top of page


This section covers the 13 buildings along the B380 (Berry Lane) heading north-eastwards from the Bagshot Road as far as Bridley Manor Farm.  All of these houses sit on land owned at one time by Bridley Manor.  The history of most of these houses is tightly bound up with the history of Bridley Manor, and so we have considered their early history as part of the history of Bridley Manor.  

The soon-to-be-built Mulberry House (previously Ostend), although being owned by The Lord of Bridley Manor for a while, has a special history, and we have considered this property on its own.

We have therefore set out this section as follows:

•    The early history of Bridley Manor until 1912
•    Post-1912:
     o    Bridley Manor
     o    Nos 1 & 2, Orchard Way
     o    The Lodge
     o    Bridley Manor
     o    South Lodge
     o    North Lodge
     o    White, Middle and Victoria Cottages (1912-1939)
     o    White Cottage (post-1945)
     o    Middle Cottage (post-1945)
     o    Virginia Cottage (post-1945)
     o    The Bothy
     o    Bridley Equestrian Centre (previously Bridley Manor Farm)
     o    Beesacres
•    Mulberry Cottage (previously Ostend)

Most of these cottages served as accommodation for staff working at Bridley Manor.  As a result, some of the occupants stayed only for short periods.  To improve readability, we have not mentioned all of these people.  Here is a table showing the original dates of each house.

Brid - Date Table.jpg


                                                   The early history of Bridley Manor until 1912

Bridley Manor is shown on the earliest maps of the area.  The 1729 Senex map (shown below, left) and the later (1763) Roque map (below, right) both show “Bradly Farm”. 

We are not sure when Bridley was originally built.  But “Bridley House” is mentioned in a 1657 mortgage deed relating to Ostend, so we know that it existed then.  
Until 1912, the Manor was owned by the Lord of the Manor.  Up until about 1800 it was known as the Manor of Crastock, but it then seemed to become the Manor of Bridley.  During this time, the Manor allowed local farmers to own parts of the manorial land copyhold [Copyhold is a little like leasehold.  A copyholder, however, in addition to paying yearly rent, had to supply labour at harvest time and also pay a heriot in animals or cash and fine when the property was sold or passed to the copyholder’s heirs.]

But from 1832 until 1894 it seems that the Bridley Manor estate was seen as an investment.  The owners tended to be wealthy gentlemen who lived elsewhere, and then (usually upon their deaths) the property was put up for sale, to be bought by another wealthy gentleman.  This was fortunate for historians, as each sale necessitated detailed plans and descriptions of the various properties on the estate.  

Based on early records, we can draw up an approximate timeline of Bridley Manor ownership as follows:


  • 1553 – 1554: Thomas Hobson

  • Gap

  • ?? - ??:  Francis Williamson

  • Gap

  • 1641 – 1678:  Paul Carell and his heirs.

  • 1678 - 1758:  John Child and his heirs

  • 1759 - 1770:  John Tickner

  • 1770 – c1810:  Richard Hollingworth

  • c1810 – c1832:  Philip Hollingworth

  • c1832 – c1845:  James Bourdillon

  • c1845 – 1857:  Alexander Robertson

  • 1857 – 1877:  Sir William Fletcher Norton, who was the 3rd Lord Grantley

  • 1877 – 1887:  Major William Ewing

  • 1888 – 1900:  Richard Garton

  • 1900 - 1907:  Thomas Montagu Richards

  • 1907 – 1912:  Andrew Anderson

  • 1914 – 1922:  Cecil Braithwaite DL (Deputy Lieutenant)

  • 1923 – 1939:  Henry Richard Lawrence

  • 1948  - 1960:  The Rt Hon Lord Swaythling

We don’t know much about the history of Bridley Manor up to 1800.    But below is some information on the more recent owners. 

Richard and Philip Hollingworth (c1740-c1826)

We know very little about either of Richard and Philip Hollingworth.  In fact we don’t even know their relationship with each other (though we suspect that Richard may have been Philip’s father).  We have found a 1780 newspaper article (replicated below) reporting that a group of Surrey bigwigs had requested a meeting with the Sheriff of Surrey to discuss their dissatisfaction with the levels of taxes.  This state of affairs had doubtless been caused by the American War of Independence, which had started in 1775.

At any rate the Hollingworths between them were Lord of the Manor of Bridley (or Crastock as it was then referred to) until at least 1832.  We cannot trace either of them on the 1841 census, nor on the 1841 Tithe apportionment details, and so we assume that they had either both died or moved out of the area by then (although we cannot find any records of either happening).

James Bourdillon (1781-1860)

James Bourdillon was descended from a Geneva-based family who had arrived in England sometime around the early 1700’s.  The Bourdillon family aligned themselves to the French Huguenots who had recently arrived from France.

[As historical background, in the 1680’s, Louis XIV exercised increasing restrictions on the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants) in France, and consequently c200,000 people left France for Protestant countries (mainly The Netherlands, England, Germany and Switzerland). 

Between 40,000 and 50,000 Huguenots arrived in southern England during the period 1680 – 1710.  This was the largest influx of foreign refugees into the UK up to that time, and represented around 1% of England’s population.  It is reported that they showed a willingness to work hard, to persevere and to lead frugal lives, and assimilated into local populations well.  They were particularly known for their weaving skills.]

James (Jacques) was born in London in 1781 was living in Winchester St, London.  In 1810 he married Elizabeth Kennion in Islington and they had 5 children.
James was a solicitor and a wealthy one at that.  In 1816 he was a partner in the firm of Messrs Bourdillon & Hewett of Friday St, Cheapside, living at Bedford Row in Clerkenwell.  That year his firm was robbed.  The culprit was caught, and his trial reported in the cutting below (right).  It is worth reading right to the end.

He used some of his money to buy Bridley Manor in 1826.  By 1830 his firm had moved their practice to Great Winchester St, near Finsbury Circus.  He also owned one of the largest properties in Bread St (near Mansion House in the City of London).  In 1841 the couple were living in Middle Lane, Hornsey, not far from where Alexandra Palace is today, and James had clearly become a well-known solicitor in City of London circles.

The 1841 Tithe Map shows that James owned 304 acres of Bridley Farm and surrounding property (including 145 acres of commonland and 13 acres of woodland).  But it does not show any dwellings at Bridley, other than The Manor.  This is confirmed in the census of that year, which records the only dwelling at Bridley being The Manor, occupied by the steward (ie farmer) of Bridley, together with his family. 

Elizabeth died in Blean, near Canterbury in 1853.   James died in Jersey in 1860 (the register entry is shown below).  We don’t know what he was doing in Jersey.  Maybe he retired to there after Elizabeth died, or maybe there were some tax or secrecy advantages of living in Jersey, even in those days. 

Brid - Jas Bourdillon robbery 1816.jpg

We did find a newspaper cutting from 1836 (shown below), which refers to a George Francis acting as Lord of the Manor of Bridley.  The sharp-eyed will see, however, that the last line of the article refers to him as the Lord of the Manor of “Baidley”, not Bridley.  One might assume that this was a misprint by the Windsor and Eton Express.  Or maybe not.  Mr Francis was the landlord of a brewhouse in Ripley.  So perhaps the “Manor of Baidley” was some local joke (or perhaps the name of his inn), and he actually had nothing to do with Bridley Manor after all.  Who knows?

Brid - George Francis cutting 1836.jpg

Alexander Robertson (c1880-1857)

Originally a ship-owning foreign merchantman, Alexander Robertson became an MP in the 1820’s in Cornwall in a borough which was soon disenfranchised for corruption.  He moved to Hoe Place, Woking, in the mid-1820’s, and traded in India, South America and Cuba amongst others.  It all sounds slightly murky to us.

We are not sure when he purchased the Manor of Bridley from James Bourdillon.  In November 1844 he was the victim of an attempted theft of coal (refer cutting below left).  It gives an insight of life in those times.  It seems strange to our ears to hear that Mr Robertson had ordered as much as 42 tons of coal.  Perhaps this was to supply all the houses around Bridley Manor, but it still seems a lot.

In 1848 Mr Robertson bought some Greek and Roman antiquities at an auction in Stowe (see cutting below right).  We wonder if any of these are still lurking in the grounds of Bridley Manor.

Brid - Robertson theft 1844.jpg

As well as the 42-acre Hoebridge Place estate, Mr Robertson also owned the 110-acre White Rose Farm, 23 acres of nearby land and 8 houses in Woking.  And of course, Bridley Manor. 


He died in December 1856.  At his funeral his coffin was “conveyed in a hearse drawn by 4 horses with plumes etc, and followed by 12 mourning coaches”.  In his will he directed all his estates to be sold, and he left bequests of £80,000, which today would be worth well over £5 million – so we can assume that his commercial activities were successful. 


He left half of his wealth to his daughter Margaret, who according to his will was “of unsound mind and incapacitated from managing herself and her affairs” and who died a spinster in 1892, leaving £40,000 (worth around £3 million today).

The sale of Bridley Manor in 1857 was advertised as shown in the cutting right. 

Brid - Robertson Bridley auction 1857.jpg

It shows that Mr Robertson had increased the size of the estate by 121 acres (40%) from its 304 acres in 1841 to 425 acres.  We know that 103 of the 121 added acres were in 7 discrete parcels, near to Fox Corner.  We have written elsewhere on this site about 6 of the 7 parcels (just click on the relevant link).  Here they are:

  1. Rickford Malthouse                                                                               21 acres

  2. Ostend (refer section at foot of this page)                                            18 acres

  3. Lawfords Hill area                                                                                 12 acres

  4. Land between Berry Lane and Lawford’s Hill                                       32 acres

  5. Fields north of Rickford Mill (in Pirbright)                                                7 acres

  6. Land north of Lawford’s Hill (now part of Worplesdon Golf Course)       7 acres

  7. Rickford Mill                                                                                             6 acres


Parcels 1 to 5 above were all owned by Henry Halsey, Lord of the Manor of Pirbright in 1841.  He was a dissolute sort of fellow, as described in the section dealing with Whites Farm.  When he succeeded his father as Lord of the Manor, he bought various properties (in the 1820’s and 1830’s), adding to the already large Halsey estate.  However, a few years later his extravagant lifestyle required him to sell some of his properties.  We know that he sold Rickford Malthouse (item 1 above) to Alexander Robertson c1851, and it seems likely that he also sold items to 2 to 5 to Mr Robertson at the same time.  Thus it was that some small parcels in Bridley and Pirbright flip-flopped between the Lords of the Manor of Bridley and Pirbright respectively.  The tenants who worked this land had, of course, no say whatsoever in these dealings.


