All the information included below is in the public domain. The sources used are as follows: [C] Census returns (generally those of 1911 and 1939); [E] Electoral Rolls; [K] Kellys Directory; [P] Parish registers (generally those of St Katharine, Merstham).
Although the Electoral Rolls are more or less continuous from 1900 to 1955 they show only the names of those eligible to vote: they do not indicate the relationships between those names, nor do they show anyone under the age of 21 (until fairly recently). For the first couple of decades of the century they often do not include wives, as women generally did not receive the vote until the 1920s; although women over the age of 30 were given the vote in 1923, only in 1928 was this franchise extended to women reaching the age of 21. This explains, in part, the apparent increase in the number of occupants in this year. There were no electoral registers published during the Second World War.
The date shown by each house is generally the date of first occupation, although the date of building is shown if this is known.
The houses are shown in the geographical order in which they appear in the road, starting with the south side and working from west to east. At the end of the list are several house names which do not now exist. Some of them, of course, will be former names of existing houses for which a link has not yet been made; other names, like the houses they once represented, have disappeared for good.
There is little information shown, at present, for the houses to the east of the M23, as this small group of houses is not covered in the Reigate Electoral rolls.
Every house in the Road has received at least one letter inviting them to request the removal of any personal details. Where a reply has been received, it has been complied with. Further information about any of the houses is always welcome and can be sent to email@example.com.
This corner plot of land was, during the early part of the twentieth century, the site of the annual Merstham Fair. This was moved from Quality Street when the noise became too much for the residents (but returned there in the 1970s, where it has become a popular annual event). Accordingly, this small area became known as Fairfield. On the site was a windmill, together with a house (the Old Mill House) and some workshops. The mill was last worked by Samuel Baker in 1903; the photograph shows the the house several years after this date. Some of the workshops can still be seen at the end of the lane. The house had various occupants until it was demolished in the 1930s.
Mill House was the residence of Violet WATERMAN and George BAKER, a miller, who were married on 20th August 1901.
Samuel Baker, the last miller, died on 30th December 1907 aged 55 and is buried at St Katharine's.
Rachel BATTERS, of Mill House, died aged 50 and was buried at St Katharine's on 14th May 1914; her husband Benjamin, one of five children, died later that year on 13th November. The 1901 census return shows Ben and Rachel, with six children, living in Elm Cottages; he was shown as a 'labourer in limepit', an occupation common to many men in the village at that time.
The electoral register for 1935 records Doris Agnes LETTS as the sole voter in a cottage shown as 1 Fairfield Cottages; it is likely that this was the building otherwise known as Mill House. John LANE was living in the house in 1937; it was demolished the same year and the four Fairfield cottages built on the site.
At the end of the twentieth century two of the original cottages remained in one block; two new houses had been built on the site of the other two.
The first entry for this house in the electoral registers is in 1936, when the occupants were Florence Margery and Frederick George REDGROVE. They had married earlier the same year: Frederick was 33, and from Lambeth; Florence was seven years younger and her birth had been registered in Camberwell.
The 1939 Register shows Gladys Baker, about the same age as Frederick, and another married couple, Douglas and Queenie Tingley, both about five years younger than Florence, also in the house.
In May 1959 a daughter, Mary Joy, was confirmed at St Katharine's at the age of 16. The electoral register of 1960 refers to the house as 1 Rockshaw Road. Frederick died in 1969.
The Redgroves were listed as voters from 1936 to 1970, although additional names were shown from time to time.
At the end of the 20th century the owner was Ian CAMPBELL; when he moved to Portugal in about 2007 the house became home to Mandy and Michael STENEKER.
The first entry is for 1936, at which time the register shows the occupants as Doris Amy, John Howard and Reginald Howard GIBBS. John and Doris, both 41, had been married at Croydon in 1915. Reginald's birth had been registered in Wandworth the same year. Presumably this family moved, for from 1939 the occupiers were Grace Annie Louise and William Percy JOINER, a book-keeper. They were 31 and 46 respectively, and had been born on the Isle of Wight and Orsett (near Grays, in Essex). They married in Croydon in 1938. A third occupant of the house in 1939 was Mary O'Connor. Grace and William remained in the house until at least the early 1970s, although no other members of the family appear, indicting that there were no children. (It is referred to as 2 Rockshaw Road in the electoral registers from 1955 to 1965 but as Glenside in all other entries.)
On 18th September 1937 a daughter Susan Mary was born to Charles Hunt BUTT, a clerk, and his wife Marjorie. The address given was Little Cottage, Tanglewood. This was first thought to be a separate cottage within the grounds of the bigger house, but the Kelly's Directory for 1951 clearly shows Little Cottage between Glenside and Firle. There seems therefore to be no connection with Tanglewood although an Annie Elizabeth Hunt was living at Tanglewood in 1935.
In 1937, the first year this house appears in the electoral registers, Marjorie and Charles Hunt BUTT were shown at Little Cottage. They had married in 1933, when Charles had been 28. Although they were still listed there in 1938, the register for the following year shows the VERRALL family at this address. The register for 1939 shows Ellen Kate (born Hailsham, 1882) and Edmund Herbert (born Eastbourne, 1883) with son Sidney Herbert (born Lewisham in 1910, two years after his parents' marriage). Also registered at the address was Francis George ROBERTS, a bank clerk.
The Verrall family stayed at this address, shown variously as Little Cottage and 3 Rockshaw Road, until 1954. In 1945 Sidney's wife Phyllis M made a brief appearance; she had been Phyllis JENNINGS before she married Sidney in 1939.
Kelly's for 1959 shows Arthur BLAIR (at Little Cottage); another Blair family, that of Ada and Robert Auguste, were at Mill House between 1918 and 1925 but there is no reason to suppose that the families were related.
The electoral register for the following year, 1960, shows Shirley and Stuart D M OTTOWELL as the new occupants (of 3 Rockshaw Road) and they were still there five years later. This is confirmed by the Reigate Directory for both 1966 and 1970 (still listing the house as Little Cottage).
In 1936 Mabel Mary and Clive Charles PHILLIPS were living here and were shown as voters. A year later Mabel Mary was not shown and Clive, a bank clerk, was living in the house — at this date named Firle — with Jessie Hannah. It seems that Jessie was his wife and Mabel his mother. In 1939 they were sharing the house with Keith GOLDEN, and also with Hilda WILLIAMS and her three-year-old son David. On 14th May 1940 a daughter, Jill, was born to Clive and Jessie and baptised at St Katharine's. The address was by this time shown as 4 Rockshaw Road. Mabel Mary died on 22nd April 1942 and was buried at St Katharine's. A Frederick Phillips, perhaps an elder brother of Clive's, was 'killed in action' on 12th November 1917 and buried in the same plot.
In May 1955 a younger daughter, Jennifer, was confirmed at St Katharine's; she became engaged to John Malcolm SHERLOCK in February 1962.
Jessie and Clive were shown at this address until about 1970, with the electoral registers showing the address as 4 Rockshaw Road and the various Directories listing it as Firle. Clive Charles's entombment is also recorded on the same gravestone as Mabel but the only details recorded are the dates 1910 - 1980.
Another Phillips family, Jane and Edward, was living at 64 Noddyshall from 1910 to 1926.
There is possible confusion here as the original name of Middle Fell was Firle Beacon. However, in both the 1938 and 1939 electoral registers the two houses occur as separate residences.
In 1930 20 cottages were erected by the Southern Region of the then British Railways to provide cheap accommodation for its employees. They are similar in design to the 24 cottages built a year or so earlier just north of Tadworth station to form a road named Ashcombe Terrace.
The first occupants, according to the Electoral Register of 1931, were Cecil Cyril James SUTER and his wife Mary Alice. Cecil was local to the area, and was 32; Mary had been born at Dartford, and was two years younger. They had been married for eight years. In 1933 a second couple, George Henry CLARKSON and wife May appeard on the Roll, but had gone again the following year. Mary's brother Alfred James SELVAGE appears on the Roll for both 1933 and 1934.
In the following year, 1935, the couple listed on the Roll were Bessie Amelia and Percy Stanley WONES, who lived there until at least 1965. Percy was local, a 'Lengthman' on the railway, but Bessie was from Dorchester: they had been married in 1928, when Percy was 22 and Bessie 25. Bessie died and was buried on 21st September 1954, aged 51. In 2010 their daughter Peggy was living in Poole.
Ivy May DAVIS and James KING (a railway 'Lengthman') had married locally in 1928. From 1932 until at least 1965 they lived here. Ivy was very involved with the British Legion. Occasionally other names were registered at this address: Ernest CARTER in 1932, Edward LONG in 1938.
Catherine and Frank Robert Gordon HARRISON were the occupants from 1932 to 1960; Frank was a railway clerk in 1939. The electoral register for 1965 lists Netta and Ronald J SMITH.
The original occupants, from 1931, were Frank and Lilian ROFFEY. They had married in 1914. They were both local: Lilian had been born Lilian May WHEELER in 1894, and Frank was a year younger. By 1936 the Roffeys had gone, and the new occupants were Francis Ernest MARSHALL and his wife Alice Harriet (nee TARRANT), who had been married for 15 years. They were roughly the same age as Frank and Lilian - Francis, an 'assistant lineman', had been born in Woolwich in 1894, and Alice a year earlier in Southwark. They had one son, Ernest, born in 1921. Alice's mother Harriet Elizabeth was on the electoral roll until 1938; she died in 1948 aged 81. Her daughter and son-in-law continued to live at this address until at least 1965.
This house was occupied from 1932 by Percival Albert and Jessie Marian GAMBRELL. They were both originally from Kent, and married on Sheppey in 1907; Marian's maiden name was HILLS. In 1932 Percy was 54 and Jessie four years younger. Jessie died in 1944, aged 61. During this time several other names appeared on the Electoral Roll: Jack WATSON (1933); John WATSON (1934) - presumably the same person; Stephen FLETCHER in 1935; James Turvis BROWN in both 1935 and 1936; John BETTERTON in 1937; Sidney BETTERTON in 1938. It seems likely that some or all of these were lodgers, only there for a brief time. The Electoral Roll taken at the end of the war shows Dorothy M RICHARDSON, but from then until 1955 Percy appears on his own.
From 1955 until at least 1965 Percy was joined by Fanny Gambrell: it is likely that she was a daughter, although the only children found so far are Jessie (1918) and Phyllis M (1919). Percy died in 1970.
This was home to a branch of the MORLEY family – William and Elizabeth Ann Marie Morley (nee SWIFT) were living here from 1932. They had married locally early in 1916. A daughter, Muriel Irene, was born towards the end of 1916 in Gloucestershire and in 1938 she was listed on the Electoral Roll when she reached the age of majority. On 17 April 1940, at the age of 24, she was baptised (in her maiden name) in St Katharine's church; only a matter of weeks earlier she had married William ELKIN. Four days after her baptism she was confirmed - but as Muriel Irene ELKIN.
Elizabeth died early in 1941, and at the end of the war William and Muriel were still at no. 6, with an Alice WRIGHT. Seven years later in 1952, William and Alice married, and they continued to live in the house until at least 1965.
Muriel Irene died early in 2001.
Another Morley family, that of Rose and Arthur, was living at 65 Noddyshall from 1918 to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The Electoral Roll for 19312 shows Dorothy Caroline and Reginald Frederick RUSBRIDGE as occupants; they had married just three years earlier when Reginald was 27. They lived in the house until just before the start of the war.
At the end of the war the occupants were Percival Charles Ashbee BETTS and his wife Lilian E, and they were resident until at least 1965.
The first occupants of this house, shown on the Electoral Roll for 1933, were Walter GRAHAM and his wife Rose Alice (nee SKINNER). They had been married in Lambeth during 1914, when Rose was just 21. They had gone by the following year, replaced by Walter Allan MITCHELL and wife Dorothy Kate. They had also married in Lambeth, but in 1915; Walter was from Halifax, the youngest of seven children, born in 1876. Walter and Dorothy lived at this address until Walter's death in 1957 at the age of 66.
The Electoral Rolls for 1959 and 1960 both show Dorothy as the sole voter, but that of 1965 records William and Iris CROSS living in the house. Both William and Iris (nee BARTLETT) had been born in Dorset - William 1930, in Wareham; Iris 1933 in Dorchester - and they had married at Weymouth in 1953. Iris, with her family, lived there until at least 2010.
From 1932 to just before the start of the war the occupants were Frederick Arthur PRONGER and his wife Mabel Annie (nee PHILLIPS). Frederick, born in Horsham, had married Mabel in 1918 at Greenwich. He died shortly after the start of the war, in 1940; he was 46.
The 1939 Register shows Joseph C and Edith K BRANCH at this address, and this is confirmed by the next Electoral Roll to be published, at the end of the war. Joseph and Edith BRANCH had married in 1923. Joseph was 20 years older than Edith, and a 'locomotive fireman'.
Kelly's Directory for both 1951 and 1954 lists only James GOLDSON (GOLDSEN in the 1954 version).
From 1955 to at least 1965 the occupants were June E and Vivian R AKEHURST. Vivian had been born at Dover in 1921 and they had married at Uxbridge 25 years later in 1946. June's maiden name was RUSSELL. A daughter, Jennifer Elaine, was confirmed at St Katharine's in May 1961 at the age of 13. Horace Akehurst, employed as a gardener, and his wife Lucy lived at Pickett Wood during the 1930s.
The first occupants, albeit for only a brief time, were James Henry HOBSON and his wife Sarah Elizabeth (nee GUMBRELL). They had married locally in 1912, when Sarah was 19, and were on the electoral Roll for 1932.
From 1933 the residents were Edwin BASHFORD and his wife Sophia Winifred (nee DUFFELL). They were both local, and had married in 1925 when Edwin was 29 and Sophia 27. Edwin was a 'locomotive driver'. They had three children: Hilda, Dorothy M E and Roy C. Hilda was baptised at St Katharine's in March 1945 at the age of 16. In 2012 she was living with her husband Don at Woodhatch, and for some years looked after William and Gertrude Port when they moved from Albury Edge Lodge following Williams's retirement. Edwin died on 9th January 1956.
Roy, the youngest child, married Dorothy BONIFACE, one of twins living at number 19: many years later, towards the end of the 1990s, he had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair at his home, also in Woodhatch. He died in 2002.
By 1960 the new occupants were Ena E and William J WHITE. By 1965 the Whites in turn had left, to be replaced by Irene and Arthur WILLIAMS.
The first occupants were Walter BROWN and his wife Annie Elizabeth (nee HOLDSWORTH). They were both local, and had married in 1896. They left around 1936, and from 1937 until at least 1965 every entry shows the CATT family – Alice R and Leslie Henry David. Alice (nee SHERRIN) was the eldest daughter of Thomas and Alice; she had been born in Bermondsey in 1906, but during the next five years the family moved to Belvedere in Kent; Leslie was two years older than Alice, and was from Crayford, about a mile south of Belvedere. Their marriage had been registered at Dartford in 1931. Their first son, David, was born towards the end of 1932 and he appears on the Electoral Roll for the first time in 1955. Leslie was a 'locomotive fireman', also qualified as a driver.
Charles Groombridge GOLDS lived here with his wife Mabel Annie from 1932. They had married in 1906 at Southwark; Mabel OSMAN had been born in the Lambeth area in 1884, and Charles two years later in Wandsworth. The 1939 Register shows that Charles was a member of the 'Locomotive Railway Engineering & Maintenance staff'; also that his niece Edith Emma Sylvia DAVIDSON, aged 27, was living with them. Mabel died at the age of 69 and was buried at St Katharine's on 20 February 1949, and the electoral register shows that by 1955 Charles was once again providing a home for his niece Edith. He continued to live in the house and died on 4th May 1968 aged 82; Edith died at the age of 69 on 26th May 1982. Both are buried at St Katharine's.
The first couple to live here, in 1932, were Alfred William HAYWARD and his wife Alice Nora. She had been born locally as Alice Nora H DUFFELL in 1899, and they married in 1917. In April 1933 two daughters, Elsie and Dorothy aged 15 and 14 respectively, were confirmed at St Katharine's.
The family last appeared on the Electoral Roll in 1935, and the following year the house was occupied by Edith Florence and Sidney Arthur SHEPPARD (a 'locomotive fireman, qualified to act as driver'). They had two children, Stanley (1924, a 'bookstall attendant') and Joyce (1927), both born in the Eastbourne area. The family lived in the house until at least 1965. By 2012 Joyce was a widow, living in Meadvale; Stan and his wife Jean had moved to Tonbridge, although Jean (nee Allen) was originally from Merstham and her brother John still fished in the Mere until recently. Other Sheppard families were at Mon Repos in the early 1930s.
From 1936 this was the home of Harry HOLDEN, who was a relief Station Master and a guard, and his family. The marriage of Mildred Mary MORRIS and Harry HOLDEN had been registered at Steyning in 1913. A son Frederick William was born towards the end of 1913 (the birth was registered at Lewes) and in 1936 he married Bertha MORLEY from 65 Noddyshall, and they set up home next door to Bertha's parents at 64 Noddyshall. Harry Holden died aged 63 in 1950 (although Kellys Directory continues to show him for several years afterwards). The Holden family left Ashcombe Road in 1978.
Gerald SEAGER and Kate Ethel WEST, both born locally (1902 and 1903 respectively) were married in 1924. They started their married life at 23 Garden Row, Reigate, where a son, Gerald, was born in 1925, and after a couple of years moved to 81 Frenches Road. They are shown at 15 Ashcombe Road from 1931. Kate appears alone in the Electoral Roll of 1945.
The ROBERTS family – Annie E (TAYLOR) and George R – were shown from 1951 to 1960; they had married in 1910 with Leslie, presumably a son, appearing on the electoral roll in 1955. George William Frederick, another son born towards the end of 1914, does not appear on the Electoral Roll for this address but was buried at St Katharine's, from this address, on 12 February 1954. He was only 39.
In 1965 the occupants were Sheila and William BENNION; William died and was buried (at St Katharine's) on 11 March 1969, aged just 50.
The first occupants, in 1931, were Catherine (POLLINGTON) and James WATTS. They were from Tonbridge, where they had married in 1922, and they had been living at 23 Garlands Road for a couple of years before moving to Merstham. James worked on the railway as a shunter. Their first son, Eric James, was born in 1924. A second son Brian Stephen, born in 1928, had died aged just 3 and had been buried on 15 September 1932 at St Katharine's from this address. A daughter, Dorothy Catherine M, was born on 21 January 1938 and baptised on 16 March. In 1956 Eric James died; he was buried at St Katharine's alongside his brother Brian on 13 August.
Dorothy had married Ronald S PRICE in 1959, and she appeared on the electoral roll together with her parents in 1960. Five years later, in 1965, the occupants were Betty M and Roy V GEORGE.
Walter Percy CHRISTER married Mary S HUBBARD in 1918, and they appear at this address from 1933 to 1935. For the next two years the listed voters were Bernard Leonard MAYNE and his wife Dorothy (or Doris) Grace LOADER; they had married in 1934.
The 1939 Register shows that William and Daisy M WEST had moved to this address. They lived here to at least 1965.
Kate Elizabeth A (KNIGHT) and John William MATTHEWS, who had married locally in 1924, were the occupants from 1932 to at least 1965. They had a 15-year-old son, William. The register for 1965 also shows Percy PLOWMAN as a voter.
The residents in this house, from 1931 to 1934, were Teresa (WARREN) and William George SNAPE. Their marriage in 1922 had been registered in Croydon.
In 1935 the JEALL family – Arthur William and wife Annie with their three daughters Peggy G F (1926), Eileen M (1928) and Lorna Pauline (1932) – were living in the house. Arthur's younger brother Sidney Edward was living with them; he was single (but married Mary JEFFERY in 1938). From 1936 to 1938 another voter at the address was Grace EASON, probably a sister of Annie. Arthur was an engine driver but employment on the railways offered no permanent residence – they had moved to Merstham from Bognor, and before long had departed again, this time to Southampton.
The 1939 Register shows John E and Florence K EVANS as residents, together with son David aged just 2.
The Electoral Roll taken shortly after the end of the war shows that the voters at this address were Harry E F SHARMAN and Mary E BONIFACE. In March 1946 four people at this address were confirmed at St Katharine's: Jean and Freda BONIFACE, both aged 17; a younger sister Dorothy, aged 15; and Derek Albert Henry SHARMAN, aged 15. The births of Freda E and Jean M had been registered at Reigate in 1928, but that of Dorothy M E (1930) was registered at Croydon. Their parents were Frederick John BONIFACE and Mary C E HOLDEN, who had married in 1927; Frederick had died towards the end of 1942, aged just 40. Derek's birth had been registered at Dover in 1930; he was the third of eight children, whose parents were Henry E F SHARMAN (who appears as a voter) and Daisy L BEER, who had married at Dover in 1926. The other voter shown, Mary BONIFACE, was Frederick's widow; Daisy SHARMAN had died in 1939. Kelly's Directory for both 1951 and 1954 shows Henry SHARMAN as the only voter listed, but in 1953 Mary BONIFACE married Henry SHARMAN, and the Electoral Roll of 1955 shows Henry and Mary SHARMAN, together with Derek and Peter (his younger brother) and John D BONIFACE, possibly a nephew of Frederick's.
By 1959, however, Beatrice M (GARDNER) and Albert A KEMP were living in the house: they had married in 1948 at Hastings. Their daughter born later that year; she was confirmed in May 1961 at the age of 12, and the family was still there in 1965.
From 1931 to 1933 the occupants were Leonard and Jessica LARKIN. No marriage record has been found, but a daughter Zoe Edith was born on 27 April 1932 and baptised in St Katharine's on 12 June. Leonard, like many of his neighbours, worked on the railway.
From 1934 until the end of the war the only voters shown were Ivy Catherine (nee PALFREY) and Leslie Edwin OLLIVE. Leslie was local, a 'locomotive passed fireman', but Ivy had been born in Rotherham; they were married in 1922. A daughter, Edith C, was born in 1923. Their first house was 143 Albury Road, but for just a short time they lived at 197 Albury Road before moving to Ashcombe Road.
By 1951 another family had moved in: Rose N (TREE) and Harold F NICE, who had married in 1943. They had two daughters (Barbara M (1945) and Linda R (1948)) and a son, Richard G (1952). The 1955 shows, in addition, William HARVEY.
The electoral register for 1960 shows no voters but that for 1965 lists Beryl M and Robert F McGILLIVRAY.
The three acres of land on which this house is built had previously been occupied by Thomas KING of Home Farm and the value had been assessed at £5 2s 10d. In 1909 it was purchased from Lord Hylton by Paxton Hood Watson, who later lived at Pickett Wood. He was permitted to build just one house on the site, to be called Firle Beacon.
The first occupants of this house were Hugh Wren STREET and his wife Mary Augusta Elizabeth. The electoral roll for 1913 shows Hugh at 1 Rockshaw Road(this should not be confused with the dwelling on the corner of the main Brighton Road known by the same name, as this was not built until just before the war. However, Kelly's Directory for the same year (1913) shows Hugh W STREET at Firle Beacon. Hugh had been born in 1878 near Bromley, and he married Mary CLARKE in 1911 at Eastbourne, which indicates that this was their first house as a married couple.
The baptism register of St Katharine's records the birth (on 24th August 1914) and baptism (17 November) of John Hugh, a son to Mary Augusta Elizabeth and Hugh Wren Street, an insurance official. On 13th November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included M PILBEAM, of 1 Rockshaw Road, who contributed 1s. He (or she) does not appear in any electoral roll and may have been a servant. The electoral register for the following year, 1915, records Hugh Wren Street as living at the address. Four years later the occupants were still shown as Hugh and his wife Mary Augusta Elizabeth. However, on 20th September 1918 a baby girl, Kathleen Pamela, was born to Ivy Brenda and Eric WILSON-HUGHES at this address. Eric was a temporary Captain in the RSA and this family may have been staying with the Streets.
An application to the Patent Office dated 21st July 1919 records William Welham CLARKE living in 1 Rockshaw Road. William had been a mining engineer and was a brother of Mary STREET. He had been born in Norfolk in 1879 and died, aged 60, in New York.
The Street family were last recorded at this address in September 1919, when they moved to The White Cottage on Shepherds Hill; they were there until about 1938, after which Hugh Street later moved to Alverstone, on the Isle of Wight. He died there on 15th November 1941 aged 63.
A document, dated 1919, is still in existence showing the conveyance of the house (now named Firle Beacon) from Paxton Watson to Henry Mear CUMMING as mortgagor and Ethelred GEE as mortgagee. The electoral registers for 1920 and 1921 show the house renamed to The Balsams and Henry Cumming as the sole voter; in 1921 the house was purchased by John PARKIN, who worked in a bank. The following year he married Jessie BIRCHALL at Wigan.
It appears that he renamed the house once again, this time to Middle Fell, for it is under that name that the electoral roll for 1922 shows the occupants as Jesse and John Parkin. They are the only occupants listed until 1936, although the entry for 1932 also shows Mildred Elsie JEWELL — perhaps a maid? There are several references in "The Times" of a house named Middle Fell in Whyteleafe, and it is possible that John Parkin came from that area and brought the name with him. It is also the name of a buttress in the Langdale Valley of the Lake District.
The Electoral Roll for 1933 shows, in addition to John and Jesse, Dorothy GISBORNE. In 1937 the mortgage was released by the National Provincial Bank to John, who was by now a bank manager. He sold it to Margaret HARDING.
Frank Dryden Morle HARDING and his wife Alice Edith Margaret (GUTBROD) were married in 1936 at Bradford, Alice's home town (Frank had been born in Islington). They were both 39 when they married, and they lived at Middle Fell, together with Lucy Maud LILLYWHITE, for the duration of the war. The entry for 1938 shows, in addition, Clara GUTBROD: this was Alice's mother, who had married Max Ludwig GUTBROD in 1896. A conveyance dated 1939 indicates that the southern part of the Bartonbury land was sold to the Hardings by Merstham Park Tenants Ltd for £90.
Immediately after the war, in 1945, Ester A and Frederick B G BEVAN lived here, with Eileen O'THOMAS. The house was sold in 1946 to Barbara Waring JACKSON, the widow of Wilfrid Swinhoe Jackson, and in the 1950 electoral roll she was the sole occupant. However, she died on 25th February 1953 in a nursing home in London and the house was sold again, with Francis Jackson as vendor and acting as the executor. Another Jackson family, Margaret and Victor, lived at The Firs in 1950, moving to Clavadel by 1955, although there is no reason to assume that the families were related.
The new owners were Ethel Elizabeth and Leonard Stanley BOWRAGE. Leonard was a book-binder and they appear on the 1955 electoral roll with Albert, presumably their son.
The plot of land sold in 1909 had not included the area immediately south of the road, “front bank”, leading down to the house. This piece of land was bought by the Bowrages for £25.
In 1960 Dr Kenneth Haddon TRIGG and his wife Dr JORDAN bought the house for £6,000 and they remain there to this day (2016).
The first mention of Bartonbury is in the registers of St Katharine's church, when the burial of Mary Elizabeth FLINT at the age of 59 on 10th April 1913 is recorded. Florence DRURY is listed in the 1914 electoral register as the occupier of 2 Rockshaw Road, but the following year she is recorded at Bartonbury.
Bartonbury is the name of an estate at Cirencester, and the name may have been brought from there.
By 1918 Philip Alfred AMY and Annie Marcelle (MORGAN) were living in the house. They had married, in London, in 1908; they were there until 1922 although from 1919 Philip was shown as an 'absent voter'.
