Leatherhead & District Local History Society
2011 Programme and Calendar

Dr. Fred Meynen - Programme Secretary: 01372 372930
This calendar includes Leatherhead Museum events and activities.
Fred is also Chairman of the Friends of Leatherhead Museum.

for other recent years, see current programme page


21st January The British Computer Industry by Martin Warwick

Martin Warwick was Manager of Advanced Computer Development with ICL and has seen the development from simple calculating engines to the giant commercial systems of today. He is editor of the History Society's newsletter.

18th February Guildford Past and Present by Phillip Hutchinson

Phillip Hutchinson is the Senior Custodian of Guildford Castle Keep. He has published several books about Guildford and is a popular tour guide.

18th March Dowsing for Archaeology by Keith Harmon

Keith is a Council Member of The British Society of Dowsers and a registered instructor. He is also Chairman of The Middlesex and Surrey Archaeological Dowsers who made interesting finds at Polesden Lacey.

15th April AGM followed by a lecture Fetcham Parish Boundary and Beating The Bounds by Alan Pooley

Alan is a local historian and archivist for Fetcham. He is Manager of Leatherhead Museum of Local History

Visit: Wednesday 11th May - Visit to Mickleham

11am Guided tour of St Michael’s Church. Lunch – own arrangements. Afternoon - Optional walk to parts of Stane Street close to the village.
Applications to John Wettern, 01372 459277 or johnwetternATntlworld.com (replace AT with @ before sending)

20th May Lovelace in Surrey : A Project by Peter Hattersley and Andrew Norris

The project was launched in 2003 and is a partnership between the Horsley Countryside Preservation Society and The Forestry Commission. Peter is the project co-ordinator and Andrew the project surveyor.

Wednesday 8th June 10.30am Lovelace Bridges Walk

A guided walk visiting a number of bridges and bridge sites The walk is approximately 4 miles long over varied terrain and surfaces and may be muddy if wet. We meet at Green Dene car park (grid ref. 091509) East Horsley and have lunch if desired at the Duke of Wellington.
Transport in shared cars and if you would like to come contact me for further details tel 01372 372930 email fredmeynenATlive.co.uk (replace AT with @ before sending)

Sunday 3rd July 14.00 visit to Loseley House

We shall have a guided tour of the house lasting 45 minutes after which there will be time to look round the gardens and have tea! The cost is 7 pp , payable on the day and if you would like to come please contact L Heath by mid June at the latest and say if you need or can offer a lift. Tel 01372 372608 email heath987ATbtinternet.com (replace AT with @ before sending)

Saturday/Sunday 10th, 11th September Heritage Weekend

This year’s theme is ‘Work, Leisure and Play’. Click for details.
Move Valley amendments

Friday 16th September Life at Loseley House by Catherine Ferguson

Following a visit in July to Loseley House by a group of Society members Dr Ferguson’s study of archives enables us to gain fascinating insights into not just the family history but the part they played in the tumultuous events occurring during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Monday 19 Sep Society Committee Meeting, 1930, the Institute

21st October Emma: wife of Charles Darwin by Linda Heath

Although Emma did not have a particularily exciting or adventurous life she was the mainstay and support of Charles Darwin who suffered from ill health throughout his life. Without her devoted care it is unlikely that Charles would have lived to complete his ‘The Origin of Species’ which he wrote mainly while they lived at nearby Down House.

Monday 21 Nov Society Committee Meeting, 1930, the Institute

18th November Researching the history of the Country House by Dr Richard Goodenough

Dr Goodenough has recently retired as Head of Geography and Environmental Science at Christ Church University, Kent and is a guide at the Royal Academy in London. He has published a book on Researching the history of the Country House which has been adopted by English Heritage and is currently researching on habitat and countryside conservation.

16th December Christmas Social Event for members, their friends and guests.

