Directions from Church: leave the churchyard by the High Street entrance, turn right up Church Walk and continue west up the High Street. At Stychens Lane, turn right and continue north along the track and footpath to Brewer Street lane. Turn left along the lane (past the Old Rectory) and take the footpath ahead where the road bears sharp left. Follow footpath westwards to Pendell Road, turn right for approx 100 yards; Pendell Court is on the right - the lake can be clearly seen from the road.  Not suitable for wheelchair users.

 

 

Places: We are just starting to add some of the notable places that can be found in Bletchingley.

Check back here soon for more information.

 

Glenfield House

 

Location: High Street (opposite the War Memorial)

 

Listed building: Grade II (Historic England Listing: 1029981)

 

This is an important building built in the early 18th Century- its position in the High Street marks a distinct change from the lower (wide market) area to more residential buildings further up the narrowing road.  

 

The building has changed little over the years (except some internal modernisation and re-arrangement) though the frontage (early 18th century) is very different to the rear which more clearly reflects an earlier original building. Clearly identified on historic maps.

 

Owners: Seventeen owners including three Baronets, seven Members of Parliament, a Rector, a Master of the Kings Household and an England Cricketer. See below for additional information on specific owners

 

Sir Robert Clayton (MP and Baronet):  held the patronage to nominate MPs for the Rotten Borough of Bletchingley  but with talk in Parliament of reform he decided to sell all his property to his cousin, John Kenrick in 1779 for £10,000. However he had second thoughts when the talk of reform receded and he filed a case against his cousin saying that he had been “imposed upon” to sell at a much reduced price. However the Court did not agree and he lost the case.

 

John Kenrick (who like many others, nominated himself as one of the Bletchingley MPs): also held the very powerful position of Clerk to the Master of Ordnance – he was in charge of all the delivery of munitions and equipment to the Army and Navy.

 

William Kenrick MP:  inherited the patronage and he too followed suit by returning himself as a Bletchingley MP. He became Master of the Royal Household – effectively in charge of all the domestic matters involved with running the royal palaces. He eventually resigned his seat in Parliament and sold Glenfield House (and of course the parliamentary patronage) to a Matthew Russell.

 

Matthew Russell MP: His purchase of Glenfield House helped set in motion one of the greatest changes in the organisation of Parliament. As a way of starting their political careers Matthew Russell (over the years) appointed a number of fellow Whig MPs to Bletchingley including the two future Prime Ministers William Lamb (Lord Melbourne) and Lord Palmerston; they eventually brought about the Great Reform Act of 1832 – thereby abolishing the disliked rotten boroughs. 

 

It should be remembered that though there were some illustrious owners of Glenfield House it does not necessarily mean that the people concerned actually lived in the village. However after 1832 this started to change.

 

Doctor Robert Allan: recorded as a Glenfield House tenant between 1832 and 35 but then purchased the house when the whole village was put up for sale (as it was not worth so much now there were no MPs). His surgery was in the next door Melrose Cottage. The house was slightly extended at this time when the side passage (to the east) was purchased and incorporated into the side elevation. 

 

Sir John William Kaye: tenant 1850 and 1857. Previously, following a number of years in the Bengal Artillery, he joined the East India Company and spent some mysterious years as a civil servant in the “political and secret” department of the India Office.  His two volume “History of the Sepoy War in India” is still available.

 

Maurice Allom: Following various other owners and tenants (and the building at the bottom of the garden of a new house called Glen Irvine – now known as Tower House) Glenfield House was bought by Maurice Allom and his wife Pamela in 1929. 

 

  • Information taken from talk by Nick Keable to BCHS

Glenfield House staff at the wedding of Maurice Allom's son, Anthony.

 

Original picture Geraldine Brooks

A quiet afternoon in the High Street - Glenfield House - with trees. Date early 20th Century.