Lord Grantley (1796-1875)

Fletcher, 3rd Lord Grantley, Baron of Markenfield, York, late of Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, Wonersh Park and 10, Wilton Place was the purchaser of Bridley Manor in the 1857 sale.  The Grantleys were already significant landowners in Bramley, Wonersh and Dunsfold in the 1800’s. 

This particular Lord Grantley was born Fletcher Norton in South Leith, near Edinburgh in 1796.  He was the eldest son of the 2nd Lord Grantley, and inherited the title (ie became the 3rd Lord Grantley) on the death of his father in 1820 at the age of 24. 

In case you were wondering, the first Lord Grantley was Sir Fletcher Norton (1716-1789).  In 1741 he had married Grace, eldest daughter of Sir William Chapple of Wonersh Park, thereby coming to own a large property just south of Guildford.  The information on the various Lord Grantleys that follows has been provided by the Wonersh History Society, with our grateful thanks to them for their painstaking research.

The Grantleys are not remembered with any affection in the Wonersh community.  Instead, the first Lord Grantley was regarded as an unpleasant fellow, who grabbed a piece of Wonersh commonland to keep the villagers a little further from his house! 

Before he entered politics the first Lord was known as “Sir Bull-Face Double Fee”, for his practice of taking money from each side in a dispute without telling the other.   He was Attorney General from 1763 to 1765, and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1770 to 1780.  A portrait of this important person is shown right. 

Brid - 1st Lord Grantley pic.jpg

The second Lord Grantley (1742-1820) also became an MP in 1768, and remained an MP for 21 years, including a spell as MP for Guildford (1782-1784).  He resigned as an MP when he became the 2nd Lord Grantley on the death of his father in 1789.  He built an enormous wall around his garden “apparently to prevent neighbours and passers-by from gazing with too great enthusiasm at his Lordship’s grass and trees” as a later historian put it.

Back to the 3rd Lord.  In 1825 he married Charlotte Beechey (b 1803).  Possibly the most notable attribute of the 3rd Lord was actually his younger brother, George (1800-1875): 

In 1827 George married Caroline Sheridan, grand-daughter of the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (The Rivals, The School for Scandal).  Caroline had been schooled in Shalford, where the girls often walked in the grounds of Wonersh Park.  She had considerable literary talent, and was, according to newspaper reports, very good-looking.  George caught sight of Caroline and, despite never having spoken to her, decided to marry her.  She was 19 at the time.

Things didn’t go well for the couple.  George was described as “narrow-spirited, intolerant, slow-witted... coarse-natured and self-indulgent, with a capacity for cruelty and brutality.”  Also he was “slow and lazy and late for everything” (including his own wedding).

George and Caroline had 3 children, but in 1836 a great scandal arose involving them.  George accused Caroline and Lord Melbourne (who was by then Prime Minister) of “criminal conversation” (which in those days meant adultery), and the case was held before the Lord Chief Justice.  George produced various witnesses (who were his own servants), who gave lurid (in those days) descriptions of what they had seen.  These witnesses were discredited by the defence lawyer, and the case was dismissed.  It was thought that it had been brought by Lord Melbourne’s political opponents to discredit him. 

But the scandal never went away.  Below left is an 1853 press cutting that makes rather unpleasant reading.  And below right is a drawing of Caroline, published in 1870.

Brid - Norton-Sheridan cutting 1853.jpg
Brid - Grantley - 1870 drawing of Caroline.jpg

Back to the 3rd Lord Grantley.  He and Charlotte did not have any children, and so on his death, the title passed to his nephew, Thomas Norton.  The 3rd Lord died in August 1875 with an estate less than £16,000 (worth £1 million today).  Left is a picture of him in his prime.

[The current Lord Grantley (the 8th) was born in 1956, and is a retired banker.  He left the House of Lords when it was reformed in 1999.]   

Lord Grantley put Bridley up for auction in 1874, the year before he died (see newspaper ad right).  The ad suggests that the recent death of a tenant farmer (Daniel Woodin, who died in 1873 – his story is told below) might have been part of the reason for the sale.  The estate was the same size (425 acres) as it was when Lord Grantley had bought it in 1857, and so it appears he had made no additional purchases of land in the area.

Major Ewing  (1848 - 1888)

The purchaser of Bridley Estate in 1874 was Major William Ewing, a retired major in The Tower Hamlets Militia.  He had been born at St Ninian’s, near Stirling in 1848, the son of Baronet Sir Archibald Orr-Ewing of Ballikinrain (1818-1893).  This eminent gentleman had been a Scottish Conservative MP for 24 years, and held various senior appointments.  He has his own Wikipedia page (which seemed to us to contain a few mistakes at the time of writing).  Sir Archibald had married Elizabeth Reid in 1847, and William Orr-Ewing (who seemed to prefer being called plain William Ewing) was their eldest child.  When in London, Sir Archibald and his family stayed at Princes Gardens, a leafy square just off Exhibition Road.

In 1881 William Ewing married Harriett du Bois (1853-1933), the daughter of a solicitor.  They didn’t have any children and William died suddenly in a Paris hotel in 1888.  William would have expected to inherit his father’s baronetcy, but he predeceased his father.  So on his father’s death in 1893 the baronetcy passed straight to his younger brother Sir Archibald Orr Ewing.  The baronetcy is currently held by the 6th Baronet Orr-Ewing of Ballikinrain.

After William died, Harriett remarried Major General Sir Reginald Thomas Thynne and had 2 children.

Just to make things really complicated, one of the original Sir Archibald’s great grandsons, Sir Ian Orr Ewing, was a Conservative MP for 20 years, and was created a baronet Orr-Ewing (of Hendon) in 1963.  Both Orr-Ewing baronetcies still exist today, with both barons being in their 80’s.

[As a side note, you may be wondering if Ballikinrain Castle still exists.  It was built in 1868 as a focal point for Sir Alexander’s 4,500 acre estate and does still exist, but has not been lived in for several years.  It was burned down (allegedly by suffragettes) in 1913, restored in 1916, used as a school, a campsite and caravan park, and is now a non-denominational school for young people who are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.]

William only owned Bridley Estate for 14 years, but he made several changes to it, including amalgamating Rickford Malthouse and Ostend and some other land into one property, named “Malthouse Home Farm".  We have covered this in some detail in the Rickford Malthouse section.  But probably his most significant actions were to buy additional land to increase the estate substantially (50%) to 640 acres.

We have shown below a map of the part of the estate, nearest Fox Corner (as well as the cover page of the sale document).  The green, blue and pink shaded areas are different lots of the estate.  The white areas lie outside the estate.

Brid - 1888 Sale map - Fox Corner bit.jpg
Brid - 1888 Sale map - Front cover.jpg

Near Fox Corner, the additions made by Major Ewing were:

  1. Brook Farm (lot 6 in blue)

  2. The triangle on which Pirbright Cottages now stand (plot 462c)

  3. A long triangle of land starting at the current Fox Corner roundabout, and stretching north along both sides of Malthouse Lane  (plots 462 b and c)

The other additions to Bridley estate by Major Ewing were:

  • Land north of Bridley Farm, covering much of what is Worplesdon Golf Course today

  • Land to the east of Bridley Farm, previously part of the Crastock estate.

The Bridley Manor estate was put up for sale in July 1888, on the death of Major Ewing, who died in the Hotel Continental, Paris on 22 April 1888 with a personal estate of £246,000 (worth around £20 million today).  We have shown below an advert for the sale right.

Brid - 1888 Sale Ad.jpg

Sir Richard Garton (1857-1934)

The purchaser in 1888 of Bridley Manor (and hence the new Lord of the Manor) was the 31-year-old Richard Garton.

Richard Garton was born in Bedminster in 1857.  He was the son of William Garton, who had built up a very successful brewing business which also refined sugar, mainly for the brewing industry.  In 1881 William’s business was split into brewing (The Anglo Bavarian Brewing Company) and sugar refining (Garton Hill).  William and his partner Thomas Hill ran the business of Garton Hill.  William and Ellen somehow found the time and energy to have 14 children, of whom 6 did not survive beyond the age of 6.  Richard was the eldest child to survive into adulthood.

When Richard had finished his degree at university he joined his father’s firm and became a pioneer in the manufacture of liquid glucose.  In 1888, he was running the sugar-refining operations of the firm.  He must have been a persuasive fellow as he managed to convince his father to give (or lend) him a tidy sum to buy the Bridley Estate.  To round that off, Richard also bought Worplesdon Place.  [When William died in 1905, he left a fortune of £540,000 (worth £70 million today), so I think it is safe to say that he could have afforded it comfortably.]

In 1883 Richard married Ellen (“Nellie”) Durrant (born Chelmsford in 1858, the daughter of Andrew Durrant, a wealthy farmer who lived at Bishop’s Hall).  They had 2 daughters. 

Richard and Nellie lived at Worplesdon Place from 1887.  Perhaps the charm of the local area encouraged them to buy Bridley Manor the following year.  But they never lived at Bridley, nor did they make many changes to the estate – the Gartons regarded Bridley merely as an investment. 

In 1895 he was 1 of 6 people who lobbied the Attorney-General in 1895 to prevent the building of a smallpox hospital on Whitmoor Common (they failed, and the hospital was built).  In 1902 the family moved to Lythe Hill in Haslemere, where they remained.  At that time he sold Bridley to Thomas Montague Richards (see below).

Richard stood for Parliament (unsuccessfully) in 1900 and was knighted in 1908 for his work as Head of a firm of brewing sugar manufacturers (Garton, Sons and Company) in Battersea.  In 1918 he was awarded the GBE.  After a series of takeovers, the family business was acquired by Watney, Combe, Reid & Co Ltd in 1933.  Sir Richard was appointed deputy chairman, but died the following year, aged 76.  He left a fortune of £2.6 million (worth nearly £200 million today).

Richard was a well-known philanthropist. In 1912 he established the Garton Foundation for the study of international relations. He also founded the British Empire Cancer Campaign and donated large sums of money to their work. When Nellie died in 1925 he built the children’s ward of the Haslemere Hospital in memory of her and later added the nurse’s hostel.  We have shown a newspaper obituary of Sir Richard and a picture of him below.

