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Bletchingley straddles the main Guildford to Maidstone road (A25) and stands high on a ridge. The village is referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086 and the name probably derives from bleaching associated with the presence of fuller’s earth.

Bletchingley Farmhouse, Brewer Street. This house once belonged to Anne of Cleves and afterwards to Sir Thomas Cawarden. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 2390

Bletchingley Farmhouse, Brewer Street.
This house once belonged to Anne of Cleves
and afterwards to Sir Thomas Cawarden.
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 2390

The wide curving main road exposes the properties on either side to prominent view and is an attractive feature of the place, running downhill from west to east. The curvature and change of level retain the visual enclosure which is important to village centres. Footpaths run approximately parallel to the main road and allow the village centre to be walked round.

Bletchingley was once a borough and market town and from 1294 it had two members of Parliament. Amongst the last representatives were Lord Palmerston and Lord Melbourne.

Bletchingley Castle was first noted in 1160 as one of the four castles of Surrey. However, it was demolished after the Battle of Lewes in 1264, but the earthworks are still visible and are a Scheduled Monument.

In the village centre Church Walk represents an early line of the main road, and here are some of the older local buildings. Alongside is the church of St. Mary with a typically squat, 12th century tower. A spire was added later but was never replaced after destruction by lightning in 1606. Sir Thomas Cawarden (c.1514-1559) is buried in the church. He was Master of the Revels and Tents, and as such responsible for laying on royal entertainments.

Click here to see the catalogue of the St Mary’s, Bletchingley,  Parish Records (1566-1953) held at the Surrey History Centre.

Did You Know?

The debris from what may have been a feast early in the 16th century was found in a pit on the site of the ‘lost’ manor of Hextalls at Little Pickle, Bletchingley. It included pottery from the Rhineland and bones from a rich variety of birds. There was a house on the site from the 13th century, up until 1559.

Further information

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22 Responses to Bletchingley

  1. michael feeney says:

    hye i am michael . i would like to know if any of your readers can remember a farm called st mary s farm blechingley underhill s from 1955. i worked on the farm when i was 15 year old lad.i would like to know if any of your readers have any photo of the farm and the building michael feeney. i live in hull east yorcshire..

    • Jc says:

      Yes. It’s now called wychcroft and is a Catholic Church retreat. They have a website you can google for. James

      • michael feeney says:

        james have you got any images of wychcroft and what did they call it before that . was it on st marys farm blechingley surrey i would like to know. m feeney

  2. michael feeney says:

    any one remember st marys farm blechingley underhills surrey 1955 i would like to hear from them. michael feeney.

  3. Judy says:

    I remember a number of young men who lived and worked on the farm. The manager was a Mr Gaffney. I and some others used to go to the pictures in Redhill. I have a few photos of some of the young men.

    • michael feeney says:

      thank you judy for your reply. i would like to see some photo s of the boy s and of the farm. i have 2 photo s of my self on the farm when i was 15 years old . mr dill was the house master when i was their. m feeney.

    • when i was at the farm the manager was called mr burgess. judy. i was one of the cow boy s. mike.

    • michael feeney says:

      hye judy. i visited blechingley and redhill in 1966 but i could nt fined any trace of the farm me and my wife whent in to the cemetary visit one of the boy s grave who got drownd in a swimming accident. there were two old cottages on the farm the tractor driver lived in one and the garden er live d in the other one. my work was looke ing after the cow s and milk ing that s why we where called the cow boy s. if you have any more information i would be very grate ful. mike.

  4. Mike Kohn says:

    I would like to know if there is any documentation or history of the Round/Rounds/Rownde family in Bletchingley. My ancestors supposedly lived there in the 1400’s and 1500’s.

  5. Roger steer says:

    Anyone got information on steer family in bletchingly.
    It appears I may be related to a marriage of the steer and Feeney family in 1785 but there are records of steers before then.

  6. Gillian says:

    My grandfather was from Bletchingley. His family ran the local dairy before being taken over by united dairies. Does anyone know about the family? Collis-Heanes. Many thanks

  7. Nish says:

    Hi – I am interested in the Prince Albery Public House on Outwood Lane and was wondering whether any readers have any history of the building and the changes it has been through. I understand the pub was originally cottages in the 15th/16th century and became a PH in mid 1800’s but have no other information. Would be keen to get in touch with anyone who has any knowledge or a historian for the village.

    • Tony says:

      Hi, I believe the only Pub on Outwood Lane is “The Bell”. West of here, still in Outwood, but the other end of Brickfield Road down past the Church, is “The Dog and Duck”. This is on Prince of Wales Road, and was originally called “The Prince of Wales”, but not Prince Albery.
      My work colleagues and I tried “The Prince of Wales” pub in 1963 for lunch, but could only get a pork pie with our beer if pre-ordered. The landlady was beautiful with heavy horned rim glasses.

  8. I have been tracing my family (Morphew, Morfee) and found that some lived in Bletchingley around 1560 and then for some reason moved to Godstone. Can any one shed any light on why this might have happened?

  9. Caroline Halloran says:

    I am interested to know the history of the Cuckseys and Cuckseys Farm. My mother was a Cucksey her relative was Joseph Cucksey born 1792 Bletchingley but moved his family to Lincolnshire. Can anyone help?

    kind regards

  10. Richard Fowler says:

    I have only just picked up this conversation string about Bletchingley. I am the Secretary of the Bletchingley Conservation & Historical Society, and can add a little information.

