The 20 Pirbright Cottages (together with The Old Post House) were all built around the same time, to a similar design, and so we have treated then to their own page on this site. After some preliminary comments which relate to the Cottages as a whole, we consider the history of each one separately. Any new information (eg from deeds or hearsay) would be gratefully received at email@example.com
The years up to 1896
The 5-acre triangle of land on which Pirbright Cottages stand was waste land up to the 1870’s. In 1884, Major Ewing of Bridley Manor acquired the land from the War Department, adding to the already substantial landholdings of Bridley Manor. When Major Ewing died (in 1888), the entire Bridley Manor estate was put up for auction in several different lots. The lot which included the “Pirbright Cottages triangle” (as well as Rickford Mill and The Old Millhouse) was purchased by James Terry, a wheelwright and miller, and grandson of James Terry, who had owned a great deal of land in Worplesdon. More detail on the story behind this can be found on the Rickford History website.
The map of the property included in the 1888 auction suggests that the Pirbright Cottages triangle was cultivated, but the 1897 OS map suggests otherwise.
James Terry presumably felt the need to generate a little cash from his property holdings, as within 2 years, he had sold a plot (roughly 30 metres wide by 60 metres deep) to John Faggetter, a Pirbright builder. John Faggetter had connections to Fox Corner. In 1841 his step grandmother and an uncle were living at (or near) what is now Millstream Cottage, near Heath Mill. Mind you, John may not have been aware of this – he was not born until 1852. A picture of John and his wife, Sarah is shown below.
John lost little time in erecting 2 houses on this plot, each comprising 2 semi-detached cottages. They were the first Pirbright Cottages to be built (although for the first 4 years they were simply known as “near the Fox Inn”, or “Rickford Cottages”). He retained ownership of the houses until 1896.
The earliest record of Pirbright Cottages being occupied is in 1893, when John (or Isaac) Poulton and Henry Beacham were living. These later became No 5 and No 6, which suggests that 5/6 was the first house built. They were soon followed by Martha Smith and Henry Mel(l)mot(h) in No 7 and No 8. Curiously, the 1895 OS map shows these 2 buildings as being called Laburnum Cottages (a name that doesn’t crop up on other records of the time). The Laburnham Cottage of today, just 200 yards away in Berry Lane, had not yet been built, although it soon was – and in the same style as Nos 5-8. Both Laburnham Cottage and next-door Rose Cottage were built by Esdor Faggetter of Brookwood. If you’re thinking that John and Esdor may have been related, then you’d be right; they were cousins (their fathers were cousins).
A visual inspection of Nos 5-8 today clearly shows them as being different to the other Pirbright Cottages. Nos 5-8 also have a slightly narrower footprint than the rest.
What do we know about these first occupants in 1893? Martha Smith and Henry Melmot are difficult to trace. However we do know something about the other 2 families.
Isaac (or John) Poulton was a painter (and an army pensioner), aged 55, who was born in Dudley. He lived with his wife, Rachael, who was Canadian by birth. They continued to live at No 5 until 1913, when Rachel died (she is buried at St Mary’s). Isaac died in Epsom in 1916.
Henry Beacham was a 48 year-old army pensioner, born in Romsey, Hampshire, previously living half a mile away at Stonebridge Cottage in Goose Rye Road. He and his wife Elizabeth had 3 children. Their eldest child, Harry, was a baker’s assistant, probably working across the stream at Rickford Bakery. The Beachams moved from the house in 1907. Below is a photo of Henry and his family standing at the front gate of No 6.
At the time, the houses were fairly isolated, and we can easily picture 2 middle-aged army pensioners walking 50 yards across the road to The Fox most evenings for a pint or 2 and a natter about old army days. Crossing the road in those days would have been easy - the only traffic to watch out for on their return would be the odd horse-drawn cart.
In 1895 Lord Pirbright decided to create more housing along this stretch of road.
But first, who was Lord Pirbright? There is plenty of internet-based information about him (including his own Wikipedia page), so we will only summarise here. Born Henry de Worms into a wealthy family in 1840, he was an MP between 1880 and 1895, at which point he became Baron Pirbright of Pirbright (more commonly known as Lord Pirbright, as his elder brother George had already inherited the title of Baron de Worms). He died in 1903. A picture of Lord Pirbright is shown below.
As an aside, he should not be confused with the Lord of the Manor of Pirbright, a title which had remained with the Halsey family since 1784. Interestingly, Henry Halsey objected to Mr de Worms’s use of the title Lord Pirbright at the time, but his objections were overruled. Henry Halsey disliked Lord Pirbright, but wasn’t too proud to take his money – he rented Henley Park to Lord Pirbright.
As well as building Lord Pirbright’s Hall and acquiring many other local properties, Lord Pirbright commissioned several housing developments in Pirbright, many of which are marked with a panel containing a “P” or a “W” (for Worms). These are:
Pirbright Cottages (which we deal with further on this page)
The terrace on Dawney Hill
Pirbright Terrace (just south of the White Hart)
The Gardens (near the cricket ground)
Henry Cottages (The Green)
Many of these houses are in cohesive groups and are attractively decorated, with fish-scale tiling, moulded casement windows, decorative joinery, and front gardens with walls or railings. The construction of the houses was top class: For houses of this age to have cavity walls, metal wall ties and slate Damp Proof Course would have been cutting edge building at the time. They are still going strong after 120 years, and help to give Pirbright its special character.
However at the time, this was not everybody’s view. Mary Cawthorn in her diary wrote about “unromantic and coronetted Pirbright Terrace”. Perhaps Nimbyism is an older concept than we imagine.
But back to Lord Pirbright’s plans for Fox Corner in 1895. One of his first actions was to purchase the 2 existing buildings (Nos 5-8) from John Faggetter for £750. I think that John would have been well satisfied by this price, given that he had paid just £55 for the plot initially, (today’s equivalents would be a cost of £7,200, and sale proceeds of £98,500). To illustrate this, the properties were sold 22 years later for just £535 (albeit in a forced sale during World War 1), equivalent to only £38,000 today.
Lord Pirbright then purchased from John Terry the remainder of the triangle of land which had previously been wasteland (ie westwards to a few yards short of the Hodge Brook and eastwards towards where the Fox Corner roundabout now is). The southerly border of this triangle was marked by a track cutting off the corner (ie Fox Corner itself).
To the south of this track was Speech Field and one other field. The track is clearly marked on the 1807 and 1841 maps of Pirbright, and would have been used by people travelling between Worplesdon and farms to the west of Pirbright (eg Bakersgate and Pullens). It still exists in the form of the path to the south of Pirbright Cottages. Below is the 1841 Tithe map and the 1897 OS map of the area. The path is clearly visible on the former, but only partly on the latter. The OS map was drawn after Nos 5-8 had been built, but before any others had been built.
Next he commissioned 8 semi-detached buildings to be built (by John Faggetter) between 1896 and 1899. These now comprise the remaining Pirbright Cottages (ie Nos 1-4 and 9-20). He also commissioned a shop, with a house attached, to be built on the Corner itself, between No 12 and No 13, which today is The Old Post House. Nos 1-4, The Old Post House and 5-14 were the first to be completed (by 1897), while Nos 15-20 were completed by 1899.
We are fortunate that the plans for these houses (but not the shop) from 1896 have survived and extracts are shown below. I wonder how closely the detailed plans reflect the current interiors of the cottages. Any observations are very welcome.
Some points of interest:
The path (which is shown at the top, since the map was prepared with south at the top, not the usual north) is now unromantically called Accomodation Road. To my knowledge, it has never officially had any name.
The lands to the south (at the top of the map) belong to CP Shrubb of Merrist Wood, and James Terry at Rickford Mill House.
Nos 5-8 still belong to John Faggetter, so the plans must have predated the sale to Lord Pirbright. The rest of the land belongs to Lord Pirbright.
The locations of the cesspools are clearly shown, as are the widths of the plots (which show some slight variations between them).
The stubs of land at each end of the row belong to Lord Pirbright, although their purpose is not disclosed.
The sketch is rather crude, but certainly resembles the cottages today. The P plate is clearly visible. I don’t understand why the roofs show so many cracks in them though.
Each house had a small front garden abutting the road (no pavements in those days). But each had a long back garden, which was either south-facing or west-facing, and this may explain why so many gardeners chose to live there. The houses had no space for horse-drawn vehicles, and so the main modes of transport would have been bicycle or foot.
It is noticeable how long many of the tenures were in the 40 years leading up to WW2. For example, the occupants of over half of the cottages did not change between the 2 world wars. Perhaps Lord Pirbright had given some special rights to the early occupants, preventing them from being evicted. The result of these long tenures was an ageing population in the 1930’s and 1940’s. An influx of young blood after WW2, coupled with increased owner-occupancy revitalised the area in the 1950’s.
Lord Pirbright retained ownership of all of these properties, and after his death in 1903, ownership passed to his wife, Lady Pirbright. Her ladyship spent most of her subsequent years in Paris, although she continued to bestow favours on Pirbright, especially on the children in the form of an annual party. She died in 1914, having no children (although Lord Pirbright had 4 daughters with his first wife, Fanny. They divorced in 1887, “because she habitually committed adultery with Moritz Ritter von Leon” over a 10-year period while holidaying in her native Austria).
Lady Pirbright’s estate (comprising over 60 dwellings, including Pirbright Cottages) was auctioned in June 1916. We know of 2 pairs of Pirbright cottages that were bought by people who then proceeded to live in one of the cottages. But an inspection of the title deeds of two other pairs of Pirbright Cottages shows that they were bought by private investors (who continued to rent them out). We suspect that both of these models (ie owner-occupier and private investor) would have applied to the other Pirbright Cottages as well.