Tower House

Location: Outwood Lane

 

Listed Building: Grade II (Historic England Listing 1204573)

 

For a large, distinctive building in the village there is remarkably little information available. We know it didn’t exist in 1835 (as the land on which it stands was included in the Sale of the Village and there is only a mention of a small “Homestead and Buildings” on the Sale Particulars). Uvedale HH Lambert mentions Tower House as being built in the 1860s with its Lodge on the old holding known as “Le Lords field” (sometimes Lawds Field). This area had been owned by Richard Stevens in 1523 and subsequently by the Drake and Evans families. Tower House was originally called Glen Irvine (perhaps a nod to Glenfield House whose owners were also involved with this land); the Lodge is now called Beech Lodge in Outwood Lane.

 

The original Tower House site included land stretching from the footpath (now Greensand Way running parallel and to the south of the High Street) to the area in the High Street occupied by Melrose Cottage and adjacent buildings to the west. There are many mortgage documents covering most of the second half of the nineteenth century which shows a complicated history for these cottages. Glen Irvine changed its name to Tower House in 1896 with most of the grounds laid out as gardens as can be seen from the plan of 1919 alongside.

 

The house has had numerous owners and/or occupiers over the years, including the Rolls (as in Royce) family.  See People page for more information on their tenure of the property.

 

The tower was removed in the early 1930s by the then owner Furze Scutton but was restored as a Millennium project  by Robert Stiby (then a director of Capital Radio).

 

During World War Two, Tower House was requisitioned by the Canadian Troops as an Officer’s Mess. The Tower Bungalow (subsequently built on part of the land towards the High Street) was home to the “Report Post” for the village. All Home Guard units had to make regular reports and the Bungalow is where they collated the informationin the log-book. The Air Raid Siren was also moved to the garden at Tower House (from Clerks Croft) and operated by the warden or telephonist on duty. On the night of the 23rd/24th February all the sirens from Oxted to Redhill were affected by a severe frost which froze the fans and meant they didn’t work. Later on a small electrically heated element was added to the fan box to stop the problem happening again.

 

The Report Post was also where the Parish store of spare gas masks was kept including special gas helmets for babies. Demonstrations to parents were given but it is hard to see how the equipment would have been that successful in saving babies lives. Morrison Shelters and heavy steel tables for indoor use were also provided to the village from here.

 

Tower House has been offered for sale a few times over the years including for £70,000 in 1974 and again in 1986 for £265,000.  

 

The plan attached is from the Sales Particulars when the House and land was placed under auction in 1919.

 

Now you see it.......

Tower House prior to the removal of the tower.

Copyright Quinlan

... Now you don't

Tower House without tower

Copyright Ibbett Mosely 

1919 Sales Particulars - Plan

Pendell House

Location: Pendell Road, north of the village

 

Listed Building: Grade I  (Historic England Listing 1029987)

 

Owners: Sixteen owners to date with recurrent theme: there may not have been great leaders of State but there does seem to have been some happy families making their home there. 

 

Building of nationally important architectural interest:  One of the few buildings attributed to the renowned architect Inigo Jones and which is still in private hands.  The house is dated 1636 and though there is no hard evidence to directly relate it to Inigo Jones there are sufficient similarities with other, nationally famous, places for it to be widely accepted that he probably drew up the plans for the house and then left it to the local mason to build. The staircase especially is noted as being similar to, and contemporary with, the staircase at the Queen’s House in Greenwich - it has no supporting pillars and is built directly into the walls of the building. The plans of the original Pendell House show a rigidly symmetrical lay-out typical of Inigo Jones.

  

The scalloped walls and “sedan chair” gateway were added in the 18th century during the tenancy of the Jelfe Family.

 

The house was slightly damaged in June 1944 when one of the VI flying bombs landed in Cockley Wood (located near to the junction of Big and Little Common Roads) – to the south of the house). Strangely, the resulting explosion caused the windows at the back of the house (the north side) to shatter rather than at the front as you might expect.

 

See Jarvis Kenrick for further information.

 

See book “Pendell House 1636 – 2016” published by Jim Brown in conjunction with the Historic Society ISBN 978-1-78091-552-4 for more information

View from Pendell House south towards Cockley Wood (note the sedan chair gateway and scalloped walls)

Brewer Street Farmhouse

Location: Brewer Street, north of the village

 

Listed Building: Grade I  (Historic England Listing 1281258)

 

Brewer Street Farm and its Tudor farmhouse must be one of the best known local landmarks, and yet for such an old building, remarkably little is known about its history. 