From 1923 until 1938 the listed voter was Clara Hamilton ELWORTHY. Born (HITCHENS) in Luton in 1867, she had married Henry ELWORTHY in 1885. They had lived at The Highlands, Landscape Road, Warlingham; Henry died in 1915 aged 57. In 1929 she was joined by Clara FRANKS, who may have been a servant, as by 1934 she had gone and two new voters were Mary Ann POTTINGER and Alice COonstance JOHNSTONE. However, these too had gone by the following year and from 1935 to 1938 the only names on the Electoral Roll were those of Clara ELSWORTHY and Marie (or May) Constance WINCHESTER. Clara died on 22nd December 1938 aged 71.
By the following year the listed voters were Ivy Gwen Derwen and Frederick Stewart WOON, together with Clara Maria MORRIS (whose occupation, the 1939 census shows, was 'unpaid domestic duties'); she was 76. Also in the house on census night in 1939 were Frederick's parents, Frederick Charles and Eliza Ann (CATLING), and another couple, William and Grace RAWLINGS. Frederick Stewart (whose birth in 1895 had been registered at Lambeth) and Ivy (MORRIS) were married at Hammersmith in 1924. Following their marriage they had lived in Dorny House Lodge, Thames Street, Chertsey, and had then moved to Guildford for a short while before returning to Chertsey. In 1929 they had moved to Barclays Bank House in Oxted before moving to Merstham ten years later. The Electoral Roll published at the end of the War shows that Frederick's parents were still living with him. Their marriage had been registered in Lambeth in 1894. Frederick and Ivy laater moved to Newton Abbot, where Ivy died in 1966, aged 71; Frederick survived her by five years.
The London Gazette of 16th January 1948 shows Johanna LEMBERGER as the housekeeper at Bartonbury, and the Electorall Roll of 1950 shows her and Ada Charlotte DODGSHON as the resident voters. Ada was the widow of John Julius Dodgshon, a JP, who had died on 28th October 1931. She was the second daughter of the late Captain Adam Alexander Duncan DUNDAS, and a remote cousin of Gwenyth Dundas (see Albury Edge); she died on 14th January 1951.
Clara Bowring moved to Bartonbury towards the end of 1949 following the death of her husband Cyril, at The Georgian House, on 28th October 1949 at the age of 63. She survived a further 36 years, and died aged 98 on 29th March 1985. The 1954 Kelly's Directory shows Mrs C M BOWRING as owner of the house, but the 1955 electoral register shows the resident voters to be Clara, Joyce and Robert TAYLOR. The 1959 Kelly's, and the Electoral Rolls from 1960 onwards, show Clara BOWRING; she appears to have lived there until at least 1985 as she was buried (at St Katharine's) on 4 April from this address. The registers for both 1960 and 1965 show, additionally, Brenda J and Albert E LAWRENCE; their daughter, Jacqueline Ann, was confirmed at St Katharine's in May 1960 at the age of 13.
The house later became the residence of Ruth and Philip BOWYER.
(Photograph of Mill House omitted by request of the current owners)
There are several reference to Mill House before 1910, but these are likely to refer to a building on the corner of Rockshaw Road; see Fairfield, above.
The first occupants of the present house, according to the 1911 census return, were Cecil Joseph WALDRON and his wife Alison Laura. They had been married in 1906 and started married life living in Nutfield Road. They had one son, John, who was three years old. Also living in Mill House were Maria Ramassina, a 'children's nurse' from Switzerland, and Winnie Edith Clara Nickless, a general servant. Cecil was a 'stock jobber' working at the London Stock Exchange and had been born in Victoria Park, Middlesex. The census shows that the house had nine rooms (excluding bathroom, sculleries, etc.). St Katharine's burial register records the burial of Rachel BATTERS, of this address, on 14 May 1914 at the age of 50. The 1915 electoral roll shows Cecil Joseph as the sole voter. He died in 1953, aged 71; his death was registered in Holborn.
The next Electoral Roll showing this house was that for 1918, by which time Ada and Robert BLAIR were shown as voters. Robert Auguste BLAIR had been born in Wandsworth in 1881; he married Ada STAPLES, who was eight years older, in 1904. By the time of the 1911 census they had two children, Robert (1909) and Ada (1908), and were living at 46 Victoria Road, Clapham Common. Robert was a 'trunk and portmanteau maker'. They were resident at the Mill House until 1925.
By 1926 the Blairs had left and Alice and John Thomas JOHNSTONE were shown as residents. John had been born at Chorlton (Lancashire) towards the end of 1880 and had married Alice Constance MARILLIER (whose birth in 1889 had been registered at Edmonton) in 1912 at Wandsworth. John died on 5th September 1930 (from a notice published in the London Gazette) aged 51. The executors of his will, proved on 9th October, were his widow Alice, Arthur GRAY and John Seymour WADE. In 1932 Alice was shown on the Electoral Roll with Mary Ann POTTINGER, who had moved from Mon Repos. Both Alice and Mary Ann are listed at this address until 1936.
The Electoral Roll of 1937 shows the new occupants as Sydney Vavasseur and Eileen Mary FIGG, together with Vera Phyllis WISE and Elizabeth WISE. Sydney (born 1882 in Hackney) and Eileen (born ATKINS) had only recently married. At the age of 30 Sydney had been living in Bridle Road, Purley, paying £2 per week for a furnished room in his mother's house. After she died he moved to live at Addington Palace Golf Club and was there from about 1934 until he married Eileen, after which they moved to Merstham. However, they were there for only a couple of years before they moved to West Cross.
The census taken in 1939 shows Adeline Constance WIGG, sharing the house with Violet Victoria ELLIOTT and Doreen J HARMAN. Adeline, aged 562, was the widow of George Lloyd Wigg (see Rockshaw House), but somewhat surprisingly her occupation is shown as 'unpaid domestic duties'. Violet, 34, was a 'domestic (general)', while Doreen was only 15 and a 'shop assistant'. Adeline was still listed at this address in 1945, together with Lilias C DRYBURGH and Adolf G T LAGERFELT, but by 1945 she had moved to Albury Edge. Violet Elliott had moved to West Cross with the FIGGs.
In 1950 the list shows the occupants as Betty and Alexander SAMPSON; they were there until the end of the 1960s.
A later owner was John Elphick PULLINGER, a judge at Croydon Crown Court; for several years he was chairman of the Residents' Association. He died on 31st December 2000 and his death was reported in the London Gazette of 26th January 2001.
The present owners have requested that their names are omitted from this history.
Alfred George ROGERS and his wife Mabel Fanny Gertrude are shown as the voters in each Electoral Roll from 1914, and Kelly's Directory shows him from 1911 onwards as Rector of Gatton (St Andrew's church). In both sources the house is named Gatton Rectory.
Alfred was born on 23 MAY 1857. He studied at University College, Dublin, and then Kings College, London. He was curate at Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks in Kent, from 1891 to 1894, and appointed Rector of Gatton in 1894, which he remained until he retired in 1937. The house was known as Gatton Rectory until his retirement, when the name was changed to Kingsdown after his first appointment. (The house name 'Kingsdown' first appears in the Electoral Roll of 1938.) The house is not recorded in the 1911 census return, indicating that nobody was resident at that time, or possibly that it had not been finished.
Alfred and Mabel (REYNOLDS) were married in 1885; their marriage was registered in Kensington. The two sons of the family both served in the Great War; the younger, Wilfred Frank Rogers, was killed in action and is commemorated on the War Memorial in the village. From 1929 onwards various additional voters are shown. Several female names appear for just one or two years and are likely to have been domestic staff; but one additional voter shown in 1933 was Agmond Edward WILKINSON, who had been appointed Rector of Merstham two years earlier. The 1939 census shows that Philip N Rogers was living in the house; although he was 47 he does not appear on the Electoral Roll, perhaps indicating that he was making a short visit to his parents. The same source lists Lily M BIRD (house parlourmaid) and Maud L BOND, a professional nurse, perhaps indicating that Alfred's health was giving concern.
On 26th July 1943 the elder Rogers daughter, Barbara, who was in the W. R. N. S., married Lieutenant Griffith Eric C L EVANS, of the Black Watch, at St Katharine's. Revd Alfred Rogers died on 29th April 1946 aged 88 and the funeral service was held, naturally enough, at Gatton. Mabel, his widow, died some seven years later on 23rd December 1953, at the age of 94, but she was no longer living at Kingsdown.
By 1950 Ann D and Cecil E MOY were living in the house; see Tanglewood and Clavadel, which were homes to Sybil and Arthur MOY from 1921. Kelly's Directories for 1951 and 1954 show Horace GHINN as the owner, and the 1955 electoral register records Florence, Joan and Frank MURRAY at the address.
Four years later (1959) the new owner was John K KIDSON, and during the 1960s and early 1970s the house belonged to Elizabeth W and John Kidson. Their children, Elizabeth Fay and Peter Galbraith, were confirmed at St Katharine's in May 1960 at the ages of 14 and 12 respectively. Mrs Kidson's sister Gail (shown in the registers as Catherine G) ROWLEY lived with them; she was an artist and used to draw pictures of the children in the road. She later moved to Hove.
From some time in the 1970s until 1996 the owners were Eva and Piers BULL. When the Bulls moved out, leaving the house empty, there was a move by the local Mental Health Authority to purchase it for use as a residential home for some of the inmates of the Royal Earlswood Hospital, then in the process of being closed down. This was resisted by the Residents' Association, which was hastily reformed for that specific purpose, and after some negotiation the house was bought by one of the residents.
It was sold some time later to Michelle and Jonathan ELLIS, with their sons Tom and Dylan, but since 2010 has changed hands several times.
The plot of land on which this dwelling now stands was sold by Lord Hylton to Paxton Watson at the end of the 19th century. The house was designed by M H Baillie-Scott (see also Noddyshall) in 1898, although it appears that building did not commence until about several years later as it was first occupied in 1910 by William SALMON. The 1911 census return shows William in residence together with his wife Emily (READ); their marriage, in 1871, had been registered at Reading. They had a total of nine children, of whom two had died. William, aged 62, was a 'retired photographer', originally from Reading. Three daughters - Constance Emily, Ruth, and Kathleen Mary - were still living at home, aged 32, 31 and 22 respectively. All had been born in Reading: Constance had adopted her father's profession and was a photographer at Guy's Hospital. They appear to have no live-in servants, but a visitor, Alice Eleanor MORE, was staying on the night of the census. The census return shows that the house had seven rooms.
Although William appears in the electoral register for 1913, by the end of 1912 he had already sold the house to John Keble BELL, who lived there with his wife Florence Pearl. They changed the name to As You Like It. It appears with this name in Alex Hunter's “Gentlemen of Merstham and Gatton”; it appears in Kelly's Directory for both 1913 and 1919, and in each Electoral Roll from 1914 to 1919. John's niece later married Dr WEIR, Merstham's first GP. On 13th November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included S PULLEN, of "As You Like It", Rockshaw Road, who contributed 3d. He (or she) may have been a servant in the house.
On 28th March 1917 a daughter Margaret Elinor was born to Alexander James WIGHTMAN and his wife Ursula Margaret (CHARRINGTON), and the address shown was As You Like It. The marriage, in 1916, had been registered at Reigate; Alexander was a Major in the Royal Scots, and possibly they were relatives of the Bells, or perhaps the house was rented out to them at the time.
A Mary Bell lived at Tanglewood in the mid-1950s, and another Bell family was resident at Orchard End in the 1960s, but there is no reason to suppose that these families were related.By 1920 the house had reverted to its original name of Little Shaw, perhaps changed by the new occupants who were Ella Janie (BURNAND) and Colonel Norman Thomas ROLLS. Col Rolls moved to Rockshaw Road from The Corner House, in Church Hill, where he was a 'colonial produce broker'. He was also President of the Merstham branch of the British Legion. The family moved again in 1926.
The electoral roll in 1926 records the occupants as Saide and Howard HOULDER. Howard had been born on 21 March 1886; his birth had been registered at Croydon. His wife, Sarah Kennedy (FINDLAY) had been born in Leeds a few months earlier; their marriage was registered in 1921 at King's Norton. The 1911 census shows Howard as a 'professional secretary' to a religious society, living with his parents at Cornwall House, Duppas Hill Terrace, Croydon. His father, also Howard, was a shipbroker and had his own company; he bought the Heathfield Estate, at the top of Gravel Hill, Croydon, for £30,000 but after the war became bankrupt.
Howard and Sarah, with son Philip Alfred (born 1924) lived in Little Shaw for about ten years, until 1935. During that time several other names appeared on the electoral rolls, probably domestic servants. Among these were Rose Eve DYER (born 1872 in Tisbury, Wiltshire) from 1929 to 1935 and Phyllis AUTON from 1932 to 1935 (there is no birth of a Phyllis AUTON registered, but the birth of a Phyllis Marion OUGHTON was registered at Islington in 1900). Howard was the organist and choirmaster at St Katharine's, and a lay reader.
From 1936, for at least ten years, the listed voters were Mary and Marie Louise HILLS. Howard and Sarah had moved to live in Hoath Meadow, in Church Hill, renting the house in Rockshaw Road to Mary HILLS; she was the 55-year-old widow of Arthur Hyde Hills. She had two daughters: Marie Louise, who had been born in 1913, and her younger sister Evelyn Jean. The engagement of Evelyn to Robert Gerard Baynes REED was announced on 17th April 1937 and they were married on 24th November 1937. By 1942 Robert had been promoted to the rank of Major, and the birth of a daughter on 29th September that year was announced in "The Times".
The Houlder family remained in Church Hill until 1940, when they returned to Little Shaw, as Hoath Meadow had been requisitioned by the Canadian Army. The Hills ladies moved to another house in Church Hill (Chicksands, which they renamed Chequerside). Nevertheless, the Electoral Roll for 1945 shows the Mary HILLS and her married daughter Evelyn REED, with no sign of the Houldings. After the war the Houlders returned to Church Hill while their son Philip remained at Little Shaw. Five years later, in 1950, Sarah and Howard were once more back in Little Shaw with Philip. In 1955 another name, that of Joyce E PERRY, appeared on the electoral roll with the Houlder family; five years earlier she had been with the Webbe family at Ash Pollard.
Sarah died in November 1955 aged 70, and was buried at St Katharine's on 29 November. The Houlders had always been regarded as devout Christians and Howard expressed a wish to pay for cleaning and whitening the church as a memorial to his wife. However, this would effectively obliterate for ever some wall-paintings which, it was believed, were of some significance – a letter dated November 1959 from the Central Council for the Care of Churches states that " . . the painting over the chancel arch must have been the background of the original Doom . . . of the 12th century . . .". There was thus significant opposition to Howard's generous offer but this seems to have been overcome when he threatened to withdraw his offer, and the interior of the church was indeed whitened: the event was commemorated by a plaque, which reads: "The walls within this church were cleaned and whitened in 1959 in memory of SARAH KENNEDY HOULDER (SAIDIE FINDLAY) dominus illuminatio". On his death in 1969 a second commemorative plaque was erected close to the font; the inscription reads: "HOWARD FREELAND HOULDER 1886-1969 for forty years lay reader in this church". He was buried, on 15 September, in the churchyard with his wife, and later their son Philip was interred in the same plot when he died in 1999.
Following his death Pam (HATTO) and Stephen SEAGER bought Little Shaw. Steph had been a Gunner officer during WW2 and served in Special Forces in Greece. He was a highly-placed fencer and met Pam when taking one of his classes; they married in 1960. He served on the first Residents' Committee during the latter part of the 1960s. Pam and Steph stayed in the house for over thirty years, moving in 2000 to South Close Green.
The first recorded occupants, as shown by the 1911 census return, were Mary Steinmartz and Miles Atlee HOFFMAN. They were both American citizens and both aged 39, therefore born around 1872. However, this was Miles' second wife, his first wife, whom he married in 1899 at Bromley having died.
At the age of 12, Miles had travelled with his mother Clara from Philadelphia to Liverpool in the British Princess, arriving in July 1883. He married his first wife, Mary, at Bromley in 1899 and the birth of their son Miles Atlee Henry was registered at Sevenoaks in 1900. Mary's death was registered at the same time and at some stage Miles returned to America where he married again in 1908, to another Mary. They travelled to England together, arriving in Liverpool from New York on the ship Carmania in 1909. Miles was a 'hardware merchant'.
The 1911 census also records Miles's son, his mother Clara Nichols HOFFMAN (a 59-year-old widow), Laura GILLEN (a visitor), and Mary PHILLIPS (a cook), in the house, which had nine rooms. Both Laura and Mary PHILLIPS were widows.
Clara Hoffman, presumably the mother/grandmother, is shown as living at Bovey Tracey from 1913 to 1925, where she was the only voter listed. "The Times" records the birth of a daughter to Major and Mrs DE RENZY MARTIN on 6th March 1916 at this address; the connection with the Hoffman family (if any) has not been established.
Miles Hoffman is recorded as the sole voter at Standish in 1925, and on 22nd May of that year the property was advertised for sale by auction. Miles moved to 'Scudamore', Greenaway Road, Torquay and then returned to New York, leaving Southampton on the Cunard ship Berengaria on 1st May 1926.
By 1926 the new owners were Alice and Frank GUTHRIE; they were listed until 1930. There is no record of a Frank or Francis GUTHRIE in the 1911 census return. In 1929 two additional voters were listed: Martha Annie HALE and someone whose surname was HOWELL (no forename appears in the electoral register); these may have been domestic servants. The entry for 1930 shows Alice and Frank together with daughter Mary Cree, although there may well have been other children not of voting age.
From 1931 the listed voters were William Sydney GAMMEL, whose sister was head of the local Girls' School, and his wife Mary Muriel (HAYWOOD). They were newly-weds, and both were 24 years old. They shared the house with Beatrice Dorothy and Ernest James JEAL, who were about five years older and had been married since 1927; by 1935 the Jeals had left. For the next few years additional voters shown were Emma Isabella MITCHELL and Christina SADLER.
By 1939 the Gammels too had left and the two voters listed were Maude M NEILL and Jessie Louise SASSE. Jessie was 46, and had been born in the Oxford area. The 1939 census also lists Catherine S SASSE, who was the cook/housekeeper. She was a 65-year-old widow, and presumably Jessie's mother (or mother-in-law). The same source shows that another family was staying at the house: this was 31-year-old Mrs M JARVIS and her two children, Reginald (6) and David (2). Finally, two ladies, both shown as 'Hotel Proprietress', were shown: Sheila SHANKLAND was 42 and married, and Helen SHANKLAND, single, was 38 - possibly Sheila's sister-in-law. "The Times" of 6th April 1940 announced the birth, two days earlier, of a son to Hilda and Mr F. H. MEERES YOUNG (shown as of P. W. D., Nigeria), but no other mention of this family has been found.
Maude was still there in 1950, though without Jessie, but by 1955 the house belonged to Sonia and Ronald Russell PRENTICE, who had married in 1949. Sonia was a daughter of the BOWRING family and had been brought up at The Georgian House. Ronald had, like Steph Seager from Little Shaw, been in the Greek Islands during the war. He was a member of Lloyds, and from 1966 chaired a committee set up to protect the interests of residents during the period of motorway construction. Caroline, daughter of Ronald and Sonia, married Michael ALCOCK, of St John's Wood, on 24th June 1972, and six years later to the day her brother Christopher Norman Russell Prentice married Marie-Josephine KING at the Waldensian Church of Courmayeur, Italy. She was the daughter of John Andrews King, of Washington, DC, and Contessa Marie-Rose d'Entreves Bocca of Turin. Canon Philip Duval, from St Katharine's church, assisted at the service. Ronald died on 10th September 1984 and was buried at St Katharine's.
During the 1980s and early 1990s the house was owned by the WINCHESTER family; the current owners are Carmelita, Natasha, Reza & Bhye SHAMTALLY, owners of the nursing home at Chaldon Rise and others.
An un-named house is shown on this site on a map dated 1912 and the house that best seems to fit is Bovey Tracey. This house was occupied from 1913 to 1925 by Clara M HOFFMAN, although there is no voter listed at the house between 1918 and 1920; she was probably the mother or grandmother of the Hoffman family that was resident at Standish, the neighbouring house, from 1911 to 1925.
The Surrey Mirror of 8th December 1914 carried an advertisement for “a good Cook-General; one lady in family; wages £22; extra help given”. Presumably this situation was filled, for in November 1922 The Times carried an advertisement, from ‘Hewett’, for a “children’s useful maid” for two small girls, stating that the household already included a cook and house-parloumaid.
There is no record of Bovey Tracey after 1925.
The first mention of Valencia is in the electoral roll of 1926, when the sole voter was shown as Jeanie Isaacson-Wootton. This lady is something of a mystery; a Jeannie Wootten Isaacson is shown on the electoral Roll in Sunningdale in 1919 and this is almost certainly the same person, but no birth, marriage or death record has been found. The 1911 census records Jeanie Wootton Isaacson, a 38-year-old widow, living in Chapel Street, Belgravia with three servants. She had been born in Rochester. In 1929 two other names appear on the Electoral Roll, those of Harriet Banks and Louise Cheshire, but it is likely that these were domestic servants. In the same year a Maud Banks was living at The Red House, and a Florence Banks at Bytheway, although there is no reason to assume that the three were related.
From 1930 until 1939 the house was occupied by the VINE family - Sydney John and Kathleen Maud (SMITH). They had married, in 1913, in London when Sydney was 27 and Kathleen just 20. "The Times" of 9th November 1931 carried Mrs Vine's advertisement for 'Chow puppies, from 3 gns'. Until 1935 Hilda Mary HUTSON was also shown; in 1936 she married Sydney ALDERMAN and the Roll for that year records her with her married name, although by 1938 Hilda and Sydney were living in Brook Road. Patrick John, a son of the family whose birth in 1916 was registered at Godstone, appears on the Roll in 1937, and Donald Martin, his junior by a little over one year, appears on the Roll for 1938. The family appears for the last time in 1939, along with Martha GOLDS, who was described in the census as a 'nurse companion'. However, it is apparent that they were there for several more years, as the Surrey Mirror of July 1942 reported that Patrick was a German PoW.
The electoral roll of 1945 shows the house, now renamed Linacre House, occupied by Gladys E and Oswald MARRIOTT – Kelly's shows Oswald as an MD. He had been born in 1874, and the birth was registered in Croydon. There is no registration of a marriage for Oswald Marriott and it is possible that Gladys was his younger sister. Eileen Maud MURRAY, perhaps a live-in servant, was listed in 1945 but she had gone by 1950. In that year Rhoda M B BISHOP was shown as another voter in the house; this was perhaps a friend of Gladys as her birth, in 1883, had been registered in West Ham while Gladys had been born two years later in Edmonton. Although the Marriotts were still listed at this address in the 1954 Kelly's Directory, Oswald had died on 17th June 1953 (as reported in the London Gazette of 11th September). The electoral register for 1955 shows the occupants as Kathleen A and William M RUSSELL, who were there until at least 1960. During the course of their residency they changed the name of the house to Egypt Wood – Kelly's for 1959 and the 1960 electoral register both show Kathleen and William Russell at Egypt Wood and, to confirm this, Egypt Wood, at the location of Valencia, is shown on a map dated 1964. There was a large house named Egypt Wood at Farnham Common, in Buckinghamshire, and it is possible the name was taken from there.
During the late 1960s John and Bridget HEYWORTH lived in the house, renaming it Pucklechurch after the village where John's father had been brought up. They had moved from Bushetts Grove. John worked for the family rubber business and often travelled to Nigeria. He had been in the Royal Greenjackets during the war. During a meal with some parents of friends of their children at Merstham Grange School, he mentioned that he had been in Greece during the post-war EOKA riots, sending daily signals to Alexandria to advise of the current situation. He was amazed to learn that Maurice Chapman, another of the parents at the meal, had been stationed at Alexandria and had been the recipient of his signals!
At the end of the 20th century the owners were Rita and Phil MARGRAVE, with daughters Lauren and Lucy. This house has certainly seen more name changes than any other house in the road!
Between Pucklechurch and Whitmore once stood an old garage, set back from the road. During the war this was used as the ARP / First Aid Post. The entrance was built up with sandbags and extended out to the footpath. It was demolished in the 1990s when the Simpson family bought Whitmore.
The plot of land on which the house is built was sold by Lord Hylton to Paxton Watson in February 1910 for £922 10/- and a 1912 map shows a house in this position. The 1911 census return shows the only occupants of the house as Florence Eliza and Dorothy May MASON; both were servants, so presuambly the owners were away or had, possibly, not yet moved into their newly-built house. The house is shown as having 12 rooms, and is externally similar to Lowood.
The 1913 electoral register shows Agnes Ivy and Douglas SPICER as the occupants. Both were from the Edmonton area and had married there in 1910. A daughter Diana Mary was born on 1st October 1914; but sadly the St Katharine's register records, on 6th April 1915, her burial at the age of six months.
The Spicer family were here until 1920, when they moved to Summer Farm, in West Clandon. The new occupants were Vera Jean Hamlyn and Joseph Wilson DAVIE. Joseph had been born in Barnstaple in 1872; Jean (JAMES) was ten years younger and was from Islington. They had also married in the Edmonton area, in 1903. "The Times" of 14th July 1923 carried an advertisement for the auction of 'Lamberden, Merstham', with six bedrooms and grounds of about one acre, and the freehold had been sold by October; the electoral registers list nobody at Lamberden after 1925, although the register for Spring 1925 shows Lamberden and Whitmore as separate entries.
The first mention of the house as Whitmore is in 1925, and the first occupants were Marjorie and Henry Ramsey MUNRO, who lived there from 1925 to about 1930. The 1930 electoral roll shows, in addition, Margaret Hyale ADAMS, Flora BLACKBURN and Annie DIMON.
From 1931 Kate (EDWARDS) and Francis John TOMS (who was a partner of J D Wood & Co., estate agents) lived in the house. Both had been born in 1886, within a week of one another, in the Wandsworth area. The photograph on the right, taken from the south, dates from the early 1930s. In March 1936 daughters Kathleen and Mary were confirmed in St Katharine's at the ages of 15 and 16 respectively. Towards the end of the decade there were other occupants shown, perhaps servants: Lucy JONES in 1938 and Amy BRAZIL in 1939. On 10th August 1942 the youngest daughter, Ruth Frances, announced her engagement to the Revd Kenneth Frank BRAY, of Ealing. Perhaps she was too young (she was just 19), for four years later her engagement to Howard R. KIRK, of Bowling, was announced in "The Times"of 28th August 1946. The marriage, the report said, would 'take place quietly'. Three years later, on 14th June 1949, her elder sister Mary Elizabeth married Doon CAMPBELL, of Linlithgow, West Lothian, at St Katharine's. He was the chief Reuters correspondent with the 21st Army Group throughout the war in Northern Europe and was awarded the OBE; he later became managing director of Reuters and then of United Newspapers.
On 23rd September 1951 Francis Toms died: a short obituary appeared in "The Times" of 26th September. In 1955 the sole voter listed was Kate Toms, his widow. Doon and Mary Campbell, her daughter and son-in-law, bought the house but forty years later, in about 1995, they moved to Cucksmead, in Church Hill. After Mary died Doon moved to Reigate, where he died in 2003.
The current owners are Valerie and Rod SIMPSON.
The first record of occupancy is in 1910, when a daughter Patricia Christine was born on 7th December to Gwendoline & Edward SANT; she was baptised on 3 February 1911. Edward, a solicitor from Swansea, had married Gwendoline (DUNN) in 1905. Their first child, Mary Gwendoline, had been born about a year earlier than Patricia but the St Katharine's register does not record her baptism. It does, however, record the confirmation in March 1911 of Beatrice Annie MILES at the age of 19, and gives West Cross as her address.