It was only later (after WW2) that the two Pirbright Cottages which were bought by private investors were bought by owner-occupiers, which is the house-ownership model we are more used to today. This move to owner-occupiers very much replicates the story across the UK as a whole, since the post-WW2 period saw a growth in home-ownership and a decline in the privately rented sector across the country. The growth in home-ownership was attributable to:
(Relatively) low-interest rates, coupled with greater availability of mortgages.
Rising real wages, but (with the rapid increase in the supply of housing post-war) steady real house prices.
Increasing social aspirations to own one’s own home.
The UK trend towards increasing home ownership continued up to the 1990’s.
Rachel Collier’s recollections of Fox Corner from her youth (1920’s onwards) give us some fascinating insights as to what life was like in those days:
Originally Pirbright Cottages were lit by gas until electricity arrived in the late 1920’s. One current occupant remembers in 1987 moving in and having to cope with no electricity upstairs, but just one electric lamp plugged into a socket in the hall. All the gas light points (though unfortunately not the lights themselves) were still in place and working.
Mains drainage was installed some years after that. She remembers a footpath being established along the front of the cottages, and notes that the opposite side of the road comprised a line of telegraph poles, and open ditches. A solitary telegraph pole and part of the ditch can be seen in the early photograph (c1910) below. Today, all of the telegraph poles on that side of the road have gone (replaced by a couple on the other side of the road). But surprisingly quite a lot of the ditch still exists, although you have to look quite carefully to find it!
Rachel writes that there were regular bus services to Guildford and Woking in her youth, and also, for a time, to Reading and Bracknell. One of the operators was Aldershot & District Traction Company Ltd (A&D), who placed newspaper advertisements that tickets for their services could be obtained at Moor’s Stores. A&D had been set up as the local subsidiary of a UK-wide bus company, British Electric Traction Company (BET). Apparently the company was sometimes referred to not as “Aldershot and District”, but “Have a shot and risk it”...
BET acquired the other bus operators in the area, and so had something of a monopoly over services at Fox Corner. However, bus companies suffered a decline from the mid-1950’s onwards, due to the increase in private car ownership, and in 1968 BET was nationalised. In 1972 the local service became Alder Valley (a subsidiary of the National Bus Company). In the 1980’s bus services were privatised, and remain that way. Below are 4 photos of A&D vehicles.
From left to right (top row first):
A 1919 photo of a bus in front of The Fox, possibly taken to celebrate the resumption of services after WW1. The vehicle is a Dennis Subsidy, built by Dennis Brothers of Guildford. The tyres would have been solid rubber, giving passengers a rather uncomfortable ride. The identity of the people is uncovered in the section dealing with The Fox.
A slightly later photo of an A&D bus, this time a Daimler. The tyres are still solid rubber!
A (rather blurred) photo of an A&D bus picking up a passenger at The Fox in the late 1960’s
A more recent photo of an A&D bus, showing the livery colours.
Rachel recalls that both Heath Mill and Rickford Mill were working mills in her youth. Her parents bought flour from one, and chicken food from the other. She seems to show a pang of regret that both mills ceased operations (Heath Mill being the first to close) and were converted to private residences.
Pirbright Cottages have seen many changes since WW2. The most obvious is the disappearance of the post office and shop. But ubiquitous car ownership has caused the front gardens to be paved over (only 3 remain today). And most, if not all, of the cottages have been extended in some shape or form, but mainly at the rear of the house (courtesy of the recent introduction of Permitted Development). These extensions have been made tastefully, such that the row of cottages still looks like a homogenous group, and still retains its original style. Congratulations to the owners and to Guildford Borough Council. Of all the cottages, perhaps Nos 1 and 2 retain their original character most (at least from a front view).
Let’s now look at the main inhabitants of each house. One may wonder why the first house one encounters after entering Pirbright from Worplesdon is No 20 (and not No 1). The answer is that most house numbering in the UK starts from the end nearest the town (or village) centre. Hence Pirbright Cottages are merely adhering to that convention. Accordingly we will work along the road starting at No 20.
Henry Bradley and his wife, Charlotte from Suffolk were the first occupants of No 20 in 1899. Henry was born in 1857, and Charlotte in 1851. They were married in Woking in 1879, the same year that their first child was born. Perhaps they had eloped from Suffolk to hide out in the wilds of Surrey.
Henry was from a family of agricultural labourers, and was working as a cowman at Mayford in 1881, moving in the mid-1880’s to become a stockman at Bridley in 1891. In 1899 it was a relatively short move from Bridley to No 20, and in 1901 he was recorded as being a farm labourer there. We do not know where he worked, but Merrist Wood would have been one of the closest working farms, but perhaps he continued to work at Bridley. Henry and Charlotte produced 5 children, most of whom worked on the land.
However Charlotte died in 1908, and by 1911 Henry was working as a gardener. That year he had split the house into 2 apartments, and the census shows that William and Mary Ann Harding were living in the second apartment. William Harding was a machine minder who had been living in London with his wife, and who presumably wanted a job which was more contemplative. What better than moving to Pirbright and becoming a gardener? Perhaps he and Henry Bradley worked together as a gardening team.
All 5 of the Bradley children had flown the nest (2 to Lewes, 2 to Guildford, and 1 had died), so Henry was living on his own until 1918.
Florence Wiseman had purchased Nos 19 & 20 from Lady Pirbright’s estate in 1916 (for the princely sum of £340, which is worth around £30,000 today) and she, her husband Ambrose and their family moved in to share the house with Henry. Ambrose and Florence were 20 years younger than Henry at the time.
Florence (nee Beckett) had been born at Aldershot in 1877 into a military family. This had its downsides, as her father a private in the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, died aged 37 at Rorke’s Drift (apparently from assegai wounds) when Florence was only 2 years old, which must have been dreadful for the family. Florence’s mother, Ann (nee Payne) died in 1898 at Normandy (Surrey).
Ambrose was also born in 1877, in Thornton Heath. His father was a labourer but by the time Ambrose was aged 4, he and his 2 sisters had become orphans. He lived with his grandmother working on a farm in Normandy (Surrey), which is where he met his wife-to-be, Florence.
Florence and Ambrose (who was a gardener) married in 1900 (by which time they had both lost their parents), and they lived in Farnham and then Perry Hill, Worplesdon before Florence purchased Nos 19 and 20, Pirbright Cottages. This was unusual, as the vast majority of house purchases at the time were made by husbands, not their wives. It was also unusual for gardeners to be able to afford to buy a house (let alone 2 houses). Although Florence does not seem to have come from a wealthy family, she must have acquired some wealth somehow.
Back to Henry Bradley. c1929, Henry moved to No 2, Heath Mill Lane with Mary Ann Bradley. At this point, he was one of the last of the original occupants of Pirbright Cottages to still live in his house. I’m not sure who Mary Ann was – presumably a relation, as I can’t find any evidence of a second marriage. At the same time, Ambrose and Florence Wiseman moved next door to No 19 (see below).
From c1930, Samuel and Janet Alcock lived in the house. Samuel was born in Bombay in 1883, and in 1926 married a Scotswoman, Janet Robertson, who had been born in 1890 and lived in Govan, Glasgow. At this time the house was given the name Melville Cottage, which was used alongside its number until at least 1962. Quite why they renamed the house Melville Cottage is a mystery. They married relatively late in life (in those times), and they had 3 children.
Janet died in 1944, and in 1950 Samuel, who was an engineer, left England with his 3 children to start a new life in New Zealand.
By 1954, Marguerite and Mary Rouse were living in No 20. Marguerite was born Marguerite Spencer in 1917 and married William Rouse in 1936. He was 12 years older than her and came from a military family. He had been born in Karachi in 1905 (his father was a captain in the Indian army), and after spending most of his youth in England, he returned to India in 1926 to join the Indian Police. He returned to England 10 years later, and within 6 months had married Marguerite (at Weybridge).
They produced 3 children, but William died in 1947 near Hastings. At this time Marguerite was known as Peggy. Mary may have been one of their 3 children, which would explain why she was living with her mother in 1954 at No 20, although she only stayed there for a short time.
Marguerite remained at No 20 (still called Melville Cottage) until her death in 2007 – some 52 years.
The first inhabitant of No 19 in 1899 was one Eli Heath. We don’t know much about him, other than that he was born in Norwood c1848, became a gardener, married in 1872 and moved to 19, Pirbright Cottages in 1899 for a short time only.
[Coincidentally another (unrelated) family named Heath moved to Pirbright at the same time (give or take a few months). They had previously run The Sea Horse in Shalford and quickly integrated themselves into the Pirbright community: Ellen Heath, one of the daughters of the family, had married Owen Moore, the publican of The Cricketers, in 1897. And another Heath daughter, Gertrude, married John Faggetter junior (son of the man who built Pirbright Cottages).]
Agnes Davy (born in Dorset, 1817) and her daughter, Jane lived at No 19 briefly in 1901 before moving to Pirbright Gardens (a few doors from where the Heaths were living), where she died 2 years later.
Frederick and Mary Jane Batten moved into No 19 in 1903. Frederick was a 52 year-old retired policeman from Wiltshire and his wife, Mary Jane, was from Lancashire. He had left the police force as a constable in Hampton in 1900, and in 1901, he had been living near Goose Rye Farm in Worplesdon as an estate carpenter. The 1911 census recorded that they were hosting 2 boarders at No 19 at the time. Mary Jane died in 1919, aged 67, and Frederick died in 1926.
The next occupants of No 19 in 1926 were Phillip and Ellen (“Nellie”) Malacrida. Phillip was born in 1876 in Islington, and had an Italian father. Nellie (nee Isaacs) was also born in Islington, in 1878, and they were married in 1911. Phillip was a cabinet maker in his father’s workshop in Shoreditch at the time.
