Ash Road - South side
This section covers the houses and other buildings along the south side of the Ash Road, starting at the junction with the Guildford-Pirbright road, and stretching westwards to the Pirbright Institute. Because of size limitations in the web software used, we have had to relegate the Pirbright Institute and surrounding buildings to their own separate page here. But to all intents and purposes the 2 pages form part of a continuous series.
120 years ago, the traveller along this section of road would not have seen a single building on the south side of the road. Instead, for the first 200 yards he or she would have seen some fields, but after that, just desolate heathland.
Today, the fields have been replaced by houses. But after that, there is still quite an expanse of heathland to be seen – albeit more thickly wooded than in earlier times. That is, until the traveller reaches the Pirbright Institute, where modern industrial architecture meets the eye.
We will start our journey at the junction with the Guildford-Pirbright road, and move westwards as far as the Pirbright Institute. Before we do so, here is a table showing the dates of the various buildings (including the Institute and related buildings).
The houses between the corner and Hockford Close
There is a series of 8 large houses, built from the 1950’s onwards, stretching from Reynard’s Lodge in the east to Brackendene. They all lie along what was the northern boundary of the estate originally (prior to 1867) belonging to Tods Farm. In 1867, Tods Farm had been demolished to make way for an imposing new building called Alpine Lodge, later renamed Heatherside, and now divided into Squirrels and Norfolk House. Heatherside was home to arguably Fox Corner’s most noteworthy resident, Frederick Selous, who died in 1917. The story of this estate is recorded under Heatherside.
After Frederick’s death, his wife, Gladys, continued to live at Heatherside until her death in 1951. Their only surviving child, Harold, died in 1954, and it is at this point that the estate was dismantled, leading to the development along this stretch of the Ash Road, starting with (what is today called) Reynard’s Lodge in 1953. The 1961 OS map shows only today’s Reynard’s Lodge and Dell Quay (they are shown as joined together, but this was lazy cartography). The other houses soon followed.
Each of the houses has a long garden, thanks to their previous incarnation as farmland, stretching back 400 years or more. Most of the back gardens of the houses back onto the Fox Corner Wildlife Area.
We have shown the current Surrey CC map (with grateful thanks to Surrey CC) of these houses below. Brackendene is not mentioned on the map, but it is the unnamed house at the bottom, left.
There are many gaps in our knowledge of these houses and their owners. If anyone with access to their deeds and/or long memories would like to provide some information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have written what we do know below.
Reynard’s Lodge (previously High Trees)
Reynard’s Lodge was the first of the 8 houses to be built on this stretch of road, and dates from 1953. One of the privileges of being the first house on the block was that it had the widest frontage onto the road, and it also had a bit of extra back garden. The house was originally called High Trees, but the name was changed in the early 2000’s. We don’t know the reason for the change - perhaps the original high trees on the property had fallen down in the 1987 storm?
The first owners of High Trees were John and Evelyn Crosse. They gave their address as “High Trees, Stanford Road” and also “High Trees, Bullswater Common”. The Crosses stayed at High Trees until c1960, when they moved to Trodds Lane, Guildford.
There followed a series of occupancies, some relatively short, as follows:
1960-62: Leonard WD & Roberta E Sharp
1962-69: Not known
1969-77: Peter & Joyce Weston
1981-93: Henry Frisby
1993-2000: Not known
2000-16 Paul and Lynda Farren
Significant improvements to the house have been made in the late 2010’s by the current owners.
Dell Quay was built c1955 and was the second of the 8 houses on this stretch of road to be built. The house was presumably named after the hamlet of Dell Quay, which lies on an estuary near Chichester and hosts a sailing club. It was first owned by George and Ellen Moor. George (born 1914) was the son of Frederick and Agnes Moor, who ran nearby Moor’s Stores for many years. George drove a delivery van for his parents in 1939, and married Ellen (nee Wiggins in 1920) the following year. Ellen was brought up in West Heath, the daughter of Albert Wiggins, an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company. Initially they lived in St John’s, but by 1951 they were living at Hockford Farm (see below), which was about half a mile from George’s parents.
After they moved to Dell Quay, George and Ellen only stayed at the house for c10 years, moving out of the area in the mid-1960’s. The next occupants (in the mid-1960’s) were James and Margaret Kinloch (born c1925), who may have previously lived at Uxbridge. James and Margaret stayed at Dell Quay until c2010.
A recent estate agent’s photo of Dell Quay is shown below (with thanks).
Oakmead was built c1961, and the first owners were Edith Pout, together with her 41 year-old son, Harry Pout, and his wife, Margaret. Edith (nee Crampin) had been born in Colchester in 1894, the daughter of a carpenter. During WW1, she had married Harry Pout, a sergeant in the RAMC. In 1939, Harry senior was a postman, while Harry junior was a communications engineer, the family living in East Ham.
Harry junior married Margaret Nelson in 1949. Harry senior died near Canterbury in 1955, aged 72.
Before moving into Oakmead in 1961, Edith, her son and his family had been living in St John’s Road, Woking for 3 years, although we don’t know what had brought them to this part of the world (from Kent, where they had been living). Margaret joined the local WI and we are lucky to have stumbled on one of her photos – a rather fine view of Bakersgate (see photo below).
Edith died in 1975 (aged 81), Margaret in 1995 (aged 87) and Harry junior in 2006 (aged 86). We think that Harry junior moved out of Oakmead shortly before his death c2004 after a stay of over 40 years. The house was sold by the Pouts in 2004, and has been sold a further 4 times since then. The 1975 OS map shows Oakmead standing on quite a wide plot with an outbuilding (maybe a garage) on the west side. We suspect that this outbuilding was knocked down c1969 to form Mandalay (see below).
A recent estate agent’s photo of Oakmead is shown below (with thanks).
Mandalay (previously Fox Cottage and Kaydon Croft)
We are not certain about the origins of Mandalay. We think that it may have been built on land belonging to neighbouring Oakmead (see above) c1969 and given the name Fox Cottage. It is built at a slight angle to the other houses in the row, presumably because the frontage was not wide enough to accommodate the size of house required.
The first owners in 1969 were Douglas and Margaret Parris. Douglas had been living in Cedar Way on the Bellfields estate in Guildford until he married Margaret Oakey in 1960, when they moved to Beckingham Road (a little further west, on the north side of the A3) to live with Margaret’s mother. After living in Fox Cottage for 6 years, they sold the house (in 1975) and left the area.
Catherine & Donald Fuller bought the house in 1976 and lived there with their 3 children. Catherine was known as Kay, which may explain the unusual name of the house – it had been renamed “Kaydon Croft”. The Fullers lived there until at least 1980, when Donald died.
The current owners moved into Mandalay from Lawford’s Hill Road in 2014. A recent estate agent’s photo of Mandalay is shown below (with thanks).
