
rose and the marsh marigold in rich profusion add to the brightness of 
the scene. At Dunsfold we come upon a village church well entitled to 
rank among the most interesting in South-west Surrey ; and Chiddingfold 


In the Fold Country 

boasts both a church and an inn well worthy of the tributes paid to them 
by many an artist's brush and pencil. 

I do not know that the three villages, Alfold, Dunsfold, and Chidding- 
fold, of this ' Fold country ' can be more conveniently grouped for a single 
ramble than in a cross-country route which starts from Cranleigh and 
ends at Chiddingfold. But the villages are some distance apart, and the 
walk will require a long summer day if we are to saunter, as we assuredly 
shall be tempted to do, along the devious lanes which penetrate this wide 
expanse of park-land, farm-land, and wood. And when at last we reach 
Alfold, our first halting-place, we shall have no difficulty in recognising 
that until quite recent years it was one of the most primitive villages in 


Surrey. Only the other day I chanced to note a significant entry against 
the name of Alfold in the postal information furnished in a Guildford 
Directory for 1842 ; for while Chiddingfold and Dunsfold had their postal 
bags from Godalming daily, the utmost the authorities could say of the 
delivery of a Guildford letter in Alfold was that it was ' uncertain.' 

Of late, however, Alfold can point to distinct stages of progress, which 
will or will not be welcome, according to the standpoint of the critic. 
For myself, I am not prepared to adopt Mr. Ralph Nevill's phrase, and 
assert that the ' breath of the pestilence has passed over and vulgarized it.' 
Alfold is still charmingly rural and sequestered quite sufficiently so to 
satisfy most of us. 


Some West Surrey Villages 

But, difficult as it is to realize the fact, the village once was in a 
modest way a manufacturing ' centre.' Both glass-making and the iron 
industry found a home here in the Middle Ages. As to the former, I shall 
have more to say in connection with Chiddingfold. For the moment it is 
enough to mention that Glasshouse Field recalls the fact that a body of 
French refugees established themselves here when they and their industry 
were driven from their own land by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 
Aubrey mentions that the graves of some of these emigrants were pointed 
out to him in the churchyard, while Speed's map (1610) marks a glass- 
house in the parish. 

Similarly, Furnace Bridge testifies that here, as elsewhere along the 
county boundary-line, iron-working extended from Sussex into Surrey. 
In many respects, indeed, though not in all, the conditions essential for the 
success of the industry were the same in the two counties. Iron was to 
be found in the beds beneath the Wealden clay, and the Wealden forests 
supplied the timber, which could be worked into charcoal, for fuel. 
' Everywhere in the neighbourhood of a furnace the work of the colliers 
that is, of the charcoal-burners, as we still call them was carried on. 
And even to-day professional charcoal-burners, descendants of the original 
workers, are to be found in Surrey.' 

Originally, no doubt, iron was only worked on any scale in districts 
where water carriage was available. From the Sussex mills it used to be 
sent down the Rother to the coast, and thence conveyed by sea to London. 
Surrey, in this respect, was far less favourably placed, and its iron-fields 
were never so important as those of Sussex and Kent. But it seems per- 
fectly clear that the increased demands of the sixteenth century, and the 
virtually inexhaustible supply of wood which the Wealden forests furnished, 
led to the gradual extension of the industry across the Sussex border into 
the adjacent corner of Surrey. We have definite evidence that the Surrey 
iron-works were in full activity in Elizabeth's time. One list specifies 
forges at Vachery, Shere (probably Abinger), Newdigate, Lingfield, and 
other places. And we have other proof that Alfold, Dunsfold, Cran- 
leigh, Chiddingfold, Hambledon, Witley, Haslemere, Thursley and 
Frensham, with Abinger and Shere to the north, were all well within 
the iron district of South-west Surrey. 

Besides the ore and an abundant timber-supply, water-power was 
essential for the working of the furnaces where the works were of any size, 


In the Fold Country 

and many streams were dammed to form mill-heads for the purpose. The 
blast-furnaces were blosvn by two pairs of bellows, worked alternately by 
a water-wheel, so that one was being compressed while the other was being 
opened for a new blast. A similar arrangement alternately lifted and let 
fall a heavy hammer in the forge. Hence the ' Hammer ponds ' with 
which we are still familiar in Abinger and other parishes, where as often 
as not a corn-mill has succeeded to the hammer of the iron-working days. 
Many generations have passed since these remote corners of Surrey 

*?v~ ~ ~~ ~ ^T; 



were the home of an industry which was really of vital importance 
to the nation both in peace and war. But there is abundant testimony 
that this was once the case. Even now, though not so frequently as was 
possible twenty or thirty years ago, you may still chance to come across 
vestiges of the Surrey iron goods in the shape of firebacks and dogs, candle 
and rushlight stands. Moreover, the records show that throughout the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Government thought it necessary 
to keep a watchful eye upon the industry, and was especially anxious to 


Some West Surrey Villages 

prevent the exportation of ordnance from these districts. Thus, in 1576 
an Order in Council stopped any further casting of iron guns or shot in 
Surrey until Her Majesty's pleasure should again be known. For, in the 
Council's opinion, the country was sufficiently supplied, and any manu- 
facture beyond this point led only to the supply of ' strangers and pirates.' 
Again, shortly after the defeat of the Armada a similar injunction was 
issued applying to all the furnaces and iron forges in Surrey and Sussex, 
which, moreover, were to be visited by a ' discreet gentleman,' whose 
mission it was to ascertain the number and kind of pieces of cast-iron 
ordnance then at the works. 

Not only so : the iron-masters felt the pressure of much paternal legisla- 
tion. To preserve the forests from destruction, an attempt was made to 
limit the cutting of wood of a certain size on the common woods of the 
Weald. Later on the erection of cast-iron works in Surrey was forbidden 
within twenty-two miles of London or within fourteen miles of the Thames 
beyond that radius. Later still this restriction was strengthened by a 
stipulation that new iron-works should be opened on old sites only if the 
owner could supply fuel from his own property. And, in addition, the 
manufacturers were compelled to contribute either in materials or cash 
towards the repairing of the roads used by their carts. 

The industry reached its highest point of prosperity in the first half of 
the seventeenth century ; but the crippling effect of the regulations just 
noticed was apparent before long. No doubt the restrictions and tolls 
were not always rigidly imposed. How could one expect them to be when 
justices of the peace, and large land-owners, and other influential gentle- 
men, were themselves interested in and profiting by the industry ? But 
when the justices failed to do their duty, the Star Chamber could step in, 
and we have records of the appointment of two surveyors to visit all iron- 
works and woods used in connection with them, ' for the reformation of 
sundry deceits and abuses now used and practised in the making of iron.' 

Later on, other causes were at work. Waller disarmed the Royalists in 
the South-eastern counties in the Civil War, and as far as possible destroyed 
their iron-works. In addition, the increasing cost of fuel and the badness 
of the roads more and more hampered the Wealden industry. Finally 
came two discoveries : the possibility of smelting iron with coal, and 
alas that it should have to be told! the unpatriotic action of certain 
iron-masters, who smuggled over iron-work to France in war-time, and 


In the Fold Country 

no doubt made a pretty penny by the transaction. The transfer in con- 
sequence of a Government contract to the Carron Ironworks in Scotland 
was almost the last blow ; for, though it is difficult to say exactly when 


the" Surrey works ceased, we may take it they were practically extinct by 
the latter half of the eighteenth century. 

Such are some of the old-time Black Country associations of the 
district, essentially rural to-day, through which we pass as we make our 

89 N 

Some West Surrey Villages 

way from Alfold to Dunsfold, crossing en route a. little tributary of the 
Arun, and the Wey and Arun Canal, itself also, as we have seen, a relic 
of another form of obsolete commercial enterprise. 

Dunsfold has good cause for pride in its church ; a purer specimen 
of Decorated work is not to be found in any Surrey village, and recent 
restorations have been carried out with excellent taste and with scrupulous 
care. We probably owe its beauty in the first place to the Augustinian 
Canons who held the advowson for many years until the demolition of 
the monasteries, and who were always fond of noble buildings. Mr. Lewis 
Andre has described the characteristic features of the church in detail in 
the ' Collections of the Surrey Archaeological Society.' Here it is enough 
to note that the architect depended solely for the success of his design on 
good proportion, well-conceived tracery, and bold mouldings, as there is 
not a scrap of carved work throughout the building. 

Of the paintings which once covered the walls of the church very 
slight vestiges now remain ; but there can be no doubt that, before the 
Injunctions of 1547 ordered the obliteration of all pictures, the building 
was bright with colours. Some of the chief scenes in the life of our Lord 
were depicted in these frescoes. On the north side of the nave the legs 
of a gigantic figure in water were found ; and this probably was St. 
Christopher, so placed as to be the first picture to be seen on entering 
the church, in obedience to the profound belief that whoever saw this 
saint's figure would be free from evil that day. Over the arch of the 
north chapel was a drawing of a hare-hunt, and on the front of the arch 
were three hounds pulling a stag. 

In bench-ends Dunsfold is richer than any other church in Surrey. 
They have a design combining the square ends generally found only in 
the West of England with the ' poppy heads ' almost universal in the 
Eastern counties ; and as they date back, we may safely say, to the middle 
of the thirteenth century, they rank, with the woodwork of the upper 
chancel at Compton, among the best extant specimens of early Surrey 
carpentry. Finally, we must not quit the churchyard without a glance 
at the magnificent old yew which rivals the well-known one at Crowhurst. 
We should note also that the churchyard fence is kept in repair by the 
land-owners of the parish, each being legally responsible for a portion of 
the work according to the amount of land he owns. 

A statement has been made that Dunsfold Church is a special object 









In the Fold Country 

of pilgrimage by Roman Catholics. One ought, perhaps, to say in passing 
that the sole warrant for this assertion is the fact that the church is visited 
several times every year by parties of Roman priests from the seminary 
at Wonersh, and that on one occasion, some little time since, a numerous 
band of visitors came from London, the explanation being their belief 
that the ' Blessed Virgin Mary was always in residence at Dunsfold.' 

As to one tradition connected with the spot, however, there can be no 
doubt. The well between the church and the river was for generations 
considered a holy well. Even to this day it is credited with medicinal 
properties, and people come for the water as a cure for sore eyes. The 
Rector, the Rev. W. H. Winn, favours the theory that it was on 
account of this well that the church was built on its present site, some 
little distance from the centre of the village. Water is scarce in the 
Weald, and this is the only spring-well rising to the surface of the ground 
which Mr. Winn knows of in the whole country. It never runs dry, and 
rises within 4 or 5 feet of the river, with which, however, it has no 
connection, except in the way of overflow. I ought, perhaps, to add 
here that the orchard near the mill was known as the Abbot's Garden, 
and an old house on it, removed in late years, is supposed to have been 
connected with the church or some old monastery. Further, it is alleged 
that Edward Young, the poet, composed some of his 'Night Thoughts' 
in what was known as the Filbert Walk in the Rectory garden. In 
support of this belief, it may be urged that Young was closely connected 
with the poet Wharton, who, according to the parish register, was married 
in Dunsfold Church to Elizabeth Richardson in 1720. 

There is not much to detain us in connection with Dunsfold's parochial 
history. The registers, however, indicate that discipline was sometimes 
firmly upheld in the ' good old days.' Thus, on March 16, 1665, Sarah 
Pick did penance in a white sheet, and was excommunicated the same 
day. Two years later 'J. Barnes, and An his wife, did privat penance'; 
while another entry mentions a ' house at the Whipping Post,' which 
there is now no means of identifying. 

Another circuitous succession of lanes brings us to Chiddingfold, or a 
delightfully sequestered path, which starts from Dunsfold Churchyard, 
will both shorten the ramble and add to its variety. To-day placidly 
picturesque, grouped around a typical Surrey common, Chiddingfold can 

91 N 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

claim greater antiquity, and certainly greater industrial activity, than are 
suggested by its present aspect. It boasts the site of the first Roman 
villa discovered in the Weald, and the archaeologist will find in the 
Surrey Archaeological Society's Museum some specimens of the pottery 
and glass so brought to light. Early in the Middle Ages, too, the place 
must have had some local importance, for it enjoyed the privilege of an 

(From an old print.) 

annual fair on the eve, the feast, and the morrow of the Virgin Mary, and 
a weekly market on Tuesday, under the terms of a charter granted to a 
Bishop of Salisbury who, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, held 
the manor as part of Godalming. The old market-house, indeed, remained 
in existence till 1812, on the site of the smithy on the village green, 


In the Fold Country 

which has tempted the brush of many an artist. From its proximity to 
the village cross, it was known as the Cross House, and the stocks were 
hard by. 