The 1911 census return gives more details of the family, as it records the household as follows: Edward SANT (44); Gwendoline SANT (29), from Tulse Hill (shown as being in Kent, although her birth was registered at Lambeth); Barbara Myfanwy (4); George Edward Llewellin (3), Mary Gwendoline (2), Patricia Christine (3 months). Good going for a marriage of just five years! The births of both Barbara and George were registered at Hendon; those of the younger two at Reigate. Also living in the house on census night were three servants: Harriet Ellen MERCER (nurse), Alice FRY (cook), and someone (presumably Beatrice Annie, as she was aged 20) named MILES. The house had ten rooms, excluding bathrooms and the like.
Although the Electoral Roll of 1918 still shows the Sant family resident, the baptism register at St Katharine's records the baptism on 26 October 1918 of Raymond Pasteur, a son for Graham and Marguerite Norah ALDERSON. Graham was a Captain in the RAMC and the family may have been billetted in the house during the war, for by 1920 the electoral register shows Esther and Henry Thomas MILLER in residence. Henry, a director of John G. Rollins & Co. Ltd., was 42, and a bachelor; Esther was his widowed mother, aged 69. They had previously lived in Beckenham. Another Miller family, that of Elizabeth and John, was resident at The White House in the late 1920s although this may have been a coincidence. By 1929 the electoral register also shows Jessie Dorothea; she was Henry's sister, also unmarried, and ten years younger than he. Esther had died some years earlier, perhaps in 1924. Also in the house that year was Bessie WILLIAMS, perhaps a servant, since she had gone by 1932. Henry died on 25th April 1933 at the age of 55: his will was proved by Jessie. He left a little over £22,000.
Kelly's Directory for 1934 shows the resident as Mrs Jessie Steuart CROSHAW (nee TREVILLION). She was the wife of George Steuart; their marriage had been registered at Steyning in 1913. George was a barrister, born in 1876. He died in 1944, but did not appear to be resident at West Cross while his wife was there. The 1935 electoral register shows, in addition, Beatrice Gertrude ETHERIDGE and Gladys Catherine FINCH. Gladys was not listed in 1936, and for the next two years the voters shown were Jessie and Beatrice.
The names shown for 1938 were Clara May and Alfred GRIMMER together with Herbert LEDGARD; but by the very next year, 1939, Eileen Mary (ATKINS) and Sidney Vavasseur FIGG had moved in. They had recently (1935) married in the Croydon area; Eileen was 31 and Sidney was 57. Also shown as voters were Elizabeth and Vera WISE. Sidney Figg was second-in-command to Cyril Bowring (The Georgian House) in the Merstham section of the Home Guard during the Second World War. The 1939 census shows Sidney as an 'East indian Merchant': also living in the house were Eileen's mother Edith ATKINS (a 65-year-old widow), a cook and a house-parlourmaid. The Figgs, with Eileen's mother, were still there at the end of the war, with Violet V ELLIOTT. Violet had been resident in Mill House in 1938, probably indicating that she was a domestic servant. Another Elliott family, Helen and Harry, lived at Rondels just before the War but it is unlikely that these families were connected.
The house changed hands again in 1949 and the new occupants were Sheila K T (DRURY) and John R ALEXANDER; John was one of four sons of Sir William Alexander, Conservative MP for Glasgow and Managing Director of Charles Tennant & Co. Ltd, the family business. They had married only that year. Sheila remembers that the house overlooked fields of woodland, and at times the Surrey and Burstow Hunt was to be seen galloping across the fields. All that became history during the next few years with the coming of the 'estate'. In 1961 Sheila and John moved to Oakwood and an American couple, Teedee and Bill JOHNSON, bought the house. They had three daughters.
By the mid-1960s Marjorie and Robert BATTERSBY, who had married in 1955, had moved to the house, from Baldwyns in London Road North. Bob had been a Gunnery officer during the war, and was later transferred to the Intelligence Corps. He was in Special Forces in Italy and in the Balkans and later discovered that he had served in the same Special Forces Unit as Steph Seager (Little Shaw) and Ronald Prentice (Standish) without any of them ever meeting one another. He had taken a First in Russian at Cambridge, and spoke most European languages as well as Arabic and Chinese. Marjory was a wartime Wren officer. After the war Robert spent ten years in Poland and Russia, first as the representative for Glacier Metals and then with Guest Keen. Later he became an MEP and was, for over four years, the MEP for Humberside. He died in 2002 and both he and Marjorie are buried at St Katharine's.
The next owners were Jill & Riccardo CAPPELLA, but they stayed only a short time. The house is now (2015) occupied by Pharose BHANA.
Lowood is the name of a town in south-eastern Queensland, but there is no apparent connection to the name of this house.
In 1908 Lord Hylton sold 3 1/2 acres of land at this position to Mrs Watson for £962 10s, although there was no building on the site for some years – there is no entry for this house in the 1911 census return and a 1912 map shows no building. Mrs Watson sold the house to Roberta and Guy Capper BIRT for £1,850 in 1913 and the first entry for this house on any electoral Register is that of Guy’s; his name appears in the electoral roll for 1915 although he also owned a house in Cavendish Square, London.
On 13 November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco Fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included F CLANFIELD, of "Lowood", Rockshaw Road, who contributed 3d. He (or she) may have been a servant in the house.
Guy was born on 6 August 1884 at Caterham, the fifth child of Daniel and Mary Ellen. One of his earliest memories would have been the family home in Tupwood Road, which was named 'Merlebank'. He had one sister, Ethelwyn Ella, and three brothers: Daniel Kenneth, Amelius Cyril, and Roderick Capper. At the age of 16 the 1901 census shows Guy as a boarder at Brougham House School, in Crowthorne, but ten years later he was still single (aged 26) and again living with his parents, who by now had moved to Shooters Hill Road, in Blackheath. Guy was shown as a dental surgeon and indeed he became a very successful dentist, counting King George V and Queen Mary among his patients. His brother Daniel, who was six years older, had married Annie Violet CHADWICK in 1906 and they were living in Church Hill, having named the house 'Merlebank'. Guy married Roberta (ROSS) at St Stephen's United Free Church, in Edinburgh, on 11 October 1913, and a son, Alan Beckett, was born on 24 June 1915 (he was baptised at St Katharine's on 29 August). They had a second son, Geoffrey, on 20 July 1917. Both births were registered at Woolwich. In 1929 a third voter, Florence Maud PHILO, was listed together with Roberta and Guy, but by 1930 Guy and Roberta had moved to St Johns Wood (as shown on the probate entry of their father's death), although it seems that they retained ownership of Lowood and rented it out for a couple of years.
In 1930 the voters were shown as Kathleen Davidson and William Henry GRAHAME, together with Mary MORRISON and Mary O’SAUGHNESSY. William had been born at Carlisle in 1878, and although the marriage of a William H H Grahame was registered in 1911, in Carlisle, the bride's name was not Kathleen.
Two years later, in 1932, the occupants were Phoebe Kate Howard and Sydney Betham ROBINSON, with Eveline HORSLEY and Mabel Irene MOON. It is interesting to note that an Eva Horsley was living at The Mere for much of the early 1930s and at Relf House in 1939 together with a Margaret Horsley; it is possible that Margaret, Eveline and Eva were sisters, all in service.
In 1932 the Birt family sold the house for £2,750 to Winifred (later Lady Winifred) and Gilbert WILES, who took up residence. Also listed on the Electoral Roll for 1933 was Emily Bertha Lockhart SWAN. Gilbert was closely involved with the Merstham Cricket Club. By 1936 the house had been let to Dorothy Ida and Charles Leslie COX, with Anne Theresa CALDICOTT and Maud NOBLE also shown as voters. These four appeared for the next three years, but the Electoral Roll for 1939 shows a completely new couple: Blanche May and Oswald Cuthbert BORRETT. These are somewhat uncommon names and no marriage has been found, although Oswald L BORRETT married Beatrice M JONES at Lambeth in 1924, and this is a possibility. Somewhat oddly, the register taken on 29 September 1939 shows the occupants of the house as Francis Charles MILLINGTON (born 1888 in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent) and Constance Annie MILLINGTON (born TOWLER in 1908 at Lichfield, she married Dennis Millington towards the end of 1931). Also in the house on that date were Rose LACEY (widow, 68), and three domestic servants. The Register indicates three further names, but these have been obscured, because they may still be alive.
"The Times" of 9th August 1942 announced the engagement of Antony Wiles, of the 2nd/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, to Pamela HOLDSWORTH. The wedding was to take place in Simla. Antony was described as the son of Sir Gilbert Wiles KCIE CSI and Lady Wiles of Lowood, Merstham; though, of course, they may not have been resident at the time. However, eighteen months later, on 22nd January 1944, Pamela, the Wiles's younger daughter, announced her engagement to F/Lt Peter TOWNSHEND, of Norwich, and they were married on 17th March 1944 at St Katharine's in Merstham.
Gilbert and Winifred Wiles were again shown on the electoral register for 1945, along with Pamela G Townshend (their married daughter) and Helen F GRAY, but in 1946 the house was sold again. The new owners, who paid £7,500, were Barbara J and George Bertram C JOHNSTON (there was a Dorothy and Robin Johnston at The New House from 1950 to 1955, and later at Rondels). Barbara (née SCOTT) and George had been married at Marylebone in 1937, when George was 34, and they first lived in Shepherds Hill before moving to Lowood in 1947. George was a Director of the Bowater Paper Company. On 5th December 1947 an advertisement appeared in (of all newspapers) the Western Gazette (Cardiff area) seeking a "Mother’s Help wanted in Merstham, Surrey. ½ hour from London. Good train and bus services. Happy home. Own wireless and bed-sitting room. 3 children, 2 of school age. Johnston, Lowood, Rockshaw Road, Merstham." A postscript to this advertisement stated that permission had been given by the Ministry of Labour for women between the ages of 18 – 41 to apply for this post. [The three children were Hamish G S (1939), John Alasdair S (1942) and Graeme R S (1944). It is highly likely that the third initial 'S' stood for 'Scott'.] A fourth son, Roderick S S, was born in 1949.
In July 1969 John Alasdair announced his engagement to Christine GILBERT, from Bristol. His elder brother, Hamish, married Sally E M TRACE in 1972. Barbara and George lived at Lowood until 1971 when they sold, in turn, to Tom RILEY and his wife for £19,500. Tom was an American oil expert concerned with, among other things, the development of North Sea oil. The family had previously rented Noddyshall for some six years and then Saranda Hill for a shorter time; they hoped to remain in England but Tom's job forced a return to the USA after about four years.
Later owners were June and Danny KEE (Danny was, for several years, the Deputy Chairman of Surrey County Council), who bought the house in 1975 for £36,000 when they moved from Gayhurst. In 2012 Danny and June moved to Epsom and the house was sold again.
The earliest information of Court Lodge is the announcement, in the Surrey Mirror of 10th December 1909, of the wedding between Mr Stanley George Eley and Miss Gertrude Straker of ‘Court Lodge, Merstham’. Gertrude’s father was simply given as ‘Mr Straker’. The marriage was registered at Reigate (Stanley's name is shown as ELY). Following their wedding, Stanley and Gertrude lived in Greenbank Cottage, Nutfield, with one servant.
Eight years earlier, the 1901 census return had shown Gertrude living with her widowed mother Hannah (aged 56), her aunt Jessie NATHAN, also widowed, and three siblings in Worcester Road, Sutton. Gertrude's parents, Hannah (HARRIS) and Frederic William STRAKER, had married in 1870 at Croydon, when they were both 25. Gertrude was the eighth child of nine, born in 1880. Frederic had died aged 50 in 1895. The 1911 census return for Court Lodge shows a family of five, plus one servant, resident in the house, which had ten rooms: Hannah STRAKER (66), a widow from London; Hartley Frederick STRAKER (39, married), her son, who was a printer and stationer from Lee, in Kent; Ethel STRAKER (38), Hannah's eldest daughter; Kathleen Maud (12), born in Croydon and daughter of Hartley; and Florence Eliza STRAKER (57), Hannah's sister-in-law. The servant was Mary Dale CHEESMAN (24). The electoral register showed Hartley F STRAKER as the voter from 1912 to 1914, although Kelly's Directory for 1913 shows 'Mrs Straker' as the only resident. Prior to living in Rockshaw Road Hartley had lived in Plough Lane, Purley, from 1904 to 1908, and from Court Lodge he moved back to Plough Lane, albeit to a different house. Hannah died in 1917; her death was registered at Battle.
On 11th March 1913 St Katharine's records the burial, at the age of eleven months, of Barbara Valence ELY of Court Lodge. An entry for the following year, on 27th October, records the marriage of Agnes Gladys WEIR, a 30-year-old spinster living at the house, to Frank Thomas LEWIS, a clerk in Holy Orders and a widower, of Fulham.
The next mention of the house is in the Electoral Roll of 1919 when Mary and William James STEVENS came to live at Court Lodge.
They at once entered into the village life and were generous and quick to support every good cause. They were most hospitable, and gave many whist drives and tennis parties, and were loved by everyone. Mr Stevens took an active part in the life of the parish church; he was vice-chairman of the PCC for many years and could always be relied on for wise judgement and courtesy. He also carried out his duties faithfully as a sidesman according to an obituary published in the parish magazine for October 1958, shortly after his death; He was chairman of the Village Club, and a trustee of the Village Hall, and took a great interest in the Scouts as his son was Scoutmaster for several years. In 1925 he was a committee member of the Merstham Housing Society Ltd. William Reginald, their only son, appeared on the roll in 1926 when he achieved his majority, and his sister Marjorie Curtis turned 21 in 1928. William Reginald married Armorel Joyce TONGE, a local girl, on 16th April 1932.
"The Times" of 25th November 1938 announced the engagement of Marjorie, the Stevens' only daughter, to Eric Ralph COLWILL of the Highland Light Infantry. They were married in the King's Chapel of the Savoy on 10 June 1939. Kelly's Directory for 1950 shows Eric and Marjorie as part of the household. During the 1940s William Stevens was a proprietor of the Great Western Railway Company Ltd. The Stevens were listed on the Electoral Rolls every year from 1919 to 1955; domestic staff appeared and disappeared over the years, although Margaret POST, the cook, and Ethel Grace GRANTHAM, the maid, both joined the household in 1933 and were there until William's death. Mary died, aged 74, in 1948 and was buried on 23 November at St Katharine's. The Surrey Mirror of 26th November 1948 reported that she had been a district visitor for many years and leader of the Mothers’ Union . . . she was in close touch with village home and social life . . . and did a vast amount of good work in the parish. William survived her by about ten years, dying just before his 87th birthday, after 40 years in Merstham. He left a most generous gift of £250 to the church (St Katharine's) he loved so well, where he was buried on 10 May 1958.
The PEPPAS family was living in the house during the 1960s. They renamed the house Villa Katerina – after their daughter, a pupil at Dunnotar School – and it is shown thus on a map of 1964. The family moved to Tanglewood at the end of the 1960s and the house was subsequently renamed back to Court Lodge by the new owners, the BUCKLAND family. The Peppas family renamed Tanglewood, in turn, Villa Katerina.
It seems that this Buckland family was not that from Fairmead, who moved to Little Piemede, although it is possible they were related; the Bucklands living in Court Lodge during the 1970s were George and Carol. They had previously lived in Nadi, the third-largest conurbation in Fiji, where George was a Civil Engineer working on a new water storage dam in the nearby Sabeto Valley. At the beginning of the 1980s they moved back to Nadi, where George continued his work, and the house was let to the HOLTANS, a family from Australia. By the end of the century the owners were Jacqueline and Stephen LUFF.
The first owners were Rhoda Holms (HUNT) and William Harry FERGUSON. Their marriage, in 1908, was registered at Bromley. The register for St Katharine's (which shows Williams's occupation as “gentleman”) shows the baptism of two daughters, Jean born on 12th October 1909 and Sheila Lucy born on 23rd June 1913. The 1911 census return shows the household as: William Harry FERGUSON (28); wife Rhoda Holmes (33) from Birmingham; and daughter Jean (18 months). William's occupation is shown as 'Private means'. The house had 11 rooms. The census also shows two live-in servants: Edith Emma SMITH (35) and Emily Charlotte GRISTWOOD (23). The Fergusons appear as voters up to 1923.
"The Times" of 21st January 1922 reported that Little Ganilly (Ganilly, incidentally, is a type of trumpet daffodil) had been sold, but no price was given. The only voter shown for the latter half of 1922 and for 1923 was an Elizabeth MACKENZIE.
The new occupants, from 1924, were Ellen and Clifford RENNISON, and they renamed the house Rondels. Clifford had been born in the Hackney area in 1881, the son of Frank and Edith. He was shown as a jute merchant's clerk in 1901, but this was just a stepping-stone as for the next thirty years he travelled extensively on business, often travelling First Class. Several trips were to Bombay, and in 1912 he married Mary Ellen (BLAKE) in St Thomas's Cathedral there on 18 October. She had been born in the Stroud area. For some years he made an annual trip to Marseilles, sometimes with Mary Ellen. Despite all these trips abroad he (and his wife) are shown on the Electoral Register every year until 1932. The passenger list for his trip to Marseille that year shows his UK address as Chaldon Rise, although there is no other indication that he moved to live there. He apparently didn't stay long, for on a voyage to Sydney in 1934 he gave his address as Nutfield Priory. As with some of the other larger houses, other voters are shown from time to time, and most were probably domestic staff. Clifford died, aged 73, in Stroud (his wife's birthplace).
The next occupants were Guy SAVORY, who came originally from Norfolk, and his wife Beatrice Muriel (CHAPMAN), always known as Mulie. She was Guy's second wife: his first marriage, at the age of 25, was to Sarah Annie EADY at Wellingborough in 1898. She died in about 1910. Guy remarried in 1932 to Beatrice; she was from Ware (Hertfordshire), and was about 23 years younger than Guy. Also in the house were Peggy GODFREY, a nanny, and two maids, Margaret CARVER and Lilian TAYLOR. Guy was a flour miller, the owner, chairman and managing director of A. H. Allen & Co. Ltd, Croydon, and he also part-owned a family farm in Norfolk. The maids had earlier worked for Guy when he had been living in Croydon with his first wife Sarah. Guy and Beatrice were listed at Rondels from 1933 to 1955. The Savory’s first daughter Diana Muriel was born on 6th April 1933, and her sister Judith Algar on 17th February 1937: both were baptised at St Katharine's, on 22 July 1933 and 1 May 1937 respectively. When the two maids left in June 1937 Mrs Savory advertised in "The Times" for two maids, friends, wanted as cook and house-parloumaid. The advertisement ran for a week. The two maids that were taken on (Thea and Clarie) came from Austria, but on the outbreak of war two years later they were interned as 'aliens'. To replace them, Helen and Harry Edward ELLIOTT joined the establishment. A Violet Victoria Elliott lived at Mill House in 1938 and at West Cross in 1945.
Mary Dulcie ('Mollie') SECRETAN was a Norland Nanny who came to the house shortly before Judith was born, and she became a very important member of the household. Her family home was in Sussex, and during the war the two daughters were evacuated there for a while. Mollie died a few years after the start of this century. The ‘man of all work’ was Ernie BLOWES, who lived at Fairmead with his family. He looked after the estate, the car (he was also the chauffeur), the tennis court, the chickens, the orchard and did small electrical and plumbing jobs. He and his wife Ethel also sometimes house-kept when the Savory family was on holiday, and sometimes he was asked to fire-watch at the mill in Thornton Heath. He was there on 17th June 1944 when a doodlebug landed on Croydon. The house originally had high iron railings and gates, but these were removed for the ‘war effort’; all that now remains is the nameplate ‘Rondels’ on the (replacement) front gate. The railings are also replacements and were installed only towards the end of the 20th century. When a doodlebug hit Innesfree in August 1944 Ernie was working outside the house and the blast blew him through a doorway into the garden. The neighbouring houses to Innesfree were unoccupied at the time otherwise there might have been many more casualties.
At the end of the war the Savory family was still living in the house, together with Beatrice Ethel CHAPMAN, Mrs Savory's mother, who was the widow of Henry Surtees Chapman; they came originally from Standon, Hertfordshire. In September 1951 Beatrice died aged 87. In 1955 Elsie N HARRINGTON was shown on the electoral register along with the Savorys: she was the resident housekeeper and kept house for the two daughters while their parents were in Norfolk. On 4th March 1955 Guy died; he left an estate of some £63,000. By this time both daughters had left home and Guy’s widow sold the house (for £7,000) and moved to Reigate, near her daughters. a few years later Judith emigrated to New Zealand, and Diana married Robert Spence, whom she had met on moving to Reigate. Towards the end of 1963 Mulie herself later married an old family friend, Alan RUSSELL of Sandfield Farm, Hever. She died on 8th April 1974.
The next occupants were Dorothy (VERNON) and Robert (always known as Robin) Arnold F. JOHNSTON, who had moved across the road from The New House (see also Lowood); he was an under-writer at Lloyds. They had three children: Auriel M (born 1947, Stepney); Marion E L (Reigate, 1949); and Malcolm R V (Reigate, 1954). Dorothy died on 20th July 1958, aged only 37. "The Times" of 27th July 1959 reported the engagement of Robin Johnston, of Rondels, to Elizabeth-Ann TODHUNTER, from Nutfield. Robin was reported as being the youngest son of Mr and Mrs E. Johnston, of Hove. Elizabeth-Ann gave birth to a son on 1st August 1960, and a second on 22nd May 1962. In all Robin and Elizabeth-Ann had four children to add to those from his first marriage.
John and Valerie MacDonnell bought the house in about 1970. John, a native of Florida, owned several hairdressing shops. The London Gazette of 14th September 1976 referred to an 'Ellen Matilda MURPHY of The Rondels', and the edition of 24th January 1994 contained a reference to Norman Whitfield and Valerie J CURL of The Rondels.
The sole mention of Relf Cottage is in 1950, when the occupants were Kate S and Albert F TICKNER; it occurs between Rondels and Relf House. However, land on the other side of the road (where Kingfisher Cottage now stands) formerly belonged to Relf House, and John Callow (see Relf House below) remembers a cottage on the site. It is probable that this was Relf Cottage.
A map dated 1912 shows an empty plot where the house now is.
The earliest record for Relf House in the electoral rolls is for 1924, when John Granville FEARON, a wine merchant, was the occupier. He had married Gertrude Mary (MATTS) the previous year and they were there until 1928, by which time they had two sons: John Richard Carter was born on 5th April 1924 and Phillip Malleson Austen on 15th March 1927; both were baptised at St Katharine's, on 11 May 1924 and 21 May 1927 respectively.
However, for 1929 and 1930 the voters listed were Barbara Mary (JAMESON) and Cecil George William EVE. They too were newly-weds, having married in 1928 when Cecil was 28 and Barbara 23. Charlotte BRYANT was also shown as a voter in 1929, but the following year she had gone, replaced by Gladys Isobel PEEL; in 1931 the listing shows that Gladys too had left and two new names were Lily Emily BRITCHER and Annie Monica DANN.
There were no voters shown for 1932 but in 1933 five voters were listed: Francis, Lilian and Vera THOMPSON together with Alice and Marion WAITE.
From 1934 the LONG family were living in the house: Marjorie FISHER and Kenneth York LONG had married at East Preston in 1927. May HANCOCK, Lily MALONEY and Elizabeth WARD were also living there in 1935, as shown by the electoral roll for that year; in April that year both Mary Hancock and Elizabeth Ward were confirmed at St Katharine's. An Ada Ward lived at Albury Edge during 1929. The Longs stayed for almost ten years, although the other names changed: in 1938 Clara Ann GOMM was at the house, and in 1939 she had been joined by Eva Madeleine and Margaret Mary HORSLEY. It seems that Eva had moved from The Mere where she had lived earlier in the decade. In September 1939 Mrs Long advertised in "The Times" for a Young girl or Nannie required to help with two children, girl aged five and boy eight months; comfortable and happy home. Whether or not that advertisement was filled successfully, the following month she advertised for a Man and wife required as Handyman and Cook-General respectively. They were to have their own private sitting-room, and bedroom with fitted basin. The Surrey Advertiser of 10 May 1941 carried an advertisement for a 'Gang' that was required to fell 800 trees in the Hindhead district, with more to follow; applicants were to contact Kenneth Long & Co. Ltd at Relf House. Two local telephone numbers were given - Merstham 178 and 347, plus an evening number of Chobham 131. Mrs Long again advertised later the same year, on 3rd November, for a Nannie to look after a girl of four years and a baby that was expected in January. These two were probably Penelope M and Peter H, but the older children have not been identified. Almost a year later, on 16th October 1942, she again advertised for a Man and wife.
At the end of the war the Longs were no longer in evidence. The new owners, from about July 1945, were Aida and Lt-Col. Eric G S WALEY together with Marion, Marion D and Stuart D GREIG, Sylvia BATCHELAR, Gertrude L JOHNSON and Bessie E WHITEHEAD. Eric had been born on 28 August 1891, and his birth registered at Paddington. At the age of 9 he was a pupil at St Vincent's School in Eastbourne. At the time of the census in 1911 he was living with his parents, Alfred and Laura, and a younger sister in 'Stone House', Reigate (there are two photographs of this building on the oldreigate.com website) with eight servants. Sometime during the next five years he joined the Army, for the Supplement to the London Gazette for 13 April 1916 records that Lieut Eric G S Waley had been seconded for duty with the Rifle Brigade. He was posted abroad, as while he was in Egypt he married Aida ADES, 6 years younger, in Cairo. Unfortunately the Consular Marriages index, from which this information is taken, doesn't give a date but merely indicates that it was between 1916 and 1920. They had three children: Anthony C S (1922), Joan L (1925) and Susan R (1930). Boyle's Town Visiting Directory records that in 1924 Captain Eric Waley OBE was living at 14 Oxford Square in London (just to the north of Hyde Park). Four years later Eric and Aida were living at Glenfeulen, a house in Wray Lane, Reigate, when they sailed from Liverpool to Post Said on 8 December. By the outbreak of war Eric, by now aged 48, was an ARP volunteer and they were living in a house on Earlswood Common, with a butler and housemaid. The family appeared on the Electoral Roll for Relf House from 1945 to 1951, and Eric died in 1953 aged 61.
By 1955 the residents were Sophia and Michael CALLOW (Sophia, née WATSON, was the daughter of Baron Thankerton), who had married in 1936. Michael had been born on 20 November 1901. He became a metallurgical engineer, and three years after his marriage was living in Beech Road, Reigate. Although the 1939 register does not include his wife, another member of the household was Margaret R M Callow, four years older than Michael and single. Sophia and Michael had two children: Josephine M, who emigrated to New Zealand, and John Michael, who lives in Nutfield. The family is shown at Relf House from 1955 until Michael's death in 1977.
In 1960 Michael was working for British Gelco Engineering, at Edenbridge. In 1973 he and Sophia made an extended visit to New Zealand, where their daughter Josephine was teaching in Wellington. They asked friends, Geoffrey and Mrs Elspeth HOWE (later to become Lord and Lady Howe), to care for the house while they were away. Geoffrey, failing to be elected as the Conservative member for Cardiff, declared that he would not stand again. Ted Heath, Prime Minister at the time, persuaded him to stand in Reigate as Sir John Vaughan Morgan was about to retire. Geoffrey agreed, on the understanding that if he were not elected he would not be asked to stand again. The Howes, with daughter Carrie and twins Alec and Amanda, stayed in the house until the Callows returned the following year. They owned a Jack Russell, named Quintin (after Quintin Hogg), who would race into Clavadel's garden. Following a phone call Elspeth would emerge from Relf House with a walking stick, capture Quintin with the curved end, and return through the party hedge with him while he tried to attack her shoes. Michael died on 7th July 1977 at the age of 73, and was buried at St Katharine's. Following the death of Sophia later the same year, Relf House was bought by Alan W LOGIE, who in 1964 had married Sally BRODIE, the daughter of Mrs BRODIE (Russet Cottage). Alan was a manager with Unilever, and after a few years was moved to Bristol. He sold the house to Jenny, John and Stephen FARMER.
