Aclea (x cent.), Hoclei (xi cent.), Okeley (xiii
cent.), Occle, Ockel (xiv cent.), Okkeleghe, Hocklegh (xv cent.), Okeleigh, Okeley (xii cent.), and
many other variations.
Ockley is 7 miles south-west of Dorking. It has
been bounded since 1879, when the outlying portions
were consolidated with neighbouring parishes, by
Abinger and Wotton on the west, by Capel on the
north and east, and by the county of Sussex on the
south. In 1901 (fn. 1) a further rectification of the
boundary with Wotton and Abinger was made.
The parish contains 2,992 acres, and measures about
4 miles from north-east to south-west, and about 1½
miles from west to east. Since the outlying portions
on Holmbury and Leith Hills have been separated the
parish is entirely on the Wealden Clay, but in the
northern part considerable beds of paludinae, forming
the conglomerate called Sussex marble, occur.
The parish is agricultural, except for a little brick
and tile making.
The Portsmouth line of the London, Brighton,
and South Coast Railway passes through its eastern
side. Ockley and Capel Station, in Ockley, was
opened in 1867. Through the whole length of the
parish the Roman road from London to Chichester,
called the Stone Street, runs. For a considerable
distance it is still used, but at both extremities of
the parish the modern roads turn off abruptly from
it, though the old line has been traced through the
fields and copses. Ockley Church, Ockley Court, the
remains of a fortified place to be noted presently, and
probably the original Ockley village, lay a little
distance off the road to the east. Along the line of
what is called in the manorial rolls Stone Street
Causeway, and all round Ockley Green, a large
stretch of open common lying along the west side of
the road, cottages and houses sprang up. These are
now known as Ockley village, but were formerly
called Stone Street. (fn. 2) There is no doubt that near
here was fought the great battle in which Ethelwulf
and Ethelbald defeated the Danes, probably in 851.
It was at Aclea, among the Suthrige, according to the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the existence of the
road explains the movements of the armies. (fn. 3) The
discovery of human remains on Etherley Farm in
1882 may place the actual scene of conflict on the
dry hillside north-west of Ockley Green. (fn. 4) Ockley in
Surrey does not seem, however, to be the scene of the
Synod of the 8th century; the circumstances of
which point to a place in the north of England.
On the far side of the field north of Ockley
Church, among some trees, is an earthwork. It was
apparently a pear-shaped inclosure with the broader
end to the east. The length is nearly 300 ft. At
the eastern end is a broad mound with an extension
thrown back at a right angle to face north. Outside
this north-eastern angle is a ravelin or platform with
traces of a ditch round it. The southern side is
bounded by a stream in an artificially-straightened
ravine. The eastern front may have been covered
with an inundation. On the northern side only the
traces of a ditch remain, but in the angle where this
joins the stream, to the west, are traces of a small
mound. West of this angle again are traces of an
artificial bank, perhaps to make another inundation.
Aubrey in the 17th century recognized the 'mole
and mote' of a castle, and a small castle of the De
Clares, built in Stephen's time and dismantled by
Henry II, is not impossible. It is a likely spot, near
a main road, which was then no doubt in use for its
Aubrey has preserved a tradition, repeated and
ridiculed by later writers, that there was a castle here
destroyed by the Danes, who placed battering engines
on Bury Hill. All who notice the story take Bury
Hill to be Anstiebury Camp, 2 miles or more away.
But where the road ascends from Ockley towards
Dorking, just before the branch to Coldharbour goes
off on the left, the hill was called Bury Hill. (fn. 4a) It is very
much nearer, under half a mile away instead of over
two, and although too far for a catapult to act, it is
not an impossible camp for some force attacking a
strong place near Ockley Church. Danes may be, of
course, any enemy, described by that name from confusion of traditions.
In the southern part of the parish, near Oakdale
Farm, is a considerable moated inclosure with a
double moat on two sides. The lane near it is called
Smugglers' Lane. It is a way out of Sussex which
avoids the high road.
