Surrey Archaeological Collections/Volume 7/Notes on the local history of Peper Harow

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THE Local History of Peper Harow, like that of every other village community, has been mainly shaped by the features of the surrounding country. Long before the earliest age revealed to archaeology, we may be sure that the sites of Guildford and Farnham were connected by the natural causeway of the Hog's Back, as well as by the winding channel of the rivers Till and Wey. The slope of Peper Harow Park forms the southernmost point of the region enclosed by these natural boundaries—a region in which pasture-land must always have been scarce, except along the banks of the river, and in which very few patches of rich soil, dotted over a broad expanse of woodland, marsh, and heather, could have invited the unskilled labour of primitive husbandmen. Of the first human settlement in this region we have no record, unless it be the name of the "Wey " itself, which is held to be of Celtic, and not of Saxon, origin. Nor should we expect to meet with massive primeval monuments in a district which, so to speak, led nowhere, in which timber was so plentiful, and in which durable stone was equally scarce. Nevertheless, a considerable number of stone arrowheads and other flint instruments have been collected, especially in the parishes of Puttenham and Wanborough, some of which are now deposited in the Charterhouse Museum. The Roman occupation has left its mark in the camp, of which the outlines have been traced by the Rev. C. Kerry,[1] on Puttenham Common, as well as in the specimens of pottery found in the same locality, and on Roker's Farm at Shackleford. But the county of Surrey does not appear to have been held in force by the Romans, and we cannot flatter ourselves that any patrician colonist established a villa like that of Bignor, in or near Peper Harow. We may safely imagine the legions marching along the familiar ridge of the Hog's Back, so admirably constructed by nature for a military road, but the remains of Roman stations hitherto discovered in Surrey are mostly situated on the sandhills which run parallel with the range of chalk downs from east to west. These stations were probably not of primary importance, for the great Roman lines of communication with Sussex and Hampshire are believed to have been carried north of Bagshot and east of Leith Hill, at a distance of more than fifteen miles from Peper Harow. Even the Romans shrunk from crossing the vast and almost impenetrable jungle which then covered the Weald, and contented themselves with driving a single avenue through it by the Stone-street to Chichester. So far as we know, it was the Saxons who first regularly settled themselves in Peper Harow and its neighbourhood, coming hither, as to other parts of England, in the character of intruding immigrants rather than of foreign conquerors. They have left, indeed, no architectural relics of their residence here before the Norman Conquest, unless it be in certain parts of the church at Compton; but we have a cluster of local names, fortified by the conclusive evidence of "Domesday Book," to show how widely the enclosures or townships characteristic of the Saxons were distributed between the Hog's Back and the Wey. On the subject of these local names J speak with great diffidence, having no pretence to be an Anglo-Saxon scholar; but I have submitted two or three of them to my friend Mr. Earle, Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford; and without pledging his great authority to any conjectural explanation, I shall not scruple to avail myself of his suggestions.

