A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Godstone is 11 miles long and from a mile to a mile and a half broad, and contains 6,791 acres of land and 39 of water. The streams drain to the Medway. The northern part is on the Chalk Downs, over 700 ft. above the sea; the village of Godstone and Godstone Green are upon the Green Sand, which south of them reaches its highest point in East Surrey on Tilburstow or Tilbuster Hill, 591 ft. above the sea. Southwards the parish extends over the Wealden Clay to the Hastings Sand, near Hedgecourt and Felbridge. With Tandridge and Blechingley (which once included Horne) on either side of it, Godstone exhibits admirably the primitive arrangements of the settlements below the Chalk, the villages lying close together and the land in a long strip across the various soils; the three villages lie within 3 miles of each other, and their territory forms a block of 4 miles wide and over 11 miles long. No Inclosure Act is on record. There is some open ground at Frogwood Common, Blindley Heath and on Tilburstow Hill. The main road from London through Croydon to East Grinstead and Rye traverses the parish from north to south. The Croydon and East Grinstead railway cuts the northern part, and the Redhill and Tonbridge line crosses it from west to east, with a station in Godstone over 2 miles from the village. A new village has grown up in the neighbourhood of the station.
The centres of population in the parish have shifted since the earliest records of it. Godstone was not the original name for the parish. The vill and church are called Wolenestede in the earliest extant document. (fn. 1) The Domesday form 'Wachelestede,' in a variety of spellings which all probably represent Walkhampstead, the fulling place, is the usual mediaeval name. (fn. 2) This name is probably accounted for by the fact that fuller's earth occurs here, though it is not now worked. It appears that the manor-houses of Marden and Lagham were centres of population till the inhabitants were nearly exterminated by the Black Death of 1349. (fn. 3) The church gave its name to another and probably earlier settlement on the main road, which then passed by Marden Park and went on to Lagham. The church and some houses stand here still, but after the road was diverted further west in the time of Elizabeth, (fn. 4) as is supposed, a larger village grew up on the new road at Godstone Green. Now the village near the station is the growing suburb, and the area of newer houses about Blindley Heath, further south, and at Felbridge, on the Sussex border, is gradually extending.
Godstone Church Town lies 5 miles east of Redhill and 20 miles from London. The church stands upon high ground. To the south of it is a picturesque group of almshouses, erected in 1872 from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott at the cost of Mrs. Hunt of Wonham House, in memory of her daughter. On the north side, and forming the northern wing of the group, is the chapel of St. Mary, partly of stone and partly of half-timber. The road, here called Church Lane, slopes steeply down-hill past the church, and near the bottom is a pair of 17th-century half-timber cottages standing at right angles to the road. Some stonework in the chimney stack may be of an earlier date. The Bell Inn, further south, is a two-story building of early 18th-century date, with a wood modillion cornice and tiled roof. Near the junction of this lane with the present main road is a group of half-timbered cottages which appear to be of 16th-century date and are locally supposed to be the old Packhorse Inn. The principal portion of the village at Godstone Green lies along the main road about half a mile to the west of the church, the two portions of the village being quite distinct. The houses surrounding the green are mostly modern. The White Hart Inn, situated towards the southern end of the main street, is a two-storied mid-16th-century house of H plan plastered externally and tile-roofed.
In 1725 a small school, unendowed, for twenty children, was returned as existing in Bishop Willis's visitation. In 1709 Mr. David Maynard of Tandridge had left £200 for the education of poor children of Tandridge and Godstone. As no school is returned under Tandridge, this was perhaps Mr. Maynard's school. Godstone school (National) was built in 1854 and enlarged in 1887. Godstone station school (Church) was built in 1884 and enlarged in 1905. There is a literary institute in the parish with a considerable library.
The parish is, and always was, mainly agricultural. In the Upper Green Sand building stone is quarried. It is not well adapted to resist alternations of wet and drought, and perishes under such conditions, but if always wet or always dry it is durable. Hence it is said to be useful for wet docks and for ovens or furnaces, and to the latter use it owes its name of fire-stone. It is said to have been used in the 18th century for the flooring of Westminster Hall. (fn. 5) Near Felbridge and Hedgecourt, in the extreme south of the parish, extending into Blechingley in Surrey and into Sussex, iron ore is plentiful, and there were formerly iron-works here. In Godstone was the iron forge called Heldecourt (Hedgecourt) owned by John Thorpe mentioned in the list in the Loseley MSS., (fn. 6) and Furnace Wood shows that there was an ironfoundry as well as a forge. In the latter part of the 18th century an attempt was made to continue the iron industry with coal, but this failed because the cost of carriage was too high (fn. 7) From about 1612–13 to 1636 the Evelyns had gunpowder mills at Godstone. (fn. 8) It is at least plausible to connect the alteration of the line of the road, referred vaguely to Elizabeth's time (see above), with the need of better carriage for the iron from Felbridge, or the powder, or both. The alteration of the road was in fact a reversion to the line of a Roman road which came out of Sussex, perhaps originally from Pevensey and Seaford, and probably went on to the Thames valley by Croydon. It is traceable nearly on the line of the present road, and sometimes must be identical with that line, between Blindley Heath and Godstone station. It is marked on the 6-inch ordnance map. A reminiscence of it exists in the names Stretton or Stratton and Stretton Brook, still existing, and Stanestreet or Stansteadborough, old names for a part of the parish.