 

Brewer Street Farmhouse is one of the most striking buildings in Surrey but from when it was built in 1491 as a Hall House and until 1922 there is little recorded information. It has a heavy Horsham stone roof and until the 1960s, foundations which basically consisted of small boulders upon which the timbers sat. 

 

In 1968 there was lots of rain which ran down the road and under the house, causing it to sink. The newly refurbished roof (put on three years earlier) weighed down on the building and thus the timbers started cracking.

Tom Mitchell in the village gave valuable advice on emergency stabilisation and remarkably the house was put on jacks to allow the foundations to be replaced.

 

During this time, there was a break-in and the interior was ‘redecorated’ with paint that was found inside. The re-building of the walls which were due to be re-constructed in any case led to more problems  including a particular one not usually known to house-owners. As is common with medieval buildings, the walls were made of wattle and daub (the plaster between the timbers) and being organic, the material may have contained anthrax spores. Not only is this a danger to humans but to cattle too, meaning that  every night (much to the bemusement of the builders) every single piece of the “plaster” had to be burnt so that the Brewer Street pedigree herd would not be affected.

 

The herd had been started by Hubert French after he had bought 280 acres from the Pendell Court Estate in the 1930s using Government Support. The farm then had an option for multiple mixed use (cereal, stock, etc) and a small dairy herd – one of 15 in Bletchingley alone. The number in Surrey is now in single figures. Hubert had a special interest in horticulture, growing amongst other things, lettuce, brassica, cucumber, tomatoes, soft fruit and orchards as well as chrysanthemums. He was an early pioneer of the delivery of vegetable boxes – transporting in his own custom painted vehicle a selection of fresh fruit, veg and flowers direct to the kitchens of the “big houses” of Sloane Square and Mayfair in the 1930s.

 

More recently, the farm has concentrated on the dairy side, eventually building up a herd of 200 cattle. Concerns about the possibility of bovine TB (though there was never an outbreak on the farm) and continuing falling milk prices led to the sale of the herd in July 2000.

 

There have been various local characters connected to the farm: Roy Yielding worked at Brewer Street as a lorry driver  from the age of 14 to well over eighty. Head horseman, Jack Medhurst worked for 55 years living in a two bedroom farm cottage with his wife and eleven children (and was still able to find room for paying lodgers). 

 

The farmhouse is one of a handful of buildings in the village which has a Grade I Historic England Listing - it also has the added comment “This is a very good example of its type”.

 

Brewer Street and Place Farm make up a separate Tandridge Conservation area.

Brewer Street Farmhouse 1905 taken by the Rev Fison as part of the Photographic Survey 

Original picture at Surrey History Centre

The Castle

Location: Castle Hill

 

Listed Building: Grade I (Historic England Listing: 1013374)

 

There is little sign of Bletchingley Castle nowadays. What there is are some ruins and some partially excavated earthworks but these are all on private land. However in its day it was pretty impressive and played an important role in the history of England (the United Kingdom did not appear until about 450 years after the Castle’s demise).

 

The Castle stood on the southern edge of the Greensand Ridge very close to what is now the high level bridge carrying the A25 over the M23. From here one can see south to the ridge beyond Crawley (in the far distance, Chanctonbury Ring on the South Downs is visible), east to the Ashdown Forest and west to Leith Hill and beyond. Views to the North are more limited but from the top of the Castle one would have been able to see along the valley from Redhill to Oxted, including the important gaps in the North Downs at Merstham and Godstone.(The gap in the Greensand Ridge next door to the Castle only dates from the construction of the M23)

 

Though seemingly unlikely now, the road from the Castle entrance in Castle Street used to go straight north directly to London. Stychens Lane used to drop down to Brewer Street (and Bletchingley Palace) up White Hill and on towards Caterham, Croydon and London -  Blackfriars Bridge and Stychens Lane are on the same longitude.

 

Bletchingley is shown in the Domesday Book as being owned by Richard FitzGilbert, given as a reward from William the Conqueror;  by 1160 the Mappa Mundi produced by Gervase of Canterbury (monk and English chronicler) listed Bletchingley Castle as one of the four Surrey castles.