Let us first consider the name Peper Harow—the "Pipere-herge" of "Domesday Book," which has puzzled so many antiquaries. We are all aware that Bray and Manning interpret it as probably signifying Pipard's estate, the first part of the word being of Norman and the second of Saxon derivation. On the other hand, there is a well-known Saxon word, "hearge " or "herge," translated in Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary by "church" or "temple." This word, according to Mr. Earle, would be justly represented, as in parallel instances, by the English "harow " or "harrow." If this view be taken, we must infer that either a heathen shrine or an early Christian place of worship existed here before the mission of St. Augustine; for no church is recorded to have stood at Peper Harow when "Domesday Book" was compiled, and after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons the word "hearge" was superseded, first by *"minster," and then by "church." It may be added that "harrow" is more naturally rendered as "a place of worship" than as "estate" in such compounds as Harrowden or Harrowgate; and, moreover, that it is difficult to attribute the latter meaning to Harrow Hill, in Sussex, or Harrow-on-the-Hill, in Middlesex. I therefore venture to prefer Mr. Earle's interpretation of Harow, but I do not as yet feel able to adopt the hint which he offers, not as a certain or probable, but as a possible, solution of the word "Peper," viz., that it may be a local corruption of the old Latin "papa," signifying a Christian pastor, long before it signified the Pope of Rome, and still preserved, with little variation, in German and Icelandic. When I find that a family of Pipards is not only mentioned, as Manning informs us, in two catalogues of those who fought at Hastings, but in seversd English records of the Middle Ages; when I find " Pipard" combined with the names of parishes in Rotherfield Pipard near Henley, and Cliffe Pypard near Wootton Bassett; when, lastly, I find it used in the same manner as a prefix in Pipard Blakedon, near Okehampton, thus named in an Inquisitio post mortem of the first year of Richard II., I am almost compelled to infer, though not to assert, that Manning is right in treating "Peper" as a family name. Other local names in the immediate neighbourhood are still more clearly of Saxon origin; Tilford, Oxenford, Shalford, and Guildford, however their first syllables may be explained, remind us of a time before the upper course of the Wey had been crossed by a bridge; Milford, on a tributary brook, tells its own story, and I strongly incline to believe that Shackleford and Attleford embody the names of fords, not across streams, but across morasses or swamps, which have not been wholly obliterated by modern drainage. Whether Attleford may signify the rotten ford, and Shackleford the chain-ford or the ford over the pool, are questions on which I hazard no opinion; but, considering the situation of Eashing, I do not see any rashness in supposing it to mean the "water meadow.'* Some have rendered it the "ash meadow," but Mr. Earle assures me that it is perfectly susceptible of the former meaning, so far as the first syllable is concerned. Others hold that "ing" specificallv denotes a "family-settlement"; but if it may be used with equal propriety in the sense of "meadow," the proximity of Little Ing is in favour of that rendering. Hurtmore is sometimes popularly interpreted as meaning the moor of whortleberries, locally called "hurts" or "horts"; but it may perhaps be derived from "heorot," the Anglo-Saxon name for a hart or stag. Gatwick must surely be "gate-wick," a form which is found in use near Gatton; and this appellation is entirely in keeping with its local position at the outlet of Puttenham Common towards the river. Ry-hill, which is first mentioned as Riehull, and which is bounded on the Elstead side by a low sandy ridge, is far more likely to have been named after this ridge, which any one can see, than after some mythical association with royalty.