On Castle Hill, by Leigh Place, are traces of a bank and ditch, among trees and underwood, on the east side of the hill. These possibly represent St. John's fortified house of Walkhampstead (see manor). Several barrows are said to have existed, and two still remain near it, one injured by the road and both apparently rifled. At Lagham is a very considerable earthwork which surrounded the castle or fortified manor-house of the St. Johns. The works are oval, and measure about 700 ft. by 580 ft. The top of the bank to the south is 30 ft. above the bottom of the ditch. The ditch is on two levels, divided by cross banks. Both levels were probably wet, and are still wet in part. The lord had licence to fortify in 1261, (fn. 9) and the boldness of the contour is probably due to his work. But it is possible that he availed himself of an ancient earthwork; a fragment of Romano-British pottery has been found in the bank. The small house now inside is of the 17th century in its oldest part, but stone foundations exist in front of it, and when Manning wrote part of a gateway was standing. In the fields near Castle Hill neolithic flints have been found. (fn. 10)
New Chapel, in the south of the parish, preserves the name of a chapel granted with Hedgecourt to Nicholas Louvaine by Hugh Craan in 1365, (fn. 11) but no trace of the chapel exists.
There was a chalybeate spring of some repute in Godstone in the garden of an inn called the 'Iron Pear Tree.' The inn has disappeared, but the name is borne by a house. Stratton House is the residence of Mr. H. A. S. Lawrence, Stansted House of Mr. H. G. P. Hoare, J.P.
Blindley Heath was a common, part of which remains as a village green, 1½ miles south of Godstone station. The ecclesiastical district, within which a considerable amount of recent building has been carried on, comprises the parts of the old parishes of Godstone and Tandridge south of the railway line, with part of Horne which intersected Godstone. The school was built in 1844.
Felbridge is also a separate ecclesiastical district. Felbridge Hall is the property of the lord of the manor. The present house was built by Mr. James Evelyn on the site of an older house called Heath Hatch. The National school was built in 1882. The present master's house was the old schoolhouse of the school endowed by James Evelyn in 1783 (see below).
The land of Count Eustace of Boulogne in 1086 included the manor of WALKHAMPSTEAD (Wachelestede), held before the Conquest by Osward of King Edward. It was then assessed for 6 hides (though formerly for 40), and had among its appurtenances fifteen houses in London and Southwark worth 6s. and 2,000 herrings. (fn. 12) The manor remained attached to the honour of Boulogne, which apparently escheated to the Crown after the death of Faramus de Boulogne without male issue. (fn. 13)
The first tenant of whom there is any record is Richard de Lucy, apparently the son of the Reginald de Lucy who gave a moiety of the church here (q.v.) to Lesnes Abbey. (fn. 14) Richard held Walkhampstead of the king in chief as of the honour of Boulogne, and gave half of this vill to Odo de Dammartin with his sister in marriage, to be held by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 15) The other half came to Roger St. John, who, according to Dugdale, married Lucy's other sister. (fn. 16) The St. Johns, obtaining the Dammartin portion also, (fn. 17) certainly had the whole of the original holding by 1251, (fn. 18) but it is evident that in the early 14th century they held the fee as two separate manors, Lagham and Marden, separate manorial courts being held for each. (fn. 19) It was doubtless the fact of both being held by the same lord which led to the two manors being occasionally referred to together by the old name of the manor of Walkhampstead. (fn. 20)
LAGHAM was that moiety of the whole manor of Walkhampstead which was given to Odode Dammartin by Richard de Lucy in marriage with his sister, as already shown. In 1226 Alice, wife of John de Wauton and heiress of Odo, granted a carucate of land in Walkhampstead to John de St. John to be held of her and her heirs, (fn. 21) and in 1248 she, by the name of Alice de Dammartin, granted to Roger de St. John and his heirs 100s. rent, 200 acres of wood, and 12 acres of meadow there, with the homage and service of thirty-four tenants. (fn. 22) In 1251 Roger received a grant of free warren in his demesne lands, and in 1261–2 obtained licence to crenellate his houses of Walkhampstead and Lagham. (fn. 23) He was killed at Evesham in 1265 fighting for the barons. In 1317 his grandson John de St. John died seised among other lands in this parish of the tenement of Lagham with a park, held of the heirs of Alice de Dammartin for the service of a pair of gilt spurs. (fn. 24) John de St. John his son made a settlement of this manor and that of Marden (q.v.) on himself and his wife Margery and their heirs. (fn. 25) In 1323 he died seised of 'the manor of Walkhampstead,' which he had settled as just recited, and which therefore corresponds to the manors called Lagham and Marden in the deed of settlement. (fn. 26) He