Greenways (previously Wydgerys)
Greenways was built c1969 and first purchased by Dr John and Rosemary Raison. John had been born in Birmingham in 1926, the only son of Cyril (who was a surgeon at the Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital). John was working at St Wulstan’s Hospital, Malvern in 1951 when he married Rosemary Padmore (born 1934), of Edgbaston, daughter of Edgar and Marjorie Padmore. Edgar was a billiard table manufacturer – something of a rarity.
By 1960 Dr John and Rosemary were living near Leamington Spa, but for reasons unknown to us they moved down to Pirbright in 1969 and chose to live in Wydgerys, which had just been built.
We cannot trace the origin of the name Wydgerys, and have no idea why it was chosen. The surname Wydgery appears very occasioinally on older records, but there is no-one recorded with this name in the 1921 census or the 1939 register. Perhaps it was some form of acronym, eg “What You Do Gets.....” Suggestions on a postcard (well, email) please.
The Raisons moved out of Wydgerys in 1972, and we assume that they divorced soon afterwards, as both John and Rosemary married other partners in the early 1980’s. Rosemary died at Caterham in 2010, and John at Winchester in 2014.
In 1973, Dorothy Rickett moved into Wydgerys a few years after the death of her husband Harold. They had been living at Fords Farm since 1938, and had been prominent members of Pirbright society.
Harold was born in 1909, the son of a stockbroker. He followed his father into the stockbroking business, but he is much better known as a big name in British rowing circles, having been president of the Amateur Rowing Association, as well as rowing in the 1928 Olympic Games. He was awarded the CBE for services to British rowing, but died in 1969, aged only 60. His obituary is shown below, together with a photo of him, maybe at Henley, looking every inch the rowing sort.
Dorothy (known as “Poppy”) was born Dorothy Barry in Cheam in 1908. Her father (Edward Ogston Barry) was Managing Director of a large mining company, Mason & Barry Ltd, which had been one of the 50 largest UK companies (by market capitalisation) in the 1880’s (7 places ahead of Hong Kong and Shanghai Corp, today known as HSBC). Her mother was Lydia (nee Morley) Barry, who lived with Poppy and Harold at Fords Farm until her death in 1964, aged 97.
Dorothy (Poppy) remained at Wydgerys until her death in 2009, aged 100.
In 2009, after Poppy’s death, Wydgerys was demolished by her son, Peter Rickett, and a 2-storey house built in its place. The new house was called Greenways and soon purchased by new owners.
Here is a little unsolved mystery: As we will describe shortly (section below), there is a house called Brackendene tucked away at the bottom of the gardens of Greenways and its 2 neighbours. Intriguingly, there is a street about 5 miles down the A324 in Ash called Brackendene, which contains a house called Greenways. Surely there a connection, but what is it? The authors would be interested to know....(by email please).
Below is a recent estate agent’s photo of Greenways (with thanks).
Longmede was built c1967 and the first owners were Peter and Margaret Bagg. They were accompanied by Peter’s mother, Rose Bagg. Peter had been born in Edmonton in 1930. He married Margaret Reeves in 1953 at Wood Green, and they lived in Edmonton with their 2 sons until at least 1963.
They only stayed at Longmede for a few years, leaving c1972. In the early 2000’s the Baggs were living in Louth, Lincolnshire. Peter’s mother, Rose, had died in 1997, aged 95.
By 1977 William and Marjorie Dickinson were living at Longmede. William was born in Loughborough in 1938 and married Marjorie Davies in Cardiff in 1962. William died in 1995, aged only 57 and Marjorie continued to live at Longmede until c2000. Marjorie died in 2019, aged 79.
Longmede was sold to Peter and Penny Cranham in 2000 and then sold again in 2012.
Woodrush is the most westerly of the houses built on the old Tods Farm land and was built c1962. The first occupants (for a couple of years) were David & Marguerite Mann. After that Peter and Gwendoline Bartlett bought the house, living there with one of their children.
Peter was born in 1909, the son of an estate agent, and married Gwendoline (born 1911) in 1934 at Acton where they were both living. Gwendoline’s father was an alderman of Acton at the time. Peter and Gwendoline had 2 children. In 1939 they were living at Ealing with Gwendoline’s family. Peter was a works assistant at a Metal Bottle Caps factory.
We do not know what brought them to Pirbright in 1964. Perhaps Peter had retired (aged only 55)? But perhaps it was for reasons related to Gwendoline’s health, as she died in 1970, aged only 59. After leaving Pirbright c1974, Peter moved to a hamlet midway between Preston and Blackpool and died there in 1977, aged 68.
An EL Bishop lived at WIndrush for a short period after 1977.
By 1981 Christopher & Susan Barlow had bought Woodrush. They remained there until 1999, but we know little about them.
Woodrush was sold in 1999, and in 2010 the new owners decided to demolish the existing house and rebuild a new house and garage. Amongst the reams of documentation required to gain approval to do this, the tree report mentions a “fine specimen” of a metasequoia tree. The tree is still clearly visible, and remains in wonderful shape – it must be the tallest of its kind for some miles around.
An estate agent’s photo of the old house (pre-2010) is shown below (with thanks).
Brackendene is not easy to spot from the Ash Road, being tucked away behind Woodrush, with its own private driveway. Like the other houses described above, Brackendene is built on part of the old Tods Farm, although it was built on a different field to the other houses. The remainder of this field is now part of the Fox Corner Community Wildlife Area and is attractive woodland (a delight to walk through).
The Electoral Register of 1980 shows a William and Margarite Shaw as living at “Magpies”, and we suspect that this may have been the name first given to today’s Brackendene, although we can’t be sure. William was born in Wantage in 1920, and married Margarite (nee Lupzik) at Wallingford in 1955. William died in the Guildford area in 1995.
The earliest record we can find referring to Brackendene itself is in 1995, although we suspect the house was built a few years before this. As far as we know the house remains under the same ownership today.
Intriguingly, there is a street about 5 miles down the A324 in Ash called Brackendene, which contains a house called Greenways. Surely there a connection here, but what is it? The authors would be interested to know....(by email please).
The Hockford area
It is not immediately apparent to the traveller on the Ash Road that there is a small community living some way back from the road. The only indication of this is a small lane marked Hockford Close. Here is the recent OS map of the area (with grateful thanks to Surrey CC).
In fact there are 4 distinct groups of properties accessed from Hockford Close:
Hockford Cottage (unmarked, but comprises the cluster of buildings half-way up the map and half-way to the left-hand edge).
Hockford Farmhouse and Hockford Byre (marked, at centre right).
6 semi-detached houses at the end of Hockford Close (The cluster of houses at the top towards the right-hand side).