A recent owner, Basil West, remembers finding a newspaper dated 1902 behind a large wall mirror many years later and for some time it was believed that this gave the date of building. However, the first piece of evidence definitely relating to Clavadel is the original conveyance, dated 3rd July 1906, in which Rt Hon. Baron Hylton agreed to sell 'that piece of freehold land' to Henry Nicholson for £275. The plan attached to the conveyance shows no existing building on the site and therefore the house cannot have been built before this date, although the plan does show a building on the next plot to the east (Oakwood). Various covenants appear in the document, stipulating that no more than one dwelling house was to be built and that this must cost at least £1,000. Henry Withnall NICHOLSON was a solicitor (he had offices at 27 Lawrence Lane in the City) and Clerk to the Commissioners of Taxes.
Henry had been born, towards the end of 1860, at Frome in Somerset. His father, also Henry, worked for the Inland Revenue and by the time he was ten the family (one elder sister, Julia, and four younger siblings) had moved to 12 St James Road, Brixton after living in Kent for some years. Ten years later, in 1881, he was still living with his parents in Brixton, but at 7 Church Road. Henry was now an articled clerk to a solicitor, and a further four children had been born: the family also employed three servants. By the time of the 1891 census his father had died and the family had moved again, to 42 Lambert Road. He married Blanche Annie MEDHURST, who was six years younger, in 1895; the marriage was registered at Croydon. The 1901 census shows Henry and Blanche living at 255 London Road, Thornton Heath; Henry was 40, Blanche 34. Also in the house were George (5) and Kenneth, an infant; both had been born in Thornton Heath. Blanche's mother Amelia (74) was living with them.
On 6th March 1908 Mrs Wood, from Blackheath, a widow, entered into a mortgage on the house when she advanced Henry Nicholson the sum of £1,150 against 'all that piece of freehold land . . . and with the dwelling house and buildings lately erected . . . and called Clavadel'. It appears, therefore, that the house had been built by early 1908. The electoral roll of 1910 shows Henry as owner of the house, but living at 255 London Road, Thornton Heath. According to the 1911 census return, the occupants of the house on the night of the census were Blanche (44), son Kenneth (10), Blanche's brother Arthur MEDHURST (57) and his wife Minnie (53), and Ellen CARD, a 23-year-old servant. The house had ten rooms. Later Electoral Rolls show the family at Clavadel each year from 1910 to 1939. Mrs Wood remained the mortgagor until June 1928, when Henry transferred the mortgage to the Midland Bank.
"The Times" records the death of George Harold MEDHURST aged 57, of Clavadel, on 2nd August 1917; the St Katharine's burial register records his burial on 17th August. He is recorded as being 'of Hong Kong' and was a Director of Dodwell & Co. Ltd. and was, presumably, another brother of Blanche and Arthur. He was the youngest son of the late Thomas Medhurst of the Soho Iron Works, London, and it is likely that he was a relative of the Frederick W Medhurst recorded as a voter between 1909 and 1911.
Blanche and Henry’s son Kenneth Nicholson first appears on the electoral register in 1922, when he reached the age of majority. The Times of 2 February 1922 carried an advertisement that he had placed offering his services as those of a 'public schoolboy aged 21' wanting work. He last appears on the electoral register in 1929, and on 20 June that year he married Ruth EDINGER, from The Red House. In that year Mary Louisa HARRIS (perhaps a maid?) was also living in the house but she had been replaced in 1932 by Violet May GIBBONS. By 1935 Blanche and Henry were living in the house by themselves. The mortgage was again transferred in August 1938 to the Revd G H Nicholson of Burghfield, in Berkshire. Four years later Henry and Blanche transferred the mortgage, now standing at £1,850, to Henry Wilkinson of Cornwall and Robert Wylie of Oxford. The former died in November 1942 and three months later Robert Wylie transferred it yet again, this time to Col W T Wilkinson of Yorkshire and A E Barton of Leeds. Henry Nicholson died on 8th February 1943 aged 82 and was buried at St Katharine's on 12 February; his will was proved in Llandudno on 2 April 1943 by his son Kenneth, by now a Chartered Accountant. He transferred the property to his mother Blanche although she died only a few months later on 19th July (buried on 22 July). There is nothing significant about the will having been proved in Llandudno as many wills from London and the south-east were dealt with there during the war.
The house was sold to Vera Marian CARTER, of Tadworth, for £4,150; she stayed only a short time and in March 1945 sold to Mrs Grace HUNTER, of Ludlow, for £4,475. Grace's husband John A (Jock) Hunter MBE was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Gunners at the end of the war. He became a Director of Messel & Co., Stockbrokers, and Deputy Chairman of Ranco Ltd. Later he became the deputy director of the Stock Exchange. When the Hunters found that the house had become too small for the family, Grace entered into a Deed of Exchange with Mrs Sybil O A MOY, of Tanglewood on 1st October 1949. With a payment of £2,500 in consideration of the different sizes, the two families exchanged houses.
Later that same month Sybil Moy used a Deed of Gift to transfer Clavadel to her son, Arthur R Moy, who worked for Moy, Bandervell (Stockbrokers). Her daughter Pamela Alison became engaged in November 1948, and two years later Pamela's brother Arthur announced his engagement to Pamela Mary McKENLAY of Redhill. In 1955 the voters recorded as resident in the house were Sybil Moy together with Margaret S and Victor C JACKSON. The house remained in the possession of the Moy family until September 1964; by this time Sybil had become too frail to live alone in Clavadel and went to live with son Arthur and his wife in Kingsdown.
The house was sold to Basil and Louisa WEST and their three sons and a daughter, who moved from Grange Close where Basil had designed and built their house. Louisa, originally from South Africa, was a grand-daughter of John HARRISON, the only British member of the Founders of Johannesburg; he was also Captain and wicket-keeper of one of the first South African cricket teams. Louisa lost her mother when she was young; her father was on active service with the South African Air Force and her elder brother had been killed in action in Europe. She qualified as an SRN and midwife and was one of a small group of midwives in their early twenties who were taken at dusk into shanty towns in Durban and left at homes where births were imminent, as it was too dangerous to leave the ambulance in the town after dark. She delivered 48 babies in this way. Basil had served overseas as navigator of a Fleet Destroyer from age 19, as a sub-lieutenant in the RNVR, and then with a submarine flotilla before graduating at Oxford and qualifying as a chartered accountant in the City, He was headhunted for several appointments, and one of his tasks was as Managing Director of the Automobile Association, which he turned into a viable business from a moribund institution faced with bankruptcy. After the war he continued in the permanent RNVR (which became the RNR) and was appointed Captain of HMS President. He was an ADC to HM the Queen and made a Freeman of the City of London. He then went on to become Group Finance Director of Lonrho. Basil, together with Steph Seager (Little Shaw) and Ronald Prentice (Standish) were foremost among the residents in limiting the effect of the motorway construction at the end of the 1960s. Later he took up an appointment in the Arabian Gulf with a large international group, and remained there for over eight years before retiring and moving back to Clavadel towards the end of 1989. The Wests had therefore been at Clavadel for almost forty years, with an 8-year break while Basil was in the Gulf, and were amongst the longest-resident families. The West family moved in 2002, and Basil died towards the end of 2005.
The house was bought by Andrew and Julie FINDLAY, who added an extension to the east side, but it has changed hands again since then.
According to the electoral rolls, Louisa Mary and Percy Rowland SAVILL lived in the house from at least 1911 to 1918. Percy and Louisa were both from the east of London; Percy's birth, in 1860, was registered at West Ham and that of Louisa BAXTER at East London five years later. The census return taken in 1911 shows the household as Percy Rowland SAVILL (50) from Stratford; Louisa Maria (46) from Woodford, in Essex; Sidney Rowland (10); Geraldine Louise (18); and two servants - Martha LEADBETTER (19) and Fanny May HUGHES (20). The house had 11 rooms.
Their son Sydney Rowland was born in 1891, also at West Ham. The Electoral Roll for 1914 shows Sidney Rowland Savill (as a lodger, paying 6/- per week) and this is presumably their son, as he would have been old enough to vote by 1912. The baptism register at St Katharine's shows the birth of a son, Rowland Alexander, on 20th June 1917 to Alexander Croydon and Geraldine Louise PALMER. These were the Savill's daughter and son-in-law, whose marriage in 1916 was registered at Reigate. Alexander was a Captain in the RAMC.
The Savill family appears for the last time in Autumn 1919. Therre is no entry for 1920 but the next residents, who were to stay at this address for over 30 years, were Amy Margaret (shown as Annie Margaret from 1932) and Ernest Stapleton WARD, with son Ivan. Ernest was born at Kingston in 1878, and his wife (whose name was registered as Annie Margaret WILSON) at Woolwich in about the same year. They first appeared in the roll of Spring 1921 and were still listed in 1950. Ernest, besides breeding pigeons, was a member of the MCC. From 1929 onwards Alice Mary DUDMAN is also shown and, since she forms part of the household for the next twenty years, it is possible that she was a relation. In 1929 and 1930 two other voters in the house were Lily Rose BROOKER and Mercy Ellen TERRY. Two years later Lily had gone and by 1935 Alice was the only other occupant besides the Wards. In March 1936 Ivan was confirmed in St Katharine's at the age of 16. Margaret Elizabeth Gilmour, the elder daughter of Annie and Ernest, married George Stuart STEPHENS on 29th September 1937. Her third Christian name was, presumably, given for her maternal grandfather.
Two more names, Irene Florence Harriet LEGGETT, a maid, and Margaret STONE, who was the cook, appeared by 1938 but by the following year they had been replaced by Marie Irene HOUGHTON. By the end of the war, together with the Wards and Alice Dudman there were two new names on the electoral register: Rebecca BROWNE and Margaret Ann WILSON. Margaret was the widow of William Gilmour Wilson FRIBA, who had died on 12th May 1943 aged 87; they were Annie's parents. On 27th December 1947 the engagement was announced of Joan Stapleton Ward, the younger daughter, to Roger Crawford BLACKNEY, of Bigbury-on-Sea. They were married on 10th April the following year. Ernest died on 25th February 1950. Later that year Nora R BALCHIN and May K S PAY are shown on the electoral roll; Rebecca Browne and Margaret Wilson were no longer listed, having perhaps moved away or died.
In its issue dated 25th November 1952 the London Gazette referred to 'Norman Marshall WALKER, of Oakwood' (he was appointed as the Liquidator of Reigate Squash Club). The electoral roll for 1955 shows that the new occupants were Winifred N and Norman M WALKER and Margaret E CORKE. However, Norman, a 'retired Insurance Company Director', died on 20th February 1956 (report in the London Gazette of 12th June) and the house was sold to a Mr and Mrs LUIDERVELD, although after only a few years they moved to London.
In 1961 Sheila and John Ritchie ALEXANDER moved to Oakwood from West Cross. John had been awarded the Military Cross during the war. He was the Company Director and Chairman of a horticultural company; he was also the President of the Village Hall and gave that concern much time until his death on 15th September 1972. On 12th July 1975 their only daughter, Cheryl, married Geoffrey VAN-HAY; their engagement had been announced in March. She was given away by her brother Stuart. Geoffrey and Cheryl lived for some years in Quality Street until their separate deaths in 2009 and 2010. Sheila moved to Quality Street, where she lived until shortly before her death in 2013.
The current owners have requested that their names are withheld from this history.
The land to the west of Albury Edge, together with the lake, was sold by David Dundas SELLON to Leonard Greenwood BARTON and his wife Merle in 1945, when David's mother Gwenyth, widow of Percy Sellon, died. Heronswood is one of the more recent houses to be built in the road, and does not appear in any electoral roll before 1956. A Margaret Mary Barton had been living at Ash Pollard some 25 years earlier, although there is no reason to suppose that she was related.
Leonard was a Cambridge Food Scientist who, during the War, worked on the staff of Lord Woolton, Churchill's Minister of Food. Heronswood was one of a number of houses in the road from which trees had to be removed from the front garden; they were impeding the flow of air over the roof, causing the tiles slowly to flake away. While he was doing so, Leonard realised that a number of silver birch tress had been planted along the frontage and these had become hidden.
The Bartons lived there with their two children until the early 1970s, when Jock and Dulcie ARCHER moved in. They were there until they died in the late 1990s and Andy BARKER became the new owner. He has enlarged the house considerably, winning an award from the Reigate Society.
An indenture dated 1900 (see below, under Noddyshall) indicates that the land to the west of the cottages, on which Albury Edge was to be built, was owned by Robert Percy SELLON (born 1864 in India). He was, by trade, an electrical engineer and prospered during the electrification of London at the end of the 19th century. Later in life he became a director of Otis Elevators and various other companies, and Managing Director of Johnson Matthey & Co.
Albury Edge, designed by the architect Paxton Watson (of Pickett Wood), was one of the first houses (see also Clavadel) to be built along the road, and in the opinion of some remains the best example of Watson's local work. The 1904 and 1905 electoral registers show Percy Sellon living at 'Albany House, Merstham' but this is likely to have been a misprint for 'Albury Edge': certainly Percy and his wife Gwenyth Annie (née DUNDAS), who were married towards the end of 1900 in the Guildford area, were living at Albury Edge by 10th June 1907, when their first son Robert Dundas was born, as the announcement in The Times of June 4th makes clear. The house had 16 rooms, not including bathrooms, etc., which made it the largest house in the road at the time.
Robert Dundas was baptised (in St Katharine’s) on 13th July 1907; five years later a brother, David Dundas, was born on 16th June 1912 and baptised on 25th July. A sister, Rachel Dundas, had been born in 1901. Her birth had been registered in Croydon, perhaps while Robert and Gwenyth were staying in Sanderstead at the home of Bernard and Janet DRAKE: Bernard, like Percy Sellon, was an electrical engineer.
The 1911 census return shows the household as: Robert Percy SELLON (47), electrical engineer; Gwenyth Ann SELLON (42, from Yarmouth, Norfolk); Rachel Dundas (9); Robert Dundas (3); Alice Ruth WATERER (39, nurse); Elizabeth Sarah Crouch BAKER (27, cook); Annie GIBSON (27, parlourmaid); Louisa CEATON (26, housemaid). However, the family does not appear on the electoral roll until 1915 the only name to appear on the Electoral Rolls was that of Percy. Gwenyth, born in 1868, was the daughter of Canon Robert James Dundas, the Vicar of Albury (from where, presumably, the name of the house was taken). Another Sellon family, Ernest Marmaduke and Barbara Ann, were living at the Old Manor House in Quality Street in July 1906 when their daughter Elizabeth Margaret was born.
The Surrey Mirror of 13th July 1915 carried a personal advertisement from Mrs SANDBACH, of Albury Edge: "Wanted, at Merstham (preferably Rockshaw Road), Furnished house from 1st September, for four months or longer; three sitting and seven bedrooms." No other trace of this name has been found and she was, perhaps, a visitor.
A few years after the initial construction of Albury Edge some alterations enlarged the back quarters and created the marble-floored sun porch. Percy Sellon and his wife loved trees and clothed what may earlier have been a bleak hillside. Some time before the 1987 storm the then owners, Mary and Alan FOGG, counted the mature trees in the garden and found about 60 different varieties.
Percy Sellon was active and generous in the village, and in 1925 he, together with Mr W J Stevens, of Court Lodge, was a committee member of the Merstham Housing Society Ltd. He was, at that time, a Director of the County of London Electric Supply Company Ltd., as shown in share offer notices carried by The Times on July 2nd 1925 and May 3rd 1927.
Percy suffered from a mental problem in later years – he was found on several occasions by William PORT, the head gardener, standing in the pouring rain watering the flower-beds with a hosepipe. He died on 11th January 1928 of a heart attack, aged 63, and was buried on the 16th, although he appears on the electoral roll later that year. He left an estate valued at £105,932, and gave £1,000 'to the executors for such societies, institutions and charities with which he had been connected', £200 to his secretary, Edith PATTINSON; and £1 a week for life to his children's nurse, Alice WATERER.
Rachel married Robert Stephen McNAUGHT, a lieutenant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, on 16th July 1927 at St Katharine's and the announcement was placed in The Times of 18th June. Robert's father was a Lieutenant-Colonel. They had two daughters, both of whom were baptised in the church: Sheila Rosemary Sellon, born 10th April 1928 and baptised on 3rd July, and Margaret Gillian Sellon, born on 2nd July 1933 and baptised on 8th September. For both of these baptisms the address of the family is shown as Albury Edge. Later, when Robert's regimental depot was stationed at Ayr, they had a son Michael, born in 1939. When war broke out the family moved back to Merstham and lived at 'Wayside', a house on London Road south of the village. Rachel died in 1994 and is buried, next to her parents, in the churchyard at St Katharine's, where her husband Robert and younger daughter Jill are also buried. The older daughter, Sheila, was buried at St Mary's, Bletchingley. Michael now lives in Cape Cod (near Boston) in Massachusetts.
In The Times of June 20th 1930 the Sellon family was advertising the sale of Centre Court tickets for Wimbledon at £1 each for the first week, £2 for the second. In 1929 Robert Dundas reached the age of 21 and made an appearance on the electoral roll for the first time, and he was recorded each year until at least the start of the War. In 1931, when he was in the King's Own Scottish Borderers, his engagement was announced in "The Times" and he married Joan Alice Vera RENNY. Joan was a daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs G. S. Renny of Whinrood, Fleet. They moved to Kenya, but he was forced by the Mau Mau rebellion to sell his farm and shortly afterwards moved back to England. He died in Swanmore, Hampshire, in 1974, leaving three children of whom one, Andrew, survives and now lives in Ipswich.
Alice MORLEY was also living at Albury Edge in 1930; another Morley couple, Rose and Arthur, lived at 65 Noddyshall between 1918 and 1945 and a Morley family had lived at 6 Ashcombe Road since 1936., and
Robert Dundas's younger brother David Dundas had appeared on the electoral register by 1935. Alice Waterer was still present; so too were Annie REDDER and Winifred STANDEN (see Noddyshall). In the years leading up to the War Jane QUIN and Reginald Da Costa PORTER were living in the house along with the three Sellon family members and Alice Waterer; both Robert Sellon and Reginald Porter were shown as 'absent voters'. Reginald Porter was a cousin twice over, on both the Sellon and Dundas sides. He was in the Royal Navy and retired from the service as a Lieutenant-Commander, and died at the end of the twentieth century.
John PORT, son of the head gardener William Port, who grew up in what is now Orchard End, told how, on wet days when Mrs Sellon was confined to the house with arthritis, the gardeners of the road would gather in one of the orchard-level huts and he (John) would be sent off to buy beer. He also told us of Mrs Sellon's love for a particular apple, ‘American Mother’. He told later occupants, the Foggs, a little of life ‘below stairs’, or perhaps ‘behind the green baize door’ in friendly terms. This was confirmed by a lady who had been a domestic part-timer in the house. Another glimpse of the past was given by the Sellons’ daughter, in later life Mrs McNaught. She was a spirited lady who entertained the Foggs with the parallel life to that of Mr Port. She told them of spying on, and even interrupting, the servants’ courtships from her bedroom window; and also of her mother sitting, in old age, by the smoking room (now the sitting-room) fire with a high pile of magazines, which nobody might throw out because those at the bottom became the most interesting.
During the war, according to David Sellon, Canadian convalescent officers stayed in the house. As well as pieces of shrapnel the Foggs found a pig trough and a duck-pond in the orchard, suggesting some war-time self-sufficiency.
At the end of the War Gwenyth was the only Sellon in the house, although Alice was still with her; the other occupants were Edith M GOLSBY, Margaret H RILEY and Mary F E WEBB. Margaret (Peggy), though employed as a cook, was really more of a housekeeper as – according to Michael McNaught – her cooking was not up to much! Mary Webb (Webbie) was Gwenyth's companion. Gwenyth died on 9th November 1945 (after, according to The Times of November 10th, 'years of suffering heroically borne') and was buried on the 12th; she was 77. She left £46,515, including a bequest of £500 to Brabazon Home, Reigate. Alice Ruth WATERER (the children's nurse mentioned earlier) was resident in the house from at least 1911 until she died (she was buried on 31st December 1945 at the age of 75).
The Times of January 22nd 1946 reported the death, at the age of 73, of Mary Winifred VESSEY, wife of Canon George Vessey, late Vicar of Lenton, Lincolnshire, and one-time a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral. The funeral, which took place at St Katharine's church on 24 January, was from Albury Edge. Mary Vessey, known as 'Polly', was the youngest sister of Gwenyth, and George and Mary lived in Quality Street during the war. George died in 1956.
David divided the property, believing that the house was too large to sell as it was: at the time, just after the war, there was considerable uncertainty as to how property prices and the economy as a whole would perform in the future. About the same time he sold off the wood, the lake, and the gardener's cottage; he retained the croquet lawn and other portions of the garden with the possible intention of 'returning, like an elephant, to die in the place of his birth'. In December 1955 he placed an advertisement in The Times, selling a 1955 Humber Hawk - 'as good as new' - for £950. The announcement of his engagement appeared in the same newspaper on January 3rd 1956, and he later married Gwendolyn Kathleen BATTY, moving to Blackheath; George Vessey, whose wife Mary had died in 1946, presided at the service, which was at St Katharine's. Gwendolyn was the only daughter of the late Bishop Staunton Batty of Horsell, Woking. She and David had no children and they moved to Bexhill in the early 1980s. David died in 1987, followed by his wife six years later.
The land to the west, and the lake, was sold to Leonard Greenwood BARTON, who built Heronswood. The main house, Albury Edge, was divided into two substantial semi-detached dwellings, sharing the driveway.
From recollections of residents over the years it seems that the western part of the house (the right-hand side, viewed from the street) was divided into two flats, with a lobby inside the main entrance door so that each flat was self-contained. Flat 1 was downstairs; Flat 2 upstairs. The room over the garage, presumably occupied by the chauffeur in earlier years, was known as Flat 3.
In 1950 David SELLON was shown on the electoral roll, with Margaret Riley and Mary Webb still there, and there were five other occupants in the house: Wilfred Howell COOKE and his wife Lilian Maud were in Flat 2, and the other occupants were Phyllis G BRIDGEMAN, Vivien L H MOSTERT and Adeline C WIGG. Adeline, the widow of George Lloyd Wigg, had lived in Mill House from 1939 to 1945, and she later moved to Kingsbridge, in Devon, where she died on 9th December 1967 at the age of 84, without re-marrying, leaving an estate of some £10,000.
Lilian Cooke died on 7th August 1950 after a long illness, at the age of 75. Towards the start of 1954 Wilfred married again, to Sissylt E H PRITCHARD. She had been born in the Medway area towards the end of 1910. In 1955 the electoral roll shows four occupants (of voting age). Vera JENKINS was in Flat 1, Wilfred Cooke was still in Flat 2 with his new wife Sissylt, and Evelyn MONTAGUE in Flat 3 (also known as the Garden flat). Wilfred died on 23rd July 1959 aged 79. In 1960 the registered voters were Vera Jenkins, Sissylt Cooke and Ernest BLOWES (who had moved from Fairmead via The Firs to occupy Flat 3 over the double garage). Ernest later married Hilda BARNARD.
By about 1961Albury Edge West was owned by Joan and Peter ORAM with their friendly Afghan hound. Peter G Oram and Joan DABNER had married locally some nine years earlier; Peter was a Market Gardener with a shop in Croydon. He owned a donkey called Bess, and rides were offered to children at the St Katharine's fete. Phyllis and Sidney MATTHEWMAN became tenants during the early 1960s, having moved from Gervase Cottage in the High Street; Sidney was, from the recollection of another tenant, an 'eccentric character, often dressed in jodhpurs, a heavy wool jacket and wearing a monocle'. Bryan T HALL was a frequent visitor to the house before moving in during 1963. Another visitor was Elinor BRENT-DYER, who wrote girls’ school stories that still had a fan club and new editions still being produced today; she moved in as a tenant for a short time in early 1965 before she, Bryan and the Matthewmans moved to Redhill later that year.
Until 2006 the occupier was Bernard THORNTON, although the house was frequently let out; Bernard now lives in the former Garden flat, renamed to 'Little Albury'.
Following the division of the house Albury Edge East had, roughly, the servants’ and nursery quarters together with the billiard room. This became a fine sitting-room leading on to the sun porch. The first owners after the house was divided were the MARSHALL family, to be followed by the SOMAKs. Mr Somak was an architect and he specialised in shops; he was responsible for much of the then very fashionable glass mosaic decoration in London. A gift from his Italian suppliers was the complete floor and wall covering, in glass mosaic tiles, for the bathrooms – totally child-proof and flood-proof!
Alan FOGG and his wife Mary (formerly MARSH), who had married in 1948, bought the house in 1961 and stayed for 41 years, bringing up three children in the house. Alan was a Cambridge graduate in chemistry, and commuted to Philips in Holland in a major management consultancy operation. They made only minor structural alterations and added a carport; their main contribution was to the garden. Percy Sellon had planted a fine Edwardian garden but he had died in 1928 and it seemed that from about 1940 only the top lawn had been properly cared for; much of the rest of the garden (some two acres) was a mass of nettles and brambles. It was an interesting challenge but Alan had limited free time and was often away on business. However, when they had established reasonable control they became enthusiastic enough to double the size of the garden by buying the patch of land to the east that David Sellon had kept, hoping to build for his retirement. In earlier years this had been a croquet lawn but it had long since become overgrown. Repeated building applications had failed to produce planning permission and although the Foggs took it over in 1976 it became another wilderness of nettles and brambles. Purchase of the land did, however, give access to the lake at the bottom of the garden and a splendid Edwardian greenhouse with the ruins of a 6in heating pipe fed by its own furnace. The woodwork seemed to be on its last legs, but it survived more than 25 years despite more than one large tree falling on it. Now, however, it is beyond repair.
The 1987 storm did enormous damage. A large wellingtonia, and other large trees, lay across the lawn and two blue cedars fell next door in Albury Edge West. About 26 mature trees came down or were broken. It took Alan, by now retired and with an MBE, over a year to clear away the mess and to replant.
The Foggs moved to Nutfield Road in 2002; Alan, after spending some time in a residential home, died in 2010 and Mary died in 2016.
Percy SELLON, the first occupant of Albury Edge, built the lodge at the eastern end of the property as a ‘tied cottage’ for staff. In at least two electoral registers there are two distinct dwellings listed; Albury Edge Lodge and the Lodge, Albury Edge. Further information has revealed that this was, however, the same dwelling; it had four rooms.
The first occupants seem to have been Jeanette Anne and Albert Silbourne SLOGROVE. Albert was baptised on 27th July 1879 at Gatton, while his family was living in the Lower Park Lodge. He was the fifth child and fourth son of William Slogrove (born 2nd May 1844 in Ashdon, Essex) and Ruth Ellen ROSE (born 1850 in Gainsborough, Lincs.).
He married Jeanetta Ann JONES on 1st January 1906 at Hanham, Gloucs., when his occupation was 'market gardener'. The family is recorded in the 1911 census return as Albert SLOGROVE (31, domestic gardener), Jeanetta (31, from Chilsworthy, Devon) and Marjorie (4). Albert and Jeanette are shown in the electoral rolls in 1915 (at Albury Edge Lodge) and in 1920 (at the Lodge, Albury Edge). Albert was employed as the Sellons' gardener. They later had a son, Cyril Walter.
