RiverTillingbourne Chilworth

River Tillingbourne
The Tillingbourne flows west and south west, joining with the New Cut

Post to the east Chilworth
Post to the west East Shalford
TQ 02580 47304

Tremendously interesting area on the outskirts of Guildford. The remains of a vast armaments factory disguised in woodlands and water ways.  Some other milling related remains and also remains of Second World War Defence structures

Blacksmith Lane
Old Mill. The garden is the site of the Great Paper Mill and the Unwin works. The building is the remains of the mill house which escaped the fire at Unwins
Old Cottage. Early 18th timber framed cottage. This was part of the drying house of the Little Paper Mill.
Rose Cottage. 18th timber framed cottage. This was part of the drying house of the Little Paper Mill
West Lodge. Lodge to gunpowder works now a private house. It is a small late 19h building, which was originally a single storey gatehouse. It was used for workers reporting for duty and where they had to leave any inflammable material.  Access to the Middle Works was gained via the gates next to West Lodge
Anti-tank block. This has now gone but was covered by a fortified position adjacent to Powdermills Cottage.
Yard Opposite West Lodge at the entrance to the public open space currently used for mixed light commercial and some residential use. This is on land previously occupied by the Lower Works.
Culverts. These cross the causeway which carries Blacksmith Lane.
Packhorse Bridge. An ironstone bridge of late medieval or post-medieval origin which crosses the Tillingbourne. The track carried over this bridge leads northwards towards Chilworth Manor. Restored by Guildford Council in 2001.
Waterworks Cottage. Probably built in the 19th with an early 20th extension.
Brick pump house. This is in the grounds of Waterworks Cottage and was a pumping station belonging to the St. Martha's Waterworks of the Hambledon Rural District Council which used a turbine to pump water to a reservoir on St Martha's Hill. This is now disused
Meadow Cottage. This is at the westernmost boundary of the area directly adjacent to the river. It is probably the oldest building in the area from the 16th and 17th with a timber frame and accessed on foot only. It is set within meadow land. The northern part seems to be a stone built cell, possibly of industrial or agricultural to which a domestic unit was added in the late 17th with a chimney and an oven. It was at one tome divided into two dwellings. It may have been in 1786 to 'a building used as a hop-kiln with a Barn, converted into a dwelling-house'. There is also an outbuilding used as a studio but which has stoke holes and a small door, possibly to a flue or oven.
Brick foundations, there are remains of walls and earth scarp ear Waterworks Cottage and Chilworth Old Mill. These are the only remains of the paper mill and printing works
Saltpetre Refinery. This is on a factory site known as Titan Sheds. The site and contains the two buildings. One is s 19th origin brick building known as the Saltpetre building
Titan Sheds. The company made metal sheds
Charcoal House. This is now offices and a studio. Noted as a store for charcoal
Powder Mills Cottage

Chilworth New Road
St Thomas Church. The powder works contributed jointly with the Unwin’s printing works on to the construction of the Greshambury Institute in Chilworth village architect W.H.Seth Smith. It is now St Thomas’s church which was dedicated in 1892 as a mission chapel for Shalford parish. The ancient church of St Martha on the hill above remains the parish church.
Chilworth Village Hall. This was a tin tabernacle church later sold to become the Village Hall. It was used as a school for evacuee children in the Second World War.
Tangley Mere.  Built by members of the gunpowder making Sharp family in 1891.
Level Crossing

Dorking Road
Chilworth Church of England Infant School. Opened 1873 but on a different site, and moved here in 1967
Percy Arms.  Percy is the family name of local landowners, the Dukes of Northumberland. At the beginning of the 18th a cottage on this site was one of only two buildings in the neighbourhood. It later became a pub with stables. The Postford stream can be seen at the back of the building.
Aston Villas – this was once the village shop

Fish Pond
Powdermills Fishery. Commercial trout fishery and part of a syndicate based on Albury Park.
Fishpond was excavated to the east of Blacksmith Lane in 1980s in a field which by the 1960s was known as Waterworks Field.

Halfpenny Lane
Chilworth Cottage
Kingfisher Cottage.
Old Great Halfpenny. Late 16th house with a Timber frame on whitewashed rubblestone plinth with tile hung cladding
Pillbox. on the rise up from Chilworth Manor. It was a Mowlem designed drum and had gun sights covering the lane in three places.

Lane to the north east of Blacksmiths Lane
Chilworth Manor House. Built in three stages - mid 17th range to south, possibly for Vincent Randyll, with 18th range to north joined by range to centre, circa1930 by Alfred Mildmay. Sandstone rubble with brick dressings to south and centre portion, cement rendered on north end. Open built 1650 by Vincent Randall gunpowder maker.
Garden of the Manor may be a copy of Evelyn’s layout at Albury. Sandstone rubble Walls with buttresses enclose a 17th flower garden with terraces set into hillside. A Terrace runs across the north end of garden. The walls and garden terraces are attributed to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
Barn. This is now a store which had the date of 1767 on a brick. It is in sandstone rubble

Mill Pond
Mill Pond. This predates the gunpowder works and was there in 1626 when the East India Company took over the site. They raised its level. More work was done to it in the 1630s and 1640s.  The pond has two dams – one at the downstream end and one at the upstream. A culvert was made under the pond and the damn to drain the valley floor and this still controls the flow in the 1980s built fishing pond.  Its inlet can sometimes be seen when water is low.  There is an embanked channel to allow water from the Tillingbourne to enter the pond – and this channel may be an earlier mill stream.

