This month we’re in the village of Smallfield, in the parish of Burstow, south west of Tandridge. Smallfield was first mentioned in medieval documents as ‘Smaelfeld’, meaning a narrow, open piece of land. Up until the 19th Century, Smallfield was very rural, consisting of a few scattered farms and the old coaching stop, the Plough Inn (now sadly closed). The main house was Smallfield Place, originally the seat of the de Burstow family and dating from the 12th Century. The present building largely dates from the Tudor period, and was further enlarged in the 17th Century by Edward Bysshe, a prominent lawyer and politician. Bysshe sided with the Parliamentarians during the first English civil war and was made Garter King of Arms. He was demoted following the restoration, but was eventually knighted in 1661 and became MP for Bletchingley in the Cavalier Parliament. In the later Victorian period and the early 20th Century, more houses were built around the crossroads, and the village as we see it today began to take shape. One of the village’s older buildings is the Ebenezer Chapel on Chapel Road: built as a strict Baptist chapel in 1851 and shown in the photograph on a fine summer’s day in the 1920s. The building was sold in 2010 and is now the village vets. To find out more about Tandridge Past, visit East Surrey Museum on Stafford Road, Caterham.
This month we visit South Nutfield. Its northern neighbour, Nutfield, was listed in the Doomsday Book back in 1086; however, South Nutfield’s origins are more recent. Almost all of the village was built by Sir Henry Edwards, a developer who worked closely with the Southern Railway when Nutfield Station was opened in 1884. Many of the houses were relatively large and detached, and were targeted at the new Victorian well-to-do businessmen who regularly commuted into London. Even some of the houses that appear older, such as Magpie Cottage in Mid Street, were ‘pastiches’, and were actually built in the 1920s, in the Tudor fashion. The photo shows the parade of shops along Station Parade (now known as North Station Approach). The first shop in the photo, W Taylor, was a newsagent, confectioner and tobacconist and, no doubt, did a very brisk trade in the morning rush hour. All the shops in the photo have sadly now gone, converted to private houses as our habits have changed. Find out more about South Nutfield, and many other areas of East Surrey at East Surrey Museum, on Stafford Road, Caterham.
This month, we are in Crowhurst, a village first recorded in documents from 1189 – the name simply means ‘Crow Wood’. Apart from the early church and Grade 1 listed manor house, Crowhurst’s other claim to fame is being home to one of the oldest trees in the country. Reputed to be around 4,000 years old, the Crowhurst Yew can be seen in the churchyard (as in the picture of around 1910). Its girth was first recorded at 30 feet in parish records of 1630. In the early 19th Century, the dead core was hollowed out, a table and benches inserted and a door added to the front: during the work, a large cannon ball dating from the civil war was discovered, embedded in the tree. The tree was then later used, at various times, as a summer house, a meeting room for the parish council and a dwelling for the homeless. It now measures some 34 feet in circumference, and is still thriving, albeit with the addition of some wooden supports. Read more about Tandridge Past here, and visit East Surrey Museum here.