This may be a coincidence, but a few years ago a friend of one of the Pirbright Historian’s sons married a lady named Garton (descended from the same Garton family as described above) and decided to become – a brewer.  The beer he brews certainly tastes very different to the old-fashioned Watneys.


Thomas Montagu Richards  (1857- 1922)

c1900 Richard Garton sold the Bridley Manor estate to Thomas Montague Richards, who lived in Norwood and who thus became the next Lord of Bridley Manor.  We have covered his life story in the Berry Lane section, but we have repeated it here.

Mr Richards was an interesting fellow.  A solicitor, born in Lincolnshire in 1857 and son of a reverend, he worked at Clements Inn, The Strand and became a freemason.  He rose to become Mayor of Lambeth in 1903-4, but this was the peak of his career, as things soon went downhill, fast.  In 1907 he was found guilty of stealing his clients’ money and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in Maidstone Jail.  Thomas was fortunate that his father, the Rev Thomas Richards, had died in 1901, a few years before it came to light, otherwise he might have had to face some strong words of parental disapproval.

A summary of the gory detail is spelt out in the press cutting right.  The piece of land described is Bridley estate, but what exactly happened?  It seems that he had “borrowed” his clients’ money in order to buy part or all of the Bridley estate, with the intention of selling it quickly to a Mr (or Ms) X (for a profit of course), returning his clients’ money and keeping the profit.  £37,000 then would be around £5 million today, so a profit of 5 or 10% would have been worth having.  In fact the planned profit (as reported by one newspaper) was around 100%, so this was quite some deal he had planned.

Brid - TMR fraud case 1907.jpg

Unfortunately solicitors are absolutely not allowed to use clients’ money for these sorts of purposes, hence the need for speed in the whole transaction – the idea being to return the clients’ money to them before they noticed it was missing.  Nice try, Mr Richards, but obviously a Mr (or Ms) X had backed out of the deal at an inconvenient time, leaving Mr Richards with a lot of Bridley land, but also a lot of large deficits in client accounts. 

Mr Richards tried to wriggle out of this mess.  Newspaper ads for auctions of the estate were placed by him in 1902, and again in 1904 in order to generate funds.  We are fortunate in having access to the sales document supporting the first auction (in 1902), and it gives us a large amount of detailed information about the estate, as well as a detailed plan.  Part of this plan is shown below, and some of the most interesting facts in the document are listed below the plan.

Brid - 1902  SP Fox Corner area.jpg

Rather irritatingly the plan was drawn such that due north was rotated anticlockwise about 40 degrees.  But here are the highlights insofar as they impacted the Fox Corner end of the estate.

  • A lot of work had gone into producing the sales document.  It was 20 pages long, containing plenty of detail (which is very good news for historians) as well as a wonderfully detailed plan.  Mr Richards’s name is proudly printed on the front cover.  Obviously he had high hopes of success in this venture.

  • The size of the estate is 639 acres, the same size (give or take an acre) as the estate left by Mr Ewing in 1888.

  • There are several opportunities for building residences suggested throughout the document, and it is clear that developers were the primary targets that Mr Richards was hoping to attract.  This neatly tells us what Mr Richards’s scheme was all about:  To use his clients’ money to buy property and sell it quickly to developers for a handsome profit.  He was not the first person to think of such a scheme, and unfortunately for him, it didn’t quite work out the way he wanted.

  • At least 2 of the lots were suggested as being suitable for “Institutions”.  We don’t know what institutions Mr Richards was thinking about, but we are sure that most of the current residents will be mighty pleased that no such institutions were ever built.

  • Most of the other building opportunities were either for “superior residences” or for residential estates.  One was flagged as being suitable for “a good class house”.  Mr Richards is aiming at a particular slice of the market, and as we shall see later, he took steps to implement this by inserting certain covenants into the contracts of sale for some of the properties that he later sold.  But we will leave it to others to assess the extent to which the houses that were eventually built are indeed “superior” or of “a good class”....

  • Lot 12, which comprises the land in Pirbright on either side of Malthouse Lane as far as Avila was described as comprising “pasture land and gorse”, and included a right of way (now Malthouse Lane).

  • The plan shows that Ostend had a substantial (13 acre) fruit orchard with “thriving fruit trees in full bearing” attached to it.  The Ostend house however was euphemistically described as “old-fashioned”.

  • Lot 18 (at the top left hand corner of the plan) was described as follows:  “The property (comprising grass, wood and heath) lies compactly together in a ring fence, and by reason of its elevated position and the ornamental character of the woods is eminently adapted for the erection of a superior country residence”.  Fortunately this suggestion was ignored, and 6 years later it became part of Worplesdon Golf Course. 

  • Half-way up the left-hand edge of the plan can be seen a small (3-room) cottage called “Dawson’s Well”.  This stood very near to where the 11th green of Worplesdon Golf Course now lies, but absolutely no trace of it remains.

But the 1902 auction and the following auctions did not prove entirely successful, and so Mr Richards - becoming increasingly desperate, no doubt - resorted to selling some of the estate piecemeal. 

By 1904, the estate was only 201 acres in size, which tells us that Thomas had managed to sell at least 60% of the original estate.  But the sales had been of the less valuable parts, such as woodland and Crastock Manor.  The core of the property – Bridley Manor itself and the surrounding land – remained unsold.  The ad for the 1904 sale is shown below left.

It all went pear-shaped for him early in 1906, when the first defrauded client blew the whistle.  His reaction was to disappear.  He was found in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) a few months later, as the press cutting below right explains.  By 1907 he was in Maidstone Jail.

Brid - 1904 Sale ad.jpg
Clip - TM Richards arrested in SA Sep 1906.jpg

This was not the first or the last example of illegal dealings by a solicitor – in fact the list of inmates in Maidstone Jail in 1911 contained more solicitors than one might have expected.  In 1908 he was declared bankrupt to the tune of £21,000 (nearly £3 million today).

We don’t know whether Mr Richards showed contrition, but in the 1911 census, having served 4 years of his 7 year sentence, he was not in Maidstone Jail.  Instead he was recorded as living with his wife and their 2 surviving children (a third had died previously) in a nice 8-room house in Brixton, living off “Private means”.  The maidservant completed the form, which implies that the family was absent at the time, but it perhaps means that his clients had received their money back in full from the proceeds of Bridley estate, and he had behaved himself in prison. 

He also seems to have found a lot of money from somewhere - enough to live in a big house, despite having been declared bankrupt 3 years earlier.  How could this be?  Perhaps his wife, Maria had private wealth, or perhaps he had inherited some money (his father died in 1901 and his mother in 1906) and put it in his wife’s name.  Whatever, it sounds as though the Richards family were living quite comfortably. 

And what happened to Thomas Montague Richards?  Not surprisingly he and his wife Maria moved well away from London, to a small village called Tintinhull, just off the A303 near Yeovil, where he was probably unknown.  He died there in 1922, aged 64.  Maria died in Bathavon in 1941, aged 82.  Their 2 children both moved even further away – to Staffordshire.


Andrew Anderson  (1872 - 1912)

The next owner of Bridley Manor was Andrew Anderson.  Andrew was born in Edinburgh in 1871, and in 1900 married Marie Hadden (born in deepest Lincolnshire in 1881, the daughter of an Irish GP).  Marie was only 18 when she married, and the following year they were living in the heart of Westminster with their 1-month-old daughter.  Andrew (aged 29) was the Managing Director of a Coalmining company. 

Andrew purchased Bridley Manor from lawyers acting for Thomas Montague Richards in 1906.  We are not certain how large Bridley Manor was at this time, but 5 years later, when Andrew tried to sell it, it was only 134 acres in size – less than a quarter the size that his predecessor had purchased in 1900. 

In August 1906, Andrew was reported as enjoying a shooting trip with 2 friends in Central Aberdeenshire on the “Glorious Twelfth”.  They bagged 21 brace of grouse, but the fog was disagreeable, apparently.  A court appearance the following year (see cutting below) does not give a great impression of Mr Anderson’s treatment of local tradesmen. 

Brid - 1907 Anderson chimney case.jpg

By 1911 he was a colliery proprietor, and the couple were living at Bridley Manor with their 3 children and no less than 8 servants.  Andrew tried to sell Bridley Manor the same year, but he was unsuccessful.

But in 1912 the curse of Bridley Manor rose again, as the cutting below explains. Mr Anderson had sold Bridley, making a loss, and this contributed to his bankruptcy.  At least he hadn’t stolen other peoples’ money to fund the transaction (unlike his predecessor). 

Brid - 1912 Anderson bankruptcy case.jpg

By 1939 the Andersons had retired to a small village north of Lewes.  Andrew still described himself as a Colliery Director.  We don’t know when Andrew died.  Marie died in Poole in 1956.  Her probate record strangely lists her as a single woman.


The occupants of Bridley Manor

We will now look at the occupants of Bridley during this period.  With the exception of the Manor, we think that all of the surrounding cottages mentioned below were very likely to have been owned by the Manor, and rented (or provided gratis) to Manor employees.

Our primary sources of knowledge are the decennial censuses, so we will examine each decade in turn, starting at 1841.  For the Bridley area it is very difficult to match people to specific addresses, as most peoples’ address were recorded simply as “Bridley”.  To add complexity, the “Bridley” address may have also included the Lawfords Hill area, the Crastock Farm area, and even the 2 Malthouse Cottages on Berry Lane.  So we will not try to analyse the censuses in much depth, and avoid speculative assumptions.  Rather we will point out aspects which we think are 90%+ likely to be factually correct.



In 1841 Isaac and Susan Larman and their 6 children were living at Bridley (in what is today Bridley Manor, but what was then probably a farmhouse).  Isaac was a Farm Steward, ie someone whose job was to manage the operations of the farm and the agricultural labourers who worked there.  No workers are recorded as living at Bridley, and no other dwellings are shown on the Tithe Map of that year.   The farm was 304 acres in size, but half of it was woodland or waste, requiring little maintenance.  But it is a mystery who did the hard labour on the remaining 152 acres.  Perhaps it was run as part of the farms at nearby Crastock?

By 1851 the Larmans and their (by then 7) children were living at Sundial Plain in Worplesdon.  Isaac described himself as a “Farmer of late”.


In 1851 Bridley Manor seems to have been occupied by up to 4 farmers’ labourers and their families.  We don’t know who was managing the farm, but again, we suspect that it might have fallen under the overall management of the farms at Crastock. 