Short presentations by Members on ‘Why I Moved to this District’. The evening will be informal with bistro-style seating. Fine wines and light refreshments will be served and the event hosted by our Master of Ceremonies Brian Hennegan. Coffee and mince pies and a raffle will end the evening. Members are invited to bring guests and friends who will be most welcome and if you would like to give a short talk please get in touch with me, Dr Fred Meynen Programme Secretary tel 01372 372930 email fredmeynenATlive.co.uk (replace AT with @ before sending).


21st January The British Computer Industry by Martin Warwick

The January 2011 meeting was well attended to hear speaker Martin Warwick, well known editor of journals including our own Newsletter.

In his talk he gave us a wide ranging review of the history of the computer, its evolution and development in Britain. He astonished us by quoting the words of an expert from a few decades ago: the savant said that he recognised the significance of the computer but doubted whether the world would ever have a use for more than six of these machines. A show of hands among his 50-strong audience revealed that among those present, only about six did not possess one.

The earliest computers were not electronic but mechanical. They were calculating machines evolving from the abacus, used in ancient times and.even today in some parts of the world. In the 1850s Charles Babbage built built a ma- chine which can still seen in the Science Museum.

It was a mass of wheels and levers, operated with a handle. An important development came in the 1890s with the Hollerith machine. Data could be fed in and recorded using punched cards, a system which survived well into the next century. In the early days its use was largely by mathematicians and scientists; it still had no practical function for other purposes.

Martin described the invaluable help made available by harnessing the computer to perform the task of decoding enemy ciphers during World War II. He described the extremely successful work at Bletchley Park during that period to defeat the Nazi's ENIGMA machine. In those days the computer was a massive complex of valves and wires yet only having a fraction of the power of its present day counterpart.

Cakes and tea shops seemed to have little connection with the subject of this talk. However, in a milestone shift of the computer into new applications, the well known firm, J Lyons & Co constructed a computer (aptly named LEO) to perform the everyday work of stock control and payroll for their empire of shops, restaurants and tearooms.

This led to a widespread awareness of the myriad tasks which now could be performed through this electronic revolution.

Pictures of these computers revealed room-size spaces with ranks of cabinets to house the necessary valves and circuitry. The information they divulged was not as easily readable as now, The era of tapes, disks and display panels was only slowly evolving.

The next revolutionary development came in the 1960s with the invention of the transistor and eventually the printed circuit board. Computers could now be more compact and could store vastly more information in their memory.

In 1976 the Apple became the first table top computer. Home computing had become a hobby assisted by producers such as Acorn and Amstrad. Around the same time Sinclair was selling to the man in the street a model costing only 80.

The evolution of the entire industry was charted by our speaker Much pioneer work had been done by the British but soon we were overtaken by the United States. Many smaller firms combined to form large groups - some becoming giants such as IBM.

It was explained that the computer has no inbuilt intelligence: it exists to do what it is told, and the task of instructing it to perform what is required.is a process known as programming.

The designing of programs to enable the execution of countless tasks has grown in complexity, and this has enabled computers to. be adapted for ever more diverse uses.

Our speaker gave some staggering figures enabling us to judge the power of these machines, comparing the past with the present. In the 1960s those huge machines could handle thirty million pieces of information, known as bytes. This may sound impressive but it amounted to a very restricted performance. In comparison a present day 'processor', now the size of a thumbnail, can handle trillions of bytes.

At the conclusion of Martin's most absorbing talk there was time for a few questions. One of the most interesting led to a thought about the computer's future evolution. A hard one to answer but we were left wondering whether perhaps the conventional keyboard would one day disappear. John Wettern

18th February Guildford Past and Present by Phillip Hutchinson

Guildford past and present was the subject of the society's illustrated lecture on February 18 and our speaker was Philip Hutchinson. Phillip is the senior custodian of Guildford Castle Keep and has published several books about Guildford.

Following a brief introduction, he took us on a fascinating tour of the town, comparing many of the old buildings, with their current replacements. Examples are The Connaught Hotel originally called Guildford House demolished in the early 1940s and replaced by the Farnham Road Bus Station. The Lion Hotel (originally The White Lion) demolished in 1956 for the construction of Woolworths (now Marks & Spencer).

