GRAYSHOTT - the
story of a Hampshire village
The history of a village on the border of Hampshire and Surrey
Availability: Usually despatched by return of post
Front cover: Photograph of Headley Road, Grayshott, circa 1905
Paperback - 250 pages - John Owen Smith; ISBN: 978-1-873855-38-6; March 2002
Associated titles: On the Trail of Flora Thompson by John Owen Smith; Heatherley by Flora Thompson; Headley's Past in Pictures by John Owen Smith; The Hilltop Writers by Bob Trotter
Back Cover . Contents . Foreword . Preface . Publisher's Notes . Index . About the Publisher . Further information
In producing this new edition to mark the centenary of the civil parish of Grayshott in 2002, we have reproduced faithfully the text of Jack Smith's original work published in 1978 with a few minor corrections.
We had initially considered 'updating' his work with references to today's village, but eventually resisted the temptation. It would have depended upon finding people with enough knowledge on each of the subjects covered, and would probably have resulted in an uneven treatment. Instead, we have left open the possibility of creating a new work in the future to continue the story from the point at which this one ends.
Although the text is unchanged, we have augmented the index found in the previous publication, and added a couple of maps showing the general area and the centre of the village at two stages in its initial period of growth.
Thanks are due to Barry Penny, Chairman of Grayshott Parish Council in its centenary year, for the Foreword to this publication.
Written to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Grayshott Civil Parish in 1978, this book tells the history of the village from its earliest beginnings as a minor hamlet of Headley to its status as a fully independent parish flourishing on (and across) the borders of Hampshire and Surrey.
Cover illustration: Headley Road, Grayshott, circa 1905
1 The Early Grayshott
2 The Headley Enclosure, 1859
3 The Beginning of the Modern Village
4 Grayshott Hall
5 George Bernard Shaw at Grayshott
6 Other Literary Associations
7 The Fox and Pelican
8 Grayshott School and Other Schools
9 Formation of the Parish of St Luke and the Other Churches
10 Formation of Grayshott Civil Parish
11 The Village Hall
12 The Grayshott Murders
13 The New Parish: The First Decades
14 Between the Wars
15 Recent Years (to 1978)
Jack Hayden Smith was a local boy, who was born in the village and later returned to live here in his retirement. From humble beginnings he went on to obtain degrees from both London and Manchester universities and pursued a career in education. In his retirement years he became immersed in local affairs: the Church, Parish Council and the Grayshott Stagers being among his interests. It was during this period that he wrote the first part of this book.
He had no family of his own, and on his death he generously left a legacy to the Parish Council together with half the copyright of his book. The legacy has been used over the years to improve village amenities. The Parish Council has also used it to provide an annual prize for a pupil of Grayshott School for some outstanding achievement, the winning child receiving a book.
As the year 2002 marks the centenary of the Civil Parish of Grayshott, the
Parish Council were pleased to receive a request from John Owen Smith to republish
this work. Over the past ten years or so, he has written and published a number
of books and plays based on the history of this area.
While sharing a surname and the love and interest of local history, he and Jack Smith are not related.
The genesis of
this book was the celebration in 1962 of the Diamond Jubilee of the civil parish
of Grayshott, when I was persuaded into organising an exhibition illustrative
of the village and its history. I was amazed at the amount of material available.
It seemed a good idea to attempt an account of the development of what is essentially
a modern village which had not originated as an ancient agricultural settlement,
and which had an isolated and somewhat tenuous connection with the ancient agricultural
village of Headley, Hampshire, of which it was for centuries a part. Grayshott
and Headley were separated by some three miles of wide stretches of uncultivated
'waste of manor'. Indeed, it was not long after the growth of the new Grayshott
began that its inhabitants sought independence from Headley in matters spiritual
Born in Grayshott, I have known the village intimately for more than seventy of the hundred years during which it has developed, and also many of its inhabitants who contributed much to it.
Much of the material concerning the earlier years comes from my memories and those of other old residents, and this would be lost if it were not soon written down. The last three Chapters lean very heavily on Parish Council records and may seem to some readers rather dull-and at times even trivial. My defence is that these records were readily available over long periods and were very well kept: they form a reliable account of most things, large and small, which went to the formation of our village community.
The exigencies of an otherwise busy life caused this work to be spread over a number of years, and I am thankful to have had friends who from time to time prodded me on, particularly Rev. Canon A. R. Winnett, sometime Vicar of Grayshott.
J. H. SMITH
The Early Grayshott
A. THE EARLY HAMLET
The present village of Grayshott is of quite recent growth and has had a separate existence, ecclesiastical and civil, for only about 75 years. And yet the name is found as early as the 12th century. The explanation lies in the fact that there was an early settlement of that name lying about a mile west of the modern Grayshott village, a small outlying hamlet of the ancient parish of Headley. This small settlement was in the neighbourhood of Grayshott Hall and Grayshott Hall Farm (formerly Bull's Farm), while the site of the modern Grayshott was open waste land of pine, heather and gorse, though there were a few small farms and squatters' cottages in Stoney Bottom and Whitmore Vale or Bottom, the valleys running in an easterly direction up to the higher land of Hindhead. Some of these more ancient habitations still exist, though most have been modernised out of recognition. That the modern village developed so late was due, no doubt, to its remoteness on the high land of Hindhead, to the poorness of its soil, to the fact that until the middle of the nineteenth century its site was part of the unenclosed common land of Headley - and, perhaps, to the reputation for lawlessness which its few scattered inhabitants possessed.