One of these Crastock farms (100 acres in size) was farmed in 1851 by a John Davies, born in Radnorshire, Wales in 1805.  He was living at Crastock with his wife Frances and their 7 children.  We will meet them again a few paragraphs down.



In 1861 Thomas and Sarah Ann Copeman and their 5 children had recently left Norfolk, and had started living at Bridley Farm.  Thomas, was visiting Sarah’s brother (Thomas Lacy) in Norwich at the time of the 1861 census, but described his occupation as “Farmer of 350 acres, employing 12 men, 5 boys and 3 women, and Merchant employing 10 men, 3 boys and 2 women”.  This clearly refers to Bridley Manor Farm.  We think that at least half of these employees would have been living at Lawfords.

It is difficult to reconcile the 304 acres (on the 1841 Tithe Map) with the 350 acres farmed by Thomas Copeman. But we do know that Alexander Robertson had purchased an additional 121 acres of land since 1841, and so it is quite possible that 46 of them (including 17 acres of land at Lawfords) had become part of Bridley Farm by 1861. 

Thomas Parker Copeman and his wife, Sarah Anne, were both born near Norwich.  Thomas was born in 1827, the son of a grocer who married twice and had 13 children.  Sarah (nee Lacy) was born in 1832, the daughter of a farmer.  They were married in 1851, when Sarah was only 19.  Thomas was a Commercial traveller at the time.  Earlier in 1851, a few months before they were married, the census records that they were both living with Sarah’s brother, Thomas Lacy (and his family), who was farming 200 acres while aged only 22.  Sarah and Thomas had 11 children. 

Thomas and Sarah Copeman were soon (in 1861) joined by Sarah’s brother, Thomas Lacy, who we have twice mentioned above.  Both Thomas Copeman and Thomas Lacy appear on the Electoral Registers between 1862 and 1870 as “Joint occupation of farm and lands at Bridley Farm”.  They were also Valuers, who specialised in valuing bankruptcy estates and had an office in London.  Quite how much farming work they did is another mystery.  In 1864 they held a sale of a large quantity of livestock (see press cutting below).  But they were not trying to exit from the farming business altogether, as in 1865 it was reported that Messrs Copeman and Lacy had lost some cattle to “The cattle disease”.

Brid - 1864 Stock Sale ad.jpg

However Thomas Copeman died in 1870 aged only 43, which must have thrown the family into absolute turmoil.  Below left is a press cutting announcing his death.  The company referred to was called The Aldershot Market Company.  Thomas was the Chairman and Thomas Lacy one of the directors.  We don’t know what the company actually did.  Its sales in 1867 were only £295 (equivalent to £27,000 today), so it must have been a pretty small company.  Perhaps it was an outlet for some of the goods claimed in bankruptcy cases?  A report of the 1867 AGM is shown below right.

The 1861 census gives us the first evidence of the existence of The Lodge (the census records it as Bridley Lodge).  We assume that it had been built during the period 1851-1861.  It was occupied by 2 families:

  • John Davies, a farmer of 150 acres, and his family (refer 1851 census above).

  • Isaac Gunner (an agricultural carter) and his family.  In 1865 he was acting as the farm bailiff for Messrs Copeman and Lacy.

Both of these gentlemen were recorded in the Electoral Registers at that time as living in the Crastock area, so it is odd that they gave their census address as The Lodge.  John Davies had been farming 100 acres at Crastock in 1851 (refer above).  But had he in reality been farming Bridley back in 1851?  We will probably never know for sure.



In 1871 Sarah Anne Copeman, now widowed, was living at Bridley Farm with her 8 children (the youngest aged 1) and a governess, a nurse, a cook and a housemaid.  Sarah carried on at Bridley for a short time, but then moved to near Reading, where she died in 1899.  Thomas Lacy and his family also soon moved away from Bridley to Woodbridge Crescent, Guildford, where he in 1871 described himself as a “Valuer and accountant”.  He died in 1872 aged only 43. 

We think that a Daniel Woodin ran Bridley Farm for the next 2 years.  He was born into a wealthy family, and in 1871 he had been a landowner in Richmond, aged 30, living with his wife Harriett, his young son and 2 servants.  His father had died in 1870, leaving £70,000 (worth £6.8 million today) excluding property.  But in 1873 Daniel also died (see press cutting below).

Brid - 1873 Cutting - Death of D Woodin.jpg

It may have been Daniel’s death that caused Lord Grantley to put Bridley up for sale the following year.  It appears that Major Ewing moved into Bridley soon after he purchased it in 1874.  We have discussed Major Ewing’s life above.

By 1877 Major Ewing had installed Frank and Catherine Harnett as the farm bailiffs.  We discuss the Harnetts’ history in the section below.

Meanwhile at The Lodge in 1871 were James and Sarah Holder with their 2 children.  James had been born in Loxwood, near Horsham, in 1809.  He was a gardener, presumably working in the grounds of Bridley Manor.  Sarah was born in 1821.  By 1881 the family had moved to Fox Cottage, next to the Fox Inn at Fox Corner in Pirbright.  We don’t know the exact location of this cottage.

The 1875 OS map shows that today’s strip of 3 cottages (White, Middle and Virginia Cottages) had been built by then, albeit possibly as only 2 cottages, not 3.  10 families are recorded on the 1871 census as living simply at “Bridley”.  Some of these must have been living at Lawfords, and others at Crastock, but we do not know for certain who lived where.

We will pick out for special mention 2 of these 10 families, who we think were more likely to have been living at Bridley:  Arthur and Ann Holdforth and Arthur and Ellen Holdforth.  The latter Arthur was the son of the former Arthur.  We have come across the Holdforths elsewhere on this site, notable in the Malthouse Lane section.  We will also meet Arthur junior a few paragraphs further down, as he and his family were still living at Bridley in 1881 and 1891.  So we won’t dwell on them here.



In the 1881 census Frank Harnett described himself as a farmer of “Manor Farm, Bridley” of 267 acres, employing 9 labourers and 3 boys.  The size of the farm is 83 acres less than the 350 acres claimed by Thomas Copeman in 1861.  This reduction reflects the reorganisation of the Bridley estate carried out by Major Ewing (especially his carving out of Malthouse Home Farm into a separate unit).

Frank had been born near Sittingbourne in 1835.  His father in 1851 was a “Farmer and grazier of 6,700 acres, employing 20 labourers”.  That’s a very large farm – over 10 square miles of Kentish countryside.

In 1862 Frank married Catherine Wakeley (born Rainham in 1838), the daughter of a farmer of 350 acres.  So between them they would have known a thing or two about farming.  They produced 12 children, presumably to ensure they had enough help around the farm.  In 1871 they had farmed a 132-acre farm near Sittingbourne.  We do not know what persuaded them to move from rural Kent to Bridley.  Today it would be a simple journey along the M25, taking just over an hour and a bit.  But in the 1870’s it would have been quite a trip for them – probably taking a couple of days.

The Harnetts remained at Bridley throughout the 1880’s.  Frank and Catherine were supporters of the new Baptist Chapel at Knaphill during this time, and frequently opened the grounds of Bridley Manor to the children who attended the chapel.

 As regards the other 3 dwellings at Bridley, the 1881 census shows 3 families at “Bridley”, all agricultural labourers, and so we think these 3 families lived in the 3 Bridley dwellings (which sounds suspiciously convenient, but read on...).  The 3 families were:

  • John and Emma Stevens.  John (born Pirbright 1850) and Emma (nee Holdforth 1859) spent much of their life in the Fox Corner area.  Their story is written in the Malthouse Lane section.

  • George and Martha Mitchell.  George was the son of George and Ruth Mitchell who had lived in the Lawfords area of Bridley Farm from at least 1871.  In 1879, young George married Martha (nee Holdforth in 1861).  They went on to live first in the Lawfords area (where Crabtree Cottage is today) and then Connaught Road, Brookwood.  They had 10 children.

  • Arthur and Ellen Holdforth.  Arthur (born near Bridley 1843) and Ellen (nee Hartfree in Worplesdon 1844) were also Fox Corner “lifers” and their story is told in the section dealing with No 1, Malthouse Cottages in Berry Lane.  Arthur and Emma Holdforth (above) were half-siblings.

So 3 Holdforth siblings were living next-door to each other in what must have been a tight-knit community, all working at Bridley Manor Farm.  There were 9 other Holdforth children



Frank Harnett died in 1891, aged only 53, and his family subsequently left Bridley, selling their livestock and equipment, as detailed in the press ad below left.

Brid - 1891 Harnett sale ad.jpg

We don’t know who lived in Bridley Manor for the next few years.  Someone was there as a mysterious “GA” posted an ad in the local newspaper for a parlourmaid and a housemaid “to wait on schoolroom”.  But we can’t find anyone who might fit these initials.

In 1896 the Manor was let to Rosamund Thompson on a 21-year lease.  Rosamund and her family were to move out of Bridley Manor in 1905, having purchased Rickford Malthouse.  Her (rather interesting) story is told in the Rickford Malthouse section.

The 1891 census shows 3 families again living at Bridley:

  • Arthur and Ellen Holdforth were still there.  Two of their daughters, Ellen (25) and Susan, were a parlourmaid and housemaid respectively, and it is presumably they who were being replaced at the Manor in the 1893 ad referred to above.  This seems to coincide with the Holdforth family’s move to No 1 Malthouse Cottages.

  • Henry and Charlotte Bradley. Henry was a stockman from Suffolk, aged 33.  Charlotte was aged 40, born in Essex.  They had 5 children.  In 1899 the Bradleys moved to No 20, Pirbright Cottages and their story is told there.

  • John and Anne Simmonds.  John was a shepherd aged 20 from Woking, while Annie was aged 20, from Hampshire.



As noted above, Rosamund Thompson and her family continued to live at Bridley Manor until 1905.  From c1907 Andrew Anderson (who had recently purchased the Manor) moved in with his family.  They stayed there until 1912, when Andrew sold the Manor.  This bankrupted him as we have told in more detail in the section devoted to Andrew above.

The 1901 census seems to show only 2 families living at Bridley:

  • James and Alice Bunday (Bundy).  James (born near Ringwood, 1868) was a carter on the farm.  Alice (nee Harding, in Woking, 1873) and James were married in Woking in 1894.  At that time James was at Crastock Farm, while Alice was living at Saunders Lane.  We are not sure when they moved to Bridley, but they stayed at Bridley until c1906.

