Link to Headley page - Index to other Volumes
The Influence of Dr Wilks on Headley
Dr George Holme, rector of Headley
Edgar Kehoe, Racing Driver
St. Francis Church, Headley Down
Extract from Headley 1066-1966 - Chapters 1 & 2
Essay on Headley (1925)
Monumental Inscriptions in All Saints' Churchyard
The Headley Archives
Headley Miscellany is published by The
© The Headley Society and the Authors
In a press report of a Headley Parish Council meeting in February 1973, it is recorded that Mrs Joyce Stevens thought that the possibility was worth exploring of forming a local civic society, as these, existing independently of parish councils, had a useful function. It went on to say that she had often thought of starting such a society in Headley and she would 'like the council to think about this and discuss it at some future time.'
Twelve years later in 1985, with the duties of parish office behind her, she founded The Headley Society with the motto: 'Respects the Past, Cares about the Present, and Looks to the Future.'
Since then, the Society has been active in all these spheres, and is today a forum for discussion and action in the locality.
One question which we have been considering for some time is how best to make available to a wider audience the interesting and valuable historical information which exists within the parish.
Some of this information is in people's heads, some in their houses, some already published but now unavailable or forgotten, some yet to be discovered. Much of it, when received, is of significant interest-but often there is too small a quantity of material relating to any particular topic to warrant publication by itself.
To address this problem, we have decided to bring out these collections of Headley Miscellany, each issue of which will contain a number of items of historical value.
If you have any suggestions as to topics which may be covered in future editions, please let us know.
You may contact Betty White, Chairman of The Headley Society, by phone on 01429 713444, or by post to Gable End, Verner Close, Headley GU35 8LW
In 1923, at the age of 62, Dr Elizabeth Wilks and her husband, Mark, moved to Headley from London and set up home in Openlands, Furze Vale Road, Headley Down and became involved in Headley life. Mark Wilks was a teacher and Dr Elizabeth Wilks a past suffragette and campaigner for human rights. Although always dressed in black and rather formidable, she cared deeply for her fellow human beings.
When in 1932 a sewerage scheme for the district, with outfall near Huntingford Bridge, was suggested the Headley Rural Preservation Society, together with the rest of the Parish opposed the scheme.
Dr Wilks and a Mrs Parrott, concerned that a sewerage scheme was needed, visited every house in the Parish to ascertain if this was so. They discovered that very bad housing conditions with insufficient water supply abounded, but felt there was adequate sewerage. Dreadful overcrowding existed with families crowded into 2 rooms, parents and children sharing one bedroom. In one case eleven people, eight of working age, lived in a 2-roomed cottage. Dr Wilks and Mrs Parrot were joined by Miss Pack Beresford, a Parish and District Councillor, and they set out to ensure that every family in the Parish had decent housing.
The Parish Council, Rural District Council and even the Medical Officer for Health at that time, could not be persuaded to become involved. As the Rural Preservation Society also strongly objected to the building of suitable housing, the new Society-Headley Public Utility Society-was formed and registered in January 1933 under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1893, being one of the Friendly Societies, and the decision was made to build eight cottages for families in most urgent need.
These buildings were to be positioned near to the school, the village and the shops, and arranged circumferentially to the village, avoiding ribbon development. After much searching, 2 acres close to Curtis Lane was purchased for £200. The money required to build the houses was hard to come by with poor response from people in the Parish, therefore committee members raised £1,400 as loan stock and Dr Wilks and her husband lent the remaining £1,400 needed, on mortgage with 4% to be paid over 40 years.
The first eight cottages were built in 1933 and when £2,000 loan stock became available in 1936, the Wilks added a further £1,250 on mortgage, and cottages 9-16 were built. Care was taken to ensure that these buildings were well planned, with electric light and piped cold water and an outside bucket toilet, under cover, by the back door. A play area with swing and see-saw was provided and each cottage had sufficient garden for cultivation. The 2/6d weekly rent was collected by Mr & Mrs Parrott, who made sure that tenants kept the premises in good repair with well kept gardens free from litter, the latter being burnt by one of the cottage families.
Fond of children, sadly her own daughter had died at the age of 19 from peritonitis, Dr Wilks would hold summer picnics for the families and always gave a party at Christmas. She and her husband were a devoted couple and they lived in a simple wooden house, converted from a World War 1 hut, with few modern amenities.
Dr Wilks died in 1953 at 92 years of age, but her legacy remains. She stated in her will that her cottage-Openlands-should be used to house a needy person of the area and that this person should be found by word of mouth, never by advertising. A modest rent should be charged, the money going towards the upkeep and not for profit.
During her lifetime at Openlands, about 10 acres of land between the boundaries of Pond Road, Stonehill Road and Furze Vale Road, at one time known as Stonehill Park, had been purchased and this land remains today as wooded countryside for the use of Headley Down residents. The footpaths and the cottage are still maintained by Headley Public Utility Society although storms, especially the one in 1987, have caused severe damage and somewhat altered the layout. Fear of accidents not being insured has meant that the playground no longer functions, although the land is covered for normal usage.
The area was offered to the National Trust, but they declined-therefore the committee soldiers on administrating this land. As the brass plaque at the end of the Bridle Path in Furze Vale Road states:-
"OPENLANDS". These woods are held in trust as a
Nature Reserve for your enjoyment.
Headley Public Utility Society Ltd.
The cottages at Openfields were taken over by the local council. Subsequently nine are now privately owned with the remaining seven belonging to the East Hampshire Housing Association.
These lines, penned by George Barrow and written by Elizabeth Wilks in an autograph book, give an insight into the woman who gave much to the village of Headley.
I was educated at two schools named after their founders: The Holme School, Headley, and Eggar's Grammar School, Alton. Of Dr Holme I knew nothing until many years had passed, but at Alton we remembered John Eggar at the annual Founder's Day Service in St Lawrence Church. It was a familiar local name, for the family came from Chawton and Bentley, and were farmers and land-owners. Another branch lived in Standford. The school was established by Act of Parliament in 1641, and this was the last public document signed by Charles I.
It was not until Canon Tudor Jones published his booklet on Headley in 1966 that I first learned anything about Dr Holme, and then strangely it was an announcement of his death in the Salisbury Journal of 15th July 1765. He had been Rector of Headley for 47 years and is described as "an affectionate husband, a faithful friend and a humane master. His many benevolent acts will not soon be forgot by his parishioners, of which his endowing a charity school is a proof." Exactly a month before his death at the age of 89 he baptised George White, and his writing in the Baptismal Register is firm and good.
Members of The Headley Society have just completed a record of all the Monumental Inscriptions in the parish churchyard and were astonished to realise that no memorial to Dr Holme existed. There is a very elaborate marble tablet to his wife on the North wall of the nave, almost opposite the door. She died five years before her husband, and translated from the Latin it reads:-
Sacred to the memory of Catherine, the deeply regretted wife of George HOLME, D.D., Rector of this Church, the fifth daughter of John LEIGH, Esq., of North Court in the Isle of Wight. She was a truly remarkable woman, adorned with intellectual gifts as well as physical beauty, in whom the fire of continual devotion to God, ready charity towards her neighbour and wifely love for her husband burnt unceasingly. She gave a hundred pounds to increase the value of this Benefice, also eighty pounds to build Headley School; also when dying, she left twenty pounds to the poor, whom she had always assisted in her lifetime. After enduring for more than ten years with wonderful patience the torture of a painful disease, she fell asleep peacefully in the Lord on June the 3rd, A.D. 1760, aged 80. Her husband, deeply mourning, set up this monument, that the memory of her many and great virtues might not quickly perish, and that some record might survive of his own love for his excellent wife.