Between 1929 and 1931, Ambrose and Florence Wiseman (who had purchased Nos 19 & 20 in 1916, and had been living at No 20 – see above) moved in with the Malacridas. This was not just a case of landlords moving in with their tenants – the two families were by now closely related. To understand how, we need to go to Canada...
When Nellie had married Philip in 1911, she was a widow, having previously married a Charles Hayward in 1901. Charles and Nellie had a son, Sidney, and a daughter, Grace, who were born in Saskatchewan in 1904 and 1906 respectively. What were the Haywards doing in Canada? I’ve no idea, but Charles was a salesman, and so perhaps a company had sent him out to be their sales rep. I can’t think what he would have been trying to sell, as they were living in a quiet part of Canada, where the summers are pretty hot and the winters pretty cold (down to -40 Celsius), just north of the Trans-Canada highway, 50km east of Regina. Charles died in Saskatchewan in 1909, and Nellie and her baby son and daughter soon returned to the UK.
In 1927 Grace married Cyril Wiseman, son of Florence and Ambrose – an unusual way for tenants to keep in with their landlords! They soon moved away from their families, but not far – just to No 3 (see below).
c1931 the house was given the name Avondale. As well as hosting the Wisemans, Phillip and Nellie were also hosting John and Emma Smith at this time, so the house would have been rather crowded.
Phillip died in 1933, and after 2 years, Nellie Malacrida moved to No 3 with her daughter Grace and her husband, Cyril Wiseman. Meanwhile Florence and Ambrose Wiseman had decamped to Rosemary Crescent in Guildford where they stayed until their deaths in 1961 (Florence) and 1963 (Ambrose).
What became of the other Canadian-born child, Sidney? He married Florence Hill in 1927 and they had one son, Philip, but separated & subsequently divorced. Phillip was passed between various aunts & uncles before settling with his grandmother Nellie Malacrida, at 3 Pirbright Cottages.
Nellie died at No 3 in 1945. A photo of her is shown below.
Between 1935 and 1937 Albert and Edith Harding occupied No 19. They were a young, recently married couple, both born locally. Albert was working at the Cattle Testing Station (on the site of what is now Pirbright Institute) and so No 19 would have been a very convenient place to live.
After leaving No 19, they moved to Pitch Place, Worplesdon. They had 4 children, but Albert died aged only 44 in 1951, and Edith died in 1977, aged 73.
In 1939, Harry and Gwendoline (nee Deacon) Stonard moved into No 19. Harry, a labourer, was the son of Henry and Emily Stonard, who had moved into No 7 (refer below) in 1902, just 2 years after Harry was born. Gwendoline was from Pitch Place, Worplesdon, and so they both knew the area well. They were married in 1922, and had 7 children (the first 6 of whom were girls).
In 1952 the Stonards bought No 19 for £450 (worth around £13,000 today). So although Florence had made a paper profit of about 160%, it seems that house prices had not quite kept up with inflation during the period 1916 to 1952. That certainly changed a few years later.
Harry Stonard died in 1975, but Gwendoline stayed in the house until 1987, when she moved to South Wales, with her daughter Dorothy and her husband, Fred Stow. Gwendoline died the same year, aged 87. Pictures of Harry and Gwendoline are shown below.
Alfred and Margaret Slaughter were the first occupants of No 18, and they lived there until their deaths in 1929 and 1928 respectively. The Slaughters themselves are an old Worplesdon family that can trace its roots back to c1680. The surname itself is rather unusual. It could mean a slaughterer of animals, but it could also derive for the old words for boggy place or someone who lived by a blackthorn or sloe tree. The Worplesdon/Pirbright Slaughters believe that their name derives from the German word “Schlacht”, which means battle and is far more exciting.
Alfred’s grandfather, William, was a farmer of 5 acres in Wood Street at Backside Common (a name which might raise a smile today, but would not have done so in those days). Alfred’s father, Thomas, was also a farmer: Between 1871 and 1891, he was the tenant farmer of 140-odd acres at Bakersgate. Thomas and his wife Eliza (nee Hartfree) produced 11 children, of whom Alfred was the second (and the eldest son).
Alfred was born in 1850, and Margaret (nee Mansell) a year earlier. They produced 9 children, of whom 7 were girls, so it seems that the Slaughters, like the Stonards at No 7, seemed to like large families. Alfred gave his occupation on earlier censuses as “Farmer’s son”, and he initially worked at White House Farm at Send. But in 1901 and 1911, he gave his occupation was farm labourer. One of his younger brothers, William was farming Pullens Farm, and maybe their father Thomas had thought that William would make the better farmer. In 1914 Alfred was summonsed for driving a vehicle without rear lights. He claimed that he did not know it was necessary, which sounds rather amusing to us today, but he was fined 2/6d anyway.
A picture of Alfred and Margaret standing in front of No 18 is shown below (left).
After the death of her parents in 1928-9, one of their daughters, Mary Anne, continued to live in No 18 until 1937, making her one of the longest-serving of all the original occupants of Pirbright Cottages – 38 years. During this time she took in a series of lodgers (eg Alfred Jacobs, James Wood, Daniel Jeffrey and Albert Simpson). A picture of Mary Anne with her father, possibly in the back garden of No 18, is shown above (centre).
Mary Anne moved to 55, Recreation Road (just off Stoke Road) in Guildford, a laundress, aged 60 and single. She was soon joined there by no less than 3 of her sisters - Margaret, then Emily, then Hilda - who were all also single, and the 4 of them continued to live there until their deaths in 1956 (Margaret), 1962 (Emily), 1963 (Mary Anne) and 1977 (Hilda). They were all aged in their 80’s when they died. After Hilda's death, the house was sold.
When Mary Anne moved to Guildford in 1937, she was the last person named Slaughter to live at Fox Corner as far as I can tell which broke a continuous line of Slaughters in the immediate Fox Corner area for over 250 years. As a point of detail, the younger of the Slaughter brothers, Albert, who was a POW in 1918, lived at Bridley Cottage until his death in 1962. And another Slaughter descendant, David Slaughter, lived at Normandy until c2000. A photo of Albert in his younger days (with friend) in front of No 18 is shown above (right).
After the reign of the Slaughters, George and Lizzie Reeve moved into No 18 from Bellfields Road, Guildford. George was born in 1865 in Suffolk and was a “PIgman, heavy work” according to the 1939 register. Lizzie (nee Rose) was born in 1870 in Pirbright at Vapoury (presumably Vapery Lane today). They had 12 (and perhaps more) children, and reported on the 1911 census that they were married in 1886. However the only relevant marriage I can find was in Aldershot in 1934. I wonder if this served to recognise a relationship which had not previously been officially formalised. George died in 1952, but I cannot trace Lizzie’s death.
John and Gwendolen Barton moved into No 18 in 1953 and remained there until at least 1970.
Elizabeth Sheppard was the first occupant of No 17 from 1899 to 1908. She was a widow who was born Elizabeth Cole in Bermondsey in 1837. In 1899, she was living at No 17 with 2 of her 9 children, Arthur, a carpenter born in 1863, and Florence, a music teacher, born in 1874. Their previous home was in Carshalton, but what brought them to Pirbright is a mystery. By 1911 Elizabeth, Florence and another of Elizabeth’s daughters were living in Horsham.
John and Alice Guyatt (Guyett) moved into No 17 in 1908 from No 1, Sherman’s Cottages in Heath Mill Lane (now Ravensclough). Both were born in 1851 in Kent and Essex respectively. In 1901 John had been the steward of an estate, living with Alice and his family in Sunningdale. However in 1911 Alice and their children were living at No 17 while John was a gardener near Peterborough.
In 1912, Frederick and Annie Smith (nee Davis) moved into No 17, having been married just 2 years. Frederick was a police constable, whose job seemed to require him to be moved from one place to another every few years. In 1911 he had been stationed at Englefield Green, near Egham.
While they were at Pirbright they had 2 children, but in 1924, Frederick and Annie left, presumably to go to Frederick’s next posting. By 1939 he was a retired police inspector, and they were living in Reading. They died in Brent in 1973 and 1971 respectively.
Between 1924 and 1933 there was a series of short-term occupancies: Between 1925-6 Alick & Beatrice Venner lived there. In 1927 they were replaced by William & Beatrice Whale and their son, James (born in 1920). William was a poultry keeper. They left the village c1929 and in 1939 were living outside Reading.
In 1933, Stanley and Hilda Hill moved in and named the house Watsonville. The origin of this house name is unclear (the couple came from Wandsworth and Shepparton respectively), but there are places with that name in both Northern Ireland and Scotland, which may have had some significance to them.
However they did not stay long, and by 1936, Frederick and Emma Jeffreys (or Jeffery, or Jefferey, or Jeffries) were living at No 17 with 2 of their children, having previously lived at Woking. One of their children, Kathleen (who was born in Ireland), married a signalman in the Army in 1940, but sadly died of pneumonia just 2 years later, aged 24. She had been a cafe manageress at the Woodbridge Road cinema. Frederick, born in 1870, was a storeman in Aldershot in 1914, but at No 17 by 1939, he was the gardener for Col Windrum of Rickford Mill House. He was an army pensioner from the 5th Dragoons. Emma, who was born in 1881, died in 1941, just a few months before her daughter Kathleen.
In 1945 Ernest (who was a gardener) and Mary Churchill and their daughter Dorothy were living at No 17, but by 1953 they had decamped to Virginia Water.
The next occupants, Percy and Margaret Barrett and their family had been living a mile away at Stream House Farm, Stanford since 1939. Percy had been working as the farm manager there. Before that they had lived in Chobham at Dunroamin (oh dear). The Barretts lived at No 17 in their retirement until at least 1963.