The first Grayshott lay wholly within the parish of Headley, a Domesday parish, which before the Norman Conquest was part of the manor of Bishops Sutton in the possession of Earl Godwin of Wessex. It passed at the Conquest into the possession of Eustace, Count of Boulogne. King Stephen (1135-1154) married Matilda of Boulogne and the manor became Crown property for a short time. Stephen, however, exchanged his manor of Sutton for that of Merton, which belonged to his brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Thus the manor of Bishop Sutton, and Headley with it, came into the possession of the Bishops of Winchester who held it for centuries as Bishops Sutton. In course of time, this huge manor was sub-divided, one of the sub-divisions being the manor of Wishanger in which was comprised part of Headley, including the old Grayshott. After many changes of ownership it came to the Speed family, who sold it in 1797 to the Miller family of Froyle. In turn, they sold it in 1868 to John Rouse Phillips, and from him it was bought in 1884 by Joseph Whitaker of Yorkshire and Palermo.
The first references to this earlier Grayshott are found in the records of the Bishopric of Winchester. In the Pipe Rolls of 1185 it is mentioned as Gravesetta and in the Bishop's Register of 1200 as Graveschete, the name signifying a clearing in a wood. There is, indeed, archaeological evidence of even earlier settlement as far back as Neolithic times. Traces of settlement of this period were found when the Hindhead Golf Links were being made, and in 1949 a Bronze Age flint flake about four inches long was unearthed during ploughing in a field by the stream at Purchase Farm in Whitmore Vale. An expert's opinion of this flake was quoted in the Papers and Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, Volume XVII, Part I, p. 54; "A fine flake with serrated edges which, I believe, may confidently be assigned to a Bronze Age industry. This I judge more from the shattered scar of percussion than from the state of the object. The denticulations appear to me to combine both retouch and wear. The edge still shows the signs of continuous utilisation."
During medieval and later times the name of Headley appears in different forms: Hallege (11th century); Hertelegh (13th), Hedle and Hetlegh (14th), Hedley (15th), Hethle and Hethelie (16th), Hedleigh (17th) Heathley (18th).
In the Bishop's Register in the County Records Office at Winchester there is the record of a perambulation of the parish of Headley in 1533 which contains the following reference to the early hamlet of Grayshott: "There is a wood of hethe and waste being in a wood containing 240 acres, lying in length on the east of Graveshotte, in length between Kingeswode Bottom on the south and Graveshotte and Shirley Dene on the north, and on the west abutting on Brokesbottom, and on the east abutting on Les Merke Okes, of which the wood contains 140 acres and the waste 100 acres. There is another waste containing 100 acres, lying on the east of Hetheleshyll and north-west even to Graveshotte."
Some of these place names make it clear that 16th century Grayshott lay between the 100 acres of moor above Headley Hill and the 240 acres of moor and wood which then covered the site of the present village, i.e. on some cleared land round the present Grayshott Hall and Grayshott Hall Farm. They also testify to the longstanding use of the term "bottom" to denote a valley and to the antiquity of the name Kingswood. Indeed, Canon Capes of Bramshott in his Rural Life in Hampshire suggests that Kingswood Firs may well have been a royal plantation going back to early Tudor times.
In 1766 Sir Thomas Gatehouse of Headley was worried because of uncertainty concerning the rents payable to the lord of the manor by the tenants. He made investigations, no doubt in the episcopal records, and found and copied out a survey of the Tithing of Headley made in 1552. This copy has survived in the Blount Papers in the County Records Office. The survey has notes of mid-16th century landholders at Grayshott. Richard Heyes held some 5 acres, some of it adjoining the land of William Graveshotte, who, as well as having land at Barford, held "Bull's Toft" of 18 acres in Graveshotte. By 1760 this holding had become sub-divided and the holders then were Cane, Richard Holloway and Richard Messingham. In 1552 John Newman, who held Barford Mills, also had a small holding at Graveshotte; in 1760 this was in the hands of Richard Pim. In 1552 Robert Harding (9 acres), William Langford (12 acres), John Warner who held "in right of Johanne his wyfe" (23 acres), Robert Luckin "in right of Elizabeth his wyfe (211/2 acres), Richard Chetty who held "a messuage garden and certain lands called Higher Graveshotte" (22 acres), and Richard Gill were other landholders. The combined acreage of the nine landholders named may have extended to about 150 acres. Some of the successors of these in 1760 were Richard Holloway, Robert Mayhew and William Triggs. In a later entry Gatehouse noted that Richard Chetty's holding of Higher Graveshotte had become Keyne's (Cane's) Estate, which had been purchased by John Rooke for £5 1 0 and sold by him to Robert Mayhew in 1773 for £600.
In the 1552 survey the word "toft" is used frequently and was explained by Gatehouse as a piece of land where a house had formerly stood, which had since fallen into decay. This, together with the name Graveshotte used as a family name (e.g. John of Grayshott becoming in time John Grayshott) as well as a place name, indicates a settlement going back a long time before 1552, as, indeed, do the 11th and 12th century references mentioned above.
Among names of the small farms in 1552 we find Bull's Toft, Graveshotte, Higher Graveshotte, Homehouse, Barneland and Grafseat, while the old lanes were Graveshotte Lane (probably taking the same position as the modern Headley Road in the section by Grayshott Hall and Grayshott Hall Farm), Oldland Lane (quite possibly now Hammer Lane), Barnefield Lane, Bull Lane, later called Green Lane (possibly the old road leading from the top of Hammer Lane down into Whitmore Vale).
The Beginnings of the Modern Village, 1859-1900
The enclosure made the modern village possible. That it quite quickly grew into an organised village with a community life of its own is due, in the main, to the work of a few of its early wealthy inhabitants who possessed a strong public spirit.