  • Alfred and Rosina Battin.  Alfred was born in Launceston in 1876 and was a gardener at Bridley.  Rosina was born in Peckham in 1873.  They had 3 children.  We are not very sure when they left Bridley, as they never appeared on the Electoral Register for some reason.  However, later censuses tell us that they left c1903 to move near to Tonbridge.  They were still living in that area in 1939 (and Alfred was still a gardener).

The 1911 census shows:

  • Albert Winter (a chauffeur, aged 25, born in Fairlands) and Albert Sills (a footman, aged 16 from Sittingbourne) living in one cottage.  Albert Winter was the son of a Worplesdon-based groom.  Albert was married in 1912 to Ellen Durrant, from Stoughton, although by then he had moved to Lightwater.  He joined the Royal Flying Corps (the predecessor of the RAF) in 1915, and was discharged in 1920. 

  • John and Emily Tickner.  John was born at Send in 1878 and was the Farm Bailiff.  Emily (nee Harvey) was born in Maidstone in 1879.  They were married at Egham and had 2 children.  By 1939 they were living in Wiltshire, where John was a gardener, working for Sir Francis Burdett, the 8th Baronet of Bramcote.  John died in 1955 and Emily in 1973, aged 95.  We have not been able to track down whether John Tickner was related to Fred Tickner, who married Dorry Burch in 1922 and was living at Hillcot at Perry Hill, Worplesdon.

  • George and Amelia Cheal were living at The Lodge (or Garden Lodge).  George was born in Lingfield in 1866, the son of a Railway Goods Guard from Shropshire.  By 1881 he was living in the East Grinstead Workhouse.  Amelia was born Amelia Richards in Chichester in 1869, the daughter of a bricklayer.  They married in East Grinstead in 1893 and had 3 children.  In 1901 they were living in Hampshire.  By 1921 they were in Solihull, George working as a gardener.

The sale of Bridley Manor by Andrew Anderson in 1912 marked the end of an era for Bridley Manor.  From this point on the owner of the Manor purchased it as a place to live, rather than treating Bridley Manor just as an investment (as it had been for at least the previous 100 years).



From here onwards we will look at each dwelling in turn, starting with Bridley Manor, then the houses around the Manor, then Beesacres (on the opposite side of the road) and finally Mulberry House (formerly known as Ostend).


Bridley Manor

The purchaser of Bridley Manor in 1912 was Cecil Braithwaite (1862-1948).

Cecil Braithwaite was born in Kendal in 1862, the son of a Woollens manufacturer.  He came south to London to become a stockbroker, and in 1886 married Annette Evershed.  Annette was born in 1866 in Ampthill, the daughter of Arthur Evershed.  Arthur was a physician, but also a painter and etcher.  His etchings were displayed at the Royal Academy for 60 years, and the British Museum has over 150 of his works.  In 1873, when he was 37, Arthur brought a lawsuit against The Foresters Club for monies owing to him.  There was nothing in writing to support his case, and he lost.  As a result, he had to file for bankruptcy the following year.  Fortunately Arthur continued his painting.  An example is shown below, entitled “Dell Quay”, named after a place in Sussex where he lived.  Coincidentally, there is a house named Dell Quay on the Ash Road leading to the Pirbright Institute.  The house was named after the same place, we think.

The Braithwaites had 4 children.  One died while serving as a Lieutenant in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in Cairo in 1909.   Another son became a stockbroker like his father.  Both of the daughters married military men – one to a Lt Colonel, the other to a Vice-Admiral in the French Navy.  We have shown pictures of Cecil and Annette below.

Brid - Arthur Evershed painting.jpg

Cecil was a partner in the family firm of stockbrokers, Foster & Braithwaite.  Apparently the firm only allowed blood relatives of the founder (one Isaac Braithwaite) to become partners in the firm.  After several mergers, the firm became part of today’s Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.  Below is a 19th century stamp, overprinted with the firm’s initials.

In 1921 Cecil and Annette were living at Bridley Manor with 2 of their grandsons (and 6 servants).  They had a telephone installed with the number Worplesdon 65.  But the following year they moved to Milford, and later to Bramley.  Cecil died at Boscombe in 1948, and Annette at Eastbourne in 1959 (aged 93).

In 1923 Henry and Alice Lawrence moved into Bridley Manor, having previously lived in Watford.  Henry was born in the centre of Bristol in 1872, the son of a plasterer.  In 1898 he married Alice Palm in Bristol.  Alice had been born in Bedminster (now part of Bristol) in 1876.  Her father, Oscar Palm had emigrated to Britain from Sweden in 1868 (doubtless because of the Swedish famine of 1867-69, which had been caused by longer-than-usual winters).  The following year Oscar had married an English girl, Elizabeth Lubin, and they had 6 children.  Oscar was a “Dairyman shopkeeper”. 

Henry and Alice had one son.  Henry was a grain merchant, and made several visits to Argentina, suggesting that his main business was importing Argentinean grains.  Maize and wheat were Argentina’s main grain exports at that time.  Henry had an interest in racehorses, and in 1924 brought a case against a driver whose car ran into one of his best horses and killed it.  He claimed £1,000 (equivalent to £50,000 today), but didn’t win the case.

In 1941 the Lawrences still had the telephone number Worplesdon 65.  Henry died in 1942, while living at Bridley.  His estate was valued at £106,000 (worth over £4 million today).  Alice stayed at Bridley Manor until c1945, when she sold the Manor.  She died at Horsham in 1971, aged 95.

The next owners of Bridley Manor were Mr & Mrs Gray Miller.  Mr Gray Miller was an American, who was chairman of the British American Tobacco Co, one of Britain’s largest companies. Gray Miller had succeeded Sir Hugo Cunliffe-Owen, 1st Baronet, who had built the company up into one of the largest UK companies, and retired as chairman in 1945, aged 75.

Gray Miller died, aged 63 after a brief illness while visiting Canada on a business trip in 1947.  He left an estate of £180,000, worth £5.8 million today.  He was married to Noreen Barraclough, who left Bridley Manor soon after her husband’s death in 1947.

In 1948 The Rt Hon Lord Swaythling OBE bought Bridley Manor.  Stuart Albert Samuel Montagu, 3rd Baron Swaythling was born in Kensington 1898 and was a direct descendant of an illustrious family. 

We will start his story with his grandfather, Montagu Samuel (1832-1911), the son of a Jewish silversmith in Liverpool.  Montagu Samuel married Ellen Cohen in 1862, changed his name to Samuel Montagu, and founded the bank named Samuel Montagu & Co.  This bank grew to become one of the largest and well-known London merchant banks, at a time when global finance was increasingly channelled through London.  Having been purchased by Midland Bank in the 1970’s, it was spun off by HSBC in 2003, and today exists as Montagu Private Equity.

Samuel engaged in many philanthropic initiatives, mainly involving improving the lot of Jewish people in England.  He was a Liberal MP from 1885 to 1900.  In 1907 he became Baron Swaythling (this being the place near Southampton where he and his wife lived).

Unsurprisingly, Samuel became a very wealthy gentleman.  When Samuel died in 1911 he left an estate of £1.15 million, which would be £115 million in today’s money.  He had ensured that Samuel Montagu & Co was owned by Montagu family trusts, and therefore protected from takeover or purchase by non-family members.

Samuel’s eldest son, Louis Samuel Montagu (1869-1927) followed his father as head of Samuel Montagu and inherited his father’s title to become the 2nd Baron Swaythling.  In 1898 he had married Gladys Goldsmid, a member of the Goldsmid and Rothschild families.  In 1911 Samuel and Gladys were living in Kensington with their family and 10 servants.

On the death of Louis in 1927, his eldest son, Stuart became the 3rd Baron Swaythling.  We have shown below photos of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Baron Swaythlings.  The photo of the 3rd Baron is shown with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery.

Brid - Baron Swaythling 1.jpg
Brid - Baron Swaythling 2.jpg
Brid - Baron Swaythling 3.jpg

The 3rd Baron, Stuart Montagu, was born in Kensington in 1898, educated at Clifton School, and in 1925 married Mary Violet Levy.  We have shown a shimmering photo of her below from The Tatler of 1937.  The write-up is pretty amusing to modern eyes.  Having inherited the title of Baron Swaythling aged only 29 in 1927 on the death of his father, he had a spell in the Grenadier Guards, and became a partner in the family bank.  The family lived at Townhill Park in Southampton (near Swaythling), where he had a herd of cows, which regularly won prizes in local competitions.  They had 3 children, but the marriage did not last.  In 1941 the Baron was granted a divorce on the grounds of his wife’s adultery, as spelt out in the cutting below.

Brid - Lady Swaythling.jpg

In 1945 Lord Swaythling married Jean Knox CBE.  She had been Chief Controller of the ATS ( Auxiliary Territorial Service).  She had been born Jeanette Marshall in Yarmouth in 1908, the daughter of a barman.  Jean had been married (and divorced) twice before.  A photo of Jean is shown right.

Brid - 1968 Sale ad.jpg
Brid - Jean Knox pic.jpg

Lord Swaythling was still living at Townhill Park when he divorced Mary, but perhaps he didn’t want to stay in the same house any longer.  In 1940 he and Leonard Lyle had been appointed to the London Price Regulation Committee (whose role was to control the prices of basic goods during wartime).  Leonard Lyle lived at nearby Bakersgate, and surely he tipped off his fellow committee member, Lord Swaythling, about the availability of Bridley Manor after Gray Miller died in 1947.

Lord Swaythlng’s brother Ivan was an interesting fellow.  He was a fellow of the Zoological Society, had built a collection of rare rats and mice, and captained the English Table Tennis team.  In 1927 he had married a typist (Miss Eileen Hellstern), but only told his parents some time after the wedding.  In 1940, during some of the darkest days of WW2, he applied to visit Russia as a representative of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.  His request was refused.

Lord and Lady Swaythling lived at Bridley Manor until c1968, at which time they put the house on the market. The cutting below explains that the Swaythlings planned to live elsewhere (actually Crastock Manor), but would continue to own Bridley Manor Farm. 

It also notes that most of the cottages on the estate were rented by tenants rather than owned, which helps explain why there was such a high turnover of occupants, few of whom had a telephone.