It is the less necessary to dwell on the descent of the Peper Harow estate, because it has been so carefully traced out by Manning, the county historian, who was long rector of the parish. It begins, of course, with the well-known entry in "Domesday Book," where Walter Fitz Other, Governor of Windsor Castle, is registered as its tenant-in-chief, and Girard as holding under him. Under King Edward the Confessor, when one Alward held it, it had been assessed at five hides (about 600 acres), whereas at the date of the Domesday survey it was assessed at only three hides, which is the more remarkable, as it was valued under King Edward at 30s., and under William the Conqueror at 100s. The arable land was estimated at three carucates, which Manning considers as equivalent to 300 acres, two-thirds of which were included in the demesne, and one-third was in the hand of four villains and three cottars. One mill and seven acres of meadow are also mentioned as belonging to the demesne. According to the last Ordnance Survey, the present extent of arable and pasture land in the parish of Peper Harow is about 400 acres, exclusive of the park. Considering that part of the land now cultivated was then overgrown with trees, while much of the park was probably then under tillage, the correspondence between the old and the new survey is certainly remarkable. The descendants of Walter Fitz Other, who also owned the neighbouring manors of Hurtmore and Compton, assumed the surname of De Windsor, and continued to hold Peper Harow as tenants-in-chief until some time in the fifteenth century. It appears, however, that in the reign of Henry III., William de Braunche was in actual possession of it, and that his family afterwards held it in fee under the De Windsor family at a quit rent of 6s. 8d. in lieu of twenty-four weeks' service on castle guard at Windsor. The Braunche family evidently retained its hold on Peper Harow until the end of Edward III.'s reign, but, in the mean time, we find Henry de Guldeford, Henry de Stockton or Stoughton, and Hervie de Stanton (founder of Michael House, at Cambridge), acting successively as if they were absolute owners of the property. As there was nothing to prevent any number of tenants holding under one another in fee before the statute Quia Emptores checked the practice of subinfeudation, these breaks in continuity of succession are not inexplicable, though I cannot pretend to furnish any trustworthy explanation of them. I am not aware that any visible memorial remains of these three hundred years during which Peper Harow was the property of the Windsors and the Braunches, except in the church, the northern doorway of which, now blocked up, exhibits a Norman arch, while other features of the interior, if not a roodloft and porch now destroyed, must have been added at a somewhat later date. The inquisition taken on the death of Henry de Guldeford in 1313 proves the existence of a manorhouse (messuage), with a dovecot, at that period, and another inquisition taken forty-one years later specifies a manor-house, garden, and two dovecots, then valuable adjuncts of a family residence. The water-mill entered in the first inquisition is stated in the second inquisition to have become dilapidated. Whether the farm of Ryhill was then included in the parish of Peper Harow, and whether the manor was on this side coextensive with the parish, are points on which I cannot speak with certainty. What is known is that Ryhill, under the name of Rie-hull, was granted to the Abbey of Waverley by one Ralph, probably the same who was Sheriff of Surrey in 1157-9; that his grant was confirmed by a bull of Pope Eugenius III., in 1147; and that Waverley Abbey appears, from entries preserved in Dugdale's "Monasticon," and elsewhere, to have derived revenues from lands in the manor, as well as in the parish, of Peper Harow. Hence we may fairly infer that Ryhill formed part of Peper Harow manor when it was granted to Sir William Fitzwilliams with the other Waverley estates in the 28th year of Henry VIII.'s reign; and in a deed of 1602, lands called "Ryalls" are expressly described both as lying in the parish of Peper Harow and as parcel of the Manor of Peper Harow.

In the year 1369, Peper Harow was in the hands of Sir Bernard Brocas, who afterwards became Master of the Buckhounds to Richard II. and was honoured by a tombstone in Westminster Abbey. From this date we hear no more of the Braunche family, but the superior lordship of Peper Harow was apparently vested in the Windsors, at least up to the 30th year of Henry VI., when it is mentioned in the inquisitio post mortem on the death of "Milo Wyndesore." This inquisition seems to have been overlooked by Manning, who cites that of the sixth year of Henry VI., as containing the last notice of the Windsors' connection with Peper Harow. In that inqusition, as well as in that of the 22nd year of Richard II., the fact of Peper Harow being held by the Brocas family is recorded. Sir Bernard Brocas, son of the first Bernard, was executed for treason in 1400, on Tower Hill, but his estates were restored to his son William; and Joan, the wife of this William, is the subject of two small monumental brasses in Peper Harow Church. Having descended through females and undergone partition, the estate was ultimately reunited by purchase in the possession of Mr. Henry Smith, who died in 1626, having been married forty-eight years to Jane Covert, of Slaugham, in Sussex, a member of that great Surrey and Sussex family, "whose contiguous manors are said to have extended from Southwark to the English Channel." Though Mr. Smith and his widow were buried at Peper Harow, and are described on a brass tablet in the church as having been "owners of this manor of Peper Harow," yet they had apparently parted with it in 1609 to Sir Walter Covert, of Slaugham, who settled it on his second wife, another Jane Covert. This Lady Covert is called Lady Jane Covert of "Pepper Harrow," by Thomas Fuller, who in 1640 dedicated to her a treatise entitled "Joseph's parti-coloured coat." In March of the following year she was married again to Denzil Holles, who played a leading part during the reign of Charles I., the Commonwealth, and the reign of Charles II. Having purchased the remainders from the Coverts, Denzil Holles resettled the estate on his wife for her life, and, surviving her, left it in fee to his only son, Francis Lord Holles, Francis Lord Holles died in 1689-90, and his only son, Denzil, in 1693-4. In February, 1699-1700, the manor and estate of Peper Harow was sold to Philip Froude, under a private Act, passed three years before, to provide for the payment of Francis Lord Holles' debts. We learn from one of Swift's letters to Stella, that he thought Mrs. Masham, Queen Anne's favourite, might be disposed to buy it from Mr. Froude, but it was actually purchased by Alan Brodrick, afterwards Viscount Midleton, in March, 1712-13, and in the sixth Drapier's Letter, addressed to Lord Midleton, in 1724, Swift describes the Peper Harow tenants as his "neighbours," evidently alluding to his own former residence at Moor Park.

