A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Horsell lies a mile north-west of Woking Junction. It is bounded on the north by Chobham, north and east by Chertsey, south by Woking, west by Bisley. It contains 2,913 acres. It measures about 3½ miles east to west, and from 1 to 1½ miles north to south. The soil is Bagshot sand. This lends itself to the chief industry of the place, nursery gardening. Messrs. Waterer, Messrs. Cobbett and others have nursery gardens of American plants and trees. There is also a brewery. Formerly there were extensive commons, of which Horsell Birch and part of Woodham Common are the largest remaining; the Inclosure Act of 35 George III (fn. 1) affected part of the commons of Horsell, as being in Pyrford Manor. The Basingstoke Canal skirts the parish.
There are said to have been barrows upon the heath, but there is now no trace of their existence. (fn. 2)
The aspect of the eastern part of the parish has been quite transformed by the growth of the town about Woking Junction. When the railway was first opened the neighbourhood was so secluded that a spot in Horsell parish, near the Basingstoke Canal, was selected as a suitable place for a prize fight, as out of the observation of the police. (fn. 3) This is now covered with houses, a considerable number of which usually reckoned in Woking are really in Horsell. Gentlemen's houses are increasing rapidly, and there are famous golf links in Horsell.
The schools (National) were built in 1851 and enlarged in 1882. But a Church school and a Baptist school existed about 1845. (fn. 4)
HORSELL, though parochially a chapelry of Woking, appears to have been included in the manor and lordship of Pyrford (q.v.) from the time of its earliest records until the present day. No reference to it is found in the Domesday Survey, but that it was part of the land at the Pyrian Ford granted to Westminster in 956 is probable, as in 1278–9 the Abbot of Westminster claimed various privileges in his 'manors of Piriford and Horishill.' (fn. 5) This is, apparently, the first reference to Horsell as a separate manor. Whether it was ever held as such is doubtful. Land at Sithwood, which was in the parish of Horsell, (fn. 6) was described as being part of the manor of Pyrford, (fn. 7) the two sub-manors in Horsell were held as of the manor of Pyrford, (fn. 8) and a survey of the manor of Pyrford, taken in 1547, includes Horsell, Sithwood, and Woodham as part of its demesne. (fn. 9) In 1678 it is again referred to as a manor, (fn. 10) being held at that time, as was Pyrford, by Denzil Onslow, from whom the property passed to the present lord, the Earl of Onslow, whose manor of Pyrford includes Horsell and Woodham.
In 1540 John Danaster of Chobham died seised of the manor or tenement called HILL PLACE, which was held of the king as of his manor of Pyrford by fealty and rent of 21s. Danaster left the manor to his wife Anne for her life, with remainder to Robert, natural son of John and Anne, and his heirs, or in default to the right heirs of John. (fn. 11) His widow afterwards married Sir Francis Dawtrey, and they were in possession of the manor apparently about 1560. (fn. 12) It had passed, before 1571, to Christopher Hennage and Anne his wife, (fn. 13) daughter of John Danaster and formerly wife of Owen Bray, who had died in 1568. (fn. 14) They conveyed it in 1578 to Richard Hatton, (fn. 15) but it changed hands again and in 1599 Sir William and Sir George More, probably acting as trustees, conveyed it to Henry Weston, (fn. 16) from whom it passed in 1622 to Henry Collyer and Richard Simones. (fn. 17) The Collyer family continued to hold it, though it is not generally called a manor. (fn. 18) The Collyers of Hill Place were among the lay impropriators of the tithes (q.v.), mentioned about 1682 and in 1804. In 1841 the Collyer family sold Hill Place to Mr. G. Marshall of Godalming. In 1851 he settled it upon his daughter on her marriage with Mr. T. Shearburn. Her son Mr. R. W. Shearburn of the Hall, Scraith, Yorkshire, is the present owner. The house is let as a farm, and some of the land has been sold off, a small part having been bought by Mr. John Collyer of Horsell, a descendant of the former owners. (fn. 19)