Hockford Sewage Treatment Works (the large area dominated by several circular sewage ponds).
Two other features on the map to note: The wooded area to the south is part of the Merrist Wood estate, and is pretty impenetrable. The buildings at the left-hand edge are part of Pirbright Institute.
From the 1600’s until the mid-20th century most of this area comprised just 2 areas of farmland.
The smaller of these was called Merristwood Mead and was about 2 acres in size. It was owned copyhold and so we are lucky to have its history documented in the records of Pirbright Manor. It now houses Hockford Cottage (item 1 above), originally called Ockford Cottage, Merrist Wood, or other similar names.
The other (larger) piece of land was called (from the late-1800’s) Ockford Farm, then from the mid-1900’s Hockford Farm, and was roughly 20 acres in size. It now comprises items 2 and 3 and most of item 4 above. However there are few records available for the larger piece of land and so our knowledge of the history of this is skimpy. For simplicity we will refer to this piece of land simply as “Hockford Farm”, even though this name was only adopted in the late-1800’s.
Below are the 1807 Pirbright Survey map and the 1841 Tithe map (which for practical reasons was oriented about 30 degrees clockwise from true north) of the area. In both maps, Merristwood Mead is coloured purple, while Hockford Farm is coloured yellow.
The most significant historical difference between the 2 maps is that in 1807, both Merristwood Mead and Hockford Farm comprised fields (with no buildings), but in 1841 there are buildings in both segments.
Early history of Merristwood Mead (now Hockford Cottage)
Hockford Cottage is a relatively recent name for this property. Originally the land that Hockford Cottage now stands on was just a field called Merristwood Mead. The earliest references to Merristwood Mead are from a 1574 survey, which mentions John Cobbett as having held (copyhold) “Hethers” which included “Meristewood” (a 1-acre meadow) since the 35th year of Henry VIII’s reign. To save the reader the trouble of looking this up, it refers to 1544.
We will now fast-forward to the mid-1600’s. Merristwood Mead still formed part of the property called Heathers. This name Heathers no longer exists, but at the time it was around 33 acres in size and comprised at least 4 distinct properties:
1. 23 acres of land called Bullswater Farm, stretching from today’s Bullswater Farmhouse along Rowe Lane northwest as far as Whites Lane.
2. Speeches, comprising 7 acres of land now part of the Fox Corner Wildlife Association, south of where Pirbright Cottages are today.
3. Merristwood Mead, now 2 acres, coloured purple above.
4. Mill Mead, 1 acre, which was the lake serving Heath Mill.
It is a little puzzling to understand why Speeches and Merristwood Mead should have formed part of Bullswater Farm, which was some distance away. Perhaps it was because they were fertile pieces of land abutting Stanford Brook, offering good opportunities to provide cattle or sheep fodder to the farm. Or perhaps it was because it enabled Bullswater Farm to have an additional water source (in addition to the Hoe Stream which flowed through its property). Whatever the reason, both Speeches and Merristwood Mead remained as distinct parcels of land, which were never absorbed into other neighbouring properties.
The Pirbright Court Rolls provide quite a lot of detail about the early ownership of Heathers. We have extracted below a summary (which is a lot easier to follow than the original, trust us), only covering the transactions which relate to Merristwood Mead up to 1784.
1647: Christopher Bull (the copyholder at the time) leased Heathers to a John Sherman for 9 years. He may have been the source of the name “Bullswater”, which crops up a lot today in our area (Bullswater Common, Bullswater Common Road, Bullswater House, and Bullswater Cottage).
1653: Christopher Bull died, and the property) passed to William Bull, his brother.
1664: William Bull died. The property passed to Elizabeth Mitchenell, aged 20, his cousin.
1667: John and Elizabeth Burle had somehow acquired the property, and surrendered Merristwood Mead to Benjamin Martyn (or Martin). Possibly Elizabeth Burle was the married name of Elizabeth Mitchenell who had inherited the property in 1664, but we cannot find any evidence for this.
1670: John and Elizabeth Burle surrendered the Bullswater Farm and Speeches parcels to Benjamin Martin.
1676: Benjamin Martin died. Merristwood Mead (2 acres) passed to his son, George Martin, aged 52.
1694: By now, George Martin owned all of the original Heathers, ie Bullswater Farm (23 acres), Merristwood Mead (2 acres), Mill Mead (1 acre) and Speeches (7 acres).
c1700: George Martin must have died, and left Heathers to his son, George Martin II (born 1673).
1760: George Martin II died. His Heathers properties (excluding Speeches) were inherited by his son, George Martin III.
1763: George Martin III, who also lived at Bakersgate, mortgaged the 3 parcels of Heathers property a few times. George’s Bakersgate connection stems from his marriage to Mary Baker, widow of John Baker (who had owned Bakersgate) in 1722. This story is told in the Bakersgate section.
1784: George Martin III “Of Bulswatter” died. The 3 parcels of Heathers property (including Merristwood Mead) were left to Elizabeth Boylett, wife of George Boylett, husbandman of Pirbright.
Merristwood Mead (now Hockford Cottage) from 1784
Thus in 1784 George Martin died and Elizabeth Boylett acquired Merristwood Mead. On the face of it, this seems a rather unusual arrangement by George Martin – to leave his property to the wife of another man. Presumably there was a very good reason for this; it’s just that we don’t know what that reason was.
Elizabeth Boylett had been born Elizabeth Osbourn c 1728 in Pirbright. She had married George Boylett in 1753 when aged 25. At the time George Boylett was aged 38 and was the village blacksmith in Worplesdon (like his father, also named George, before him). They had 3 children: George (junior), Elizabeth and John.
When Elizabeth inherited Merristwood Mead in 1784, George Boylett changed his occupation from being a blacksmith to being a farmer. At that time there was no dwelling on Merristwood Mead, and we cannot be sure where they lived, but they continued to farm Merristwood Mead until George’s death in 1793, aged 79. At that point, George Boylett junior took over the running of the farm, still owned (copyhold) by his mother, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth died in 1803. Their daughter, Elizabeth, died the same year, aged 43 (unmarried). Elizabeth senior’s will describes her as “of Bullswater” and she bequeathed her copyhold lands in Pirbright to her eldest son, George Boylett junior. She left her copyhold lands in Worplesdon (presumably the blacksmith’s smithy) to her youngest child, John.
George junior continued to farm Merristwood Mead until his death in 1843. He never married and his brother John had predeceased him in 1828, leaving him with no close living relatives. So his will (drafted in 1830) makes interesting reading. He left several of his not-very-close relatives the grand sum of one shilling (worth just £4 today). However he left all his copyhold properties (2 in Worplesdon and Merristwood Mead in Pirbright) and the rest of his personal estate to Jane Searl(e), the wife of Benjamin Searl(e).