 

Today it can be seen that the castle had many steep banks and ditches in a ring design (but not a motte and bailey) suggesting that it was a very valuable property, possibly on the site of an iron age hill fort. Excavations in 1980 suggested that the building was a reserve stronghold mainly used to store munitions. It had a large main room (10m x 20m) with two side chambers used as an undercroft. It was basically a square plain building with little in the way of architectural ornamentation with entry most likely via the first floor. It had a large surrounding deer park which can be clearly seen to the south.

 

Bletchingley Castle cannot lay claim to any long-lived castle – if anything it would be the opposite. The Barons War of 1264 led to its destruction. See the Timeline 1 page for full details but briefly, the Kings Troop travelled from Tonbridge to Croydon to re-group following the defeat of the Royalists at the Battle of Lewes and stopped at Bletchingley to destroy the castle -  it was now in the hands of Gilbert de Clare who had played a major part at the Battle. It was never re-built  and fell further into decay over the years but some of the embankments can be seen from the footpath that skirts to the south (part of the Greensand Way). The Surrey Archaeological Collection Volume 98 has an in-depth article on the slighting of the Castle with a new argument regarding the continuing feud between the de Clare and Roger of Leyburn. 

 

The de Clare line ran out with the death of Gilbert de Clare (V) at Bannockburn in  1314. His lands were split between his three sisters with Bletchingley passing to Margaret, the youngest.  She married twice, the Castle lands passing to her daughter and to her descendents, the Staffords. Humphrey Stafford (Duke of Buckingham) was executed by Henry VIII and so was Sir Nicholas Carew who had in the meantime been given the estate. The Cholemely, Gaynesford and Drake families subsequently owned the area; James Drake Brockman eventually selling to John Kenrick in 1793. A later sale to James Norris resulted in the building of Castle Hill (aka Bletchingley Castle).

 

This is another Bletchingley building whose history is slightly opaque: built in about 1860 it stands slightly to the west of the original Castle. Mr Norris subsequently sold it to a Mr Partridge. It is known that Mr AP Brandt owned Castle Hill from 1906.  Both of these owners had a keen interest in the gardens:  Mr Partridge installed plant glasshouses including a palm house, vineries and a peach house in 1900 using Messenger & Co Ltd of Leicestershire and Mr Brandt later added a boiler and more glasshouses in 1924 by the same company.

 

In 1952, property developers demolished most of the western end of the building, the remaining eastern end (the original servant quarters) was converted into flats. This building has now been extended again – its dominance can be seen as one travels up the M23 from the south.

 

The original castle and a nearby (unexcavated) unusual stone built Norman house are currently on the Historic England “At Risk” register.

 

 

 

 

 

Directions from the Church: Leave the churchyard by the High Street entrance, turn right and walk up Church Walk, Glenffield House is opposite the War Memorial.

Directions from Church: leave the churchyard by the High Street entrance, turn right up Church Walk. At the end, carefully cross the main road (using the pedestrian refuge) and then walk back down the High Street on the south side to the crossroads, turn right (south) down Outwood Lane. Tower House is on the right in approx 1/4 of a mile

Directions from Church: leave the churchyard by the High Street entrance, turn right up Church Walk and continue west up the High Street. At Stychens Lane, turn right and continue north along the track and footpath to Brewer Street lane. Turn left along the lane (past the Old Rectory) and take the footpath ahead where the road bears sharp left. Follow footpath westwards to Pendell Road, turn right for approx 100 yards; Pendell House is on the opposite side of the road. Not suitable for wheelchair users.

Directions from Church: leave the churchyard by the High Street entrance, turn right up Church Walk and continue west up the High Street. At Stychens Lane, turn right and continue north along the track and footpath to Brewer Street lane. Go straight ahead (north) along the lane; Brewer Street Farmhouse is on the left in approx 1/4 of a mile. Not suitable for wheelchair users. 

1872 map showing direct route from Castle to Palace and on to London

Copyright Ordnance Survey

1934 map showing detail of Castle grounds including original ring works

Copyright Ordnance Survey

1905 Sales Particulars for aution of Castle Hill property

BCHS archives

Early 20th Century picture of (new) Castle Hill before demolition of centre and right of building. Now partially re-built.