Above all, Chiddingfold is of interest as the chief seat of glass-making 
in Surrey. Chiddingfold glass, indeed, dates back nearly seven centuries. 
We must hesitate to accept the theory that the Roman glass found in the 


parish indicates that the industry was a relic of the invasion, for the little 
glass which was used in England before the thirteenth century was 
imported, not home-made. But we have clear evidence that in 1225 a 
grant of land was made to an Italian glass-worker at Chiddingfold ; and 
the records discovered by Mr. Ralph Nevill of the supply of Chiddingfold 
glass to St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster, in 1350, afford additional 


Some West Surrey Villages 

proof that the trade throve in the parish. Foreign craftsmen settled here, 
as at Alfold, attracted, no doubt, in part by the abundance of fuel, and 
partly by the presence in the soil of the firestone or malmstone which 
was specially suitable for making the bed of their furnaces. Fuller, 
indeed, says that the Chiddingfold glass-works were the only glass-works 
in the country in the sixteenth century ; and although this statement 
must not be interpreted too literally, we know definitely, from the text 
of a petition to Queen Elizabeth, that in her reign there were at least 
eleven glass-houses on Chiddingfold Green. For the neighbouring residents 
were up in arms : they petitioned the Queen because the works were a 
nuisance ; besides, there were others not far off at Thursley, to wit. 

The good folks of Chiddingfold in thus protesting were not a whit 
more narrow-minded than their contemporaries and neighbours. In just 
the same spirit Guildford and Godalming complained of an Italian who 
had erected a glass-house near the former town, and threatened, as the 
petitioners alleged, to destroy the adjacent woods. The Chiddingfold 
petition was successful, and the chief industry of the place received its 
death-blow, though a little later another ' nuisance ' was probably discovered 
in the iron-works which, according to Aubrey, were established in the 
southern portion of the parish. 

From all such forms of annoyance to-day Chiddingfold is wholly free, 
and nothing could be further removed from our thoughts than the smoke 
of iron or glass furnaces as we wander acfoss the green towards the 
church, with an admiring glance at the picturesque frontage of the old 
Crown Inn. The church was restored and enlarged in 1869-70, and 
suffered somewhat in the process, but still retains some interesting features, 
notably the Early English chancel. Its history may be briefly told : 
There was presumably a place of worship, probably of timber, on the 
site when the advowson was granted, in 1115, by Henry II. to the 
Cathedral Church of Sarum. The first stone church seems, however, to 
have been erected sixty or seventy years later, and to this fabric consider- 
able additions, including a new south aisle, were made a century after- 
wards, to keep pace with the increased growth and prosperity of the parish. 
In the latter part of the fifteenth century the low part of the nave was un- 
roofed and widened, and the present lofty pillars were built. The tower, 
too, was begun at the same time, though not completed till after 1537. 

The small tablet recording the death of the only son of Edward Lay- 


In the Fold Country 

field is the sole memorial we find in the church to-day of a Rector of 
the parish of whose experiences as the victim of Puritan persecution 
Walker has much to say in his ' Sufferings of the Clergy.' Remarkable 
indeed were the vicissitudes which befell him. ' Half-sister's son to the 
blessed martyr Archbishop Laud,' Layfield, as Vicar of All Hallows', 


Barking, was ' one of the most early of the clergy that fell under the 
displeasure of the party.' He was taken into custody at the very begin- 
ning of the session, was continually harassed for some years, was 
sequestered from All Hallows' in 1642 or 1643, and was afterwards forced 
to fly the country for his security. 


Some West Surrey Villages 

Layfield's Chiddingfold living was also sequestrated, and the fact that 
it was the first so used in Surrey seems to show that he was specially 
marked out for attack. His temporal estate was seized and taken from 
him. When he was sent by Charles as chaplain to one of the royal 
garrisons the same ill-luck attended him. He was taken prisoner, though 
afterwards released on exchange. At one time or other, to use Walker's 
words, he was ' confined in most of the Jayls about London.' At last, ' in 
company with others, he was clapt on board ship under the hatches, and 
not suffered to have the benefit of the fresh air upon the decks without 
paying a certain price for it.' He was threatened to be sold as a slave to 
the Algerines, unless he paid a ransom, which was at first fixed at 1,500, 
and ultimately reduced to 50. Even this small sum was not paid, and 
finally, after suffering a year's imprisonment and the worst indignities, 
' he was turned ashore for nothing.' 

Once when he was seized his persecutors ' robbed him likewise of his 
watch and what money he had about him.' At another time they inter- 
rupted him in his performance of Divine service, dragged him out of 
church, set him on horseback with his surplice on, tied the Common 
Prayer-Book about his neck, and in this manner forced him to ride 
through some part of the City of London whilst the mob hooted him. 
As the minutes of the Committee of Plundered Ministers show, Layfield 
resisted to the last. When a Mr. Diggle was appointed to the sequestered 
living of Chiddingfold, Layfield induced his parishioners to withhold 
payment of tithes to him, and their obstinacy was again and again the 
subject of report to the Committee. 

Yet, says Walker, Layfield, though reduced to a mean and low con- 
dition how could it be otherwise after treatment such as this ? lived 
through all his troubles for nearly twenty years, bore them with great 
courage and resolution, and was in the long-run restored to all his prefer- 
ments. ' He was a man of generous and noble spirit, and of great courage 
and resolution, and, cheerfully quitting all, chose rather to stand in the 
storm which afterwards fell upon him than submit himself to the vile 
practice of those times.' 

Across the green, the Crown Inn can claim an antiquity almost as great 
as that of the parish church. Neither the name of the builder nor the 
exact date of its erection is known, but deeds have been found which refer 
to a building here in 1383, and tradition speaks of it as of ecclesiastical 


In the Fold Country 

origin This theory derives some plausibility from the connection of the 
manor with the Bishop of Salisbury, and from the belief that a subway 
once existed from the house to the church opposite. It would have served 
admirably as a priest's residence, and it is not till 1536 that we have any 
mention of it as ' the Crown.' Originally it comprised a one-story hall in 
the centre with a two-story wing at either end. There were no traces of 
an original chimney in the central hall, which was no doubt warmed by a 
wood fire on a health on the floor. As Mr. Welman has pointed out, the 
general plan and the main features of the building were common to all 
medieval buildings of the same kind, but both the material and the 
workmanship were above the average. The specimens of oak used in 
the building were magnificent. In the middle of the sixteenth century 
the central hall was done away with and a chimney constructed, and this 
part of the building converted into two stories. 




(a) Hambledon and Witley. 

E left the heather and the pines for a time when we dipped 
down from the sand-hills to the Weald. Our long 
ramble to Chiddingfold has, however, brought us again 
to the threshold of a corner of South-west Surrey where 
birch and pine and heather and bracken long had 
almost undisputed sway. Of recent years the pine- 
woods of Witley have suffered somewhat severely at 
the builder's hands, and there are those who predict that the day is not 
far distant when even Crooksbury, Churt, and Frensham, and the still 
wild moorland around them, will rival Ascot in residential popularity. 
But as yet such developments are matters of prophecy, and not of history. 
And it is still possible to ramble for many an hour over wild open heath- 
lands and enjoy the sandy soil and the heather-scented air which first 
attracted the late Poet Laureate to Haslemere and Blackdown, amid 
surroundings free from the taint or touch of Suburbia. 

To one fragment of this region the fragment which lies immediately 
near Witley Station we could not wish for a pleasanter approach than 
that which can be made from the old-world village of Chiddingfold in 
which we have just been tarrying. We may follow the main-road for 
a mile or more, until Northbridge is passed, and a tempting path appears 
on our right beneath the sturdy oaks of Hambledon Hurst. This path, 
be it noted, was originally part of the old highroad from London to 
Chichester through Midhurst. But, as it was a particularly awkward bit 
on what was notoriously one of the very worst roads of the county, it was 
quickly deserted when the new highroad over Wormley Hill was con- 
structed. Presently we emerge on the verge of Hambledon Common, 
one of the quietest, prettiest, and most paintable commons in South-west 





Amid the Pines and Heather 

Surrey. We climb the gentle slope of the hill overlooking the Hurst, 
through which we have just passed, to enjoy the distant view of the gray- 
blue crests of Hindhead. Behind us are the pines, while in the imme- 
diate foreground some pleasantly-placed cottages, a sawmill, and the 
single trees dotted here and there about the common, combine to form 
as pretty a picture as the eye could wish to see. 

Before proceeding to Witley, we shall do well to ramble northwards 
for a short space to Hambledon Church, to which a path from the 
Busbridge and Godalming road just north of the common pleasantly 
leads. Although Hambledon is mentioned in Domesday, the church 
itself is comparatively modern, and architecturally unattractive and 
dreary. But the two gigantic yews in the churchyard, the farm-buildings 
close at hand, and the wealth of oak and beech and chestnut around, form 
a picturesque setting for a building which in itself has little to detain us. 
We descend the hill by a deeply-cut lane, than which Devon itself can 
show nothing prettier in its ruddy sandstone banks and its profusion of 
wild-flowers amid the protruding roots of the fine trees whose branches 
meet overhead. Truly a spot in which to dream of pixies and fairies and 
other mysterious visitants from shadowland. When we reach the main- 
road again we turn sharply to the left by the side of a stream, to whose 
presence in the valley the vivid greenness and luxuriance of plant-life 
bear testimony. And seen in the first freshness of early summer a scene 
singularly sweet is before us : a lovely meadow, all golden with the ' little 
children's dower ' ; meek-eyed kine busy among the rich pasturage in 
the sunlight ; and one magnificent copper beech amid a setting of May 

Presently our path brings us again to Hambledon Common, and 
rambling westward amid the sandy hills, we come upon the healthily- 
placed buildings, old and new, of Hambledon Workhouse. Leaving these 
on our left, a lane speedily leads us to the main-road, and a path almost 
exactly opposite offers the shortest route to Witley Station. 

Witley village lies fully half a mile north of the southern slopes of 
Wormley Hill, along which our pathway runs. But here more than any- 
where else centre the artistic and literary associations which have clustered 
round the district of recent years. Close by is the house which was long 
the home of Mr. Birket Foster. Just above the station is Pinewood, 
originally built by Mr. J. C. Hook, and now the Surrey seat of Lord 

99 02 

Some West Surrey Villages 

Knutsford. And near at hand, too, is The Heights, for a time the 
residence of George Eliot and G. H. Lewes. ' Our bit of Surrey,' wrote 
the former in 1877, ' has the beauties of Scotland wedded to those of 
Warwickshire,' a blend, one may fairly say, which would only suggest 
itself to a native of the latter county. It was at The Heights that 
George Lewes died a year later, and that ' Theophrastus Such,' almost 
forgotten now, was written. 

Of these notable residents Mr. J. C. Hook was the pioneer, and the 
story of his coming, as the veteran Royal Academician himself told it me, 
now some years since, is worth re-telling. 

Hook had always hungered for country life and country air. In the 
summer of 1857 he, Creswick, and other members of the Etching Club, 
picnicked on Hambledon Common. The peaceful beauty of the place 
fascinated Hook at once. ' I'll let my house in London and come and live 
here,' he exclaimed ; and the very next day Mrs. Hook was brought to 
see the district. A small cottage near at hand was soon engaged as a 
temporary home while the neighbourhood was carefully explored for a 
suitable building site. Ultimately the desired spot was found on the hill 
overlooking the Weald, ' right in the middle of the pines, the immemorial 
territory of the squirrel and the ring-dove.' His friends remonstrated, but 
in vain. ' Between the firs I caught a glimpse of Chanctonbury Ring, 
and then I saw the whole thing finished before me.' 

And so in due course Pinewood was begun, and for nine years it 
remained the artist's home. Then the combined invasion of the railway, 
with Witley Station just below the house, of philanthropy as seen in King 
Edward's Schools, and the ' building beast,' of whose handiwork there is 
quite sufficient evidence to-day, drove Hook still further afield to Churt, 
an even more remote corner of South-west Surrey, where we shall meet 
him again before our rambles are over. 

From the pines which crown Wormley Hill, we dip down to the 
village and the village street. Who can wonder that the artist is always 
busy here, where picturesque cottages, gardens bright with flowers, and 
the old ivy-clad church, perched pleasantly just above the road, offer 
subjects which never pall. Witley, in fact, closely rivals Shere in its 
popularity as an artist's centre, and the cottage next to the church has 
probably been drawn as often as anything in England. 