On 31st May 1915 William, Albert's father, died at the age of 71 and was buried at St Katharine's church. His address at the time was given as 'High Street'. Almost two and a half years later, on 8th November 1917, George Silbourne Rose was buried at St Katharine's; he died at the age of 70 and the address was given as Albury Edge Cottage. He was the brother of Ruth Ellen Rose and thus Albert's uncle.
One of the other gardeners employed at Albury Edge was William PORT, who lived at Chaldon. He fell in love with and courted Gertrude COLLINSON, from Newdigate, who was employed at the house as a parlourmaid. On Albert Slogrove's death in 1919 William was promoted to Head Gardener: towards the end of the year he and Gertrude married and moved to take up residence at the Lodge.
Their first child, John W, was born in 1920 although he was not baptised at St Katharine's. Until the beginning of the 21st century he lived in Warwick Wold but then moved to Maidstone. Four other children followed: Edith Margaret Emma was born on 27th July 1923 and baptised on 2nd September; Cyril, born 25th February 1927 and baptised 10 April, died in 1990; Dennis Basil, born 3rd September 1929 and baptised on 1st December but died four years later; and Ronald Keith, born 31st May 1934 and baptised on 22nd July.
The Lodge had no hot water or heating; there was a cold tap and a rather ugly plain mustard-coloured sink. There was no bathroom, just a tin bath and the water was heated in a copper. There were two large wooden troughs adjacent to the sink. Mrs Slogrove used to do the Sellon’s laundry – there was a mangle in the scullery and the lawn next to the cottage was always referred to as the ‘laundry ground’. When the Sellons asked Gertrude to take on the task of the Sellons' laundry William flatly refused to let her do it and that was the end of the matter.
William was the head gardener over a team of three others, one of whom, Gertrude's brother Arthur, also carried out chauffeuring duties and lived at the Lodge for a few years from 1926. Possibly his services were not required after Percy Sellon's death as he does not appear after 1929. The others were Ernest PAYNE, the under-gardener, and Jack MORLEY. There was also a gardener’s boy, Sydney. There were four staff in the house: a cook, two maids and a Nanny.
William, as head gardener, had a responsible job. Albury Edge had a very large garden with a rose garden, croquet court, tennis court, a large vegetable garden with a fruit enclosure, poultry, geese and ducks. There were swans on the lake, a very large orchard and cultivated hazel trees. The lake had a dam at its west end and this had to be maintained. There were clusters of bamboo canes by the water’s edge and masses of rhododendrons. It was a beautiful place, especially in the springtime. He was also responsible for the central heating; that was, keeping the large coke-fired boiler going and also supervising the large greenhouses that were heated by a similar boiler.
The Ports lived there until at least the end of the war. When Gwenyth Sellon had died and the main house was divided, the cottage was also sold. William and Gertrude had to leave the Lodge to live elsewhere, and he became green-keeper to the bowls club in Reigate.
By 1950 Beatrice and Henry NOYLE were living in the house, at which time it was still known as Albury Edge Lodge and it is shown with this name on a map dated 1964. Edmund Ingoldsby MASSY, who was also living in the house, died on 5th February 1963; Beatrice and Henry Noyle were executors of his will. He left a little over £17,000. He had been born at Mitchelstown, Ireland, the son of George and Eliza, on 26 April 1876, and made sevderal trips abroad: to Brisbane, Australia, in 1930 and to Mauritius in 1952. His relationship to the Noyles isn't known.
By 1966, however, the name had been changed to Orchard End and the occupants were Mary and John BELL, who moved to Rockshaw Road from Grange Close.
In September 1979 the Bells moved to Devon and sold the house to Molly and Ken BIRCH. They extended the house from its original size of 2-up, 2-down. Molly's mother, Rose JENNER moved in during May 1980, to live in the flat above the garage, and lived there until her death in 2001. In 2004 the garage and the flat above it was extensively renovated; it became home for Molly and Ken while their daughter Linda and her family moved into the house. Ken died after a few years, followed by Molly, after which the two-storey building was rented out as a separate dwelling.
David BYLETT, a grandson of the Abraham and Mary who were buried in the 1820s (see the History), and his wife Rosannah are recorded as living in one of the cottages from 1841 (and probably earlier) until at least 1891. Evidence indicates that the Bylett’s cottage was probably the present Noddyshall. The name of the dwelling changes over the years, being shown as ‘Noddes Hall’ in 1841, ‘Noddy’s Hall’ in 1851, and the more familiar ‘Noddyshall’ from 1861 onwards. Another branch of the family were living in the present Noddyshall Cottage.
The history of the BYLETT family, and those related to them, is examined in a separate section. Click here to discover more about them.
The East Surrey Water Company connected mains water to the two southernmost cottages in 1899; a document to that effect is still in existence. At that time the occupants of the four cottages were John BYLETT and George BALES (southern cottages) and George MARTIN and Harry MORLEY (northern). Although the Water Company shows George Bales as the occupier of the cottage, the electoral roll for the same year shows his son James.
An indenture dated November 1900 transferred the two southern cottages, together with the adjoining land down to the Mere, from the ownership of the Rt Hon. Hylton George Baron HYLTON to that of Mrs Annie Laura STONEHAM of Godstone Court, although it appears that she continued to live at Godstone Court and rented out the cottages, as indicated by the census return for 1901. She was the wife of Herbert Skyring Stoneham, a member of the London Stock Exchange. Both Herbert and Annie were 34; they had married in 1893, at Bromley.
The 1901 census return shows three families resident at Noddys Hall. The occupants of the present Noddyshall seem to have been James and Harriet KING, both from Essex, with their children Emma (aged 44, a domestic servant) and George, aged 29. However, the King family appears to have moved on soon after the census date in April as they are not shown in the electoral roll for the same year: instead, James Bales had reappeared. The present Noddyshall Cottage was home to Arthur CHEASLEY, a local man, who was a gamekeeper, together with his wife and daughter, both named Blanche. At the time of the census the third cottage was uninhabited, while the northernmost was occupied by the JODE family. John Jode, the father, was a stockman on the farm and came originally from Merthyr, in Glamorgan; his wife Francis [sic] was from Gatton, and they had six children living with them, ages ranging from 16 to 1. A report in the Surrey Mirror dated 7th November 1902 gives an account of a theft of some items of clothing (“a pair of trousers, a shirt, and a dinner cloth, the property of John Gode”), from Noddys Hall. It is probable that this refers to John JODE. Harry Morley had moved to Albury Road.
A year later, both John Bylett and George Martin appear elsewhere in Merstham, the former in Elm Cottages and the latter at Hoath.
The electoral roll of 1903 shows only four names on the Electoral Roll for that part of Reigate ward, and all four were shown as living at Noddy’s Hall. They were (in order from south to north) James BALES, Arthur CHEASLEY, James GRADY and John JODE (or Joad). However, the register may have been a little out of date as on 12th April 1903 a daughter Lily was born to Ernest ELLIOTT, a gamekeeper, and his wife Edith Gertrude; sadly, Lily died at the age of only 14 days and was buried on 1st May. The baptism register for Lily records the address of the Elliott family as 62 Noddyshall, although the burial register shows simply Noddy's Hall. The following year another daughter, Dorothy Florence, was born on 28th June to the Elliott family.
Two years later, in 1905, the electoral register reflected the changes: Arthur Cheasley and James Grady had been replaced by Ernest Elliott and Thomas DEVERALL.
On 09 JUL 1907 the two southernmost cottages and the adjoining land, with a southern boundary of the Mere, were sold by Mrs Stoneham to Jessie Mackinnon SCOTT, wife of Walter de Hylton SCOTT, for the sum of £500. Walter, born at Worksop in 1857, married Jessie McKinnon MOATE (whose birth in 1872 was registered at St George East) in January 1898 at the parish church of St Stephen the Martyr, in Marylebone. Walter was the fifth child of James William SCOTT and Mary; in 1861 his father James was a curate at Worksop. It is likely that James' parents were Robert Hilton SCOTT and Jane BROWN, and this is presumably the reason for the 'de Hylton' part of Walter's name. No connection has been found to the Hylton family who owned much of the village, although Walter and Jessie were married by the Revd Cyril Edwards, who was the curate at Petersfield, for which the Member of Parliament had been Hylton Jolliffe some years earlier.
James Bales (in the southernmost cottage) was still on the electoral register until 1908, in which year he moved to live at Worsted Green. The same register (1908) shows Edmund PHILLIPS, a shepherd, at Noddyshall in this year, although this refers to one of the 'northern' cottages: and Edmund is probably a misspelling of Edward, as he was to remain at the house (see the “northern cottages” below) until the late 1920s. In the same year (1908) the St Katharine's register records the marriage of his daughter Charlotte Mary Kate Phillips, aged 27, to Charles William PRICE, a 25-year-old widowed engineer, on 26th December. Three years later, the register for 1911 shows Edward Phillips at 64 Noddyshall and James COCHRAN at 65 Noddyshall as voters.
For further details of the current 'Noddyshall' see the section below.
Although this section properly appears later, with the houses on the north side of the road, it is included here for ease of reference. The photograph is one of the few known pictures of the cottages to the north of the Road; unlike the two to the south, the two northern cottages were semi-detached.
The two cottages were known as ‘64’ and ‘65’ Rockshaw Road, and appear as such in the electoral rolls from 1910 until they were no longer inhabited. It has already been noted (above) that St Katharine’s register shows an entry for ‘62 Noddyshall’ and it is therefore possible that the four cottages were originally shown as ‘62’, ‘63’, ‘64’ and ‘65’. One likely explanation is that the numbers refer to references on an estate map, although no such map has been found.
The 1891 census shows that one of the northern cottages was occupied by Henry MORLEY and his wife Catherine. Henry was the son of John and Mary (CRUST) who had married in 1844; they had lived at Nutfield, where Henry was born in about 1852. He married Catherine Ann SADLER in 1877 and by 1881 they were living in Salters Cottages, behind the High Street; they already had three children. Henry was one of the many local men who worked in the nearby lime pit. He appears on the Electoral Roll for Noddys Hall from 1886 to 1900. Son John was born in mid-January 1895 and buried just eight days later on 26 January. Another son, Percy Walter, was buried on 27 February 1900 aged 12; by this time the family had moved to 11 Albury Road. At the time of the 1901 census the family comprised ten children from Henry (born in 1878) to Ernest (1896). Catherine died in 1906 and although Henry's death has not been found, it is likely that he too had died by 1911 as the census for that year shows Alfred, the fourth child, and his wife Elizabeth living at 89 Albury Road and providing a home for Horace and Ernest, the two youngest children of the family.
From 1901 the occcupant of '64' was John Jode. He had been born about 1833 in Merthyr Tydfil, and lived with his wife Frances, 23 years younger, who was from Gatton. They had married in 1885. The family appears in the 1901 census with five sons and one daughter, all of whom had been born in Merstham. They appear in the Electoral Roll for '64' until 1905.
Various people seem to have occupied the cottage for the next couple of years, but from 1908 the listed voter was Edward PHILLIPS. On Boxing Day of that year his daughter Charlotte Mary Kate married Charles William PRICE at St Katharine's. The census return of 1911 confirms that the occupants of the three-room house at '64' were Edward PHILLIPS (65, a shepherd from Westbourne in Sussex), his wife Jane (64, from the same town) and their 30-year-old unmarried son Harry, a labourer. The census return also indicates that Harry was one of nine children (one had died by 1911). By 1918 Jane was also shown as a voter and they continued to appear each year (at 64 Noddy’s Hall) until about 1928. Harry's name appeared on the Electoral Roll in 1918; he was not present in 1919 or 1920 but returned the following year. Jane Phillips died aged 78 and was buried on 19th March 1925. The electoral register for autumn 1926 shows Edward as the only voter; Harry does not appear again. In 1928 Edw ard was sharing the cottage with Ellen and Edwin Charles WATTS; the roll for 1929 gives Ellen and Edwin Charles, but Edward Phillips had moved; he was buried (at St Katharine's) on 2 February 1939, aged 93.
From 1930 to 1935 the occupants of 64 Noddyshall were Clara and Alfred George STANDEN. They were both from Kent: Alfred, born 1879, was from Keston; Clara, five years younger, from Hayes. They had been married in 1909 at Bromley. Their eldest child, Winifred, was born at the end of 1910. A son Reginald James died at the age of 12 and was buried in St Katharine's churchyard on 26th July 1932. The 1935 electoral roll shows a third Standen, Alfred George; he is, perhaps, a son who achieved his majority in this year. Winifred is shown at Albury Edge in 1935.
The next occupants were Bertha Ethel and Frederick William HOLDEN, a van driver. Bertha (née Morley) had previously lived with her family next door, at 65 Noddyshall, while Frederick had lived at 14 Ashcombe Road. A son Robert William was baptised on 28th November 1937 at St Katharine's church; although Bertha's father was against this, having been brought up 'chapel' (see below), Frederick was Church of England. Frederick’s mother Nellie, aunt Mildred and brother Anthony were still living at 14 Ashcombe Road in 1955.
The 1911 census return shows that the occupants of '65' were Albert Charles EVANS (a 'gold miner' by profession (yes, really) from Chatham, his wife Emily (45, from Shoreditch), and two children, Marie Emily (17) and Amy Lilian (16). They had a third child, who presumably had left home. The house had three rooms.
The electoral roll for both 1913 and 1914 shows Walter CRATE as the sole voter at Noddyshall Cottage, although it is probable that the address refers to the cottage elsewhere referred to as 65 Noddyshall. A couple of years earlier, on 13th April 1911, a daughter Mary Elizabeth had been born to Walter and Helen Crate, living at the “Old Mill”. Walter was a chimney sweep, the family – Walter, wife Helen, and five children with ages ranging from 5 to 15 – is shown in the 1911 census at 'Old Mill House, Merstham'. In 1915 the Crate family had left, to be replaced by Edgar Thomas COOK, but from 1916 the MORLEY family (Rose Ellen and Arthur) was resident. An Adelina Cook later lived at Noddyshall, in 1929; she was just possibly a daughter of Edgar.
The Morley family, albeit with slight changes to its composition, is shown at 65 Noddyshall from 1916 to 1945 – and a Harry Morley had been living in one of the cottages in 1899 (see ‘The hamlet at Noddys’).
On 19th February 1916 a son Lennard [sic] George was born to Percy Sidney Morley, a gardener, and his wife Elizabeth Mary. Percy, born in 1899, is likely to have been another son of Henry and Catherine. The British Legion Debt of Honour Register records him as a wartime fatality.
From 1918 to at least 1939 the electoral register records Rose and Arthur Morley (another son?) at the address; there were, in total, twelve children in the family. In 1930 George Frederick is listed; he achieved his majority in that year, having been born in 1908. In the same year an Alice Morley was living at Albury Edge; she may well have been part of the same family but it is difficult to tell: between between 1885 and 1908 over 100 Morley births were registered in the Reigate district alone! In May 1931 a P. S. Morley was confirmed at St Katharine's at the age of 15.
The electoral register for 65 Noddyshall also shows Margaret Edith MORLEY in 1932. Three years later, in 1935, George had left; Margaret was there still with her parents, together with her sister Bertha Ethel who had been 'in service' to the Coleman family at Gatton since the age of 12; she had (probably) been born in 1894. In the mid-1930s Bertha left home, to marry Frederick William HOLDEN whose family lived at 14 Ashcombe Road, but following their marriage they moved next door to 64 Noddyshall. In that year, 1938, Percy Leonard was listed along with Margaret and his parents Rose and Arthur; Arthur died, aged 75, in December 1942.
In April 1907 George and Alice Maud Morley were living at Parkstyle Cottages, when their son Ernest George was born; this may have been the same Alice who is shown on the electoral roll at Albury Edge in 1930, although by this time she would have been in her mid-40s, and later living with her brother-in-law William. By 1911 George and Alice were living at 5 Quarry Cottages, with George's father Henry who was an 'engine-driver stationary'; George was a 'carman'. A William and Elizabeth Ann Marie Morley were living at 6 Ashcombe Road in April 1940 when their daughter Muriel Irene was baptised at the age of 24. William was still at the same address in 1955, together with Alice Morley.
By the end of the war Percy was the only Morley still living at 65 Noddyshall; he was sharing it with Margaret E and James JOY. There is no entry for the house later than 1945.
Neither of the cottages had ever had running water or proper sanitation and in 1937 64 Noddyshall was deemed unfit for human habitation by the Council. The Holden family moved to Wood Street. By this time Frederick was a lengthman on the railway, a job arranged for him by his father who was a relief Station Master.
After the war the two northern cottages slowly fell into disrepair and at the end of the 1950s they were demolished. The land was bought by Mrs de Rose (of The Firs) and when that house was sold, part of the land was used for a new house, Shepherd's Corner, and although the land had now become part of the Green Belt, because there had previously been buildings in that position permission was obtained for two bungalows, Sarum and Fircroft, to be built.
The photograph shows the house following the division into two dwellings in the early 1970s - see later. The original cottage is that part to the right of the brick chimney stack shown.
Documentary evidence shows that from 1841, and probably earlier, the present Noddyshall was occupied by Rosannah and David BYLETT and their family. They had a total of 12 children, all born in Merstham and baptised at the local church. David was an ‘agricultural labourer’, working for Michael Stacey who was the tenant of Home Farm at the time. The 1851 census records that in that year the cottage was home to 11 children and their parents (the youngest, Caroline, was born later that year)! Eventually all but one of the children left home, the boys to become labourers and the girls perhaps to go into service; the exception was Matilda, born in 1835, who was a cripple. By 1871 David, aged 66, was blind and – presumably – no longer able to work in the fields. Further details of the Bylett family can be found here.
In 1899, when mains water was connected to the cottages, George BALES was living in the cottage; he was succeeded by his son James who later moved to Worsted Green.
Following their purchase of the cottages in 1907, Jessie and Walter Scott took up residence in one of the southern cottages. Walter de Hylton Scott and Jessie McKinnon Moate had been married in London towards the beginning of 1898, and had previously been living in Bedford Place, Bloomsbury. She had been born in London in 1872; he was some 14 years older, and came from Worksop, in Nottinghamshire. Very soon afterwards the two cottages were converted into one large house by the addition of a substantial structure joining the two. The Surrey Mirror stated that the plans of the new buildings had been approved in a notice dated 29th November 1907. Almost unbelievably, the work was finished on 12th January the following year. The addition was designed by M. H. Baillie-Scott, a renowned architect of the time (see also Little Shaw), and the result is documented in several books and periodicals of the 1920s and 1930s. The Scotts – or at any rate Walter, since few women were entitled to a vote at this time – appear in the electoral roll for 1910. Perhaps surprisingly Scott is listed as an occupier, rather than as an owner.
The entry for Noddy’s Hall in the 1911 census lists the occupants as Charles Alexander and Charlotte Dorothy SOUTER. They were both 33 years old and had been married for just one year; Charles, whose occupation is shown as ‘sub-collector, Indian Civil Service’, had been born in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) while Charlotte was from Brighton. Living in the house with them was Charlotte’s 62-year-old mother, Charlotte Anna JESSON, who was originally from Dublin. They must have had rooms to spare, even with two live-in servants, Kate BATEMAN and Rebecca ROFFEY, as the house boasted ten rooms. Although Roffey was a very common Merstham name Rebecca, a 33-year-old cook, had been born in French Street, in Kent. One detail that the census entry does not reveal is that Charlotte was heavily pregnant, for an entry in the baptism register at St Katharine’s records the birth of a son John Alexander Fyffe to Charles and Charlotte on 6th May 1911. It is likely that Charles was a descendant of Thomas Alexander Souter, a Captain in first the 44th, later the 22nd, Regiment of Foot who was one of only two survivors of the Battle of Gundamuk (1842) in which over 60,000 were killed. Thomas was also grandfather of Robert Percy Sellon (see Albury Edge) so it is possible that Charles Souter and Robert Sellon were cousins. The Souter family appears in no electoral register and it is possible that they were staying in the cottage just while the baby was born.
Walter Scott is shown as the resident voter (still as occupier, rather than as owner, although he does not appear on the 1911 census entry for the house) on the electoral registers for both 1912 and 1914; Kelly's Directory for 1913 shows him as Walter de Hylton-Scott and also lists Edward Thomas COOK as a resident. No entry appears against either of the southern cottages for 1911 or 1913. In 1915 Harold Livingstone ADAM was listed as a lodger at Noddyshall, paying 10/- per week for ‘one room, first floor, furnished’. In the same year the Surrey Mirror carried an advertisement on 28th May placed by Mr E T COOK (confirming the 1913 Kelly's entry), who stated that he was an organist at Southwark Cathedral; he was willing to receive "pupils for piano playing and singing. Special coaching in Modern French and Russian music." Although the address shown in the advertisement was Noddys Hall, it was made clear that lessons could be given at Messrs Arthur Wood & Sons. It is not clear from this advertisement who the occupant of the house was at the time.
On 13th November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included G BROWNING, of "Noddyshall", Rockshaw Road, who contributed 6d. He (or she) may have been a servant in the house.
Scott appears in the electoral roll for 1915, but this is his last appearance; his wife Jessie does not appear in any electoral register, probably because she was not eligible to vote. The register for 1919 shows Walter and Edith Mary SOUTHEY resident at Noddyshall and it seems that for the next few years the house was rented out.
By 1920 the house was occupied by Margaret Major and Richard PRYCE, who were tenants, together with Walter Browning Pryce, their son, and three daughters. Richard Pryce worked for Hambros Bank. The baptism register for St Katharine's shows the birth of a daughter Dorothy Pamela to Jack Mackey and Dorothy Margaret WOOD (of Noddyshall) on 3rd July 1921; Dorothy Margaret was the eldest daughter of Margaret and Richard. The Pryce family was at the house until 1924, but the occupant in 1925 was George HETHEY, presumably another tenant.
'The Times' of July 27th 1925 carried the following advertisement: For Sale, with possession September, charming freehold old-world cottage residence, "Noddys Hall", Merstham, Surrey. Three sitting, six bedrooms, usual offices, garage, tennis lawn, garden about two acres. Price £3,500. The appointed solicitor was named Pryce, of Abingdon, Berkshire; this may have been a relative of the Pryce family who lived in the house five years earlier.
There is no entry in the electoral register for Spring 1926; that for Autumn of the same year gives Jack TATHAM as the sole voter.
There is only one name listed for 1928, that of P Morris SANGER, perhaps another tenant. The electoral roll for the next year, 1929, shows that Jack Tatham was again living there, together with Adelina Patti COOK. Another Cook family was at Withyshaw in the 1960s although these families are unlikely to be related.
Five years after the advertisement in "The Times", the same newspaper of September 16th 1930 announced that "Noddys Hall, Merstham, a house restored by Mr Baillie Scott, has been sold by Messrs Moseley, Card and Company (Reigate) . . .". The purchasers were Margaret and William Philip SCOTT, who were resident during the 1930s and 1940s – from at least 1932 until the end of the war. They are possibly relatives of Jessie and Walter Scott, although this has not yet been proved. Information suggests that William Scott was an air-raid warden during the war; also that Margaret was from Iceland. Their younger son (as yet unnamed) was an artist. During the latter half of the decade a Margaret (sometimes Margrit) Jane BRADFORD was also shown as living in the house with the Scotts. Another Bradford family was living at Bytheway Lodge during the 1920s, although there is no reason to suppose these families were connected.
During the 1930s the SEEX family were living here: on 4th June 1932 Christina Anne Seex married John THOMAS, a surgeon from Norwich, and three months later, on 3rd September, her younger sister Victoria Katharine McKinley married George JOHNSTON. Apart from knowing the name of their father to be Henry William, and that he was a civil servant, there is no other occurrence of this family.
Although the name of the house was shown in Noddys Hall in 1932 and 1934, by 1935 – and for the next ten years – it was known as Noddys.
The 1939 Register was taken on 29 September of that year, in an attempt to record the name, address, marital status and other details of every civilian in the country. More than 41 million forms were issued, and Identity Cards were issued on the spot as the completed forms were collected. The Register shows that five people were living at Noddyshall on that date: William Philip SCOTT, born 12 February 1887 at Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, was a Company Director at Unilever House, Blackfriars; his wife Margrit (nee Vigfussen) was five-and-a-half years younger. They married the year war was declared, at Westminster. Living with them was an 11-year-old schoolby, Kenneth ASSHETON. Another occupant of the house was Margaret BRADFORD, a domestic servant aged 39, who became Margaret MAYNE when she married George in 1949. Details of the fifth occupant have been redacted because they refer to a person who might still be alive.
By the end of the war the occupants were William Scott, and Hilda M and Frank J STONE. A Margaret Stone was living at Oakwood in 1938.
In November 1948 the property was offered for sale by auction by Harrods; the vendor was Derrick Robert MORGAN. The price was £7,000 and the successful purchasers were Philip George and Susan Rowena RICHARDSON, from Windlesham. They lived there until at least the end of the 1960s; with them during the mid-1950s were Violet MOODY (1950) and Pearl TYLER (1955).
For about seven years from 1965 the house was rented and occupied by the RILEY family, which comprised eight children - five boys and three girls. Tom, the father, was a chemical engineer whose speciality was designing oil refineries. He travelled extensively while the family was growing up. When the rental lease expired they moved to Saranda Hill, further along the road.
In the early 1970s, when it was bought by the DAVIS family, the house was again divided into two dwellings. The cottage nearer the road became much as it had been before the ‘join’ while the rest of the building (less, of course, the ‘join’ itself) became Noddyshall. It was sold again in 1981 by Vernon Smith, a firm of estage agents in Reigate, for £110,000. The new owners were the GOLDSMITH family; following a divorce Trudy Goldsmith remained in the house until 1995 when it became the property of the current owners, Libby and Chris GREEN.
The second cottage from the south was also occupied by a BYLETT family; in 1841 David and Richard Bylett were living there with wife Mary (although whose wife she was isn't clear). It is likely that David and Richard were brothers, and uncles of the David living in the neighbouring cottage. Ten years later, the cottage was home to James Bylett and his wife Mary; they had six children and David – probably James’s father – was also living there. The two oldest children had been born and baptised in Chaldon while the others had been born in either Bletchingley or Merstham.
James and Mary continued to live in the cottage, producing one more daughter. Mary died during the 1870s, and by 1881 James was sharing the cottage with their son John and his wife Elizabeth. She had been born in Shere, in 1852; her maiden name was PORT (see Albury Edge Lodge). By the time mains water was connected to the cottage, in 1899, James too had died.
The cottage, together with the adjoining one to the south, was bought in 1907 by the Scott family. See under Noddyshall for the history until 1970.
From Autumn 1926 Albert Victor WALTUS (WATERS) was shown as living at Noddyshall Cottage. However, there is no doubt that the two cottages to the south of the road had been joined into one dwelling in about 1907 – so where was this family living? Further research has shown that this cottage was not, in fact, one of the Noddyshall group at all, but the building that later became Uplands Cottage in what is now known as ‘The Close’.
When the house was once again divided into two cottages (about 1970 or shortly thereafter) the smaller and more northern of the two, now named Noddyshall Cottage, was bought by Peter WHEELER, a quantity surveyor, and his wife Joyce. Peter, who owned his own company, retired in 1983. Joyce, who for some years had become increasingly agoraphobic, died in 1997 and not long after that Peter moved south to Steyning to be closer to his sister and her family.
The house was bought by Edward MARSTON, a London solicitor, and Anita MAYHEW, in 1998. After only a few months they decided that the cottage was too small, and, although the cottage was listed and in a conservation area, they managed to have a large conservatory built on to the back. They stayed in the house until 2010, when they moved to a new development at South Nutfield. The new owners were Peter and Miranda HALL, who stayed only a few years and moved to Oxfordshire in 2017.