was succeeded by his son, also called John, who made a settlement on his wife Katherine and died in 1349, Roger de St. John being his son and heir. (fn. 27) Roger in 1351 conveyed the reversion of Lagham after the death of his mother Katherine to Nicholas de Loveine and Margaret his wife. (fn. 28) Katherine and Peter de St. John, his kinsman and heir, afterwards quitclaimed their right to Nicholas, (fn. 29) who received a grant of free warren here in 1356. (fn. 30) Margaret his daughter and heir married Philip de St. Clare, and they were holding Lagham and Marden in 1400, when a settlement was made on their heirs. (fn. 31) Margaret died in 1408, and her husband survived her only six days, their son John then inheriting. (fn. 32) John died in 1418, when Thomas his brother and heir became lord. (fn. 33) An inquisition taken on Thomas's death in 1435 refers to a grant he made of his lands to various feoffees with a view to defrauding the king and other lords of the fees of the custody thereof and of the marriages of his heirs. (fn. 34) He left three daughters, and on the division of his lands Lagham was apportioned to Edith, who married Sir Richard Harcourt. (fn. 35) William and Richard Chamberleyn, grandsons of Margaret de Loveine by her first husband, (fn. 36) released all claim in the manor to the Harcourts in 1461. (fn. 37) Sir Richard Harcourt died in 1488, his grandson Miles being his heir. (fn. 38) Before 1509 the manor was found to be in possession of Sir David Owen, the natural son of Owen Tudor, and Sir John Legh, whom Anne widow of Miles Harcourt sued for her right of dower. (fn. 39) It was stated in the petition which she presented that Owen and Legh had obtained possession by reason of a fine levied by Miles Harcourt to John Millis. It was also said that Millis had 'by crafty and subtle means' brought his own wife before the justice to impersonate Anne and rob her of her dower.
The manor is mentioned in the will of Sir David Owen, proved in 1542, (fn. 40) but almost immediately after it appears to have been alienated, for in 1544 it was in the possession of John Cooke. (fn. 41) For some time previous to this date this manor had descended with the manor known as Walkhampstead (q.v.). After the death of Owen they were separated, and Lagham is henceforth known by the name of Lagham Park. A park had been inclosed before 1317, (fn. 42) and in 1347 is described as containing 300 acres, of which 100 acres were part of the honour of Boulogne and the remainder part of the manor of Lagham. (fn. 43) The manor remained with the Cookes until 1581, when Robert Cooke and Susan his wife with others conveyed it to Richard Brokeman, (fn. 44) from whom it passed in 1585 to Nicholas Saunders. (fn. 45) In 1605 the latter was carrying on some transactions regarding the manor with William Gardiner, who ultimately obtained possession in 1617 and died seised of it in 1622. (fn. 46) His son in 1630 conveyed to George and Richard Luxford, (fn. 47) whose family held as late as 1699. (fn. 48) John Cole and- Edward Hussey held, probably as trustees, in 1801, when they conveyed to Samuel Farmer. (fn. 49) It has since remained in the family of Farmer. The present owner is the Hon. Mrs. Colborne, daughter of Captain W. R. G. Farmer of Nonsuch Park, Cuddington, who died about 1909. The house called Lagham Park is now occupied by Mr. C. S. Stevens.
The manor of WALKHAMPSTEAD or GODSTONE, in the 17th century called WALKHAMPSTEAD alias LAGHAM, seems to have been a part of the manor of Marden and Lagham, and to have become a separate estate about the middle of the 15th century. In 1461 William and Richard Chamberleyn conveyed the manor of Walkhampstead with that of Lagham to Richard Harcourt. (fn. 50) It descended under the name of Walkhampstead or Godstone in the same way as Lagham until the death of Sir David Owen in 1542. (fn. 51) It then seems to have been recovered by the Harcourt family, for Simon Harcourt, brother and heir of Miles, held it in 1561. (fn. 52)
In 1566 Simon Harcourt and Grace his wife conveyed the manor to Thomas Powle and Joan his wife, (fn. 53) who alienated in 1588 to George Evelyn of Long Ditton and Wotton. (fn. 54) In 1590 Evelyn settled it on himself for life with reversion to a younger son Robert, then about to marry Susan Young. (fn. 55) Robert, after his father's death, appears to have given the manor to John his brother. (fn. 56) In 1608 John Evelyn and Elizabeth his wife, Robert Evelyn and Susan his wife and George Evelyn, John's son, and Elizabeth his wife, joined in alienating the manor to Sir William Walter and William Wignall, (fn. 57) apparently for the purpose of settling it on the son George, who afterwards held. He, with his wife Elizabeth Rivers, settled the manor on their son Sir John, who married Elizabeth Cocks, and who, having no male heirs, conveyed it to his uncle, John Evelyn, afterwards knighted, who married Thomasine Haynes (fn. 58): the manor in these settlements being called the manor of 'Walkenstead alias Lagham' and being apparently identical with that previously known by the name of Walkhampstead (or Godstone) alone.