Mills. The gunpowder mills were set up here on the sites of existing mills. There may have been a 16th pin works here, and there was a later wire works.  Although the Evelyn family had a monopoly on gunpowder production The East India Company decided to manufacture its own. By 1626 it had established a works at Blacksmith Lane on the site of an existing mill. In 1635 the powder monopoly passed to Samuel Cordwell and George Collins and there was expansion on the site throughout the Civil War period. By 1675 there were 18 mills here plus other buildings connected with gunpowder processing. In 1677 the works were leased to Sir Polycarpus Wharton, who expanded them for Board of Ordnance contracts. Gunpowder production then declined and only the Middle Works continued to produce gunpowder and it was not until the late 19th century that the works expanded again having passed through various owners. The quantities of powder sent show an increase during the Crimean War and in the 1860s it is believed that the mills became powered by steam. The works were sold to Charles Westfield and in 1885; he sold the works to the newly formed Chilworth Gunpowder Company. Technological change became more rapid in this period and the directors of the company were largely German. The works was remodelled, becoming a major supplier of gunpowder to the British and colonial governments, second only to the Royal Gunpowder Factory at Waltham Abbey. Further extensions were built in the 1880s and 1890s. On 16 June 1920, the Chilworth Gunpowder Company closed the works and the company was put into voluntary liquidation. In 1922, the land on which the works stood was sold by auction as part of a wider sale by the Duke of Northumberland who had acquired the land through a 19th marriage.
Steeresland. This was downstream of the mill dam and was the site of a brass and wire works owned by Thomas Steere in 1603. He had been forced to close the works in 1606. It is thought the mill leat may have been built for this works.  When Wharton took over the gunpowder works in 1677 there were five incorporating mills along the leat here.
Corn Mill. The corn mill which preceded the gunpowder works was near the middle of the mill dam. An East India Company mill was built on the site
Fulling Mill. This is noted in 1589 but was probably medieval. There was an associated house. Two East India Company mills were built on the site
Lower Works. Cordwell and Collins expand the works to the west of the original mills and in 1677 there were seven incorporating mills here but after Wharton left the Lower Works were converted to papermaking. In 1791, Charles Ball from a Northamptonshire paper making family took over the Mills.
The Great Paper Mill. This was worked by Hugh Rowland, from 1803. It was powered by a breast-shot waterwheel. It was The Great Paper mill was reopened by the London printing firm Unwin Brothers as the Gresham Press print works.  This family-run printing company had opened in London in 1826.  The factory continued in business here until it was destroyed by fire in 1895 and Unwins then went to Old Woking where they remained until 2007.
The Little Paper Mill. This was worked by Hugh Rowland, from 1803. It was powered by an overshot wheel. It appears to have gone out of use by the 1830s and was demolished
Middle Works. Following Cordwell's death the works was taken over by a new group in the early 1650s and the site expanded. Despite decline in the 18th and 19th this works continued in gunpowder production.
Mud Wood
Woodland following the line of the Tillingbourne

New Cut
Man-made leat called New Cut which runs through the gunpowder mills site and along with the Tillingbourne provides the main structure of the works. It dates from the tome of the construction of the middle works
Expense Magazine. Used for storage of material between processes. When the works closed it was made available to Chilworth and District Old People’s Welfare Committee for the storage of firewood. Alongside the Cut
Edge runners – millstones half buried. Some of these lie alongside the Cut
Steam engine bed, top of fallen factory chimney, incorporating mills bed stone from the 1860s mills. Alongside the Cut
Corning house remains where men were killed in an explosion of 1901. Alongside the Cut

Old Manor Gardens
Chilworth Manor. At the beginning of the 18th the settlement we now know as Chilworth comprised just two buildings, one of which was the Old Manor House at the southern end of Blacksmith Lane. It was once known as Powder Mill House, and was usually the home of the owner or manager of the Powder mills. The original date of this much-altered house is unknown and not clear although above the north doorway is a date stone saying ‘1609’. 

Old Manor Lane
Old Manor Farm
Magazine Cottages.  Built during the 1880s for accommodation for workers in the powder factory.

Postford Stream.
This is a man made channel which comes of the old mill stream at Twist Mill and runs westwards to Tangley Mere. It was part of a water meadow system set up in the 17th

The two streams of the Tillingbourne converge at a point northwest of Rose Cottage and west of Blacksmith Lane by approximately 80m.

Wire Mill Leat.
 In 1603 a wire mill was established to the west of the causeway and a new millrace was dug, and this is marked by the earthwork scarp to the north of The Old Cottage and Rose Cottage. This leat was subsequently used by the Little Paper Works until about 1830 when it went out of use and t was partly filled

British Listed Buildings. Web site
Chamberlain. Guildford
Chilworth2gether Web site
Crocker. Damnable Inventions
Crocker. Gunpowder Gazetteer
East London History Society. Newsletter
English Heritage. Web site
Exploring Surrey’s Past. Web site
Guildford Borough Council. Website
Gunpowder Mills Study Group Newsletter
Haselfoot. The Batsford Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of South East England.
Haveron. Industrial History of Guildford
Pevsner and Cherry Surrey
Surrey Local History Council. Surrey History


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