With curiosity aroused, we began our researches. As the living has been in the gift of Queen's College, Oxford, for 340 years, that was the obvious place to start, and we are very much indebted to Mr John Kaye, Keeper of the Archives, for the wealth of information he provided.
It begins: "He was the son of Richard Holme, probably of Penrith, Cumberland...."
Penrith! Our previous Rector, Dick Woodger, moved there last August, and his wife Janet is an experienced and enthusiastic genealogist. So now we had two sources of information: academic and genealogical.
From Queen's we know that he entered as "a poor child" (aged 18) in 1694. He moved up the foundation to become a taberdar (the name denoting a special gown worn by certain scholars on grants) in 1701, and Fellow in 1704. He took his BA in 1699, MA in 1702, and his BD and DD together in 1718 when he was presented to the Living of Headley aged 42.
Next comes an intriguing aside. "He served for some time as a chaplain at Algiers." How surprising! Chaplain to whom or what, and what did the post entail? Clearly another line of research was called for, because Algeria was a Moslem country inhabited by Arabs and Berbers, and the whole Mediterranean coastline was plagued by the fierce Barbary pirates led by the two Barbarossa brothers.
It seems a very adventurous move for a young man, straight from the sheltered life of Oxford. Did he want to see the world before settling down, or was he inspired by missionary zeal, or the chance to make some money? The journey itself would have been long and hazardous.
Back to Queen's College for enlightenment. Mr Kaye could tell me only that several Queen's fellows are recorded as having taken up this appointment with the Merchants of Algiers, a board of traders maintaining a 'factory' there. They had nothing to do with the college, nor a Bishop, nor any public body, but must have been Protestants.
So I turned again to Janet Woodger, who provided two addresses: the Most Revd Chais Abdel Malik (President Bishop of the Episcopal Church Jerusalem and the Middle East), at the Diocesan Office, PO Box 87, Zamalek, Cairo; and, much nearer home, Mrs Vanessa Wells, Secretary of the Jerusalem and Middle East association at 1 Hart House, Farnham. I wrote to both immediately.
A warmly friendly letter from the Bishop's secretary regretted that their archives did not go back that far, as it was the early 19th century before the first missionary arrived in Egypt. In Farnham, too, the first record is dated 1889, but Mrs Bell suggested that Dr Hopwood at the Middle East Centre, St Anton's College, Oxford might be able to help. But no-their first record is 1840. However, he and his archivist pointed out that it was quite common for Anglican clergy to act as chaplains in cities and ports overseas where there was a resident British Diplomat or merchant community. They directed me to the Guildhall Library, as overseas chaplains came under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.
A search there by the Keeper of Manuscripts, Mr Stephen Freeth, could find no mention of George Holme. The Assistant Archivist at Lambeth Palace Library also searched their indexes, but with no luck. Finally, I resorted to the Internet via Jo Smith, and had two replies. One suggested the Levant Company records are at the Public Record Office but, although copious, they are business documents useful only to traders and not relevant for our purposes. The second reply came from Eve McLaughlin, so well-known to family historians world-wide through her series of Guides to genealogy-her comments were helpful and thought-provoking. A 'factory' was a warehouse where goods were bought, sold and bartered-not a manu-factory. The Merchants of Algiers were probably English, trading in carpets, gold ornaments, embroidered slippers and the like, in exchange for English manufactured goods.
"Being mixed up with business men was a good place to come by the pickings," she says, and I must confess such thoughts had crossed my mind in trying to account for the 'poor child's' later prosperity. Indeed, as early as 1715 he paid for the marble pavement in Queen's College new Chapel, and in 1734 a silver Communion Flagon for Headley church.
And now, what of the man himself, and his background? Janet Woodger has for three months been searching every available source, starting with our Parish Registers. She has them on microfiche, so is still very much in touch with Headley. She has also consulted the International Genealogical Index (IGI) of the Church of the Latter-day Saints (the Mormons); Penrith Parish Registers; the Internet (which provided her with 27 possibilities); Penrith Library; the retired assistant county archivist (a member of Dick's congregation); and the history of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith. She remarks: "It is extraordinary to think that all our children attended the Holme School in Headley, moved 350 miles a year ago, and now attend the school that enabled him to go to Oxford and achieve so much in life."
One of the problems of her researches has been the number of Holmes in old Cumberland and Westmoreland, including two Richards. One was a schoolmaster/clergyman, the other a brazier (worker in brass). If the latter was George Holme's father, it might explain the grant that enabled the 'poor child' to go up to Oxford.
Finally, after a prolonged search of Wills in the Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle, Janet thinks that this branch is the most likely. If so, George was the third of six children, three of whom died in infancy, only the eldest, Margaret, and youngest, James, also surviving. But there is no further record of them in the Penrith registers, so perhaps they moved away from the area.
George Holme was a bachelor of 42 when he came to Headley, but in 1724 he was married at Carisbrooke in the Isle of Wight to Catherine, the fifth daughter of John Leigh of North Court, Shorwell. Wondering how they met, I wrote to the island's Record Office, and am much indebted to Mr R.H. Smout, County Archivist, for a great deal of useful information, including the Leigh family tree and prints of the family mansion (see over).
The small village of Shorwell has several imposing houses and a remarkable church full of unusual historic treasures and memorials to several generations of the Leigh family, who held the patronage there at the time.
It would have been very natural for Dr Holme to visit the island, as several incumbents were Queen's College men, and Cumbrians, probably his contemporaries-so we may presume match-making and/or a holiday romance. They were very happy together for thirty-six years, but as they had married in late middle-age there were no children.
By now the 'poor child' had become a generous benefactor, owning property in Linsted and Whitmore Vale, and at Churt and Ash in Surrey. The rents and profits from these he used to make gifts and established several charitable trusts. In 1755, with his wife Catherine, he built and endowed the school at Headley-and in his Will, dated a month before he died, he left his Surrey properties to Queen's College in Trust for the benefit of poor scholars of the College who were not in receipt of any other grants. This Trust, called the Holme Exhibition Trust, still exists, as does the Holme Trust in Headley, which is administered by the Rector and Trustees.
We catch a glimpse of the man from Dr Holme's own words when he explains his generosity towards education: "in consideration of his natural love and affection for his said wife [she seems always to have shared in his beneficence] and for the liberal education which he received at Queen's College."
Extracts from the notes drawn up by the first Trustees are interesting:-
The school is to continue for ever, is to consist of 1 master and any number of children, but only 12 shall be upon the charity. It shall be called Headley Charity School.
In choosing the 12 children to be educated free, preference is to be given to children of the poor inhabitants of Headley, and the number filled up from the like of Bramshott and Kingsley.
Dr Holme is building a school-house on the said surrendered piece of ground and intends to build a schoolroom and house for the master.
The Foundation Deed stated that the children were to be educated "in such principles of learning and knowledge as are most proper for such young persons, that is to say, the boys in Reading, Writing and Common Arithmetic, and the girls in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and in Sewing and Knitting."
[We shall include an article on the Holme School in a later edition-Ed]
The original school, built on part of the 'waste of the Lord of the Manor of Bishop's Sutton' (the Bishop of Winchester), finally closed in 1991 and is now an exclusive antique bedding centre. Headley children today go to the newer building on the western edge of the village-but it is still called The Holme School.