Copyright Quinlans c/o BCHS

Directions from Church: leave churchyard from High Street entrance, turn right along Church Walk and continue west up High Street. At Stychens Lane cross-roads, carefully cross main road and head south down Castle Hill. Castle is in private grounds so no entrance. Continue along Greensand Way footpath (south) through the deer park for a distant view of (new) Castle Hill building. Greensand Way unsuitabe for wheelchairs

 GETTING THERE
 

 Walking directions have been provided for each site using the Church as a starting point in all cases.

 

Please note that most footpaths in the village can get very muddy and are usually uneven under foot. 

 

As many of the local roads in Bletchingley have no continuous pavement and are sometimes under trees (ie have poor light levels), no alternative walking routes have been provided here for people unable to use the footpaths. In these cases the best alternative is to travel by car.

 

If using the local roads for walking please be aware that traffic can travel very fast along these narrow routes.

 

The main A25 road can be particularly dangerous and should only be crossed with great care. Use the pedestrian refuges available. There is no pavement on most of the south side of the High Street. 

 

All properties listed (except the Church) are private properties and no public access is available. Please respect the privacy of owners when viewing externally from the public road/footpath.

 

Members of the Historical Society have an opportunity to visit some of these properties as part of their membership. 

 

Pendell Court

Location: Pendell Road

 

Listed Building: Grade II (Historic England Listing: 1281104 )

 

Uvedale Lambert’s book is relatively silent on a number of places in Bletchingley but not so for this large Jacobean building in the small hamlet of Pendell.

 

It is now the home of The Hawthorns School, a private school which moved from nearby Gatton in 1961. But before that it was a private house inhabited by a number of families – many of them with the title of Lord of The Manor. People can be forgiven for thinking that the holder of this title might have lived in the house next door at the Manor House but that name only came into use at the start of the 20th Century, before that that house was called Little Pendhill.

 

Uvedale Lambert has several chapters on the history of the land and buildings of Pendell (or Pendhill as sometimes written) including very detailed information on the wills of various owners before 1634. He also covers the rents payable by tenants (including the Church) such as for the years 1408 and 1451.

 

Bletchingley is very fortunate as a lot of these documents still exist and are held in the National Archives or at the Surrey History Centre. Uvedale Lambert does make the point that until the seventeenth century Pendell was not lived in by the owners of the land – it was merely a distant annex to their main residence. One of these owners was the family of Uvedale; a very distant relation to the author of The Parish History. His son however was a direct descendant of the old Lords of the Manor but through the maternal line.

 

In 1617, George Holman, “citizen and grocer of London” took possession of the Bletchingley estate for “two and twenty hundred pounds” (£2,200) which included a farmhouse of some description roughly on the site of the future Pendell Court along with a water mill (now under the M23), four gardens, four orchards, 150 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 100 acres of pasture, 20 acres of wood and 80 shillings of rent on properties in Bletchingley and Nutfield. The farmhouse had a sitting tenant but a new property (now Pendell Court) was already being built; it was completed in 1624 just before George Holman died aged 54 followed just a few years later by his widow, Susan.

 

The estate was inherited by their son, Robert, who set about consolidation by buying the nearby marshland (now the ornamental lake)  and the farm, Stoners next door (which became Little Pendhill and then the Manor House). Various descendants (but not necessarily direct ones) added to the holdings;  Mr George Scullard, husband of Hester who had inherited the estate in 1760, enlarged the lake and stocked it with fish. A notebook of his was known to Uvedale Lambert which showed the fish taken out, and the replenishment of new stock, for the years 1763-8. Mr Scullard also arranged for the estate to be properly mapped.

 

Hester’s half brother, Mr John GW Perkins, inherited Pendell from her and being a very wealthy man added much more land; his son, John then added the whole of Bletchingey to his portfolio in 1835 (at a knock down price) following the dissolution of the Parliamentary Seats under the Reform Act – this made him the largest land-owner in the Parish after Sir William Clayton.  He died unmarried and without a will, so the estate was divided up between his four surviving sisters. Pendell Court and immediate area was eventually sold to Sir George Macleay KCMG in 1876.    