George’s 1830 will makes reference to a “messuage” (ie a house) at Merristwood Mead, but there is no house shown on the 1807 map, so we know that the house was built between 1807 and 1830. The will was witnessed by John Heather, who ran the first shop in Rickford at a cottage near the present-day Christmas Bakery. John’s story can be found on our sister website dealing with Rickford.
The obvious question is: Why did George leave his property to the wife of another man? It echoes the situation in 1784, when George Martin left Merristwood Mead to Elizabeth Boylett, but the reason may be easier to work out. In the 1841 census, George was living with Benjamin and Jane Searle. The census location is given as “Hogley”, but so are 4 other dwellings, so this may not be very accurate. The 1841 Tithe map clarifies that Benjamin “Sale” (probably it should have read “Searle”) was occupying the house at Merristwood Mead.
Given that a dwelling already existed at Merristwood Mead by 1841, it looks as though George allowed the Searles to move in with him at Merristwood Mead, and take over the running of the farm as well as looking after him (by 1841 George was aged 86). Jane Searle had been born Jane Saunders in Pirbright, and so there may have been a connection between the Martins and the Saunders families of which we are not aware.
This arrangement seemed to work well, and George decided to bequeath the farm to the Searles. The decision not to give much of his estate to his relatives is another matter entirely.
Benjamin Searle was born at Frimley in 1785. In 1807 he married Jane Saunders (born in Pirbright in 1791 and only aged 16 at the time of her marriage) in Horsell. They had 3 children. Benjamin died in 1848, aged 63, but Jane moved to Fellmoor (near to Stanford) and continued to work as a farmer. Her grandson, Charles Faggetter lived with her, working on the farm.
By 1871 Jane had returned to “Merristwood Cottage” (today called Hockford Cottage). She described herself as a farmer of 2.5 acres (which was Merristwood Mead), even though she was aged 80 (she gave her age on the census as 82). Living with Jane was Charles Faggetter, her grandson, together with his wife Mary and their 4 children. Charles was a gardener, but presumably he also did most of the work on the 2.5 acres owned by his mother.
On the 1873 OS map the house was accessed by a track leading diagonally across Bullswater Common from the Ash Road (opposite Bakersgate). However later maps show that this track had disappeared, and the only access was via Pullens Farm (see below).
Jane died in 1877 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire. By this time her grandson, Charles Faggetter, had taken over the Merristwood Mead property, having presumably been left it by his mother.
A bit of background on Charles: He had been born in 1829, the son of Henry Faggetter and his wife Mercy (nee Searle, the daughter of Benjamin and Jane Searle). Sadly Mercy died in 1839, which must have been a tremendous hardship to the family. However Henry quickly remarried and bore several children with his second wife. In 1841 Henry and his family (including 12 year-old Charles) were living at Millstream Cottage near Heath Mill. Charles married Mary Collyer (who had previously lived at West Heath and was working as a servant at Goldsworth Nursery) in 1862. Over the next 20 years they had 9 children, one of whom, Albert, was later to farm next-door Hockford Farm (see below).
Charles remained at Hockford Cottage until his death in 1893, aged 64. He continued to describe himself as a gardener, though he also presumably continued to tend the 2.5 acres of Merristwood Mead. Where did he work? We think it was probably at nearby Merrist Wood (for the reasons suggested in the paragraph below). In case the reader thinks that Merrist Wood is quite a distance away, it is worth remembering that Hockford Cottage is just 600 metres (ie 3 good golf shots) north of the 2nd green on the Merrist Wood golf course, albeit separated by thick woodland today.
Mary Faggetter (Charles’s wife) inherited the property, but moved out of Hockford Cottage in 1900 and sold the property to the descendants of Charles Peyto Shrubb, who had owned Merrist Wood. This would have benefitted both parties – for several years Charles Peyto Shrubb had been intent on extending the acreage of Merrist Wood, while Mary, aged 61, would surely have been keen to sell a small property in a somewhat remote location. Charles Shrubb had died in 1899.
She went to live with her son William and his wife at Merrist Wood Farm. William was a gardener there, and it seems that the links between the Faggetter family and the Shrubbs were quite strong. This is what drives us to think that his father, Charles, had also been a gardener at Merrist Wood.
Although none of the Shrubb family ever lived in Pirbright to our knowledge, they did own (in the 19th century) the large tract of land which was the Merrist Wood Estate, part of which was near Fox Corner. We have therefore included elsewhere on this site a history of Charles Peyto Shrubb, written by Steve Cranstone. If you read it, you’ll see that he (Charles Peyto Shrubb) was a rather colourful fellow…
The 1901 census records that “Oxford Cottage” (presumably Hockford Cottage, misheard by the census enumerator) was occupied by James Stevens, a farm labourer aged 71, and his family. James had been brought up at Pottery in Chapel Lane (near the Providence Chapel building), and then (in 1861) was working as a porter at the newly-opened Necropolis (now known as Brookwood Cemetery). By 1871 he was a “Beerhouse keeper and labourer, also farmer of 7 acres”, living at Swallow Cottage, near Burners Farm. We are not sure which beerhouse he kept (was it The White Hart?), but with 3 different occupations he must have been a busy man. He and his wife Ann (nee Warner) then moved to Ash, where he worked as a labourer, before later returning to Pirbright.
One member of the Stevens family at that time was Harriett, the 39 year-old daughter of James and Ann. We have mentioned Harriett specifically, because she later married Moses Cooke at next-door Hockford Farm (see below).
James Stevens and his family moved out c1904, and moved into 12, Pirbright Cottages, which would have been considerably less isolated than Merristwood Mead (and also a much nearer to a pub).
By 1906 David Marshall was living at Hockford Cottage, aged 16, soon joined by his elder brother, George Marshall, who was 2 years his senior. They were both gamekeepers, in the employ of the Shrubbs at Merrist Wood, and came from a family of gamekeepers. The 1907 Kelly’s Directory lists them as gamekeepers to Stanley Brotherhood, who rented shooting rights from the Shrubb family. [Stanley Brotherhood ran his family engineering firm, which made high-speed engines. He went on to become Chairman of Humber, ther well-known car company.]
Their father, David senior (born in Dorset in 1859), was a gamekeeper and had, together with his wife Fanny (born in Dorset in 1855) and their 9 children, moved around the country from job to job. Their children had been born in Dorset, Somerset, Essex, Shropshire and Hampshire, and they now found themselves in Surrey, working at Merrist Wood Farm. David Marshall junior and his brother George were therefore living not far from the rest of their family.
This was to be David senior’s last posting, as he died at Merrist Wood Farm in 1923. Fanny died in 1931 at nearby Norton’s Farm in Rickford, which was part of Merrist Wood Farm at that time. But David junior and George remained at Hockford Cottage.
