Parishes: Little Bookham

Pages 335-338

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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Bocheham (xi cent.); Bokham (xiii and xiv cent.).

Little Bookham is a small parish 2½ miles south-west of Letherhead. It is bounded on the north-west by Cobham, on the north by Stoke D'Abernon, on the east by Great Bookham, on the south by Dorking and Wotton, on the west by Effingham. The area of the parish is 926 acres. It runs from the brow of the Chalk, across the Thanet and Woolwich Beds and over the London Clay, and touches the alluvium of the Mole valley, which river bounds the parish on the north. The Guildford and Letherhead road, and the Guildford and Letherhead line pass through it.

The village is on the Thanet and Woolwich Beds immediately below the Chalk, on to which it has extended in recent times. Part of Bookham Common to the north is still open land, and there is some open land to the south on the top of the Chalk near Ranmore Common. Though separately held from Great Bookham in Domesday Little Bookham is evidently a slice cut off the latter; its shape and soil illustrate the usual arrangements of the settlements which subsequently became parishes. There were extensive common fields on the Chalk which are mentioned as existing by James and Malcolm in 1794, but not mentioned in Stevenson's View of the Agriculture of Surrey in 1809. They would seem to have been inclosed with Great Bookham in 1822. (fn. 1)

The manor-house is the seat of Mr. Meredith Townsend; the Lane Cottage of Lady Yule; Inglewood of Mr. W. F. A. Archibald; Rickleden of the Hon. D'Arcy Lambton. The old rectory house, probably of the 18th century, is too large to have been built for a rectory. Preston House was a preparatory school for boys kept by Mr. De Brath Stanley. The school (under the County Council), for infants only, was founded by the late Mr. T. Mashiter, and opened in 1884. The elder children attend the school at Great Bookham.


The manor of LITTLE BOOKHAM is stated in the Domesday Survey to have been held by Godtovi of Earl Harold, and in 1086 was held by Halsard of William de Braose, lord of Bramber. (fn. 2) In 1275 Sir John Haunsard held part of the manor of the lord of Bramber for one knight's fee, part of the Earl of Gloucester for a quarter of a fee, and part of the Abbot of Chertsey. (fn. 3) The Braose overlordship was sold in 1324 as part of the barony of Bramber to Hugh le Despenser, one of the heirs by marriage of the Gloucester property, by Oliva daughter of William de Braose and wife of John de Mowbray. (fn. 4) After the forfeiture of his estates following the attainder of Hugh in 1326, (fn. 5) the overlordship was confirmed to John de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, son of Oliva, and remained with the Dukes of Norfolk until it was acquired by Richard Duke of York, second son of Edward IV, who was affianced to Anne, only daughter and heir of John de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, at the age of six years. (fn. 6) The manor is said to have been held of Richard in 1480, (fn. 7) and after his death in the Tower in 1483 appears to have become vested in the Crown.

Moweray. Gules a lion argent.

The part of the manor which was held of the Earl of Gloucester was a carucate of land which extended into the parish of Effingham (fn. 8) and formed part of his fee there. (fn. 9) It is sometimes mentioned separately from the manor of Bookham. In 1306 this carucate was said to be held of John Pykard, (fn. 10) probably as representing the Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 11) and in 1326 was in the king's hands by the forfeiture of Hugh de Audley, who had acquired part of the Gloucester estates by marriage. (fn. 12) The Braose and Gloucester portions thence fell to the Crown by contemporaneous forfeitures, and were treated as one manor. Three virgates of land in the manor were held of the Abbot of Chertsey for 12d. (fn. 13) annual rent and suit of court at Cobham and Great Bookham.