The Angel Hotel, the town's only remaining coaching inn was almost forced to close in 1989 but luckily it survived this crisis and today is one of the most prominent buildings in the High Street.

Another is the Guildhall that dates from c15 with earlier foundations. John Aylward's famous projecting clock, face comes from 1683. The current clock face is a Victorian replacement.

155 High (now better known as Guildford House) was built by John Child in 1660 is one the most architecturally-prized buildings in the town. It was bought by the Guildford Corporation in 1957 and today houses the town's main art gallery.

We were shown a photograph of Haydon's Bank founded by draper William Haydon in 1765. The Bank later became Capital & Counties and in 1920 it became home to Lloyd's, Bank (now Lloyd's TSB).

The interior of the building is highly impressive. We were informed about the origins of Tunsgate Arch, before moving on to Abbot's Hospital founded by George Abbott in 1619 situated at top of the High Street. The gatehouse was modelled on that of Hampton Court Palace.

Philip explained that although many of the High Street buildings have survived, it thejunction of North Street and the left hand side of the Upper High Street going towards Epsom Road that has changed considerably. This was mainly due to road widening. One building that survives on the right hand side is The Royal Grammar School founded in the 1550s. A fire in 1962 severely damaged parts of the building, although the esteemed chained library was saved.

Before returning to North Street we were shown the Odeon Cinema in the 1950s., The cinema was opened 1935. In the 1960s `pop' concerts were held there, including acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard.

The trip down North Street included photographs of the Cloth Hall (formally home to Clark's College - now EWM); the Old Fire Station (now public toilets), The Horse & Groom Public House (famous for the Guildford Pub Bombings of 1974); The Borough Hall which later became the Theatre Royal in 1912, and the Theatre shut after 20 years but reopened as Guildford Repertory in 1946. A fire destroyed the theatre in 1963.

Other places of Interest included the Methodist Church, Guildford Barracks, The Picture Palace, and the Friary Brewery now home to the Friary Centre.

We were reminded of the Lewis Carroll connection with Guildford and that he is buried in The Mount Cemetery.

Before finally finishing our tour at the Castle Keep with h its ornamental fishpond and Memorial Gardens, we saw pictures of the damage caused by the 1906 storm and the 1968 floods and scenes ofjust how the local people enjoyed Charles Leroy's Boats on the River Wey, together with the original Jolly Farmer Public House.

The society's next meeting will be on March 18. "Dowsing and Dowsing for Archaeology" by Keith Harmon - Lecture 8pm at the Institute, Leatherhead. All welcome. Goff Powell

18th March Dowsing for Archaeology by Keith Harmon

The March lecture was given by Keith Harmon on 'Dowsing and Archaeology' in which he demonstrated the use of dowsing to locate archaeological finds and buildings. Keith is a council member of the British Society of Dowsers and chairman of their health group. He is the founder member and chairman of the Middlesex and Surrey Archaeology Dowsers and is also a member of a group recording finds on the Thames foreshore.

Keith introduced the subject by defining dowsing as an 'information system' which receives answers to the questions as to whether water, an artefact or building is present, its exact location and the depth below ground. The first records show dowsing going back to the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs where a pendulum was used in healing. Later a 15C painting depicts how hazel rods are used to detect minerals.

Keith went on to demonstrate the various types of dowsing instruments in use including the traditional Y shaped hazeltwig and the L or angle metal rods which can easily be made from a coat hanger. Other types are nylon V rods and the pendulum made from various materials.

The audience were each given a set of rods and asked to perform dowsing exercises consisting of verbal commands with the rods responding.
One such exercise was to find the location of a well on the ground floor plan of an Elizabethan manor displayed on the screen while Keith moved a pointer across the screen with our hand held rods responding, or not, accordingly.