John the eldest son by this marriage (vide Marden) was created a baronet in 1660, but died in 1671 without legitimate issue, his brother George being his heir. (fn. 59) George Evelyn of Nutfield in 1698 made a settlement of it on each of his five sons in tail-male successively. (fn. 60) George, his second son and heir, having inherited, apportioned a dower for his wife Mary Garth and a jointure for his three daughters out of the estate. (fn. 61) He died intestate and without issue male in 1724, and the manor passed, under the terms of the settlement of George Evelyn, sen., to Edward Evelyn, third son of the latter, with remainder to his son James, then under age. (fn. 62) Difficulties having arisen concerning the payment of the aforesaid portions to the widow and five daughters of George Evelyn, jun., they came to an agreement with Edward Evelyn by which the property was vested in trustees to be sold. Owing to the minority of the daughters and of Edward Evelyn's son an Act of Parliament was passed enabling this to be done, and the manor was thereupon sold to Charles Boone, mortgagee of part of the manor, who had married George Evelyn's widow. (fn. 63) Boone died in 1735, and his son, according to Manning, sold the manor in 1751 to Sir Kenrick Clayton, whose descendant, the present baronet, has lately sold to Sir Walpole Greenwell, bart.
MARDEN, forming the other half of the manor of Walkhampstead held by Richard de Lucy, had also come into the possession of the St. Johns of Lagham by the middle of the 13th century. (fn. 64) They held it of the king in chief as of the honour of Boulogne by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 65) Marden followed the same descent as Lagham (q.v.) until after the death of Thomas St. Clare, when this manor went to Eleanor, one of his daughters and co-heirs, who married John Gage. (fn. 66) It was held by William Gage, their son and heir, at his death in 1497. (fn. 67) In 1506 John Gage sold it to Sir David Owen, (fn. 68) who also held Lagham (q.v.). His son John Owen afterwards owned Marden, which, after passing through the hands of James Altham and John Elliott successively, came to Thomas Powle in 1561. (fn. 69) During his tenure a petition was lodged against him by Henry son of John Owen, who stated that the latter's conveyance to Altham was a mortgage and that Owen had redeemed this estate, (fn. 70) but the appeal was apparently dismissed, as Thomas Powle continued to hold and conveyed the manor to George Evelyn in 1588. (fn. 71) George settled it on his son Robert on the latter's marriage in 1590. (fn. 72) Robert apparently conveyed Marden, as he did Walkhampstead, to his brother John, whose son George afterwards held, and died seised in 1636. (fn. 73) Sir John Evelyn, son of the last-mentioned George, conveyed Marden to his younger brother Arthur, and it was conveyed by Arthur to his uncle Sir John. (fn. 74) John Evelyn, eldest son of the latter, created a baronet in 1660, married first Mary Farmer and secondly Anne Glynne. (fn. 75) He died without issue in 1671, his brother George being his heir, (fn. 76) but before his death he had made a conveyance of Marden, together with the manor of Flower (q.v.) in this parish, to one Mary Gittings, (fn. 77) with whom he had lived for several years prior to his death. She conveyed the manor in 1672 to Robert Clayton (afterwards Sir Robert) and John Morris, partners in business. (fn. 78) Morris afterwards released to Clayton, in whose family Marden remained (fn. 79) until it was recently sold to Sir Walpole Greenwell, bart.
Marden Park is about a mile and a half to the north of Godstone, and was formerly the seat of Sir Robert Clayton, Lord Mayor of London, who died in the year 1707. William Wilberforce lived here towards the close of the 18th century, several of his letters being dated from the house. It is now the residence of Sir Walpole Lloyd Greenwell. The mansion has been re-erected to the west of the original site. It is built in the style of a French chateau and is approached by a drive a mile in length through the park. The grounds, to quote from the inscription on Clayton's monument in Blechingley Church, are 'a remarkable instance of the politeness of his Genius, and how far Nature may be improv'd by Art.' The stables of the original mansion still remain.
The mill mentioned in the Domesday Survey as being in the manor of Walkhampstead (fn. 80) became appurtenant to Marden on the division (fn. 81); it was generally said to be worth 20s. or 30s. a year, (fn. 82) but an inquisition taken in 1349 after the Black Death stated that the mill was out of repair and had brought in nothing that year, as all who used to come there to grind were dead. The same inquisition gives further proof of the ravages worked here by the plague; perquisites of court both here and at Lagham were this year nothing, as the tenants who owed suit were nearly all dead, the capital messuages of both had deteriorated in value owing to the pestilence, and the pasture was valueless because it had not been let to farm. (fn. 83) An old cottage standing back from the high road to the station near the entrance to Bullbeggar's Lane is still known as the Pest House.
A grant of a weekly market on Fridays and of a three days' annual fair on the feast of Saint Nicholas (6 December), the patron saint of the church, was made to Roger St. John in 1251. (fn. 84) The fair is now held on 22 July. The lord of the manor claimed also view of frankpledge, assize of bread and ale, tumbril and gallows. (fn. 85) Grants of free warren have been noticed above.