The subtenancy of the manor appears to have continued with the descendants of Halsard, the Domesday tenant. In 1189 William de Braose accounted to the sheriff of Surrey for £8 7s. 4d. of the amercement of William Hansard, whose heir was in his custody, (fn. 14) and this heir was probably the William Hansard who is found holding a fee in 'Bocheam' (Bookham) and Cateworthe of the honour of Bramber in 1210–12, (fn. 15) and again between 1234 and 1241. In 1273 John and James, sons of William Hansard, made a joint conveyance of lands in Little Bookham to the Prior of St. Mary Southwark, (fn. 16) and in 1275 John (here Sir John) died seised of the manor of Bookham, (fn. 17) leaving as his heir his nephew James son of James Hansard.

It seems however that James Hansard, the elder, had already made a grant to William de Braose (the overlord), (fn. 18) and in 1291 Mary widow of William de Braose had livery of the manor, which she is said to have held jointly with her husband before his death in 1290, (fn. 19) and of which she enfeoffed Ralph de Camoys and Margaret her daughter, wife of Ralph, in 1303. (fn. 20) In 1306 Ralph and Margaret obtained licence to regrant the manor to Mary for life, with reversion to themselves and heirs of Margaret. (fn. 21)

In the next year, consequent upon an assize of novel disseisin having been brought against them by James Hansard with regard to this manor, Ralph and Margaret summoned Mary to secure them against loss, and Mary thereupon agreed that if they or their heirs should be deprived of the manor, she and her heirs would make good such loss out of her manor of Wynesthorp in Yorkshire. (fn. 22)

This is the last mention of the Hansards in connexion with the manor, which, however, in 1399 appears under the name of Bookham Hansard. (fn. 23) Mary de Braose died in 1326, her next heir being her grandson Thomas son of Peter de Braose, then aged 26. (fn. 24) Ralph and Margaret however had seisin of this manor in accordance with the above settlement, (fn. 25) but before 1334 it was acquired from them by the said Thomas de Braose, who in that year had licence to convey it to Robert de Harpurdesford, (fn. 26) for the purpose of settlement on himself and Beatrice his wife and their heirs.

Thomas died seised of the manor in 1361, leaving a son John, who died in 1367, and in 1372–3 the manor was conveyed by Sir Peter de Braose and others to Beatrice, widow of Thomas, for her life, with remainder to her children, Thomas, Peter, Elizabeth, and Joan, and their heirs respectively, and in default of such to the right heirs of Thomas. (fn. 27) Beatrice died in 1383, (fn. 28) and in 1395, on the death of her son Thomas, and of his infant children Thomas and Joan a few weeks later, (fn. 29) the manor passed to Elizabeth, the daughter of Beatrice mentioned above and now wife of Sir William Heron. Elizabeth died without issue on 8 July 1399, (fn. 30) and in the inquisition taken the next year on the Duke of Norfolk, one of the heirs of the Braoses, this manor was said to be held by Sir William Heron, (fn. 31) on whose death in 1404 (fn. 32) it reverted to the Braose line represented by George son of John son of Peter de Braose. (fn. 33)