No buildings now existing here can be attributed with certainty to the period between the Brocas and the Brodrick possession of Peper Harow. Lady Jane Covert speaks in her will of her jointure-house at Peper Harow; but when that house was built, and whether it was the same as that pulled down between 1760 and 1765, we have no means of determining. Judging by its character, I think we may safely refer to the 17th century the cottage formerly inhabited by Admiral Brodrick, and now by Mr. Thompson, the gardener. The yew hedge which stands near can hardly be of much later date; but I can point to no other tangible relics of Peper Harow in the 17th century, except two of the church bells, the one bearing date 1603, and the other 1694; a tablet in memory of Mr. Tonstall, who died rector of Peper Harow in 1616; and another tablet in memory of Elizabeth Woodes (daughter of his successor), who died in 1621. I have been enabled, however, by the kindness of Mr. Molyneux and Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy, to procure several extracts, referring to Peper Harow, from the unpublished Loseley Manuscripts. As these extracts possess considerable local interest, they are here subjoined in extenso


(1.) A Muster-Book (116 pages) dated 29 Jan., 1583, contains the following entry:—


Bittmen of the beste sorte:—Robte. Chittye, Nycholas Edwardes,
Thomas Beachworth, Rycharde Rydgden, Hugh Moethe.
Bittmen of the second sorte:—Willm. Warner, Robte. Stoner,
John Marlyn, John Rydgden, John Mellershe.
Archers selected:—Harrie Ellyott, Henry Noake.
Archers of the beste sorte:—Thomas Mothe.
Archers of the second sorte:—Robte. Thanner, Edward Cowper.
Gunners:—William Myles, Robte. Gylberte, John Chamber."

(2.) An undated Muster-book (of Queen Elizabeth's time) contains the following entry:—


Bytmen of the second sort : — John Snelling, John Jackeman, John Mellyshe, Thomas Tanner.
Archers of the best sort : — Edward Cooper, John Tanner.
Archers selected :— John Chyttey.
Archers of the second sort :— -John Rygden, junior, Rychard Fludder.
Smythes: — Robte Albery.
Wheelewrightes : — George Marlyn, John Marlyn, Wylliam Marlyn, Thomas Marlyn, Rychard Marlyn."

(3.) A Muster-book of "Mr Weston's bend, viewed in March, 1592," contains the names of Henrie Hooke, Boberce Gilford, Thomas West, and John Tanner, of Pepperharrow.

(4.) A Lost entitled "A note what armes euery man hath laide downe out of Captaine Queanel's band, August, 1642," contains the following entry : —

"Pepperharrow. Comon Corslet: — John Lucas, whole armes except a sword"

(5.) Warrant addressed, 25 June, 1571, by the Commissioners in Matters Ecclesiastical for co. Surrey, &c., to the Justices of the Peace of the said shire, and especially to William More, Esq., for the apprehension of Peter Reuellard, a French priest, now or late of Peperharrow, co. Surrey.