Dotted about on the village green are several houses
and cottages embowered in trees; and some of the
trees along the main road are also of great size and
beauty. Opposite to the turning that leads to the
church is a picturesque old cottage with rough-cast
walls and stone-slab roof, and several others in the
village street are evidently of some antiquity. But it
is the group of exceptionally fine old farm-houses
within the borders of the parish which specially
The finest of these is King's Farm, in the southwest of the parish, a large rambling structure, chiefly
of half-timber, but largely covered with weather
tiling, with overhanging stories, projecting oriel bay
windows, having moulded bressummers and shaped
brackets and tall chimney stacks—the shafts of the
chimneys set diamond-wise upon square bases. Almost
equally interesting are Boswell's or Bosell Farm,
close to King's Farm, and Buckinghill Farm, in
the north of the parish, both having overhanging
timber-framed gables and stone-slab roofs. Holbrooks is another ancient farm-house. All have
great open fireplaces and other characteristics of
a past age, and their remoteness from railways and
main roads has aided to preserve their primitive
character. One called Trouts, though close to the railway line, is not easily accessible. It used to be known
as Farley lands. (fn. 5) On a beam in the kitchen was
lately a carved inscription:—
'Look well to thy house in every degree
And as thy means are so let thy spendings be
15 . .'
*****p10***Eversheds is an old farm-house and reputed manor, in
the eastern part of the parish. It was the property
of an old yeoman family named Evershed. Mr. John
Evershed bought the manor of Ockley, as noted below,
in 1694, and Eversheds was sold with the manor in
1717. Its claim to be a manor rests only upon a
mistaken identification with the Arseste of Domesday.
Evershed is a place-name which gives its name to a
family. Eversheds is the house of an Evershed. Arseste
is possibly Hartshurst, a farm in Wotton under Leith
Vann is the seat of Mrs. Campbell. It was held
of Ockley Manor by a family named Margesson in
the 17th century. Vann Pond is an extensive sheet
of water, made by damming a stream in a narrow
valley, with a view to providing water-power for a
linen mill in the 18th century; but the mill was
Elderslie, on Ockley Green, is the seat of Mr. J.
W. Arbuthnot. Mr. George Arbuthnot, grandfather of the present owner, resided there and died
in 1843. The fountain on the green was built by
Miss Jane Scott, governess in the Elderslie family, in
The present Rectory House, by the side of the
Stone Street Causeway, was built at his own expense
by the Rev. Thomas Woodrooffe shortly after he was
instituted as rector in 1784. The older rectory was
1 mile further south, 2 miles from the church.
This was not the original rectory, but was a farm-house on the glebe.
The Domesday Survey (fn. 5a) records that
OCKLEY (Ockley, Okeleigh, Ocklie,
Hokeleye, Okkle, Ockele, &c.) was held
by Ralph of Richard of Tonbridge, and that Almar
held it of King Edward; also that Richard himself
held half a hide in this manor. The manor is here
put under the heading of Woking Hundred. This
may probably be merely a mistake; but it is worth
notice that Manning and Bray record that there was
land in Ockley held of East Horsley Manor, in
Woking Hundred, (fn. 6) and there was an isolated bit of
Ockham parish inclosed in Ockley, Ockham being also
in Woking and a manor of Richard of Tonbridge.
This may be Richard's half-hide, valueless because
it was on the barren slope of Holmbury Hill.