Catherine Holme died in 1760, and for five more years the old man soldiered on alone, faithfully carrying out his duties, and making entries in the registers in his usual firm handwriting. Then we see: "George Holme, D.D. Rector was buried July 7th 1765. From thence till Mich. 1766 Tho Monkhouse M.A. supplyed the curacy of Hedley and had the care of the Registers of baptisms, Burials & Marriages committed to him, in the absence of Wm Sewell M.A. the present Rector." The next entry was not recorded until 18 Oct 1766-a lapse of some fifteen months.
At our Founder's Day Service in Alton each year, the pupils of Eggar's Grammar School used to sing some verses of the 44th Chapter of Ecclesiasticus from the Apocrypha: "Let us now praise famous men, And our fathers that begat us ... Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, And were men renowned for their power." But it finished: "And some there be which have no memorial, Who are perished as though they had never been."
How many people living here now realise the significance of The Holme School's name, or know anything about the man who served Headley so well and for so long?
Inspired by this study of his life, and with the approval of the rector and the Church Council, we are planning a memorial tablet to be placed next to that of his wife so , after a space of 235 years, in the next millennium the name of Dr George Holme "will not soon be forgot."
I have lived in Headley for 16 years and before that I lived in Coopers Bridge House in Bramshott. My wife died in 1984 and during my motor racing days she was a great help to me. I'll never forget, looking back from the comfort of my saloon car, seeing the rain dripping down her face as she sat in the race car while I towed her. Since she died I have lived alone here, but I have my younger brother living near by who helps me with the garden. He is an international bridge player.
My mother was Anita Duggan and her forebears left Co. Longford in Ireland during the unsettled days in 1875 and sailed to Argentina. From Buenos Aires where they landed my grandfather and his brothers travelled southwest to Ramallo and bought a house including 100,000 acres of land on which they kept sheep. As the families grew, so they built large estancias on the land and diversified into breeding cattle and polo ponies. Over the years, the activities of the Duggan family in racing, polo and cattle shows, etc., have resulted in an incredible number of trophies.
My mother married Dr Kehoe who was in charge of the British Hospital in Buenos Aries, and later my two brothers and I were born. I was the eldest, born on 10th November 1903, my brother Cedric was born two years later on the same date, and my youngest brother Alan three years after that. When I was seven, my father caught a bug at the hospital and died, so my mother decided to come to England. We lived in various places and were sent to private schools here. My brother Cedric became a Commander in the Royal Navy, but died in America after the war.
One of my mother's friends was a Commissioner in what was then Nyasaland, and when I was about twenty years old I was sent out there for a year. On the Commissioner's staff were armed police called Ascari-one or two of them took me to shoot big game.
I took a motorbike with me, landed in Beira, Portugese West Africa, went up the Zambezi to Blantyre which was the capital of Nyasaland, and then rode the motorcycle from Blantyre to Crocodile Bay where the Commissioner's headquarters were. Having arrived there, I continued to ride my motorcycle around the area, but this caused great consternation among the natives who had not seen one before, and it came to an end when I ran out of oil and I had to leave my machine leaning against a tree. It took a couple of days to walk back to Crocodile Bay and I never saw my motorcycle again.
I took part in a lot of trials and won many awards, the first one in 1922, and as I had done reasonably well I was in a position to borrow machines and ride for different companies-Douglas and AJS for instance. That went on for some time before I started doing reliability trials in cars and then started to race cars. I did reasonably well, and eventually drove manufacturer's cars on 'competition loan,' which meant I kept the cars and they maintained them-in events like the Six-day Alpine Trials, the Monte Carlo Rallies and in Norway, Sweden, etc.
I raced at Brooklands and have several pictures showing me driving there-in one I am photographed in my Riley in the 1930 double 12-hour race during a violent rainstorm. In those days one had a riding mechanic on board, and in that picture it is my brother. We drove in 3 hour shifts and changed drivers and mechanics. We were not allowed to drive during the night, so drove 12 hours one day and 12 hours the next. We did well in that race. I also raced the Riley in the 1,000-mile race
I met my wife during the war when we both worked for Thompson & Taylor, an offshoot of Parnell Aircraft which was situated on the Kingston By-pass. While I was there, I worked in the experimental department developing a scanner which was fitted to aid night fighter aircraft. I was pulled into that job because the head of the company was Captain Arthur Frazer Nash who was the famous driver of Frazer Nash cars. His secretary was Mimi Helmore who became my wife.
I stopped motor racing when I was driving in an event at Silverstone in about 1953 or 1954. I had driven in one race and during the following 500cc Race, a driver called Headland spun and hit me. I was badly injured-particularly my legs and knees-and lost my competition licence for some time. I had to appear before a panel of RAC people, who asked me to sit and squat down and cross my legs, and I couldn't do it because of my injuries. From that time I virtually stopped competition riding or racing. I still suffer from the injuries I sustained whilst racing, including a damaged neck, right arm and knee, but it is what one must expect when motor racing, particularly riding motorcycles.
Having lost my competition driving licence, I was then made an 'Observer'-at race meetings around the circuit there would be half a dozen telephone boxes, and I would be there with one or two other people. I would report back to base if anything happened in my sector. That went on for quite a long time, and then I was elevated to being a 'Judge,' so I was able to throw my weight around!
Although that was the end of my taking an active part in racing I have continued to be very involved. I have friends who race and I keep in touch with them. I go to all the meetings, mainly at Silverstone.
Among my other interests is polo. Two of my cousins in Argentina played polo a great deal, and with two of their friends made up the Argentine polo team which beat Germany in the days when polo was an Olympic sport. I now go to polo a great deal, and polo players come over here and stay with me.
A long time ago I was on a friend's yacht down on the south coast when I saw a Shetland pony, and as I love animals this little pony captivated me. I ended up with several. Then donkeys arrived on the scene, and there was a time when I had six or seven donkeys and Shetland ponies. I still keep some, but the numbers are now reduced to two donkeys and two Shetlands. I would also like to keep alpacas, as they are native to Argentina, and I am in touch with a man in Guildford who has some. Hopefully I will be able to have some here, but these particular alpacas come from Chile, so when the Argentine ambassador comes to see me I will hide that fact from him!
Interview at Hurland House, Hurland Lane, Headley-September 1999
On a bright spring morning one Sunday in 1957, I walked for the first time down a shaded lane on Headley Down, then known as Sandy Lane. The unmade track led between high laurel hedges and there was only one dwelling, one Quaint Cottage, hidden away on the right hand side, although the converted laundry yard with its old cottages and recently-opened supermarket was much in evidence on the other side of the lane and the brick dwelling that had been Mr Eddey's shop marked the corner where the lane joined the main road.
I was suddenly aware of a group of people winding through the bracken-lined path and spilling out onto the lane through a wooden gate between the laurels. These were not people dressed for casual Sunday-morning country walking. The men were soberly dressed and many of the ladies wore hats, and as they dispersed I enquired about the event that had brought them to the lane, presumably to a meeting of some sort.
My companion, who much later was to become my husband, explained that these were people coming from their morning service at 'the little church,' at which point he paused to exchange pleasantries with a couple who had obviously been part of the congregation. I, meanwhile, scanned the distance looking for the said church, but could see neither tower, spire nor steeple and took little note of the small wooden hut which lay half concealed at the far side of the wooded site.
At that point our conversation took another turn, and for the time being the location of the little church was left unexplained.
It has taken many years for the situation of 'the little church' to be explained fully, and during the thirty-seven years that have passed since I married and moved to Headley, I have learned much.