Grayshott is a late example of a village growing under the influence of a benevolent autocracy represented, though not exclusively, by the I'Ansons, the Whitakers and the Lyndons. Writing in 1899, George Bernard Shaw could refer to the work of rescuing the people of Grayshott from "the barbarism of twenty years ago," even though he could have wished that the neighbourhood had developed under the stricter feudal control of a Duke of Bedford or a Duke of Devonshire in order that the "miserable eruption of ugly little brick houses" might have been prevented.
To the families mentioned above Grayshott owes its early institutions the Parish Church, the village school, the Village Hall, the Fire Brigade, and even its public house.
In 1861 Mr. Edward I'Anson bought Grayshott Park Estate, part of Lot 1 of the sale of 1851 referred to in the last Chapter. A family tradition credits Mr. I'Anson with having ridden on horseback from Clapham to Grayshott to view the land. He built a house called "Heather Lodge," which was later bought by Mr. Vertue, a Roman Catholic, who re-named it "The Court." In his days and those of his widow it became the centre of the local Roman Catholic community and is now the Convent of the Cenacle. At the time of Mr. I'Anson's purchase, as Thomas Wright wrote in his book Hindhead, published in 1898, Grayshott consisted of "some scattered huts" and two of three substantial houses, including Grayshott House and Grayshott Hall. When Mr. I'Anson started to build in 1862 he was warned, Wright says, "that he would not succeed in completing it, or in living there, the few cottagers of the hamlet bearing the character of being lawless folk who would never allow a stranger to settle among them. The predecessors of the squatters were runagates - persons who had fled from justice, and in the dense woodland they skulk like the badger or the fox." But, as Wright acknowledges, Mr. I'Anson not only succeeded in building "Heather Lodge," but he and his family lived peaceably there, eventually moving to "Pinewood."
That the whole district of Hindhead was wild and lawless becomes vividly evident in a story of probably the middle of the century, told in Frensham Then and Now (Baker and Minchin: published 1938):
"As to the buildings called "The Hut," now known to us as the Huts Hotel, it is safe to say that they constituted one of the oldest habitations on Hindhead, comprising a little inn of a very primitive type, with a brewery attached. The brewery, now dismantled, was in action as recently as 1870, John Elliston being the last to brew ale there. His successor, the late Benjamin Chandler, started the first motor-bus service from Hindhead and Grayshott to Haslemere ... it is equally certain that up to the middle of the last century many of the squatters who sparsely inhabited the Hindhead valleys ... eked out a hand-to-mouth existence by sheep stealing and highway robbery. They were frequented too by fugitives from justice, from whose depredations nothing in the immediate vicinity was safe.
My father used often to tell the story of how he once narrowly escaped being robbed and maltreated ... He was sent to an important cattle fair at Haslemere to sell some cattle - the business done, he started on his return journey, but calling at Frensham Hall on his way and leaving his horse there, the afternoon was far advanced before he resumed it.
'At this time' - so my father told the tale - 'the commons were unenclosed, and large numbers of forest ponies, cattle and deer grazed on the unenclosed wastes of the Manors. No defined road existed, and my way from Frensham Hall to Simmondstone was by a track crossing the Portsmouth Road near High Pitfold, traversing the centre of Wagner's Wells Bottom, emerging thence near where Grayshott Hall now stands, and so leading on to Barford and Simmondstone.
It was now dusk. Immediately on entering Wagner's Wells Bottom I passed a drove of ponies lying down in the fern, and had only proceeded a few hundred yards when I heard a shrill whistle from my rear. Startled by the sound, the ponies I had just passed came galloping down on me. At once I realised that I had been marked down at the Fair. As they overtook me I managed to grasp one of them by his mane and neck and ran beside him. Almost immediately I saw figures emerging from the high furze bushes which grew densely in the narrowest part of the valley. But with the ponies all round me I broke through them safely, and reached Simmondstone sound in limb and pocket. I learnt afterwards that the gang who waylaid me were from Blackdown, over the Sussex border, that I had been shadowed at the Fair, and had been heard to say that I was taking the money to Simmondstone that night, instead of cutting short my journey at Frensham Hall. It was the custom of the Blackdown Gang to work Hindhead, whilst Hindhead went further afield."
In an Appendix to the same book there is the following account of the apprehension caused to Frensham people by the Hindhead Gang:
"I, who am now well over the allotted span, can remember when a boy being told by my Grandmother tales of the goings-on of that rough Hindhead Gang who were so noted for sheep stealing and highway robbery. I still have a staff which was regularly carried by my Grandfather when he went out after dark. I myself remember tales of these rough gangs going round and smashing up threshing drums, as they were very embittered against these inventions, thinking they would do away with their winter's work. These old drums were but small affairs driven by horse gear. Old Mrs. Sturt kept a shop at the crossroads opposite Earle's Farm [at Frensham]. On very rough, windy nights they were afraid to go to bed. Sometimes old Mrs. Sturt would rush across the road in the morning and say, 'Oh, Harriet, they have been again; they have taken our cheese, butter and everything; it is that Hindhead Gang and they have cleared us right out.
Again, in 1867, when Tennyson took a lease of Grayshott Farm, now Grayshott Hall, he wrote to Francis Palgrave that he had been warned about the local inhabitants. Nevertheless his stay was a success.
The first postal delivery to Grayshott started in 1864. The post was brought on horseback from Bramshott to Mr. I'Anson's house, where people called for their letters. In later years the mail came to Grayshott from Shottermill.
In the 1870's there was a small village shop kept by Mr. Henry Robinson at "Mount Cottage" - this was later bought by Mr. I'Anson and Mr. Robinson moved in 1877 into Crossways Road (then Hindhead Road) in what was called Upper Grayshott and built a shop there, which then became the place of call for letters and itself became the Post Office in 1887. It remained in the hands of Mr. Robinson and then of his widow, Mrs. Hannah or "Granny" Robinson for many years. It is now a cleaner's shop.