    Re: Michael Feeney’s post:
    The Training Farm at Underhills is now the Wychcroft Southwark Diocesan Training Centre (Church of England). The son of the person who set up the Catholic Training Farm lives in the village, and contributed to a talk in 2012. The following is the text of an article I wrote for the village magazine:
    Chris French: St Mary’s Training Farm
    In the mid-1930s the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society helped children from broken homes, slums or other situations where they might otherwise end up on the streets. These children had never experienced the countryside. Chris French’s father (The Hon. Hubert French) was approached by the catholic bishop of Southwark and asked to help set up, and be senior warden of, a facility for boys aged 16 to 18 to come out to the country and experience agriculture and horticulture. Joan and Harry Marshall were also on the management committee. The Catholic Rescue Society bought 260 acres of Underhills Farm and the house (now Wychcroft), which became the hostel for up to 20 boys. The boys lived here for 2-3 years for training on the farm. There was a dairy herd of 20 cows (a large herd in those days) where 2 or 3 boys would learn how to milk the cows, first by hand and then by machine. Another group looked after pigs at Coldharbour with the pigman, Mr Tunks. Jim Loveman was the head greenhouseman, in charge of the greenhouses (now gone) where all sorts of produce was grown commercially.
    Some of the boys were extremely difficult, having experienced violence and other troubles at home, so the role of the Training Farm was more than just teaching them about agriculture. On Sundays the Blechingley catholic families would gather together with the boys and farm staff at the chapel at Underhills converted from what had been a squash court. A chaplain provided by the catholic diocese would spend Sundays with the boys.
    A highlight of the year was an annual cricket match and tea at Brewer Street Farm, with a team made up of the workers from Brewer Street Farm and Frank Martin’s Lake Farm against the Underhills boys.
    The farm was opened in 1935 by the Lord Mayor of London and continued until the end of the 1950s. By this time it was beginning to lose momentum, there being greater social understanding and awareness, and agricultural training was being taken over by the major farming institutes such as Merrist Wood near Guildford. At Hubert French’s recommendation the farm was sold in 1960. It was bought by Uvedale and Melanie Lambert, and became part of the South Park estate, with the house becoming the CofE Diocesan Training Centre. Hubert received a medal from the pope in recognition of his work before he died in 1961.

    Re: Nish’s post:
    The Prince Albert pub was on the corner of Outwood Lane with the A25 (Bletchingley High Street). It closed as a pub a couple of years ago and was sold by the brewery. It is currently in the process of refurbishment into a dwelling. It is a medieval hall house, now Grade II listed. Its listing information is:
    House, now Public House. C16 with C19 restoration. Timber framed on brick plinth,
    brick cladding below, tile hung above; plain tiled roof with rear stacks to left
    and right, front stack part rendered to right of centre. 2 storeys, 3 framed bays
    with C19 casement windows across the first floor. Half glazed door to left of
    centre under camber head porch hood on brackets with dogtooth pattern to edge: part
    glazed plank door to right under gabled porch hood on brackets. Right hand return
    front: timber frame exposed; gable lit attic.
    Interior: moulded dais beam, stone hearth surround with hollow chamfer on first
    floor, framing visible.

    Re: Caroline Halloran’s post:
    Cucksey’s Farm was one of six farms formed when the South Park hunting park was disparked around the time of the Civil War. It is named (as was common) after an early occupier.
    Uvedale Lambert’s History of Blechingley records the following Cuckseys:
    1667: Thomas Cucksey elected as an Overseer for the Poor.
    1676: Thomas Cucksey was one of a number of contributors to aid the town of Northampton following a fire in 1675 which destroyed 600 houses and a church.
    1738: Joseph Cucksey recorded as the tenant.
    1779: John Cucksey was one of a large number of contributors for 8 new bells for the church
    From my researches in old Vestry Minute Books:
    1784: John Cucksey was one of the subscribers to a new contract for the care of the poor in the village workhouse.
    I have not come across any subsequent references to the family, which supports the theory of their having moved away.

    • A Donald says:

      Very interesting reading I lived at south park in the 1950s and remember the Lamberts and have a few photos my father worked at Wychcroft and my mother later married Mr Tunks mentioned earlier

      • A Donald says:

        Hi I now have photos of the Lambert family, the rear of he main house and lake with me and Steven Lambert in the punt, the daughters on horses near the stables, Mrs Lambert at the church door with school children and 1950s Bletchingley school classes out front of the building.

  11. Suzi says:

    Interesting reading all these comments! I have many happy memories of the area as Wychcroft / South Park was very much my play ground in the 80s when I lived on Tilburstow Hill. I remember children coming to stay in the Granary close to Wychcroft.

  12. Chris Smith says:

    I am trying to find out some history of the former laundry building on Barfields. Would be interested to hear from anyone who knows anything or has any old photos. Thanks

  13. Lisa Clayton says:

    Hi there! I’m researching my family history and have traced my ggg grandparents on my mother’s side to the birth of my GG grandfather Arthur Clayton born in 1882 at Grange Cottage, I believe his father William Henry Clayton was a groomsmen. Was the Grange cottage a midwifery at the time? I’m trying to establish if they actually lived there or were there only for the birth – any insight much appreciated :o)

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