I first discovered the little wooden building with its beautifully carved altar rails, reredos and priests chair-the loving work of a parishioner Louis Robinson-when I attended an Easter service in 1963. By then, Sandy Lane had become Eddey's Lane and the church, I learned, was officially Headley Down Community Church. A year later it was to be renamed St Francis on the suggestion of the rector of Headley, The Rev. J.S. Tudor Jones, in recognition of the beautiful little stained glass window depicting the saint. This window, which today has been re-sited in the wall above the altar, had been designed by Viola Stenhouse and given to the church by Miss Robeson several years earlier.
I started attending the church regularly at about this time, in the mid nineteen sixties, when the demands of a young family sometimes made it difficult to get to services at All Saints' Church in Headley, and from my very first visit was struck by the warmth and fellowship that emanated from the small congregation. Although the congregation rarely exceeded two dozen people, the building itself was correspondingly small and was regularly, on festivals, filled to capacity. I well remember an Easter Sunday service with the congregation spilling out beyond the small porch onto the patch of grass beyond, as the Rector struggled to project his voice above the passing traffic.
The church first came into being back in 1921 when, the majority of people at that time being without transport, the journey to Headley became too difficult for some residents. In that year a small group of people living on Stone Hill (the name Headley Down only came into existence officially in 1923 when the post office installed a telephone exchange at Wilsons shop and decreed that it would be known as Headley Down) began to meet for Sunday worship in a 'church hut'. Led by Mrs Bessie Guy, the group erected their little hut in the garden of The Nutshell in Wilsons Road. Later in the same year, two hundred pounds was raised to enable the group to purchase two thirds of an acre of land from Mr Cotton who owned Beech Hill Garage, and the church was moved to its present site.
A Methodist minister, Mr L.H. James, lived at Hurlands and he was invited to conduct the services. The church was supported by the rector of Headley, the Rev. W.H. Laverty, and in 1921 the Easter Offering from All Saints' was given to 'the church hut on Stone Hill.' Such was the good working relationship between the two men, that in June 1927 the Rev Laverty persuaded Mr James to be re-ordained in the Church of England, and since then the trustees of St Francis have invited the rectors of All Saints' to be their chaplain and have been served mainly by the All Saints' clergy team. The church also has links with the Methodist church and has input from visiting Methodist clergy. It is run by an elected committee and administered by a body of trustees and, despite many changes and some setbacks, it continues to thrive.
The wooden building was first extended in 1948, and the church hall built in 1964. In 1981, after months of deliberation, an appeal was launched to build the present brick extension. The Rev Harry Dickens, then curate at All Saints', was the driving force behind this initiative and I well remember the time of fundraising that preceded the opening of the new building. We held summer fetes and Christmas bazaars, jumble sales and coffee mornings.
Money was covenanted and donations made. As an act of faith, foundations were laid in 1981 to ensure that at some time in the future a wholly permanent church and hall will exist on the site, and meanwhile, in the autumn of 1982, the new extension was finally dedicated. The slogan "Raise the roof at St Francis" which had featured on so many fund-raising posters had been realised, and the laminated roof beams which had been specially made in Sweden soared above a light and seemingly spacious interior which continues to impress visitors today.
St Francis' continues to serve the community on Headley Down in the spirit of the little church of Stone Hill. I have been part of it for over thirty years and have watched it change and grow. Its Sunday School flourished for many years, and generations of children will remember the summer outings and the Christmas parties which filled the hall.
In 1977, Mr and Mrs Tom Prior, who lived in Pond Road, gave a bell to the church to celebrate the Jubilee. It was duly erected and for many years its single, insistent note summoned worshippers to morning service. I remember the way the children hurried to church in order to be first to ring the bell under Tom Prior's genial supervision and to thus ensure that no one on Headley Down was in any doubt that the service was about to commence! We no longer ring the bell, but little else has changed.
The site of the church is much more open than when I first peered through the bracken back in 1957. There is car parking space on the cleared area among the trees, and many new houses have been built on surrounding land. The church has welcomed new residents in recent years and there is a great sense of fellowship still among its present congregation. It continues today in the same spirit that encouraged Mrs Bessie Guy and her stalwart committee to erect that small wooden hut in the garden in Wilsons Road in 1921.
the late Canon J.S. Tudor Jones
The booklet 'Headley 1066-1966' was written by the late Canon J.S. Tudor Jones upon his retirement in 1966 as Rector of Headley. It contains much information of historical and anecdotal interest to the village, but has been out of print now for some time. We shall be taking the opportunity of re-publishing sections of it in this and subsequent 'Headley Miscellany' papers, starting here with the first two chapters.
Round about the years 1952-56 it was my pleasure and privilege to give a lift to Church each Sunday morning to Walter Piggott, a small farmer from Lindford. Hardly a week passed but he told me some interesting facts about the Headley he had known as a boy. Many times have I reproached myself because I did not record these reminiscences, but the idea was then born in me to write something of the old days. When, on retirement, I was able to get down to research I found many sources of help. I must acknowledge with great gratitude the kindness of the Provost and Fellows of the Queen's College, Oxford, who gave me permission to study all their papers concerning the parish. I am also much indebted to Mrs Cottrill, the Hampshire County Archivist, for making available the Blunt papers and other ancient documents now safely housed at Winchester; to the Rev. Dr Scott of Frensham for the loan of books and many other kindnesses; to Hester Whittle for the delightful cover, sketches and map which she has so skilfully drawn; to Joyce Stevens, who has written the chapters on the School and the workhouse riot, and, with my wife, has helped me by transcribing miscellaneous information; to my successor, the Rev. David Bentley, for permission to inspect the Headley registers, and above all, to the notebooks left by Mr Laverty and his parish magazines.
There is a family legend to the effect that when they were away at school and subsequently in different parts of the Commonwealth, the letters I used to send to our three daughters were in such terrible handwriting that (after a quick glance to see that all was apparently well at home) they were put on one side to read at a more convenient season! That story makes me all the more grateful to Miss Garlick for her speedy and accurate typing of the manuscript of this book.
Much more could have been written had costs of production allowed: although the printers, Messrs. Unwin Brothers Limited of Old Woking, have been most reasonable. I hope that in the future, some other lover of Headley will one day make good what has had, perforce, to be omitted, and correct any mistakes which may, inadvertently, have been made.
"If all the parsons had, for the last thirty years, employed their leisure time in writing the histories of their various parishes ... neither their situation nor that of their flocks would, perhaps, have been the worse for it at this day." Cobbett, from whose Rural Rides this quotation comes, was no lover of parsons. The parson who has ventured to write this book has "for the last thirty years" lived in a parish he came to love and, as evidence of this, has ventured in his retirement to record some of the old happenings for which, in his case, he had no 'leisure time' in his active ministry. It was my good fortune to follow a rector who, perhaps in less hurried days, made copious notes of the past life of Headley, and while I am beholden to many sources, old and new, it is to the Reverend W. H. Laverty that I owe the greatest debt.
Headley is a parish with a long history but, as in the case of very many isolated settlements of Saxon and later times, very little is known of its earliest days. The first known reference is in the famous Domesday Book, which William the Conqueror, who came to England exactly 900 years ago, caused to be compiled. Says Sir Winston Churchill, "The history of many an English village begins with an entry in Domesday Book".
A reproduction of the paragraph in Domesday relating to Headley (where it is called Hallege) will be found as the frontispiece of this book [included opposite-Ed]. The translation is as follows "Earl Eustace holds five hides in Hallege which were assessed in the time of King Edward as three hides. They were held by Earl Godwin, and are reckoned as part of Sutton" (Sutton refers to Bishop's Sutton, in which Manor Headley was then situate).