The indenture of 1900 (see Noddyshall) shows that land to the east of Noddyshall was owned by Lord Hylton and leased to Thomas Robert MALTWOOD, who is shown on the electoral rolls of 1910 and 1915 as living in The Mere.
Thomas was born in Dalston (Hackney) in 1865, the son of Thomas and Martha. His early years were spent at Navarino Cottages, Dalston Lane. He had two elder sisters and one younger brother; his father was a clerk, but the household boasted two servants, one of whom was a 'nursery governess'. In 1891 the family was living in the High Street, Chingford. All four children were still living at home; Thomas was a 'coffee salesman to Colonial Broker' while his father was a 'Financial Manager & Colonial Broker' (so perhaps employing his son). However, ten years later, Thomas senior was described as a 'retired man - clerk to Colonial Broker'. Son Thomas, by now aged 36, was a 'Coffee Broker agent', and still living at home (a house named 'Elmfield', in Chingford High Street). He married Blanche Gordon RICE in 1904 at Liverpool, where she had been born in 1873.
The birth of a son Ryder Gardyne on 12 April 1906 to Thomas Robert and Blanche Gordon Maltwood, with a baptism on 16 June, is recorded in the register at St Katharine's church. The address given was The Mere. The birth was also announced in The Times. A letter from Mr G R Maltwood,on the subject of street lighting at the junction with the main London Road, was published in the Surrey Mirror of 19 March 1909; it is likely that the first initial was incorrectly recorded by the paper.
The house was therefore built prior to 1906. It comprised three reception rooms, the largest of which was 20ft x 15ft, six bedrooms - four on the first floor and two on the second floor - and the 'usual domestic offices', which included a maid's sitting room and WC. The 1911 census return shows the house as having eleven rooms, and the occupants as Thomas Robert MALTWOOD (46, a 'general produce broker' from Dalston); Blanche Gordon (37, from Lancashire); and son Ryder Gardyne (4, born in Merstham). There were also two live-in servants: cook Mary Ann NOLAN (27) and housemaid Annie Elizabeth BURGESS (20).The Maltwood family last appears on the Electoral Roll at this address in 1915, but it seems that sometime during the next decade they moved to live in Jersey. In 1926 Thomas and son Ryder returned to Southampton from Cherbourg on 23 August. They were travelling 1st class and their permanent address was given as Baymont, St Autin, Jersey. Blanche died in 1932 (her death was registered in Wandsworth) and Thomas, aged 70, was a passenger on the SS Raugitiki when it departed London on 9 January 1936 en route to New Zealand although it seems that he was travelling no further than Jersey. He died on 22 May 1938, in Jersey.
From 1918 until 1935 the house was occupied by Charles John and Horace Carew ELTON, although for practically all of this span Horace was listed as an ‘absent voter’. Horace was the son of Charles and Evelyn Grace (who had died early in 1914); he had been born, possibly in India, in 1899. He joined the Royal Artillery and became first a Lieutenant Colonel (1942) and then a Brigadier (1943). He was awarded the DSO and died on 5 November 1943; he was buried in the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery in Egypt.
In October 1925 the house was to be sold by auction, which implies that the Elton family were living there as tenants. Whether or not the sale was successful, the Elton family continued to be shown as voters until 1936. In 1929 an additional voter, Margery Alys Eveline Elton, was listed; she is likely to have been Charles' daughter. In 1930 they had been joined by May CHARMAN and Alice STANBRIDGE, perhaps domestic servants. Two years later Horace (still listed as ‘absent’!) and Charles were alone in the house with only Winifred HANDY and Eva Madaleine HORSLEY for company. Winifred had left by 1935, although Eva was still there. Another family had moved in together with the Eltons: Alice Elizabeth, James Harold and James Henry WORTHY. By 1939 Eva Horsley had gone to work at Relf House, presumably when the Eltons moved house, with Margaret Horsley, perhaps a sister.
A year or two before the outbreak of war Ian CLUNIES ROSS moved to The Mere with his wife Janet and daughter Hannah Elizabeth (named after his mother); the electoral roll for both 1938 and 1939 shows this family, but also continues to show Horace Carew Elton as an absent voter. Ian was 39 at the time; he had been born in New South Wales in 1899 and in 1937 had been offered a three-year post as the Australian representative on the International Wool Secretariat in London. He sponsored the admission to Britain of a Viennese Jewish couple whose only daughter Lisl had come to the family some months earlier as a maid. Although the mother was interned in 1940, the family stayed at The Mere until Ian’s departure from Britain in July of that year – he returned to Sydney, as a professor of vetinerary science. Janet and their children had already left in June for New York.
During the war years the house was occupied by Canadian troops. There was no voter registered at the house for 1945.
In 1949 Joan Kathleen Moncaster (HILBURY) and Pierre Joseph Augustin LACHELIN moved to The Mere. With them were son Thomas Pierre Hilbury and daughters Patsy and Gillian (born 1936, 1932 and 1940 respectively). Pierre was a Director of a group of companies with strong Australian connections, including Philip Hill, Higginson, Erlangers Ltd which later formed part of Hill Samuel, and had extensive business interests in Australia; he was also a Director of Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd and British Relay Wireless and Television Ltd. In 1960 Patsy married Christopher WATNEY (of Chaldon Rise), and on 13th September 1962 Thomas announced his engagement to Prudence VAN DER LANDE, from Reigate Heath. Joan died in 1963,leaving some £43,000, and was buried on 27 May at St Katharine's. In 1967 Pierre later married Lettice E WARDELL, who already had a son John David Meredith. Pierre survived his first wife Joan by some 14 years, dying on 6th October 1977, and leaving a little over £143,000. Some time later Lettice moved to South Nutfield.
During the late 1960s the owners were May and Ron WINTERS, with their two daughters and son David. Ron was a D-I-Y fanatic and the dining room was – as was the fashion at that time – papered in red flock. The sitting room, a fairly long and spacious room, was full of onyx figures and tableware. With the advent of the M25 construction the family decided to move, and set up house in Wallington. Very sadly, while out walking with one of his daughters, Ron was killed by a drunk driver; his daughter escaped but with severe injuries.
The current owners have requested that their names are withheld from this history.
It is possible that the house was built during the first few years of the century, in the same phase of construction as Albury Edge and Clavadel, although the house was certainly in existence by 1910 at which time the occupants were Violet and William Henry EDINGER. William had been born 1858 in Stepney; his wife had been registered Hannah Violet R ALLEN when she was born at Islington in 1873. They married at W Ham in 1893, when she was named as Hannah Ruth V ALLEN. Their first child, daughter Edna, was born in 1899 but died before her first birthday. Shortly afterwards William and Violet moved to 'The Elms', Station Road, in Epping; he was a civil engineer. They had two servants. Before long they had two children (John Philip, 1903, and Elenor Ruth, 1904).
It was (and still is) one of the largest houses in the road; the 1911 census return shows it as having 12 rooms. The household at that time comprised: William Henry EDINGER (53, a civil engineer from Bow); his wife Violet (37, from Islington); son John Philip (7); and daughter Elenor [sic] Ruth (6). There were also three servants: Lilian Muriel BRYANT (25, a 'hospital-trained nurse'), Ethel Mary PORT (cook, aged 25), and Elizabeth Sarah PORT (19). Ethel and Elizabeth were two sisters of William Port (at Albury Edge Lodge); their rooms were on the second floor, with small windows. They were summoned each morning by a bell to ensure that hot water was ready for Mr Edinger. On 13th November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included 1s each from L and E PORT, of "Red House", Rockshaw Road (it seems that the newspaper got one of the intials wrong).
William died at the age of 57 and was buried on 21st August 1914, and in 1926 John Philip Edinger appeared as a voter, having reached the age of majority.
In 1925 John Edinger bought Oakhanger on Church Hill, where he and his wife Joy stayed until his death in 1968, although he continued to appear on the electoral roll at The Red House until 1928. In 1929 Violet was still living in The Red House, and the register for this year also shows her daughter Ruth, who married Kenneth NICHOLSON, from Clavadel, on 20th June 1929. Maud BANKS was also listed in the electoral register; she was to live in the house until at least 1935. A Harriet Banks was shown at Valencia in 1928 but there is no reason to suppose that the two were related.
In 1932 Violet Edinger and Maud Banks were joined by Alice HAZELDENE, although she had left a couple of years later and so was perhaps a servant or companion. The electoral register for 1935 shows a Hannah Ruth Violet Edinger – presumably the same Violet? – with Maud and Florence Banks, the last perhaps a sister to Maud. Hannah Ruth Violet Edinger died aged 63 and was buried on 24th May 1937.
By 1938 the occupants were Dorothy Campbell and David Sidney LAMBERT (1885-1966). David was promoted to Rear-Admiral on 10 July 1939 and received the KCB, OBE and DSO; he served as the Naval Paymaster Director-General and head of naval accounts until his reitrement in July 1942; he then served in the Ministry of Supply until 1944. He was the most senior British serving officer and, by some accounts, the most highly-paid. His portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Rather more prosaically, the post-box that is in the wall pillar between The Mere and The Red House was installed at his request so that he would not have to go into the village to post his mail. The Red House remained their home until after the end of the war; they had no children. By 1951 they were living at Pilgrim's Hill, Hill Top Lane and later, after Sir David had died in 1966 leaving an estate of some £20,000, his widow moved to Priors Mead in Quality Street.
The electoral roll for 1950 shows the new owners to be Anne Virginia (née McLeod) and Henry Alexander BENSON (1909-1995), later to become Lord Benson. Born in Johannesburg, he was brought to England at the age of 14 and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1932. His mother Florence's cousin was the senior partner of Cooper Brothers, and no doubt this helped in his attaining a position in the company and an annual salary of £250. Only two years later he was promoted to salaried partner, on £1,000 per year - at the age of 25. Henry and Anne had three children: Peter Macleod (1940) and twins Michael and Phyllida (1943).
He was a member of the Crawley Development Board at the time when Crawley was indeed one of the New Towns. Together with John Pears he turned Coopers from a modest domestic firm into a leading international one. He is remembered as a leading figure in the accountancy profession and in 1964 was knighted and later elected President of the English Institute of Chartered Accountants. He was the industrial adviser to the Bank of England. In June 1966 the Benson's only daughter, Phyllida, announced her engagement to Simon J. St F. DARE, of Georgetown, Guyana. They were married on 6th January the following year. Her brother Peter, the elder son, became engaged to Vanessa BEALE, of Poole, in December 1968. Michael, their younger son, married Rachel WOODS on 28th November 1969 in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Rachel was the eldest daughter of the Dean of Windsor. Peter Benson was the Best Man and the wedding was attended by the Queen. Their elder son Peter's engagement to Hermione Jane BOULTON, from Rutland, was announced in September 1970.
After the motorway had been built Sir Henry Benson said that he disliked eating his breakfast looking down on the passing traffic; he sold the house and moved to Emsworth, near Chichester. He died on 5th March 1995. During the 1970s the house was home to the GINZLER family. From about 1980 the house was owned and occupied by Nick DEFRIES, who still lives there. During 2006 a quadruple garage, with living accommodation above, was built to the west of the house.
The Georgian House, like The Red House, its neighbour to the west, also had 12 rooms.In 1911 the census return gives the household as: Walter Erskine STUART-MENTETH (34, managing director of a shipping wharf, born in Waterford); his wife Violet Grace (37, born in Liverpool); son Walter Granville (4); and daughter Frances Beryl (3). Five servants were 'living-in': Annie Laura LEEDER (32), Edith Mabel LADHAMS (15), Sarah SWEE (?) (31), Emily Elizabeth HITCH (21), and Jeanie Annie ROSEWELL (40). The family appears in the baptism register for St Katharine's church, when it recorded the birth of Lucy Violet on 3rd September 1911, a daughter for Walter Erskine and Violet Grace STUART-MENTETH. A son, Henry Alexander, was born on 26th August the following year. The house is shown on a map dated 1912, but its first mention in an Electoral Register is in that of 1914, when the (only) voter was listed as Walter Erskine MENTETH-STUART. The family was there for several years, although the rolls for 1922 et seq show the name as STUART-MENTETH.
Walter Erskine Stuart-Menteth was a son of Lord Menteth. He was born in 1877 and married Violet Grace LAFON in 1905: Walter and Grace were responsible for the building of the house. Their four children, two boys and two girls, born between 1906 and 1912, were brought up here. Walter’s father died in 1926, leaving the title to his elder surviving brother, but enough money to Walter for him to move to Godstone where ‘Bransfield’ was to be their family seat for at least three generations. He sold The Georgian House to Cyril Bowring. Both the Stuart-Menteth sons, Maj. Walter Granville and Cmdr Henry Alexander, were later separately mentioned in despatches in the Second World War. In 1930 the elder daughter Frances married Robert Maurice Alers HANKEY, the eldest son of the arch-mandarin Maurice Hankey, who was Cabinet Secretary from 1916 to 1938. In 1963 Robert succeeded his father as the second Baron Hankey, although Frances had died several years earlier in 1957. Her sister Lucy married Donald BRAIN, a serving officer, early in 1942, only to lose him, killed in action at Tobruk, the following year.
There is no entry in the register for the first part of 1926 but by the autumn the residents were Clara and Cyril BOWRING (of C T Bowring, the shipping and insurance group) and their three children, Derrick, Norman and Sonia. They had moved from 44 Albury Road, and prior to that they had lived at 74 Fox Shaw (the area to the west of the A23 just before the M23 joins it near Hooley). Cyril had been born in St Johns, Newfoundland, in 1887; he was one of ten children born to Laura. 1n 1906, aged 19, he travelled as a First Class passenger from New York to Liverpool on the SS Baltic, one amongst 1,800 passengers, arriving on 14 June. He appears to have been travelling on his own, although there was another Bowring family on board, that of Mr and Mrs Charles Bowring and their two young children. By 1911 Cyril was living with his family at 'Chislehurst', in the Sefton Park area of Liverpool, in a 14-room house (so even larger than The Georgian House). He married Clara Maria Pferdmenges in 1914: She had been born in the Toxteth Park area of Liverpool, the fourth of five children, and was the same age as Cyril.
On 30th December 1939 The Times announced the engagement of Paul Derrick Bowring, the elder son, to Moira GORDON, the younger daughter of the late D. M. Baird and Mrs Baird, of St John's, Newfoundland. The wedding took place at St Katharine's on 15th August 1940.
Soon after the outbreak of war Cyril offered all the village children the chance to sail to Newfoundland, where his brother lived; homes for them would be found ‘for the duration’. Nobody took up his generous offer, which was just as well; the evacuee ship was sunk by the Germans not long after leaving Liverpool.
During the war Cyril was in command of the Merstham contingent of the Home Guard, whose local headquarters was in Reigate. Norman Harvey BOWRING, their younger son, is listed in the British Legion Debt of Honour Register for the 1939-45 war; his death was announced in The Times of 7th February 1944 as 'missing from air operation, now believed to have lost his life'. Sonia Clary Bowring made her first appearance as a voter in 1945; her engagement to Ronald Russell PRENTICE, younger son of Mr and Mrs Robert R Prentice of Rio de Janeiro, was announced on 27th August 1947. The wedding took place on 26th June 1948 at St Katharine's, the service being conducted by Revd F. L. MacCarthy, chaplain of Balliol College, Oxford. Ronald and Sonia subsequently moved to Standish. Cyril died on 28th October 1949, aged 63, and was buried on 2 November. Shortly afterwards Clara moved to Bartonbury.
"The Times" of 20th March 1950 advertised the sale by auction of The Georgian House on 17th May. The new owner was Major Anthony P R ROLT. He had been an inmate of Colditz Castle and was a racing-car driver - every schoolboy's hero, according to Shaun Hagerty, who used to deliver newspapers along the road. Mr Rolt was the co-owner of a motor car development company in Frenches Road; the company developed a 4x4 traction system for cars but eventually sold out to Fergasons of Triumph Motor Cars.
The house was again advertised for sale in May 1953 and by the end of the year the PRESTON family – Agnes Evelyn and Ivor Kerrison, with daughters Phoebe Veronica, Jean F, Angela M and son David Christopher – had moved in from their previous home in Bournemouth, together with Iris SANDERSON. Kerrison, born on 21 May 1884, was a solicitor by trade but he was also a collector of some note. He had a particular interest in the works of William Blake; he was a Trustee of the William Blake Trust and a sponsor of the Blake Bicentenary celebrations. Like the Bowring family, the Prestons had also lost a son during the War. Phoebe, their eldest daughter became engaged to Francis Eugene ROMER, from Norfolk, and the engagement was announced on 21st January 1954. David followed suit soon afterwards by marrying Gillian Hawke COLTART at St Johns' Church, Hampstead on 3rd April 1956. The youngest daughter, Angela, announced her engagement to Adrian ALABASTER, son of Dr Alabaster of Pretoria and Mrs Alabaster of Coulsdon in February 1970. Jean never married and became a curator of medieval manuscripts in America (including at Princeton University) before retiring to Oxford in 1996. Agnes died on 29th May 1968, aged 81 and Kerrison was there until the end of the 1960s. In 1967 he donated his collection of books by and concerning William Blake to Westminster City Libraries. He died in 1974.
In 1974 The Georgian House became home to Anne and Dudley THOMPSON. They left in 1995 and there have been several changes of ownership since that date.
The house appears on a map dated 1910, and had nine rooms. The first occupants were Geoffrey and Alice DREW, confirmed by the 1911 census return. At that time the occupants were Geoffrey Harvey DREW (33, a member of the Stock Exchange), his wife Alice Phillipa (21, from Reigate) and daughter Daphne (aged 1). They had been married the previous year. They were able to employ three servants: Gertrude Mary PORTER (32), Edith Annie Mabel PORT (22) and Rose Harriet CHANDLER (30). Two PORT sisters were employed at The Red House, and it is likely that Edith was from the same family. Geoffrey's occupation was shown as “gentleman” when their daughter Daphne, born on 3rd March 1910, was baptised at St Katharine's the following month, and the Drew family appears on the electoral register at this address from 1911 to 1914 after which they moved to Mill Ash.
No names appear on the Electoral Rolls between 1914 and 1919, but on 13 February 1919 the baptism of John, son of Arthur James and Pearl WHITEHEAD, who were living at The White House, is recorded in the register of St Katharine's. John was just two months old.
The next resident appears to have been Florence Georgina RUSSELL, who is recorded as the only voter at the address in both 1919 and 1920. She had been born at Maidstone in 1878, and was a spinster.
From 1921 to 1925 the occupants were Clara and Frederick William DUCKHAM. Frederick was born on 17 October 1875, the eldest of four children born to Frederick Eliot and Maude Mary. His father, a civil engineer, was from Falmouth while his mother had been born in Manchester. Frederick was baptised on 9 July 1876 at Holy Trinity church, in Tulse Hill, although the family was living at the White House, Vanbrugh Fields, a road at the eastern end of Greenwich Park. The second son, Alexander, was also baptised at Holy Trinity, on 10 July 1877. In 1900 Frederick married Clara FRENCH at Yarmouth, in Norfolk: Clara had been born there in 1878. They set up home at 30 Beaconsfield Road, in Great Yarmouth, but very soon afterwards moved to Dover, where their four daughters were born: Mildred (1901), Dorothy (1903), Audrey (1907), and Zoe (1909). They employed a nurse, Jessie Fogg, and lived in a 10-roomed house. It seems, therefore, that they moved to Merstham some time between 1911 and 1921. While they were living there, Frederick regularly cycled to the station, about a mile away. His brother Alexander Duckham was the 'oil' Duckham. Frederick's parents, Frederick and Mary, later moved to 35 Spreighton Road, West Molesley. There is still a family connection with Merstham: one of the the Duckhams' great-grandsons managed an estate agent office in the village, at least until 2010.
In October 1925 the house was advertised for sale by auction. By 1926 Elizabeth and John MILLER had moved in, although they stayed only a few years. Mary and Frank JOSLIN, together with Eveline BARSTOW, were the occupants in 1930.
The name Matson appears for only a few years and is shown in the 1938 electoral roll as being between Tanglewood and The Georgian House, which is a clear indication that it was The White House renamed. In 1938 the occupants were Phillipa Ruth and Ruth Emily ROBINS, together with Gwendoline Violet RANSOM; the next year Christopher Edmund Ward Robins had joined the voters’ list but Gwendoline had left. In "The Times" of 23rd June 1939 Mr Robins was advertising Centre Court tickets at Wimbledon. On 27th September 1940 the engagement was announced of John KETTLE, of West Clandon, to Cynthia, 'second daughter of the late P. S. Robins of Hampstead and Mrs Robins, of Matson . . .'.
By the end of the war Edith ALLISON and Lily E GIBSON were residents. The house – by this time the property of W Gibson – was auctioned at the Market Hall, Redhill, on 27th February 1946. It was bought by the WOODYEAR family.
The house was divided into two some time after 1946.
became The Garth
The Garth first appears in the electoral rolls in 1950, when the occupants were Barbara J, Ethel M and Pamela M BUTCHER, together with Bertha L MANNING. A Margaret Butcher was living at Rondels in 1929.
The house was later occupied by three generations of the Woodyear family; in 1955 Louie, Raymond J and Sydney J D Woodyear were resident and they lived there until at least the end of the 1960s.
In the early 1990s Gillian DUNNET and her family lived at The Garth, from where Gillian ran a chiropody business.
The current owners are Clare CAFFREY and Jack PEASE.
Garthside first appears (in the electoral register) in 1955; the owners were Joan H and Donald H WARR, a bank manager and former RAF pilot. Joan was a daughter of the WOODYEAR family, which family lived in the neighbouring house.
The current owners have requested that their names are withheld from this history.
The first year for which Tanglewood appears on an electoral roll is 1915, when the occupant was Alfred (a mistake for Arthur?) MOY. There is no entry for 1918 (in common with several other houses in the road) but The Times of 23rd July 1919 carries an advertisement, placed by Mrs Moy, for a 'good plain' cook.
The baptism register for St Katharine's records, on 12th September 1919, the birth of a son Arthur Robert to Arthur, a stockbroker, and his wife Sybil Olive Alison. A daughter, Pamela Alison, was born on 18th February 1921. The Moy family was resident at Tanglewood until at least 1950. In 1929 and 1930 Margaret and Evelyn CONSTABLE were also living in the house; they had left in 1932 but in 1935 Annie Elizabeth HUNT and Doreen WILLIAMS had taken their place.
Pamela was confirmed at St Katharine's in March 1936 at the age of 15.
In 1930 a Mary Williams was at Innesfree, and in 1938 another Hunt family, Marjorie and Charles, was at Little Cottage.
In 1938 the only occupant of Tanglewood, apart from the Moys, was Ethel THOMAS (an Eileen Thomas was at Middle Fell in 1945). When war was declared the electoral roll recorded, as well as the Moys, May and Leonard Cecil DODD and Dorothy Myra PRICE.
On 13th October 1940 the death of Rose Rebecca JAAP (known as Cissie) was recorded; she was the widow of Thomas Jaap. No other occurrence of this family has been found.
At the end of the war the Moys once again had the house to themselves. Arthur was the Senior Partner of Moy Vandervell, Stockbrokers, and later became Father of the House in the Stock Exchange.
Arthur's death, on 15th July 1948, was reported by the London Gazette in its issue dated 11th January 1949; The Times of 13th November 1948 announced the engagement of the Moy's daughter, Pamela Alison, to Maxwell McGregor-Johnson, of Devizes. Two years later their son Arthur became engaged to Pamela Mary McKenlay, of Redhill.
Following Arthur's death Sybil, finding the house too big for her to manage, moved to Clavadel, exchanging houses with Grace and John ('Jock') HUNTER; in 1950 another Moy family, Ann and Cecil, was living at Kingsdown. The electoral roll of that year shows the Hunter family at Tanglewood together with Edith H LEIGH; by August 1951 Grace was advertising in The Times for a married couple as Cook-General and Houseman for a 'Scottish family in Surrey'. The wage was to be £6 10s weekly. By 1955 Edith Leigh had gone, replaced by David P SMITH and Mary BELL. During the 1960s a Mary and John BELL moved to Orchard End from Grange Close.
On 18th July 1958 Grace gave a dance for her daughter Priscilla at South Park, Bletchingley. Priscilla Mary's engagement to John PODE, of Glamorgan, was announced on 31st December 1959; and they were married on 17th December the following year in Eton College Chapel. The Bishop of Baths and Wells officiated.
In October 1966 David Haig, the Hunters' eldest son, announced his engagement to Julia Charlotte GASTON, of Sevenoaks. They were married on 17th January the following year, and went to the West Indies for their honeymoon.
The Hunters remained in the house until the end of the 1960s.
The London Gazette of 29th January 1970 carried a notice from the Land Registry relating to the purchase of Tanglewood and 'land to the north of Rockshaw Road' by the Minister of Transport.
The new owners were the PEPPAS family, who moved from Villa Katerina (formerly Court Lodge) further along the road. They promptly renamed the house Villa Katerina but the name was changed back again to Tanglewood by the next set of owners.
For several years the occupants were Carol and Francis EVANS. Francis was chairman of the Residents' Association for a couple of years until the family moved in 2006.
The map (undated, but probably mid to late 1960s) shows the original path of the road and the positions of the houses (although Withyshaw Way and Bytheway Lodge are not identified).
The London Gazette of 21st May 1926 carried a Land Registry notice stating that 'Land on the south side of Rockshaw Road' had been registered as freehold by William Harold WEBBE BA CBE of Shenfield, Queens Road, Caterham.
The house, Ash Pollard, was built for Constance and William WEBBE (later Sir Harold), who lived there from 1928. In 1930 they were joined by Margaret Mary BARTON, but she had left by 1935. By that year Rosemary Webbe, their only daughter, had come of age and two others voters were listed: Marjorie Sheeton RICE and Nora O'SHEA.
In 1934 Harold became chairman of the LCC, and he received a knighthood in 1938, by which time he and Constance were the only two voters shown at Ash Pollard. An announcement in the London Gazette of 25th April 1939 by the Land Registry recorded that 'land in Rockshaw Road, Merstham' was registered by W H WEBBE of Ash Pollard; the 1939 Register records that four servants were 'living in'. The same year John Harrison WEBBE (a younger son) had appeared on the electoral roll, and on 31st January 1940 the engagement of John Webbe to Barbara Alison COUZENS, of Ipswich, was announced.
On 7th January 1941 Rosemary married Thomas Anthony Stuart STEPHENS, from Coppice Lea. The service was held in St Faith's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, with the reception at the Savoy. Thomas, usually known as Anthony, was the younger son of Mr P. S. Stephens and the late Mrs Stephens OBE, from Coppice Lea. Their first son, John Stuart, was born on 3rd June 1942.
Mary UPTON was also shown on the electoral roll for that year and after the war a third Webbe sibling, William, was listed for the first time.
Harold was the Conservative MP for Westminster from 1939 and retired from the LCC in 1945. He was the founder of a hire purchase company that later became Mercantile Credit.
The London Gazette of 20th February 1945 lists a Henry Bernhard BRANDT, a merchant banker of Wm Brandt's Sons & Co., of Ash Pollard.
On 1st May 1946, during a debate in the house of Commons, Sir Harold referred to the National Health Service as containing “deplorable, reactionary and destructive proposals . . .”. He also compared Nye Bevan to Adolf Hitler, describing the creation of the NHS as a “hotchpotch of political prejudice”.
In 1950 the Webbes are shown together with Brian H WEBBE and Joyce PERRY; she appears on the electoral roll at Little Shaw five years later.