In 1316 is found the first trace of the manor of TWICHEN, when Walter atte Rude settled on his son Walter the estate described as 1 messuage, 40 acres, half a mill, &c., with appurtenances in Chobham, Horsell, and Pyrford. William de Carleton and Alice his wife, and John atte Twichen and Alice his wife, also put in a claim to this land. (fn. 20) It is probable that it had previously belonged to John atte Twichen and his wife, as in 1326 he sought to replevy his and his wife's lands in Chobham, Horsell, and Pyrford, which had been taken into the king's hands for their default against Walter son of Walter atte Rude. (fn. 21) In 1352 Roger Bernard and Katherine and William atte Twichen conveyed certain land in Horsell, Chobham, and Pyrford—a messuage, 80 acres of land, &c.—to Richard Doxeye and Alice his wife. (fn. 22) John atte Grenette in 1363 obtained from Richard Doxeye and Sabina his wife and the heirs of Sabina land in these parishes, consisting of two messuages, 100 acres of land, &c. (fn. 23) These different holdings seem to have become amalgamated before the middle of the 16th century. They were then known as the manor or capital tenement called Twichen, of which John Danaster died seised in 1540, and which he held of the king as of his manor of Pyrford by fealty and rent of 18s. (fn. 24) He left the manor to his wife Anne for her life, with reversion to their daughter Anne, who afterwards married Owen Bray. (fn. 25) Anne the mother married, as her second husband, Sir Francis Dawtrey, and they were apparently seised of the manor about the year 1560. (fn. 26) In 1572 this manor, together with that of Hill Place, was held by Christopher Hennage and Anne his wife. (fn. 27) The latter was the widow of Owen Bray, for the next reference to Twichen, in 1607, records that the site of the manor was the property of Owen Bray; (fn. 28) John Bray also held with Owen, (fn. 29) the two being grandsons of Owen and Anne Bray. (fn. 30) In 1607 the reversion of the site held for life by Susan, (fn. 31) wife of Richard Lumley, of the inheritance of Owen Bray, was granted, on a forty-year lease, to Richard Bonsey. (fn. 32) In 1615 Owen and John Bray conveyed the site to John Bonsey and his heirs. (fn. 33) The term 'site of the manor' probably includes the manor, or reputed manor itself, of which John Bonsey was certainly possessed by 1621, and of which he was seised in fee at the time of his death, which occurred about 1638. (fn. 34) The manor passed to his son Richard, who held it in 1678, when he brought a suit against John Scotcher, whose father, William, was alleged to have held various lands in Horsell of the manor of Twichen for which the son refused to pay quit-rent or relief, declaring that 'he knew not whether there were any such manor of Twichen, nor knew the complainant's title thereto or to the demesne lands thereof, and he said he had no writings concerning the said estate, but he believed complainant might be seised of a certain messuage, farm and lands in Horsell, called Twichen. He had heard that some of the complainant's ancestors had seized oxen as heriots at the death of his grandfather, but his father maintained that no heriots were due.' (fn. 35) The case as regards the quit-rents was decided in favour of Bonsey, and Scotcher was ordered to pay the arrears. The manor was held in 1744 by another Richard Bonsey, who conveyed it in that year to Matthew Nicholls, (fn. 36) probably by way of mortgage, for in 1755 Richard Bonsey left it in his will to trustees for sale, (fn. 37) and in 1760 George Gilbourne and Anne, William Whitmore and Mary, Sarah Whitmore, widow, and John Armitage and Jane (evidently the heirs of Bonsey) conveyed the manor to Rowland Thomlinson. (fn. 38) After this date the manor changed hands frequently. According to Manning it was sold in 1774 to Sir Thomas Sewell, whose family sold it in 1795 to Edmund Boehm, (fn. 39) the owner of Ottershaw (q.v.) in Chertsey. He went bankrupt, and his estates were sold in 1820. At the present time the manor of Twichen is no longer in existence. Two farms, called Scotcher's and Bonsey's farms, lying in the north-east of Horsell and close to Chobham parish probably represent the lands formerly known as the manor of Twichen.
The church of OUR LADY consists of a chancel 29 ft. 8 in. by 18 ft. 7 in., with north vestries and a south organ-chamber, a nave continuous with the chancel 51 ft. 10 in. long, a south aisle 14 ft. 3 in. wide, and a west tower 10 ft. 3 in. square, all measurements being internal.
There is nothing of earlier date than c. 1320, and to this period belongs the north wall of the nave. The tower was added in the 15th century, and the south aisle early in the 16th century, while the rest of the building is quite modern. What the original chancel was like there is nothing left to show, but before 1890 it was of brick, and where the organchamber now stands there was a brick vestry. In 1890 the whole of the east portion of the building was rebuilt, and a bay added to the nave and aisle. The east wall of the aisle was originally close to the piscina still remaining in its south wall. The tower was entirely recased with the exception of the stairturret about 1880, and when the east end of the church was rebuilt in 1890 the remainder of the church was restored.
The chancel has a large five-light window in the east wall and a two-light one to the north, both being of 14th-century style with traceried heads. Opposite the north window are a modern piscina and sedilia of three bays, each with cinquefoiled ogee heads and pierced spandrels.