In 1917 David junior married Elsie Riggs, daughter of James Riggs, a gardener at Merrist Wood, at Worplesdon. David gave his occupation as cowman, and his father’s as farm bailiff. They had one child, Yvonne (born in 1919).
David and Elsie Marshall remained at Hockford Cottage until 1938, but in 1939, the whole of Merrist Wood Farm was sold to Surrey County Council (with a view to using Merrist Wood House as a mental institution). Presumably the Marshalls were evicted, and later that year David and Elsie were living at The Shooting Lodge near Whitmoor Farm. David’s occupation had reverted to estate gamekeeper.
Their daughter, Yvonne, married Robert Bailey in 1942. Elsie Marshall died at The Shooting Lodge in 1956, and David moved to Cox’s Farm, Sutton Green with Yvonne and Robert. David died there in 1977.
Meanwhile, George Marshall had married Daisy Simpson (daughter of William and Maria Simpson who lived in Stoughton) in 1912 at Worplesdon and they moved out of Hockford Cottage into Fern Cottage in Goose Rye Road. They later moved to Wood Street, but Daisy died in 1935, while George died in 1956, living in Milford. We don’t think they had any children.
We are not sure who lived in Hockford Cottage during WW2. A Margaret Failes placed an advert offering a “country home for a young baby”, but that’s all. In 1945 three ladies (including Margaret Failes) were living in the cottage, so maybe Surrey County Council were using it as temporary wartime accommodation for families displaced during the war.
In addition Louis and Elizabeth Mann lived in the house during WW2, and they stayed there until 1955 (when Louis died, aged 78). We do not know much about the Manns, although Louis may have been brought up in Worcestershire, and they had previously been living at Stanford. After Louis died, Elizabeth moved to St John’s.
c1961 Walter Joseph and Pamela Morphew, who had previously been living at Walton-on-Thames, moved into Hockford Cottage. They brought with them the phone number (now Worplesdon 232094), which Victoria Newsom had acquired when she moved into Hockford Farm in 1934. Victoria had transferred it to Hockford Bungalow when she moved there in 1950 and the Morphews had somehow acquired it when they moved into Hockford Cottage in 1961.
At the same time, Clarence and Annie Drake lived at the cottage until at least 1970. We do not know for sure who they were, but they may have originated from Yorkshire, and may well have been lodgers with the Morphews.
c1991 Walter and Pamela Morphew moved out of Hockford Cottage into nearby Hockford Bungalow (see below), which they promptly renamed Hockford Byre. They took with them the phone number (Worplesdon 232094) they had brought from Hockford Bungalow 30 years previously.
Walter Morphew was born in Brentford in 1926, and in 1945 had served 2 years at sea as an apprentice. In 1956 he married Pamela Burningham (who had been born at Chertsey in 1927). They had 3 children. Walter died at Hockford Cottage in 2000, but Pamela remained there until at least 2005.
We are not sure as to the ownership of Hockford Cottage after Surrey County Council purchased it in 1939. By 1982 (and presumably from 1961) the Morphews were the owners. From the late 1990’s, the cottage was owned by someone who lived in Woking. A flood of planning applications to extend the property followed, but most were refused.
Early history of Hockford Farm
The earliest reference to the area that became Hockford Farm is in 1652, in the will of one Robert Purse, where he leaves “land in Pirbright lately grubbed called the Coppice (12 acres) and meadow Burnham Mead there” to his son, John Purse. As we will see shortly, Burnham Meadow (c4 acres in size) became part of Hockford Farm, and 2 of the other Hockford Farm fields are 12 acres in area. In other words, Robert Purse’s land later formed the major part of Hockford Farm. The description of The Coppice as “lately grubbed” suggests that, by 1652, it had only recently been converted from wasteland to agricultural use.
Robert named as one of his executors “my friend John Baker”, who was probably the owner of nearby Bakersgate.
John Purse’s will of 1665 makes no mention of Burnham Mead, which suggests that he may have sold it. The purchaser was probably John’s brother, Robert Purse, as, in his will of 1662, Robert Purse (son of the Robert who had died in 1652) left “Coppice Ground, Burnham Mead and Hockford Mead” to the daughter of his wife by a previous marriage. This daughter was Ann Hinde, who had been born in 1652. Ann had already inherited Heath Mill from her grandfather, so was a significant landholder in the area. Ann went on to marry Henry Rober, but the trail then goes cold. Ann and Henry had a son, Henry who went bankrupt in 1736, so this may have resulted in a sale of the Hockford land, but this is guesswork.
After that promising start in the records, we then have a gap of 120 years until the 1774 Poor Rate records show that a Mr R Huntingford owned the land. 33 years later, the 1807 Pirbright map confirms that Richard Huntingford still owned what we know now as Hockford Farm: The 6 fields coloured yellow on the Tithe Map above, totalling 20 acres. Around this time he let the land out for others to farm. These people included Thomas Woods jnr (who was the miller at Heath Mill and a John Collins.
But who was Richard Huntingford? He was born in 1738, the son of Richard and Alice Huntingford of Worplesdon. However he did not meet the approval of his father, who had died in 1786, as evidenced by this opening to his father’s will: “I give and bequeath to my son Richard Huntingford one shilling and no more in the month after my decease, I having given him divers sums of money before and my lands in Pirbright”. Just to make it clear, the father specifies that the remainder of his estate should be “equally divided between all my children, except my son Richard Huntingford”.
Putting all this together, it seems that Richard Huntingford the elder had owned the Hockford Farm land, perhaps from the mid-1700’s (following the bankruptcy of Henry Rober junior in 1736), and that he had given the land to Richard the younger, who still owned Hockford Mead in 1807. But there is no building shown on the property on the 1807 map, which tells us that the land was just land, probably rented out, and that it was not at that time a farm.
By 1822 James Terry had purchased the land from Richard Huntingford. James Terry was a notable figure in the development of Worplesdon. His wife Ann had inherited a substantial land holding in Worplesdon, and James went on to increase their land holdings in future years, but this purchase (of Hockford Farm) was one of his first (if not the first) venture into property. It may well have been James who decided to build a farmhouse on the land, and call it Hockford Farm.
James Terry died in 1859, and his family influenced the future development of Worplesdon in no small way. His story is told in the Terry Family section of our sister website dealing with Rickford. One of his great-grandsons, Silas Terry, lived at nearby Westbrook Cottage in the 1930’s.
But by 1831 James Terry had sold Hockford Farm (probably to fund further land purchases in Worplesdon) to James Stanford. Stanford Farm is not far away from Hockford Farm, so it would be natural to wonder if James Stanford was connected to Stanford Farm. The short answer is No.
