Hambledon

This small parish (population c.750) is located between Godalming and Chiddingfold. The greater part lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Greensand Way runs through the northern part of the parish, passing the foot of Hydons Ball (National Trust), 179m, where there is a memorial to Octavia Hill, one of the Trusts Founders. The Trust also owns Oakhurst Cottage (16th century), on Hambledon Cricket Green.

Hambledon is recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086. The present 19th church substantially replaced one that is believed to date from the early 12th century . Two yew trees in the churchyard have been dated by dendrochronology to the 8th century (the larger one) and the 12th century (the smaller one).

Watercolour of Hambledon church by John Hassell, 1822 Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/3/47/1

Watercolour of Hambledon church by John Hassell, 1822 Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/3/47/1

The southern part of the parish lies on the edge of the Weald and includes much ancient woodland. Medieval glassworks flourished in Hambledon Hurst in the 13th and 15th centuries and the clay supported brick and tile works until the 20th century. Coppicing continues on the slopes of Hydons Ball and, although most of the small farms have gone, much of the land is still cultivated.

The extension of the railway line from Godalming in 1858 and the creation of a station at Witley brought Hambledon within easy reach of London. Edwin Lutyens, C F A Voisey, Ernest Newton and W D Caroe designed or remodelled Tigbourne Court, Hambledon Hurst, Feathercombe and Vann respectively and Gertrude Jekyll often collaborated in garden designs. Birket Foster and Helen Allingham lived nearby and painted many Hambledon scenes and cottages including Malthouse Farm (17th century) and Oakhurst Cottage.

Eric Parker (1870-1955), naturalist and author, lived at Feathercombe; John Franklin Adams (1843-1912), astronomer, moved to Mervil Hill (now St Dominic’s School) in 1904 and built an observatory to record all the stars in the northern hemisphere; and W D Caroe and his son Martin, both architects, lived at Vann which dates back to the 16th century.

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