George died in 1418 seised of this manor, which he held jointly with his wife Elizabeth, (fn. 34) when his next heir was found to be Hugh Cokesey, aged 15, son and heir of Walter Cokesey, son of Isabella wife of Walter Cokesey, kt., and daughter of Agnes wife of Uriah Seyntpere and sister of the said George. Hugh died in 1445, (fn. 35) and his widow Alice, who had married Sir Andrew Ogard, in 1460, (fn. 36) when the manors passed to Joyce Beauchamp, sister and heir of Hugh, and afterwards wife of Leonard Stapelton, but at this date a widow. Joyce died in 1473, leaving a son and heir, Sir John Grevyle, kt., (fn. 37) aged 40, who died in 1480 seised of the manor, (fn. 38) leaving a son and heir Thomas, who appears to have taken the name of Cokesey, and who was one of the Knights of the Bath at the coronation of Henry VII, and was created a knight banneret for his services at the battle of Stoke. (fn. 39) On the death of Thomas without issue in 1498, Thomas, Earl of Surrey (afterwards Duke of Norfolk) and Sir Maurice Berkeley, as cousins and heirs of George Braose, had special livery of his estates. (fn. 40) Little Bookham, to the overlordship of which they had a claim as representatives of the Mowbrays, fell to the former, who settled it for life on his second son William Howard, (fn. 41) afterwards Lord Howard of Effingham and Lord Chamberlain. On the attainder of the Duke of Norfolk the grant was renewed by the king, and was confirmed by Edward VI in 1553 (fn. 42) to William and his heirs. Lord Howard subsequently became involved in pecuniary difficulties, and in 1566, after rendering an account of his Surrey possessions to his great-nephew Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, begged that an estate might be found for his wife out of his manor of Little Bookham and his moiety of Reigate, the former being then 'lette into for certaine rent-corne for provisions of my house' and worth £21 per annum. (fn. 43) Lord Howard of Effingham died seised of the manor in 1573, (fn. 44) leaving a son and heir Charles, afterwards Earl of Nottingham, who in 1622 (fn. 45) settled the manor on himself and his second wife Margaret for their lives, with remainder to his eldest surviving son Charles, Lord Howard. The said earl died in 1624, (fn. 46) and his widow married William, Viscount Castlemaine, courts for the manor being held in their names in 1633 and 1635. (fn. 47) The reversion, however, appears to have been purchased by Benjamin Maddox, whose son Howard Maddox died seised of this manor in 1637, leaving Benjamin Maddox his brother and heir, then aged 5 months. (fn. 48) Benjamin was created a baronet in 1675, (fn. 49) and in 1684, in a court-book for the manor of Effingham East Court, is stated to hold the manor of 'Brewers Court' (fn. 50) (evidently a corruption of Braose Court). Benjamin died in 1717, (fn. 51) leaving two daughters, the younger of whom, Mary wife of Edward Pollen, inherited this manor. In 1727 Benjamin Pollen son of Mary suffered a recovery (fn. 52) of the manor, and died in 1751, leaving a daughter Anne, who died unmarried in 1764. She bequeathed this estate to her step-mother Mrs. Sarah Pollen, with remainder to Rev. Thomas Pollen, son of her grandfather Edward Pollen, by his second wife, with remainder to George Pollen, son of Edward Pollen of New Inn, another son of Edward the grandfather.

Pollen of Little Bookham. Azure a bend cotised or between six lozenges argent each charged with a scallop sable and with six scallops vert on the bend.

Mrs. Sarah Pollen died in 1777, and the estate came to the said Thomas, and a few years later, on his dying without male issue, to the said George. (fn. 53) George died in 1812, and was succeeded by his grandson, Rev. George Augustus Pollen, who died in 1847, and was succeeded by his son John Douglas Boileau Pollen. (fn. 54) Mr. Henry C. W. Pollen is now lord of the manor.


The church of LITTLE BOOKHAM, of unknown dedication, is a small building consisting of a chancel and a nave all under one roof, measuring 59 ft. 3 in. by 17 ft. 9 in., with a wooden bell-turret at the west end. On the north side of the chancel is an organ-chamber, and further west are the vestries. To the south of the nave is a porch.

The north and west walls of an early 12th-century aisleless nave, to which a south aisle was added about the year 1160, are still standing, but the chancel which was contemporary with it was pulled down in the 13th century, and replaced by another of the same width as the nave, the east wall of the nave being entirely removed. By the latter half of the 15th century the south aisle was perhaps in bad repair and was pulled down, the spaces between the columns of the arcade being walled up. A 13th-century window, no doubt from the old aisle, has been set in one bay of the blocking.

Plan of Little Bookham Church

The vestries, porch, and organ-chamber are modern, the latter having been added in 1901.

The east window of the chancel is a modern insertion of 13th-century design, and has three high trefoiled lancets within a two-centred outer arch. The internal jambs and mullions have shafts with moulded capitals, bases, and rear arches.