Using dowsing in archaeology has the advantage of cheapness with no disturbance of the ground. The existence and exact location of buried buildings can be mapped out even to the extent of defining the thickness of walls and the age of the building. The dowsing survey can be used as a preliminary pre-site visit before any excavation is done and this prompted many questions from the audience as to whether these surveys were later confirmed by archaeological digs.

Keith continued his lecture with reference to dowsing surveys done on archaeological sites around the country. Locating medieval ponds and burial sites at Westminster Abbey and a Roman amphitheatre site at the Guildhall in London were some examples. A dowsing survey done at Gunnersbury Park revealed the existence of a previous 15C mansion in addition to the present house built in 1750 and at Ham House the site of statues and the shape and size of steps leading into the garden were determined. Closer to home a survey done at the Manor Field Farm at Polesden Lacey revealed the site of a 15C house, the survey encountering problems from an inquisitive herd of cows!

Dowsing is not an exact science and in answer to the question as to 'how it works' Keith said that there are no explanations except that it works for 90 per cent of people using it, the exception being sometimes engineers and scientists. He took the concept further when he talked about energy fields and resonance of walls and buildings and ended a fascinating lecture by inviting the audience to make their own dowsing rods and find out for themselves.
Dr Fred Meynen

15th April AGM followed by a lecture Fetcham Parish Boundary and Beating The Bounds by Alan Pooley

On Friday 15th April after the Annual General Meeting we had a most interesting talk by Alan Pooley on ‘Beating the Bounds’ which described the boundaries of Fetcham parish. He explained first why the custom of beating the bounds took place, which was partly so that people were aware of where they were, and partly to ensure that nobody had shifted any boundary markers surreptitiously!

Having explained the origins of the custom, Alan then took us on an imaginary walk with lots of illustrations round the parish boundaries. Some of them, such as the River Mole, are fairly obvious, but others are not only less obvious, but in several cases, quite unexpected.

Leaving from the middle of the river bridge, we proceeded towards the two railway bridges stopping by ‘Watersmeet‘ the house now gone, built by Edward Mizen when he had the watercress beds alongside the mill pond and continued on to ‘Fetcham Splash‘. Only about one third of the island there belongs to Fetcham, and the remainder is in Leatherhead parish.

We continued up the river to the island by Brook Willow farm created by the flooding of an ancient trackway before turning down by Slyfield back towards the south. Arriving at Mark Oak Gate on the Cobham Road, Alan showed us an old photo of the place with the old gate posts visible where the houses on the right are in Fetcham and one house on the left in Bookham. Coming down Mark Oak Lane we crossed the railway where once there was a level crossing and skirting the east side of Eastwick Drive past the ponds, zig zagged up across Lower Road by Kennel Close to the Guildford Road and then followed it up on the east side of Norbury Way onto the Downs.

One odd anomaly is that as one proceeds, Bookham Wood is in fact in Fetcham. After our excursion past Roaring House Farm we circled round to come up to Bocketts Farm where there is another anomaly in that the farm yard is in Leatherhead but the car park is in Fetcham. We followed Bocketts Lane down to Dead Womans Lane and then traced the boundary across the Leisure Centre approach road back to the centre of the river bridge.

Altogether it was a most interesting ‘tour’ – our thanks to Alan for guiding us round so well.

20th May Lovelace in Surrey : A Project by Peter Hattersley and Andrew Norris

The May lecture was given by Peter Hattersley and Andrew Norris on a project started in 2002 to identify and restore the Lovelace bridges at East Horsley, restoring them close to their original condition to ensure their survival for posterity. The aim was also to examine the rest of the Lovelace estate including properties outside its boundaries. The project is a partnership between the Horsley Countryside Preservation Society and the Forestry Commission with Peter as the project coordinator and Andrew the project surveyor.