Earl (or Count) Eustace III of Boulogne, had a son, Count Eustace IV. He married Mary of Scotland, and their daughter Matilda married King Stephen, and so the Manor became Crown property in 1136. Subsequently the King exchanged this Manor with his brother, Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, for Merton Manor, and the Priors of Merton became the first known patrons of the living.
It is interesting to note that, contrary to earlier belief, there is no reference to a mill in Domesday, though Mr Laverty appeared to believe such was the case. Undoubtedly there were mills in Headley, and indeed a perambulation of the parish taken in the reign of Edward VI mentions five, "one built on Frensham Pond, another lying between the highway called 'Grevat Lane' on the west and a river bank and a meadow called 'Kyttsmede' on the east, a fulling-mill or watercourse held by Thomas Fygg (members of the Figg family lived during my time at Fullers Vale), a mill held by Richard Gyll, and a messuage and fulling-mill abutting on Lacyes Marsh".
The word 'hide' mentioned in Domesday, according to the experts, does not mean an area of land but an assessment of value: how much, in fact, it was worth to William!
The extent to which William had his new country tabulated is seen from the following extract from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: "Then he sent all over England into every shire to ascertain how many hundreds of 'hides' of land there were in each shire, and how much land and livestock the King himself owned in the country, and what annual dues were lawfully his from each shire. He also had it recorded how much land his archbishops had, and his Diocesan bishops, his abbots, and his earls, and-though I may be going into too great detail-and what or how each man who was a landowner here in England had in land or in livestock, and how much money it was worth. So very thoroughly did he have the enquiry carried out that there was not a single hide, not even-it is shameful to record it, but it did not seem shameful to him to do-not even one ox, nor one cow, nor one pig which escaped notice in his survey."
The curtain now closes on the parish for more than 100 years and it is not till 1314 that the name of the first recorded Rector appears. He was GEOFF'REY DE HOVILE, and he was succeeded in that year by WALTER DE BROLNESBOURNE. Presumably Geoffrey was a Prior of Merton: at any rate his successor was presented to the living by the Priory, who remained patrons till the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.
Walter de Brolnesbourne was succeeded by ROBERT (surname unknown), for it is recorded that in 1368 JOHN PODISDONE was instituted priest of the Church of Hethleghe in succession to Robert on the presentation of the Prior and canons of Merton. In 1377 THOMAS DRAPERE, a sub-dean and penitentiary of Exeter Cathedral exchanged livings with John Podisdone and in 1380 THOMAS AUMENET rector of Beaumond exchanged with Drapere.
It may be convenient at this stage to enumerate a list of Rectors, with notes on some of them in future pages.
circa 1414 SIR JOHN MASSEY.
1443 JAMES BLAKEDON. Of the Order of Friars Preachers, "subpenitentiary of the English nation in the Roman court: on his petition showing that by Apostolic Dispensation he is beneficed a parson of the Church of Headley in the Diocese of Winton, and that the Pope provided him to the Cathedral Church of Achonry in Ireland of which Bishopric a great part is of no value because it is inhabited by rebels; and that he may occupy the premises any papal grace, statute etc. notwithstanding" (Patent Rolls 21 Henry VI). This seems to mean that Blakedon enjoyed the emoluments of Headley though living in Rome.
1460 JOHN HAMOND.
1472 ROBERT GEST.
1474 WILLIAM COLE.
1479 JOHN MACY.
1494 JOHN FYSHE.
1524 JOHN UNTHANKE. He was probably the last pre-Reformation Rector.
On the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 the patronage passed into the hands of the King who granted it to Sir John Gate in 1551. Gate however does not seem to have made any appointments and in 1558 Queen Mary restored the patronage to Winchester.
Subsequently the advowson again passed to the Crown and Queen Elizabeth appointed
In 1575 THOMAS DRAKE who is described as 'Minister'
In 1586 WILLIAM DONNELL (?Daniell) was 'Parson'.
There is a note that King Charles I presented in 1631 AVERIE THOMPSON to the living but that Cromwell's ministers dispossessed him in 1644. However, at the Restoration he was reinstated, but soon afterwards Charles II presented six livings, of which Headley was one, to the Queen's College, Oxford, "in consideration of their help to him in his troubles" by a gift of all their plate. Records show that Averie Thompson was (re) appointed by the Provost and Scholars in 1660.
Like all his successors at Hedleigh, up to and including Mr Laverty, Thompson was a Fellow of the College.
1670 (Dec. 4) JOHN BEEBY. He was a Londoner, irregularly elected a Fellow in 1654 during the Commonwealth. He died 'of a malignant fever' and was buried in Queen's College Chapel. Previously Vicar of Culham, Oxon.
1673 (Feb. 7) WILLIAM SYMPSON. He married Mary Bayley at Headley in 1675 and she died in 1686. There is a stone let into the wall over the Rectory stable door marked 'S. 1680 W. M.' which may stand for Sympson 1680 William Mary. William Sympson was buried in 1695 "in Woolen only" (see p. 21).
1695 (Aug. 17) WILLIAM ROOK B.D. "A Fellow of Queen's College with a mathematical reputation". He was, like many other Queensmen, including the compiler of this book, a Cumbrian, having been born at Workington.
1717 (July 3) ROBERT RAILTON. He died the following year, his widow surviving him by 14 years. He gave £300 for the marble work at the east end of the Queen's College Chapel. He was a native of Carlisle, and previously Vicar of Marston, Oxon.
1718 (Dec. 24) GEORGE HOLME. Dr Holme appears to have been inducted in the same month as that in which Robert Railton died. He built and endowed the original Holme School, which is still called after him, though, alas a suggestion by the Parish Council in 1966 to call the houses opposite the school 'Holme Way' was rejected by the District Council. Perhaps under the inspiration of his predecessor, Dr Holme gave the marble pavement in the Queen's College Chapel.
The following is an extract from the Salisbury Journal of Monday, July 15th, 1765.
"Salisbury, July 15. On the 3rd inst. died at Headley, near Petersfield, Hants, in the 90th year of his age, the REV. GEORGE HOLME, D.D., rector of that parish, which he enjoyed 47 years. He was an affectionate husband, a faithful friend, and a humane master. His many benevolent acts will not soon be forgot by his parishioners, of which his endowing a charity school is a proof."
The last entry in the registers made by Dr Holme is that of the baptism on June 15th 1765, of George, the son of James and Anne White; when Dr Holme's writing is perfectly firm and good. A further extensive note on Dr Holme will be found in the Chapter headed 'The Holme School'.
1765 (Oct. 19) WILLIAM SEWELL. The monument to him in the Church describes him as 'a man of extensive learning and undoubted charity'. In contrast to some of his predecessors and certainly his immediate successor, Wm. Sewell for 35 years "spent the whole of this time in the bosom of his parishioners". Various incidents relating to his incumbency will be found on later pages.
1801 (Jan) HENRY SMITH D.D. Dr Smith was for the greater part of his incumbency non-resident, and held the curacy of Bromley in Kent. Cases of non-residence, like this, made the Queen's College resolve in 1809 that no Fellow be appointed to a College living without giving "a positive and solemn assurance of his resolution to reside constantly upon it" except in peculiar circumstances as e.g. ill health (this happened in the case of Robert Dickinson). This action of Henry Smith's led to an extraordinary assize case at Taunton which excited great curiosity at the time, and the details of which are reproduced in full on p.45. He was also from the north having been born at St. Bees.