In the north wall of the chancel is the modern arch to the organ-chamber, copied from the 12th-century south arcade. The organ-chamber has modern single east and west lights, but the square-headed north window of two trefoiled lights is of 15th-century date, and has been moved from the north wall of the chancel. There are three other windows of this type, one in the south wall of the chancel, the head and sill only being old, and the other two at the north-east and south-east of the nave, the north-east window having a modern head. At the south-east of the chancel is a piscina with two drains, probably of 13th-century date, over which is a four-centred, cinquefoiled head with sunk tracery in the spandrels, of the 15th century.

At the south-west is a blocked window which shows outside as a single light, with a trefoiled ogee head of 14th-century date. The groove for the glass and the holes for the window-bars remain in the reveals and soffit.

The north-east window of the nave is set in an arched recess reaching from the apex of the window to the floor, 9 ft. 6 in. wide, doubtless designed to give more room for the north nave altar; similar recesses occur in several churches in the neighbourhood. To the west of it is a single-light 14th-century window like the blocked one in the chancel. Near the west end is a third north window of early 12th-century date, a narrow deeply-splayed roundheaded light, which now looks into the vestry. In the west wall of the nave is another original window, and beneath it a block of masonry of comparatively modern date, added as a buttress.

The arcade in the south wall of the nave is of four bays with large circular columns, the bases of which are hidden, but the scalloped capitals with hollow chamfered abaci show both within and without the building. The columns project from the wall on the inside only, being completely covered on the outside. The arches are semicircular of one order, chamfered towards the nave, but externally square, and flush with the wall face. The 15th-century window in the blocking of the first bay has been described; that in the second bay is a 13th-century lancet with a keeled moulding to the inner jambs and arch, and a chamfered label, the moulding ending in simplymoulded bases. In the western bay are two modern round-headed lights, with detached shafts to the inside jambs, of 12th-century design. The south doorway is 15th-century work, with plain chamfered jambs and two-centred arch.

The entrance to the vestries, opposite the south doorway, has plain square jambs and semicircular arch, the stones being old on the nave side, and is the original north doorway of the nave much altered.

The walls of the main building are of flint plastered over, except in the case of the west wall, and the gable over it is of weather-boarded timber running up to a square bell-turret which has a pointed, shingled roof. All the other roofs are tiled, and the nave and chancel roofs inside are panelled with modern boarding; but two of the tie-beams are old, and a third one has been cut away.

The modern stone pulpit is lined with 17th-century carved panels, and other carved woodwork of the same date has been used in the vestry door.

The font is circular, with a peculiar clumsy outline, the bowl being held together by cleverly-designed modern straps of iron and copper. All the other fittings are modern.

There is one bell in the turret, but it bears no mark by which its age can be told.

The plate is modern.

The registers date from 1636, but are imperfect in the earlier part.

The churchyard is small, with entrances on the east and west sides. At the west end of the church is a very fine yew tree of great age, and to the north there are two large cedars, besides other trees.


In 1306 the advowson of the church of Little Bookham was included in the fine confirming the grant of the manor to Ralph de Camoys and Margaret his wife by Mary de Braose, (fn. 55) and the presentation of the living has continued with the owner of the manor from that date down to the present day. In 1535 the rectory was valued at £10 16s. 6d., (fn. 56) from which was deducted 9s. 8d. for procurations and synodals paid to the Archdeacon of Surrey. In 1657, a project having been formed for uniting this parish with that of Great Bookham, the jurors commissioned to make necessary inquiries reported the living to be worth £50 a year. (fn. 57) This scheme was, however, abandoned.


Smith's Charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes. Sir Benjamin Maddox, lord of the manor, who died in 1717, left the rent of certain tenements in All Hallows Lane, London, one-half to the rector and his successors, four-eighths in equal parts for the repair of the church and churchyard fence, the use of the poor, the repair of roads and bridges, and to the parish clerk 'for the better setting and singing of psalms in the church,' and for reading the testator's will on some Sunday between All Saints and Christmas. (fn. 58)

The tenement is now a stable in All Hallows Lane, let for twenty-one years at £120, which is duly paid in the proportions stated. (fn. 59)

Three almshouses were erected by Edward Pollen in 1730. They do not seem to exist at the present day.