The first occupant of No 16 in 1899 was Lucy Philpot. She was a 64 year-old widow who had been born in Manchester, and was living there with 3 of her 7 children. Her late husband, Richard, who was born on the Isle of Wight, had been a cow-keeper in Merton (but I’ll wager there aren’t many cow-keepers in Merton today). In 1902 the Philpots moved to Sandpit Cottages and the Palmer family moved in.
The Palmer family comprised Joseph (born Wallingford in 1830), who had been a wine merchant’s assistant, Lydia (born Essex in 1829) and the younger of their 2 daughters, Blanche (born Stratford, Essex, 1860). The family had moved around the South East a fair bit (living in, for example, West Ham, Herne Bay and Ealing).
So what could have prompted the family to move to quiet, out-of-the-way Pirbright? Credit must go to the father, Joseph, for this is what seems to have happened. Back in 1871, Joseph was a wool dealer in Kentish Town, and he and Lydia had decided to rent rooms in his house to 3 boarders – 2 young lads and an elderly lady, all from Lancashire. One of these young lads, a Frederick Stanley Stowell (who was a wine merchant’s clerk), took a shine to the elder daughter, Mary Jane, and in 1874, they were married. Mary Jane was aged 19.
In 1878, Frederick Stowell started trading as a wine merchant in his own right in Ealing. By 1881 the Palmers and the Stowells were living next door to each other in Ealing. The Stowells had 3 children, and Joseph Palmer was working as a wine merchant’s clerk (ie helping his son-in-law’s business – a generous, but as it turns out, shrewd, thing to do). Below is a picture of Stowell’s shop in Ealing c1905.
Frederick Stowell’s business, which was later renamed Stowell & Sons, was obviously very successful. So successful that it was bought for £20,000 (worth £500,000 today) by Whitbread in 1920, evolved into the well-known Stowells of Chelsea, then became a brand of wine rather than a merchant, and is now owned by Accolade Wines, an Australian company.
In 1898, Frederick and Mary Jane evidently decided that they needed “a place in the country”, and so they rented (from Lord Pirbright) the newly-built Gorselands on the Aldershot Road just south of Pirbright village. It was (and still is) an impressive property, sitting in 10 acres, and we can imagine that it would have suited a prosperous wine merchant and his family (now comprising 7 children).
I think we can assume that the move 4 years later by Joseph, Lydia and Blanche to Pirbright was motivated by a wish to be near to Mary Jane and her family. It might also have been part-financed by Frederick, who may have wanted his trusted lieutenant, Joseph, near him, even though Joseph was part-retired.
Joseph Palmer died in 1905, aged 75, and Lydia died in 1910, aged 82, leaving Blanche living at No 16 alone.
In 1911, Frederick and Mary Jane left Gorselands and moved to Hastings. Frederick was partly retired, having handed the business over to his sons. A picture of Frederick is shown below.
Blanche was left as the only surviving member of the Stowells and Palmers in Pirbright. In 1925 she took in lodgers – Charles and Elsie Harrison – for 3 years. Elsie was the daughter of Alfred and & Annie Laker, who lived next door at No 15.
Blanche remained at No 16 until c1933, at which point it looks as though she moved out of the area, but not before naming the house Wallingford, in honour of her father’s birthplace. That name would not last long, however.
By 1936, Geoffrey and Eileen (Myrtle Cordelia) Farminer had moved into No 16. Geoffrey was the 4th son of Walter and Fanny Farminer and had spent all his life in Pirbright Cottages, as he had been born at No 1 (see below) in 1910. Walter and Fanny still lived there.
Geoffrey was a public works labourer, and had married Eileen in 1933 (press cutting below). Eileen was the daughter of William Packham (who does not seem to be related to the William Packham who was living in Ivory Cottage, Malthouse Lane at the time). Geoffrey in his later years was trading on his own account as a builder. He and Eileen had 2 children (one of whom, John, born in 1937, also became a builder and lived at the Old School House in Church Lane). Geoffrey and Eileen remained at No 16 (Wallingford) until they died in 1969 (within 7 weeks of each other). A future owner clearly didn’t approve of the name Wallingford – the house no longer has a name.
Alfred and Annie Laker were the first occupants of No 15 in 1899. Born in 1863 at Boxgrove, near Chichester, Alfred was the son of a timber carter. He soon moved to Wandsworth and there met Annie (nee Everett in 1864), who was the daughter of a letter carrier (what we now call a postman) and later a paperhanger (ie someone who hanged wallpaper).
Alfred and Annie married in 1891 and produced 6 children. During WW1, Alfred served as a private in the East Kent Regiment. Alfred described himself as a labourer, and later as a gardener. c1934 they named No 15 Boxgrove, honouring the village where Alfred was born. The name lasted until the 1960’s. Alfred died in 1941, and Annie in 1949. Annie therefore takes the prize for the longest-serving of all the original occupants of Pirbright Cottages – 50 years. During their early years at No 15, the Lakers took in lodgers from time to time. One of these was Samuel Petter (1911 to 1915), who met his future wife while staying with the Lakers. Samuel and his wife returned to the area later (in 1927), living at Laurel Cottage, on the other side of the road. Their story is told there.
One of the Laker children, Elsie, lived briefly with her husband (Charles Harrison) at next-door No 16 during 1925-27 (see above). Another, Arthur, lived in Pirbright at School Lane and then Swallow House (just south of The Green) from the early 1930’s until at least 1981. Arthur had married Kathleen Perkins in 1930, and was a builder, trading under the name Fry & Laker. A photo of Arthur and Kath is shown below.
As to the owners of No 15, without looking at the deeds, we can’t be sure, but building plans submitted in 1932 show that the owner at that time was Col Windrum, who lived at The Old Mill House, Rickford. The plans show that, for some reason, No 15 was then known as Farm Cottage.
One of the Laker children, Arthur, lived in Pirbright at School Lane and then Swallow House (just south of The Green) from the early 1930’s until at least 1962.
After Annie Laker died in 1949, No 15 stayed within the family. It was occupied by Elsie Harrison (Arthur and Annie’s daughter, who had lived briefly at next-door No 16), and Roy and Rita Davies. Rita Davies (nee Harrison) was Rita’s daughter. The Davies’s stayed at No 15 until c1957, at which point they left the district
Albert and Agnes Barnshaw briefly moved in, having lived previously in Whitemore Road, Guildford (just south of Bellfields).
The first occupants of No 14 were Thomas and Naomi Wonham, together with Thomas’s mother, Mary. Thomas was born in Ewell in 1856, and was the son of John Wonham, who had been the miller at Rickford Mill.
In the 1890’s, Thomas took over from his father as miller at Rickford Mill, and in 1898, married Naomi (nee Cooke). Naomi was the daughter of Abraham Cooke, who was farming Hockford Farm at the time. Abraham Cooke was the son of Henry Cooke, who had lived in Brook Farm (in Worplesdon, near Rickford Mill) in 1840. Another of Naomi’s brothers, Job, moved into Brook Farm in the 1890’s. With 2 of Naomi’s other brothers being named Moses and Aaron, it won’t have escaped the reader that the Cookes were a family who liked biblical names.
Thomas was aged 42 and Naomi 44 when they were married, and they never had children. In 1911 Thomas was working as a miller at Heath Mill. In 1914, Laura Cooke married a James Bartlett from Kennington. Laura was the daughter of Moses Cooke, and hence Naomi’s niece. She was living at No 14 at the time. Thomas Wonham was one of the witnesses to sign the register.
Naomi died in 1926, and by 1929 Thomas had moved to Manor Road in Stoughton. He died at the Warren Road Hospital in 1937.
The Tedhams (Rezin and Louisa) moved into No 14 in 1929, along with their daughter, Barbara (who in 1931 married Cyril Loughlin and moved to Camberley). They came from Sussex, but had been living in Worplesdon (at Sudpre Cottage) and briefly on Woodbridge Road, Guildford, since 1918. Rezin was, like so many other men who lived in Pirbright Cottages, a gardener (although he had initially advertised himself as a chauffeur and handyman). Rezin died in 1940, aged 76, at which point Louisa moved to Frimley. Louisa died in 1955.
The next occupants of No 14 were Percy and Beatrice Thatcher in the early 1940’s. Percy was born in Ottershaw in 1884 and was a gardener. Beatrice (nee White) was 4 years older than Percy. The couple were married at Winchester in 1918, and had been living on Blackhorse Road for the previous 20 years. As far as I can tell, they had no children. Percy died in 1960, and Beatrice died (in Basingstoke) in 1969, aged 89.
The first occupants of No 13 in 1899 were James Larby, a house painter aged 46 from Godalming, and his wife Alice, aged 39 from Hampshire.
At this time, another Larby family were living at No 2 (see below). Both of these Larby families hailed from Godalming originally, and may well have been related. If so, the relationship was fairly distant. James and Alice had no children of their own.
The Larbys moved out in 1903 to one of the cottages at Heath Mill, and after a couple of short stays by other families, the Snowdens moved into No 13 in 1911.
Ernest and Lizzie Snowden only stayed in No 13 until c1918, at which point they moved to No 5, and we discuss them more fully there (see below).
In 1918 William Charles and Mary Everett moved in. William was a chauffeur, born in 1872. Mary was 6 years older. They were both born in Southampton and had 2 sons: One, Charles, married Ivy Criddle who lived at Kelvin Cottages, Rickford, and moved to Gravetts Lane in Worplesdon. The other son, William Victor, also a chauffeur married Louise Edith Earley in 1931 and they moved to Haslemere.
William was involved in an unfortunate accident in 1931, when a horse pulling a Southern Railway goods cart bolted while passing through the Victoria Arch, Woking. The driver of the cart was seriously injured, and William’s car (he was driving Mr Cobb of Little Bridley) was also damaged by the other cart.
In 1939, No 13 was owned by a Mr Cobb. William Everett died in 1951, and Mary in 1955.