Hockford Farm from 1841
By 1841, the Hockford Farm building can be seen on the map above (at the top of field 143). The building has been known as Ockford Farm, Ockford Farmhouse, Hockford Farmhouse and (currently) Hockford Farm House.
The farm and the 6 fields comprising the yellow area on the map above were still owned by James Stanford, but he let out a small portion (including the farmhouse) to a William Bullin. This is what else we know about James.
He was born in 1774 at Burlingham, Norfolk, near Norwich, the son of Jonathan and Sarah Stanford.
In 1807 he married Mary Parson at Stoke (Guildford).
From 1826 to 1841 he lived in Rickford (at The Old Malthouse) and described himself as a Farmer & maltster. They had two children Mary and Ann, who had been born in Stoke (Guildford).
By 1851 he was a widower, living off his savings. He was living in Merrow Rd, Guildford with his daughters Mary and Ann, both in their 40’s and unmarried.
In 1857 he died at Stoke, aged 82, leaving all his properties to his daughters Mary and Ann Stanford.
As to the ownership of the farm, it seems likely that it was sold to Charles Peyto Shrubb fairly soon after James died. We know for sure that Mr Shrubb owned Ockford Farm by 1880. The purchase of Ockford Farm by Charles Peyto Shrubb should not surprise us. Ockford Farm was adjacent to the Merrist Wood estate, which had been owned by the Shrubb family for nearly 50 years. Charles may have seen it as an easy way to increase the acreage of the estate. The farm remained within the Shrubb family estates until at least 1912.
Although none of the Shrubb family ever lived in Pirbright to our knowledge, they did own (in the 19th century) the large tract of land which was the Merrist Wood Estate, part of which was near Fox Corner. We have therefore included elsewhere on this site a history of Charles Peyto Shrubb, written by Steve Cranstone. If you read it, you’ll see that he (Charles Peyto Shrubb) was a rather colourful fellow…
In 1918, the entire Merristwood Estate was sold to Harold Denison Arbuthnot (1868-1944), a partner in a firm of stockbrokers. Hockford Farm would have been a small part of the overall estate, and the farm was later sold off by him to Maxwell Logan c1930.
Mary and Ann Stanford continued to live in Guildford, and by 1871 they were living in Waterden Road. Ann died in the 1870’s and Mary in 1885, still living at Waterden Road. Both were unmarried and childless. Mary’s estate was valued at £16,000 (worth £1.5 million today).
In terms of occupancy, by 1851 Henry Cooke (sometimes spelt Cook) was established as the farmer at Hockford Farm (although in the census that year, the property had no name), having moved there from Brook Farm, Rickford. Henry had been born in Ash in 1778, the eldest of 10 children of Gloucestershire parents. His grandparents had 15 children. Henry married Mary Boxall (born in Godalming) in 1803 in Worplesdon, and they went on to produce 11 children. The Cookes certainly seemed to like having big families….
Henry and Mary Cooke lived at Hockford Farm until their deaths in 1859 (Mary) and 1860 (Henry).
In 1861 Abraham Cooke and his family were living at “Merrist Farm” as a market gardener. On the Electoral Registers around that time, the farm was called “Mirrist Wood”. Perhaps there was no “official” name of the farm, but it was known as Merristwood Farm (or something similar) because of its proximity to Merristwood Mead (see below).
Abraham was the youngest of Henry and Mary’s 11 children and had been born at Perry Hill, Worplesdon in 1825. It seems curious that the youngest of Henry’s children took over the farm – at the time it was more usual for the eldest son to take over his father’s business. However only 2 of Abraham’s brothers were alive at the time. One was a smith in Southwark and the other was a farm labourer at the Pottery in Chapel Lane. Perhaps they were both happy where they were, because, for whatever reasons, Abraham took over running the farm.
Abraham married Elizabeth Palmer in 1846 and they had 9 children, continuing the Cooke large-family tradition. The 3 youngest boys were called Moses, Job and Aaron, so Abraham presumably wanted to expand the number of biblical names in his family (in addition to his own).
By 1871 Abraham Cooke and his family were living at what was now (on the 1870 OS Map) named Hockford Farm (although the 1871 and 1881 censuses recorded it as “Ocford Farm”). By 1881 its size had risen to 26 acres, possibly by the acquisition of a long narrow field aligned north-south on the other side of the Stanford Brook (and therefore lying in Worplesdon). The farm was accessed in the same way as today – along a track, now the paved road Hockford Close.
Abraham made a profit from working the land – enough to buy 3 cottages in Rickford (Stonebridge Cottage and 2 semi-detached cottages which were later combined to become Rickford Cottage).
Abraham died in 1882, and his third son (out of 5), Moses Cooke, took over the running of Ockford Farm. At this time there was a sale of farming stock (including horses, cows and pigs), as well as farm equipment and some furniture. Perhaps Moses wanted to shake off his father’s old farming habits, modernise the farm and make a fresh start.
We are afraid to say that Moses has a bad reputation, with family sources citing alcoholism and wife-beating amongst his habits. One put it this way: “He wasn't a very nice gentleman”. If you would like to read more details about Moses, he appears on the page dealing with the Slaughter Family.
Moses had been born in Pirbright in 1857 and so was just 25 when he became the new farmer. In 1883 he married Elizabeth Slaughter (born 1858), daughter of Thomas Slaughter who just happened to be the farmer at Bakersgate, just along the road. They had 2 children, but sadly Elizabeth died in 1887, aged only 28, when her youngest child was only 6 months old. This must have been a dreadful time for Moses, but he carried on living at the farm with his 2 young children, which must have been very tough for him.
Several years later, c1900, his eye was caught by a lady called Harriett Stevens, the daughter of James Stevens, who was living at Merristwood Mead (at that time called Ockford Cottage – see above). Although the 2 properties were next-door to each other, they weren’t connected by any official track. Maybe Moses chatted to Harriett over the boundary hedge.
The Stevenses only lived at Ockford Cottage for a couple of years (before moving to 12, Pirbright Cottages), but that proved to be long enough for Moses. He and Harriett were married in October 1905, and 5 months later Harriett gave birth to Olive. Moses purchased No 1 Kelvin Cottages in Rickford, and the family lived there until 1912. They then moved to Littlehurst Farm, near Stringer’s Common. c1924 they moved to Bramley and a few years later to Wonersh, where Harriett died in 1940 and Moses in 1944 at the age of 86 – rather surprising in the light of his drinking habit. Olive married in 1943 and died in Chichester in 1993.
c1910 Albert Faggetter (born c1880) moved into Ockford Farm, together with his elder brother, William and his wife Laura (nee Marsh), who was from Suffolk. William would have known the area well – he and Laura had been living at Merrist Wood Farm (in Worplesdon), and prior to that William had been living at Merristwood Mead (before the Stevenses) with his parents Charles and Mary Faggetter. Now Faggetter was a common surname around Pirbright at that time, so it should not be a surprise to find that William was a cousin, once removed, of John Faggetter who built Pirbright Cottages.