Smith was described as a square, very burly man of great physical strength. He and his Clerk, it is said, could consume more alcohol without showing any effect than any two men in the parish. He kept a pack of harriers and was famed as a rider to hounds. Stricter views of clerical decorum came in about that time, and a hint from the Bishop caused him to give up sport and sober down.
1818 (Oct 2) ROBERT DICKINSON. He too was a great deal non-resident, but suffered from ill-health, though he was described as "a jolly big old farmer". Though he lived till 1847 his name appears for the last time in the registers in 1834. There is an entry in the Baptism Register of 1813-1852 to this effect: 'On Ascension Day, May 12 1836, the Porch of the Church was injured, the spire and interior of the Tower destroyed by fire. Divine Providence was pleased to arrest the further progress of the flames. Praise ye the Lord.'
1848 (April) JOSEPH BALLANTINE DYKES. He too was a Cumbrian from near Cockermouth, and a chair made for him by the village carpenter there was given by his daughter to the Church and is now the Rector's chair in the Vestry. Mr Dykes largely altered the Church after the fire of 1836, which had damaged part of the building. He built a new Porch, rebuilt the walls, and raised the floor nearly 3 feet (as can be seen in the Tower) and added the Chancel and a Vestry. Previously there was a gallery which would hold 100 persons, the music being provided by bassoon, clarinet and bass viol, and a story is told that no one was allowed to sing except those invited into the gallery. One Peter Alder used to sit in the middle, and he had the longest nose ever seen, so long that it used noticeably to wag. There was a 'Three Decker' in the Church and two aisles.
It is uncertain if and when the Church was out of use between the fire and the restoration, but the records show that George Wm. Hampton was married in the Barn in May 1858 and that Minnie Langrish was christened there in January 1859.
1872 (July) WALLIS HAY LAVERTY
[who will be the subject of a future extract-Ed]
1929 (Sept.) MICHAEL RIDLEY. In his short ministry he reorganised the Church finances, made the parish conscious of its place in the family of the diocese, and the Churchwardens and Church Council of their responsibilities in the government of the affairs of the church. Above all, he held in Lent one year a highly successful School of Prayer to which lay folk 'hungry for spiritual teaching' came in large numbers. He left after 41/4 years to become Vicar of S. Gabriel's, Warwick Square, and later Rector of Finchley and Deputy Priest-in-Ordinary to the King. In the fullness of his powers he died on Michaelmas Day 1953 at the age of 53.
1934 (June) JAMES SPENCER TUDOR JONES. Yet another Cumbrian!
1966 (April) DAVID EDWARD BENTLEY. He was appointed by the Queen's College but was the first Rector since 1660 who was not a member of the College. He is a B.A. of the University of Leeds.
To be continued in the next issue.
Ted and Cyril Croucher were two of the six children of George Croucher of Binsted and Elizabeth Maria Burrows of Hollywater. Ted was born in Hollywater in 1908 and Cyril at Standford in 1913. When Ted started school at Conford, at the age of four and a half years, his teacher was Miss Tristan; he remembers learning to write using a tray of sand and a stick; after a while they used slates. They lived at Standford Hill for a while, in a cottage, where the rent was a shilling a week. Later they moved to No.1 Gravel Cottages at Standford and the children went to the Holme School. Mr Beck was the headmaster, Miss Taylor taught the infants, Mrs Beck taught Classes 1 and 2, Miss Hussey Class 3, Mr Fosberry taught 4 and 5 and Mr Beck 6, 7 and 8. In 1922 the family moved to No.4 Mill Bungalows and Cyril completed his education at the Deadwater Council School, which had opened in 1915, as the Holme School could no longer cope with the large number of children in the area.
Sunday was a full day for the children. After attending Sunday school and then the morning service at Headley, they went to Standford Mill Methodist Church (known locally as Warrens Chapel) in the afternoon and to the Iron Room at Standford in the evening. The Iron Room belonged to a sect known as the Plymouth Brethren. Some Sunday afternoons in summer, after Sunday School, their parents would take the family for a picnic tea on the Common. They took sandwiches and a milk-can full of tea, found a shady spot and enjoyed themselves. Some Sundays, father and the boys walked across the Common to the Deers Hut (at Griggs Green) - their reward was a glass of lemonade between the two of them. They used to put a finger up the side of the glass and say, "you can drink to there!" They would walk home through Conford.
As young boys they burnt the gorse bushes on Passfield Common every two years to obtain the furze sticks for burning on the fire at home - an age old rite. They also used these in the ovens at the bakery in Conford. The small sticks were tied together and known as bavins. In those days there were no silver birches on the Common and you could see the houses at Hollywater from the Chapel at Standford. From Conford you could see Blackmoor spire.
At one time George Croucher tended the hop kilns at Hawkins Farm in Kingsley, a job that required attention both day and night. The children helped with the hop picking; they started work at 7am after having walked from Standford to Kingsley. Pay was a farthing a bushel, rising to three farthings. It was not all hard work - they enjoyed going to the hop kiln, taking the tea can, having a drink and sitting by the fire. The highlight was on the rare occasions when they bought fresh herrings from Fishy White, 12 for one shilling; made a fire of dry hazel sticks under the hedge, put the herrings on sticks and cooked them. Delicious!
Most of the children had nicknames. Ted was always known as Mouser and Cyril, Shun. One boy they remembered having a hole in his trousers, which revealed part of this shirt, and he was ever afterwards known as Shirty. The smallest boy was Tom Thumb (Tommy Chisnell) and others were Ginger, Monkey, Widdy, Nobby and Blanco.
During the first World War, for a time, Headley Green was out of bounds to civilians, as it was requisitioned by the Army. Some of the cooking took place there and Ted remembers the delicious smell of fresh-baked bread on his way to school. The field next to Lindford Club (now housing) was covered with white tents, which were used as accommodation for the troops. Many houses in Lindford and Headley were requisitioned and used as officer accommodation, including Hope Cottage, Weydale and Elmside.
Cyril recalled the first German Zeppelin which he saw, like a silver cigar floating in the air. He was passing Granny Black's cottage at Standford at the time (she was about 70 years of age). He asked her what it was and her reply was very positive: "It's an airship. Come inside. Don't let 'em see you or it will be bombing us."
When they lived at Gravel Cottages they remembered going to bed and, on hearing the clump, clump, clump of many men marching by, got up and watched from the window. These men went on manoeuvres to Weavers Down, and the columns of marching men included two G.S.s (General Service) wagons pulled by horses. One carried the food and the other was a mobile kitchen, including a stove so the troops could enjoy a hot meal.
During the War, Mr Bellinger's shop in Arford (now a house called The Old Stores) was registered with the Ministry of Food. Ration books were used and you could only use a registered shop to use them. Ted used to accompany his mother on a Saturday afternoon to help carry the shopping home. He remembers the queue, which stretched from the shop to the other side of the Crown Public House.
The ladies used to wear long skirts, cloaks and some wore huge hats. One or two were big ladies so they could hardly get through the door of the shop and had to turn sideways. Mr Curtis owned the Church Gate Stores and sold clothes and haberdashery. He lived at The White House, Standford, opposite the Robin Hood.
During wartime, they used to collect acorns and were paid sixpence a bushel. The acorns were fed to the pigs.