Brid - 1968 Sale ad.jpg

In his later years Lord Swaythling was a keen racehorse owner.  Jean died in 1993, while Lord Swaythling died in 1998 in Chichester.  His title was inherited by his eldest son, David.  After David’s death in 1998, the title passed to David’s younger brother, Charles (born in 1954).

The next occupants of Bridley Manor were Jack and Eileen Feather.  The Feathers were an extraordinary couple, but we shall try to summarise their activities.  Those who want to delve into more detail can find plenty on the internet.

The Feathers came from Nebraska in the US and had a keen eye for business opportunities.  Their son Vaughn was born in 1949, but Jack very soon started to display the symptoms of polio.  This affected him considerably – his body and his voice especially.  They had one other son.

In the 1950’s the Feathers borrowed some money to start up a gymnasium which in seven years turned into a chain of “Eileen Feather Reducing Salons”.

Then, in the 1960’s Jack started marketing the “Mark Eden Bust Developer” in the US.  An ad for said product is shown below.  Jack also sold other body-enhancing products, such as "Slim-Skins", an "Astro-Trimmer", and a "Sauna Belt".  We don’t really want to dwell on any of these. 

The Feathers lived very well on the profits of these businesses, buying a large house in Pebble Beach, California.  But the US Postal Service sued Jack’s Bust-developing company, claiming misleading advertising.  After several lawsuits, the products were discontinued during the 1970’s.

But earlier in the 1970’s, the Feathers had obtained the US and Canada patent rights to the work (in particular a weight-loss formula) of a Cambridge University biochemistry professor named Alan Howard.  It was around this time that they started living (part-time) at Bridley Manor, having bought the Manor from Lord Swaythling in the late 1960’s.  We suspect that they didn’t spend much time at Bridley, but used it as a pied-a-terre.  Or perhaps it was their fallback safe haven if things went belly-up in the US.  Below is their phone directory entry from 1970.

The Feathers marketed Alan Howard’s formula as The Cambridge Diet, a sure way to lose weight.  Based on just 330 calories a day, it lived up to its promise and the diet soon took off as the greatest thing since sliced bread (if you see what we mean...).  As with their other products, they used very persuasive advertising techniques at the time.  Their newspaper and magazine ads contained plenty of capital letter text, italics, exclamation marks and “before and after” photos. 

The businesses’s growth was phenomenal.  In early 1981 the US company had 25 “counselors” (ie saleswomen) marketing the diet in America.  18 months later they had 150,000.  Sales were not far short of $500 million pa.  Vaughn was running the business, and employees were treated very well.  The owners made fabulous amounts of money in a very short time.  The Feathers used some of their profits from the business to amass a collection of paintings (old masters, books about which can be purchased in the internet – though we haven’t bothered).  Many of these were kept at Bridley.

But competition was increasing fast, and the Feathers’ business was spending money faster than it should have.  There were also questions about the healthiness of the diet – it was being linked with some deaths in the US.  In 1983 it went into Chapter 11 (the US equivalent of receivership).

Vaughn Feather was registered as the owner of Bridley Manor in 1989, but sold the property soon afterwards.  Both Jack and Eileen died in 2017, leaving a $37 million estate.

In 1994 and 1995 a Mr K Wilkinson was living there. 

Below are 2 fairly recent photos of Bridley Manor (the 4 people on the lawn are house guests, we understand).

Brid - Recent Bridley Manor pic.jpg
Brid - Recent Bridley Manor pic 2.jpg

Bridley Manor is now a Grade II listed building. The listing particulars are as follows:

House. c1880 in C17 vernacular style. Timber framed with herringbone brick infill; plain tiled roofs with star shaped stacks to left and right of centre and 3 diagonal stacks to the right hand return front. Main front to the rear, asymmetrical, 2 storeys and attic under 2 hipped roof dormers, 3 gabled bays, largest to centre, with bargeboard carvings of foliage and fruit, and apple finials. Mullioned casement windows,those in outer bays leaded, window to first floor left on brackets, those to ground floor right with wooden cusped mullion heads, stone mullions to ground floor centre bay. Plank door in 4 centre arched porch with foliage and portcullis carving in spandrels.


Nos 1 & 2, Orchard Way

We think that Orchard Way was built on land belonging to Bridley Manor in the late 1960’s. 

No 1

The first occupant of No 1 from 1970 was Mary Wilmot, who had previously been living at South Lodge (see below).  Mary died in Kidderminster in 2002.

In 1986 Tracy Harmsworth and Jane Kingshott were living at No 1.  They were followed by Gregory and Sally Boy (who lived there in 1991).  They in turn were followed by Ian Scattergood and Virginia Morton (who were living there in 1996). Michael and Terri Woodcock lived there in 2002.

No 2

The first occupants of No 2 in 1970 were John and Janet Targett.  In 1986 the house was occupied by Michael and Beverley Lewis

Between at least 1991 and 1996 Beverley Clements (nee Penfold) was living at No 2 with her daughter Antonia Clements, who had been born in 1976.



The Lodge

We mentioned earlier that The Lodge was built during the 1850’s.  It seems to have gone by a few different names in its lifetime, for example The Lodge, Manor Lodge, Bridley Manor Lodge.  And the records of its occupants are sporadic.  A Richard Rogers was living at The Lodge in 1914-15.  After WW1, William and Florence Parfitt lived there, followed by followed by Richard Roberts again, with his wife, Sarah Roberts.  We have found gardening-related newspaper references to people called Taylor in 1928 and  Ottaway in 1929. 

We then have a gap until after WW2, when a Peggy Perkins was living there in 1948, and the house was known as Bridley Manor Lodge. 

In 1951 Frederick and Nora Bird were living there.  Frederick was born in 1909 in Madras, the son of a soldier from Dorchester.  His father’s army career does not seem to have gone well, as he had retired from the army by 1911 (describing his occupation in that year as a stone picker) and died in 1920, aged only 45.  Nora (nee Moody) was born in Dorchester in 1910.  They married in Dorchester in 1934, and continued to live in Dorchester until WW2, having one daughter, Eileen. 

They moved into The Lodge in 1951, and the following year Eileen managed to get her photo onto the front page of the Surrey Advertiser as one of the 8 finalists in the selection of Guildford Festival Queen.  She was aged 17 at the time.  Eileen was at the left side of the back row in the cutting below.  The eventual winner was the lady in front of her.  No comments from us on this.

Brid - 1952 Bird cutting.jpg

By 1953 the Birds had flown to Sudpre Cottage, Worplesdon.

The next reference to The Lodge we can find is of Albert and Agnes Woollett in 1960.  Albert was born near Petersfield in 1908, the son of a gardener.  In 1932 he married Agnes (nee Oram in Andover in 1909, the daughter of a Police Constable).  In 1939 they were living at Wokingham, where Albert was a gardener.  They had 2 daughters and stayed at Wokingham until moving to Bridley in 1960.  Agnes died at Kidderminster in 1985 and Albert died in 1991, still living at The Lodge. 

We think that the current owners purchased The Lodge in the early 1990’s.


South Lodge

Judging by the OS maps, South Lodge was built sometime in the mid-1900’s on land previously occupied by a farm building.  The first recorded occupant was Mary Ann Wilmot in 1949. 

Mary Ann was born in Kidderminster in 1911, and in 1939 was a housemaid in a large house in Dorking.  She married William Wilmot in 1941, and soon gave birth to a daughter.  William had been born in Pontypridd in 1910, the son of a collier.  During the 1930’s he was an electroplater, living in Stoughton with his mother, and then Malden.  He married Mary Ann in 1941.  He was a member of the RAMC during WW2, but sadly died at sea in 1942.  Corporal Wilmot’s name is remembered on the Memorial in Brookwood Cemetery. 

Mary moved to Bridley and brought up her daughter on her own in South Lodge.  She stayed there for 22 years until 1970, when she moved into nearby No 1, Orchard Way (see above).  Mary died in Kidderminster in 2002.  A picture of Mary Ann is shown below

John and Alma Eggitt and Anthony and Caroline Robinson moved into South Lodge after Mary Ann in the early 1970’s.  They had been married in Loughborough in 1964.  They were followed (pre-1986) by Ernest and Mabel Tanner, who sold the house in 2004.  It was purchased by a Mr D Battershell, but sold to the current owners in 2006.

A recent agent’s photo of South Lodge is shown below (with grateful thanks).


North Lodge

As with South Lodge above, we think that this house was converted from an existing farm building.  The first recorded occupant of North Lodge was just after WW2 in 1949, when Charles and Christine Briggs were living there.  They stayed for just 2 years before moving away from the area. 

Vivian and Josephine Webber were the next occupants from 1951, having married in 1950, and then lived at Broad St.  They were both born in 1926, Vivian in Wincanton, and Josephine (nee Luff) in Guildford.  They had one child, and curiously, given that they had been born in the same year, they died in the same year – 1913 – in Frimley and Basingstoke respectively.  The Webbers moved out c1957, moving to Fairlands.  At this time there was a Frederick and Doris Webber living just along the road at Kiln Cottages (which is outside the scope of this website).  We do not know whether the 2 Webber families were related or not.

Alan and Valerie Turner were living in North Lodge (briefly) in 1960.  In 1971 Terence and Pearl Chew were living there with Kenneth and Julia Poole.  Terence and Pearl had recently (1970) married.  Pearl’s maiden name was Hooker.  By 1992 John Anslow and Gillian Howison were living at North Lodge.  They married the following year (1993).

North Lodge was sold in 1996, sold again in 1998, and sold yet again in 2005, at which point the current owners moved in.

A recent agent’s photo of North Lodge is shown below (with grateful thanks).

Brid - North Lodge photo.jpg



White, Middle and Virginia Cottages (1912-1939)

We think that these 3 cottages were originally farm buildings, built sometime in the late 19th century, and converted into cottages around the time of WW1. 

Unfortunately they weren’t given names until after WW2. 

And it looks as though at this time there were only 2 cottages, not 3, usually referred to as “Gardener’s Cottage” and “Chauffeur’s Cottage”.  We have read elsewhere that the Chauffeur’s Cottage was later renamed White Cottage, but we have seen no hard evidence to confirm this. 

A recent agent’s picture of the 3 cottages is shown below (with grateful thanks), with White Cottage in the foreground.  We think that the gable in the centre of the picture marked the boundary between the 2 original cottages.  The 3rd cottage (Virginia Cottage at the far end) was added later.