In 1955, Stanley (“Stan”) and Barbara Boylett moved in, having previously lived at Kelvin Cottages, Rickford. They had been living with Lily Criddle after the death of her husband. Lily was the mother of Ivy Criddle, mentioned in the previous paragraph. It was a small well-connected world in those days. And to demonstrate that further, Stan’s mother, Lilly Stonard (who had married a Herbert Boylett), was the daughter of William and Alice Stonard, who had lived at No 8 in the early part of the 20th century....
Stan (born 1919) had joined the Royal Artillery when he was called up in December 1939, aged 20. He went to the Middle East with the 8th Army in 1942. He fought from El-Alamein to Tripoli, often driving a scout car, and then went to Sicily. Stan came back to England in December 1943, joined 30 Corps and drove a tank onto the beach at dawn on D-Day. He fought in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, and then drove displaced people to a railway station in Berlin. He was demobbed in February 1946.
Stan and Barbara (nee Gilbert, born in 1925, and daughter of Bill who was a gardener at Fords Farm) were married in 1946, had 2 daughters, and were still living at No 13 in 1991. However, at some stage after that they moved to Compton. Stan died in 1996, and Barbara in 2014. Below are photos of Stan in his army days, and Stan and Barbara on their wedding day.
The Old Post House
The Old Post House was built at the same time as the second wave of Pirbright Cottages, and was occupied in 1896 by 30 year-old Harry Briant, his wife Edith and their 2 children.
Harry was the younger brother of Herbert Mose Briant, who had moved to Pirbright in 1884 and opened a “grocery and drapery business” with his wife Rhoda on The Green in the building now called Greengates. Previously Herbert had worked as a grocer’s assistant in Knaphill, and he had presumably spotted an opportunity to start his own business in Pirbright. Photos of Herbert and Harry Briant are shown below
In 1891 Harry had been helping his elder brother in his business on Pirbright Green, but now it was his turn to start his own business, and so he moved to the newly built shop at Fox Corner. At that time it was described as a shop, but shortly afterwards as a Post Office (and shop). It was considerably larger than the other Pirbright Cottages, and had a large footprint of land (soon used as a yard and later as a car park) attached on the west side.
c1908, the arrangements of Harry and Herbert are not clear: Harry moved to the Post Office on Pirbright Green (later moving its location a few doors into what is now the Parish Shop), but the brothers may have jointly run both shops at this time.
Harry remained postmaster at Pirbright Green for 35 years, but Herbert was less fortunate: In 1911 Herbert was living with another of his brothers at Bisley as a “Grocer (out of employment)”.
By 1910, Frederick and Agnes Moor had taken over the business, and they were to run it for over 50 years. Moor’s Stores would have been a prominent landmark for travellers and was one of the first local buildings to contain that modern device, the telephone, having the phone number of Worplesdon 68 from 1922. Rachel Collier remembers the shop as selling “groceries, vegetables, writing materials, cottons, elastic and many haberdashery items”, as well as being a post office. An early photo of Moor’s Stores is shown below.
Frederick Moor was born in Upton Park in 1879, while Agnes (nee Uncles) was born in West Norwood in 1881. They had 3 children, Mildred (born 1910), Alfred (born 1911) and George (born 1914). In 1933 Frederick suffered a serious accident on the Bagshot Road, when a passing car knocked him down, fracturing his skull. Frederick and Agnes ran Moor’s Stores until Frederick’s death in 1964, aged 85. Fred also owned Boyletts stores on the Green in 1955. Agnes died in Knutsford in 1968, aged 87.
As regards ownership, we know that in 1939, the shop was owned by Frederick, but we don’t know when he acquired it, or who purchased it after he died.
After the death of Frederick, the shop went through a number of hands, including being an antique shop, before closing in the late 1980’s. Rachel Collier describes that it “gradually went into decline”. At that point it was converted into a house, and more recently, has been subdivided into 4 separate dwellings. These changes have been made carefully, in order to maintain the style of the other cottages. But many residents of the time will have echoed Rachel’s comment “How we miss that shop.... Of all the changes over the years, I regret the closing of the Corner shop and Post Office the most”. A 1987 ad for the last of the 4 new “cottages” is shown right.
Let’s look briefly at what happened to Frederick and Agnes’s children.
Mildred liked to act, and at the age of 20 was vice-chairman of the Pirbright Junior Imperial League (forerunner of the Young Conservatives). A newspaper cutting of 1932 reported that the highlight of one of her meetings was a discussion of the latest Russian 5-year plan – that must have been a fun evening. She married William Peacock in 1938 and they moved to Jacobs Well and later to Horsell.
Alfred moved away from the area, but had a narrow escape in 1941, disembarking from HMS Prince of Wales on its final stop before it was sunk by Japanese bombers in The South China Sea.
George married Ellen Wiggins in 1940, and after a short spell living in St Johns, they moved into Hockford Farm and then by 1955, they had moved into the newly-built Dellquay (now Dell Quay) on the Ash Road.
The first occupants of No 12, in 1896, were Henry and Esther Faulkner and their 7 children (another crowded house!). Henry, born 1856 in Farnham was a groom. Esther (nee Hebbourn c1860) was born in, and grew up at, Perry Hill, Worplesdon. They were married in 1885, and in 1891 were living at Stonebridge Cottage, Rickford. Henry was not at home for the 1901 census, and Esther described herself as a widow in the 1911 census (when she was living in Woking), yet I can find no trace of his death in the intervening 10 years.
The Faulkners left Pirbright in 1901, and after a 1-year stay by a Charles Prizeman, James Stevens and his family moved in. James was born c1830 in Pirbright, and had previously been a labourer at Hockford Farm, and prior to that at Normandy. He was the brother of John Stevens, whose daughter Harriett married William Stonard and lived at No 8 (see below). In his youth, James had worked as a porter at the Brookwood Necropolis (as the cemetery was then known), shortly after it opened. James’s wife, Ann, was born in Ash in 1833. Ann died in 1902, and very soon afterwards, James and his family moved into No 12.
Why did they move to Pirbright Cottages? We can’t know for sure, but in 1881, James and Ann had been living in Normandy a few doors down from William and Alice Stonard, 2 of whose children later lived at Nos 7 and 8. A tenuous connection, but perhaps this is what led James to move to No 12 after his wife’s death. In 1911, James was living at No 12 with 2 of his sons (aged 47 and 38), 2 grandchildren, and a great grandchild, so the house was pretty crowded once more. James died in 1912, and his sons, George and William, continued living at No 12 until WW1. William joined the army in 1894 and served in India and South Africa until 1906. George died in 1913, aged 48. One of James’s daughters, Harriett, married Moses Cooke in 1905. Harriett was aged 43, and Moses 47. They had one daughter, Olive.
After the death of Lady Pirbright in 1914, Nos 11 & 12 were bought for £310 by Joseph Taylor (born in 1866), whose company owned Rickford Mill. He had installed his son Daniel at Rickford Mill and perhaps he bought Nos 11 & 12 to provide additional accommodation for Rickford Mill staff. The press cutting below shows that Ernest Currell may have been one such staff member. We don’t know the grounds for the ejection being applied for – maybe he didn’t pay his rent, damaged the property, or performed some other misdemeanour – or indeed whether the order was successful. One puzzling thing is that Mr Currell appears on the electoral register between 1919 and 1927 as living at No 1, not No 12. This was presumably a typo which was left uncorrected.
In 1919, James Bailey bought Nos 11 & 12 for £500 with the help of a mortgage. He had previously bought Heath Mill, and so the mortgage would have been a hefty one. In 1921, James and Annie Bailey and their 3 sons moved into No 12. James had been the miller at Heath Mill since c1913, and we cover his life story more fully on that page. He was only 49 when he moved into No 12, so this was not retirement – indeed he kept busy at Heath Mill and also quickly opened J Bailey Corn Merchants at Malthouse Corn Stores on the Bagshot Road. Perhaps they moved house because they wanted a smaller house than Heath Mill House, or perhaps they wanted to reduce their rent payments. Whatever the reason, it must have been a good one, as James and Annie stayed there for over 30 years.
We know that in 1939 James owned No 12, but we don’t know when he acquired it, or who purchased it after he died.
James died in 1953, and around the same time, Annie and her sons decamped to The Bungalow at Malthouse Corn Stores (which was soon renamed Openview). Annie died there in 1960.
Below (left) is a photo of James and Annie in their youth. The top central picture was taken towards the end of their stay at No 12 (c1950). The photo below was taken a few years later at Openview, and shows James, Annie, their 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and Hector, the dog. The right hand photo is of their gravestone.
In 1954, James Bailey’s executors sold No 12 to John Hodgson, from Old Woking. John and his wife Marjorie (with their 2 children, Peter and Denise) moved into No 12, and stayed there until 1970, at which point they sold the house to the current owners.
One of the recent owners clearly had a sense of humour: While No 1 is called “End Cottage”, No 12 is now called “Other End Cottage”. Very good – beats Dunroamin any day.
The first occupants of No 11 in 1898 were Henry and Mary Carter and their 10 children. Of these 10 children, 9 were boys. They had 3 more sons & 1 daughter while they were at No 11 between 1899 and 1906. On top of what must have been a very busy (and noisy) household, the Carters also had someone lodging with them. Both Henry and Mary were born c1861 in Send and Ockham respectively. Henry was a labourer. We don’t know much about the Carters, but one of Henry’s sons (also called Henry) used his time at No 11 profitably by marrying Eliza Stevens, grand-daughter of James Stevens, who was living next door at No 12 (see above). The Carters stayed until 1906, and then the Tanners moved in.