We have seen in the previous Chapter that land rapidly changed ownership after the enclosure. In September, 1879, Henry Brake, Estate Agent and Surveyor of Farnborough, issued a plan showing for sale practically the whole site of the modern village, bounded by Headley Road, Hill Road, and Stoney Bottom Road (then Haslemere Road) and bisected by Crossways Road. This area was divided into neat freehold plots of about 20 ft. frontage on to the roads and of about 200 ft. in depth at £6.10.0. per plot. On the plan some plots with frontage on to Stoney Bottom Road were marked as already in the ownership of Messrs. Heather, Allen, Leuchars, Pocock, Freyd and White, and of Dr. Plympton, Mr. Heather was a well-known local bootmaker, Mr. White became a baker at Grayshott in the shop now known as Flair, and Mr. Leuchars owned what is now Apley House. The plan gives no other indication of owners or purchasers, but the offer for sale of this area marks, no doubt, an important stage in the development of the village.
The Whitaker family came to Grayshott in 1884 when Mr. Joseph Whitaker bought Grayshott Hall, which was largely re-built two years later by his son, Mr. A. Ingham Whitaker (see next Chapter). Mr. Ingham Whitaker and his wife were generous benefactors to the developing village for many years, and succeeding Chapters will carry many references to them. About ten years later Dr. Arnold Lyndon and his wife, Charlotte, came to Windwhistle House and entered enthusiastically into local affairs and in helping to mould the early development of the village.
During the last two decades of the century the permanent population of Grayshott was rapidly increasing. Estimated at about 100 in 1872, thirty years later at the census of 1901 there were 143 habitable houses and a population of 666. This permanent population was considerably augmented by many summer visitors, because, apart from its natural beauty, the Hindhead district had a great reputation as a health resort ever since Professor John Tyndall, who built a house at Hindhead in 1883 and lived there until his death in 1893, had extolled the purity of its air as equalling that of the Swiss Alps. Tyndall was a noted mountaineer.
Many years later, in 1935, Sir Frederick Pollock in his For My Grandson remembered Tyndall as a genial man and "one of Huxley's fellowship" who "loved Hindhead for its solitude and spaciousness (qualities which had made Cobbett call it the most accursed spot that God ever made) but he did not reflect that to dilate in print on the beauties of an undeveloped site is to invite t e speculative builders. One must go further afield nowadays to find anything like what the Hindhead region was in Queen Victoria's days."
Tyndall, who resented the threat to his solitude, constructed an enormous heather-thatched screen around his grounds to protect his privacy. This screen survived him by some years, being destroyed in a storm in 1901. He himself had died tragically through taking an overdose of chloral in mistake for magnesia. His name is perpetuated in properties to the south of the Hindhead cross-roads, on the north side of the road from Haslemere.
By 1891 the increase in population had made it necessary to build a temporary church of corrugated iron (now at Liphook), but within a very few years this had become inadequate and it was resolved to build a permanent church.
The Grayshott people were distinct from their distant neighbours at Headley, not only by physical separation, but also in character. At Grayshott the residents consisted of shop-keepers, employees of a growing building firm, and well-to-do residents and their servants, not to mention boardinghouse keepers. They were more "progressive" than their neighbours and did not share the predominantly agricultural pursuits and interests of the Headley folk. In these circumstances the movement for the creation of a separate parish was bound to grow rapidly. It achieved success in the opening years of the next century.
This Chapter represents an attempt to give a brief and factual survey of the events between the enclosure and the end of the century. Later Chapters will deal with individual topics during that period. Meanwhile it may be of interest to sketch village life in the last decade of the century.
The local paper was then The Haslemere and Hindhead Gazette, whose first issue came out on 16th September, 1896, and which was amalgamated in June, 1897, with The Weekly Herald of Farnham - as The Haslemere and Hindhead Herald. Some advertisements in these early issues make interesting reading and give an indication of the increasing pace of development. In 1896 Messrs. Pannell of Haslemere and Grayshott advertised as follows:-
"Men's Nailed Boots: 3/11 to 12/6
Soled and Heeled
2/- to 2/9
8d to 1/-
3/6 to 4/-
1/9 to 2/3
6d to 8d
2/9 to 3/3"
In the same year another advertisement read.-
E. H. Chapman
Superintendent of Joinery Department: Mr. Oliver Chapman
Properties for Sale and to Let."
(Mr. Oliver Chapman later became Postmaster and Church Organist, while Mr. E. H. Chapman's business developed into Messrs. Chapman, Lowry and Puttick).
Advertisements of the same year included two estate agents well-known for many years - Reginald C. S. Evenett and C. Bridger and Son. In 1898 advertisements appeared of the Grayshott and Hindhead Sanitary Laundry "to conduct all its working operations in a perfectly sanitary way, and this, too, without sacrificing efficiency." This laundry was conducted for many years in premises adjoining the village school, and has only quite recently been converted into a pottery. The proprietor in 1898 was a Mr. P. B. Brain.
In the Grayshott and District Magazine in March, 1898, the following tradesmen were advertising:-
W. G. Chapman,
Stationer, Post Office:
"variety of Goods suitable for Presents, including Hymn Books, Prayer Books, Bibles, etc."
(That Post Office is now the Sports shop in Crossways Road). [Demolished in 1986 and replaced by Pendarvis House]
[Note: Flora Thompson was working here as assistant to the postmaster 1898-1901]
J. A. Prince, Baker and Confectioner. Mr. Prince's original shop was in Crossways Road, then later in Headley Road, these later premises still being a baker's shop.
W. G. Deas, Family
"Agents for Fremlin Brothers, Maidstone Beers, and Royal Exchange Fire and Life Assurance; Patent Medicines, etc."