In 1511 Nicholas son and heir of Edward Ashton died seised of a 'messuage called GODSTONE PLACE' and 200 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 250 acres of pasture, and 80 acres of wood in Godstone; the property was held in chief and was stated to form 'the manor of Godstone.' (fn. 86) His son William being a minor, the custody of his lands was granted to Robert Moreton later in the same year. (fn. 87) An inquisition taken in 1513 showed that the guardian had made waste in these lands by cutting down and selling oaks and by allowing 'a house called a stable lately standing on the site of the manor of the said William Ashton' to be unroofed so that the timber had decayed. (fn. 88) The property was given by William to his younger brother Edward, and the latter's daughter and heir Mary Wild also held it, but at her death it descended to William's son Ralph as Mary's heir, (fn. 89) and he alienated it to Thomas Dilke in 1587. (fn. 90) From Dilke it passed to George Evelyn in 1591, (fn. 91) and remained in this family for some time, various settlements of it being made in the 17th century. (fn. 92) Godstone Place is now the residence of Mr. R. S. Lindley. The old house was in the village on the east side of the road, near the pond and the White Hart Inn. It was pulled down in the 18th century. In the Act passed in 1734 concerning the Evelyns' property mention is made of 'the great new brewhouse near the great pond belonging to Godstone Place.'
In 1273–4 Ralph Maunsel and Alice his wife granted to John de Flore the third part of a carucate of land, 25 acres of wood, and 30s. rent in Walkhampstead and Tandridge, to be held by John and his heirs of Ralph and Alice and the heirs of Alice by services to the chief lords and rent of ½d. per annum; she was apparently one of the three daughters and co-heirs of Eustace de Walkhampstead, whose widow Galiena had dower of half a carucate here. (fn. 93) At the same time Roger son of Ralph Maunsel and Isabel his wife gave a mill, the third part of a messuage and 16 acres of land in Walkhampstead to John de Flore. (fn. 94) Probably the family of the latter, continuing to hold land in Godstone, finally gave their name to their tenements here, as by deed of uncertain date Richard Dene authorized delivery of seisin of the manor of FLORE, later FLOWER, to John Knollis, rector of South Pool, Devon. (fn. 95) In 1471 Dene quitclaimed the manor to Richard Martyn and others. (fn. 96) It is not evident how the manor passed to the family of Potter, but Manning states that Thomas Potter held in 1576–7. (fn. 97) Thomas Potter's daughter and heir married John Rivers of Chafford, who was created a baronet in 1621. (fn. 98) Their son James, who married Charity Shirley, held Flore in 1634–5, in which year he conveyed it to John Evelyn of Godstone. (fn. 99) His son Sir John Evelyn, who was created a baronet in 1660, settled Flore with Marden (q.v.) on Mary Gittings. She married — Hoskins after Sir John's death in 1671, and in 1677 she, by the name of Mary Hoskins, widow, conveyed Flore to Sir Robert Clayton and John Morris. (fn. 100) Sir Robert Clayton, who died in 1799, gave it to the Hon. G. H. Nevill, who sold the reversion after his son's death to Mr. C. H. Turner of Rooksnest in Tandridge. Flores or Flowers is now a farm.
A certain John de Lobrid or Lobright held land in Godstone in the early part of the 13th century, (fn. 101) and the names of John and Richard Lobrid occur among those of the tenants whose homage and service Alice de Dammartin granted to Roger de St. John in 1248. (fn. 102) Lobrid may be another form of NOBRIGHT or NORBRIGHT, where the St. Johns had property. In 1330 Peter son of John de St. John granted land there to John de Latimer, (fn. 103) who died seised of the manor of Nobright in 1336 when the extent taken of it included a capital messuage and pleas of court. (fn. 104) His sons John and Robert de Latimer quitclaimed the manor to William Fillol and Mary his wife, (fn. 105) who granted the reversion after the death of the life tenants Walter and Robert de Purle to Matthew Redmane in 1363. (fn. 106) There appears to be no trace of the descent from this date until 1600, when William Swan held the manor; his son, who was afterwards knighted, died seised in 1620. (fn. 107) In 1630 Thomas son of Sir William Swan, kt., conveyed it to John Evelyn, (fn. 108) in whose family it remained with other manors in the parish until at least 1698. (fn. 109) By this time it had apparently ceased to have any manorial rights attached, being described as a messuage or farm containing about 185 acres. (fn. 110) A house owned and occupied by Mr. G. M. BeresfordWebb now represente it.
In 1496 William at Lee, son and heir of Richard at Lee of Godstone, whose family had long been settled in this parish, (fn. 111) died seised of a messuage called LE LEE PLACE and Stratton, with over 100 acres of land, which he held of the manor of Lagham. (fn. 112) The property was afterwards in the possession of William Fisher, who, being greatly embarrased with debts, it is stated, attempted to make feoffment of the messuage, &c., to his friends in confidence, so that although he still received the profits he should seem to have sold it and might compound with his creditors for less than he owed. (fn. 113) Thomas Powle, who eventually purchased the premises, successfully disputed a claim in 1571 made on the property by one of these feoffees, (fn. 114) and held Lee Place until 1589, when he sold to George Evelyn. (fn. 115) It remained in the Evelyn family until the sale of their lands in this parish to Charles Boone in 1734. (fn. 116) It was bought by the late Mr. C. H. Turner of Rooksnest, Tandridge, in the 19th century. The house, which is now the residence of Mrs. Brooksbank, has been entirely rebuilt in modern times. The surrounding brick wall on the north side of the house appears however to be of early 17th-century date. Eastward of the house is Leigh Mill. A stream which descends the valley to the east of the church is dammed up into a series of ponds to feed the mill-race and also supplies the ornamental water in the grounds of Leigh Place. A spring welling into the stream from the hill-side is known locally as Diana's Well.
