BLETCHINGLEY HISTORICAL  TIMELINE: Part Two

19th Century

1803 AD: Closure of Parsonage Lane 

Parsonage Lane (now known as Stychens Lane) closed to wheeled traffic

The lane had been the main route from the North (London) to the village but was closed when tree routes and rocks made further maintenance as a road impossible. It is now a footpath for much of the way.

1816 AD: Sale of Village (First)

The reason for the sale? It was all about power. As a rotten borough Bletchingley returned two Members of Parliament. The Claytons had gradually been buying control of the village (and ergo the two MPs) from 1682 onwards and from 1750 the Kenricks followed that tradition.

The conveyance to Matthew Russell of Brancepeth Castle, County Durham in 1816 allowed him to be elected as one of the MPs followed very shortly afterwards by his son for a few months.

  • See Article on Sale of Village in People and Places for more information

1827-28 AD: Lord Melbourne

William Lamb (later Lord Melbourne) Prime Minister 1834-41, elected MP for Bletchingley

1831-32 AD: Lord Palmerston

Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister 1859 – 1865, elected MP for Bletchingley

  • See Article on Lord Palmerston in People and Places for more information

1832 AD: Reform Act

The Reform Act removed Rotten Boroughs from the Parliamentary system meaning that the voters of Bletchingley lost the right to elect their own MP - let alone two.

1834 AD: Poor Law Act

The Act replaced all previous versions of poverty relief including “Parish Relief”; it was implemented to try and reduce costs, to standardise methods and to reduce some of the abuses of the system.

All poverty relief was in future to be administered through workhouses – it was judged that the set of rules should be such to deter all applicants other than the most destitute. 

1834 AD: Murder of Mr John Richardson of Bletchingley

On the 26th February Mr Richardson was returning to his home in Bletchingley after visiting the market at Epsom when he was set upon and murdered. Two men, one 5 feet 10 inches tall and “powerful looking but thin” and the other a little shorter and “remarkably ill-looking” had been seen leaving Walton Heath where Mr Richardson had been shot “through the lungs”. Bank Notes to the value of between £20 and £30 with some cash had been stolen.  

Mr Richardson’s family immediately offered a reward of 100 guineas on hearing of the “melancholy facts”.

1835 AD: Sale of Village (second)

Following the Reform Act and the subsequent loss of political influence the village was put up for sale at a knock-down price.  The land and buildings were sold in separate lots.

The Historic Association has copies of the Sales Particulars including maps. 

1839 AD: Godstone Union Workhouse

 The new institution was built on land north of Bletchingley Church (now Clerks Croft)

  • See Article on Workhouse  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)
  • See also website www.workhouses.org.uk for a complete list of residents in 1881

1841 AD: The coming of the Railway

The original railway line between Redhill and Dover was built in almost a straight line. As the objective was to reach the coast in the shortest possible time little consideration was given to servicing villages along the way. Much of the railway is actually underground as it passes through the parish of Bletchingley. 

The railway was formally opened by Queen Victoria on the 28th June 1843.

  • See Article on Railway  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1855 AD: Death in Bletchingley Tunnel

Newspaper Report:

“At an early hour on Friday morning (22nd July 1855) a man and his son, named George Bamon, living at Bletchingley, went to the Godstone Station to put a female relative in the train for London. Returning, young Bamon, despite the remonstrance of his father, determined, for a short cut, to go home through the Bletchingley Tunnel. On returning home old Bamon found his son had not arrived, and after waiting some time he communicated with the authorities, and on search being made, his body was found in the tunnel.... frightfully mangled”.

Note: Article edited to remove graphic injury information.

1873 AD: Update on School

The building in Stychens Lane was erected as the new school. Since replaced by the school at White Post.

  • See Article on Schools  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1894 AD: Local Government re-organisation

  • Area of Ham absorbed into Nutfield Parish.
  • The Domesday Book recorded that Ham was part of Bletchingley Parish even though it was physically detached. It is believed that it was owned by the huntsman for de Clare. It covered an area of approximately 179 acres. A comparison of old and new maps shows that the area of Ham is almost identical to that covered by the current Redhill Aerodrome at Nutfield.
  • Godstone Rural District Council set up covering 16 Parishes including Bletchingley – it had a total population of 23,044 residents. In 1899, Caterham set up its own Council leaving just 16,552 residents under Godstone. Further adjustments were made in 1933, but it was not until 1973 that Tandridge Council was established following the national re-organisation of Local Government. The name and physical area reflects the previous Tandridge Hundred.
  • Tandridge had previously given its name to one of the thirteen Hundred districts which Surrey was divided into in Anglo-Saxon times. This is commemorated by the small memorial set on the Hundreds Knoll – a small mound on the north side of the Godstone Road (A25), just east of Jackass Lane.  This was the meeting place of the open air Hundreds Courts that were held there from Anglo-Saxon days, right up until the 18th Century.  Although the Normans gradually introduced a more formal system of justice, the Courts continued in existence for certain civil purposes and the Hundreds Knoll is recorded as still being used for the election of constables and other local officials in 1720. (Information taken from Tandridge Parish Council website)
  •  Management of Bletchingley School transferred to Surrey County Council
20th Century