Ernest Tanner, a carpenter by trade, was born 1876 in Cranleigh. His wife, Emily, was born in Pirbright in 1879 and was the daughter of the landlord of The Fox, James Sayers and his wife, Emma. They were married in 1900, and it would not have been a very arduous move for them from The Fox across the road to No 11. The Tanners had 2 children, but left No 11 during WW1, moving to Mayford.
Nos 11 & 12 were bought by Joseph Taylor (in 1916), and then by James Bailey (in 1919, explained more fully under No 12 above). By 1918, Alexander and Charlotte Thompson had moved in.
Alexander, a house painter by trade, was born in Pirbright in 1867, and lived his early life in the wonderfully-named Dog Kennels (near Stanford). His grandmother was one Elizabeth Stevens, who was from yet another Stevens family in Pirbright at the time. In 1898 Alexander married Charlotte Parsons from Farnham, who was 8 years his senior, and they initially lived at Goal Road, and then Brook House (both in Pirbright), before moving to No 11.
Charlotte died in 1931, and Alexander in 1946, still living at No 11. To my knowledge they had no children. A picture of Alexander is shown below.
By 1938, William (born at Knaphill 1900) and Adele Pannell (nee Arthur) together with their daughters Mary and Elizabeth had joined Alexander at No 11, having previously lived at Wood Lane, Knaphill.
William (“Bill”) was a gardener, having started work at Jackman’s Nurseries in St John’s, and specialising in roses. He also did some work at Heath Mill and a couple of his stories about James Bailey are recorded in the Heath Mill section.
During WW2 he was enlisted to work at Inkerman Barracks. After the war, Bill was renting a kitchen garden at Heath Mill on an annual Basis. He also had the use of some land at nearby Braemar, to grow his roses and Christmas trees, as well as the large garden at no.11 (which was always filled with rows of rose cuttings!).
In 1954, following the death of the owner, James Bailey the previous year, Bill and Adele bought No 11 for themselves. Bill had a severe stroke in 1974, which left him unable to work, and he was nursed by Adele up to his death in 1981. Adele remained at No 11 until her death in 1987.
First occupied in 1897, the house was unusual in that it was home to a series of short-term occupants until 1908, when Philip and Jane Brown moved in. Both aged 67 and hailing from Oxfordshire, they had produced 4 children, but they lived at No 10 unencumbered. Philip was a gardener, and so may have enjoyed the company of the Knights and the Snowdens at Nos 4 and 5.
Jane died in 1917, and soon afterwards 2 of their sons (Walter and Jesse) moved in with Philip. Philip’s name disappears from the local records after 1923, although I can’t trace his death with any certainty. A Philip Brown died in Fulham that year, aged 80. But perhaps he simply moved out of the area and lived elsewhere.
Jesse moved away at the same time, and Walter Brown continued to live alone at No 10 until 1936, when he died aged 59.
The Browns were followed by Charles and Patience Gunner. Gunner is a well-known name in Worplesdon history, and although Charles had been born in Gibraltar (in 1875), his parents, David and Emma Gunner were from Worplesdon. Patience (nee Agate) was born the same year in Shere, but her family had moved to Burpham. Charles and Patience married at Worplesdon in 1898, and had 7 sons and 4 daughters. By 1939, Charles was a labourer involved in heavy construction of public works. Patience died in 1948, aged 73, and Charles died 2 years later, aged 74. His funeral notice in the local newspaper is shown below.
In 1945, Nos 9 and 10 were put up for sale, following the death of their owner, Albert Thompson (pictured below), who was the farmer at West Hall Farm (to the west of Pirbright Village). The cottages were described as “let to old tenants at very low rentals”. We can only guess what the Gunners would have thought of this description, even if it may have been factually correct. Without looking at the deeds, we cannot be sure when the properties had been purchased by Mr Thompson, or who purchased them subsequently.
By 1953, No 10 was occupied by Albert and Marjorie Edwards, quite possibly as owner-occupiers, and they lived there until at least 1961. Between 1969 and 1973, Ernest, Doris and Norma Hockley were living there.
No 9 was first occupied in 1897 by a family from Hook Heath, Woking – Isaac (aka James) and Ellen Chowney, together with their 7 children. The Chowneys stayed at No 9 until 1906, at which point Walter and Agnes Harwood moved in.
Walter was a carrier, born in Pirbright in 1878, having previously been living at West Heath. The 1918 Kelly’s Directory lists James and Walter Harwood as being daily carriers from Pirbright to Worplesdon, Stoughton and Guildford. They are the only carriers listed for Pirbright, which suggests a reasonable amount of business came their way.
Agnes was the daughter of a gamekeeper, Henry Harris. She was born c1872, and had lived in Haslemere. The couple married in Haslemere, but chose to set up their marital home at No 9. Two of Walter’s brothers (William and his wife Anne, and James and his wife Edith) lived on The Green at Pirbright at Lavender and Myrtle Cottages respectively (next door to The Cricketers). James was the other Harwood mentioned in Kelly’s Directory in 1918. A photo of William c1897 wearing what appears to be Ancient Order of Foresters regalia, is shown below.
Agnes died in 1930, aged only 48 and Walter died in 1950, aged 72, still living at No 9. As far as I can see, they had no children, but they did have a series of lodgers: James & Alice Benjafield 1925-27, Gladys Harris 1930-32, and Frederick (an electrician) and Jean Butler 1934-39.
In 1945, Nos 9 and 10 were put up for sale, following the death of their owner, Albert Thompson, who was the farmer at West Hall Farm (to the west of Pirbright Village). The cottages were described as “let to old tenants at very low rentals”. We can only guess what Walter Harwood would have thought of this description, even if it may have been factually correct. Without looking at the deeds, we cannot be sure when the properties had been purchased by Mr Thompson, or who purchased them subsequently.
By 1948, Thomas and Norah Bissett (nee Glasper) and their daughter, Maureen had moved into No 9 with Walter. After Walter’s death the Bissetts stayed at No 9, quite possibly as owner-occupiers. Norah Bissett was living there in 1970 with Maureen and her husband, John Harrison. The Harrisons were still living at No 9 in 1981.
No 9 is now called Foxcroft.
Nos 8 & 7
As already mentioned, both Nos 8 and 7 were inhabited by 1893, although we don’t know much about the occupants. But in 1902, 2 brothers of the Stonard family moved into the cottages and remained there for over 50 years.
Stonard is a name associated with Pirbright - there have been several Stonards in the village over the years. The 2 brothers, Henry and William (known as Harry and Bill), were sons of William and Alice Stonard. William (the elder) was scion of a long line of Pirbright (and before that, Farnham) Stonards, going back at least as far as Thomas Stonard (born late 1500’s in Farnham). William (the elder) was born near Fox Corner at Lawfords in 1849, moved to near Henley Park, but then returned to the area of his birth, living at Newmans, at Swallow Pond in Pirbright, close to 2 of his sons (see below). The timing suggests that all 3 moved to the area within a year or 2 of each other. Below (left) is a photo of William, Alice and their younger children c1903. Another picture of Alice is shown on the right.
In 1931, William and Alice celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, which was helpfully written up in the Surrey Advertiser, along with some interesting details of their lives. William worked for 28 years as a labourer at Brookwood Cemetery, while Alice was the village midwife, “still affectionately called Granny by the local children”. In 1931, they had 10 children still living, 20 grandchildren, and over 40 great-grandchildren. It sounds as though the number of great-grandchildren was simply too many to count exactly, which in itself is highly impressive. One of their sons (Frederick) died in World War 1, and all of the others except 2 moved away from Pirbright.
William died in 1935. Alice, who was born in 1854, died in 1937. But now back to the 2 of their children who remained in Pirbright, the occupants of Nos 8 and 7, Pirbright Cottages.
Bill Stonard (pictured below, c1903) moved into No 8 in 1903, having lived in Chapel Lane (near Pirbright Green) previously. Bill was a year older than Henry. Like his younger brother, he started work as a bricklayer’s labourer. Like Harry, in 1911 he was a stoker at Brookwood Asylum. However in 1939 he was a farm labourer (whereas Harry was then a housepainter).
Bill had married Harriet Stevens in 1893 (see photo of Harriett below, c1918). Harriet was the daughter of John and Matilda Stevens, who lived near Pirbright Green. Was this John Stevens related to the Henry Stevens, who was living at No 1? The short answer is – I don’t know for sure. If they were related, then it would be a fairly distant relation. But Stevens was a common surname in Pirbright at that time. Bill and Harriett continued the Stonard traditions by producing 11 children and staying put in their house (No 8) for the rest of their lives. Harriett’s uncle (John Stevens) lived at No 12 (see above) between 1902 and 1914.
Their eldest child, Amy, (born 1893) married Albert Woodyer, who had been living at No 3 (see above) and the happy couple lived at No 8 for a short while, before decamping to Lawford’s Cottages. Their only child, Frederick Woodyer, married a young lady who was also called Amy, which must have caused some confusion in the household. Perhaps to reduce any confusion, Frederick and Amy moved to what is now called Annin’s Cottage in Malthouse Lane, and their story is told there.
The third of their 11 children deserves special mention. Frederick (Fred) Stonard was born in 1896, and in 1911 was a golf caddy, presumably at Worplesdon Golf Club. Golf caddying in those days was a far cry from what we see today on TV, where caddies advise their pro’s on the vagaries of the course being played. In those days, caddies were often 12-16 year-old boys. The main jobs of 14 year-old Fred were to carry his client’s clubs, replace their divots, and clean their clubs. It was a reasonably well-paid job, and not particularly taxing, but the children were often given their notice when they reached the age of 16. Olive and George, sister and brother of Fred also became caddies.
Fred enlisted in 1916 and was sent to France later that year. In December 1917, he married Gertrude Broughton, from a London family, whose parents had moved to Guildford in the early 1900’s.