Peter Hattersley described the background to William King, later Lord Lovelace, born in 1805 and son of Peter, 7th Lord King, Baron of Ockham. He was educated at Eton and went on to Trinity College, Cambridge before entering the diplomatic service acting as secretary to Lord Nugent, Commissioner to the Greek Ionian Islands. He was recalled to his family home in Ockham on the death of his father inheriting the title of 8th Lord King in 1833. He married Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron, bringing with her a vast fortune in money and estates which enabled him to build up the Horsley estate. Ada’s family connection with Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne resulted in William King being created Viscount Ockham, 1st Earl of Lovelace at the time of the coronation of Queen Victoria. He remarried after Ada’s death, his second wife bringing further wealth which enabled him to develop the twenty Lovelace bridges.

Together with the buildings the bridges all bear the hallmark of his unique architectural design with name and date plaque. The bricks were manufactured in his brickworks at Ockham and he used a steam process to bend the wooden beams for the Great Hall. The bridges made of flint and brick were ostensibly built to cross gullies to enhance the transport of timber from the forests used for the construction of his buildings. He was very proud of his bridges and liked to show them off to his friends.

Andrew Norris continued the narrative illustrating his talk with beautiful slides showing details of the bridges and their reconstruction. Twenty horseshoe shaped bridges ranging from 6ft to 18ft wide were built over the years, some later becoming unsafe and pulled down leaving fifteen to this day, part in private ownership or owned by Forest Enterprises.

Stony Dene bridge restoration was started in 2003, the bridge plaque showing it was built in 1871. Over the years water erosion has undermined the banks, there being no foundations, and the parapets have disappeared together with numerous bricks and mortar. A detailed survey was done, funding obtained, the principle donor being the Horsley Countryside Preservation Society. The total cost for restoring the bridge was 30,000. Ridge tiles were used as coping stone with drain pipes running through to save mortar. Volunteers provided some of the labour and are now needed to maintain the brides after restoration.

Andrew went on to describe the Troye bridge built in 1880 with its original plaque and Dorking Arch which necessitated temporary closure of Crocknorth Road. Restoring the bridges using traditional materials and following closely the original design has won the Project several awards including the Gravitt Annual Award, a Guildford Borough Award for Heritage and the Surrey Archaelogical Industrial History Award.

Peter Hattersley ended the lecture by mentioning the establishment of the Lovelace Bridges Trail to raise public awareness and photographing all the Lovelace properties in East Horsley. Photos and recordings of Lovelace properties making up the estate including Hook and the Lovelace coat of arms on County Hall are now on a CD. All maps, photos and recordings are also lodged with the History Centre at Woking and information about them can be found on their website. The next project will be the restoration of Troye Bridge at an estimated cost of 60,000 emphasising the importance of the ongoing project of the Lovelace Bridge restoration being a local initiative and of significant historical importance.

As a sequel to the lecture Peter Hattersley offered to lead a guided walk on 8th June along the Lovelace Bridges Trail ending with a visit to the Lovelace Mausoleum and the Great Hall at Horsley Towers.
Dr Fred Meynen

Friday 16th September Life at Loseley House by Catherine Ferguson

Our opening lecture for the 2011-12 season was presented by Catherine Ferguson, who had chosen for her subject her in-depth study of the Tudor era as revealed by the archive of family papers from Loseley House, near Guildford.

The house was acquired by the More family at the beginning of the 16th century, the first owner being Christopher More (1483-1549). He was a social climber but came from humble origins, his father being a fishmonger. This was not unusual for the time, for, as the speaker pointed out, both Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey among the most noted of Tudor statesmen, also had lowly forbears.

Throughout her talk Catherine drew parallels between events and customs then and now, often causing astonishment and sometimes amusement. The audience may have expected a dry-as-dust examination of endless archive documents, but instead we were presented with a lively account of a family history full of stories ranging from key historical landmarks down to amusing trivia reminiscent of present day family life.