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of a chancel 28 ft. 11½ in. by 21 ft. 1½ in., north chapel 30 ft. 4½ in. by 17 ft. 1½ in., south vestry, nave 50 ft. 4 in. by 22 ft. 7½ in., modern north and south aisles, a tower at the south-west of the chancel 12ft. 6 in. by 10 ft. 11½ in. and a modern south porch.
The church has been so much altered and added to at various times that very little of the structure remains in its original state. The nave may date from the 12th century, one or two fragments of 12th-century work being reset in the south doors of the south aisle and in the west doorway of the nave. No other original detail survives of this date and very little of the original walls remains, arcades having been formed in recent years when the aisles were added. The walls of the tower, though refaced and generally modernized externally, appear to be of 13th-century date. The nave seems to have been re-roofed in the 16th century and the timbers of this roof, carefully repaired, still survive. In the 16th century chapels appear to have been added on the north side of the chancel and nave by the Evelyn and Boone families. About the year 1845 the north aisle was added. In 1872 and 1873 a complete 'restoration' was undertaken under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott, when the south aisle was added, the chancel arch enlarged, the Evelyn chapel entirely rebuilt, and the Boone chapel removed. At the same time new windows were inserted in the walls of the chancel and nave and the north arcade of the chancel was underbuilt in the old wall, or perhaps the latter may have been entirely renewed.
The three-light eastern window of the chancel is modern, and in common with the other restorations and additions of Sir Gilbert Scott is designed in early 14th-century style. The north chancel arcade is at the west of two bays with two-centred arches and octagonal columns and responds. At the eastern end of the north wall of the chancel are two small trefoil arches supported by circular shafts, also opening into the chapel.
At the east end of the south wall is a modern doorway to the vestry and over it a window of two lights. The arch next to the westward opening into the ground-stage of the tower is of original early 13th-century date. It is two-centred and of two chamfered orders. The responds are square, with stopped chamfers and grooved and hollow-chamfered abaci recut. The arch has been repaired. The chancel arch is modern. The north chapel is entirely modern. At the west end of the north wall is a shallow recess containing the organ. A two-centred arch divides the chapel from the north aisle.
In the east and south walls of the ground-stage of the 13th-century tower are large shallow arched recesses of original date with two-centred heads and continuously chamfered jambs; a similar recess no doubt existed in the west wall, but the arch has here been thrown open to the modern south aisle. The vice is at the south-east angle, and its position here necessitated the recess in the east wall being considerably narrowed and placed out of centre. In this recess is a single-light transomed window with a trefoiled ogee head which appears to date from c. 1300, though the head has been altered to its present form from a plain point and the transom inserted at some later date. The vice is entered by a small doorway with a pointed and straight-sided head. In the recess in the south wall is a narrow 13th-century lancet window, and to the west of it a blocked-up doorway with a chamfered semicircular head. The eastern outer order of the arch in the west wall opening into the south aisle is original, but the inner order and western outer order are modern. To the south of the window in the east wall mentioned above is a projecting semi-octagonal piscina. The vaulted ceiling is modern, and a modern dado of coloured marbles runs round the walls. It is now used as the memorial chapel of the Macleay family. Externally the tower is of two stages, the upper stage being set back and surmounted by a shingled wooden belfry and spire, original, though much restored. The wooden second stage was, however, inserted at the time of the restoration, when the spire was raised bodily to admit of the insertion. The windows of the ringing stage are modern. The buttress at the south end of the west wall, now partly within the south aisle, appears to be original, though later this and the exterior of the whole tower have been refaced. The buttress on the south wall and the octagonal exterior of the vice at the south-east angle seem to have been entirely remodelled.
The modern north arcade of the nave is of four bays with octagonal columns and responds. Only the capitals are of stone, the rest being stuccoed. The south arcade, which is also modern, is also of four bays, with columns alternately octagonal and of triple-clustered circular shafts. The west doorway has a semicircular rear arch internally, and externally is of two cheveron-moulded orders of the same form with shafted jambs, the shafts having scalloped capitals. Several of the stones of the internal jambs and rear arch appear to be of original 12th-century date; of the external orders two original stones have alone survived, the shafts being entirely modern. The north aisle has four north windows and one in the west wall. The south aisle has three south windows, the easternmost of three and the remaining two of two lights. Between the latter is the south doorway, some of the stones of which also appear to be of original 12th-century date. In the east wall is a window of three lights. The roofs are of timber, and with the exception of the nave roof are modern. This is of original 15th-century date and is of the trussed rafter type, with chamfered and slightly cambered tie-beams supported by wall-posts and curved braces, resting on modern sculptured corbels. The walls have a modern facing of squared rubble, with the exception of the north aisle, which is faced with polygonal rubble. The roofs are tiled. The fittings, with the exception of the 15th-century octagonal font, are all modern.