If only by virtue of its conspicuous position, the church invites inspec- 

Amid the Pines and Heather 

tion. For the most part the building is Early English, but it contains also 
a Norman south doorway with cushion capitals, a Decorated east window 
and a Perpendicular screen. The thorough restoration tactfully carried out 
a few years ago by the generosity of Mr. Foster has added much to the 
charm of the fabric. In the chapel attached to the manor, on the north 
side of the chancel, there are some fragments of old glass, which preserve 
the familiar device of the Bray family the flax-breaker, the hawthorn- 
bush, and the crown. Henry VII., among the many gifts he bestowed 
upon Sir Reginald Bray, is believed to have given him a life interest in 
this manor. Two memorials, however, specially claim our attention, 



mutilated though they are. One records the death of Thomas Jones, or 
Jonys, ' one of the sewers of the chamber to our sovereigne Lord Kinge 
Henry VIII.' On another stone in the north wall of the chancel 
we can still trace the fragments of an inscription to the memory of 
the ill-fated Duke of Clarence, who also had some connection with the 

If we glance for a moment at these manorial records, we get a curious 
insight into the little-known past of a Surrey parish which in medieval 
days could have had but scant connection with the outside world. Thus, 
at the time of the Domesday Witley belonged to an influential Norman 
family named De Aquila, or De 1'Aigle. From them it passed through 
the hands of several important families (e.g., the Mareschals of Pembroke, 


Some West Surrey Villages 

the Warrens of Surrey), until Henry III. bestowed it on Prince Edward 
and his heirs. Thenceforward it seems to have been part of the usual 
dower of the Queens of England. In this connection the men of Witley 
enjoyed one special privilege. As tenants of the Crown they claimed 
exemption from jury service under a grant from Henry IV. Years later 
the exemption was challenged by the justices in session, and the question 
was fought out in the Court of Exchequer. But the Witley men made 
good their case, and, in Manning's phrase, their privilege ' has never been 
questioned since.' 

Subsequently Witley became the property in succession of many promi- 
nent officials and servants of the Court. Thus, it was held in turn by the 
Mores of Loseley ; by one Henry Bell, Clerk Comptroller of the House- 
hold to James I. ; and later still by Antony Smith, who was Clerk of the 
Spicery to the same King. 

(b) Thursley and Frensham. 

Our ramble will be pleasant enough if we make our way still further 
northward to Milford and Mousehill, with their characteristic commons, 
which add so greatly to the charm of the Portsmouth Road. But we may, 
if we choose, follow a more direct route by striking sharply to the west by 
the smithy at the further end of Witley village. Thence, keeping below 
Mare Hill, we cross the Haslemere road, skirt the lavishly reconstructed 
walls of Lea Park, and, passing Cosford Mill, join the Portsmouth Road 
just where the Red Lion marks the road to Thursley. 

Here we are on the threshold of the stretch of wild country which 
extends from the crests of Hindhead to the outskirts of Farnham, which 
of late years has attracted so many visitors and residents to its hill-tops, 
and of which Mr. Baring-Gould has treated so vividly in ' The Broom 

A word first as to the novel just named. One can hardly be as grate- 
ful as one would wish to Mr. Baring-Gould for his study of the district. 
True, he has woven into his story many chapters of the history of Thursley 
and Frensham, and to the ghastly tragedy on Gibbet Hill, which the 
sailor's stone in Thursley Churchyard records, he adds ingeniously a touch 
of romance. But the tale at best is lugubrious, and in its ' local colour ' 
is as intensely sombre as his heroine's career is sad. And so it comes about 


Amid the Pines and Heather 

that the reader is tempted nay, almost forced to think of this district 
as one of unrelieved gloom. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. On a dull afternoon, when 
the clouds are low and threatening, Highcombe Bottom no doubt looks 
far deeper and more weird than it really is. Little imagination may be 


needed then to endow it with the evil spirits and the dragons which 
bygone superstitions so freely bestowed on it. But to the true lover of 
Nature these wonderful uplands are never dismal. And in the bright 
sunshine of spring or summer the gorse, the purple heather, the light- 
green whortleberry, give countless touches of brilliant colour to the 
treeless hills. 

Some West Surrey Villages 

Thursley to-day is still a straggling moorland village. The cyclist is 
nevertheless a frequent visitor, anxious to see for himself the unknown 
murdered sailor's grave and tombstone, which figures in every guide-book 
as the chief local memorial of the tragedy on Gibbet Hill. But a better 
reward than this is in store for those who ride or stroll to Thursley Church- 
yard, in the fine prospect over the open heathland which stretches across 
towards Churt and Frensham. Often, too, has the artist found a tempting 
subject in the church itself and the adjacent vicarage. 

The district of which Thursley Church was the old-time centre has 
passed through many phases in its history. As the ' hammer ' ponds 
remind us, mines and forges and smelting-pits once marked it as part 
of the Surrey iron-fields. When that industry died out, the sole link with 
the outside world was the main-road to Portsmouth, which climbed to 
the top of the Hindhead ridge at a higher level than the present. The 
moorland marsh in part, and in parts impassable which stretched 
northwards from this main-road towards Frensham was a veritable ' no 
man's land.' From time immemorial squatters settled in the Punchbowl 
as Mr. Baring-Gould has told us built themselves hovels and pastured 
their sheep, goats, and cattle. They cut their broom-handles from the 
Spanish chestnuts which throve in the coppices on the lower hills, and 
in the heather which abounded on every hand they found the materials 
for the brush of their brooms. They prowled over the marshes for ducks, 
and they watched the sand-barrows for rabbits. Now and again a good 
haul of fish would be netted in the Frensham ponds. And at Christmas- 
tide they wandered far and wide selling the holly they had cut wherever 
they could find it of course, without troubling to ask permission. 

Nor was the tempting art of smuggling neglected. The nearness of 
the district to one of the main arteries of traffic from the South Coast, its 
wildness, and its inaccessibility to all who were strangers to it, rendered 
it specially suitable for the reception and concealment of contraband tea, 
spirits, and tobacco. The cave to which Mr. Baring Gould makes 
Mehetabel fly in order to save her child from Bideabout was probably 
originally scooped out of the sandstone for this purpose. At least one 
farm can be named (I believe) beneath which are carefully-constructed 
vaults with an artfully-disguised entrance. And Lord Midleton has 
pointed out that many of the wells in the neighbourhood were built bell- 
shaped with the same object. In later days still the hut-men became the 


Amid the Pines and Heather 

terror of the neighbourhood by their raids on sheepfolds, hen-roosts and 
preserves. When at last their chief leader, Chuter, ended his days in the 
county gaol, he was serving his seventeenth term of imprisonment. 

Of all these things, to-day we have little or no trace. Lawlessness has 
long since disappeared. Modern residences cluster to the edge of the 
combe which the squatters once regarded as their own ; the iron-works 
we know only by name. 

But the memory of many of the superstitions which naturally nay, 
inevitably sprang up in such surroundings and on such a soil is still pre- 
served. Here, again, we are almost bound to tread the path Mr. Baring- 
Gould has already trodden. In one form or another he has gathered up 
most of the legends which still linger round the moor and the neighbouring 
hills. Take, for example, Thors Stone, the gray block of ironstone near 
Pudmere Pool, in the middle of Thursley Marsh. We may or may not 
endorse the derivation of the name of the parish which he accepts when 
he tells us that the slopes that dip towards the stone are ' the Thor's lea, 
and give their name to the parish that included it and them.' But of the 
popular faith in bygone days, in the elves and pucksies who gathered 
there, and previously at Borough Hill, his pages give us a vivid and faith- 
ful picture. 

Originally the pilgrims made their way to Borough Hill, whence the 
famous caldron in Frensham Church was brought, as Aubrey tells us, 
' by the fairies time out of mind.' Other theories, however, find favour 
in connection with the caldron and the hill. There is the story of the 
forgetful woman who, when arranging a christening feast, begged the loan 
of a caldron from the pucksies, and who, after her prayer had been 
granted, failed to return the kettle according to promise. Yet another 
tradition relates how a certain witch lent the caldron to the devil, who 
likewise broke his word and failed to return it before sunset as agreed. 
When later on he casually looked in and brought the kettle, the irate 
dame refused to accept it. Whereupon the devil discreetly buried it in 
the neighbouring hill, known to this day as Kettlebury Hill. 

But the good folk at Borough Hill on one occasion did their work so 
effectively that they thereby lost all their clients. Thus, we are told of 
a certain woman who one evening sought to be freed by the fairies' help 
from the husband who had made her life unendurable. That same night 
he was returning home from his favourite tavern drunk, and, stumbling 

105 p 

Some West Surrey Villages 

over the edge of a quarry, fell and broke his neck. ' Thereupon certain 
high moralists and busybodies had the mass of stone broken up and 
carted away to mend the roads,' so that a ' degrading superstition ' might 
come to an end. But though the Wishing Block on Borough Hill was 
thus destroyed, the superstition survived. The pilgrims made their way 
instead to Thor's Stone, just as Mehetabel did, to woo the help of the 
pucksies in obtaining their hearts' desire. 

' She sprang,' writes Mr. Baring-Gould, ' from one dark tuft of rushes 
to another, ran along the ridges of sand. She skipped where the surface 
was treacherous. What mattered it to her if she missed her footing and 
sank, and the ooze closed over her ? As well end so a life that could never 
be other than long-drawn agony. . . . Frogs were croaking, a thousand 
natterjacks were whirring like the nightjar. Strange birds screamed and 
rushed out of the trees as she sped along. White moths, ghostlike, 
wavered about her, mosquitoes piped, water - rats plunged into the 

There is no need to quote further. The artist has not spared his 
colours. But the picture lives, and with its help we can conceive some- 
thing of what Thor's Stone and Borough Hill meant to the worthy folk 
of Thursley and the moors before the rail and the cycle had brought them 
into daily and hourly touch with the rest of the world. 

We leave Hindhead and Gibbet Hill and the attractions of the Punch- 
bowl behind us if we set our faces towards Frensham. But our concern 
is with the old-time villages rather than the modern settlements of South- 
west Surrey, and we must not miss the Devil's Jumps, or Churt, or Fren- 
sham Great Pond itself, if we are to gauge aright the character and charm 
of this wide stretch of moorland. Let us, then, leave Thursley by the 
Frensham Road, which, after skirting Kettlebury Hill, conducts us amid 
the pines to the foot of the three hills ' in the shape of three rather squat 
sugar-loaves,' as Cobbett described them, on which, by some curious 
chance, the title of ' The Devil's Jumps ' was long since bestowed. Exactly 
when or why the name was given, tradition does not say ; and we are just 
as much at a loss to know where His Majesty jumped to from the last of 
the three hill-tops. But this ignorance need not prevent us admiring the 
daring ingenuity with which Cobbett found in these sandy mounds an 
argument with which to belabour Unitarianism. 

Here we are nearing the straggling village of Churt, in whose history, 








Amid the Pines and Heather 

perhaps, the most significant incident was the decision of the Court of 
King's Bench in 1692, that the parish was part of the Surrey Weald. The 
ruling was of importance to the parishioners, inasmuch as it exempted 
them from tithes for their moorlands. But geographically and geologically 
the Court's view of the matter is difficult to understand, unless, indeed, 
we accept the explanation that ' Weald ' was interpreted simply and 
broadly as ' wild.' 

At Churt to-day we still find Mr. J. C. Hook, who here, as at Witley, 
discovered attractions which many others have since resolved to share 
with him. His choice of a new home is curiously linked with the paint- 
ing of a picture which many of his admirers will recall. 

Anticipating Mr. Baring-Gould by many years, Hook found a subject 
which appealed to him in 'the broom-dasher' (or 'broom-hawker'), the 
lineal descendant of the old broomsquires. The picture depicts the 
cottages of Churt straggling over a sloping hill, at the foot of which 
a babbling stream runs, crossed by a slab of stone. A boy and girl stand 
on this rude bridge, while ' the broom-dasher ' drives across the stream a 
cart laden with brooms. 

When, a little later on, the artist found that a small farm close by was 
for sale, he speedily became its purchaser. Silverbeck, his new house, 
was soon in course of erection just above the brook in honour of which it 
was named. The spot is thoroughly typical of this corner of the county. 
The beck long ago deepened its channel to a valley, and hurrying by 
' silver birches and pallid willows,' darker elms and pines and oaks, spreads 
broadly in ponds that are the haunts of moorhens and are margined with 
sedge, and then goes forth upon the gravelly heath, where many rushes 
whisper. On the Farnham side the sandy ridges are crowned with belts 
of pines, and shallow valleys are watered by many a tiny brook. Towards 
Hindhead, the neighbouring hills gradually merge in the giant heathery 
ridge, cleft by numerous deep-cut glens and valleys. Here Hook has 
spent the last span of his life, busy as a woodman, a farmer, and a 
gardener, as well as a painter. 

Our road to Frensham takes us past the Great Pond, much loved by 
anglers, to the village pleasantly scattered over the rising ground. 

Frensham Church, according to the annals of Waverley, dates from 
the end of the thirteenth century. To-day we note a Norman arcade and 
the Early English chancel arch as the chief witnesses to the antiquity of 

107 P 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

the building. But over and above these architectural details, the church 
is proud in possessing the copper caldron which has long enjoyed wide 
reputation as Mother Ludlam's caldron, and to whose legendary history 
I have already alluded. Salmon, however, is very matter-of-fact in his 
references to it. ' It need not raise any man's wonder, for what use it was, 
there having been many very lately to be seen, as well as very large spits 
which were given for entertainment of the parish at the wedding of poor 

1 08 




HE Lower Wey embracing in that term the course of 
the river from Guildford to the Thames has many 
beautiful reaches, as all who know it will admit. But 
it is far eclipsed in variety of charm and interest by 
the upper portion of the stream ; and to these softer 
scenes we may well turn if we wish for pleasant and 
striking contrasts with the pines and the heather of the 
moorland which we have just traversed. 