In the early 13th century Alice daughter of Odo
de Dammartin held inter alia one knight's fee in Ockley
of the honour of Clare. (fn. 7) She held Tandridge also,
and her lands passed to the Warblington family. (fn. 8)
It seems probable that one of Alice's predecessors
enfeoffed the Malemayns family with Ockley, to be
held by one knight's fee of their manor of Tandridge, (fn. 9) for they seem to have been already established
in Ockley, as well as elsewhere in Surrey. In 1213
Walter, Prior of Merton,
made an exchange with Nicholas Malemayns of land in
Ockley. (fn. 10) In 1241 John de
Plessets paid 100 marks for
the custody of the land and
heirs of Nicholas Malemayns. (fn. 11) Nicholas Malemayns
in 1278 claimed to have a
park in Ockley in his manor. (fn. 12) In 1293 the king
presented to the living of Ockley on the grounds
of his custody of the lands and heirs of Nicholas
Malemayns, 'tenant in chief.' (fn. 13) The reason why
he is called tenant-in-chief may be explained by a
possible minority of the Warblington heir and also
by the fact that in 1289–90, when the Earl of Gloucester married Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I,
he surrendered all his lands to his royal father-in-law.
He received a grant back of most of them, but not all,
the same year. The king clearly reserved some
manors in his own hands till his daughter's son should
be of age; when the earl died in 1295 Ockley does
not appear in his Inquisitio as part of his lands. When,
however, the son of his royal marriage, the young earl,
was killed at Bannockburn, 1314, Ockley was one of his
fees, (fn. 14) together with several other Surrey manors which
are not mentioned in connexion with his father.
Edward I is said to have presented the manor
by patent (fn. 15) to Nicholas Malemayns. No such
entry is in the Patent Rolls, but in a Charter Roll of
20 January 1296 it appears that Nicholas Malemayns
surrendered Ockley to the Crown, and that the king,
after holding it for some time, re-granted it to him
and his heirs by his wife Alice. In 1300 a grant
was made to Nicholas Malemayns of the assize of
bread and ale and view of frankpledge in his manor
of Ockley, as his ancestors had them, (fn. 16) and in 1302 he
received a grant of free warren, a weekly market on
Tuesdays, and a fair on the feast of St. Margaret (the
patron saint of the church). (fn. 17) Nicholas died at an
unknown date. Another Nicholas died in 1350.
This Nicholas Malemayns married Alice and left
three daughters: Beatrice, who married Otho de
Graunson; Catherine, who married Sir Henry
Newdigate; Parnel, who married Sir Thomas
Sentomer. The manor was divided between them.
When Sir Otho de Graunson died in 1359, seised of
one-third of the manor, it was said to be held of the
manor of Tandridge, in spite of Nicholas Malemayns having been called tenant-in-chief. The
succession to the various parts is very uncertain;
but Beatrice the widow of Sir Otho de Graunson, the
Newdigates, the descendants of Sir Thomas Sentomer, and in 1450 Richard Wakehurst, presented to
the living. The heirs of the Graunsons do not appear
again; but they may be represented by Margaret,
wife of John de Gaston (or Garton), who in 1368
conveyed one-ninth of the manor to William Newdigate. (fn. 18) The Newdigates continued to present to the
living at intervals till 1407. Meanwhile Parnel
Malemayns and Sir Thomas Sentomer had two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth. The latter disappears; Alice
married Sir William Hoo. His son Thomas granted
Ockley to his brother John and John Glemham.
Glemham, the survivor, or his heir, enfeoffed Sir
Thomas Hoo, Lord Hoo and Hastings, who died 1481.
He left four daughters, but by a previous arrangement
the manor passed to Richard Culpepper. Whether
he represented any of the other branches or not is
unknown. Probably the rights of the others, much
broken up, had been conveyed to the Hoos, (fn. 19) or forgotten.
Malemayns. Gules three right hands or.
Ockley remained in the possession of the Culpepper family until the time of Charles I, when it
was sold to George Duncombe,
of Weston, (fn. 20) who held his
first court in 1638. He died
in 1646, and was succeeded by
his grandson George, son of
his elder son John, deceased.
This George held his first
court in 1648, but on his death
soon afterwards, childless, the
estate went to his uncle George
of Shalford, who held his first
court in 1654. He in his lifetime conveyed it to his second
son, Francis, who held his first court 22 March
1658–9. Francis was created a baronet in 1662.