Fred died in France just one month before the end of the war on 8 October 1918. His death was reported in the Surrey Advertiser on 11 November, the day on which the war ended (see below). His story is told on the Pirbright Historians website. Just one week later Gertrude gave birth to a daughter, also called Gertrude. It must have been a devastating blow to the Stonard family.
Harriett died in 1949 aged 76, and Bill in 1957 aged 83. In the meantime, Jesse and Hilda Freeman had bought No 8 from the previous owner in 1951 (as described under No 7 below) and lived in the property with Bill until his death in 1957. After Bill’s death, the Freemans continued to live in No 8 until at least 1977.
Clearly the Stonard brothers, Harry and Bill, were very close, as they worked together and they lived next door to each other for most of their lives. I expect that their families were close as well. A nice display of the strength of family bonds. A picture of Bill and Harry is shown below.
In 1902, a Joseph Stonard moved in. I can’t find any traces of anyone with that name who might have lived there, and by 1904, Joseph Stonard had been replaced by Henry Stonard in the official records, so I suspect (and will assume) that they are the same person (whose real name was Henry, but was known as Harry).
Harry, the third of 12 children, was born in 1875 and lived his early life in Normandy, near the Henley Park estate. He started work as a bricklayer’s labourer, in 1911 was a stoker of a steam boiler at Brookwood Asylum, and by 1939 was a housepainter. During World War 1, he joined as a sapper, served in France, and suffered from a gas attack in 1918 (aged 43). In 1916 he made a complaint against the owner of nearby Mount Lodge in Malthouse Lane, whose bulldog had rushed at him, knocked him off his bicycle, and molested him at 8pm one August evening. Possibly Harry was cycling back from work from Brookwood Asylum, having chosen the scenic route across the common, rather than the Bagshot Road. For the record, the bulldog’s owner was fined £2.
Harry and Emily (nee Butcher) were married in 1899 and had 13 children, which explains where most of William’s 40 great-grandchildren may have come from. It must have been fairly crowded in No 7. 2 photos of Harry and Emily are shown below. The left-hand photo shows several other Stonards.
In terms of its ownership, No 7 continued to be owned by Lord Pirbright, and then Lady Pirbright until her death in 1914. We know from the title deeds that Nos 5-8 were not sold at the auction of Lady Pirbright’s properties in 1916. Instead, they were bought soon afterwards by a Guildford estate agent at the low price of £535, presumably because the trustees of the estate wanted to liquidate her assets as soon as possible. The estate agent sold the 4 properties a year later for £700 to Alfred Hall, who was the landlord of The White Lion at Milford. Why would a Milford pub landlord want to buy 4 cottages opposite The Fox? I have no idea. It takes at least 20 minutes to drive from The Fox to The White Lion today, and it would have taken much longer in 1918. As an aside, I couldn’t help noticing that the estate agent did rather well out of these transactions...
The new owner, Alfred Hall, was born in Frensham in 1863, the son of a labourer. In 1901 he had been running The King’s Head off the Stoke Road in Guildford, and in 1911 he was running The Carpenters Arms in Lea Pale Road (now Leapale Road), Guildford. He died in 1934, leaving an estate worth £7,500 (worth over £500,000 today).
His executors sold Nos 7 and 8 to Henry Layton, a farmer of Pirbright for £415. At the same time, they sold Nos 5 and 6 to Henry’s wife, Jemima for £440. This seems like an unnecessarily complicated arrangement, maybe even an early tax avoidance strategy, but it may be due to the fact that Henry had been adopted & brought up by the Layton family with their daughter Jemima. He took the Layton name, and later married her.
Jemima Layton died in 1940, and ownership of Nos 5 and 6 reverted to Henry. After Henry died in 1951, No 7 was sold to Edward Denman (who lived at No 2, but rented out No 7) for £415, and No 8 was sold to Jesse Freeman for an unknown amount. I don’t know who purchased Nos 5 and 6.
Back now to the occupants of No 7: Harry Stonard died in 1945, and Emily in 1955, but two of their children continued to live at No 7. Albert lived there until his death in 1963, aged 44, and Annie until her death in 1967, aged 47. In total, the Stonards lived at No 7 for 65 years.
Although in the early 1900’s there were over 60 Stonards living in Pirbright, today there are none.
As we stated above, the first occupant of No 6 was Henry Beacham in 1893. He was a 48 year-old army pensioner, born in Romsey, Hampshire, previously living half a mile away at Stonebridge Cottage in Goose Rye Road. He and his wife Elizabeth had 3 children. Their eldest child, Harry, was a baker’s assistant, probably working across the stream at Rickford Bakery. The Beachams moved from the house in 1907. A photo of them at the gate of No 6 is shown below.
At that point, James Tubb and his wife Agnes moved in. James was born in Clatford, near Andover, just off the current day A303, in 1871, and he had followed his elder brother, Alfred, to Pirbright. Alfred, who lived with his family in Gibbs Acre, Pirbright, was a platelayer for the London & SW Railway, while James was an agricultural worker, then a nurseryman, and later, a gardener.
Agnes was the daughter of John and Emma Stevens. John had been born in Pirbright, and lived much of his life at East End (the cottages at the southerly end of Chapel Lane), and Bridley before he and Emma moved into Heath Mill Cottage and then No 2, Malthouse Lane (where we detail their story). No doubt Agnes had been keen to live near her parents (who were at Heath Mill Cottage at the time, and this would surely have been a factor in their choice of Pirbright Cottages as being a suitable place to live.
James and Agnes had 6 children, perhaps unsurprisingly, as previous generations of Tubbs seemed to have large families. Agnes died in 1934, aged 55 and James in 1946, aged 76.
One of their sons, James continued to live at No 6 after his parents died. He had been born in 1904, and was a chauffeur/gardener in 1939. He was still living at No 6 in 1970, and I presume that he stayed there until he died in 1982, aged 78.
Another of James and Agnes’s children, Phyllis (born 1906) married Sidney Thompson in 1930. They lived at Yarrowfield Lodge, Mayford until World War 2, during which Sidney died (in Woking War Hospital in 1944). Phyllis and Sidney had one son, Peter, born in 1933. He was living at No 6 in 1960, and later, a mile away at Stanford Cottages, but he died at No 5, Pirbright Cottages in 1993.
Phyllis remarried George Hampton in 1948, and the couple lived at No 6 until at least 1981. I can’t trace that they had any children. There was continuous occupation of No 6 by the Tubb family for over 70 years.
Another of James and Agnes’s children, Alfred (“Alf”) Tubb (born 1903) moved into No 2, Malthouse Lane, just 200 yards away in 1931, and we cover him and his family here.
As to the ownership of Nos 5 and 6, this is described more fully under No 7 (above). In brief, they were purchased in 1918 after Lady Pirbright’s death by Alfred Hall. After his death in 1934, they were purchased by Jemima Layton and reverted (after her death in 1940) to her husband, Henry Layton. After Henry’s death in 1951, I imagine they would have been sold, possibly to the occupants, but we can’t be sure without checking the deeds of the properties.
An aside: On 2 marriage certificates in the 1930’s, the person living at No 6 gave their address as “Model Cottage”. I can’t find any other reference to this being used for any of Pirbright Cottages, although there other houses named “Model Cottage” elsewhere in Pirbright. Can anyone shine any light on this mystery?
As we mentioned above, Nos 5 and 6 may have been the first of the Pirbright Cottages to be inhabited. Isaac (or John) Poulton was a painter (and an army pensioner), aged 55, who was born in Dudley. He lived with his wife, Rachael, who was Canadian by birth, in No 5 from 1893. They continued to live at No 5 until 1913, when Rachel died (she is buried at St Mary’s). Isaac died in Epsom in 1916.
By 1915, Frederick and Barbara Dendy (from Sussex and Kent respectively) had moved into No 5. They were only to remain a short time before moving a short distance to No 2 (see above). Frederick was mentioned in the Surrey Advertiser of 1915, being one of a few people who complained about the bulldog of Eustratio Eumorfopoulos (of Bullswater Lodge) not being under control.
The next occupants were Ernest and Lizzie Snowden c1918. Ernest, a gardener, was born near Chelmsford in 1881 and Lizzie (who was 12 years older than Ernest) in Leicestershire in 1869. They had spent a few years at No 13 (see below) before moving into No 5.
Like William Knight next door, Ernest was a keen gardener, and won prizes for his vegetables at the local shows. We can imagine William and Ernest peeking over the garden fence to eye up the other’s specimens, and assess their chances at the upcoming show. Judging by the published results of various competitions, I’d say that Mr Knight was the more successful of the two.
The ownership of Nos 5 and 6 is described more fully under No 7 (above). In brief, they were purchased in 1918 after Lady Pirbright’s death by Alfred Hall. After his death in 1934, they were purchased by Jemima Layton and reverted (after her death in 1940) to her husband, Henry Layton. After Henry’s death in 1951, I imagine they would have been sold, possibly to the occupants, but we can’t be sure without checking the deeds of the properties.
Lizzie died in 1950, aged 81, and Ernest died in 1959, aged 79, still living at No 5.
They had 2 daughters, one of whom was Hariett (born in 1906). In 1921 she was working as a nurse for the Lucy family at The Corner House on the Bagshot Road. (She had 2 sons (in 1928 and 1932), but the father’s name is not recorded. After WW2, Harriett and her sons decided that they (and their parents) needed more space, and so moved 150 yards away to 1, Malthouse Cottages. Harriett died in 1981, aged 75. She never married.
The other daughter, Kate, had a son, David in 1931 (father’s name not recorded), and married Thomas Gadsdon in 1937, at which time she moved away from Pirbright. In 1939, the 3 of them were living in Finchley, but she died the next year, aged just 32.