Godalming, clustering on the banks of the stream and climbing the 
hillsides which overlook its course towards Shalford and Guildford, is 
our most convenient starting-point, and so rich is it in routes to tempt the 
cyclist and the rambler that our chief difficulty at the outset will be to 
select one of the many alternatives open to us. No doubt the canoeist 
who, having obtained the needful permit, faces the hazards and labours 
of a voyage up the shallow river may in some respects have the advantage 
of us so far as the Wey and its actual banks are concerned. But afoot we 
shall visit spots that he will miss, and we shall traverse many bits of 
Devonian Surrey as we make our way along and across the river valley. 
It matters little whether we elect to follow the river-bank as closely as 
possible from Godalming Church to Hurtmoor Bottom or whether we 
climb at once to the uplands by the path which skirts Ockford Wood 
Park. In either case we quit pleasant views of the rich river valley only 
to find as we ascend to higher ground broad vistas open out on either 
hand, with peeps of the Hindhead and Hog's Back ridges in the distance 
and the noble spires of Charterhouse in the near background. Presently, 
we find ourselves in Eashing Lane, and then after passing farmhouses 
almost ideal, alike in their setting and their colouring, we may dip down 


Some West Surrey Villages 

by yet another fascinating footpath among the trees, and rejoin the river- 
banks just above Hashing Bridge. 

The picture which meets the gaze fascinates us at once, as the eye 
wanders from the half-timbered cottages to the mill ; from the mill to the 
bridge, gray with age ; and from the bridge to the gently flowing stream, 
its bed overgrown with rushes, its banks dotted with willows ; and from 
the stream to the rich foliage in the meadows and on the steep hillside. 
One shudders to think that the bridge was in sore danger only the other 
day. In accordance with strict utilitarian principles, it was condemned 

(From an old print.) 

as inadequate and dangerous for heavy traffic. Destruction seemed 
imminent, and in the place of a fabric whose stones, rich with lichen, 
have weathered the storms of many a century, there were visions of a 
spick and span iron structure of the type beloved by the railway engineer, 
and accepted as orthodox and economical by the average ' local authority.' 
Fortunately more enlightened views prevailed, and the old bridge has now 
passed to the benevolent hands of the National Trust. 

Here, as at Tilford and Elstead, one may naturally feel tempted to 
conjecture, with Miss Jekyll in ' Home and Garden,' how the arches of 

1 10 

On the Banks of the Wey 

these old buildings were built. Their ' ragged outline points to some 
ruder method of support than the usual wooden centering of modern 
work,' and there seems to the lay mind much plausibility in the same 
writer's suggestion that there was some rough construction of tree-trunks 
and faggoting and earth put up to build upon, 'just as the vaulted rooms 


are built to this day in Southern Italy, where wood is not to be had, by 
building up faggots of brushwood and earth into the form of a filling of 
vault or dome or waggon-head.' 

While we are still tarrying on the bridge, which itself dates back 
to King John's days, it is fitting to recall that Hashing can lay some 


Some West Surrey Villages 

claim to antiquity. It was named as Esc-ing in Alfred's will, as part of 
the property in Surrey bequeathed by the King to his nephew ^Ethelm, 
and the question has arisen as to whether it was not the site of one of the 
two burns, or fortifications Eschingum and Suthringageweorc erected 
by Alfred's son for protection against the Danes. We need not, amid 
such surroundings as these, closely scrutinize the evidence for and against 
this theory. But I may note that it finds scant favour with Surrey's most 
recent historian. 

'The modern Eashing,' Mr. Maiden points out, 'is not a place foraburh. 
It lay in those days out of the way, among heaths and woods, some miles 
from the lines of communication across the country. Where a burh was 
wanted was at Guildford on the Pilgrims' Way, and at the passage of the 
river, where an enemy going from east to west was almost bound to pass. 
Farnham, too, was on the road, and fighting had actually occurred there 
in Alfred's days. The burhs generally became boroughs in a later sense, 
and Guildford became the county borough, and was certainly the site of 
an ancient fortress. At Eashing there is no record or relic of a town or 
fortress. Eashing is emphatically a tribal name, a people, or kindred 
" the sons of the ash." It is tempting to suppose that this territory reached 
what is now Guildford, and that the burh stood among " the sons of the 
ash." The name Guildford existed too in 901, and may have gradually 
supplanted the more general name, which became restricted to a more 
particular settlement of the people at some distance from the fortified 

But this, Mr. Maiden frankly admits, is merely conjectural, and while 
we accept the fact that there were two burhs in Surrey at this period, it is 
obviously open to doubt whether the Eashing we see around us was ever 
the site of any rude fortress when the storm of Danish invasion was 
breaking upon the land. 

Almost directly we have crossed the bridge we may enter Peper Harow 
Park by the drive on the left. But Shackleford, up to which the road 
leads us pleasantly through the woodland, must not thus be passed by. 
Although the modern houses dotted among the trees point conclusively to 
its recent upgrowth, it is one of the relatively few places in the county 
which have yielded proofs of the Roman occupation. Moreover, its church, 
designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, deserves a visit if only for the beauty of its 

* See ' History of Surrey.' 






On the Banks of the Wey 

situation at the junction of the four cross-roads. And, further still, 
Shackleford three centuries ago had for its Squire a worthy London 
Alderman whose name and memory we certainly ought not to forget. I 
refer to Thomas Wyatt, whose almshouses still stand abutting on the 
Portsmouth Road, on the Godalming side of the Peasmarsh, as proof of 
his philanthropy and his connection with this corner of Surrey. 

Wyatt's career was in many respects precisely of the type which the 
City of London in the old days rightly held in honour. The son of a 
Sussex Rector, he was apprenticed to one Robert Sheers, of the Carpenters' 
Company, and in due course fell in love with and married his master's 
daughter Margaret ; prospered exceedingly in business at one time he 
rented what is now known as Triggs' Wharf, in the parish of Peter Paul 
Wharf; was thrice Master of the Carpenters' Company ; and acquired 
property in five or six parishes in Surrey as well as in several other 
counties. At Shackleford he owned the estate known as Hall Place, 
which remained in his family for many years, and, after passing through 
other hands, was bought, in 1797, by the fourth Lord Midleton, who 
pulled down the mansion and added the land to Peper Harow Park. 

When Wyatt died in 1619, he left full instructions to his ' loving wife ' 
as to the disposition of his property. From these particulars we get some 
glimpse of his family trials. It seems that his eldest son, Henry, certainly 
had not imitated his father's prudent thrift. ' Henry,' says the latter in 
his will, ' hath already had 550 of me, which is more than his part [of 
' all my moveables '] will come to, and hath spent it with a great deal 
more, yet will endeavour himself to take no good course to him, I allowing 
him thirty pounds a year to maintain himself, but still runneth into every 
man's debt and hoping in my death, which I mean shall be little to his 
profit, I praying God daily to amend him.' 

Still, the father could not be harsh to his spendthrift son. ' Let him 
have,' the will continues, ' such a part as will arise out of the third part of 
my moveables.' 

And the family jars did not stop here. Margaret, the fourth child and 
the eldest daughter, seems to have been almost as headstrong as her eldest 
brother. On her second marriage, her husband was, in her father's words, 
' a man of her own choosing.' There was litigation over the marriage 
settlements, for Wyatt gave nothing with her, ' because she married him 
without my good wish.' Margaret resented this treatment. ' She doth 

113 Q 

Some West Surrey Villages 

go about to scandal me,' says her father, ' and saith I have done her great 
wrong.' But the old man bore no ill-will towards his offspring. He 
prayed God to forgive his daughter ; took Him to witness that in respect 
to the said settlements and litigation he acted as he was advised by 
counsel ; and though he knew Margaret would be the first to speak 
against him when he had gone, he left her ' so much as might be her 
due ' out of the third of all his moveables ' and 10 more.' 

As to the almshouses, the instructions left were characteristically pre- 
cise. Wyatt's widow was bidden to get permission to build ten alms- 
houses for ' ten poore to dwell in ' in some convenient place near Godal- 
ming, upon some part of Peasmarsh. Four of the inmates were to be 
chosen from Godalming, two from Puttenham, and one each from Ham- 
bledon, Compton and Dunsfold parishes. They were to be neither 
drunkards, swearers nor blasphemers. They were to go together orderly 
to Godalming Parish Church, if the weather was fair, to hear prayers ; if 
the weather was not fair, they were to worship in the chapel. Due finan- 
cial provision was made for the erection of the buildings ; an endowment 
of 70 per annum from land at Shackleford and Hambledon was 
provided, to be divided among the inmates on a specified scale. 

Wyatt's widow was to select the first inmates. Afterwards the govern- 
ment of the institution was to be transferred to the Carpenters' Company, 
who were to visit the almshouses once a year, and, in company with two 
out of the parish of Godalming and one out of every parish before named, 
were to inquire into and reprove abuses. With a forethought in keeping 
with the best traditions of the City, Wyatt made provision for both the 
spiritual and creature comforts of the visitors. They were to hear a 
sermon and to dine together. The preacher was to receive 6s. 8d., and 
405. was allowed for the dinner. 

If the Carpenters' Company ' misliked the offer ' Wyatt was evidently 
a man to prepare for all eventualities the Mayor of Guildford was to be 
asked to undertake the duties prescribed and to receive the revenue set 
apart from Wyatt's land at Bramshott to defray any charges in carrying 
out the testator's intentions. Needless to say, the Carpenters' Company 
did not decline the responsibility ; and the visit of inspection, the conse- 
quent sermon by the Vicar and the dinner are still annual events at 

Shackleford to-day knows little of Wyatt. Its church, essentially 






On the Banks of the Wey 

modern, has no record of this seventeenth-century Squire, who, with his 
wife, worshipped at Puttenham. But it surely should not forget the 
name of a citizen whose good deeds will long keep his memory green. 

From Shackleford to Peper Harow our road leads through pleasant 
open woodlands, where oak, beech, and fir flourish amid rich growth of 
fern and bracken. In little more than half a mile we reach the entrance 
to Peper Harow Park. But before we actually reach the park itself the 
eye is attracted by the picture, almost perfect in form and colour, formed 
by the group of farm buildings and dwellings and the church, past which 
both carriage-drive and footpath lead. It is an idyllic spot, typical shall 
we say ? of the close relationship of former days between squire, parson 
and yeoman. 

Peper Harow Church has been described as one of the finest in 
Southern Surrey. The praise, I think, is excessive. Dunsfold is far more 
perfect architecturally, Cranleigh more spacious and impressive. Possibly, 
if Pugin's ambitious scheme of reconstruction had been carried out in its 
entirety sixty years ago, the claim so made would have held good. 
Pugin's plans, however, were adopted only in a modified form, though on 
quite a sufficient scale to leave distinct evidence of his handiwork. 

Still, the church as it stands to-day has many features of interest. 
Note specially the graceful south porch ; the three transitional Norman 
arches and their clustered shafts of Irish marble from the Midleton 
quarries in County Cork ; the finely-executed effigy by Weekes of the 
fourth Lord Midleton ; and the glowing decorations of the Midleton mor- 
tuary chapel, where Pugin had full scope. In front of the altar is a stone 
slab, inlaid with a cross in brass, recording the death of Joan Adderley, 
widow of Sir John Adderley, Lord Mayor of London in 1442, and after- 
wards wife of William Brocas, Lord of the Manor of Peper Harow in 
Henry VI. 's time. A brass to the memory of the same lady is to be found 
also on the north side of the chancel. William Brocas, it is interesting 
to note, was somewhat lucky to be in possession of the Peper Harow 
property at this time, for his father, Bernard Brocas, to whom it had 
descended just at the close of the fourteenth century, had taken part with 
the Dukes of Exeter and Surrey and others in a conspiracy against 
Henry IV., and had suffered a traitor's fate on Tower Hill in 1400, his 
estates, of course, escheating to the Crown. William Brocas was fortu- 
ante enough to obtain the restitution of the property, which remained 

US Q 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

in his family for two or three generations after his marriage with Lady 

The church and the manor-house have always been closely linked 
together, and we may therefore note here that the estate, having 
descended through females and undergone partition, was ultimately re- 
united when it passed into the hands of Mr. Henry Smith and his 
wife, Jane Covert, towards the end of the sixteenth century. Apparently 
it was sold by them to Sir Walter Covert, of Slaugham, who settled it 
on his second wife, to whom Thomas Fuller dedicated a treatise, entitled 
' Joseph's Parti-coloured Coat.' Then we learn from one of Swift's letters 
to Stella that he thought Mrs. Masham, Queen Anne's favourite and 
the ' great Sarah's ' rival, might be disposed to buy the property from 
Philip Frowde a Postmaster-General of the same period, to whom it 
had been sold in 1699-1700. But this expectation was not realized, and 
a purchaser was actually found (1713) in Alan Brodrick, afterwards first 
Viscount Midleton. 