He died before his father, in 1670; his widow
Hester and her second husband, Thomas Smyth,
held a court October 1671. Sir William Duncombe,
her son, succeeded in 1675, and in 1694 sold the
manor to Edward Bax of Capel. Bax retained the
manor-house and a little land round it, which was
now separated from the manor, and in 1695 sold the
manor to John Evershed, of an old yeoman family,
which appears, in different holdings, in the rolls and
parish books. (fn. 21)
Culpepper. Argent a bend engrailed gules.
John Evershed received from Queen Anne a grant
of three fairs yearly at Stonestead Causeway, 6 October, 10 May, and 3 June. (fn. 22) Evershed in 1717 conveyed to John Young, (fn. 23) who in the same year released
to Thomas Moore or More. (fn. 24) Thomas More held
courts till 1734. His nephew William (fn. 25) held courts
till 1745, and died in 1746. He left the manor in trust
for Frederick son of Lord North of Guildford (who
held courts 1746–9), but the estate was sold under
a private Act in 1751 (fn. 26) to Frank Nicholls, Ph.D.,
who had some lively controversy with the tenants on
the subject of heriots. (fn. 27) Dr. Nicholls died in 1778,
and was succeeded by his son John. He sold in 1784
to Lee Steere of Jays in Wotton, who died before
the conveyance was completed, leaving his interest
in the estate to his grandson Lee Steere Witts, who
took the name of Steere. His great-great-grandson
(Mr. H. C. Lee Steere) is the present owner. (fn. 28)
Ockley Court, the residence of Mrs. Calvert,
widow of Colonel Calvert, is the old manor-house of
Ockley. In 1744 Nathaniel, son of Edward Bax, sold
it to Mr. Thomas Tash, who died in 1770. His son
William married a Miss Calvert, and having no children
left the property to his wife. She left it to her relative
(? nephew) Charles Calvert of Kneller Hall, Middlesex, M.P. for Southwark. He died in 1833. His son
Charles William succeeded, and was followed by his
brother Colonel A. M. Calvert. His son Mr. W. A.
Calvert lived recently at Broomells in Capel.
Holebrook is a farm in Ockley. William le
Latimer (vide Wotton), who died in 1327, held
Holebrook in Ockley of Nicholas Malemayns by
payment of 40d. a year. (fn. 29)
ST. MARGARET is prettily situated in a well-kept churchyard
abutting upon the high road, and
surrounded by some exceptionally fine trees. The
site is level and low-lying, at some distance from the
present village, and close to a patch of woodland.
It must originally have been surrounded by woods.
The building is of sandstone and rubble, dug from
the neighbouring hills, with a small admixture of
clunch, or hard chalk. Before 1873 it consisted only
of a nave about 40 ft. by 22 ft., and a short chancel
22 ft. wide by 19 ft. long, with a large tower, about
17 ft. square internally, and a porch on the south of
the nave; but in that year it was enlarged by the
addition of a spacious north aisle, with an arcade of
pointed arches, and an organ-chamber and vestries on
the north of the chancel, while the chancel itself was
nearly doubled in length.
There is no trace in the walls of work earlier than
the beginning of the 14th century, to which date the
nave and chancel both originally belonged.
There are two windows at present in the south
wall of the chancel, one of which, to the west, is
partly ancient and indicates a date of about 1300.
It is of two lights, cinquefoiled, and has a trefoiled
spherical triangle, inclosing a trefoil, in the head.
In the eastern window, which may have been removed
from the north wall at the enlargement, the latter
figure has six foliations. The roof and all other
features in the chancel are modern.