The four windows of the north wall of the nave are all of different date, the easternmost being a square-headed 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights, probably inserted to light an altar at the east end of the nave; while the next, c. 1320, has two trefoiled ogee-headed lights with a quatrefoil over in a two-centred arch. The third window is all modern, and has two lights with tracery over of flowing character, and the westernmost window is of 15th-century date much restored, and has three cinquefoiled lights with a square head and a moulded label. Only the lower part of the jambs and the sill are original. The head was once raised so as to light a gallery at the west end of the nave, which is now removed, and the window has been lowered again.
The south arcade of the nave is of four bays with hollow-sided octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds. The three western bays are old, and the columns have octagonal moulded bases and capitals, and the two-centred arches are of two hollow-chamfered orders. The modern column and respond at the east have bases and capitals of different section. In the south wall of the aisle are three windows; the first modern, of three lights with intricate tracery in the two-centred head; the second window, to the west of this, has two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over, and is a modern copy of the 14th-century window in the north wall of the nave; while the third window is of 15th-century character, like that opposite to it in the north wall, and is of three trefoiled lights under a square head with a moulded label; a part of the double-chamfered jambs and the inside splays only are old. The west window of the aisle is modern and has three trefoiled lights with tracery over. Between the first and second of the south windows is an old piscina recess with a trefoiled ogee head. The basin, which was apparently large and shallow, has lost its projecting portion. The south doorway is between the second and third of the south windows, and has old plain-chamfered jambs and a two-centred head. The tower is not set centrally with the nave, but considerably to the south, the north face of its projecting north-east staircase-turret being set flush with the north wall of the nave. The stair is entered from the west end of the nave, and to the south of it a pointed doorway opens from the nave to the tower.
In the north and the south walls of the lower stage of the tower are modern windows of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights with a quatrefoil over, the inside jambs and rear-arches in each case being old. The west doorway of the tower is original, with the exception of a shallow outer order which belongs to the casing, and has heavy hollow-chamfered orders with a large roll between.
The tower is of three stages, embattled, and with belfry windows like those in the bottom stage; the nave has old timbers in the open timber roof with large tie-beams, and that to the aisle is similar, but has only one old tie-beam. This roof rests on stone corbels over the nave arcade.
There are two plain old chests in the tower; one on the floor above the ringing-chamber has three iron straps with staples and two curious padlocks one having the initials I.B. and the other I.H. The covers to the keyholes cannot be opened without pressing aside similar covers on the opposite sides of the locks; one lock, however, has lost its covers.
The oak pulpit is of mid-17th-century date, and has a moulded cornice and panels carved with a diamond pattern. The double west doors of the nave appear to be mediaeval work, probably contemporary with the tower.
In the nave are several monuments and slabs. At the east end, on the floor near the screen, is a blackletter inscription in brass as follows : 'Hic jacet tumulatus Johñ Aleyn Capellan['] anime cuius ppiciet deus amen' Near this is a brass to Thomas Edmonds, 'citizen and mr. carpenter to the chamber and one of the four vewers of that Honorable City of London.' He married Ann Frognal, daughter of William Frognal, citizen and fishmonger of London, by whom he had five sons and two daughters and he died in 1619, 'she still surviving until …'; the date of her death is not filled in. He is represented above in a long robe and his wife in a full skirt and wearing a straw hat. Below are the children, the sons in one group and the daughters in another. Two of the sons, one of them a small boy, carry a skull each. Above are two shields, one containing the arms of London, and the second has a cheveron between three compasses, the Carpenters' arms. A stone slab near this records the death of John Collyer in 1689. On the north wall of the nave, fixed to a modern stone, is an inscription to 'Fayth Sutton,' the wife of John Sutton the younger, and daughter to 'Hwgh Fearclough of London, gentleman.' She died in 1603. Above on one plate are the figures of two sons and one daughter, but these are not in their right place and probably belong to John Sutton the elder, as this lady had two daughters only.
To the west of this is another modern stone on which is an inscription to John Sutton the elder, who lived a widower 24 years and died in 1603. He had two sons and one daughter. On the same stone is an inscription to Thomas, the elder of these two sons, who died in 1603. Above each inscription is a figure, the old man in a long robe and the son in a short cloak. Between the two figures are three shields, two having : quarterly (1) a cheveron between three cows, (2) a fesse between three ducks, (3) party cheveron-wise two voided molets in chief and one in base, (4) a fesse between two cheverons. On the centre point is a crescent for difference. The other shield has the quarterly coat impaling a lion between three fleurs de lis.
On the west wall of the nave is a small wall monument to John Greene, who died in 1651, and in the south aisle is a large white marble monument to James Fenn, 1793, who is shown in his robes as Sheriff of London, kneeling at a desk with his wife and daughter opposite him. The treatment is somewhat florid, but the survival of this Jacobean type of monument is very interesting and curious at the end of the 18th century.