Of the house or buildings which existed at Peper Harow during this 
long succession of years, and many changes of ownership, no indications 
now remain which can be identified with any certainty. Lady Jane 
Covert refers in her will to her 'jointure house at Peper Harow,' but there 
is no evidence to show when that house was erected, or whether it was 
the same as that pulled down in 1760-65. It is shown on a plan of the 
park dated 1753 as standing on what is now the flower-garden, north-west 
of the present mansion. A depression marks the site, and the position of 
the magnificent cedars of Lebanon, which are one of the glories of Peper 
Harow, and which are known to have been planted in 1735 or 1736, con- 
firms the evidence of the plan on this point. No picture of the house 
remains, and no actual traces of the building have been discovered. 
There seems, however, good warrant for attributing to the seventeenth 
century the cottage which was formerly occupied by Admiral Brodrick, 
and is now the garden house. The very fine yew hedge near by is 
probably of much the same date, and two of the church-bells are dated 
1663 and 1694 respectively. 

The present mansion was begun by the third Lord Midleton, and 
continued by his son and successor, whose effigy we have already noticed 
in the church. It was designed by Sir William Chambers, and the 
gardens were laid out by ' Capability Brown.' From time to time various 


On the Banks of the Wey 

additions were made to the estate, including the Shackleford property, 
which, as we have seen, at one time belonged to the Wyatts, and Oxen- 
ford Grange, of which I shall have more to say presently. 

Concerning one or two Rectors of Peper Harow in bygone days a few 
words ought to be said. Thus, we find that Robert Wood, Rector of 
Peper Harow in 1640, was called upon by the Chancellor of the Diocese 
to explain, at a visitation at Guildford, why he had not read the prayer 
appointed by the King during the expedition against the Scots. Mr. Wood 
seems to have been in no degree overawed by the implied charge. He 
boldly replied that he knew not from what authority the prayer came. 
Moreover, since he heard the Scots were come into England, he thought 
it needless, because he had heard of an accommodation. And, further- 
more, he prayed for the King in his prayer before the sermon. Finally, 
when asked if he would amend his ways and in future duly read the 
appointed prayer, Mr. Wood was still of the same mind. His defence 
seems to have served. At any rate the State Papers do not show that he 
suffered any of the pains or penalties of contumacy. 

Oughtred's intimate friend, Robert Wood, a native of Peper Harow, is 
believed to have been a son of this obstinate Rector. He rose to some 
eminence as a mathematician. Besides translating Oughtred's ' Clavis ' 
into English, he compiled several treatises which were published above 
his own name, including ' A New Almanac for Ever,' of which there is 
some account in the Transactions of the Royal Society. He held office 
under the Government as a Commissioner of the Revenue and Accountant- 
General to the Commissioners for Forfeited Estates in Ireland. 

To Owen Manning, who held this living from 1769 to 1801, passing 
reference is also due. A remarkable story is told of his youth. Whilst he 
was a graduate at Cambridge he suffered from small-pox, and ' was laid out 
for dead.' His father in a hopeless way went to look at him. Moved by 
a sudden impulse, he raised his son's body, saying, ' I will give my dear 
boy another chance,' and to his amazement he beheld signs of returning 

Thus brought back from the brink of the grave, Manning was spared 
for many years to live the life of a parish priest, and of an earnest but 
modest student. He was Rector of Chiddingfold and Vicar of Godalming, 
preferring the latter living to that of St. Nicolas, Guildford, which he 
was offered and declined. He became also a Canon of Lincoln, and was 


Some West Surrey Villages 

a Fellow both of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. 
Besides compiling a Saxon dictionary at a time when such research met 
with scant encouragement, he wrote a life of King Alfred and translated 
many sermons. Above all, we in Surrey must always remember that we 
owe to him the inception and a considerable portion of the text of the 
history of the county which William Bray completed. 

Manning, as I have hinted, was modest as well as erudite. At his 
death, five years after he had been overtaken by blindness, due to his 
studies, he desired that no monument should be raised to his memory. 
But his friends and former parishioners at Godalming felt that this request 
could not be strictly complied with ; a white marble tablet in the nave ol 
Godalming Church and a headstone in the churchyard were erected as a 
' token of respect and esteem,' and on them tribute is paid to his ' piety 
and his virtues, in order that so much worth should not remain undistin- 
guished in the grave.' 

For Peper Harow park always open to the public one can have 
nothing but admiration. From the high ground on which the church and 
mansion stand, the prospect is exquisite in its soft and varied beauty as 
we look across the river- valley to the hills beyond. Presently we dip down 
towards the southern boundary of the park and Oxenford Grange, once 
owned by the Cistercians of Waverley. From a reference in the 
Loseley MSS. it appears that a house of fair size existed here in the 
sixteenth century, and this building was enlarged and occupied two 
centuries later by the Brodrick family whilst the present mansion was in 
course of erection. But later on much of this building was pulled down, 
and the remaining fragment converted into a cottage. No substantial 
traces of any masonry of medieval date can now be discovered, and the 
new farm buildings close to the gate-house, erected in 1845, are chiefly 
interesting because they represent Pugin's idea of the barns and sheds 
appropriate to a conventual farm. The White Monks, it has been truly 
said, would assuredly feel at home here if they could find their way back 
to this peaceful spot on the river-banks. 

Two traditions which attach to the farm are almost too familiar to 
need mention. There is the story of which Aubrey tells, that ' gold and 
silver money, not Roman, but old English, and also rings, have been found 
near this place, which makes the inhabitants give as. an acre more rent 
than elsewhere in hopes of finding further treasure.' Another version 


On the Banks of the Wey 

speaks of buried treasure which none but the right owners will ever find. 
' It is enclosed in a coffer which can only be stirred by seven milk-white 
oxen.' The chest was once discovered as tradition records but some 
black hairs defiled the pure white of the oxen used in removing it, and it 
sank again into the ground. In these prosaic days we shall be more dis- 
posed to attribute the higher rent to the shrewdness of the monks in the 
choice of the most fruitful land. Of Bonfield Spring, close by, over which 
stands a cell designed by Pugin, it is similarly recorded that the waters of 
the spring were of high repute as an eye lotion. 

(From an old print.) 

A couple of miles further along the valley and we reach Elstead Heath, 
where we are on the borders of the commons and wild heathlands which 
stretch away to the Hindhead ridge. Here, in the church, we note the 
belfry stair, cut out of one solid slab of oak, and the curious decoration of 
the chancel ceiling, with groups of pelicans feeding their young, the 
device adopted by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, in the days of 
Henry VIII., which recalls Withers' lines in his ' Emblems': 

' Look here and mark this kind pelican, 
And when this holy emblem thou shall see, 
Lift up thy soul to Him who died for thee.' 



LSTEAD should by no means mark the limit of our 
rambles by the banks of the Wey. We must, at least, 
saunter on for two or three miles along the river-valley 
until we reach the tiny village of Tilford, where the 
Wey and the Till join forces, and where once again we 
approach the pines and the heather. 

Tilford, with its river-encircled green, its modest 

but pleasantly placed church, its twin bridges which have figured on the 
canvas of so many artists, has indeed many claims to our notice. Who 
in Surrey has not heard of the King's Oak on the village green the 
identical tree mentioned by Henry de Blois in his charter to Waverley 
monks seven centuries and a half ago ? True, Cobbett has declared that 
when he was a little boy it was ' but a very little tree.' But here Cobbett's 
memory, one is tempted to think, as one notes the girth and magnificent 
branches of this monarch of the forest, must have played him false. 
To-day, as for years past, it ranks as one of the finest oaks in the South 
of England ; and whether its age be 300 or 1,000 years, who can easily 
forgive the vandalistic intentions credited to Bishop Brownlow North 
when (as it is alleged) he gave orders to have the tree the pride of Tilford 
cut down ? But for once the Bishop had to bow to the popular will. 
According to Manning and Bray, the people of the tithing were so wroth 
at its suggested destruction that they drove in a great number of spikes 
and large nails to prevent its being cut ; and the Bishop's second thoughts 
in this connection were better and wiser than his first. 

Just beyond the bridge which spans the Till before it joins the Wey, 
we notice Tilford House, which early in the eighteenth century was the 
Surrey seat of Sir Thomas and Lady Abney, with whom Dr. Isaac Watts 
spent so many years of his life. With them he came to Tilford ; he is 

Tilford and the White Monks 

said to have preached frequently in the small private chapel in the 
courtyard, and to have composed some of his hymns in the summer- 
house which stands behind the house. 

To Tilford Lodge, half a century later, came Charlotte Smith ; and 
here, as the reredos in the church reminds us, her chequered life came to 
a close. 

Charlotte Smith's name is not, of course, one of the great names in 
English literature. To many of us to-day it is virtually unknown. But 
her life-story is singularly pathetic. Born in 1749, she 'entered society ' 
at the age of twelve, and received her first offer of marriage at fourteen. 
The proposal was declined by her father on the score of her youth ; but 
only two years later, when her parent had himself married again, she was 
wedded to one Benjamin Smith, five years her senior. The marriage was 
emphatically not one of affection, and even in the first years of wedded 
life there was little brightness. The girl-wife spent much of her time in 
enforced attendance on an invalid mother-in-law of exacting disposition ; 
and, while Charlotte longed for the country, she and her husband were 
obliged to reside over the elder Smith's house of business in the City. 

But worse was to come. When later on the mother-in-law died, the 
young couple went to live in Hampshire ; and after the death of Smith's 
father, her husband's extravagance soon brought financial troubles in 
its train. One anecdote shows the manner of man her husband was: 
Charlotte expressed to a friend the desire that her husband should find 
rational employment. The friend, in response, suggested that his en- 
thusiasm might be directed towards religion. ' Oh,' replied Charlotte, 
' for Heaven's sake do not put it into his head to take to religion, for if 
he does he will instantly begin by building a cathedral !' 

Difficulties and litigation as to his father's will brought matters to a 
crisis. The Hampshire estate was sold, and in 1782 Smith was imprisoned 
for debt, and his wife shared his confinement for seven months. Charlotte's 
courage, however, never seems to have failed. Like many another woman 
in trouble, she turned to her pen for help. For some years she had been 
in the habit of writing sonnets, and, anxious now to find some means of 
supporting herself and her family, she strove to induce Dodsley to publish 
some of her compositions. Uodsley at first declined. Ultimately, how- 
ever, a little volume was produced by him at Charlotte's expense, and 
quickly found favour with the public. 

121 R 

Some West Surrey Villages 

But her domestic trouble increased rather than diminished. After a 
short stay in France, where she busied herself with some translations, she 
returned to England, and secured a separation from her husband. There- 
after they lived apart. The children remained with the mother, and while 
Charlotte occasionally met her husband, constantly corresponded with 
him, and continued to give him financial assistance, she firmly refused to 
live with him again. Shortly afterwards her first novel, ' Emmeline,' was 
published, and won generous praise from Sir Walter Scott. Other novels 
followed, among which ' The Old Manor House ' ranks first in popularity 
and merit. Failing health was now added to other troubles ; but her 
cheerful temperament enabled her to forget all cares in her literary work, 
and novel followed novel each year in regular succession. 

A friend wrote in 1801 : ' Charlotte Smith is writing more volumes of 
"The Solitary Wanderer " for immediate subsistence. She is a woman 
full of sorrows. One of her daughters made an imprudent marriage, and 
the man, after behaving extremely ill towards the family, died. The widow 
has come to her mother, not worth a shilling, with three young children.' 

It was not until 1805 that Charlotte Smith removed to Tilford, and 
here she died in the following October, seven months after the death of 
the husband from whom she had lived apart for nearly twenty years. 

From Tilford Church and Green we must, of course, make our way 
to Waverley, taking for preference the path which leads past Till Hill 
Farm and Sheep Hatch, and ultimately brings us to Waverley Mill. Here 
the placid stream, the rich water-meadows, the warm hues of the tiled 
roofs, and the background of firs, combine to form a scene of singular 
loveliness. When, a little further on, we enter the park, we soon reach 
the ruins on the river-bank, and a glance is sufficient to show how admirably 
but for floods the monks chose the site of their once-famous home. 

I can make no attempt to tell in full the story of this, the first settlement 
of the White Monks, the mother-house of the Cistercians in the South 
of England. The theme merits more sympathetic treatment than it has 
yet received at the hands of county historian or occasional writer ; and any 
endeavour to deal with it adequately would carry me far beyond the limits 
of these notes and sketches. But who can wander among the meagre 
ruins still left to us on this broad rich meadow, almost encircled by the 
winding Wey, without some passing thought of the record of human 
aspiration and devotion, and of all the manifold vicissitudes of the life of 

Tilford and the White Monks 

1 the religious ' which these stones commemorate ! The annals of Waverley 
we like to think, of course, that it was from poring over these time-worn 
chronicles that Sir Walter was led to choose the title which has since 


become a household word throughout the world are rich in incident on 
which the kindly imagination affectionately lingers. We, for our part, 
however, must be content with a glimpse here and there. 