1911 AD: Derby Day thunderstorm 

31st May 1911, the Derby was moved from its traditional day so as not to clash with the Coronation of George VI. That day there was a huge thunderstorm which not only affected the Race but also the surrounding area with 159 lightening flashes counted in one 15 minute period at 5.30pm. It was reported that “...water, three feet deep, made the road through Bletchingley impassable...”;  hail lay fifteen centimetres deep on the Bletchingley Road, Godstone and a landslide at Hooley blocked the railway.

It was also reported that at Bletchingley House between 5pm and 7pm there was 1.94 inches of rain and three houses were struck by lightning. A wall and motor house were wrecked and one woman was  badly injured with three children slightly so. Another report stated that a 10 year old boy was hit by lightening in Bletchingley – he survived but was left with a fern-leaf shaped scar.

(courtesy of Steve Jebson, Met Office June 2011)

On June 2nd 1908 there had been another major thunderstorm when Jarvis Kenrick remarkably captured bolts of lightning on camera.

1912 AD: Introduction of first buses 

In 1911 Arthur Hawkins set up a regular and reliable motor bus service initially with two buses between Redhill and Reigate. A trial run of Bus No. 5 between Redhill and Godstone was completed on the 12th February 1912. The new route was finally established between the White Hart and Redhill in June the same year – the driver was told to take great care when descending Redstone Hill. In snowy weather, passengers had to walk up the same hill. The bus made hourly return trips from 08.30am till 10.00pm every weekday. By April 1914 the route was extended to Godstone and then on to Riverhead soon afterwards. Another route took passengers to Hartfield.

  • See Article on Buses  in People and Places for more information (work in process)

1914-18 AD: The Great War

All Bletchingley people who served in the Great War, received an individual certificate in recogntion of their service. The recipients did not necessarily undertake military service.

Those that did serve in the forces are also commemorated on the Rolls of Honour housed in the Village Hall. Unusually, the Rolls include all names, not just those that died.

  • see Article on The Great War under People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1921 AD: Dedication of War Memorial

 

The War Memorial dedicated to the Fallen in 1921

  • see Article on War Memorial under People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1929 AD: Local Government Act

 

Local Government Act transferred Poor Law Institution (Clerks Croft Workhouse) from Board of Guardians to Surrey County Council

 1929 AD:  Bowling Club

Bletchingley Bowling Club set up

  • See Article on the Sport in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1939 – 45 AD: World War Two

Like WWI Bletchingley played its part in the Second World War, in particular eighteen names were added to the War Memorial 

The Society holds a copy of the small book “Bletchingley in the World War 1939 – 1945” compiled by Bruce E Money which details the activities of the village at the time. It covers everything from the Meat Pie Scheme and Jam Making to a Salute for the Fallen - eighteen men gave their lives fighting on the Front.  

The village also saw its own share of casualties on the Home Front. There were four people killed (including a mother and young son)  on the night of 24th September 1940 during a raid by German bombers. A “hostile aeroplane” was brought down in flames in 1943 on White Hill which killed the three occupants who were subsequently buried in Bletchingley cemetary.  And in 1944 the house at South Park Farm was destroyed by an exploding V1 flying bomb killing the then sole occupier instantaneously – her two children survived unhurt in the air-raid shelter built alongside the house in the garden. Her husband was away serving in Africa.

There was also a secret wartime factory in the village.

  • See Article on the WWII in People and Places for more information (work in progress)
  • See Article on Pigeon in People and Places for more information

1949 AD: May Queen Festival established

May Queen Festival set up 

  • See Article on Sport in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1955 AD:  Bletchingley Football Club set up

Village Football team set up 

  • See Article on the Sport in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1956 AD: St Catherine’s School

New, purpose built school built as a Secondary Modern School replacing the old buildings at top of Stychens Lane

  • See Article on Schools  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1961 AD: Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is a group of volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (it is classified as the most remote archipelago in the world). In 1961the volcano, St Mary’s Peak on the main island, erupted forcing the entire population of 264 individuals to evacuate to nearby Nightingale Island. From there they were picked up by a Dutch boat and taken to the nearest land, Cape Town, 1,511 miles away. As a British Overseas Territory, Tristan da Cunha came under the United Kingdom who welcomed them temporarily. They arrived to a big press reception and initially housed in the old Pendhill Army Camp between Bletchingley and Merstham.