H. Mitchell, Family
"Purveyor of English meat only."
(This shop is still a butcher's shop in Headley Road).
Establishments, Haslemere and Grayshott:
"the best repairing houses in the district." (This was in Crossways Road).
E. Coxhead, General Ironmonger; This firm became the modern Messrs. Coxhead and Welch and was in the same premises as at present.
A. J. Moore, Grayshott
Mews, Livery and Bait Stables:
"open and closed carriages for hire."
In the next year Mr. B. Chandler of the Royal Huts, Hindhead, had also started Livery and Bait Stables at Grayshott: "Landaus, Broughams, Victoria, etc. on Hire. Horses and Carriages Jobbed by the month or year."
Only a few years earlier, as the late Mrs. George Cane remembered, the chief means of communication with the outside world for ordinary folk was Stephen Boxall's cart. He had a very large black horse and his cart acted as hearse for funerals at Headley, there being no churchyard at Grayshott. The coffin rested in the cart, with any mourners unable to walk to Headley sitting on the rails of the cart. Stephen Boxall (an ancient Headley and Grayshott family name) was also a broomsquire and a hawker of whortleberries as far afield as Guildford. Another well-known Grayshott broomsquire was Body Hill in Hill Road in an old brick cottage, afterwards pulled down and re-built as "Lowlands." An old and faded photograph of about 1880 shows him and his wife, Nancy, at the door of the low cottage - he with a low round brimmed hat, a smock and leather armguard for the left arm, she in a long black dress with apron and shawl. Other well-known broomsquires were the Beltons of Stoney Bottom and Waggoners Wells and the Mooreys of Stoney Bottom.
In 1899 T. Puttick and Sons of Headley Road were advertising as House Decorators. They joined with Mr. Chapman to form Messrs. Chapman and Puttick (later Messrs. Chapman, Lowry and Puttick). Another well-known trader of those days and for long after was B. C. Hoy, Fishmonger and Poulterer of Headley Road: "Fresh Fish every morning."
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee caused some anxiety. A Committee, of which Mr. Edgar Leuchars and Sir Frederick Pollock were members, was set up to arrange for a celebration bonfire. The apparent need for careful organisation arose from the recollection that the Golden Jubilee bonfire of 1887 had led to an extensive common fire. This anxiety about the continual risk of common fires had led in March, 1897, to the formation of an Association for the Prevention of Heath Fires, of which the Joint Secretaries were Mr. Leuchars of Grayshott and Mr. S. Marshall Bulley of Westdown. The Association would seek an amendment to the existing law enabling the magistrates to detect offenders and bring them to trial. What success the Association had does not appear. Nor do we know whether the Jubilee bonfire was a success, but we do know that the village children were taken in Mr. Whitaker's farm wagons to a treat at Headley, each child receiving a Jubilee mug.
There is ample evidence of a vigorous beginning of organised social life in the village. In 1897 a Band of Mercy (which inculcated in children kindness to animals) had already been formed, and Grant Allen (the novelist) lectured to it on "Spiders," Rev. J. M. Jeakes operating the magic lantern. Two years later George Bernard Shaw lectured "discursively" on "Animals" to the same body, which flourished for many years and held an annual show of horses, ponies, traps and pets. Again we read of Technical Classes in 1897 which led to the issue of certificates to some who attended, and of the formation of a local Lodge of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows by the efforts of Rev. J. M. Jeakes and Aneurin Williams, M.P. (he lived in Tower Road). This Lodge was active for many years, and only comparatively recently was amalgamated with a Lodge at Haslemere. Also in 1897 Dr. Lyndon was running St. John's Ambulance Classes, the Grayshott Choral Society was starting its second season, a Church Lads Brigade was formed, and an entertainment at the Working Men's Club (not the present building but a temporary building in Headley Road) included three one-act plays.
On New Year's Day, 1898, a "Social Evening" was organised by Mrs. Lyndon in the Working Men's Club. These Social Evenings became an annual feature, eagerly looked forward to, of village life for many years. After 1902 they were held in the Village Hall, usually on the last day of the old year and the first day of the new year, and achieved a real mix of social classes.
In 1898 the Choral Society gave a performance of Farmer's Oratorio "Christ and His Soldiers," under the conductorship of Mr. Eyre, organist of the Crystal Palace. He gave a number of concerts in the village, usually in aid of St. Luke's Building and Endowment Fund. We also hear of further entertainment at the Working Men's Club, consisting of a farce, "Domestic Economy," musical items and four tableaux. In the next year there was a Day School Treat given at Grayshott Hall by Mrs. Whitaker, and a Sunday School Treat given by Miss I'Anson. These also were annually recurring highlights for the children for many years.
It is easy to recognise the rapid, vigorous development of the village in the closing years of the century, and the growth of a village society which would soon render inevitable the attainment of separate corporate organisation.
If, in imagination, we could stand in the centre of Grayshott, say, in early 1898, the scene would be far different from what it is to-day. The following reconstruction, which claims neither completeness nor absolute accuracy, is based on notes written by the late Mrs. George Cane, supplemented by the memories of the late Mr. Tom Johnson and others. Along the Headley and Crossways Roads some development had taken place, but, compared with to-day, there were large gaps still filled with the woods and heath of the old "waste of manor": photographs of the time show both roads as poorly surfaced and shaded at frequent intervals by trees, mostly fir.
In those days St. Luke's Church had not been built and its site was an expanse of fir trees and brushwood owned by Miss I'Anson, though there was a small temporary church of corrugated iron near where the present church toolshed stands. Opposite the site of the future church Mr. Edgar Leuchars had recently built Apley House. The present village green was then a small, rough, rather scruffy field surrounded by a tall unkempt holly hedge. Here for a number of years a small fair made infrequent appearances. This field had recently been purchased by Alton brewers with a view to erecting a public-house. On the opposite side of Headley Road the present Children's Recreation Ground was still a piece of waste land.
