Godstone

 

Bletchingly Road

Landfill site. Near  the Hare and Hounds.  The East Surrey Water Company's reservoir, also a nature reserve, behind Godstone being filled in 1993. Since the 1970s disused sand pits have been utilised as landfill sites. Although this has the benefit of restoring land to agricultural or amenity usage, on the debit side there is the loss of certain landscape features which have become interesting over the years and also the destruction of the wild-life which has colonised these pits.  It is regrettable that in Tandridge District we will soon have no example left of the vertical sand cliff faces which exemplify former quarrying methods. The reservoir was being filled, by the water company, with inert material.  The water company  considered them to be too easily polluted. This is a pity for not only had they become attractive nature reserves but they served to demonstrate the depth of the water table in a steep sided pit

Fairall's Pit landscaped area which backs onto Godstone High Street also being filled. Fairalls reopened one of them during the Second World War, to save imports, but this was closed about 1950. Subterranean workings occurred in the vicinity of the present day Fairalls Ltd. (a long-established builders merchants) which is near the high point on the west side of Godstone High Street. It is unlikely that any caverns now exist either because they were worked away when the upper parts of the sand was removed, or they have been lost through collapse. The cavity revealed when Fairalls needed to extend their warehouse in 1988 was filled.

The adjacent reservoir, as yet undisturbed and was by now a rare example of a steep sided sand pit still extant in the district.  Foundations of drives since it is easy to roll down

Godstone

Godstone - set about a large village green, is an attractive Surrey village lying in the shelter of the North Downs.  The name is probably derived from the 'good' limestone that was once quarried here and used for paving Westminster Hall.  In the Dark Ages.   Godstone was a minster – a church founded by a king as an important administrative centre with priests who were responsible for a whole area.  Later, when the Wealden iron smelting industry spread to Godstone, a gunpowder mill was founded here by Sir John Evelyn.  Local Firestone and Hearthstones mines,

Godstone Green

Bell House, early 18th and earlier at the back

The Bell

Hare and Hounds

Clayton Arms was the White Hart where Cobbett stopped on his rural rides. Half timbered, well preserved. It claims to have been founded in the reign of Richard II.

Old Pack House. Pretty timber framed

Godstone Green Windmill. Gone. This was on the side of the Hare and Hounds opposite Godstone Green. The tumulus, which can be seen to the right as the footpath veers diagonally across the field, marks the site of the windmill. Rather shockingly it was built on an ancient barrow. This mill was the much more conveniently sited replacement for Tilburstow windmill but was still a post mill owned by Sir William Clayton and was worked, at first, by Richard Dewdney until about 1839. It did not survive into the twentieth century but two paintings preserve its memory

Rope Up to the 20th century there was a rope making industry on Godstone Green. Almost nothing is known about this industry but a 1905 post card shows a track running across the  Green from the pond to where Ivy Mill Lane meets the A25. The card describes the track as the rope walk

Green View Terrace

Sand Mine Behind the timber yard, on the left, was an ancient cottage known as Squatter's Cott, and on the right, near the Hare and Hounds, was Ned Bish's shed. When this was pulled down about 1913 to build the Terrace, a huge shaft was found under it, with galleries branching from it in all directions under the adjoining land. This was one of the silver sand mines, often sunk and worked surreptitiously, for which Godstone is famous - it was known as "smuggling." The fine sand was used in the 18th Century for hour glasses, for scouring - household soap was unknown - and in lieu of blotting paper. There was a regular traffic in it, together with poached rabbits, to London via the coach-drivers and wagoners. In 1900 it was still going there, for scattering on pub floors and sale as silver sand.

High Street

Fairalls, Subterranean workings occurred in the vicinity of the present day Fairalls Ltd. (a long established builders merchants) which is near the high point on the west side of Godstone High Street.  It is unlikely that any caverns now exist either because they were worked away when the upper parts of the sand was removed, or they have been lost through collapse. The cavity revealed when Fairalls needed to extend their warehouse in 1988 was filled.

45-47 There was once an illicit trade in the silver sand, and small workings can be found underneath the buildings of the High Street.  A mines system stretching eastward is still to be found behind here.

Ivy Mill Lane

Ivy Mill was a substantial building on a brook called Lower Dill, which feeds Stratton Brook then Gibbs Brook and thence, the river Eden.  Its site is to be found in Ivy Mill Lane, not far from Godstone Green.  Always a corn mill, its name derives from Ivy House.  This was because in the seventeenth century the Manor of Stangrave in which the mill stood passed to the Northey family who built Ivy House.  Ivy House is now called Stangrave Hall and stands on the A25 north west of the mill.  A mill, Chevington, mentioned in the Domesday survey probably stood on the site.  Stangrave estate eventually passed to the Clayton family and the mill remained in their possession until purchased by Sir William Greenwell in 1907.  The mill as existing in the 20th century was brick-built but was destroyed by fire in 1924 two years after it stopped working.  Today it is easy to discern where the millpond was, and traces of brickwork at the former sluice gates still remain.  The mill house, Ivy Mill House built by Charles Ridley in 1698, still stands on the site.  The very modernised dwelling named The Barn was, at the beginning of the century, stables for the horses involved in cartage of the flour to places such as Cater ham where about 1900 Mr Bromley Hall, who lived in Ivy Mill Cottage and owned the mill, had a corn-chandler's business

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