Though made welcome, Bletchingley was not like the home the evacuees had left behind – primarily it was forty miles from the sea. After a few weeks, the islanders moved home to Calshott, on the coast of the Solent  where they felt much happier. Most families returned to the Islands but one or two stayed behind in the UK having found romance. 

1961 AD: Hawthorns School 

Move of Hawthorns School from Gatton to Pendell Court

  • See Article on Schools  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1965 AD: Desmond Tutu

A young Desmond  Tutu is appointed as Assistant Curate at St Mary’s Bletchingley for a period of two years where he lived with his wife and children. He is now rather more well-known as the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and the former Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission following the elelction of the post-apartheid government  in South Africa.  

  •  See Article on Desmond Tutu  in People and Places for more information

1966 AD; St Catherine’s School

The school at White Post becomes a new County Primary School

  • See Article on Schools  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1972 AD: M23 motorway 

The route of the M23 mirrors the parish boundary with Nutfield and goes directly through the old golf course. Northern end of M23 follows the route of the original Surrey Iron Railway.

Woolpits House on M23 knocked down; it is reported locally that two women were killed when struck by earth-moving machinery crossing the A25 road (where the high level bridge is now).

Also built at the same time was a very short part of M25 between Junction 6 and Junction 8 in anticipation of its final completion as the London Orbital Motorway (in 1986)  

  • See Article on Transport  in People and Places for more information (work in progress)

1973 AD: Historical Association

Bletchingley Historical and Conservation Society set up under the guidance of Uvedale Lambert (Junior)

  • See Article on About Us for more information

1986 AD: Extended Adult Education Centre 

Located in the "old" Village School at the top of Stychens Lane, the Adult Education Centre was extended and formally opened by Sir Yehudi Menuhin

  • See Article on Schools in People and Places for more information

1995 AD: First female Rector of Bletchingley

 

Clare Edwards was appointed as the first female rector in the village. She served until 2004 when she became the Canon Pastor at Canterbury Cathedral. 

2000 AD: Millennium celebrations

To celebrate the millennium, the Historic Association arranged for a photograph to be taken of every house (and proud owners where possible) in the parish. This important, now historic, record is available for viewing by arrangement. 

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  • 1951 laying a bouquet on the War Memorial in the village
  • May Queen: Rita George
  • Prince: Believed to be Valerie Hawkins
  • 1949 Inaugural May Queen Ceremony.
  • May Queen: Rita Nash
  • Train Bearers: Mary Kettle and Shirley Nash
  • Banner Bearers: Bunty and Elizabeth Sinclair
  • Retinue: Jean Osbourne, Diana English, Pam Borre, Barbara Johnson, Pat Tanner, Sheila Young,Maureen Johnson, Colleen Johnson, Gwyneth Golgate, Pat Creasey, Elspeth Richards, Barbara Cook, Rita George and Valerie Hawkins  
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"Flash of lightning" taken by Jarvis Kenrick 1908 for the Photographic Survey. Orginal held at Surrey History Centre

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The first bus from Bletchingley to Redhill getting ready to leave

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  • A double wedding at Bletchingley: Benny and Sylvia Green & Lars and Trina Repetto, all from Tristan da Cunha.
  • Picture taken from Tristan da Cunha website
21st Century

2012 AD: The Olympics

 

Bletchingley was one of those places that had the honour of hosting the Olympic Torch Relay for the second time.

In 1948, the torch was carried aloft through Bletchingley by a Mr AE Young of  Monotype Athletic Club who had had to run from Godstone to Nutfield; one of the 1,688 torch bearers on the way to Wembley.

In 2012, nationally, over 8000 volunteers carried the torch;  in Bletchingley on the 20th July  a relay of four people “merely” had to take their torch from Chevington Villas to Barfields where it was then transported direct to Redhill. These torch bearers were Simon Hawkings, Coreen Egege, Hayley Fordham and Mariusz Czerkawski  (none of them local to the village). Huge crowds were in attendance on both occasions enjoying the spectacle of the event (no Coca-Cola lorry in 1948).  

After the 2012 parade The Big Village Sports Day took place in Grange Meadow. The passing of the torch through Bletchingley is commemorated on the Village Sign.

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2012 AD: Diamond Jubilee

The nation, and Bletchingley, celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was wet – very wet.

Nonetheless, the village put on a show with a Sing-Along-a-Jubilee at the Church in the evening of the 2nd June and a planned Big Jubilee Lunch in the Churchyard the next day. As it was so wet, this was moved with very short notice to the Village Hall. Then back to the Church for Jubilee Songs of Praise in the evening.   

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