The south wall of the nave appears to be slightly
later—circa 1320—and has two good buttresses and
two well-proportioned traceried windows, each of two
lights. The eastern of these retains the original net
tracery, executed in local sandstone, but that to the
west has been restored. Next to it eastward is the
south entrance doorway, which is a plain example of
the same date. It is approached through a most
picturesque porch of open oak framework on a base
of herringbone brick and timber. This has an arched
opening to the front and two others on the sides, with
arched braces inside, and the sides are partly filled in
with a rail and turned balusters. The foliated bargeboard is a restoration of that shown in Cracklow's
view. Although probably not earlier than the first
half of the 17th century, this porch retains all the
spirit of the mediaeval carpentry in design and execution. The framework is put together with projecting
oak pins, and the roof, of somewhat flat pitch, retains
its heavy stone healing.
The massive western tower is another instance of
the clinging to a traditional style. It is rude Gothic
of 1700 — that being the date, with the name
William Bvtler sen[d..], inscribed on the slope of a buttress on the west wall. William Butler was a leading
parishioner, perhaps churchwarden, in 1700. The
builder was Edward Lucas. The parish account
books give the date as 1699, when the contract for
building was signed. The heads of the twin openings in the upper stage and of those below are
elliptical or obtusely pointed, while in the interior
the arch of the nave and the blind arches in the
other walls are pointed, but with classical mouldings
and imposts. The present battlements were heightened at the restoration of 1873.
There is a curious square-headed two-light window
of diminutive proportions next to the buttresses at
the south-east end of the nave. Its openings, though
only 8 in. wide, are further protected by stanchions and
cross-bars. Its height from the floor removes it from
the class known as low side-windows, but it corresponds
very curiously with similar openings at Send and
Woking churches in Surrey, which also occur in the
eastern part of the nave and in the neighbourhood of
an altar. All are of late date (c. 1480 to 1520).
The nave roof is of early 14th-century date and
retains its original moulded tie-beams and plates.
That of the chancel is modern, but both are 'healed'
with Horsham slabs.
In the eastern window of c. 1320 in the south
wall of the nave is preserved some good glass with
crocketed canopy-work, borders, and grisaille quarries
of coeval date. There are no old wall-paintings.
One or two ledgers with heraldry and some tablets
of late 17th and early 18th-century dates remain in
the tower, but with these exceptions the church is
remarkably destitute of ancient monuments.
The registers date from 1539. They and the
parish account books (which commence in 1683) are
very full, and contain many curious entries.
Besides modern pieces, the church plate includes a
silver cup and paten of 1614 and a paten of 1716.
There are six bells, all dated 1701, hung in a good
solid cage, which is of the same date.
St. John's Church on Ockley Green was consecrated
5 December 1872 by Bishop Wilberforce. It is a
plain building of stone, with pointed windows and a
bell-turret. The first reference to
the church of Ockley is in the Taxatio
of Pope Nicholas, 1291.
In 1293 the king presented to it on behalf of
Nicholas Malemayns his ward. (fn. 30) The advowson remained with the manor until
1694 when Sir William Duncombe, at the same time that he
sold the manor, sold the advowson to John Constable of Ockley. Edward Bax, who bought
the manor (q.v.), was a
Quaker, and would not buy
the advowson. Constable sold
it in 1711 to Edward Bingdon
of Dorking, who left it in 1719
in trust for his sons James and
Edward. It was sold in 1724
for £1,000 to Clare Hall,
Cambridge. (fn. 31) The College
probably then knew nothing of the ancient ownership
of Richard de Tonbridge, ancestor of their foundress.
Clare College, Cambridge. Clare impaling De Burgh all in a border sable with drops or.
Smith's Charity is distributed as in
other Surrey parishes.
In 1624 Mr. Henry Spooner left a
rent-charge of 10s. a year to the poor of the parish.
In 1731 Mrs. Elizabeth Evershed left £100 to be
invested in land to provide education 'according to
the canons of the Church of England' for poor
children of the parish. With other benefactions of
the late Mr. George Arbuthnot and the late Mr. Lee
Steere, this provides an endowment of about £43
a year for the schools.