During the mid-day break from school they often played a game of paper chase. One day they stood outside the Holly Bush, with friends Stan and Chris Smith and met two soldiers with a G.S. cart who were travelling from Fullers Vale, where a Colonel lived, to Bordon Camp. They told the boys that the war was finished; excited at such news the boys helped pull the cart as far as Garrett's shop in Lindford (now Broxhead Motors), school completely forgotten. When they returned late for classes, Mr Beck was going to cane them; however they said: "Sir, the war's over". "How do you know?" Mr Beck asked. They explained how they had met the soldiers and all they knew. Instead of the cane, everyone was given the rest of the day off as a holiday.
Behind the Wheatsheaf Public House there was a Blacksmith's shop, and at the bottom of Long Cross Hill there was a Builder and Undertaker's owned by Mr H.R. Chuck. Mrs Chuck was often to be seen leaning on the gate of the property, enquiring, "And how are you today?" A friendly greeting no doubt, but they never lingered there long.
Dr Crowther-Smith used to visit his patients using a horse and trap. Later on he had a Douglas motor bike. He had an orchard opposite Gravel Cottages; he lived at a big house just along the road. If the children had to visit his surgery at a certain time of the year, he used to say, "I expect you have been at my green apples again." Ted's father had a wisdom tooth extracted by the doctor; they had no chloroform so they tied him to the chair! He survived to tell the tale.
They always attended the Annual Flower Show and Fete. There was an Army tent-pegging competition, sports, dancing in the evening and the local band, known as "The Spit and Dribble", played. They also celebrated November 5th with a bonfire on the village green, and of course the fair came every year, both known as "a regular night out".
George Croucher worked for some years for Brigadier General Percy Brownlow at Eveley House (now Standford Grange). When Ted was about twelve, he worked there as a beater for the shooting season. There was a pond in the grounds and they shot ducks, as well as pheasants which they used to breed in special coots within the grounds. They used to go to Hollywater to pick up the beechnuts to feed the pheasants. When work was finished, they enjoyed home-made lemonade made by Mrs Lundy.
They also shot ducks at Standford Mill. They used to walk near the water meadows and always carried a stick to test how deep the water was - if the stick disappeared, they didn't walk there!
Another of Ted's jobs was to collect milk each evening from Mr & Mrs Dick Tilbury's cottage, which was the original public house at Standford. There was a notice board hanging outside the gate The Little John. There was a vine around the door. Mrs Tilbury was well known for her excellent home-made wine, including grape. The milk he collected was for their own use, but he also took some to old Mrs Blackman.
Ted played and enjoyed the game of cricket for many years. As a youth of fifteen or sixteen, a group including Tom Falkner, Chris and Stan Smith and Bernie Garnet played friendly matches with teams at Binsted, Blackmoor, Hollywater, Kingsley and Whitehill. They cycled to the villages, but they only had two or three bicycles between them, so they shared the travel, one cycling, one on the cross bar and one sat on a piece of wood at the back. The others would begin to walk, and then those cycling would drop the passengers off and go back for the others. They would take turns in this way until they reached their destination. The equipment would be tied to the handlebars. Most of them worked until four o'clock on Saturdays, so games would be played in the evening. If the game was not completed in one evening, they would return the next evening to finish it.
Later, Ted played for Headley, winning the I'Anson Cup twice and the Miller Cup three times; then he played for Lindford. He is the oldest living person to have played in the I'Anson cup matches.
Bill Moss had a horse and trap, also ponies; so did Cyrus Gates, and they kept them in stables opposite the Holly Bush. Cyrus Gates took his team to Shottermill to play cricket. He drove them in a horse-drawn open wagon and they sat on two wooden benches, facing each other. Cyrus had a few drinks at the match, and on the way home he took the corner at Fullers Vale too quickly; going on the bank and turning the whole team out of the wagon. It was said to be the only time they were all out in one over!
Ted remembers the team that day was: Colin Coles, Wally North, Percy Snow, Harry Blanchard, George Barlow, Bill Dunk, Ernie Nash, Charlie Courtnage, Ted Warner, Bill Webber, Percy Watts, Ernie Turner, and himself.
Ted left school at 14 and worked for Miss Verner at Crabtree which was a pig farm - he earned five shillings a week. At that time Captain Byng Stevens was in charge. He had been in the Rifle Brigade during the war and slept with a revolver under his bed. A kindly man, he gave Ted a telescope when he went away.
Miss Verner kept 90-100 pigs and about 20 cows. Tiptrees were black pork pigs and they used to be sent to local markets in Alton, Farnham and Petersfield. They were taken by horse and cart, starting early in the morning at about 5.30 am The Hurstwoods were the bacon pigs; they used to be sent to Salisbury via Bordon railway station. Doug Marshall used to take pigs to agricultural shows and it was Ted's job to clean them up ready for these. He used to put coconut oil over them, clean their ears and black their trotters.
Later Miss Dorothy Crowther-Smith joined the staff. She brought her special Jersey cow with her, called Mousey, and she took charge of the farm. When Ted was about 20, still working at Crabtree, around the time the buses had started to run from Haslemere to Whitehill, they had very high winds and many trees were blown down. An elm was down in The Street, an ash tree against the fence at Pound Cottage and also one against The Mill. Ted helped, with others, using a cross saw to saw the trees into pieces and dispose of them.
Miss Verner retired to Chawton; the animals were sold and the ground sold to Mr Chadwick of Beech Hill. Sir Charles and Lady O'Brien bought Crabtree and Ted worked for them for some time as a gardener. Crabtree is now known as Yeoman's Place.
Cyril worked for Headley Mill. One of his jobs was delivering the corn - his wages were ten shillings a week.
Some of the following tales were hearsay, such as the one about the bungalow in Hollywater Road, now known as Woodview, being a dame's school, where for a penny a week you could learn to read and write.
Their mother told them when she was young, Cranmere Pond near Greatham froze in the winter and the local gentry had skating parties, with lighted rushes on the side of the pond and roast chestnuts. The track which led to Cranmere Bottom went across the common on what is now the Longmoor Ranges. Their mother, always known as Liz, was born in what she called a 'half house' behind the public house in Hollywater.
Jimmy Hurlock worked at Crabtree and was an old man when Ted first began to work. He said it cost £1 to get your horse out of the village pound, which used to be in the Liphook Road.
Crabtree was an old coaching stop. The road from Grayshott to Headley went over the common to Fullers Vale, through the Patches, down by Wodehouse in the Liphook Road and then into the village by Pound Cottage. The roads were only tracks with deep wheel ruts so that you had to walk in the middle.
Their father told them he worked wherever he could before he was married, sometimes walking to Petersfield from Binsted to help with threshing on farms, and only going home for Sunday. Men cut the corn and the women tied it. Men dug potatoes and the women picked them up.
Interview at Lindford- October 1999
the late Mrs W.E. Belcher
From a report on Headley Women's Institute in the 'Haslemere Herald' of 21st March 1925: A pleasing feature of the gathering was the reading of essays on Headley, written by members, and it is interesting to record that of Mrs W.E. Belcher, who must have gone to a deal of pains in lifting the veil from some of Headley's obscure past and presenting some new facts connected with the parish. Her essay, which won the first prize, was as follows.
The parish of Headley covers a wide area, and until 1901 it included Grayshott. The district is remarkable for its abrupt inclines and irregular hollows. There are several little beauty spots, such as the winding piece of road at the bottom of Parfect's Hollow by Arford spring and pond, the hollow in Hearne Lane and Barford Hill, while the views from the churchyard, from the top of Beech Hill and Hammer Lane are most fascinating. The pine covered slopes and heather commons add to the beauty of the district, as do also several ponds, streams and the River Wey.