123 R 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

First, then, we picture a small band of twelve monks and their Abbot, 
newly arrived in England from Normandy, making this tranquil spot their 
home nearly eight centuries ago. Bishop Giffard of Winchester was 
their sponsor and benefactor, and he endowed them with the manor after 
which their abbey was named. Desolate and wild much of the surrounding 
country undoubtedly was. Even as recently as the last century wild deer 
from Wolmer were to be seen near Crooksbury, and six years after its 
foundation the abbey was spoken of, with almost literal truth, as ' in the 
forest,' and its monks as dwelling ' far from all company.' But the fertile 
valley was soon to yield an encouraging reward to the patient industry 
of the White Monks; for though the Cistercian rule produced but few 
eminent scholars or statesmen, it provided in its earlier and purer days an 
abundance of practical work. The monks' wool and corn were the best 
the country produced ; their farms or granges were far in advance of the 
rude agriculture of the times. 

Moreover, do not let us forget that they played their part in the great 
religious revival which swept over the land in the days of Henry I., when 
' everywhere, in town and country, men banded themselves together for 
prayer.' To men of the world the simple austerity of the Cistercians 
made a profound appeal. Only a few years after their arrival at Waverley, 
William of Malmesbury wrote that ' the Cistercian Order is now both 
believed and asserted to be the surest road to heaven.' 

The White Monks lived indeed a life of stern self-repression. As the 
same writer tells us in some detail, they wore neither furs nor linen, and, 
except on extraordinary occasions, they ate neither fish, eggs, milk, nor 
cheese. From September till Easter they took only one meal a day, except 
on Sunday. They slept clad and girded, rose at midnight, and continued 
till daybreak in singing God's praises ; then, after prime and Mass, spent 
the day in labour, reading, and prayer. Only one hour a day was given 
to conversation. In a phrase, to quote the old chronicler's words, ' they 
were a model for all the monks.' 

Thus the Waverley settlement grew in wealth, numbers, and fame, 
until, in 1180, it mustered 70 monks and 130 lay brethren, and kept 30 
ploughs in constant work. 

With increased riches and power came larger ambitions. In place of 
the rude Norman church first erected by the side of the river a noble 
abbey church was designed, and around it ultimately there was built a 


Tilford and the White Monks 

group of buildings, which included the Chapter-house, the guest-house, the 
refectory, the treasury, and an infirmary, to say nothing of the gateway 
by the river, the four stone bridges, and the Chapel of St. Mary at the 
convent gate, of which we find mention in the original records. Finally, 
indeed, the site was covered with a stately pile which rivalled, if it did not 
surpass, those of Tintern and Furness. 

Only by degrees was this comprehensive design carried out, for the 
White Monks did not escape the ups and downs of life. Turn, for 
example, to the story of the abbey church. The work had just been set 

(From an old print.) 

on foot in 1203, when a ' great famine and dying of men ' befell the house, 
and the monks were forced to flee and seek shelter within other walls. 
Five years later they were again in distress. King John, smarting under 
the Pope's edict, seized the property of all ecclesiastics, and among them 
the possessions of William, Rector of Broadwater, Sussex, the chief 
benefactor to the new church. For a while the outlook was dark, but it 
brightened quickly and unexpectedly. 

In the very same year the King visited the abbey. Although assuredly 
no lover of ecclesiastics, he was apparently favourably impressed with his 
reception, for he restored the confiscated property of the Rector of Broad- 
water especially to enable him to carry on the building of the church. 


Some West Surrey Villages 

John's visits were not often associated with such pleasant deeds, and 
perhaps we may find the clue to this exception to the general rule in the 
fact that the King had on this occasion brought his wine with him. More- 
over, as the records show that some 500 gallons were thus provided for 
a couple of days' visit, we may plausibly infer that the requirements of 
even his thirsty household were fully met. 

John, however, was again in a hostile mood a couple of years later. 
His wrath was kindled against all the Cistercian Order. The Abbot of 
Waverley left his house and fled away secretly by night. The monks 
were ' scattered round about throughout England.' In time the storm 
blew over. Abbot and monks returned, and again steadily pushed on 
with their big building schemes. Yet nearly thirty years elapsed before 
the first portion of their church was complete. 

By 1231 the choir transepts, central tower, and western abutments 
were finished, and we read that ' on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle 
the monks of Waverley entered the new church from the first old church 
with a solemn procession and joy of great devotion." As the recent 
excavations carried on by the Surrey Archaeological Society conclusively 
show, the front of the old church was incorporated with the new. 

For another forty years the monks worked on with a patient persistence 
which we Englishmen of to-day may well admire and envy as we think of 
Truro. And then finally, in 1278, just three-quarters of a century after 
the first start was made, the fabric was complete. 

Great were the rejoicings with which the event was celebrated. On 
St. Matthew's Day the church was solemnly dedicated to the Blessed 
Virgin by Nicholas Ely, Bishop of Winchester, and nothing that episcopal 
goodwill and favour could do was lacking to make the occasion memorable. 
The Bishop not only granted to all present ' one year's remission ' and 
' forty days of pardon to all who should frequent that place on the anni- 
versary of its dedication,' but in things temporal he was, to say the least, 
equally generous and certainly more unselfish. As the annalist tells us, 
' out of the abundance of his favour and devotion, being desirous that 
everything relating to the said dedication should be accomplished with joy 
and happiness, he magnificently supplied at his own expense on that day 
provisions for all persons present.' 

Another contemporary chronicler carries the story still further : ' And 
not only on the first day, but even almost through the nine days' 


Tilford and the White Monks 

solemnities, he sustained with victuals all who frequented the said place. 
No less than six Abbots and other prelates were present on the occasion, 
very many knights and ladies, and so great a multitude of both sexes that 
it was impossible to number them. The number of those who sat down 
the first day to meat was 7,066 of both sexes, and this was reckoned 
according to the distribution of dishes ; and all these, being refreshed by 
the overteeming generosity of the Bishop, returned to their homes glorify- 
ing and praising God.' 

Perhaps we ought to exercise a careful discretion before unreservedly 
accepting the exact figures of this medieval statistician. But whether the 
Bishop's hospitality was limited to one day or nine, and whether his 
guests numbered seven thousand or one, we may well believe that the 
feastings and rejoicings were on a scale which Waverley had never before 
witnessed. Bishop Nicholas, let me add, was always partial to Waverley, 
and on his death, a year later, he directed that his body should be buried 
in the abbey church, while his heart was carried to Winchester Cathedral. 

But busy though they were with their husbandry and their architectural 
schemes, the monks were keen in the defence of the rights of their Order. 
There was, for example, a delicate question of precedence as between 
Waverley and Furness, which, after much controversy, was finally decided 
in favour of the former. Then we have, too, the familiar and instructive 
story of the invasion of the privilege of sanctuary committed by certain 
officers of justice in the apprehension of a young shoemaker within the 
precincts of the abbey. According to the annalist, the shoemaker was 
plying his calling at Waverley, when he was seized on a charge that he 
had committed homicide some months previously. He was bound and 
carried off to prison, despite the anathema of the Abbot and the protests 
of the seniors of the monastery. Waverley was at once up in arms. The 
services even the Masses were stopped. The Abbot, failing to persuade 
the Papal Legate to intervene, hurried to the King (Henry III.) himself, 
and with s'ighs and tears brought his complaint into the royal presence. 

The King played the part of a wise mediator. At his suggestion the 
services of the abbey were renewed pending his Council's decision on the 
constitutional question involved. The Council were hard to convince. 
' Most perversely interpreting the Apostolic writings, and expounding 
them maliciously,' they first gave their answer against the Order, thereby 
causing ' much grief of heart and bitterness of soul ' to the worthy Abbot. 


Some West Surrey Villages 

But still he persisted in his claims, and at length won the day. The man 
was brought back to the abbey by the same officers, to the joy of the 
neighbourhood. The overzealous officers were less happy in their fate. 
They were excommunicated, and then only restored after satisfaction had 
been done to God and the abbey, and after they had been publicly whipped 
by the Prior and the Vicar of Farnham. 

' They became in future more respectful to our Order,' adds the 
chronicler with na'ive satisfaction. Who can wonder ? And what were 
the feelings of the young shoemaker at his narrow escape from the clutches 
of the law ? 

No doubt monastic life at Waverley, as elsewhere, changed for the 
worse in subsequent years, but on these developments we must not pause 
to dwell. We must be content to glance for a moment at two letters 
which tell us in bare outline the story of the abbey's fall. First we have 
Dr. Richard Layton's account of his visit to the abbey in September, 1535, 
when the first warning note was struck. Now, Layton was a man after 
Thomas Cromwell's own heart, and he certainly did not spare the monks 
and their ruler when he despatched the Abbot to Cromwell at Winchester 
with a note of introduction, from which I quote a typical sentence or two. 
Thus : ' The man (the Abbot) is honest, but none of the children of 
Solomon : every monk within his house is his fellow, and every servant 
his master. . . . Yesterday, early in the morning, sitting in my chamber 
in examination I could neither get bread, nor drink, neither fire of those 
knaves, till I was fretished [fretishing a pain in the limbs arising from 
cold] ; and the Abbot durst not speak to any of them. ... It shall be 
expedient for you to give him a lesson, and tell the poor fool what he 
should do. Among his monks I found corruption of the worst sort, 
because they dwell in the forest from all company.' 

The Abbot, it is to be feared, had an unpleasant quarter of an hour 
with Cromwell. But all that we know of the interview is summed up in 
a single phrase quoted by the Abbot himself nine months later, when he 
made a last despairing appeal for mercy to the ' right honorable Master 
secretary to the King,' in response to the latter's ominous demand for full 
particulars of the ' true extent, value and account of the monastery.' 
Cromwell was besought, ' for the love of Christ's passion,' to ' help the 
preservation of this poor monastery, that we your beadsmen may remain 
in the service of God, with the meanest living that any poor men may live 


Tilford and the White Monks 

with in this world. ... In no vain hope I write this to your mastership, 
forasmuch you put me in such boldness full gently when I was in suit to 
you the last year at Winchester, saying, " Repair to me for such business 
as ye shall have from time to time." Therefore instantly praying you, I 
and my poor brethren with weeping yes, desire you to help them ; in 
this world no creatures in more trouble.' 

The appeal was, of course, in vain. The very next month the Abbot 
had to surrender the property to the Commissioners, and though the monks 
for a time found shelter in other houses of the Order, they were soon again 
dispersed in the general overthrow of conventual life. They numbered 
but thirteen, however, for Waverley had fallen far from its former high 
estate, and had been eclipsed both in wealth and numbers by other houses 
of the same Order in the South of England. 




HE ruins of Waverley Abbey and the story of the White 
Monks far from exhaust the interesting associations of 
the corner of West Surrey to which our rambles have 
brought us. Just at hand we have Moor Park, with 
its memories of Temple and Dorothy Osborne, and of 
Swift and Stella. Near by is Mother Ludlam's Cave, 
where, according to tradition, the witches' caldron 
now at Frensham was first housed, and where, according to Aubrey, 
Lud, King of the West Saxons, repaired after the heat of a fight to cool 
and dress his wounds. Of course, we must bestow a glance upon the 
modest tenement, with its dormer-windows and its rich red tiles, where 
Swift is believed to have first met Esther Johnson ; but on topics so 
attractive and inexhaustible as these we must not venture to dwell. We 
make our way, first, north by the Tongham road, and then toward the 
happily-placed villages of Scale, Puttenham, and Compton, at the foot of 
the great chalk ridge which runs from Farnham to Guildford. 

We still have the boundary fence of Moor Park on our left, and, as 
the road ascends the slope of Crooksbury Hill, we are still among the 

' Where the deep mysterious pine gloom 
Frames the gorse's gold, 
Where in wealth untold 
The heather flushes into wine bloom.' 

If we are wise, we shall not begrudge either the time or the labour 
required in climbing to the top of the fir-crowned hill. Here Cobbett, in 
his boyhood, was a ' taker of the nests of magpies,' and here we to-day 
may enjoy a glorious prospect over woods and heaths and the valley of 
the Wey, until the eye rests on the dim outlines of the northern downs 


Seale, Puttenham, and Compton 

beyond Godalming and Guildford. When we descend and reach the 
cross-roads in the hamlet of Sands, we are sorely tempted to turn to the 
right and visit Cutmill Ponds and Common ; the name dates back to 
John de Cotte, or Cutte, who owned it in the thirteenth century. With 
its magnificent sheet of water known as the Tarn, Cutmill Common is 
essentially one of the gems of the district. Its quiet loveliness will charm, 
whether the delicate tints of spring are clothing the birches and oaks with 
fresh beauty, or the gorgeous hues of autumn enrich the woods and 
commons which surround the lake. 