"We will and commaunde you in the Queues name, bie virtue of her highnes Comission for matters ecclesiastical to us and others directed that forthwith, upon the receipte hereof, you doe apprehend and attache, or cause to be apprehended and attached, Peter Reuellard, beynge a frenche priest, nowe or late serving the cure of Peperharrow within the countie of Surrie : and that therevpon you send him to warde to Guildeford in the saide countye, there to remaine prisoner at our coṁandement vntill he shall be examined bie vs, or in matters which shall be objected against him, by vs or anie of vs in that behalf Whereof faile ye not as ye will answere to the contraire at your perill. From Winchester, the xxvth daie of August, 1571. Your loving frendes, Hob. Winton, John Ebden, W. Ouerton, Fr. Kingesmille."

The first three of these entries clearly exhibit the contingent furnished by Peper Harow to the Surrey train-bands, which is larger than its existing population would have led us to expect. As we know that in 1642 a suspected design of seizing Portsmouth for the King was frustrated by the Surrey train-bands, called out by the Parliament, it is probable that John Lucas, mentioned in the fourth entry, may have been concerned on the one side or the other. But whether this single champion of Peper Harow was a Royalist or a Roundhead is an historical problem which I cannot solve, for the men of Surrey were divided in their sympathies during the civil war, though we find Peper Harow united with seven neighbouring parishes in a remonstrance against the excessive number of soldiers quartered upon them in 1649. Peter Reuellard, mentioned in the fifth entry, was doubtless a Popish recusant. The Loseley Papers show that on the 9th of July, 1586, Sir William More and Mr. Lawrence Staughton were thanked by the Secretary of the Council for their assistance in searching Mr. Francis Brown's house at Henly Park; and there is an order of Council, dated June 14, 1591, enjoining a like search for one Morgan, a priest, supposed to frequent Sir Henry Weston's house at Sutton. I am not without hope that when the valuable treasure of manuscripts at Loseley shall have been fully ransacked and calendared, a great deal of new light will be thrown on the local history of the whole district. Unfortunately the old parish registers of Peper Harow were destroyed when the parsonage-house was burnt down in the incumbency of Dr. Mead, between 1661 and 1687, and the new register contains no entries of archæological value. Manning has compiled with great industry a tolerably complete list of the rectors since 1304, as well as of the patrons by whom they were presented. This list is of some importance as showing in whom the advowson, which generally ran with the manor, was vested at different epochs. In the fourth volume of the Collections published by this Society there is an inventory of the church goods at Peper Harow, taken in the 6th year of Edward VI., with an additional list of the vestments stolen when the church was plundered by thieves not long before. I have also a few extracts collected by Mr. Kerry from the Archdeacon's accounts in the 16th century, showing the ecclesiastical dues assessed on Peper Harow. Perhaps if the diocesan records at Winchester could be thoroughly searched, we might obtain complete information on these points, and even recover copies of the missing registers.

The period which has elapsed since the first Lord Midleton bought Peper Harow in 1712-13 hardly belongs to archaeology. It may, however, be worth noticing that a plan of the park made in 1753 represents the old house, of which no picture remains, as standing on what is now the flower-garden, north-west of the present house. The entrance from Bashing was then by the Norney-lane and down an avenue of trees shown on the plan, branching off from the present footpath. Though no trace of the old house is now to be seen, there is a depression in the flower-garden which probably marks its site; and the position of the old cedars, which are known to have been planted in 1735 or 1736, confirms the evidence of the plan on this point. It is also to be observed that the upper part of the park is traversed on the plan by rows of trees, evidently "survivals" of the old hedge-rows, some of which trees still retain their vigour.