In olden days, this river served five corn mills within the parish. Now it serves two corn mills at Standford, and until quite recently one paper mill. Here until a few months ago paper money was made, giving work to many men of the district. Previous to the paper money, paper bags for shops were made, employing a large number of the women of Headley, also a few men. The water wheel of a disused corn mill on the Eveley estate is now used for making electricity for Eveley House, as is also the one on the Headley Park Estate for that house.
A stream near the Wheatsheaf Inn used to supply a sheep wash just below the Wheatsheaf meadow. It is now silted up. Two shearers at a time were given the privilege of using the sheep wash, the last two being James Marshall, of Parish House Bottom who is still alive, and the father of George Glaysher, of Barford. Farther on in the Hanger beyond the sheep wash used also to be some famous watercress beds. Many years ago this stream also supplied a tanyard, the site of which is now occupied by Brook Cottage. The cottages opposite, called the Fellmongers, take their name from their connection with the tanyard.
Until the Inclosure Act came into force their were no hard roads in Headley except the turnpike which passes the New Inn, on the Bordon side of which stands the old Tollgate house. Cart tracks passed across the common in all directions, as there were no banks or fences. Banks came with the Act; the roads were then stumped out, but were not gravelled until some years later. When the open land was inclosed under the Act, portions of the inclosed land were allotted to the houses and farms of Headley. Some of the allotments were of little use to those to whom they were allotted, as they were at a great distance from the houses and farms, eg. a portion of land at the back of Mr Maynard's house was allotted to Eveley Farm, a portion on Beech Hill now owned by Mr Whitaker was allotted to Linstead Farm and some at Bordon was allotted to some houses at Grayshott, and were never claimed because of the distance.
Most of the oldest houses in the district were farm houses. On most farms may still be seen the remains of old lime kilns, eg. at the top of Toll's [Tulls] Lane, at the top of Bull's Hollow beyond Pickett's Hill, and at the top of Rooke's Hill. In olden days, each farmer burned chalk to make lime for his land, fetching the chalk from Seale and Butser Hill. Hop growing was one of the chief industries of Headley, but has now completely died out. Some of the dipping tanks still remain where the hop poles were dipped in boiling tar before being used, also several kilns where hops were dried.
Three or four generations ago some of the farmers of Headley owned wild ponies, which ran in part of the "New Forest" at Frith End. These were rounded up and marked at certain times of the year, and some were sold at Headley Fair and Farnham Fair. It was on one Farnham Fair Day that Headley Church was burned. Most of the inhabitants had gone to the fair. A girl was left at home in one of the cottages near the church, and to pass away the time gathered dry heather and made a fire in the church porch. The woodwork soon caught fire, and the flames spread, only the belfry being saved. During the re-building of the church, services were held in the Rectory barn, skylights being put into the roof for the purpose. The first baptisms after the completion of the building were George Cover and Mrs Edgar Beale, of Frensham. Dissenting services were at one time held in the barn at Crabtree, and also a dame school, the mistress being Mrs Bone, wife of a veterinary surgeon at Birdsnest. A dame school was also kept at Rose Cottage, now occupied by Mr William Heather, by a Mrs Parfect, from which the name of Parfect's Hollow originated.
At one period there was an unruly gang of men who built themselves cabins in the village on the uninclosed land. They were erected during the night to outwit the bailiffs of the Lord of the Manor. Trees were cut down to form the framework, the walls being made of turf and the roof thatched with heather. Before morning wives and children were installed. If discovered before completion, or unoccupied, by bailiffs, they were destroyed, but this seldom happened as the gang worked together, watching their opportunity and all helping to build. If the squatter had no children of his own he borrowed some, as the law would not allow the bailiffs to remove the roof of a house containing children. On being thus occupied for a certain time the cabin and land on which it stood could be claimed. because of this, several houses in the district have no title deeds. These squatters were a terror to the neighbourhood, taking pigs from sties, potatoes from clamps, and even digging them from the ground, the surface being levelled to conceal the spot. Some ruffians found themselves in the stocks, the site of which is now marked by a chestnut tree in the High Street.
The chief fuel of the people of Headley in those days was heather, and the turf from which the heather had been taken. The heather was pulled up by hand and taken home in bundles, where it was dried and stacked. The turves were cut in slabs and stacked in rounded heaps to dry where cut. It was no unusual thing for the turf cutters to find their dried heaps on fire when they went to fetch them home, this being one of the chief pieces of mischief of the boys of that period.
Headley has in its time attracted several notable people. Lord Salisbury once lived at The Oaks, Madame Patey, the celebrated singer, at Sunny Bank, Bret Harte, the American writer, at Arford House, and Tattersall at Arford Cottage.
The last sheep stealer, who lived in Parish House Bottom, was transported, while the ghost of a banker of London who was hanged for forgery [Henry Fauntleroy in 1824-Ed] is said to walk by the church.
John Owen Smith
The original churchyard at Headley All Saints' was a small area of ground immediately round the Church and it is there that the earliest graves are to be found. Mr Ballantine Dykes (rector 1848-1872) added half an acre to the west in 1868, and in 1909 Mr Laverty (rector 1872-1928) added a further acre to the west of the old Rectory garden. The third addition, between Mr Laverty's part and Churchfields estate, was brought into use in 1965. To provide for the reverent interment of the ashes of those cremated, a garden of remembrance, surrounded by a hedge and planted with rose bushes, was set apart in 1964 by Canon Tudor Jones (rector 1934-1966) on the south side of Mr Dykes' addition. A further plot for cremations (the 'new garden') was added opposite the south porch in 1989.
In 1878, Mr Laverty recorded all the headstones in the churchyard at that time, and had them printed in a pamphlet: Epitaphs in the Churchyard of All Saints' Church, Headley, Hants.
In 1980, Mrs J Hobbs and Mr AC Colpus of the Hampshire Genealogical Society (HGS), added to Mr Laverty's list of 200 entries, bringing the total to 1,183 entries. These were published by the HGS and copies lodged in the Hampshire Record Office at Winchester and in the All Saints' Church Office in Headley.
In 1997, The Headley Society decided to update the list again, and the result represents the combined efforts of a number of contributors, mainly from The Headley Society, during the three years 1997/99.
The list is now available, and will be updated from time to time with new information-the intention being eventually to add also those burials recorded in the Registers which have no existing monument.
To obtain a copy, please contact Jo Smith at 19 Kay Crescent, Headley Down GU35 8AH. Note that the latest information is also available via the Internet at www.johnowensmith.co.uk/headley/mi.htm.
John Owen Smith
The Headley Archives are situated in the small room above the Parish Office attached to the Village Hall.
At the time of writing (November 1999) it is perhaps a little grandiose to call them archives! We have a number of maps, ranging in date from 1739 to the 1980s, and a quantity of other paper-based material, most of which Joyce Stevens has deposited with us.
We are looking actively for more-and in recent weeks have bought from the Hampshire Record Office copies of the 1552 and 1774 rent rolls compiled by Sir Thomas Gatehouse, and from the Hampshire Genealogical Society a computer file holding details of about 3,000 burials in Headley.
We also have access to other information which I have accumulated over the years on my computer, such as the census records for 1841, 1851 and 1891, and the results of the Monumental Inscriptions project mentioned elsewhere in this publication.
If you would like to help with the work of collecting and recording material for the archives, please contact me: Tel/Fax 01428 712892.
Those of you with access to the Internet may like to keep up to date by looking at www.johnowensmith.co.uk/headley/archive.htm
This site maintained by John Owen Smith