Gardener’s Cottage

We think that Gardner’s Cottage was (confusingly) called “The Garage” immediately after WW1 and only named “Gardener’s Cottage” in the mid-1920’s.  The first occupants in 1918 were William and Mary Gaul.  William was born in Ipswich in 1864 and Mary (nee Brunning) at Lakenheath in 1874.  They didn’t stay long at Bridley.  William died at Gosport in 1925, and Mary at Liphook in 1946.

There followed a procession of gardeners at Bridley during the 1920’s and 1930’s, none of whom stayed for long – we can count at least 5.  The final occupants before WW2 were Alfred and Elsie Attfield.  They were previously working at Potters Lane, Send.  Alfred hailed from Farnham, born in 1889.  He had previously been married to a Minnie Butler, but they separated and Alfred started living with Elsie.  She called herself Elsie Attfield, although we cannot trace their marriage.  After WW2 they moved to Old Woking.


Chauffeur’s Cottage

From 1918, the occupants of the Chauffeur’s Cottage were probably John and Jane Macintyre.  John, aged 46 was born in Northumberland.  He was the son of a coachman, and had become a chauffeur.  Jane, aged 45, hailed from County Durham.  They had one daughter.  They soon left Bridley to work in Reigate, and by 1939 were living at Nevill Park, Tunbridge Wells, where John was still a chauffeur, and Jane a cook for a wealthy family.

By 1931 Reginald and Olive Peck were living in the Chauffeur’s Cottage.  Reginald had been born in Wiltshire in 1903, the son of a farm labourer.  Olive Yeates was born in 1907.  We are not sure who her father was – on her marriage certificate under “Father’s name” she simply recorded “Deceased”.  They were married in Fulham in 1929, when Reginald was a chauffeur and Olive a draper’s assistant.

They had one child and stayed at Bridley until the onset of WW2, at which point they moved away from the area, probably to Marlborough, where Reginald had been brought up.  Olive died there in 1968 and Reginald remarried.  He died in 1987. 



White Cottage (post-1945)

The first occupants of White Cottage after WW2 were Frederick and Freda Lomax.  They were both born near Southampton, Frederick in 1910 and Freda (nee Plumley) in 1912.  They married in 1933 and had 2 sons while continuing to live in Hampshire.

In 1939 Frederick was a farm worker in Hampshire, doing heavy work, including tractor work.  After WW2 they moved into White Cottage and stayed there for the rest of their lives.  Frederick died in 1974 and Freda in 1981.  Given the length of their tenure, we assume that Lomaxes had purchased White Cottage from Lord Swaythling at some point.

The next occupants we know of were Neil and Beverley-Anne Watson (nee Corriette) in 1996.  They stayed in the cottage until 2004.  The cottage was purchased by Andrew Clark, who sold it in 2012 to a Mr & Mrs Plant.  The cottage was sold again in 2021 to the current owners.


Middle Cottage (post-1945)

The first occupants of Middle Cottage after WW2 were Lawrence and Rose Rooke in 1948.  Lawrence was born in Surbiton in 1908, but within 3 years his father (a domestic servant) had died.  By 1921 his mother had married an out-of-work disabled soldier, and in 1926 Lawrence Joined the Middlesex Regiment, giving his profession as roundsman.  He married Rose (nee Hill) in 1931.  Rose was born in Hertfordshire in 1898, the daughter of a horseman on a farm.

By 1939 Lawrence was a “Van driver (fish)”, living in Surbiton.  They remained at Bridley for 5 years, before moving to Westminster in 1953, where Lawrence became a driver.  Rose died there in 1967, while Lawrence died in Sheffield in 1992.

The next occupants, from 1954, were David and Margaret Rutland.  David was born in Uckfield in 1922, and in 1939 was working as an assistant in a “Butcher and provision” shop in Tunbridge Wells.  He married Margaret (nee Cheeseman) in 1944.  Margaret was born in Tunbridge Wells, also in 1922, and was the daughter of a Motor body builder.  After WW2 the Rutlands lived in East Grinstead before moving to Bridley in 1954.

They only stayed at Bridley for 6 years before moving to Stoughton in 1959.  After a few years at Stoughton, they returned to the place of their youth – Tunbridge Wells, and then retired to Polegate, East Sussex.  Margaret died there in 2013 and David in 2015.

The next occupants were George and Nellie Beake.  George was born in Portsmouth in 1904, the son of a “Skilled labourer” who worked for Portsea Island Gaslight Company.  George started work as a pawnbroker’s apprentice, and in 1930 married Nellie Ruff.  Nellie had been born in Portsmouth in 1911.  They had 4 children and after WW2 were living in Chiddingfold.  The family moved to Bridley in 1959 and stayed there for around 10 years.  George died in 1974 and Marjorie in 2002, living at East Horsley.

It may be that Lord Swaythling sold Middle Cottage around this time, but we are not at all sure of this.

The next occupants c 1970 were Robert and Marjorie Oakes (nee Kendall).  They were married in Chelsea in 1942.  Robert may have been a senior lecturer at Guildford Technical College who taught Spanish and Liberal Studies, and who had previously lived in Harvey Road, Guildford.

Between 1979 and 1981 Reginald and Monica Heath lived at Middle Cottage.  Reginald was born in 1916 in Surrey.  In 1939 he was a labourer on a dairy farm near Lewes.  He and Monica (nee Murdoch) were married in Lewes in 1951 and then lived at Hascombe and Hatchlands.  They only stayed at Bridley for a short time and in 2002 were living in the Park Barn area. 

In 1986 Albert and Margaret Marsh were living at Middle Cottage, but they moved to Aldershot.  In 1996 Richard and Michele Kearsey were living there.   They had been married in 1989.  The Kearseys sold the cottage in 1997 and moved to Guildford, just off the Epsom Road, at which point the current occupants moved in.


Virginia Cottage (post-1945)

The first mention of Virginia Cottage is in 1948, which is when we think that it was built.  But the first occupants did not stay there long.  In the first 3 years there are mentions of Violet Harvey, Mary Wright and a Mrs Baldock living there.  We presume that these ladies all worked at Bridley Manor in some capacity.

There is a gap in the records until 1960, at which time Edward and Grace Smart were living there.  They had married in Brighton in 1947.  Grace was born in 1923 as Grace Coomber.  In 1966 a slightly odd newspaper article mentioned a Terence Coomber, aged 25 from Virginia Cottage (see cutting below).

Edward died in Chichester in 2000, while Grace died in Bognor in 2009.

The short occupancies at Virginia Cottage continued.  We have seen references to Andrew and Gloria Stefanik (1981) and John Bishop and Kathy McRory (1996).  The cottage was then sold in 1999 to Helen and Richard Kershaw, sold again in 2004 to William and Zoe Powell, sold again in 2007 to Jack and Nick Thompson, and sold yet again in 2014 to the current owners.


The Bothy

The Bothy was a small bungalow, which first appears on the 1938 OS map.  However the first reference we can find to The Bothy in the records is in 1953, when Geoffrey and Elsie Gates were living there.  They were married in 1949.  Elsie (nee Diment) was born in Guildford in 1927, the daughter of a labourer.  During the 1930’s the Diment family was living in Thatchers Lane, Worplesdon (just outside the scope of this website).

Michael and Joan Bailey and Marian Brooks were living at The Bothy in 1960, and someone called Benson lived there in 1964.  By 1971 Audrey Nichols was living at The Bothy.  Audrey was born in 1913, the daughter of a Tax Inspector, and brought up in Finchley.  In 1939 she described herself as an “Established shorthand typist”.  After the war she remained in Finchley and never married.  She moved to Bridley in the mid-1960’s, and stayed there until she died in 1996.

We are not sure when the current owners moved in, but in 2009 the original building was demolished, and a new bungalow built.


Bridley Equestrian Centre (previously Bridley Manor Farm)

Buildings on the site of what is today the Bridley Equestrian Centre first appear in the OS map in 1938 (but not on the 1920 map).  The first appearance in the Electoral Register of Bridley Manor Farm as a dwelling is in 1919, when a Henry Baldrey, aged 46, was living there.  He and his family had actually rented a farm on Mayford in 1911, but started an additional tenancy Bridley Manor Farm (at the time 104 acres) in 1916.  But Henry’s business did not work out well.  In 1922 he was declared bankrupt, blaming a severe trade depression, a heavy drought in 1921, costs of numerous judgments against him, and a heavy wages bill (all of which does indeed sound tough).

Soon afterward John and Sarah Podmore were living there.  John was born in Shropshire in 1870, the son of a shepherd.  Sarah (nee Britton) was born in 1873 in Staffordshire, the daughter of a groom.  They were married in 1900 and had 3 children.  In 1921 John was a groom at a Yorkshire stud farm, but we do not know how a Yorkshire-based groom managed came to take on the tenancy of Bridley Manor Farm from the bankrupt Henry Baldrey.  John worked as a stud groom, and they remained at Bridley until the mid-1030’s when they retired to Shrewsbury.  John died in 1955 and Sarah in 1967.

The next occupants of the farm were Sharp and Stella Braithwaite.  Aha!  Surely the son of Cecil and Annette Braithwate, who had been living at Bridley Manor?  Actually, no.  Sharp’s father was a farm labourer at Irton, a small village on a lonely Cumbrian road leading to Wasdale, in the most remote part of the Lake District.  There’s no trace that we can find of a family connection to the more urbane Cecil Braithwaite.  Sharp was born at Irton in 1900, while Stella (nee Lambden) was born in Hampshire in 1914, the daughter of a mail van driver.  They had 2 children and stayed at Bridley Manor Farm until 1939 (when Sharp gave his occupation as Farm Bailiff, bloodstock and cattle, and the address as “Bridley Manor Stud”).  After WW2 the Braithwaites moved to Shottermill.  Sharp died in 1981 and Stella in 1990.

A Louisa Pearce was living at the farm in 1948, but we cannot trace any other occupants after then.



Beesacres was built c1925.  It has no immediate houses on either side, and sits on a generous trapezium-shaped plot, carved out of the Bridley Manor estate.  The first owners in 1926 were John and Bertha Halsall, who had previously lived at Cowshott Manor in Pirbright.  It rather looks as though they named the house Beesacre (in the singular).