In the north chapel is an elaborate altar tomb of black and white marble, with recumbent effigies of Sir John Evelyn and his wife Thomasin, daughter and co-heir of William Haynes, Chessington, Surrey, both of whom died after 1641. The male figure wears plate armour of the early 17th century.
A long inscription records the names of his four sons and three daughters: George, born 26 March 1629, died 29 May 1630; Jane, born 3 June 1631, married Sir William Leech of 'Westram,' co. Kent; John, born 12 March 1633, married Mary daughter of George Farmer; Thomasin, born 19 February 1635, died 1 April 1643; Richard, born 20 April 163, died 28 October following; Elizabeth, born 23 June 1638, married Edward Hales of Boughton Malherbe, co. Kent; and George, born December 1641.
On the east wall of the north chapel are five inscribed brasses without figures, three to the children of Sir John Evelyn. That of Richard, his third son, has an inscription concluding | 'Why should Death's voyage longe or hard appeare | When as this Infant went it in one yeare.'
The remaining two brasses on this wall are those of George Holman, grocer and citizen of London, born in the parish of Godstone, who died in the year 1624, and of his wife Susan, daughter of William Baye of London, grocer, who died in the year 1629. Above the brass of the former is a small plate engraved with a shield charged with a cheveron between three pheons. On the shield is a helm, surmounted by a hat with the crest of a talbot's head. In the floor of the north chapel is a stone slab with the matrices for two brass plates. On the north wall of the north aisle is a tablet in memory of Thomas Packenham, vicar of the parish, who died in the year 1675. On the north wall of the north chapel is an elaborate mural tablet to the memory of Mrs. Frances Glanvill, the daughter and heiress of William Glanvill, who died in the year 1719, aged twentytwo. She married William, the fifth son of George Evelyn of Nutfield, who assumed on his marriage the name and arms of Glanvill.
There is a peal of five bells: the treble, by Taylor of Loughborough, 1871; the others are inscribed (2) 'This bell put up by subscription ye year 1777. Wm. Mears & Co. London fecit'; (3) 'To honour both of God and King, Our voices shall in consort ring'; (4) 'At proper times our voices we will raise In sounding to our benefactors' praise'; Tenor: 'Whilst thus we join in chearfull sound | May love and loyalty abound.' The third, fourth, and tenor bells are all by William Mears and were cast in the year 1777.
The communion plate consists of five pieces: a chalice, bearing the date letter of the year 1747, inscribed 'Godstone in the County of Surrey, 1748. Rowland Baven, A.M. Vicar, Henry Baldwin, John Wicking, Church Wardens'; a chalice, copied from the above, stamped with the date letter of the year 1848, presented in the same year by the Rev. Edmund Dawe Wickham; a flagon, stamped with the date letter of the year 1794; a paten, stamped with the date letter of the year 1747, bearing the same inscription as the chalice of that date; a spoon, probably of the 17th century. The mark is much worn and undecipherable; inscribed 'The gift of Mary Paine to J. I. Hoare.'
The registers previous to 1812 are in six volumes: (1) baptisms, burials and marriages 1662 to 1733; (2) baptisms and burials 1734 to 1798, marriages 1734 to 1753; (3) baptisms and burials 1798 to 1809, marriages 1798 to 1809; (4) baptisms and burials and marriages 1809 to 1812; (5) marriages 1754 to 1767; (6) marriages 1768 to 1798.
The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, BLINDLEY HEATH, was built in 1842, and a parish, formed from Godstone, Horne and Tandridge, was assigned to it in the same year. The church is of stone, in 13th-century style, and consists of a chancel, with apsidal end, north organ-chamber, vestry, nave of four bays, south porch, and western tower with a shingle spire. The south aisle was added in 1886.
The church of ST. JOHN THE DIVINE, FELBRIDGE, was built in 1865, and a parish was formed out of the southern extremities of Godstone and Tandridge, which had originally been included in Blindley Heath, with part of East Grinstead in the county of Sussex and diocese of Chichester. The building is in stone, of 13th-century style, with a western bell-turret. More than a third of the population, of about 300 in all, are in Sussex. The district, about 8 miles south of Godstone Church, was provided with a chapel in the Middle Ages (see above). Mr. James Evelyn of Felbridge (see under Horne) built another chapel here in 1787, and endowed it with £30 a year, £2 10s. also for the clerk and £2 10s. for sacramental bread and wine. This was replaced by the present church.
There is a Baptist chapel in Godstone, built in 1882. At South Godstone is a school chapel, where services are held in connexion with the parish church, and the Grange Nonconformist mission-room, where services are held.
In the Textus Roffensis (fn. 117) there is a copy of the will of a Saxon called Bryhtric and Elfswitha his wife, by which they devise the 'land called Wolcnestede' to Wulfstan Ucca and '10 hides at Straetton to the mynstre of Wolcnestede.' There seems to be no further trace of this endowment.