Up the Headley Road on the left-hand side of the road there were no houses until, just before Avenue Road, there was a small house occupied by Mr. Oakley, and then Alfred Wells' forge and smithy which occupied the site of the present Grayshott Garage. The smithy was set well back from the road, and here "Alfy," a great consumer of pints of beer, plied his trade in a splendid shower of sparks and a wealth of language, often profane. On the land in front of the smithy a "cheapjack" called Nixon held periodic sales of his goods. A little further along there was a small stone cottage inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. George Cane. It had been previously occupied by a Mr. and Mrs. Hale who built a larger-house with cement walls, which they called "The Oaks," later "Village House." This house and its large grounds have disappeared in recent years, to be replaced by "The Square." Further along, still on the same side, was a cottage where Mr. Jack Sandall, a carrier, operated somewhat spasmodically, and it was said that on his journeys between Grayshott and Haslemere he had difficulty in passing the Royal Huts Inn. Mr. Sandall's cottage was on the site now occupied by "Headley House." Just beyond this cottage Dr. Plympton had recently built "Hurstmere," now converted into flats. He was a London surgeon and a pioneer in early X-ray apparatus.
Looking up Headley Road from the Five Ways cross-roads, on the right-hand side of the road, just beyond the present Children's Recreation Ground, two shops had already been built on a site previously occupied by a small wooden house where Mr. and Mrs. "Dumpy" Winchester lived - he was a great digger of wells before the days of a public water supply. In one of those shops, now "Gaynews," Mr. and Mrs. Frost had a stationery and barber's business. For many years Mr. Frost fulfilled a sanitary purpose in collecting and disposing of "night soil." Then came "Hindhead Terrace," a range of four shops, two housing Mr. and Mrs. Cornish's grocery and drapery businesses, then a sweet shop kept by Mrs-Hart, and finally Mr. Sayers' butcher's shop. Just past these shops, and behind where the present International Stores now stand, was Mr. Moore's, "Grayshott Mews," livery and bait stables. There was at the entrance to the yard a temporary building used as the Working Men's Club. This Club subsequently moved to its present premises in Hill Road. Above this again was "Wayside," recently demolished, then occupied by a curate of Bramshott who was the first resident clergyman in the village. Beyond "Wayside" were the three cottages still standing there. Further along, after a gap, were two shops, one of which (the present wool shop) was the chemist's shop of Mr. Gane Inge who also had a shop at Haslemere, and the other Mr. Charlwood's saddler's and boot business (now the Tuck Box). Then there was another gap until Mr. Mitchell's butcher's shop (now Hill's). Beyond Mr. Mitchell's shop were two cottages, where Mr. Benham's and Mr. Mattin's shops now stand, and behind them, in premises now used as a builder's yard and offices, were Mr. Ben Chandler's livery and bait stables, in what was then called Smith's Yard. Beyond these cottages were Mr. Coxhead's ironmongery business - one of the few premises to have carried on the same trade in Grayshott continuously, and Mr. Hoy's fish shop (now Mr. Burden's). There was nothing beyond these shops, except two small cottages, until just before The Avenue, where Mr. and Mrs. J. Fry lived in an old house on the site of the present Rardley Motors premises. Mrs. Cane remembered them as a "very religious" couple. "How often I had called on them to find them with a candle reading the Bible and eating kippers for their tea. And, too, how often he told me that as he passed the Royal Huts homeward bound he had to run past as the Devil tempted him so hard to go inside."
Beyond The Avenue there were three or four houses built by a Mr. Bevis, and Mr. Barnes' house and workshop - still there, but in different ownership. There was a-small boot repair shop where the British Legion now have their Headquarters. The land on which the Village Hall and Fire Station now stand was then quite undeveloped. There were a few houses along The Avenue which had been built by a Mr. Barrett.
If we follow Crossways Road from Five Ways towards Pook's Hill, on the right-hand side was a small house built by a Mr. Cover, long since demolished and replaced by three shops. Next to this Mr. Pannell of Haslemere kept a boot shop - in recent years it reverted to the same business under Mr. Tickner until his removal to the shop at the corner of Hill Road. Next again was "Granny" Robinson's little general shop, and at that time the post office, with some adjoining cottage property. An old wooden cottage stood where are now Messrs. Barker's and Murphy's shops. Jubilee Lane and Jubilee Cottages, built by direct labour by their owners, were in existence. Immediately beyond Jubilee Lane was Mr. Walter Chapman's house, which later became the Post Office and which is now a sports shop. Then came "Grayshott Terrace," a range of three shops, the first of which was Mr. Prince's bakery, now Mr. Ford's shop, then Mr. Munday's greengrocery shop, soon to be occupied by Mr. Johnson, the hairdresser, when Mr. Munday moved to Headley Road. The last shop in the Terrace was an "off licence" kept by Mr Upex, and later for many years by Mr. Milton. The premises recently occupied by the "Continental" greengrocers had also been built. They were then Mr. Deas' grocer's shop and dwelling house. Beyond the shops, on the same side, "Windwhistle" and "Ensleigh" had both been built: the Lyndons were occupying the former and Miss Agnes Weston the latter. Between "Ensleigh" and Hill Gate, standing well down the slope, was an old cottage which has been converted into a dwelling and studio by Mr. and Mrs. F. Seyd. At the top of the reverse slope of Pook's Hill there was a small stone-cottage built, no doubt, by squatter's right at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This cottage has been attractively extended in recent years.