The plate comprises a silver cup of 1798, a chalice and paten of 1892, and a flagon of 1888. There is also a base metal paten dated 1818 and a flagon of the same material dated 1860 and an old pewter flagon dated 1713.
The registers are contained in five volumes the first having entries of baptisms from 1653 to 1770, marriages 1654 to 1754 and burials 1653 to 1765. The second contains marriages from 1754 to 1801. The third has baptisms from 1770, and burials from 1765, both up to 1798. The fourth continues the baptisms and burials from 1799 to 1812 and the fifth has marriages from 1801 to 1812.
The chapel of Horsell originally belonged to the monastery of Westminster. The date of its foundation is not apparent, but in 1258 the Abbot of Westminster granted the advowson, with that of Pyrford, to the priory of Newark. (fn. 40) By 1262 both chapels had been annexed to the church of Woking, which was also among the possessions of Newark Priory. (fn. 41) In 1291 the chapels of Horsell and Pyrford were together valued at £10 annually, (fn. 42) and in 1428 were taxed at 15 marks. (fn. 43) In 1457, owing to the smallness of the receipts of the chapel of Horsell and its ruinous condition, Roger Hallye, a canon regular of Newark, received licence from the bishop to administer the sacraments to the parishioners for one year, more or less, dating from 2 April, during which time he would take all the profits. (fn. 44) Horsell remained attached to the rectory of Woking and was surrendered, with the priory's other possessions, in 1538, when the farm of the chapel of Horsell was valued at 2s. (fn. 45) After the Dissolution it appears that the benefice, a curacy, was rendered perpetual under a licence from the ordinary. (fn. 46) The great tithes of Horsell were granted, with those of Woking, to Francis Aungier, Baron Longford, being subsequently held by his son and by the latter's nephew, who was lay impropriator in 1679. (fn. 47) In the mean time, the king apparently presented perpetual curates, who both served and had an actual estate in the chapel at a rent of 2s. (fn. 48) In 1628, at the suggestion of the Earl of Anglesey, the chapel was granted to John Robinson, who served it. (fn. 49) The chapel, with the vicarage house and lands and the small tithes, was subsequently conveyed by the ministers themselves, or by their widows, to their various successors until about 1674, when Ann Alchorn, widow of the last curate, sold the property to Godfrey Lee, a layman, who appropriated the small tithes and closed the chapel while he himself occupied the house belonging to it. (fn. 50) In October 1679, however, the lay rector, Lord Aungier, came forward and brought a suit against Godfrey Lee, (fn. 51) maintaining that there could not be two lay fees in the tithes of one parish. (fn. 52) It was on the strength of this plea, apparently, that Lord Aungier had presented to Horsell earlier in the year, but doubts having arisen on that occasion as to his right to do so, the incumbent was again instituted a few weeks later by the Crown. (fn. 53) The dispute, however, was not immediately settled. Bishop Morley of Winchester, evidently wishing to arrange matters and to erect the curacy into a vicarage, bequeathed, by his will, proved 31 October 1684, £10 per annum for an augmentation to the 'vicarage' on the conditions that the 'vicarage' house and tithe should be restored to the church and that those who had bought the great tithe should settle £10 per annum more on the living for ever. The terms were not complied with however, and the benefaction became void. (fn. 54) Godfrey Lee in 1684 (fn. 55) still held the chapel house and small tithes, but the property appears to have been handed to the lay rector soon after, as according to Manning both this and the great tithes were sold by Lord Aungier to Richard Lee and William Beauchamp in trust for Richard Bonsey, Richard Roake, John Collyer, and John Scotcher, each of whom was to enjoy a fourth share, and who, as lay impropriators, had the right to appoint the curate. (fn. 56) Manning gives the date of this conveyance as 1682 but it was probably a few years later, since, as has been shown, the small tithes at least were held by Godfrey Lee as late as 1684. In 1725 the advowson was in the hands of 'four lay impropriators.' (fn. 57) In 1804 Henry and Edward Roake, Richard Fladgate, and Henry Collyer were the lay impropriators, John Collyer having purchased Bonsey's share and Richard Fladgate that of Scotcher. (fn. 58) As late as 1879 the south seats in the chancel were occupied by the Roake family and those on the north side by the Collyer and Fladgate families. (fn. 59) Throughout the 19th century the patronage remained in the hands of landowners at Horsell. (fn. 60) It is at present held by Mr. John Pares of Southsea. The curacy was styled a vicarage by the Act of 1868. (fn. 61)