The Webbes (now listed as Lady Constance and Sir Harold) were still living in the house in 1955, together with Violet, George and John WAINWRIGHT. Horace AKEHURST (from Pickett Wood) became gardener to Sir Harold Webbe in the early 1960s, and he and other gardeners in the road carried off most of the Horticultural Society prizes. Ash Pollard was highly regarded for the beauty of its garden and many people walked along the road at the weekend just to admire it.
In the 1960 electoral register Sir Harold is the only member of the family shown. John Wainwright was still there, and two other voters were Harriet and Victor ROBINS.
Sir Harold Webbe died in 1965 aged 80, leaving a little over £68,000. "The Times" of 22nd July 1965 carried an advertisement for the sale of the house, by directors of the late Sir Harold. The package, extending to 12 acres, included the house (with three reception rooms and seven bedrooms), a modern detached bungalow, a modern semi-detached gardener's cottage in the village and four acres of Let Agricultural Land. The advertisement was repeated, this time without a photograph, in the newspaper of 7th October the same year. By that time news of the coming of the M23 had been broadcast, and no bidder was forthcoming; the house was demolished at the start of the 1970s.
After that time Horace Akehurst divided his time, working at The Mere and Heronswood among others. He was chairman and then president of the Horticultural Society for many years.
There are no entries in the electoral registers for this house prior to 1960, when the occupant until 1969 was I M CHAWNER. She remained there until the house was demolished.
Withyshaw is shown on a map dated 1910, when it is the only house to the east of The White House.
The first occupants to appear in the electoral register, in about 1915, were Annie Helena & Alfred Ernest PASSMORE. Six years later the electoral register added Bryan Alfred Passmore, their only son. Annie was, at one time, an opera singer and a small theatre was built into part of the house. Alfred wrote an early history of Merstham that was published in 1912. On 19th July 1924 Annie and Alfred's elder daughter, Margaret Annie, married Eric Adrian STANWAY at Chaldon Church; and the following year Bryan married Barbara CHURCH on 23 June at St Peter's, Eaton Square.
The family remained there for many years, although there are no listings for the house after 1926 until Kelly's Directory for 1934 lists Alfred as a ‘private resident’. Annie and Alfred reappear in 1935 together with Mavis Christabel, a presumed daughter, and three other names: Kate CHAPPLE, Frances Laura KNIGHTS and Mabel Victoria SOUTH.
By 1950 the house had changed hands and the new occupants were Joyce M & Derrick J COOK together with Roxina E & Kenneth KEMP. The 1951 Kelly's Directory shows Derrick Cook as the owner, and the Cook family were there until the demolition of the house. The London Gazette of both 14 October 1966 and 29 August 1968 carried notices from the Land Registry relating to the purchase of Withyshaw.
This house does not appear in any list before 1960, in which year the voters shown there were Constance & Robert COUSINS. It is likely that it was built on a portion of land divided off from Withyshaw. The 1966 Reigate Directory shows the occupant in that year as L J HOOK.
The house does not appear before 1950, when the electoral register shows Isabel F & George E MILLS and Patricia I WHYTE. Kellys Directory for 1951 shows the occupant as Lt Cmdr George Edward Mills, RD, RNR. The Mills family, together with Patricia Whyte, were listed in 1960 and presumably stayed in the house until its demolition.
ByTheWay (or By-The-Way) appears in some Kelly's Directory listings, but under 'Bletchingley' rather than 'Merstham', although the latter is the postal address. The house was therefore to the east of Ash Pollard and one of those demolished when the motorway was built.
Lewis Maurice HAWKINS and his wife Mary Woods were living here by 1913. Five years later they were still in the house but by 1922 the only name listed was Silvia May THOMPSON although, presumably, her husband Roger was still alive at that time. Kelly's Directories for 1934-1938 all show the 'private resident' as Mrs Thompson and the 1935 electoral register shows Silvia May with Anthony Thompson, her younger son, together with Amelia & Arthur SHERLOCK. On 19 November 1935 the engagement of Anthony Thompson to Ethel HEGINBOTHAM was announced.
"The Times" of 28th April 1947 carried an announcement of the death of Sylvia May Thompson of 'By The Way', the widow of Captain Roger E. Thompson. She had been the fourth daughter of William GARDINER, of Rockshaw (presumably Rockshaw House) and left a little over £60,000.
On 12 November 1947 the sale by auction of the house was announced in "The Times". The property was advertised as having two large reception rooms and six bedrooms, standing in over five acres. The announcement also included a 'cottage and second garage with large music room attached', for sale as a separate lot, but it was stated that the cottage would not be sold until the main house had been disposed of.
The 1950 register lists Alison F & Archibald W GILES and Dorothy M & William A HILL-UPPERTON as the voters. The Giles family continue to be shown until 1960 giving, in that year, Dr Alison F, Archibald W, Christopher P and Agnes G. Dorothy M PARSONS also appears as a voter in 1960. A Mabel and John Parsons lived at Mill Ash Cottage from 1929 to at least 1936, although there is no indication that Dorothy was part of that family.
There is no entry for 1965 or for any later year for ByTheWay. The first occurrence of Saranda Hill is in the 1966 Reigate Directory, which shows Basil W DENNING (the first Director of Studies of the London Business School) living there with his family. He had left the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant in one of the voluntary reduction schemes and gone to Harvard to study for an MBA. He is reputed to be the only Englishman to achieve a distinction on graduation.
It seems that the house was renamed sometime after 1960, either by the Giles family or by the Dennings. Saranda is a city in southern Albania, opposite the island of Corfu. It is an important town and where most Albanian couples spend their honeymoon. Is this the connection with the house?
In November 1966 the house was on the market with Mann & Co., at an asking price of £22,000; the advertisement confirms the occupants as Mr & Mrs Denning.
Later still, in 1971 or 1972, the house was rented to the RILEY family, who moved from Noddyshall. However, with the imminent demolition of the house, forced by the M23 construction, they moved once more to Lowood.
There are no entries either before or after the 1922 electoral roll, at which date the occupants were Annie & James Arthur BRADFORD; although these same two names are shown also at Mill Ash for the same year.
Guvesne is a most unusual name but one possible source is that Guvesne (now Assiros) was the site of the advanced HQ/supply base for the British forces in the Thessaloniki campaign. There is a possibility, therefore, that this house was named or built by someone who had served there during the First World War. Intriguingly, in the same theatre of war there is a reference to an attack on 'Picket Bank' and there is a possible connection here with Pickett Wood.
The house appears in the electoral roll for the first time in 1960, giving the registered voters as Janet E & Henry R FAULKNER. There is no entry for 1965 but the 1966 Reigate Directory shows the owner as E LEWIS.
This was a 'tied cottage' within the grounds of Pickett Wood. The first recorded entry is for 1925, when the recorded voters were Gertrude & Ernest POTT.
After 1926 there are no voters shown at the cottage until Margaret & George Frederick LUCAS appear in 1935. There is then a further gap until 1950, when Christiana & Frederick BEETON are listed; they too appear for only one year. From 1960 until demolition the owner is Norah I KIRSOPP, who moved to Greenacre.
Paxton Hood WATSON, who designed many of the earlier houses along the road, lived here although he does not appear in the electoral roll until 1913. In earlier years he and his wife Hilda Mary lived in The Barn House in Quality Street, where three of their children were born: Reginald Paxton, on 28th June 1905; Margaret Paxton, on 18th November 1908; and Elizabeth Louise Paxton on 16th November 1911. A fourth child, Peter Paxton, was born on 18th March 1914 by which time the family had moved to Pickett Wood. It seems that they employed Reginald JACKSON as a gardener, as a daughter Elsie Elizabeth Lily was born on 15th March 1915 to Reginald and his wife Lily Emma at this address, although they may have lived in the Cottage.
"The Times" reported the sale of the house on 16th February 1918 (although no price was given) and later that year the registered voters at the house were Dorothy Gertrude & Michael Bruce Urquhart DEWAR. George St Quinton BEASLEY and his wife Winifred May, originally from Hampstead, leased Lydiat (in Church Hill) from April 1914 for 21 years and lived there, renaming the house Ronda, until they moved to Pickett Wood in October 1921. On 9th March 1922 Mrs Beasley placed an advertisement in "The Times" for a house-parlourmaid and housemaid to work with the three maids already employed in the household. The house in Church Hill is now called Baddiley House. Notwithstanding these changes of occupants, the house remained the property of the Watson family.
Paxton Watson died in 1947, but in 1925 his sister Georgina, who still lived in Quality Street, sold the house to Gen. Sir Walter CAMPBELL, who became Quarter Master General to the forces. The house is not shown in the electoral register for the years between 1926 and 1935, although the family was still there at the time: "The Times" of 4th December 1930 announced the forthcoming marriage of Eileen Isabella, elder daughter of Sir Walter and Lady Campbell, to Charles DUNPHIE; this took place on 9th April 1931, and an extensive report of the wedding was published in "The Times" the following day.
The death, at the age of 52, and subsequent burial on 31st January 1934 of Ellen Jane HARLAND is recorded; she was possibly a servant living at the house.
Horace AKEHURST was employed as a gardener during the 1930s and lived on the premises, although he was not listed as a voter. On 1st April 1938 a daughter Marion Gladys Sheila was born to him and his wife Lucy. Horace was very much a character of Rockshaw Road during the post-war years and later he became gardener to Sir Harold Webbe of Ash Pollard.
In 1935 the voters at the house were Gladys Isabella & Walter Campbell and Mary Elsie FOWLER. General Campbell had retired in 1927; he died on 11th August 1936 aged 72, leaving Isabella and two daughters; he was buried two days later. "The Times" of 12th August carried a brief obituary. General Campbell left an estate of a little under £11,000. The house was advertised for sale 'at a tempting price' the following month. It included nine bedrooms, a 32ft lounge, three other reception rooms, two garages, a tennis court, and an excellent cottage, all in over seven acres of land. Lady Campbell also placed an advertisement in "The Times" for the services of her gardener, G. LUCAS, aged 37, recommending him as an 'excellent gardener'. This was George Frederick, who appeared on the electoral roll at Picket Wood Cottage with his wife in 1935.
Another Campbell family, that of Doon Campbell, chief correspondent for Reuters during the war, lived at Whitmore; and a later generation was at Quest Cottage towards the end of the century.
The house again appeared for sale in "The Times" of 8th June 1938.
Following General Campbell's death the house became the property of Gen. Sir John ANDERSON (of ‘Anderson shelter’ fame). He does not appear on any electoral register at the house, as he bought the house primarily as a home for his two children (he was, by that time, a widower). His ministry and parliamentary duties required him to live in central London; in 1941 he married Ava Wigram, and they continued to live in his Westminster house.
Pickett Wood was rented by Mr (Later Sir) Kenneth Preston (another Preston family lived at The Georgian House during the 1950s). He was Chairman of the Stone Group of companies, which was engaged in railway and marine engineering, and later became Chairman of the British Olympic Yachting Team after he and his two younger brothers Bryan and Richard all represented Britain as Olympic yachtsmen.
In March 1942 the BRAMALL family was advertising for a nurse or nanny to look after a 17-month-old girl and a baby expected in April.
In "The Times" of 9th June 1945 Sir John Anderson advertised the sale of a substantial quantity of furnishings and furniture prior, perhaps, to selling the house.
By 1950 the house was occupied by Alice M & John V BAINS, with Arthur C HEARN also listed. It was advertised for sale by auction in "The Times" of 16th April 1953.
After 1954 there is no further listing until 1960, when Kathleen M and Col Frederick C HILTON-SERGEANT CB CBE were living in the house with daughters Valerie and Stefanie. On 4th June 1958 Valerie's engagement to Ulrich ARNDT was announced in "The Times", and ten years later in May 1969 her younger sister Stefanie became engaged to Mark HARWOOD, from Forest Row. Ké (Kathleen) moved to 'Home Cottage', in Quality Street, where she died in 2005. She is buried in St Katharine's graveyard.
On 7th July 1929 Enid Margaret PARSONS, the daughter of John and Mabel Rosina PARSONS, was baptised at the age of two months. John was a chauffeur. A further two children were born in the following years; Audrey on 27th June 1932 and Allan John on 24th March 1936. The electoral register for 1935 shows the voters as Mabel Rosina & John Parsons together with Joyce Jane WILDMAN.
Following 1935 there is a gap in the registers until 1950, when the registered voters are Jane & Charles BELSHAM. They are listed for just one year; the register for 1960 once more shows Mabel & John Parsons, so it is likely that the house was rented out for some years.
This house appears for the first time in 1915, when the occupants were Alice Phillipa and Geoffrey Harvey DREW who had moved from The White House. Mill Ash was another of Paxton Watson's designs and the garden was inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. It was a large house, with eight bedrooms, four reception rooms and two bathrooms. Alice and Geoffrey's son, Jocelyn Harvey, was born on 13th December 1916 and baptised at St Katharine's.
In 1922 the BRADFORD family, Annie and James Arthur, were shown as the registered voters. They also appear, in the same electoral register, at Bytheway Lodge. It is possible that they lived at the latter address but worked at Mill Ash, as in 1925 the Drew family are listed once more. After 1926, however, there were no voters listed at the property until the appearance of Dorothy Elizabeth and Lacey Rushton REEVES in 1935; Irene Mary EVANS and Annie May JONES were also listed for that year. The Reeves family remained at the house for some years, and on 19th June 1943 N. James A. Lacey Reeves and Caroline E. Reeves celebrated their Golden Wedding, having been married in Highbury in 1893.
On 1st September 1948 James Lacey Reeves announced his engagement to Elise CARNIE, from Edinburgh. A son born on 24th February 1951 was followed by daughter Caroline on 18th February 1953 and by a second son, Cameron, on 2nd March 1955. The following year the family moved to Piemede. James died in 2002; Elise lives in Chichester and Cameron still lives in Merstham, with his three children and one granddaughter.
Dorothy and Lacey's daughter Elizabeth Ann was first listed in the electoral register in 1950, and her engagement to Peter ALLEN, of Croydon, was announced on 22nd June 1951.
New owners, Daphne B & Enid G BURTON, appeared in 1960. Enid was listed, alone, in 1966 and 1970.
The house was used as Merstham’s VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) during the First World War. The VAD and a Red Cross Detachment (Surrey 84) were asked to equip the house as a hospital, primarily for the old soldiers who guarded bridges and for the wounded who returned from France. It held at least twenty-five men, and was always full. The medical officer was Walter Weir, the stepson of Dr Crickitt who had been Merstham's first GP.
During September 1922 "The Times" carried the news that Chaldon Rise, with nine bedrooms and ten acres of ground, was to be auctioned the following month.
By 1925 Chaldon Rise was home to Marion Sybil & Stephen Cecil WATNEY (associated with the Mercers’ Livery Company; Stephen was at one time the Master); other voters listed in that year were Dora Elisabeth GRANGE, Millie RANCE and Amy RAVEN. In 1926 a further voter appeared on the list; John Lewis Watney, a son. He married Margaret Adeline POPE, from Wellington, Somerset, on 18th April 1931. Kelly's Directory for 1936 shows Stephen Watney as the owner, but there are no further entries until 1950.
At the end of the second war it became a repatriation centre for war wounded, with Dr Weir, Merstham’s first G. P., as the M. O.
The 1950 electoral register continues to show the Watney family resident, now with Ellen M LAVER and Alice M WASHINGTON. The 1954 Kelly's Directory lists Stephen Watney as owner; but he died soon afterwards as "The Times" of 20th May 1954 listed his estate at just over £50,000.
The next entry in the electoral roll, in 1960, gives Wendy PRICE as the sole voter.
By 1966 it was occupied by Hope and Geoffrey P. ELIOT (Geoffrey was Head of Lloyds). On 21st July 1964 the engagement of their eldest son Robin Francis to Judith Mary BACKHOUSE, of Beaconsfield, was announced; five years later, on 31st December 1969, his brother Christopher announced his engagement to Jane HULTON, of Seaford.
The house is now once again a Nursing Home (see Standish).
This, presumably a cottage in the grounds of the larger house, first appears in the electoral register for 1935, when the occupants were Rose & Frederick Charles KING. Another King family lived in Ashcombe Road from 1936 to 1965. The next entry for the cottage is in 1950, when an additional voter, Colin King, is listed. After that date there is no further listing for the cottage.
The Croft appears in the London Gazette dated 16th May 1941, where a Land Registry notice rstates that 'The Croft, Rockshaw Road' had been registered freehold by H AUERBACH of Heathersett, Reigate. There is a later mention of The Croft in The Times of 11th July 1941,when it was reported that the house had recently been sold. It seems that 'H' (Helena) moved next door to Piemede.
The first appearance of this house in the electoral registers is for 1960, when the voter was Constance E HARVEY, who seems to have moved here from Piemede, the house next door.. She lived there until 1970, when she sold the house to the Buckland family from Fairmead.
The house does not appear in the register until 1950, in which year the occupant was Helena AUERBACH, together with Lily BRIDGES, May BURRIDGE and Constance E HARVEY. Helena died on 24th August 1955 (report in the London Gazette dated 6th December).
The house was sold by auction on 24th July 1956, and bought by Elise and James REEVES, the son of Lacey Reeves (see Mill Ash). Piemede was a little smaller than Mill Ash, having seven bedrooms, two of these on the second floor attic level. The Reeves family left in 1966, having advertised the house for sale by auction in July of that year, and the house was bought by Peter WYKEMAN. His career was in iron and steel, first in London and then with the EEC in Brussels. Most regrettably, a builder's blowlamp caused a serious fire in the loft of the house and all his family papers and records were lost. The London Gazette of 6th July 2000 reported the death of Daphne Olivia Maria WYKEMAN 'previously of Piemede, Rockshaw Road' on 28th April.
Greenacre (sometimes Greenacres) first appears in the electoral register in 1935, listing Mabel Mary & Eric Hugh O'DONNELL together with Edward KETTLE. They celebrated their Silver Wedding on 17th June 1944, having been married in 1919 at Spanish Place.
An obituary notice in the Gloucester Journal of 25th May 1946 reports the death of Mr Walter Stewart Davis, of Longhope (a village about nine miles west of Gloucester). Probate was granted to his son, Captain William W Davis, RN, and his wife Lady Gertrude E Davis, of Greenacre.
"The Times" reported the birth of a son to Lady Elizabeth, wife of Captain W. W. DAVIS, on 9th September 1946. The baby was christened Hugh Ross at St Katharine's on 20th October.
In July 1949 the engagement was announced of Erica Marie-Josephe O'Donnell and Robert Theodore Holmes REDPATH, of Cambridge. Erica was the O'Donnell's only daughter.
Following a gap of some years with no listed voters, in 1950 Eric O'Donnell was still there, now with Erica H (his wife?), and Alexandra GRANT.
Following a rather longer gap Peter L MONEY (a member of the Coutts family) is shown as the owner from 1966. He was the only resident of the road (at the time) to cycle to the station each day, and he was easily recognisable with his long overcoat, which somehow never caught in the wheels, and his brown cap similar to that of a racing jockey.
"The Times" of 2nd January 1973 reported the death of Norah Irene KIRSOPP on the previous New Year's Eve. She was 80 and had previously lived in Pickett Wood Cottage.
Before the second (now the ‘fast’) railway line was laid the site of this house was close to the Merstham windmill. When the latter was demolished, and the bridge built over the railway, parts of the mill including the grinding-stones were used to build the lychgate at St Katharine’s church.
The house was built to the design of Sydney William NEIGHBOUR in 1921-22. He, his wife Gwenydd Joyce and their son Jocelyn Rupert ("Jock") were the first occupiers, together with Olive MARCHANT. She was not a relative of the family and was presumably a nanny or other servant. On 12th April 1923 a second son, Oliver Wray, always known as Tim, was born. Colonel Sydney Neighbour was an architect and as well as designing Heart's Delight he designed the Village Hall and the Village Club, as well as providing designs for the first houses in Brook Street.
The Neighbours employed a governess, Miss Gittens, who lived in Reigate with her mother. Norman Bowring (from The Georgian House) was taught with Jock, and later Miss Gittens gave classes for Tim, Sonia Bowring (The Georgian House), Phillip Houlder (Little Shaw) and Jim Reeves (Mill Ash). Sonia remembers her as being very strict, but kind.
Gwen Neighbour never learnt to drive and was often to be seen cycling to and from the village. She attended St Katharine's regularly and belonged to the Mothers' Union. Gwenyth Sellon, from Albury Edge, was a great friend. Col Neighbour was very friendly with Revd Wilkinson, the Rector at St Katharine's and chaplain to the forces.
Jock, born about the end of WW1, followed his father into the army.
Olive Marchant died in 1959 and Sydney William on 5th June the following year; he was buried at St Katharine's on 10 June 1960. In July 1971 the engagement was announced between Lieutenant-Colonel Jocelyn Neighbour and Pamela WHITE, from Northumberland. Gwenydd survived her husband by 20 years, dying on 29th December 1980.
In November 1981 Jocelyn and Tim sold the house to Brenda and Terence SMITH. It was the wish of the Neighbour family that the new owners should not continue to call the house Heart's Delight, so they chose the name of Clouds for it.
Tim worked in the Music Manuscripts department at the British Library and now lives in London.
The first record of the house (Opsis) dates from July 1938, when Merstham Manor Ltd. sold one acre of land to a builder named Guy Morgan for £350. The house was built during the following year and sold, on 14th November, to Ivan Collingwood BARLING and his wife Mabel. Mr Barling, born in Hawkshead, Lancashire, in 1865, paid £2,400 for the house; he was a Civil Engineer and Barrister from Devon.
The London Gazette of 19th December 1947 shows a Ruth Rosa NEUWECK as housekeeper at Opsis.
Ivan died on 30th May 1950 aged 84, leaving a little over £94,000, but Mabel remained there until she too died two years later, on 10th July 1952. She was 83. Their son Ivan Theodore, born on 15th December 1900 in Tynemouth, inherited the house. He was a GP and lived in Devon; he sold Opsis to Thomas Henry MAYER and his wife Lilian on 2nd February 1953. The Mayers were comparatively local, from West Wickham; they paid £5,750 for the house. Thomas was the chief architect for Marks & Spencer; he and Lilian had three children, the eldest of whom was Alan, who attended Whitgift School. Five of the family were confirmed at St Katharine's: Sandra in May 1956; Thomas and Lilian in December 1960; Nigel, aged 15, and Colin, aged 13, in May 1961. The family lived there for ten years. The London Gazette of 14th November 1961 carried a Land Registry notice whereby 'T H & L E Mayer, of Opsis' were registering a plot of land in Broadstone, Dorset, and in March 1963 they put the house up for auction in Redhill Market Hall.
The successful bidder was Nora Patricia ROBERTS, a spinster from Wimbledon. Her bid was £12,000. However, she stayed less than a year and sold for not much more (£12,750) to Christine and Christopher GLOVER in February 1964. The Glovers, with their three daughters Jennifer Imogen, Beverly and Nicola, remained at Opsis for twenty-five years. Chris had been an RAF pilot during the war and later, following a degree at Cambridge, managing director of an international management consultancy. In October 1975 Jennifer, the eldest daughter, announced her engagement to Michael BURKE, from Mansfield.
In October 1989 Beverley and Martin BURR, a local businessman, bought the house. Very soon after moving in with their two sons, Christopher and Daniel, they extended the house considerably and renamed it Badgerwood, a name chosen by Christopher.
Dormers was built in 1938, and first appears on the electoral roll of 1939, showing the occupants as Mary and Harry Archibald SPARKS. Also listed is Mary A Sparks, presumably a daughter. In April 1963 the property was advertised in "The Times", for sale by auction on 3rd May.
Following the Sparks Benjamin and Muriel CHRISTOFORIDES, originally from Greece, with children Susan, David and Elleni, were in residence. Muriel died on 10 April 1969 following a long illness, and was buried at St Katharine's on 14 April. The family moved in 1972, when Mr Christoforides's business moved from London to Cornwall.
From that time until 2001 the residents were Christina and Mike BANCROFT, with Anna, Nicola, Juliet and Sophie. Mike was a chartered accountant, and Christina had been a nursing sister in London. The Bancrofts moved to Somerset.
The current owners are Chelle and Adrian ALLSPACH-BLADES, with baby Kobi.
A document from the Land Registry records the purchase of the land by Charles and Edith Lilian SELL from Merstham Manor Ltd. The frontage was 120ft and the depth 363ft, giving an area of exactly one acre. The cost was £350.
The first electoral roll entry is for 1939. Edith and Charles lived here until at least 1950, after which time they moved to Marlpit Avenue, Coulsdon, where Charles died in August 1957.
The house was slightly damaged by the doodlebug that hit Innesfree in August 1944.
The next occupiers, by 1955, were Muriel and Ernest BATES. The name of the house was changed to Russetts some time after 1964.
During the 1960s and 1970s the owners were the BRODIE family, whose daughter married Mr A Logie and moved to Relf House.
Later owners were Shaun and Sandy METCALFE; following Sandy's death in 2003 Shaun moved to Worcester Park and the current owners are Nigel and Marilyn LUSON.
The source of the name Innesfree is uncertain, but it was possibly taken from the poem The Lake Isle of Innesfree by W B Yeats.
The first voter to be recorded in the house, in 1925, was Adelaide SPALDING. The electoral register for 1929 shows three Spalding women (Adelaide Frederica, Adelaide Frederica Howard and Cicely Joyce Howard) and a Caroline GARLAND. The two with the name of 'Howard' were daughters of Adelaide Frederica, who was the second wife of John Howard SPALDING.
John Howard SPALDING, born around 1847 in Kentish Town, was a wholesale stationer, as was his father Thomas. His first marriage, registered at Hastings, was in 1868 to Maria Hibble HIGGS. By 1871, at which date he was a publisher's clerk, they were living in Kensington at 24 Elgin Road. Maria had been born in Sudbury (Suffolk); she was about three years older than John. They had a daughter Maria Howard, born in London in about 1869, and three servants. John and Maria were respectively 24 and 27. Over the next 11 years a further seven children were born, all but one of them girls. All the children were given 'Howard' as a second forename. By 1881 the family consisted of Maria, Ethel, Lilian (these births were registered at Kensington); Margaret, Hilda, Dorothy (all registered at Bromley); and Muriel. Her birth was registered at Brentford, which was the registration district for Ealing Common, where the family lived. One son, Thomas, had been born in 1870, while the family was living near Notting Hill, but he had died in 1881; the death had been registered at Hastings, as he had been staying near there (at Ore) with his grandparents - perhaps he had been taken there to recuperate after an illness, away from the London smog.
The death of Maria, John's wife, was registered (at Brentford) in early 1881. This was around the same time that their youngest child Muriel was born, so it is possible that Maria died in childbirth. The 1881 census shows the family living at Ealing Common. John was a 'Wholesale Stationer & Paper Maker'. With him were Margaret H and Elizabeth Higgs, both sisters-in-law, aged 28 and 25 respectively; they are both shown as 'taking charge of house, etc.'. John was 34; Maria would have been 37. The household also boasted four servants. The 1891 census shows five of the daughters (May/Maria, Ethel, Margaret, Hilda and Dorothy) living in Mount Park Crescent, Ealing. May/Maria is shown as 'Head' of the household, and 'living on her own means'; Ethel was a 'student'; while the other four were all scholars. Living with them were Winifred and Ada HIGGS, both described as cousins; Winifred was a Governess, though whether she taught the Spalding children or worked elsewhere isn't known. The household also ran to two servants, so presumably it was being funded by John from wherever he was (he has not been found in this census). Lilian was living with Thomas and Louisa Spalding at their home in Horton Kirby, a small village about three miles east of Swanley, in Kent. Thomas was a 'Paper Maker' and almost certainly John's elder brother. The youngest daughter, Muriel, was a 'visitor' at Chapel Street, Colchester, where she was staying with a widow, Elizabeth Cull (?) but no relationship is given. Also staying there was Margaret Hibble HIGGS, aged 38, the same Margaret helping John ten years earlier following his wife's death.