Christopher More and three succeeding members of the More family lived through the times of the Tudor monarchs and into the Civil War period. William (1520 to 1600), son George (1553 to 1632) and then Thomas Molineux More - each managed to gain wealth and influence both at Court and in their role as men of power in Surrey. Christopher became Clerk of the Court of the Exchequer, also Justice of the Peace for Surrey from 1539 to 1547. William became a JP from 1558 to 1579. He was also Commissioner for Church Good and Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey We were givenan insight into the source of all information.

At Loseley House a room had been set aside, called "The Evidence Room". Every scrap of paper affecting the family's affairs, however unimportant, was stored here and remained untouched over the decades. Its discovery was like the revelation of a treasure - a Tutankhamen moment, as Catherine described it. From here on, the archive underwent a process of splitting up, with consequences which were mixed -some bad and some good. The worst feature was the loss of a portion to the USA.

Much of the rest was analysed and dissected, resulting in a classification under subject headings which was largely beneficial. Well-known historian William Bray made a selection and bound these into volumes. Some were found in a mouldy state in the Surrey Monument Room at Guildford. Fortunately these were 'rescued' and restored, and now reside in the Surrey History Centre in Woking. The task of cataloguing all this is proving a monumental task but is progressing well. Those interested were urged to find more on the web by visiting www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk

It was not an easy task to convey in the time available all that could be told about the Loseley papers. To name the general categories there were (1) Manorial records dating back to the 12th century; (2) abundant correspondence with details of the private life of the family, down to details regarding dress, the engagement of servants, etc; (3) matters relating to government both local and national.

William wrote a great deal concerning his role as a JP. His role was to enforce the policies of the Tudor dynasty. Interestingly he wrote not just of court proceedings but touched on private 'out of court' matters as well. There was much evidence of social upheavals and unrest that existed at the time. The background causes of this included a widening gap between living costs and earnings, a succession of bad harvests and several bleak winters. The threat of riots was never far away. As a church commissioner there was the task of ensuring that the clergy was literate and cultured. Sometimes this failed to happen, and a vicar at Leatherhead was described as being far from this ideal.

Weighty matters of state and religion were also reflected, remembering, that during these times the Reformation was taking place. International tensions, wars and threats of war - not forgetting the Spanish Armada and the Civil War - all occurred within the lifetimes of these men.

In 1557 William was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Surrey. In this capacity he was responsible for the local militias.

Visits to Surrey by the monarch occurred frequently. The county received Queen Elizabeth on 227 occasions and Loseley House played host five times. A royal visit was a vast affair since it meant accommodating the entire court as well as the servants and retinue. These had to be housed and fed. The quantities of food required for such an occasion were of staggering proportions and the economic strain fell heavily upon local households. All these occurrences feature at great length in the records. In one reference to food there exists a note about the arrangements for a family wedding. A feature which causes astonishment to the modern reader is the quantity and variety of birds destined for the pot - not just domestic fowls but wild birds of every description.

Another surprise was to learn that our present day National Lottery had its Tudor equivalent. William More was the treasurer to this enterprise, and its workings are described in interesting detail.

It was now time to sum up and to assess the consequences of this exploration. It amounted to saying that the Loseley manuscripts have contributed a huge amount of information about our county in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However they also bring to our notice an intriguing fact, namely that the people living in those times, different in many ways, nevertheless had a very great deal that are recognisably similar to those of today - it left one feeling that ordinary people do not change as much as we might expect.
John Wettern

21st October Emma: wife of Charles Darwin by Linda Heath

The October lecture entitled Emma - Wife Of Charles Darwin was given by our past president Linda Heath who treated us to a fascinating insight into the life of the Darwin family and the role Emma played.

It can be said that without her unfailing and devoted care Charles would never have lived to write The Origin Of Species.

Emma (1808 to 1896) was born May 2, 1808 in Staffordshire, the youngest of eight children to Josiah Wedgewood II. Emma's grandfather was Josiah Wedgewood of pottery fame who was also the grandfather of her first cousin Charles Darwin, whom she subsequently married.