  • 1. Sir John Brunner's Ret. 1903.
  • 2. V.C.H. Surr. i, 321a.
  • 3. Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Edw. I, no. 65.
  • 4. Pat. 17 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 9, 6.
  • 5. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 91.
  • 6. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxvi, 261.
  • 7. Chan. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. IV, no. 72.
  • 8. See Ibid. 19 Edw. II, no. 90.
  • 9. Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 501.
  • 10. Chan. Inq. p.m. 33 Edw. I, no. 264.
  • 11. John Pykard was acting as attorney for the Earl of Gloucester in 1278; Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 489.
  • 12. Close, 19 Edw. II, m. 2.
  • 13. Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Edw. I, no. 65. ibid. 7 Ric. II, no. 15.
  • 14. Pipe R. 1189–90 (Rec. Com.), 218.
  • 15. Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 561.
  • 16. Feet of F. Div. Co. 1 & 2 Edw. I, no. 11.
  • 17. Chan. Inq. p.m. Edw. I, file 11, no. 1.
  • 18. Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 501.
  • 19. Ibid. 1288–96, pp. 160, 162.
  • 20. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 147; Chan. Inq. p.m. 31 Edw. I, no. 68.
  • 21. Chan. Inq. p.m. 33 Edw. I, no. 264; Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 442; Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 34 Edw. I, 134, 13.
  • 22. Add. Chart. 20036.
  • 23. Chan. Inq. p.m. Hen. IV, file 17.
  • 24. Ibid. 19 Edw. II, no. 90.
  • 25. Cal. Close, 1323–7, p. 437. Peter father of Thomas had claimed the manor against Ralph and Margaret in 1306 (Feet of F. Surr. 39 Edw. I, no. 13).
  • 26. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 62; Feet of F. Div. Co. 11 Edw. III, no. 22.
  • 27. Add. MSS. 5705.
  • 28. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Ric. II, no. 15.
  • 29. Ibid. 19 Ric. II, no. 7.
  • 30. Suss. Arch. Coll. viii, 100.
  • 31. Chan. Inq. p.m. 1 Hen. IV, no. 71b.
  • 32. Ibid. 6 Hen. IV, no. 21.
  • 33. Pat. 24 Hen. VI, pt. i, m. 28; Suss. Arch. Coll. viii, 101.
  • 34. Chan. Inq. p.m. 6 Hen. V, no. 48.
  • 35. Ibid. 24 Hen. VI, no. 36.
  • 36. Ibid. 38–9 Hen. VI, no. 49.
  • 37. Ibid. 13 Edw. IV, no. 32.
  • 38. Ibid. 20 Edw. IV, no. 72.
  • 39. Dugdale, Warw. (2nd ed.), 707.
  • 40. Coll. Topog. and Gen. vi, 74; Pat. 14 Hen. VII, pt. ii, m. 4; Suss. Arch. Coll. viii, 100.
  • 41. L. and P. Hen. VIII, ix (1), 278 (51).
  • 42. Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. ix, m. 12.
  • 43. Lansd. MSS. ix, 49.
  • 44. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxv, no. 172.
  • 45. Recov. R. 20 Jas. I, rot. 15; Feet of F. Surr. 19 Jas. I.
  • 46. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclxxi, no. 69.
  • 47. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 704.
  • 48. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclxxxvi, 24.
  • 49. G.E.C. Baronetage, iv, 74.
  • 50. Add. MSS. 23751, fol. 5.
  • 51. G.E.C. Baronetage, iv, 74.
  • 52. Recov. R. Mich. 1 Jas. II, rot. 279.
  • 53. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 705.
  • 54. Burke, Peerage.
  • 55. Feet of F. Surr. 34 Edw. I, no. 134.
  • 56. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 32.
  • 57. Surr. Arch. Coll. xvii, 102.
  • 58. Char. Com. Rep. xiii, 475.
  • 59. Information from Mr. C. A. Cook, Charity Commissioner.