We may be sure that divers small freeholds now forgotten have been absorbed into the present estate of Peper Harow. The Inquisition of 1313 attests the existence of "five free tenants" at that period, and free tenants are mentioned in the Inquisition of 1354. Thomas Kennyng, who conveyed all his land in Peper Harow to John Floder in the 5th year of Henry VII. by a deed now in Lord Midleton's possession, was probably one of these freeholders. The Shackleford property was purchased by the fourth Viscount Midleton in 1797, having been formerly in the hands of the Wyatts, by one of whom the farmhouse at Rodsall was built in 1680, and afterwards in the hands of the Garthwaites, one of whom built a house now pulled down, on the site of the old Hall-place. There is a tombstone in Peper Harow churchyard in memory of Jane Garthwaite, his sister, who died in 1763. In the early part of the present century the fourth Lord Midleton purchased Little Ing farm, then called Goddards; Michenhall, which must in old times have been an estate of the Michener family, but was long occupied by the Billinghursts; and Mousehill Manor, in Witley parish, once the property of the Shudds, and afterwards of the Stillwells. The manor-house, now standing at Mousehill, is said to date from the 16th century, when the Shudds were still lords of the manor.

But the most interesting addition to the Peper Harow estate was the purchase of Oxenford Grange, now within the confines of the park. There can be no doubt that Oxenford was granted to Waverley Abbey by Richard de Aquila before 1147, since the grant is confirmed by the Papal Bull of the date already mentioned. Like Wanborough, it was a grange or outlying farm, the best land of which the monks doubtless knew how to fertilize by irrigation from the brook which flows along it. In the reign of Henry VIII. it was made over to Sir William Fitzwilliams, together with the other spoils of Waverley Abbey. In 1548, under a settlement made by him, it passed to his half-nephew, the first Viscount Montacute. It would appear from a passage in the Loseley Manuscripts, that a manse or residence then existed at Oxenford, sufficiently commodious to be occupied by Anthony Garnett, secretary to Lord Montacute. Other papers in the same Collection show that the farm of Oxenford was held on lease, successively, by Mr. Lussher (probably William Lussher of Elstead), by a younger Garnett, nephew of Anthony, and by one Spencer, against whom there were afterwards complaints for his "misgovernment" and suspicious "resort"; whence it may be surmised that he too was a Romanist of doubtful loyalty. The rent to be paid by Lussher for a term of ninety-nine years, without condition of repairs, was but £4. 13s. 4d.; the rent to be paid by the younger Garnett for a term of twenty-one years was £20. Two-thirds of the land ultimately found their way into the hands of Lord Holies, Mr. Froude, and the first Lord Midleton. The other third was purchased so late as 1822 from the Stillwells of Mousehill. The new farm-buildings close by the gatehouse represent Mr. Pugin's idea of the barns and sheds appropriate to a conventual farm, but I am not aware that auy masonry of mediæval date is still to be discerned. There are two fireplaces of some antiquity among the ruins of the old house, which is known to have been enlarged and inhabited by the Brodrick family while Sir William Chambers was busy with the new house, and " Capability" Brown was laying out the new gardens of Peper Harow. Part of the adjoining cottage may be worth a brief inspection, but I suspect the ponds or fish-stews, with the causeway running between them, are the most ancient relics of Oxenford in the olden time.

If we must needs regret, as archæologists, that even at Oxenford, as at Peper Harow and elsewhere in this part of Surrey, we seek in vain for domestic architecture more than two centuries old, let us console ourselves with one reflection. The poverty of soil which discouraged the erection of great houses in this neighbourhood, and the abundance of natural timber which tempted our ancestors to build mansions of perishable materials, are the very causes which have protected the pristine beauty of our scenery, and which preserve for artists many a picturesque nook of Old England in the heart of Western Surrey. As we explore the undisturbed glades and heaths of Leith Hill, we tread the same upland pastures embosomed in the same forests which closed the view of Roman legions in their advance along the Stone-street from Chichester to London; as we look from the Hog's Back over the old Hundreds of Blackheath and Woking, Farnham and Godalming, our eyes rest on almost the same prospect which Earl Godwin pointed out to Alfred, son or Ethelred, on the eve of the Guildford massacre.

  1. I am indebted to Mr. Kerry for valuable assistance in the preparation of this paper.