 

Up to this point, the Pendell Court building had remained relatively unchanged from when it was built – long and narrow.  Sir George set about extending the house in a very sympathetic manner so it looks like it has always been as it is now. He had been a botanist in Australia so keenly laid out new gardens complete with extensive glasshouses. He demolished some of the outbuildings and created the wide sweeping carriage drives that can still be seen. He did though sell a lot of small parcels of land not immediately adjacent to the house.

 

However by 1893, Sir George had died and a Mr William Abraham Bell  (railroad pioneer in the United States)  had purchased the estate. He set about buying back much of the land leaving it eventually to his son Archie in 1921.   

 

During the 1930s some of the land was again sold off – mainly to the (sitting) tenant farmers. The building was leased to the United Services Club during WW2 and afterwards it was sold to the Sisters of a Convent at Wantage. The Bells moved to Berry House (in the High Street) where they retained a keen interest in their old home.

 

In 1961, the Hawthorns School moved to Pendell Court who now own the site. They have continued to maintain and improve the grounds. The lake was restored in 2012 to the original eighteenth century vista by remodelling both the bed and the banks but not without some difficulty – two JCBs got stuck in the mud, unfortunately both at the same time.  A comparison to the old maps show that not all the current lake is the same – the area the other side of the road has been taken over by the foundations for the M23 and the large bund (earthworks) that now surround Pendell House  

 

For much more information on the history of Pendell, Uvedale Lambert’s book should be consulted.   

Gardens of Pendell Court (Herbaceous Border at rear of house)

Copyright: BCHS

1898 picture of Pendell Court

Copyright: BCHS

1762 map of Pendell Court made for Mr George Scullard

Original map at Surrey History Centre

Extract of 1762 map showing the lake either side of Pendell Road. The Hawthorn School reclamation relates to the area above the road.The M23 passes roughly horizontally where it says Broomley Croft at the bottom of the map. The Pendell House "bund" runs roughly down the centre of this part of the lake 

The original map is held at Surrey History Centre

The Church

 

Location: centre of village

 

Listing Building: Grade I (Historic England Listing: 1029972)

 

Limited information only here  as St Mary’s Church already has its own website. Coming soon on this site will be a new page where there will be information on all the Churches (past and current) in the Parish.

 

In the meantime....

 

Early history: the oldest part of the church is thought to be the tower dating from 1090; some of the walls are over five feet thick. The original spire was hit by lightning when some of the bells melted.

 

The South Chapel was added in the thirteenth century; the north aisle in 1856.

 

The Squint: the church had its very own hermit – called Roger

 

The Pulpit: dates from 1630 – a gift from Robert Holman, the son of the builder of Pendell Court. (link). It was thrown out in 1870 when parts of the church underwent restoration. Fortunately it was not destroyed but returned to the church in 1937 after being found in Orsett, Essex.

 

Rectors: there is a complete list of the men (and two women)  who have held the position since 1293  hanging in the church near the entrance to the Tower. Three members of the clergy who warrant particular attention are Thomas Herring who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1747,  Nathaniel Harris and Desmond Tutu

 

Reredos: located behind the High Alter. Carved by Mr George Edmund Street in 1870, it shows Samuel Wilberforce as the Bishop of Winchester surrounded by apostles at the scene of the Crucifixion. Samuel was the son of William, the well-known slavery reformer. GE Street was the architect of the Royal Courts of Justice, amongst other buildings.

 

Clayton Memorial: the new page on the local churches will look at the church memorials in more depth but this statue is extremely hard to miss. Raised by Sir Robert Clayton (during his own lifetime and featuring himself) but in honour of his wife, Martha. It is huge and considered to be one of the finest early eighteenth century sculptures in England. 

 Directions from Church: turn around and there it is!

 

Pictures from the Photographic Survey (photograph and accompanying label) 

Copyright: Surrey History Centre

Bletchingley Places

The Hunting Parks

Bletchingley had not one but two hunting parks both to the east of the village and either side of the main A25 road to Godstone.