On the other side of Crossways Road, coming from Five Ways, there was "Victoria Terrace" a range of small shops, two of which - and ultimately four - were occupied by Madame Warr before she later moved into new premises in the Headley Road (now Peter Mattin's and Augusta Rolfe's). One of her shops was a stationers and book shop. The present shop at the far end of that range is a later addition. A very few years later than the period we are now describing the land on which it stands became the entrance to Mr. Lewis' coal yard - he occupied a shop, with a watchmaker, Mr. Owen, as his neighbour in an adjoining shop, both shops having been converted from a villa. They were combined in more recent years into an antique shop. Then came Mr. Chapman's builder's yard. A few of the older residences further along the road - "Rake," "Heathside," and "Kings Mead" - had also been built, but just before Boundary Road is reached there was a wild corner of heather and gorse traversed by a rough path leaving Crossways Road and joining Boundary Road almost opposite St. Edmund's School, then a private residence named "Blencathra." This corner is now being developed.
A little further afield there were squatters' and other cottages in Hill Road and in Stoney Bottom and Whitmore Bottom, some of those in Stoney Bottom having the reputation of being used in former days for smugglers' traffic. In Stoney Bottom there was also an iron building which had been built as an Institute on I'Anson land. This was later transferred to School Road to the site now occupied by the nurse's cottage. There it was used as a Band Hut. Still later it became the Scout Hut. In more recent years it was again moved on to the Playing Fields for use as a storage shed, and here it remains to finish out its days.
The village school had been started, but opposite to it all the land now occupied by Council and other housing was a wild copse, delightful to play in after school. The laundry (now the pottery) had already been built by Miss I'Anson as a means of providing employment for local girls. In Whitmore Vale Road, where there are now houses opposite the church land, there was then a rough field, called Ward's Field, separated from the road by a tall hedge.
There are also a few interesting contemporary descriptions of Grayshott at the end of the century. Thomas Wright, in his book Hindhead published in 1898 wrote:
"A bye-road [i.e. the Pitfold Hollow Road from Shottermill] brought us to Grayshott, which consists of a street of new spruce looking shops situated near a spot where five roads meet, and a number of handsome private residences and palatial lodging houses dotted about in the remains of a forest of glorious larches and Scotch pines. Hind Head, of which Grayshott is only a part, is now one of the most fashionable health resorts within forty miles of London.
Grayshott looks like a doll's village, not so much because of the size of the houses, but because of their quaintness. The upper storeys are covered with lozenge shaped bright red tiles, made at Haslemere. It has a temporary look, and there is the feeling that one could upset it like a village built with a pack of cards. The tiles, which the damp, south-west winds render necessary, are secured to walls built not of brick but of wood covered with felt. The houses are all new, having been erected during the last five or six years. Numbers of persons of distinction reside or have resided at or near Hind Head - famous poets, scientists, novelists, sculptors, journalists, painters. The "oraculous doctors" never tire of recommending life-giving Hind Head.
In 1862, when Mr. I'Anson decided to build a house at Grayshott, he was warned that he would not succeed in completing it, or in living there, the few cottagers of the hamlet bearing the character of lawless folk who would never allow a stranger to settle among them. The predecessors of the squatters were runagates - persons who had fled from justice, and in the dense woodlands they skulked like the badger or the fox. The place was a rural Alsatia. However, the house was not only begun, but finished, and Mr. I'Anson and his family took up their abode in it. The praiseworthy ambition then seized his eldest daughter, the present Miss I'Anson, to civilise and lift up the degraded outcasts among whom her lot was cast. The task was no light one. It took a considerable time before the cottagers could be convinced that in visiting them she had no ulterior object. She started a Sunday School, but few could be enticed into it. However, the opposition of the parents disappeared "and the children brought their little empty heads to be filled up."
This, then, was what Grayshott looked like in the closing years of the nineteenth century, and these were impressions of it and fears for its future development. It is fortunate that the lay-out of the roads forced development into a relatively compact pattern, and that during the next few years the public spirit and forethought of some of the residents ensured that the nub of the village around the Five Roads crossway should be provided with green and pleasant open spaces.
