Regaining focus on projects for 2014

What with pre-Christmas activities, a busy Christmas, and an even busier New Year it’s only now that I’ve got my focus back onto some of the projects I want to accomplish in 2014.

What’s put me back on track. Taking a walk to Folly Bog and onto Brentmoor Heath I chanced on a discovery that’s eluded me for a few years. But before I relate what that is, I also visited Sapper Pond in Brentmoor Heath, which lies close to Red Road [B311]. The pond was created in 1998 by soldiers from the Royal Engineers in a joint project with Surrey Wildlife Trust. It’s part of the Ministry of Defence’s commitment to enhance nature conservation on military training lands. As the ground is peaty it has resulted in very dark brown water, which provides a splendid mirror as you can see in the photo.

824 in the undergrowthNow, onto my new discovery. Frankly it’s a bit geeky, but never mind. For a longish while I’ve been searching for the location of all the military boundary marker stones around the area known as The Folly in Lightwater. It’s a group of houses just off Red Road and opposite its junction with Lightwater Road. Military boundary marker stones define the limit of private and military land, and The Folly borders onto military land.

The best time to find boundary stones is in winter when all the vegetation has died down that normally hides them. And so, on my walk to and from Sapper Pond I spied the tip of boundary stone I’d been looking for ages. It’s number 824, in the sequence 822 to 836. I’ve still four more to find in this sequence, of which some may have been removed over the century or more since they were planted, as it were.

This little discovery is just what I needed to get me back on track with all of my projects. Now, look here, if you’re thinking it’s all a bit odd. What else should a retired gentleman get up to.

4 thoughts on “Regaining focus on projects for 2014

  1. Hi Tim, tis a few years since we looked at these Boundary Stones !

    I too failed to find all the Folly-area ones …. but the one of interest I saw nearby was mis-placed, on its side and the only one with more inscribed than just a WD # .. … across from the gated entrance to the grenade range, where the entry to the ‘common’ is set back from the track in a small rectangular area which I recall was for parking years back before the track became gated.

    Removing its shallow covering soil reveals a detailed inscription:-

    E SIDE
    OF DITCH
    TO BS
    931 ?

    So is this effectively ‘placement instructions’ ? Unique if so. There might of course be conventional markings on its other face ….

    [#931 is further south along the track, west of the ‘new’ gate, and along the Northern boundary of the property called Goldsworth Nurseries …]

    So the number ranges seen are [b]82n, 84n, 86n, 87n, 88n, 89n, 90n, 91n, 92n and 93n[/b] …..

    Where are the [b]83n and 85n[/b] stones –north of Red Road and defining the NE boundary of the enclosure around Blackstroude and Hook Mill area ?

  2. I got some info from SH Museum in late 2008 (the most helpful Sharon Cross) which you may already have, but I thought I’d post it here anyway ….. it covers a broader set of topics, which may be of interest to your readers …

    ========================

    The War Office took over a large part of West End Common in 1879, following a protracted legal battle on the part of the villagers who did not want to give up their Commoners Rights in that area. (The area had been traditionally used for occasional military exercises prior to this period).

    Neighbouring West Enders were offered £10 an acre compensation but in practice poorer families do not seem to have benefitted much from this and the enclosure is thought to have contributed to the increase of poverty experienced by many local cottagers in the 1880s and 90s.

    It also rendered a number of tracks between Frimley and West End inaccessible, and at least the 18th century farmhouse at Colony had eventually to be demolished because it was too dangerous to continue living there in the middle of the military area. It also prevented access to the sarsen stone which was dug out from the area of Mainstone Hill.

    The boundaries of the newly-acquired land were marked by the square boundary stones you mention. I’m afraid that we do not have a separate list of which number stone is where although some numbers do appear on the 25” 1915 Ordnance survey maps.

    There were a number below from Red Road skirting south of The Folly and a couple more at the southern end of what is now Blackstroude Road East. There were also more along the track which ran down the east of Hooklane Farm to join the far western end of Brentmoor Road, and then more running south along what was in those days a track which developed into Priest Lane. From the southern end of Priest Lane others marked a route westwards south of Colony Bog (north of the Trulley Brook) across the common. There were also others on Brentmoor Road itself opposite Burnstubb Farm, Brentmoor (the house) and the Hare and Hounds, and one near the junction of Brentmoor Road and Guildford Road, after which the line is presumed to carry on up towards Blackstroude Road.

    It is very difficult to read the numbers on the maps we have and we do not have complete coverage of the whole common so to look art the maps in more detail, you might find it easier to visit the Surrey History Centre 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND ; Tel: 01483 518737; e-mail: shs@surreycc.gov.uk ; website http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreyhistorycentre , where the county archive is held (It is advisable to book an appointment) for the County. It is possible that a record of the numbering of the stones is held at the National Archives at Kew – The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, TW9; tel 020 8876 3444; http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. There is an on-line enquiry form from the website.

    To pass on to the second part of your enquiry, the name “New England” appears on John Rocque’s map of 1762. The site is on the edge of the ancient road from Sandpit Hill to The Folly. Local people maintain that the ghostly sound of a trotting horse can still sometimes be heard passing along the track. The present busy Red Road a few hundred yards away is a modern one, made by the War Department in 1892. Local historian Richard Wilson who is the great authority on West End has this to say:-

    “It is difficult to tell looking at the 1871 Ordnance Survey map how many houses there were at New England. What is most striking is how almost all of the ground attached to the cottages was covered with fruit trees, clearly to take advantage of the warm south-facing slope of the hill. For the greater part of last century New England was associated in particular with two families, the Underwoods and the Gosdens. An Underwood was living at the original White Cottage as early as 1833 and was followed in the house by Daniel Christmas (1852) and Thomas Crane (1883).

    Isaac Gosden was at the original New England Cottage in 1839. Other early occupants of cottages were Joseph Crane (1831) and Edward Evershed (1834). James Slyfield is described in 1847 as being in a “new house”. Other occupants in later years were Henry Hopwood, shoemaker, and James Gibbons, carpenter.

    The elegant house Heather Hills was built in 1909 on the site of one of the old cottages. The architect was William Acworth of Chobham and the Dutch-style gables were modelled on those of Brook Place.

    The present thatched Ivydene gives an idea of what all the cottages must have once looked like”.

    However Mr Wilson does not offer any suggestions as to the derivation of the name, nor does it appear in The Place Names of Surrey. The rise in the ground is referred to as New England Hill.

    =========================

  3. Brilliant Speedicus. Many thanks. I’ll post more here later. Think I’ve potentially found the Vedette Post near where B.S, 822 should be [I think it’s almost opposite the entrance into Briar Avenue] I’ll have to wait for drier weather, as it looks really boggy in there, and I’ll need to take secateurs with me, and possibly a small saw. Keep you posted on developments.

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