But, fascinating as this valley is, let us pursue our way northward 
towards Seale, where once again we strike the path of the Canterbury 

For a mile or so after leaving Farnham and its castle, the summer 
pilgrims, no doubt, for the most part left the chalk road along the Hog's 
Back for the green woodland track at the southern base of the hill ; here 
they would find shelter from the sun, and many more inducements to 
loiter by the way. To-day it is difficult to trace the exact track. At the 

131 s 2 

Some West Surrey Villages 

eastern end especially its identity has been for the most part lost in lanes 
and roads ; but between Seale and Puttenham it is believed to have 
followed the course of the road which skirts Seale Common, and from 
Puttenham to Compton it can readily be recognised in the path which 
branches off from the road at the western corner of Puttenham Heath 
(almost opposite the Jolly Farmer), keeps near the northern edge of the 
heath, and ultimately brings the traveller to-day to the boundaries of 
Mr. G. F. Watts' residence. Thence the pilgrim, after a visit to Compton 
Church, would pursue his way to St. Catherine's Ferry along the Sandy 
Lane of to-day, and past Littleton Cross, ' where a bare-footed friar, with 
his money-bag, probably accepted thankfully the smallest offerings at the 
wayside shrine.' As Mr. Kerry has suggested, ' Robbers' ' or ' Reamers' 
Moor ' and ' Beggars' Corner ' names still in local use probably date 
back to the days of the wayfarers ; while Shoelands, the ivy-covered farm- 
house, bearing the date 1616 on its porch, which is passed midway between 
Seale and Puttenham, possibly owes its title to the old word ' shool,' 
which in many dialects signifies ' to beg.' 

Following more or less closely the route which tradition thus marks 
out, a succession of leafy lanes, broken again and again by bits of breezy 
common, with the bold ridge of the Hog's Back always sheltering us to 
the north, offers as pleasant a ramble as a pedestrian can desire. 

Seale may well be our first halting-place. Shut in by the fir-clad hills 
to the south, Seale to-day is placid and picturesque. Its parishioners 
may cherish strong feelings on certain vexed questions of infinite local 
importance which they have tried to settle with their neighbours at 
Tongham across the Hog's Back. But to the outward eye nothing could 
be more suggestive of peace and repose than the aspect of the village in 
the richly wooded, well-broken ground that separates the chalk ridge from 
the sandy moorland we have just recently traversed. 

Charmingly placed on a knoll just above the centre of the village, with 
a magnificent elm as one of the features of its trim churchyard, Seale 
Church well merits a brief study. True, it is difficult to trace in the 
admirably kept and appointed fabric to-day much that recalls the original 
thirteenth-century church on the same site to which the pilgrims bent 
their steps. It was, in fact, partly rebuilt forty years ago, and very 
thoroughly restored in the seventies. But among its monuments we shall 
not fail to notice the Woodroffe brasses on the chancel wall, and the many 


Seale, Puttenham, and Compton 

memorials to the Longs, including one to Edward Noel Long, the ' Cleon ' 
of Byron's juvenile poems, who died at sea on his way to Spain. 

The Woodroflfes owned the Manor of Poyle in the sixteenth, seven- 
teenth, and eighteenth centuries, and the Manor of Poyle takes its name 
from a family of whom we have, many reminders to-day in South-west 


Surrey. For early in the thirteenth century Walter de la Poyle (or Puille 
or Poille), a retainer in the family of Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Corn- 
wall, obtained the wardship of, and ultimately married, the daughter and 
heiress of Stephen de Hampton in Oxford, and thus became the owner 
of an estate in that county afterwards known as Hampton Poyle. In 
Surrey the Poyles also acquired property; their connection with Guild- 


Some West Surrey Villages 

ford is commemorated by Pewley Hill and the Poyle charities, and in 
Seale we have, on the north side of the Hog's Back, Poyle Park and Poyle 
House, and on the south side Hampton Lodge, just above thetutmill 

Quitting Seale, we can, if we choose, inspect the rectangular entrench- 
ment known as Hillbury, which may or may not be of Roman origin, or 
we may push on at once to Puttenham. And a very fascinating picture 
the village presents, when it first comes into view, just where a well- 
marked footpath on the right invites us to avoid the detour made by the 
road. A cluster of cottages, whose tiles are rich with the colouring age 
alone can give, amid a thick embowering wood, with the church tower in 
the distance against a background of magnificent trees such is Puttenham 
as we see it from the slightly higher ground to the west. 

Puttenham's records yield less of interest than might be expected at 
first thought. Its ' priory ' does not mark the site of a religious house, as 
one is naturally tempted to suppose ; the name simply distinguishes the 
part of the manor which passed into the hands of the priory of Newark. 

So, too, with regard to its caves ; they may have had something to do 
with the pilgrims, but of this there is not the slightest proof available. 
Possibly, as Mr. Ralph Nevill has hinted, the sand may have been dug 
out at some time for glass-making, or even for the ordinary purposes of 
building ; or we may possibly have here one of the smugglers' hiding- 
places, as tradition is always so ready to suggest where caves are con- 
cerned. But of this, again, no record can be traced ; Puttenham, as far 
as I can ascertain, is singularly destitute of smugglers' stories or legends. 

But if the pilgrims had nothing to do with the caves, they certainly 
visited the church and the fair ; and Puttenham, in its way, was just as 
prompt as Guildford and Farnham to cater for the travellers, and offered 
them every inducement to loiter in the village. We have further evidence 
of this in the fact that a rival fair was established on the site still known 
as Fairfield at Wanborough, just across the Hog's Back. Here six 
monks from Waverley had been established to serve the parish church, 
and though Wanborough was, from the pilgrims' point of view, on the 
wrong side of the chalk ridge, and the number of wayfarers attracted to 
it would be comparatively small, it was important enough to be worth a 
vigorous dispute between the Abbot of Waverley and the Prior of Newark. 

From all which we may infer that Puttenham, halfway between 


Seale, Puttenham, and Compton 

F"arnham and Guildford on the main route of the summer pilgrims, was 
a halting-place of some note and favour with them. In its shady church- 
yard they, no doubt, found a tempting lounge. 

In the church we need not tarry long ; but we must not forget that 
an eighteenth-century Rector was Swift's ' little parson cousin,' Thomas 
Swift, who has left on record a charmingly naive eulogy of the natural 
beauties of his parish : 

' The situation of this place is so healthy, as to deserve such a Remark, 
as the finest Stroke of the best Pen could give it : Such is the Salubrity 
of its Air, as did those wealthy Citizens know it, who want nothing so 
much as Health, I might say with as much Truth, as the ingenious 
Mr. Cowley does with Wit, that they would come and make a City here ; 
for in this little Spot you see a Specimen of the Antediluvian World, the 
Streets crowded with 

' " Natis natorum, et qui nascuntur ab illis." 

And such a Tribe of Patriarchs within Doors, as if this Place were 
exempted from the Feebleness and hasty Decays of this last Age of the 
World, and Death confin'd to keep his due Season for Harvest, mowing 
down none, until Time had ripen'd them for his Scythe.' 

We do not nowadays visit Puttenham as a ' Specimen of the Ante- 
diluvian World'; but we may well hope that both its salubrity and its 
picturesqueness may long continue to deserve ' the finest Stroke ' that ' the 
best Pen ' can give it. 

Pursuing our way eastward in the footsteps of the pilgrims, we must 
choose the path on our left, which quits the main-road just as we reach 
the edge of Puttenham Heath, and which takes us near the stone and 
flagpost commemorating the spot on which the late Queen's carriage was 
stationed fifty years ago on the occasion of a review. Guide-books have 
made much of the fact that Her Majesty exclaimed that she did not 
know that she had so lovely a spot in her dominions. It will be unwise, 
perhaps, to take this statement too literally. The view from Putten- 
ham Heath, though varied and picturesque, certainly is rivalled, if not 
surpassed, from many other points in South-west Surrey. 

Ultimately, as I have said, our track brings us to the northern outskirts 
of Compton village, and immediately beneath the pines which enclose 
Mr. Watts' Surrey home. Here the artist ' whose life and age are one 


Some West Surrey Villages 

with love and fame ' spends winter and spring in quietness, with ' his 
studio close to Nature's self.' In more senses than one the latter phrase 
is literally true. When Limnerslease was built the woods immediately 
around it were left untouched. Tall firs still stand in the natural garden, 
and ' the wild wood-birds, appreciating the kindly hands that have left 
their haunts as Nature made them, repay the kindness with a frank bold- 
ness that is a continual delight to the indwellers.' Fourscore years and 
more, we are happy to know, have left the veteran painter with his natural 
strength but little abated. Rather have they ripened his powers, quickened 
his insight, and fortified the buoyant faith with which he has ever viewed 
the fundamental problems of Thought and Life. And who can yet attempt 
to measure the influence of the example and the teaching of the artist- 
philosopher, whose consistent aim has been to give, and to prompt others 
to give, ' the utmost for the highest.' 

In recognition of a kindliness which has never been known to 
fail, quite as much as in virtue of a world-wide fame, Mr. Watts' 
name will always be honoured in Compton. Not less have the villagers 
cause for gratitude to Mrs. Watts. For, thanks to their joint 
generosity, and the latter's untiring personal labours, Compton owns a 
mortuary chapel unique in the country. This little building, in brick 
and terra-cotta, which crowns a knoll within a stone's-throw of Limners- 
lease, is remarkable both in design and in execution. So far as manual 
work is concerned, it is the work of those for whose service it is built. 
The Lady of the Manor and the Squire each moulded a brick, and the 
decorations of the walls were almost entirely the product of the evening 
classes for the villagers conducted by Mrs. Watts and her friends during 
the winter. Thus the chapel is essentially an application of the principles 
of the Home Arts and Industries Association a striking example of 
successful efforts to revive the taste for, and skill in, those home arts and 
crafts which may be made to play so beneficent a part in our village life. 

The chapel, however, teaches other lessons. ' Built to the loving 
memory of all who find rest near its walls, and for the comfort and help 
of those to whom the sorrow of separation yet remains,' it was designed 
by Mrs. Watts so that its walls should ' tell the story, or, at least, some 
fragment of the story, of the spiritual life.' Symbolism reigns everywhere, 
and everywhere speaks of life and hope and faith and beauty. ' As far as 
is possible,' Mrs. Watts herself writes in 'The Word in the Pattern,' 


Seale, Puttenham, and Compton 

' every bit of the decoration of this chapel, modelled in clay of Surrey by 
Compton hands under unusual conditions much of the work having been 
done gratuitously, and all of it with the love of it that made the work 
delightful has something to say, though the patterns can claim to be no 
more than the letters of a great word.' Thus, to quote only one or two 
examples, the decorated bricks of the buttresses bear a representation of 
the tree of life; on the doorway, man's destiny is shown as ascending 
from the dragons of darkness to the Cross ; the frieze which runs round 
the building is called ' the Path of the Just,' and is descriptive of the 


passage, ' The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and 
more unto the perfect day.' 

Although internally much work still remains to be done, it is no 
slight praise to say of this recently-erected chapel in Compton's new 
graveyard that it equals in interest the old village church. The latter, 
of course, we must not fail to visit. For St. Nicholas, Compton, as all 
who know Surrey churches are aware, has many notable features, and 
one feature that stands alone in the county. I need make no attempt 
here to follow in detail either the careful description of the building which 
Mr. L. Andre" some years ago contributed to the Surrey Archaeological 

37 T 

Some West Surrey Villages 

Society ' Collections,' or the exhaustive monograph which the Rev. 
H. R. Ware recently devoted to the same subject in ' Three Surrey 
Churches.' It is enough for us who are ramblers first and ecclesiologists 
afterwards to note a few of the more salient facts concerning its structure 
and history. 

Compton Church was, as we shall have imagined, a pilgrims' church, 
and the pilgrims left their marks upon its pillars. But its story dates 
much further back than this. Mr. Ware, who holds that there is some 
presumptive evidence of the existence of an even earlier church on this 
site, favours the view that the tower may belong to the days of Edward 
the Confessor. Next in order of date he places the lower stage of the 
east chancel, which belongs to the early Norman period. The eastern 
gallery, or upper sanctuary, as it has been termed, in its present form, and 
the high roof of the chancel, are, he thinks, of a somewhat later Norman 
period ; later still came the arch in front of the gallery ; and a few years 
subsequently (say about 1150) came the eight arches of the nave. 

The eastern gallery, or upper sanctuary, to which reference has just 
been made, is the feature which gives the church its unique interest. 
Mr. Ware puts forward a very interesting theory to account for its con- 
struction. ' It seems probable that the original chancel at Compton was 
shorter than the present chancel, and that the lower stage of the eastern 
portion of the chancel was added in the early Norman period. If this 
were so, it would be natural to put an altar in the nave as soon as the 
chancel was enlarged. . . . Shortly after the introduction of the nave 
altar, a third altar was desired, but the ground outside was not favourable 
for building a chapel contiguous to the chancel ; hence the addition of the 
eastern gallery for the purpose of containing the desired third altar, the 
roof, which had been low, being accordingly raised.' It may have been 
a chapel for monks, or a family chantry. 

The oak railing or balustrade which still stands in front of this gallery 
dates back, like the latter, to the twelfth century. It deserves note as one 
of the few specimens now to be found in the country of woodwork which 
is undoubtedly of the Norman period. 