William and Laura left Pirbright soon after 1911, and they moved to Andover, where they stayed for the rest of their lives. William died there in 1935, aged 67, and Laura also died there in 1959, aged 88.
Albert Faggetter, however, stayed at Ockford Farm for 20 years. He married Marion Smith (born in Brighton in 1882) in 1911. A delightful memento from their marriage is pictured below. They had 2 sons (Dennis and Alfred).
Frederick Selous, who lived at nearby Heatherside, spoke about Albert at a public meeting held in 1912 to protest against the proposed Cattle Testing Station (refer below), which the Board of Agriculture had recently announced would be built at Pirbright. A press cutting describing this is shown below.
The meeting was to no avail. As we all know, the Testing Station went ahead (and became today’s Pirbright Institute).
In 1919 fire broke out at the Hockford Farm buildings, causing great damage, as described in the two press cuttings below.
There are a few points of interest in these cuttings:
Firstly, the Surrey Advertiser has recorded the name of the farm incorrectly as “Cox’s”, when it should have been “Ockford”. Oh dear.
According to the OS map of 1915, the farm had 3 outbuildings, one of which – a cowshed - was quite large. Judging by the description, the blaze must have been fearsome, even though it happened in November, which of course is often a wet month.
William and Fanny Ann Farminer had moved into No 1, Pirbright Cottages in 1908, and they lived there for 45 years. William had served in the Labour Corps during WW1, and his help to Albert and Marion in their hour of need demonstrates that he was a kind-hearted man. His story is told on the Pirbright Cottages page.
FC Selous was a well-known figure, and his role here is not a surprise at all. He was known as an active and kind man, and this act was typical of him. His story is told under Heatherside.
In case you are wondering, £96 in 1919 is equivalent to about £3,500 today, so it was a worthwhile collection.
Harold Arbuthnot, the owner referred to, had only purchased Merristwood in 1918, so, even though the buildings were insured, he would surely not have been pleased by this. However he acted swiftly and by May 1920 his plans for a new farm building (see photo below) had been approved.
Albert continued to make a living at Ockford Farm until 1930, when he and Marion moved to Perry Hill Farm in Worplesdon. Below are 2 photos of Albert and his family at work, almost certainly taken at Ockford Farm.
Albert died at Horam, a small village north of Eastbourne, in 1957. Marion died at Brighton in 1962. A later photo of their 2 sons, Dennis and Alfred, is shown below.
Around 1930 Harold Arbuthnot sold Hockford Farm to Maxwell Logan. Maxwell had been born in India in 1881 of Scottish parents and, a draughtsman by trade, travelled to Canada in 1909. 3 years later he married Edith (who was Canadian) in Ontario in 1912 and they had 3 children. They returned to the UK in the mid-1930’s and lived in a flat in Esher.
The Logans didn’t live at Hockford Farm, and it seems that they purchased it for 3 other reasons:
1. As a property investment (ie to rent the farmhouse out).
2. To convert some of the farm buildings to living accommodation, and then to rent them out. More about this can be found under “Hockford Byre” below.
3. To set up a mushroom farm. More about this latter activity can be found below under the heading “Hockford Mushroom Farm”.
This was all proceeding according to plan until the outbreak of WW2. Maxwell travelled to Canada in 1942 with his niece, but died there in 1944, aged 63. Edith remained at Esher and died there in 1953, aged 76. We are not sure when the property was sold, but we have shown below a sale document for the farm, sadly undated. Our guess is that this was drawn up in the 1940’s or 1950’s.
We will now return to the early 1930’s and pick up the story of the occupants of Hockford Farm after Albert and Marion Faggetter had moved out.
By 1934, a Victoria Newsom had moved into what was now called Hockford Farm, renting it from Maxwell Logan. We can’t be 100% sure who Victoria was, but she appears to have been born as Maud Feneley (ie no mention of Victoria in her name) in 1897 near Stamford, the daughter of a miller. On her marriage certificate in 1923 to a John Newsom, a 21 year-old London gentleman, she changed her name (to Victoria Maud), shaved 3 years off her age (down to 23) and promoted her father from being a miller to “Gentleman”.
They do not seem to have had any children, and the marriage may have foundered, as, from 1934, Victoria was living on her own in Hockford Farm, and in 1939 John was living separately in Maybury, Woking as an electrical engineer.
She immediately installed a telephone (something of a rarity at that time), with the number Worplesdon 94. In 1939 she described herself as a Guest House Proprietress, and she hosted 5 other people including a radiologist, a Captain in the Royal Artillery and a horticulturist. We assume that by this stage the farm was no longer operating as a farm, apart from Maxwell Logan’s Mushroom Farm (refer below).
In 1951 Victoria Newsom moved from Hockford Farm to the adjacent building, Hockford Bungalow (now called Hockford Byre - see below), and 2 families moved in – the Skeets and the Moors.
Philip and Mary Skeet (who had been living in Woking) were probably the owners. Philip was born in Farncombe in 1910 and married Mary McDonnell in 1928. They had 2 daughters while living in Eton, but later moved to Woking near Oriental Road. Hockford Farm would have provided a considerably more peaceful environment for them than Oriental Road.
The wedding in 1953 of one of their daughters, Patricia, was announced in The Tatler (no less), suggesting that the Skeets had some social aspirations. The announcement is shown below.
George & Ellen Moor moved in with the Skeets, presumably as lodgers. They stayed for 4 years before moving into the newly-built Dell Quay in the Ash Road (refer above), where their story is told in more detail.
The Skeets moved out in 1958 to Prey Heath Road, but before they left it seems that they sold off much of the farm’s land to Thames Water, earmarked for a Sewage Treatment Works. This duly came to be built, and is covered below.
In 1958 Neville and Stella Girardot bought Hockford Farmhouse (minus the land earmarked for the Sewage Treatment Works), having previously been living in Kensington. Neville had been born in Uckfield in 1925. Stella (nee Gosling) was 2 years older and was born in Kent. They were married in Battle, Sussex in 1950.
Between 2003 and 2008 they were living in the Isle of Wight, but they then returned to Hockford Farmhouse. The photos below of Hockford Farmhouse were taken in 2008. The indoor shot shows the 19th century fireplace. We have also shown a photo of a cheerful-looking Neville Girardot.
The picture below is a watercolour of Hockford Farmhouse, although it’s rather hard to match it to the photos above, or to the current building. But it’s a very pleasant picture, nevertheless. The pear tree in the front (now felled, alas) may well be the last “Collins” Pear in existence, but it was many years since it bore fruit, so impossible to tell.