 

Following the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066, the land around South Park had been given to William’s compatriot, Richard de Clare. It is known the two Hunting Parks were set up before 1262 for the hunting of deer, foxes and other lesser prey. Permission was needed to establish a hunting park in the form of a licence and though it is known that many such licences were issued, plans were not always followed through so to have two parks in close proximity was a bit unusual.

 

There were three reasons for the formation of a Park: food - for the local Lord and retainers and to give as presents to friends; for training in warfare (the skills needed for hunting being not dissimilar to those needed to fight) and for sport (an excellent means of exercise and excitement).  Later it was a mark of status and wealth to have a large park to go with one’s large house.

 

North Park

 

Location – see map attached.

 

Boundaries: southern edge - roughly from Place Farm along the road to Church Lane and on to the new sandy track on the corner past the golf course to Godstone; eastern - along  North Park Lane and over the motorway to the viewpoint; northern – along Gravelly Hill and War Coppice Road with a slight deviation to the north; western – down White Hill Lane to the junction of Place Farm Road.

 

Much of the old park area has been destroyed by the M25 and the sand quarries though this section is slowly being returned to nature. The Mesolithic site investigated in 2005 is also in this area – it was thought by that team that the Mesolithic people met there because of the deer; perhaps not unsurprising then that a deer park should be founded in the same place.  North Park was the smaller of the two parks at 1,132 acres. Excavations at Place Farm have revealed a steep bank with large post holes – very likely an original deer fence.

 

After the park was “disparked” three farms were formed: Hextalls the house where the Hermitage now stands; the second was Place Farm (and the nearby barn) and the third at North Park Farm (now The Orpheus Centre). No smaller houses were built in the Park but it is thought that labourers were probably housed at Brewer Street (just outside). The Park Gates are hard to decipher but there were  probably ones at each corner of the park. Uvedale Lambert’s book has a great deal of detail on this.

 

South (or Great) Park

 

Location – see map.

 

Boundaries: northern – from Parkgate (just north of the railway bridge) on Outwood Lane to South Park Farm and beyond; eastern – south (over the railway tunnel) to Hookstile Wood; southern – west to Gayhouse Lane to Outwood windmill; western – north up Outwood Lane to Park Gate.  An area of approximately 1680 acres.

 

Some of the high banking and fencing can still be seen in South Park; a “pale” of tall, cleft, oak stakes positioned on a high bank with an internal ditch were used to keep the deer in. It is thought that the term “beyond the pale” might come from this structure.  It would appear that the deer were mainly hunted for food here, rather than for sport, as records show a variety of dogs in use including different types of greyhound, buck hounds and “shooting dogs” for work with archers using bow and arrow.

 

There been a number of instances recorded of park-breaking and deer stealing including one in 1324 when the park-keeper, John Browning was attacked. Another, John Bradshaw was appointed on the 16th February 1401 as park-keeper for life at a wage of 3d per day  – 120 years later the South Park keeper, John Scote, was still receiving the same amount. 

 

Following the Civil War, the Great Park was “de-parked” when the estate was sold. Six separate farms were created  all of which are still standing though some have been much altered over the years, including South Park where the original farm had been on the present house’s front lawn. The other houses included Cuckseys, Lodge Farm and rather confusingly another South Park but sometimes with the prefix Lower.

 

The park now houses the Bletchingley Tunnel built in 1841 as part of the original main line between London and Dover. Ventilation shafts can still be seen in the area; but most of the huts and buildings used to house the labourers at the time have mainly disappeared under the undergrowth.

 

The  other distinctive building in the Park is St Mark’s Church – further information will be found on our page about the Churches of Bletchingley (work in progress)

 

Again , Uvedale Lambert has a huge amount of information about the Great Park including details of the owners of the farms and the local wildlife – he did live there after all!

Directions from Church

 

North Park: take Church Lane northwards to the corner where the new sandy track can be picked up. The boundary of the park can be followed using a number of public footpaths and local roads but care will be needed descending White Hill Lane (no pavement).