When we leave Compton behind us, and bend our steps towards 
Guildford, our rambles are nearing an end. We can still tread the 
pilgrims' path, and, like them, make our way beneath the woods of Loseley 
to St. Catherine's Hill, whose sandy knoll is still crowned by the ruins of 


Seale, Puttenham, and Compton 

the chapel from which it takes its name. Or we may climb the Hog's 
Back, and, ere we dip down to the valley of the Wey, enjoy once more 
the wide and varied prospect which opens out from the summit of the 
chalk ridge. Whichever route we choose, I do not think our wanderings 
in South-west Surrey, amid the pines and heather, by river and streamlet, 
and along many a richly-wooded vale, could more fittingly close than at 
the foot of the High Street of the old county town in which the past and 
the picturesque so pleasantly blend. 

39 T3 


AlilNGER, 2, 86, 87 

Abney, Sir Thomas, 120 
Adderley, Sir John, 1 15 
Albury, 9, 19, 31, 37, 44 

Conferences, 20, 21 

New Church, 32-38 

Old Church, 30-32 

Park, 28-30 

Rifle Club, 40, 41 
Alfold, 85, 86, 94 
Allen, Grant, 2, 3 
Anderida Silva, 58 
Andr, Mr. L., 90, 137 
Arundel, Earl of, 28, 33 
Arundel Marbles, 28, 29, 37 
Ashmole, Elias, 37 
Askew, Mr. K., 9 

Aubrey, 9, 17, 19, 34, 44, 47, 94, 118, 130 
Audley, Lord, 5, 7 

Bank-notes, Manufacture of, 45 

Baring-Gould. Rev. A. S., 102, 104-107 

Baynards, 63-66 

Blackheath, 50 

Blackmore, R. D., 2 

Boehm, 4 

Bonfield Spring, 119 

Bonham, Sir George, 69, 74 

Borough Hill, 105, 106 

Bray family, 5, 60, 101 
Sir Edward, 65, 101 
Sir Reginald, 7, 12-16, 101 
William, 12, 17, 18, 31, 118 

Brocas, William, 1 1 5 

Brodricks, The, 113, 116, 118 

Brown, Capability, 116 

Browne, Harold, Bishop of Winchester, 

Brownlow North, Bishop, 120 

Buckingham, Duke of, 12, 13 

Burrow's Cross, 4 

Butlers, The, Earls of Ormond, 6 

Canterbury pilgrims, 6, 8, 31, 50, 131, 132, 


Carpenters' Company, 113, 114 

Caryngton, Richard, 64 

Catholic Apostolic Church, 19, 23 

Challoner, Colonel, 25 

Chambers, Sir William, 1 16 

Chiddingfold, 84-86, 91-97, 117 
Crown Inn, 94, 96, 97 

Chilworth, 42-50 

Churches : Albury, 32-38 ; Chiddingfold, 
94 ; Clandon, West, 66 ; Compton, 137, 
138 ; Cranleigh, 63-65 ; Dunsfold, 90, 
91 ; Elstead, 119; Ewhurst, 60 ; Frens- 
ham, 107 ; Hambledon, 99 ; Hascombe, 
70 73 ; Holmbury St. Mary, 55 ; Peper 
Harow, 115; Puttenham, 135; Seale, 
'3 2 ' '33! Shere, 5; Shackleford, 112, 
1 14; Witley, loo, 101 

Churt, 104, 106, 107 

Chuter, 104 

Cistercians, The, 118, 122-129, '34 

Clandon, 83 

Clarence, Duke of, 101 

Clay, Sir Arthur, 4 

Clive, The Hon. Robert, 36 

Cobbett, William, 25, 29, 42, 45, 61, 84, 
106, 120, 130 

Cole, Vicat, 4 

Colekitchen Lane, 3 

Compton, 114, 130, 132, 135-138 

County Club, Guildford, 36 

Covert, Sir William, and Lady Joan, 

Cranleigh, 6, 61-70, 74-83 
School, 70 

Cranley, Viscount, 69, 74, 83 



Cromwell, Oliver, 78, 79 

Thomas, 128 

Crooksbury Hill, 124, 130 
Cutmill Ponds, 131 

I)e Aquila, 101 

Devil's Jumps. 106 

Drummond, Henry, 19 29, 32, 38, 40 

Duncomb, George, 36 

Dunsfold, 84-86, 90, 91, 114 

Hashing, 109-1 12 

Eliot, George, 100 

Elizabeth, Princess of York, 13 

Ellery, John, 61 

Elstead, no, 1 19, 120 

Ely, Nicholas, Bishop of Winchester, 126, 


Elyots, The, 36 
Evelyn, George, 83 

John (Silva), 17, 25, 28, 29, 37, 44, 66 
Ewhurst, 58-60 

Farley Heath, 31, 38, 39, 59 

Farthing Copse, 46 

Felday. See Holmbury St. Mary 

Finch, Heneage, 29, 30 

Flint implements, 49 

Foster, Birket, 99 

Fox, Richard, Bishop of Winchester, 119 

Frensham, 86, 102, 104, 105, 107, 130 

Frowde, I'hilip, 116 

Fuller, Thomas, 1 16 

Furnace Bridge, 86 

George's Chapel, St., 1 2, 1 5 
Gibbet Hill, 102, 104 
Giffard, Bishop of Winchester, 124 
Glasshouse Field, 86 
Glass-making, 84, 86, 93, 94 
Godalming, 109, 114, 117, 118 
Godschall, Robert, 36 
Gomshall, 3, 36 
Grote, George, 10 

Mrs., 10, 53 
Guildford, 112. 138 
Gunpowder-mills, 32, 42, 44, 45, 80 

Halfpenny Lane, 46 

Hall Place, Shackleford, 113 

Hambledon, 86, 98, 99 

Hammer Ponds, 68, 84, 87, 104 

Hanham, Sir John, 74 

Harding, Robert, 64, 74 

Hascombe, 70-73 

Haslemere, 86 

Heights, "I he, Witley, 100 

Hillbury, 134 

Hindhead, 106, 107 

' Hokmonday,' 9 

Holditch, Richard, 48 

I lull, Frank, 4 

Holmbury Hill, 56, 58 

House, 56 

Holmbury St. Mar)' (Felday), 54, 55 
Hook, J. C., 99, loo, 107 
Horsley, Samuel, 35 

Howard, Henry, Duke of Norfolk, 28, 29, 

Thomas, Karl of Arundel, 28 
Hurtwood, 53, 61 

Ironworks, 44, 68, 69, 86-89, 104 
Irving, Edward, 19-22 

Jeffreys, Judge, 82 
Jekyll, Miss, no 
Johnson, Esther, 130 
Jones, or Jonys, Thomas, 101 

Kettlebury Hill, 105, 106 
King-game, 9 
Knowle, 63, 64, 74-83 
Knutsford, Lord, loo 

Layfield, Kdward, 95, 96 
Leader, Mr. B. W., 4 
Leech, John, 43 

Leveson-Gower, Hon. E. L., 56 
Lewes, George H., loo 
Limners lease, 136 
Lingfield, 86 
Little London, 32 
Littleton Cross, 132 
London Lane, 9 
Long, Edward Noel, 133 
Loseley MSS., 118 

M'Neile, The Rev. Hugh, ai, aa, 32, 33, 



Maiden, H. E., 31, 56, 58, 112 

Malthus, 36 

Manning, Dr. Owen, 17, 117, 118 

Manor House, Chilworth, 46-48 

Mare Hill, 102 

Marlborough, Sarah, Duchess of, 48, 116 

Marsh, Mrs., 56 

Martha's Chapel, St., 31, 42, 46, 47, 49 

Martin's, St., Blackheath, 50 

Martyr, John, 17 

Masham, Mrs., 116 

Meredith, George, 52 

Merrit, Mrs. Lea, 50 

Midleton, Lord, 54, 104 

Milford, 102 

Moor Park, 130 

More, Sir George, 66 

Sir Thomas, 64-66, 68 
Mores of Loseley, 102 
Morgan, William, 47 
Morton, Bishop of Ely, 12 
Mother Ludlam, 108, 130 
Mousehill, 102 
Mower, Richard, 64 
Musgrave, Canon, 71-73 

Netley Heath, 2 

Pond and House, 4 
Nevill, Ralph, 134 
Newark Abbey, 46, 134 
Newdigate, 86 
Nore Farm, 70 
Northumberland, Duke of, 26-28, 33 

Duchess of, 28, 38 

Ockley Wood. Battle of, 56, 57 
Odo, Bishop, 46 
Oliver House, Cranleigh, 69 
Onslow, Arthur, 74, 77-79, 83 

Dame, 64, 74 

First Lord, 66 

Second Baron, 83 

Sir Arthur, 33, 81-83 

Sir Edward, 76, 77 

Sir Richard, 33, 77, 81 

Sir Richard (1527-1571), 74, 76 
Osborne, Dorothy, 130 
Oughtred, William, 33-35, 117 
Oxenford Grange, 117, 118 

Peaslake, 52, 53 
Peasmarsh, 113. 114 
Pembroke, Mareschals of, 101 
Peper Harow, 112, 113, 115-118 
Pewley Hill, 50, 134 
Pilgrims' Way, 7, 131, 132, 134 
Pirbright, 15 
Postford House, 43 

Ponds, 42 

Poyle, Manor of, 133 
Pudmere Pool, 105 
Pugin, 115, 1 1 8, 119 
Punchbowl, 104 
Puttenham, 59, 114, 130, 132, 134, 135 

Randyll, Morgan, 47, 48 

Redford, John, 9 

Richmond, Earl and Countess of, 12, 


Ridgeway, The, Shere, 1 1 
Roberts-Austen, Sir W., 49 
Roman road, 59 

Station, 31, 56, 70, 134 
Villa, 92 

Roper, Margaret, 65, 66 
Rowcliffe, The late Mr. and Mrs., 73 
' Rowland's Stores,' Cranleigh, 69 
Rudgwick, 6 
Russell, John, 49 

Salmon, 31, 44, 50, 108 
Sapte, Archdeacon, 62, 64 
Sawcliffe, Robert, 7, 8 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, 112 
Seale, 130-134 
Shackleford, 112-115 
Shalford, 33, 50 
Sheep-stealing, 9, 10 
Shere, 4-11, 37, 44, 86 

Vachery, 6, 68 

' Shirburn Spring ' (Silent Pool), 35 
Shoelands, 132 
Silverhall Wood, 19 
Smith, Charlotte, 121, 122 

Henry, 116 
Smuggling, 9, 37, 104 
' Son of the Marshes,' 10 
South Sea Bubble, 48 
Spencer, Earls, 48 
Stafford, Sir Henry, 12 



Stanley, Lord, 14, 15 
Stella, 116, 130 
Street, G. E., 55, 64 
Surrey, Eat Is of, 28 
Swift, 1 16, 130 
Thomas, 135 

Temple. Sir W., 130 
ThoHs Stone, 105, 106 
Thurlow, Thomas Lyon, 66 
Thursley, 86, 94, 102-104 
Tilford, 1 10, 1 20- 1 22 
Tillingbourne, 2, 3, 19, 37, 44, 50 52 
Touchet, John (Lord Audley). 5, 7 
Townsend, Hamilton, 50 
Towton Field, Battle of, 6 
Tradescant, 37 

Tupper, Martin, 31, 35, 38-41, 43, 65 
Tyting Farm, 46 

Unwin, Messrs., 45 

Vachery, 6, 7, 63, 68, 86 
Volunteer movement, 40, 50 

Waller, William, 88 
Wanborough, 134 
Ware, Rev. H. R., 8, 138 
Warrens of Surrey, 101 
Wars of the Roses, 5, 6, 12 

Watts, Dr. Isaac, 120 

G. F., R.A., 132, 135, 136 

Mrs., 136 

Waverley Abbey, 120, 122-129 
Weekes. 1 1 ; 
Welch, W., 62 
Westcott, 3 

Westminster Abbey, 12, 15, 16, 33 
Weston Street, 33 37 
Weston, Thomas de, 36 
Wey and Arun Canal, 68, 90 
We/, River, 109, 120, 130 
Wharton (poet), 91 

Sir 1'olycarp, 44, 45 
White Horse Inn, Shere, 9 
Wilberforce, Bishop, 56 
\Vinge, Rev. John, 60 
Winn, Rev. W. H., 91 
Wither, George (poet), 78, 119 
Witley, 86, 98-102 
Wood, Rev. R. (1'eper Harow). 117 

Robert, 117 

Woodroffes, The, 132, 133 
Woods, Edward. 8 
Wormley Hill, 98-100 
Wotton, 3, 44 
Wyalt, Thomas, 113, 114 
Wykehurst, Thomas de, 64, 65 

York, Richard, Duke of, 6 
Young, Edward (poet), 91 

Ilillug and Sont, Ltd . GuiU/ord 

- . ; " . ->'> .< ,v' . 




' i 



DA Judges, . A. 

670 Some West Surrey Tillages