[In 1931 Mary Cawthorn wrote about the Collins Pear: “I believe it was a Collins, of Burners, who was the producer of the Collins pear. The tree is beautifully shaped, a mass of blossom in the spring, turning a brilliant red in autumn. The pears are small, but are of an excellent flavour when stewed". We are not sure who Mr Collins was, but the reference probably relates to the first half of the 19th century.]
Stella died in 2012, aged 89, and the announcement of this in The Daily Telegraph is shown below. Neville died in 2015, aged 90.
This long, low building appears on the 1873 OS map and presumably was originally a farm building related to the farmhouse. Fast-forward 47 years, and we have shown below a plan of Stable Buildings constructed in 1920 at Hockford Farm, owned at that time by Harold Arbuthnot (the owner of Merrist Wood - refer above). These stables were built as a replacement for the original buildings (destroyed in the fire of 1919), and may subsequently have formed part of today’s Hockford Byre. The plan shows that one of the uses of the stables was indeed for keeping cows (hence the current name of the house includes the word “Byre”).
Fast-forward another 15 years, and.............
It was converted to a dwelling in 1933 by the owner, Maxwell Bellow Logan (refer Hockford Farm above), and was originally known as “The bungalow at Hockford Farm” and then “Hockford Bungalow”, until it was renamed “Hockford Byre”. A byre is a building in which cows are kept, so that confirms what it was originally (primarily) used for. The plan of the 1933 building is shown below.
The first record of any occupant in the bungalow is in 1939 when William and Alice Dowling started living there with their young daughter. William was a farm labourer, and the family had previously been living in a bungalow in Cranleigh.
During the next few years a variety of people lived in the bungalow, perhaps because it was used by Victoria Newsom as an overspill for her guest house business.
In 1950 Victoria Newsom herself moved from Hockford Farm (see above) to Hockford Bungalow, and this seemed to mark the end of her business of renting Hockford House to short-term guests. She took the phone number (Worplesdon 94) with her though. She stayed at Hockford Bungalow until at least 1958, when she moved out of the area. Victoria died in 1985 at Arundel, aged 87.
Between 1950 and 1955 Victoria shared Hockford Bungalow with Albert and Margaret Holway. Albert was born in Tiverton in 1919 and was an engine packer living in Maybury when he married Margaret (nee Taylor) in 1942. After the war they moved to Westfield, then Smarts Heath, before arriving at Hockford. Presumably Victoria let out space in Hockford Bungalow to them. The Holways moved to Kemishford in 1956 and stayed there until their deaths in 1991 (Albert) and 2006 (Margaret).
Between 1957 and 1959 an Alec and Florence Stratford lived at “Magpies, Hockford Farm”. Alec died in 1959, aged 58 and Florence moved to Wendover in Buckinghamshire. They were followed by John and Elsie Allan in 1960-61. This fits well with a gap in the known occupancy of Hockford Bungalow, although we do not know for certain that Hockford Bungalow and “Magpies” were the same place.
Joyce Lawson, recently widowed, lived at Hockford Bungalow briefly (c1960-61). She was followed c1970 by James and Rosina Keane and Douglas and Beryl Quinnell (c1981-82).
By 1991 Walter and Pamela Morphew had moved into Hockford Bungalow and promptly renamed it Hockford Byre, a much more distinctive name. They had moved all the way from next-door Hockford Cottage (see above, where their story is told more fully). But they brought with them the phone number (now Worplesdon 232094), which Victoria Newsom had acquired when she moved into Hockford Farm in 1934. She had transferred it to Hockford Bungalow when she moved there in 1950 and the Morphews had somehow acquired it when they moved into Hockford Cottage in 1961. 30 years later the number had returned to Hockford Bungalow (albeit renamed).
Walter died at Hockford Byre in 2000 and Pamela remained there until her death in 2007.
Hockford Mushroom Farm
As described above, Maxwell and Edith Logan purchased Hockford Farm c1930. In 1933 they obtained permission to build a mushroom farm in one of their fields. The location of the farm is shown on the map below (in faint writing, towards the top of the map between the centre and right-hand edge). A plan of the buildings is also shown.
The buildings on the map are quite large, and would have required a sizeable initial investment. Investing in a mushroom farm seems to us today an unusual venture, but perhaps mushrooms were in hot demand at the time, and Maxwell sniffed an opportunity to make some money. Or maybe Maxwell had always had a secret longing for fungi. Although the Logans owned Hockford Farm, they were living in a flat in Esher, which couldn’t have been very convenient for them.
The mushroom farm didn’t last long. It operated until at least 1939, but seems to have fallen into disuse after Maxwell’s death in 1944.
Maxwell’s buildings are shown on the 1961 OS map, but today, no trace of the mushroom farm exists – it has been replaced by part of Hockford Close (see below), including Nos 5 and 6, and the bushes on the south side of the close.
Hockford Close was built in the mid-1970’s on 2 adjoining slivers of land. In the 19th century these had been part of Tods Farm and Hockford Farm (see above). We are not sure who owned them in the 1970’s, but some enterprising developer saw an opportunity, and Hockford Close was created. We understand that the houses were originally intended for employees of Thames Water.
The earliest occupants appear in the phone directory from 1976 (Graham and Renee Grainger in No 2, and Samuel and Eileen Lee in No 6). They were soon joined by Edward and Josie Tamplin (No 3), Brian and Dorothy Perfett (No 4) and Lawrence and Josephine Cutten (No 5). We do not know who lived in No 1 at that time.
Ownership of the houses in Hockford Close changes infrequently: It seems that the occupants like to live in their secluded spot and are reluctant to sell.
Hockford Sewage Treatment Works (STW)
The Thames Water STW fits neatly inside a pronounced meander of the Hoe Stream, such that it is only accessible from the northern side, and to most passers-by, is completely invisible. Not only are the other 3 sides hemmed in by the Hoe Stream, but beyond it are dense woods. Well done to whoever designed it.
The Works are not shown on the 1961 OS map, but do appear on the 1975 map, covering their current area in full. A Ronald McKelvie appears on the 1962 Electoral Register as living at “Caravan, Hockford Sewage Disposal Works”, indicating that construction was under way (or about to start) by then.
Several newspaper adverts for staff appeared between late 1976 and 1979, so that period could have seen an extension of the STW. We would welcome any further information or documents relating to the formation of the STW.
Apart from stating that the plant receives local sewage flows and treats them, there is not a great deal we want to say about the site.
Pirbright Institute and related buildings
We have continued our westward journey along the Ash Road on a different page (click here). On that page you will find our writings about the remaining buildings on the south side of the Ash Road in our area, ie
• The Pirbright Institute
• Pullens Farm (demolished as the Institute expanded)
• White Cottages (Nos 1&2)
• The Research Station Bungalow (now demolished)