The first occupants in No 4 were John and Rhoda Baker and their 9 children. Another crowded house on the street! John, a bricklayer born in 1860, came from a lineage of Bakers from Northchapel in Sussex, so I think it unlikely that he was related closely or at all to the Bakers of Bakersgate. In 1881, John had been boarding as a 20 year-old with 63 year-old Lucy Collyer and her 22 year-old daughter, Rhoda at a house in New Lane (now Heath House Road). On 1 May the same year, John and Rhoda were married (John exaggerated his age by 2 years on the marriage certificate), and on 6 November, young George Baker was born. In 1891 they were living at Pitch Place, Worplesdon, and in 1897 they moved into the newly-built No 4.
Rhoda died aged 45 in 1905, and John stayed in No 4 until 1911, when he moved to one of the Model Cottages elsewhere in Pirbright.
By 1913, William and Rachel Knight had moved into No 4. Born in 1883 at Basingstoke, William was a gardener who had been working at Nortons Farm in Worplesdon in 1891, and was the gardener for St Mary’s Church, Worplesdon in 1911. He gave his postal address in the census of that year as the Church itself, and he and Rachel were married soon after, just before moving into No 4.
William must have been a keen gardener - he was Hon Secretary of the Worplesdon District Horticultural Society, and won prizes for his vegetables. He died in 1957, and Rachel in 1968, having lived at No 4 for 55 years.
Albert and Ruth Daborn were the first occupants of No 3 in 1897. Born in 1870, Albert was a Life Assurance agent and also the local agent for the Liberal Party (soon to be the governing party under Henry Campbell-Bannerman). Whether this latter role would have made him popular in the locality is open to debate. Ruth (nee Heather in 1873) was the daughter of Thomas Heather, the parish clerk of Worplesdon, and had lived near Pitch Place. By 1911, the Daborns had moved to Woking (with their 2 children), and Albert was a salesman for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. At the time Singer was a very well known brand. It had built a large factory in Glasgow in 1867, and an even larger one on farmland in Clydebank in 1882 (described as the most modern factory in Europe at the time). It was also the first major project undertaken by Sir Robert McAlpine. In 1939, Albert listed his occupation as Sewing Machine repairer, so we can assume that his relationship with Singer proved to be a long one
In 1911, George and Ann Grover moved into No 3, both in their late 60’s. George was from the Alton area and had been the farm bailiff at Bridley Manor. George died in 1913, and Ann died in 1918.
Albert Woodyer was lodging with the Grovers. Born in 1891 at East Clandon from a large family, he was a gardener at St Mary’s Church, Worplesdon. Of particular interest to us is that he formed a liking for Amy Stonard, who was living just 5 houses away at No 8, and in 1913, they were married. They lived at No 8 (see above), then Lawfords Cottages, and so they feature elsewhere on this site. In addition, Albert’s sister-in-law, Maud Woodyer lived briefly in Malthouse Lane, and Frederick and Amy’s son, Frederick and his family also lived in Malthouse Lane.
After Ann Grover died in 1918, No 3 was occupied by some short-term tenants until c1929 when Cyril and Grace Wiseman moved in. Cyril Wiseman had lived with his parents at Nos 19 and 20 (see above) previously. Cyril (born 1905 in Islington) ran a haulage contractor business, but this was presumably sited elsewhere, rather than at No 3, Pirbright Cottages. The OS maps of the time give no indication as to where that may have been. It is tempting to assume that it might have been on the site of the current Fox Corner Community Wildlife Area, but this was separately owned, and the maps show it as being a nursery.
Grace Wiseman (born 1907 in Canada) was the daughter of Nellie Hayward, who was a member of the Malacrida family, who lived at No 19 (see above). Their story and more details of the connection are given there. Nellie and her grandchild (Philip) from her other son, Sidney, also lived at No 3 at this time.
Cyril and Grace Wiseman stayed until c1945, at which point they moved closer to Guildford, and the Stannards moved into No 3. Flora Stannard was the widow of William, a military man from Aldershot, who had died in 1925, and she was living with her daughters Helena (born in 1896) and Jessica (born in 1901). Flora died in 1957, aged 83, and her 2 daughters died within 9 months of each other in the late 1970’s, both unmarried.
No 3 is now called Midsummer Cottage.
The early years of No 2 saw a series of short occupancies. After 2 brief stays by a Joseph Matlock and a Mr Perrin, a Mrs Mary Jones moved into No2 in 1898 and remained there for 3 years with her brother Edward Pullen. Mary Jones was a 38 year-old widow from a small village near Billingshurst in Sussex, and it is tempting to think that these two people were scions of the Pullen family after whom Pullens Farm was named. It is possible, but unlikely, as the Pullen surname left Pirbright many years previously, and Mary and Edward did not stay very long in Pirbright in any case.
c1903 William Larby, a gardener, moved into No 2 with his wife Annie and their family. They had moved from Netley Bungalow (now Annins Cottage) in Malthouse Lane, before that from East End Cottages (at the southern end of Chapel Lane) and, as young lad, in Rickford, Worplesdon. In 1902 he was fined 25 shillings (the equivalent of 3 days’ wages) for carrying a gun in Pirbright without a license, which must have been rather disturbing, and would certainly cause great alarm if it happened today.
The newspapers of 1908 reported a dreadful road accident, in which a 13 year-old boy, William Larby was "killed by a motor car furiously driven past the schoolhouse" at Perry Hill, Worplesdon. The accident happened just south-east of the roundabout in Worplesdon, and the boy concerned was the only child of William and Annie Larby at No 2. The driver, Max Dalloz, was aged 20, was the driver for Lord Newborough, and was en route to Southampton from London “via Kingston, Staines, Guildford and Winchester”, which sounds a rather strange route. He had already been convicted twice of speeding (once earlier in the day of the Worplesdon accident), but denied any involvement in any accident, when he was apprehended at Southampton docks. He was later convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour.
After the accident in 1908, William Larby and his family moved to Ash, presumably devastated by what had happened.
A series of short tenancies ensued until WWI.
In 1918 Frederick and Barbara Dendy moved into No 2, all the way from No 5 (see above). Frederick was born in 1870 and died in 1930. Barbara died in 1956, aged 82 (still living at No 2). As far as I can tell, they had no children, nor did they have a public phone number.
c1951, Barbara allowed a young married couple with 2 children, Edward and Elsie Denman (nee Fagence), to share the house with her. Edward had been brought up a mile away at Stanford Cottages and was a landscape gardener. After Barbara’s death in 1956, the Denmans stayed in No 2 for over 50 years. Elsie died in 2005, aged 87, and Edward died in 2013, aged 96.
So for nearly 100 years, No 2 was occupied by just 2 families. Perhaps this explains why the house has retained more of its original features than the other Pirbright Cottages.
No 1 is for easily understandable reasons named “End Cottage” (and has been for at least 50 years). For the first 65 years of its life it had the largest garden of any of the cottages – the square of land stretching westwards as far as the footpath. Most of this garden (the plots currently containing Iona and Fordwych) was built on in 1962, leaving No 1 with a similar-sized strip as the other cottages.
The first occupants were Henry Stevens, a plumber and painter, and his wife Agnes (nee Avenell, born in 1855). Henry (born 1852) was a son of Henry Stevens, an agricultural labourer who had lived at Bullswater and in the Stanford area of Pirbright with his wife Elizabeth and family, and a descendant of John Stevens, who had moved from Ash to Pirbright c1710. Like many of the occupants of Pirbright Cottages, his surname (Stevens) has been a common one in Pirbright over the years. Henry died in 1906, aged 54, and his wife Agnes, after 2 years, moved back to Stanford, to live with 2 of their children.
In 1908, William Farminer moved into No 1, and this began a long period of occupation by the Farminer family. William (born in 1879) was a groom and gardener from Linchmere, near Haslemere, married to Fanny Ann, who was from Albury. They had moved to Pirbright a few years earlier (c1903), living at Netley Bungalow. Interestingly their predecessor 2 years earlier at Netley Bungalow was William Larby, who had moved into No 2, Pirbright Cottages, next door to No 1. This suggests that the Larbys and the Farminers had some sort of friendship. I hope so, as they ended up living next door to each other..
The 1911 census shows that in addition to the Farminers and their 4 sons, there were 3 boarders and a visitor in the house – quite a crowd for a 5-room house. William and Fanny would go on to produce 2 more sons..
During World War 1, William was a private in the Labour Corps. Fanny Ann was a member of the Worplesdon WI for 20 years, and died in 1943, and William in 1953. They are buried in Worplesdon churchyard, and their stone is pictured below. (PIC) One of William’s executors was Eric Gosden, the landlord of The Fox.
William’s death at the age of 73 was a particular tragedy: He died after being knocked down near his home by a car which had skidded as it rounded the corner (presumably coming from the direction of Pirbright). At the inquest, the skid was blamed on “at least 12 patches of petroleum substance” on the road, and a verdict of accidental death was recorded.
One of their sons, Charles and his wife Mabel moved to Holly Bank in Rickford in 1938 and lived there for 17 years before returning to Fox Corner to live at The Loders in Heath Mill Lane. Another son, Geoffrey and his wife Eileen lived at No 16 Pirbright Cottages (see above)
William and Fanny’s youngest son, Fred Leslie Farminer, lived at No 1 with his parents until his father’s death in 1953 (having married Elsie Hawkins in 1940). By 1956 Fred and Elsie had moved across the road to Field Place, where we continue their story.
For 4 years No 1 was occupied by Margaret Buckee, from Dorking, and then in 1960 Richard & Chloe Ingram moved in. One of their first acts (in 1962) was to sell off the western part of their garden so that Iona and Fordwych could be built on it. The Ingram family stayed in the house for 44 years until 2004, when Ruth Ingram (presumably a relative of Richard and Chloe?) left.