John's second marriage, 11 years after Maria's death, was to Adelaide Frederica WOOLF, who was about 13 years younger than he; the marriage was registered in Marylebone. They had five children: Adelaide Frederica Howard (1893, Brentford), Olive Grace Howard (1895, Brentford), Phyllis Ellen Howard (1898, Brentford), Cicely Joyce Howard (1899, Hampstead), John Howard (1900, Hampstead). In 1901 the family was living in Hampstead, at 9 Hampstead Hill Gardens. Lilian, a daughter from John's first marriage (and the only one to still be living with him), was aged 28 and a violin teacher. The household also included five servants. In 1911 the family was living in Ealing, at 4 Westbury Road, a large house with 13 rooms. Lilian Howard was a 'teacher of music'; the other children were all at school. The family employed three servants, a cook, housemaid and nurse. John died towards the end of 1916, aged 70.
In 1931 the voters shown were Adelaide Frederica, Adelaide Frederica Howard, Olive Grace, Phyllis Ellen Howard, and John Howard (all with surname Spalding). The following year they were joined by Cicely Joyce Howard Spalding: the family (or at least Adelaide's part of it) was complete. Two years later, Cicely was living elsewhere and John had married Kathleen Maud BROWN; they lived at Lynwood between 1935 and 1939. By 1935 Cicely had reappeared at Innesfree and all four spinster daughters were once again living at home. In February 1942 the family was advertising for a nurse-companion for an 'old lady' (presumably Adelaide Frederica, who would have been 82 by this time).
The house was hit by a doodlebug at about 10.00 a.m. on Thursday 3rd August 1944, and all those inside were killed; Cicely, Olive, and mother Adelaide are recorded in the British Legion Debt of Honour Register (as civilian deaths). All three were buried at St Katharine's on 9th August. A Margaret Clara GIDDINGS, aged 78, was killed in the same incident.
Innesfree was rebuilt as The New House (shown in the photograph). By 1950 the new occupants were Dorothy and Robin A F JOHNSTON together with Evelyn M O BROWNE (a Rebecca Browne was living at Oakwood in 1945) and they lived there until at least 1955, after which they moved to Rondels. During the same period a George and Barbara Johnston were living at Lowood, practically opposite; whether these two families were unrelated has not yet been established.
Towards the end of the 1960s the owners were Reginald Peter MERRITT, his wife Frances, and his mother Evelyn Frances Caroline. Reginald had been born towards the end of 1913 in the Lewisham area. He married Frances I PARTRIDGE, who was some eight years his junior, just after the end of war, in 1946, in Dorset (Frances had been born in the Sherborne area). Evelyn died at the age of 87, and was buried on 24 October 1973, but Peter remained there until his death at the age of 67 on 31st August 1981 (he was buried at St Katharine's on 4 September). This was announced in the London Gazette of 22nd January 1982.
At the end of the 20th century the owners were Freda and Eric PHILPOTT, although Eric died during the first decade of the 21st century.
In October 1930 Merstham Manor Ltd. sold the land for this house to Carl Ian Victor GIBSON.
However, no house was built until 1935 when Mr R J S LUND commissioned an architect, Edmund B Clarke, to design the house, which he named Spaxton. It seems that Mr Lund moved into the house in 1937, possibly bringing the name of the house from the village in Somerset about 17 miles south of Weston-super-Mare whence he came.
The house had been sold by April 1938, and the new owners were Gladys Louise and William Herbert STACEY. The birth of a daughter Jennifer Ann on 7th March 1939 is recorded; Vera Mary PAGE was also a voter at Spaxton in that year.
On 28th May 1941 Cecil Emily Stacey, youngest daughter of the late William Stacey, died at a nursing home in Reading, but no connection with the family at Spaxton has been established.
There is no entry of any voter living at the house in 1945. Gladys and William Stacey reappeared in 1950 and were there until at least the end of the 1960s. William was a Director of Troughton & Young (Holdings) Ltd. Their daughter Jennifer, by now aged 26, announced her engagement to John MELTZER, of New York, on 28th December 1965.
Later owners were Marjorie HANAN in April 1971, and Mary Elizabeth and Eric Gordon WOOD from October 1977.
The present owners, Beverley and Phil HITCHINS (Phil is a former local government councillor), moved into the house in January 1994.
One of the first families to live in the house was that of Louisa E and William F S SALMON. They are shown in the 1959 Kelly's Directory and in the electoral register for 1960.
The name had been changed to Ganymede by 1964; the London Gazette dated 16th June 1964 carried an announcement that 'Jane Rosemary SYKES of Ganymede, Rockshaw Road, renounces the use of her former surname of ROBSON'. John H SYKES and his wife Jane R are listed in the 1965 electoral register, and later still the name of the house was changed again to Kingfisher Cottage.
The current owners are Susan and David MORTIMER, who have extended the cottage.
The first record of the house appears in the electoral register for 1928, at which time the occupants were Sybil May and Frank Harold SMITH. Sybil had been born in Merstham and was educated at Roedean.
In 1930 another name appeared, that of Florence May ROBERTS; possibly she was employed as a maid. She had gone two years later, to be replaced by Gladys Hilda HILL; three years earlier she had been living at Kingsdown and was, presumably, in domestic service.
On the outbreak of war Harold’s business was evacuated to the West Country; however, Sybil’s love of Merstham was such that she refused to join him and, despite serious injuries that caused her to walk with her upper body parallel to the ground, insisted on continuing to live at Roemarten. Harold travelled to Merstham when he could. After the war his business remained in the West Country and he spent many years commuting from Merstham for the working week.
Mrs Brodie, who lived at Russetts during the 1960s and 1970s, often visited Sybil and showed her much kindness.
Harold died on 8th May 1966 (notice of death in the London Gazette dated 14th October); he predeceased Sybil by several years and she died, still at Roemarten, in the 1970s. She appears to hold the record for longevity in the Road.
The London Gazette of 15th January 1985 referred to 'Kevin William KEEP of Roemarten, Rockshaw Road', indicating that the house name was changed after that date.
The current occupiers are Andrea, Dawn, Kevin, Martin and Paul KEEP.
Sarum and Fircroft occupy part of tthe site formerly occupied by two of the Noddyshall cottages.
They were demolished towards the end of the 1950s, and the land was then used to build the two bungalows.
The current owners of each house have requested that their names are withheld from this history.
'The Close', so named (unofficially) by the residents, is a private road. The houses are listed starting from the south-western corner, proceding along the western side of the road to the far end, then returning towards the major road along the eatern side.
Shepherd’s Corner does not appear in the electoral rolls until after 1955; it was built on part of the land released by the demolition of two of the Noddyshall cottages. In the Reigate Directory for 1966-68 it was owned by Anwyn and Nicholas O DANIELS. Nick was an insurance broker and became Director in charge of the US business of insurance broker Sedgwick. They later moved to Turner's Hill.
The house has been considerably extended by the present owners.
Mon Repos appears in the electoral register only between 1929 and 1939. Eleanor and Albert Edward de ROSE were the first occupants shown on the electoral register, with Mary POTTINGER also shown for 1929.
Albert Edward had been born in Stepney in 1890; Eleanor (née SHEPPARD) was a year younger. They had four children; Eric, Guy (born 1920, died 1922), Vincent and Monica. There is no entry for 1930 but Mary Pottinger appears at Mill House in 1932. Eric was confirmed at St Katharine's in May 1931 at the age of 14.
Albert died at the age of 44 and was buried on 24th December 1934. The register for the following year shows, as well as Eleanor, a further two voters; Edith Mary and Ruby Margaret Annie SHEPPARD. It is possible that Edith and Ruby were sisters, or sisters-in-law, of Eleanor, for three years later the families in the house were Ruby Margaret Annie and Edward Charles MORGAN, and Edith Mary Elizabeth and Richard Lionel SHEPPARD. Vincent de Rose was confirmed at St Katharine's in March 1936 at the age of 13.
On 17th February 1937 a daughter, Wendy Margaret Elizabeth, was born to the Morgans. By 1939 Edward and Ruby Morgan had left, with Wendy, and Eleanor de Rose and Edith and Richard Sheppard wwere the only occupants.
The three de Rose children each played their part in the war: Monica was nursing, Eric was in the Eighth Army and Vincent had joined the Merchant Navy.
Five years later, on 3rd April 1944, the register at St Katharine's records the burial of Jane de Rose, Albert's spinster sister; she had died aged 51, just three weeks after Monica had been confirmed at the age of 15.
In 1951 there was an Edith F and Sidney Arthur SHEPPARD living at 13 Ashcombe Road.
The name of the house was changed sometime during the war, for by 1945 there is no record of Mon Repos but the occupants of The Firs were Eleanor and Horace de Rose. Five years later there was no mention of Horace (perhaps a son who had left home) but daughter Monica had appeared as a voter. Also shown on the electoral register, and lodging in the house, were Margaret S and Victor JACKSON. Vic was the son of the Jackson family that owned a small shop on the corner of Brook Road in South Merstham, and they were staying at The Firs whilst their own house was being built in Redhill. The family had moved to Clavadel by 1955; Vic died a few years ago in Norfolk, having been widowed for many years.
By the early 1950s Monica and her doctor husband Peter VENABLES, together with their children Christopher, Mark and Rosemary, were living in the house. Although it was still owned by Eleanor de Rose she moved away to live with family elsewhere (she died in 1983). In September 1955 Peter's work took him to Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, and after only a few days Ernie and Ethel BLOWES and their daughter Patricia moved to the house from Fairmead, threee doors away. Peter and Monica Venables now live in Cranleigh, Surrey.
When the Noddyshall cottages were demolished at the end of the 1950s Eleanor, who still owned The Firs, acquired the land. On her death the parcel of land was split and Shepherd's Corner was built, along with the two bungalows Sarum and Fircroft.
Patricia Blowes was married from the house in 1957, to J. J. (Gerry) Gerritsen and they went to live in his native South Africa for over 18 years. She now lives in Worthing.
When Guy Savory (of Rondels) died, his widow sold the house. Ernie Blowes took on the job of groundsman at the new Comprehensive school in South Merstham. Ethel died at the beginning of April 1959 and a few months later Ernie moved to the Garden Flat at Albury Edge. In May 1962 he married again, to a Hilda BARNARD, and moved to her rented house in the High Street. He died in November 1973 and Hilda survived him by over eleven years, dying on St George's Day 1985.
The 1966 Reigate Directory shows the occupant as Colin W STRADLING and his wife June G; Colin, now widowed, lives there still.
The first entry for Ockley Wood Cottage was in 1935, when the occupants were Sarah Jane and Frederick George COCKS. They were still living in the house in the late 1960s, the only change being to the name of the house some time between 1939 and 1945. On Sarah's death Frederick moved to a residential home and the house was bought by the TICKNER family. Kate S and Albert F TICKNER were living at Relf Cottage in 1950, although this may not be the same family. On Mr Tickner's retirement the family moved to Reigate.
This cottage is one of two in ‘The Close’ that were built as ‘tied cottages’ to serve as accommodation for staff working at the larger houses in the road, the other being Fairmead.
The 1938 electoral roll shows Noddys Cottage between Ockley Wood Cottage and Fair Mead. Assuming that these two houses are the present Ockley Wood and Fairmead, this indicates that the house now known as Uplands Cottage was once – during the late 1930s and 1940s – known as Noddys Cottage. It was built as a tied cottage to serve as accommodation for the gardener at Noddyshall, across the road.
From Autumn 1926 Albert Victor WALTUS was living at Noddyshall Cottage (for some years the electoral roll shows Noddys Cottage); it has already been established (see Noddyshall Cottage) that this was not the present cottage of that name and, indeed, was not part of the Noddyshall hamlet at all. 'Waltus' is undoubtedly a mis-spelling of WATERS as from 1929 until the end of the war Daisy Elizabeth and Albert Victor Waters, a gardener, were shown as occupants.
For some reason Albert was known to all as 'Cronje'. Their first child, Victor Albert, was born in 1925, followed in December 1926 by a daughter, Betty; she now lives in Wood Street. A second son, Christopher Frederick Reginald, was baptised at St Katharine's on 21st May 1930; and another son, Bernard Raymond, was baptised on 4th October 1932 just a fortnight before their elder brother Victor died, aged only seven, and was buried on 19th October. Daisy was still living there in 1945 but Albert was not shown on the electoral register. Like Ernest Blowes (next door at Fairmead), he was too old to be called up during the war, but he joined the local "Dad's Army". He died in 1966, and Daisy survived him for a further 20 years, dying in 1987 at the age of 89.
There is no entry for a house in this position in the 1950 register; the first entry for Uplands Cottage is in the electoral roll for 1955, when the occupants were Daisy K and Alfred H OSBORNE, with William A MARTIN. Ten years later the owners were H R M JENNER and family.
Between 1968 and 1971 (and possibly a few years earlier and later) Uplands Cottage was owned by the Wright family, who lived in Quality Street; the cottage was occupied by Pauline and Dave GRAHAM. Dave was the Head Gardener for Mrs Wright, and Pauline was a cleaner for some of the 'big houses' along Rockshaw Road. Their two children, Philip and Sandra, both attended local Merstham schools. Although Dave died (in Ireland) during 2005 Pauline still lives in Reigate.
From the early 1970s Uplands Cottage was home to John HARRISON; he had previously been joint owner (together with his brother Richard) of Quarry Dean Farm, which was destroyed with the coming of the M23. John and his wife Yvonne stayed in the cottage until 1993, when he retired and they moved to Devon. John died early in 2006.
This was another ‘tied cottage’, this time serving as accommodation for staff at Rondels.
The first occupants of Fairmead, in 1933, were Ethel May and Ernest James BLOWES, together with daughter Patricia who was born in 1930. The small photograph is a picture of the house in 1933; Pat and her mother are standing in front of the door.
Ernest was the gardener/chauffeur-cum-handyman for Rondels. Although Ernest was not eligible for National Service because of his age he had to do 'war work' and it was agreed that during the summer he would help with the harvest and other farm work at the Savory's farm in Norfolk, and during the winter he would work at the flour mill at West Croydon. He was fire-watching from the top of the silo when the first flying bomb fell on Croydon. Ethel was 'Brown Owl', leading the Brownie pack from about 1937 to 1940. Patricia was confirmed at St Katharine's in March 1946 at the age of 15. The family lived at the house for over twenty years, and in 1954 moved three houses along to The Firs, which was owned by Eleanor de Rose.
Alan F BUCKLAND, his wife Rita and their family moved to Fairmead – he is listed at this address in the 1959 Kelly's Directory – and lived there from the mid-60s until at least 1970; the family later moved to Little Piemede. Alan was a partner in W E Bucklands, the furniture shop in Redhill.
Lynwood is another house name that makes only a few appearances in the electoral rolls. It appears for the first time in 1935, when the occupants were Kathleen Maud and John Howard SPALDING, with daughter Bridget; John Howard moved here from Innesfree. A second daughter was born on 8th July 1937, and baptised Frances Bridget Howard at St Katharine's.
They moved shortly after the start of the war and the new occupants were the MOWBRAY family, with two children. By 1945 the sole occupant (shown thus on the electoral register) was Patricia de HAUTEVILLE-BELL. There is no further mention of the house under the name of Lynwood. The grounds were quite extensive and at one time the owners kept several pigs, much to the discomfiture of the neighbours.
The first mention of Gayhurst in the electoral registers is in 1950, when the occupants were Patricia M and George R WIGG. An Adeline Wigg, widow of George Wigg, lived at Mill House between 1938 and 1945 and at Albury Edge in 1950. By 1954 the Wiggs had moved, to be replaced by Pamela A, Ivy M and John H WILBY.
The London Gazette of 6th February 1962 reported the death of Sarah Anne MITCHAM, spinster, of Gayhurst.
At the end of the 1960s the owners were Danny and June KEE, who moved to Lowood in 1975. The house was renamed Beech House by the current owners.
Dell House was built during the 1970s by a son of the Kee family, on land that had formerly belonged to Gayhurst (now Beech House).
Knightons does not appear in the electoral registers before 1945, but in that year it is shown between Lynwood and Ash Pollard, indicating that it was at that time the last house on the north of the road. However, Jessie and Samuel BACON were both confirmed at St Katharine's in March 1944; they were in their mid-50s. They were the first occupants, and appear in the electoral registers of both 1945 and 1950.
There is no record after 1950, apart from Kelly's Directory of 1951 (recording Samuel Bacon), of any residents at Knightons but it is likely that the name of the house was changed. Several sources indicate that Knightons was the original name of the house later called Wendrich.
There is no entry for Wendrich before that in Kelly's Directory of 1959, which gives Richard GOFFIN as the owner. This is confirmed by electoral registers showing Lydia A, Violet L A and Richard F A Goffin. It seems that Mr Goffin gave his name to the second syllable of the new name for the house, but there does not appear to be a Wendy, unless she was a daughter not yet old enough to vote.
Later still the name was again changed to Glaramara. The present owners are Suzanne and Jim DUFFY.
Bentley is listed in the electoral registers only from 1950, showing the occupants as Florence A and Frederick W A ALFORD until at least 1970. They had a son Richard.
The house was owned by Mary and John E GOMERSHALL from 1959 to at least 1970. They were the parents of Florence Alford (Bentley).
The current ownners are Michelle and Ted BRIGHT.
The first family to live here were Joan M and William H C JONES. There is no mention of the house before 1954. The Jones family were still there in 1970.
In 1950 the occupants were Ruth M and Edgar BLAND, with sons Christopher and Bernard. Ruth worked at a nursery close to Pendell Camp. The elder son, Christopher, was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland. The family moved to Sleaford and from 1955, until at least 1970, the owners were Edith A and Christian F DITTERT. They were a local family and when Edith died Christian moved to South Merstham.
Later still the residents were Yvette and Steve LAIFLAIN, who in 1999 sold the house to Julie and Gary RAMSDALE.
There is no record of occupancy before 1954, in which year the residents were Margaret A and George E MORRIS. By 1960 the Morris family had left, to be replaced by Eileen M and Bernard E ROLFE. The 1966 Reigate Directory, although listing the house, shows no owner.
Bedlam's Wood is shown on a map dated 1964; it was opposite Pickett Wood and was thus in the borough of Tandridge. The first owners, listed in the electoral register for 1935, were Bertha and William Frederick TAYLOR.
The Taylor family owned Colley Farm, including the hearthstone mines at Colley Pits, and originally lived at Margery Hall, in Kingswood. William died on 24th July 1947 aged 71; he was the youngest son of George Taylor of Margery Hall. The funeral service was held at Golders Green Crematorium.
By 1960 the listed voter was Marjorie HOMAN.
The house was demolished when the M23 was built.
While the present Rockshaw House is not, technically, on Rockshaw Road it is included here for obvious reasons.
On 25th April 1885 "The Times" carried an advertisement for a butler. It had been placed for William GARDINER, of Rockshaw. The following year the newspaper advertised the services of a Head Gardener seeking re-engagement; this was from a married 'J. W.', aged 39, at Rockshaw Lodge.
In March 1887 the owners sought to let the house for six months while they were travelling abroad. 'The house' included stabling for seven horses, 12 acres of garden and other grounds and 70 acres of other land, the use of three horses, carriages, stations carts, etc. and 'all indoor and outdoor servants'.
A map of 1893 shows Rockshaw House, the Lodge, and the surrounding land as part of the estate belonging to Paul KOHN-SPEYER. The first appearance of the House in the censuses is in that for 1891. This shows William GARDINER with his wife and five children in Rockshaw House, together with seven servants in addition to the following: Thomas HILL, a gardener, lived in Rockshaw Lodge with his wife and two young sons; Thomas HEDGECOCK, the coachman, lived with his wife Mary in Rockshaw Stables, which was probably a flat above the stables themselves; another gardener, John GOLDSON, lived in Rockshaw Cottage with his wife Jane and two sons; and finally a third gardener, William BIRD, lived in the bothy. He was a widower yet aged only 25.
Although Rockshaw House is outside the Reigate boundary, entries appear in the electoral registers for some years. The first such entry is in 1900 and it shows the owner of Rockshaw as George Lloyd WIGG. William Gardiner and Thomas John Hedgecock were shown as 'occupiers' at Rockshaw, the latter being at the 'stable yard'; William Gardiner had moved there from Redcross Street, in London. On 25th July 1900 the eldest son of William , William Harold, married Phyllis Maude PALMER (report in the Reading Mercury). The same newspaper carried a report, two weeks later, that Ellem TUBBS, widow of the Revd G Ibberson TUBBS, had died at Rockshaw on 7th August 1900. She was, presumably, visiting at the time.
William GARDINER died on 6th April 1901. The house was advertised for sale later the same year, by order of the late William Gardiner - which implies that he, and not George Wigg, was the owner, although William could have simply been the agent. A reasonably full description of the house and estate is given on page 19 in "The Times" of 11th May. The estate of 122 acres was sold for £27,000 the same month. In 1909 one of William's daughters, Hilda Mary, married George Spencer WATSON at East Grinstead; and the following year Ralph H. Gardiner, of the R. F. A., married Muriel May PHILLIPS at All Souls, Langham Place.William Harold, Ralph's elder brother, married Florence Isabel BONE in 1914. One of Williams' daughter, Silvia, later lived at ByTheWay.
Also living there in 1900, and entitled to a vote by virtue of occupation, were John Goldson at Rockshaw Cottage and Thomas William Hills at Rockshaw Lodge. It is possible that the Wigg family may have rented the estate from the Kohn-Speyer family, although it seems that they did not reside there permanently. A register at St Katharine's records the confirmation of Florence CLARKE in March 1909 at the age of 17; her address was given as Rockshaw Stables.
Just over a decade later, the register for 1912 shows that most of the occupants had changed, although George Wigg is still listed as 'owner'. With him at Rockshaw were Henry WOOD and Charles BRAZIER (occupying a 'room in the bothy'); Eli HOWELL and Robert WICKS were in Rockshaw Cottage (an unnamed Howell was at Standish in 1929 although there is nothing to suggest this was Eli) and Maurice Lennox SARGENT was living at Rockshaw Lodge. In March 1913 Millie Howell was confirmed at St Katharine's at the age of 13. A year later Henry Wood and Robert Wicks appear as owners (of 'room in the bothy' and Rockshaw Cottage respectively). On 13th November 1914 the Surrey Mirror published a list of names supporting the "Tobacco fund" (a fund launched to send tobacco and cigarettes to troops fighting abroad) and this included W FOORD, of Rockshaw, who contributed 6d.
A short article in the Surrey Mirror of 28th May 1915 reports the theft of an overcoat belonging to Eli Howell, gardener, of Rockshaw Cottages.
On 26th November 1916 a daughter Mary Betty was born to Edward and Charlotte REID, whose address was given as Rockshaw Cottage. Edward was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers.
George Wigg died on 2nd November 1926 at the age of 74, leaving an estate of some £140,000 and £100 to his chauffeur, Joseph CLARKE. His executors were Adeline Constance (who may possibly have been his wife, although she was his junior by over 30 years, or a daughter-in-law) and Muriel Irene Wigg, who was one of three daughters. "The Times" of 15th March 1927 advertised the sale by auction of the contents of the house - including a Humber two-seater motorcar and a 1923 Wolseley. Almost as a footnote, the announcement mentions that the estate of 123 acres is also for sale; although perhaps nobody noticed, for three weeks later the newspaper carries another advertisement, placed this time by Hampton & Sons, for this 'medium-sized family residence'. The estate, with four reception rooms and seventeen (!) bed and dressing rooms, was also advertised for sale by auction in Country Life in the same month, March 1927. The 123 acres also included the Lodge, three cottages, stabling, garages for five and stabling. The advertisement appeared yet again, in "The Times", on 19th April - and yet again on 11th May.
Adeline appeared again in 1938 at Mill House and her life ended in December 1967 when she died at the age of 83 in Kingsbridge, Devon. She left an estate of a little over £10,000. The three daughters — Muriel Irene, Violet Mabyn and Lilian Nellie — all died as spinsters in Hawkhurst, Kent. Lilian's death at the age of 89, on 2nd June 1972, was reported in "The Times".
It appears that in the 1930s Ernest Edward HICKS was employed as a chauffeur at the House, for the St Katharine's register records the birth of a son John to Ernest and his wife Ivy Blanche on 27th September 1935. The same register shows the birth of a daughter, Blanche Elizabeth, on 15th July 1933 to the same parents although the address shown on that occasion was The Cottage, Rockshaw Road.
From the mid-1930s to 1964 the Cottage was occupied by Percy James and Florence Helen (Jim and Nell) MANNING; Percy was employed as the Head Gardener at the House. Percy and Florence had five children: Peggy Lilian, who married a Royal Signals soldier stationed at the House during the war, in which Percy was in the Merstham Home Guard; John William; Mary; Kathleen Helen, born in the Cottage in 1939; and James. Peggy now lives in Hartlepool, and James in Meadvale, rather closer to home! The family left the Cottage in 1962, following a spell of ill-health for Jim.
During the early years of the War Rockshaw House was used s a home for 'bad girls', looked after by nuns, after which the Army appeared in the shape of the Royal Corps of Signals - presumably the House had been requisitioned by the War Office.
After the War the House became a furniture depository for the company of Batchelar & Son Ltd which was based in Croydon.
At much the same time Rockshaw Lodge was occupied by Dr Hugh Jolly, who later became a well-known paediatrician, and his wife Geraldine. On 18th June 1947 she gave birth to a daughter.
By the early 1950s the House had been empty for many years and it had fallen into such a bad state of disrepair that it had to be demolished. "The Times" of 11th February 1955 carried an advertisement for the auction of various items of contractors' plant and building materials including, somewhat incongruously, a 1936 Austin saloon car.
In 1956 the site of the old House together with a large parcel of land was bought by Francis Herbert and Yvonne Louise BOURNER, who had the present house built. Mr Bourner was the inventor and manufacturer of the 'SupaTap'.
Mrs Kohn-Speyer died at the end of the 1950s and her family started to dispose of the remaining properties on the estate. The obvious purchaser was Mr Bourner, and a Land Registry document dated April 1961 records the transfer of property from Edmund Paul Kaye Speyer and Thomas Paul Kohn-Speyer to Mr and Mrs Bourner, the property in question being the quarry to the north of the House, the Lodge and the three cottages. The address of the Bourners was given as Rockshaw House and so this document confirms that they were purchasing additional land to that which they already owned. The price of this additional land was £9,500.
The rebuilt House is considerably smaller than the original, and it appears that the Bourners or their successors sold off much of the land, as particulars from an estate agent some time later advertise the house as having 4/6 bedrooms, three reception rooms, and a self-contained annexe with kitchen, reception room and bedroom (which had been used as servants' quarters). There was also a triple garage and workshop in a total of 5½ acres. Offers ‘in the region of’£495,000 were invited. An article in "The Times" of 29th June 1973 indicates that the cottage and stable blocks were being advertised for sale. The expected asking price was in the region of £55,000.
The house was indeed sold, but in the early 1990s the owners, who had by this time taken out two charges on the property, were declared bankrupt and forced to leave. After two years of trying unsuccessfully to resell the property the holders of the first charge, Kleinwort Benson Private Bank, sold the house to Graham and Gill MARSHALL, the current owners, for £270,000.