She grew up in a loving family and at the age of 17 went on a tour of Italy and Paris with her father who invited Charles and his sister to join them. Music and in particular piano playing played an important part in her later family life.

Emma and Charles Darwin married in 1839 and after a brief stay in London moved to the country partly on account of Charles' chronic ill health, suffering as he did from continual vomiting and stomach pains. They purchased Down House in Kent, which Linda recommends everyone to visit as it has been skilfully restored by English Heritage, portraying the family life and the work of Charles Darwin.

Shortly, after moving the couple's third child died one month after birth and later Annie, the second child, died at the age of 10, when Emma was pregnant with her fifth child, a death which caused great sorrow. Her 10th child Charles was born, delicate in health but much adored by the parents, later to die from scarlet fever.

All this while Emma surrounded her family with love and devotion, coping in addition with Charles Darwin's ill health and his experiments with plants and insects which he often brought into the living room.

In 1859 Charles published The Origin of Species causing great public controversy and also some concern to Emma who had a strong religious faith. In the following years Charles' health deteriorated and he went to Malvern to seek relief, Emma nursing him devotedly and finding an outlet in her love of gardening. In the 1870s the children grew up in a happy and fulfilling family environment, Emma becoming involved with the RSPCA and its campaign against cruel animal traps.

Emma bore Charles Darwin's Death in 1882 with great fortitude and calmness and in the subsequent years continued family life with great vitality, showing an interest in politics and writing daily to her children and grandchildren up to the time of her death in 1896. Charles Darwin wrote that she was his 'greatest blessing', a tribute indeed to this remarkable woman with a quiet strength of character and a devoted wife and mother.
Dr FGC Meynen

18th November Researching the history of the Country House by Dr Richard Goodenough

The November lecture of the society Researching the History of the Country House was given by Dr Richard Goodenough and is based on his own house Trimworth Manor acquired in 1995.

Four key areas for research were identified namely the environmental setting of the house, its structure with subsequent changes, documentary sources used and evidence from the manorial system.

The environment for Trimworth is the downland of Kent, the hamlet of Trimworth lying in the valley of the river Stour between Ashford and Canterbury. Celtic field patterns and lynchets with bronze and iron age archaeological finds together with Roman pottery establish the background, further confirmed by landscape archaeology, surveying techniques and aerial photography.

An Anglo Saxon Charter dated 824 records the existence of 'dreaman wyrthe' meaning 'joy enclosure', the name becoming Tremworth and later Trimworth. The Domesday Book of 1086 records Trimworth Manor as being part of the feudal system.

The house is a medieval hall-house of 15C with three components, the central portion being a timber framed hall with originally no chimney and walls of wattle and daub. Two extensions on either side were a cross wing and a service wing connected with a cross passage. Over the years various alterations including raising the roof by two metres were made. Carved stone fragments found-on site were either from a former house or a chapel.

Documentary sources provided-much valuable information for Dr Goodenough's research. The Anglo Saxon Charter referred to land disputes and he was able to see the original parchment documents in the British Library. The Domesday Book is a unique survey of England recording the inhabitants, land values, buildings and churches and the Domesday Monachoreum recording Kentish churches, an edited version of which is kept in the Canterbury Cathedral archives.

The Inquisition Post-Mortem, an 'inquisition' held on the death of a tenant, is an important source of genealogy. Trimworth Manor is recorded in the first volume 1216 to 1225, the whole collection filling several metres of shelving in the Surrey History Centre. From the Norman Conquest to 18C England was organised in a system of manors, the Court Manor Rolls with their maps providing an amazing source of information on land ownership.

Richard Goodenough has recently published a book of the research into his house Researching the history of the Country House which has been a voyage of discovery, time consuming, sometimes frustrating but in the end very rewarding.

The next lecture of the society is on January 20 Gatton Manor: Restoration Of An 18C Garden by Glyn Sherratt at The Letherhead Institute (top of High Street), coffee 7.30pm lecture 8pm, admission 1. All are very welcome.
Dr FGC Meynen