Aid Committee, 155
Allen, Grant, 32, 52
Allotments, 25, 132, 161, 195
Ambulance Classes, 32
Band of Mercy, 32, 57, 154
Best Kept Village Competition, 198
Bishops Sutton, Manor of, 13
Blackdown Gang, 28
Blount Papers, 14, 19
Stoney, 13, 26, 29, 148, 157, 165, 197
Whitmore, 13, 21
Boundaries, 115, 165, 184
Bowling Club, 134, 138
Boys' Club, 168, 180
Brass Band, 58, 135
British Legion. See War Memorial
Broomsquires, 20, 31, 151, 158, 198
Building Bye-Laws, 129
Bull's Farm, 13, 174
Bulley, S. Marshall, 32, 124, 134, 154
Buses, 28, 64, 193
Businesses, 30, 33
Capes, Canon, 14, 86, 113, 129, 176
Car Park, 194
Chancery Case, 18, 150
Ernest H, 30, 121, 141
Lowry and Puttick, 30, 134
Mrs Emily, murder, 140
Oliver, 30, 119, 128, 150
Walter G, 31, 140
Children's Recreation Ground, 33, 161, 164, 165, 167, 195
Choral Society, 32, 135, 154, 200
Catholic, 126, 163
Hindhead Free, 121
Lads' Brigade, 32, 119
St. Luke, 33, 113
St. Luke's bells, 117
St. Luke's spire, 116
United Reformed, 121
Coach, London to Portsmouth, 41
Convent of the Cenacle, 27, 127
Club, 153, 180
I'Anson Cup, 154
Definitive Maps, 198
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 44, 63, 122, 154
Dramatic Society, 124, 135, 154, 180, 200
Electricity Supply, 159, 163
Enclosure, 24, 29, 132
Fire Brigade, 137, 152, 168, 169, 190
Football Club, 154, 180
Fox and Pelican, 68, 153, 179, 194
Friendly Societies, 136
Gas Supply, 159, 163, 173
Gatehouse, Sir Thomas, 14
Girl Guides Movement, 119, 179
Girls' Friendly Society, 119
Good Companions Club, 199
at end of 19th century, 30
beginning of modern, 27
Hall, 13, 20, 29, 39, 93, 118, 154, 173
Hall, diversion of Headley Road, 42
medieval names of, 13
Grover, John, 121, 122, 123
Haslemere Road, 29
medieval names of, 14
Parish Council, Grayshott members, 128
Registers, 16, 19, 21
Hindhead Gang, 25, 28
Hooke, Henry, 20
Horticultural Society, 155, 199
Housing, 161, 175, 188
Huts Hotel, 27, 31, 33, 35, 41, 64, 115, 124, 154
Catherine B, 52, 84, 95, 113, 128, 131, 150, 163
Cup for Cricket, 154
Edward B. Jnr, 113, 114, 116, 154
Edward Snr, 27, 37, 84, 86, 89, 91
Emma B, 94, 163
Philip B, 95, 188
Iron Institute, 36
Jackson, Frederick, 82, 150, 153
James, Miss, 113, 124
Jeakes, Rev J.M, 32, 44, 69, 82, 113, 115, 132, 136
Kingswood Bottom, 14
Kingswood Firs, 14, 43, 86, 158, 165, 183, 184
Land Development, 173, 184
Land of Nod, 20, 40, 165
Landholders, 14, 20, 24
Laverty, Rev W.H, 86, 115
Lawlessness, 13, 25, 28, 37, 80, 129, 148
Le Gallienne, Richard, 63
Leuchars, Edgar, 29, 32, 33
Local Government Organisation, 165, 182, 184
Charlotte, 29, 32, 69, 127, 128, 131, 137, 150, 157, 158, 166, 167, 175
Dr Arnold, 29, 32, 127, 128, 137, 140, 142, 159, 165, 176
Lyndon Trusts, 137, 182, 196
Main Drainage, 130, 176, 191
Manor, rights of tenants, 14, 20
Mowatt, James, 43
Chapman, 65, 140
Sailor at Hindhead, 76
National Trust, 43, 181, 183, 197
Night soil, 35, 178, 191
Old Lanes, 15
Orchestral Society, 135, 154
Parish Council, Grayshott, 128, 156, 166, 176, 182
Perambulation, 14, 165
Green, 93, 95, 96, 163, 167, 180, 188, 197
House, 189, 190, 193, 195
Phillips, John Rouse, 13, 20
Playing Fields, 36, 161, 163, 167, 180, 189, 195
Police, 73, 129, 140, 145, 148, 192, 194
Polling Station, 128, 160
Pollock, Sir Frederick, 30, 58, 69, 75, 86
Poor Law, 22
Postal Facilities, 29, 159, 169, 172, 195
Public Convenience, 179, 195
Public Footpaths and Rights of Way, 26, 150, 173, 183, 197, 198
Rates, 156, 166
Reese, Max, 66
Rifle Club, 64, 168, 195
repair, 50, 156, 157, 169, 171, 192
safety, 159, 170
Lady Agatha, 151
Grayshott Primary, 84
St. Edmund's, 99
The Grove, 96
Scout Movement, 119
Separation of Parishes
County Council enquiry, 131
Shaw, George Bernard
at a peace meeting with Conan Doyle, 64
at Blen Cathra, 44, 99
at Grayshott, 43
at Pitfold, Beveridge's house, 43
benevolent aristocracy, 27, 38
criticism of 'As You Like It', 59
donation to Brass Band, 135
Fox & Pelican, 68, 71, 81
Fox & Pelican library, 73
lecture to Band of Mercy, 32, 57
on 'stinking pond', 161
Shaw, Norman, architect, 121
Village Hall Men's Club, 180
Working Men's Club, 32, 35, 180
Speeding, 149, 159, 171, 192
Stoney Bottom, 13, 26, 29, 148, 157, 165, 197
Street Lighting, 159, 163, 167, 170, 173, 195
Technical Classes, 32, 134
Tennis Courts, 180
Tennyson, Alfred, 29, 39, 40
Thompson, Flora, 65
Tyndall, Professor John, 30, 63, 86
Village Green, 33, 68, 163, 195, 198
Village Hall, 134
Committee, 135, 136
erection of, 131
finances of, 137
location, 35, 58
opening day, 134
Trust Deed, 134
Waggoners Wells, 20, 39, 150, 158
Waggoners Wells Estate, 174, 183, 187, 199
War Memorial, 165, 170, 182
Ward, James G, 92, 94
Water Supply, 35, 128, 130, 131, 176
Weston, Miss Agnes, 36, 152
Alexander Ingham, 29, 42, 81, 86, 128, 132, 134, 154, 156, 161, 163, 166, 173
Joseph, 13, 20, 29, 42
Tommy, 196, 199
Bottom, 13, 21
Winnett, Canon A.R, 66
Wishanger Estate, 40
Manor of, 13, 20, 40
Women's Institute, 180, 199
First, 144, 155
Second, 95, 98, 180
Wright, Thomas, 27, 36, 114
About the Publisher
John Owen Smith was born in 1942 and trained as a Chemical Engineer at London University, but spent most of his working life designing commercial Information Systems for the paper-making industry. Following redundancy, he 'fell' into researching and recording the local history of east Hampshire, where he now lives. His own output of historical community plays, lectures, articles and books includes:-
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share information on the contents of this book. See address details on Home Page