 

South Park: access to the nearest points of the park  both involve dangerous walks along busy, fast roads without pavements and is not recommended. There is no public parking along the narrow road to South Park from Rabies Heath Road.  The northern and eastern boundaries can be walked of sorts by footpath (once you get there); the western boundary is now Outwood Lane and is a VERY DANGEROUS road for walking;  the southern boundary is part extremely muddy path (it's a stream in places) and part road (Gayhouse Lane has no pavement and is bit of a rat-run).  

 

Map showing boundary of the old North Park

Copyright: BCHS

Map showing boundary of old South (or Great) Park

Copyright: BCHS

Cuckseys Farm with the Agate Family c1910

Copyright: Miss Margaret Perry c/o BCHS

View over South Park looking south - Gayhouse Lane runs along the (nearer) horizon.

Copyright: BCHS

If asked “Where would I find a windmill or a watermill in Bletchingley?”, most people would be hard-pressed to find an answer.

 

But.... the actual answer is a bit different. 

 

Windmill:

 

Location: A25 towards Nutfield

 

There is little sign now, but the base can be clearly seen from the main road. The Bletchingley (sometimes known as the Nutfield) windmill was perched high on the ridge very close to the junction of the A25 and Big Common Lane. It stopped working in 1888 and was demolished in 1929 but the present house has a commemorative plaque in the garden.

 

Next time you go from the village towards Redhill, have a good look on the left hand side of the road about 75 yards before the motorway bridge and in amongst  the trees , you can glimpse a sturdy brick wall which was the base of our local windmill. This short stretch of road from Botery Cross to the bridge  is historically known as Windmill Hill.

 

There was a second windmill on Tilburstow Hill - only a depression in the ground shows the site. It is worth noting that mills were often found at a confluence of roads or footpaths which may help identify the exact location.

 

Water Mill (1):

 

Location: Ivy Mill Lane, Godstone


Traces of one of our local water mills can be seen at Ivy Mill Lane (right on the border of the parish) in the dip of the road just south of Godstone School.

 

In 1909 the sluice gate could not cope with a sudden influx of water following a very stormy night and with the collapse of a nearby old elm tree, the road also collapsed. The mill continued to work until at least 1920 when the building was gutted by fire. The pond continued until 1947, used by skaters during harsh winters.  There is a short footpath which goes round the edge of the pond above the road to look down on the old mill buildings.

 

Water Mill (2):

 

Location: M23 motorway(!)

 

There was another mill at Pendell. Situated along the track opposite the entrance to Pendell Court (The Hawthorns), Mill Cottage is the last remnant.

 

Part of the manor of Pendell was sold in 1591 including this mill. The mill itself fell down in the middle of the eighteenth century and was apparently not replaced as the building does not feature on a 1762 map but the cottage and pond does. 

 

In more recent times, Jean Colin, the musical comedy star of the 1930s made her home at Mill Cottage for twenty five years from 1940. Mill Cottage survived the building of the M23 but unfortunately not the accompanying  pond. 

Mills: Wind and Water

The "original" golf course in Big Common Lane with windmill on horizon

Original at Surrey History Centre

Detail of above

Mill Cottage at Pendell - taken from across the mill-pond (now under the M23)

Copyright: BCHS

Nature Walk at Mill Cottage 1940.

Does anyone know who the children were?

Copyright: BCHS

Directions:

 

Windmill: from the Church, turn right up Church Walk. Continue along the High Street and on towards Nutfield. At the Village Welcome sign (just before the M23), look left – the base of the windmill can just be seen amongst the foliage opposite. 

 

Ivy Mill Lane: from the Church Lane entrance, cross the road into St Mary’s Walk. Continue down the main road to the end of the village. VERY CAREFULLY cross the main road into Waterhouse Lane (this is the ancient Chevington) then into Ivy Mill Lane. The mill was situated on the left hand side of the road in the dip as the road turns up towards Godstone Village. There are no pavements along these lanes but can be used by wheelchair users – care should be taken with approaching traffic.

 

Pendell Mill:   Follow directions to Pendell Court, at the entrance to the Hawthorns School, VERY CAREFULLY cross the road. Take the unmade track under the M23. Immediately turn right – the mill and pond were further down this second track  (now under the motorway). There are lots of nice walks around and about Nutfied Marsh from this point – though very muddy and with some stiles.