The advowson of the church was appurtenant to the manor. In 1207 King John confirmed a gift made by Reginald de Lucy of a moiety of the church of Walkhampstead to the abbey of Lesnes in Kent, (fn. 118) which had been founded by Richard de Lucy, the great justiciar, who was probably his elder brother. It is possible that Reginald de Lucy may have given the other moiety to Odo de Dammartin, who also received half the vill of Walkhampstead from this family. Possibly also Odo, a great benefactor of Tandridge Priory, gave his moiety to this foundation, as the priory certainly held it afterwards, though the name of the donor is not found. (fn. 119) The abbey and priory evidently appropriated the church and presented to it alternately. (fn. 120) The church was dedicated to St. Nicholas, as appears by a papal indulgence of 1363 to all penitents who visited the church of St. Nicholas in Walkhampstead on the principal feasts of the year. (fn. 121) After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson were held for some time in separate moieties. That surrendered by Lesnes Monastery (fn. 122) was granted to Cardinal Wolsey in 1526, (fn. 123) by whom it was conveyed to the dean and canons of his college at Oxford. (fn. 124) At his attainder, however, it reverted to the Crown, and was given by the king to St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1532. (fn. 125) This grant seems to have been cancelled, as in 1538 this moiety, being again in the Crown 'by the attainder of Thomas, late cardinal of York,' was granted by the king to George Taylor. (fn. 126) In 1544, Taylor having died, James Stamford, yeoman of the chamber of Queen Katharine, received a life grant, (fn. 127) the reversion being given to Sir William Cecil in fee in 1551. (fn. 128)
In 1566 Sir Richard Sackville died seised of this moiety, (fn. 129) and his heir Sir Thomas conveyed it to John Heath in 1573. (fn. 130) From Thomas Heath, son of John, (fn. 131) it passed to Richard Hayward twenty years afterwards. (fn. 132) Hayward died in 1607, his daughter Catherine wife of William Roffey being his heir. (fn. 133) She had married Anthony Bickerstaff as her first husband, and on her death in 1620 her son Hayward Bickerstaff inherited the rectory and advowson, (fn. 134) which he conveyed in 1633 to John Evelyn. (fn. 135) The other moiety (vide infra) also came into the possession of this family, (fn. 136) and the whole was held by them with their other estates in this parish An entry in John Evelyn's diary for 14th October 1677 runs as follows: 'I went to the Church at Godstone and to see old Sir John Evelyn's Dormitary, adjoining to the church, paved with marble, where he and his lady lie on a very stately monument at length, he in armour, of white marble.' Edward Evelyn, third son of George Evelyn of Nutfield, (fn. 137) presented to the church at intervals from 1715 to 1730, (fn. 138) probably by grant from his elder brother George, who really owned it until his death in 1724, when it became Edward's property. (fn. 139) It was sold, with the rest of the estate here, to Charles Boone in 1734. (fn. 140) According to Manning, his son Daniel Boone, who sold the manor to Sir Kenrick Clayton in 1751, at the same time sold part of the great tithes to the same purchaser, (fn. 141) whose descendant is still impropriator of these. The advowson, however, and part of the tithes remained in the Boone family (fn. 142) until 1807, when Thomas Boone and Sarah his wife sold them to Henry Hoare, (fn. 143) in whose family the patronage still remains.
The moiety of rectory and advowson held by Tandridge Priory was granted to John Rede after the Dissolution. (fn. 144) His son conveyed it in 1576 to Richard Bostock. (fn. 145) It probably passed to the Evelyn family soon after, as Bostock Fuller, Richard Bostock's heir, does not appear to have held it. The moieties seem to have been still distinguished in 1794 when the Rev. C. E. De Coetlogon was instituted as rector of Godstone and vicar of 'Walkinsted.' Later, however, the living appears as the vicarage of Godstone until the time of Canon Hoare, who died in 1881. Since then it has been called a rectory. (fn. 146)
Mrs. Susan Holman, wife of George Holman, who died in 1629, (fn. 147) left £52 a year for bread. The capital was diverted to buying a parish workhouse. This was afterwards sold and the money laid out in enlarging the churchyard and building a parish fire-engine station. A balance of £187 1s. 9d. remains in consols and the interest is received by the overseers.
Sir John Evelyn, who died in 1671, left £5 a year rent-charge for twelve poor men and women, subject to a charge for repair of the family vault. This charity is now lost. The return at the visitation of 1725 calls it £6.
Mr. James Evelyn, who died in 1793, left £94 12s. 10d. a year for the poor in meat, coals and other necessaries. He gave in 1783 £21 a year for a school for three boys from Godstone, two from Horne, two from Worth, one from East Grinstead, and four girls, one from each parish. He left minute directions for religious teaching. The master was 'to practice no mechanical art,' but might take twelve more children for payment for his own profit. The boys were not to enter below six years of age, nor stay after ten. The girls were to enter at the same age and leave at thirteen. The endowment is not now received. The Charity Commissioners return 'no information' about it.