John Johnson Halsall was born in Wigan in 1861, the son of a wealthy corn merchant.  He became a mechanical engineer.  Bertha (nee Thompson) was born in 1875 and married a Thomas Nimmo (from Stirling, Scotland) in 1898.  Thomas died in Scotland, aged only 30, the following year.  4 years later in 1904, John and Bertha were married in Glamorgan.  They had one son, and only stayed 3 years in Beesacre, before moving to Esher, into a house which they named – Beesacre.  Bertha died in 1943, and John in 1950.

The purchasers of Beesacres (now plural) in 1928 were Joseph and Alice Watson.  Joseph Charlton Watson was born in a small town north of Penrith in 1874, the son of the local Registrar of births, marriages and deaths.  Alice (nee Tate) was born in Leicester in 1882.  They married in Leicester in 1913, and had 3 children.  Joseph became a manager in a company importing goods (perhaps meat or grain?) from Argentina.  The family made several trips to Buenos Aires.  The Watsons left Beesacres in the early 1950’s, moving to Mayfield, Sussex in 1955.  Joseph died there in 1955.  We are not sure what happened to Alice.

The house seems to have remained empty until 1967, when Henry Frisby purchased it.  Henry Julian Fellowes Frisby was born in Chertsey in 1913, the son of Cyril Frisby.  Cyril was a member of the London Stock Exchange and had won a VC in 1918, while serving with the Coldstream Guards in France.  A local newspaper article celebrating this achievement is shown below.  Cyril died in 1961 while living at Guildown Avenue in Guildford, leaving £170,000 (worth over £3 million today), mostly to Henry.

Brid - Virginai Cott - Coomber.jpg
Brid - 1918 Cutting - Cyril Frisby VC.jpg

Henry in 1939 was a Landscape architect and draughtsman.  After WW2 he lived with his parents in Guildford.  His mother died in 1960, and after his father’s death in 1961, he decided to move to Beesacres in 1967.  Henry stayed there until 1979, when he moved to High Trees (now Reynard’s Lodge) on the Ash Road.  He never married and died in 1999.  Henry’s and Cyril’s graves can easily be seen in Brookwood Cemetery (Plot 28, south area).

Beesacres again seems to have been left unoccupied for a period.  In 1991 a Jon Stephen and in 1996 a Philip Hardiman were living there.  The house was sold in 1998 to a Mr and Mrs Maslen, and sold again in 2006 and 2017, at which point the current owners moved in.

A recent agents’ photo of Beesacres is shown below (with grateful thanks).



Mulberry House (previously Ostend)

Ostend (soon to be known as Mulberry House) has a special place in Fox Corner history as being one of the first buildings in the area, and is one of only 3 buildings near Fox Corner shown on the earliest map.  The original building was demolished several years ago, and a replacement building has very recently suffered a similar fate.  A new house is due to be built on the site.

The 1729 Senex map (shown below, left) shows Ostend, and the later (1763) Roque map (below, right) also shows it (as Ostend Farm). 

The name Ostend is puzzling.  Would a Woking Farm really be named after a port in Belgium?  Or The Netherlands (as in the 1600’s Ostend was part of Flanders under Dutch rule)?  Or was there another reason?

We don’t know the answer to these questions, but it could relate to The Siege of Ostend, a lesser-known piece of English history.  Between 1601 and 1604 the Spanish laid siege to Ostend, which had been a fishing village, converted to a military port due to its strategically important position on the North Sea coast.  The Dutch defended the town, with considerable English military help, and the garrison held out heroically for 3 years.  But in the end an honourable surrender was agreed and the surviving defenders were allowed to leave unharmed. 

Although the Spanish were the eventual victors of the siege, the cost to Spain was huge, and its economy was bankrupted 3 years later, which stopped its military ambitions.  The damage done during the siege was horrendous:  More than 100,000 people were killed, wounded or succumbed to disease.  Four hundred years after the siege, in the refurbishment of the city, human remains were still being discovered. 

Returning to the name of Ostend Farm, perhaps one of the defending (surviving) Englishmen was granted or purchased the land on his return and named the farm in honour of the English force’s efforts?

And when was Ostend originally built?  We can only find only one early reference to Ostend, and that is from 1657.  It is a mortgage by which Thomas Bromfeild (sic) of London, Lawrence Marsh of Dorking, and Anne Colbron of Clapham, spinster, acquired the dwelling Ostend “together with New Orchard on the west side of Bridley House, 15 acres called Heathy Closes, and 2 acres in Meane Meade, all in Woking”.  This suggests that the house had already been established by 1657, but we have no way of telling how much earlier.  The Roque map shows the Ostend plot as being roughly square in shape, sitting south-west of the Bridley plot.

During the next 200 years details about Ostend’s ownership and tenancies are very sketchy.  In the late 1600’s a John Burgoyne owned Ostend.  On his death in 1697 he left it for the benefit of his daughter, Elizabeth Burgoyne, who married a Leonard Towne.  In 1782 a rental agreement shows that Ostend was owned by Sir George Warren, who was renting it to Thomas Woods, the miller of Pirbright and owner of Heath Mill.  Sir George was the grandson of George Cholmondeley, 2nd Earl of Cholmondeley.  He was an MP, who had the distinction of eloping with the daughter of a fellow-MP, and later marrying her.  But for some reason Sir George does not appear in the Land Tax records of the time (although Thomas Woods does).

The 1841 Tithe Map (shown below, with the Ostend plot coloured purple) tells us that Ostend was owned by Henry Halsey and occupied by James Honer.  We have met these gentlemen before on this site (several times).  Henry Halsey was Lord of the Manor of Pirbright and his story is told in the Whites Farm section.  James Honer was the miller at Heath Mill and his story is told in the Heath Mill section.

Brid - Ostend - 1841 Tithe Map.jpg

In 1841 the property reached as far as Bridley Manor House and was 18 acres in size, mostly arable.  The size of the property corresponds reasonably well with the size mentioned in the 1657 deed (referred to above), so we assume that few if any changes had been made to the property in the intervening 184 years.

Once Henry Halsey purchased Ostend (c 1830), he became the owner of both Ostend and Rickford Malthouse.  For the next several years this common ownership continued.  In 1851 Henry Halsey sold both properties to Alexander Robertson, the Lord of Bridley Manor, and the 2 properties began to be managed together, eventually being combined into “Malthouse Home Farm”.  Ostend continued to be owned by the successive owners of Bridley Manor until the early 1900’s.  The story of what happened during these years, including the details of “The Crooked Solicitor” are told above (in the Bridley Manor section) and in the Berry Lane section, so we will not repeat them.  We cannot tell who was living in the house during this period.

We have shown below the details of Ostend in the 1902 (unsuccessful) auction of Bridley Manor.  Although the size of Ostend is still 18 acres, the original 17th century boundaries had changed.  Ostend’s land abutting Bridley Manor had been assumed into the Bridley Manor Land, while the land between Ostend and Rickford Malthouse had been added to Ostend.  So although Ostend was still 18 acres in size, it was a different 18 acres.  The house itself was described as “old-fashioned”.  We suspect that this was a gross understatement, and that it was demolished and rebuilt soon afterwards.

The (probably newly rebuilt) property was sold in 1907 to Robert Whibley.  Robert was born in 1844 near Maidstone, the son of an agricultural labourer.  In 1867 he married Jemima Ellis, also born near Maidstone, the daughter of a Farm Bailiff.  They moved to Wormley, south of Godalming, where Robert was a gardener at King Edward’s School, Witley.  They stayed in the same area for the next 40-odd years, having 4 children.  We don’t know why Robert bought Ostend, some 7 miles away from where he lived.  Nor where he acquired the money to do so.

By 1914 Robert had retired and he and Jemima were living in The Bungalow, Kemishford, probably wanting to be close to the property they had purchased a few years earlier.  Jemima died in 1925 and Robert in 1936.

The first tenant in 1908 was a Philip Lucas.  But by 1910, Herbert and Mary Whibley were living there.  Herbert Ellis Whibley was the eldest son of Robert and Jemima.  He had been born in Wormley in 1874 and in 1898 had married Mary Grant, born in 1871 in Leicestershire, the daughter of a groom.  In 1911 Herbert described himself as a market gardener, and he and Mary were living at Ostend Cottage with their 4 children.

Herbert continued his market gardening activities at Ostend, assisted by his son, Robert until WW2.  The 1933 ad below gives a good indication as to what he grew.  It also might explain where all the Lawson cypresses in the area originated!  Mary died in 1940 and Herbert moved to Horsell.  He died there in 1952.

c1945 William and Winifred Pearce purchased Ostend.  William was born in 1910 in Prey Heath, Woking, the son of a labourer.  He and Winifred (nee Viner in 1911 in Lightwater) were married in 1936.  In 1939 William was a golf course groundsman, and we can guess that he worked at one of the 3 nearby golf courses while he lived at Ostend.  The Pearces moved to Carshalton in 1959.  Winifred died in 1993 and William in 1994.

The next owners were Leonard and Evelyn Bartram.  By 1971 Stanley and Geraldine Dennis had bought Ostend.

By 1986 Edward and Diana Stickley were the owners of Ostend.  They soon converted it to be a kennels and cattery (see example ads below) without getting planning approval and had to apply for retrospective permission in 1992, following stories of noise and other disturbance to neighbours.  The application was for buildings (known as "Spangleberry") “in connection with the boarding, breeding and grooming of dogs, a cattery and stables for domestic use”.  Permission was refused, but after modifications, was approved in 1996.

Ostend was sold by the Stickleys in 2002, but the owners moved out in the mid-2000’s and let it to tenants.  Under these tenants the property became less well-cared for.  There were stories of break-ins and stolen cars.  Meanwhile the garden became more and more cluttered with the wrecks of old cars and piles of tyres.  The house looked in distinctly poor shape.  We have shown below 3 photos from different angles from Google Maps (with thanks) during the period 2008 – 2021.

I'm a 

I'm a 

In 2010 the house (with 7 acres of land) was put up for sale, with planning permission to demolish the old house and build a brand new modern-looking house.  The purchaser was a development company, Grant Homes, but no substantive action was taken until 2023, when the property was cleared of rubbish (including the car wrecks and the tyres), and the house demolished.  At the time of writing the site consists of a wasteland with large piles of rubble.  A recent photo (looking south) is shown below.

As we mentioned at the start of this piece, the new house will be named Mulberry House when it is built.  Thus the 370-year-old name Ostend, with its possible historical connections, has been consigned to history.

bottom of page