village

 Historically there was no nuclear village of Churt.  Before the end of 1920s the name Churt was applied to a district which was before 1868 a tithing of the ancient parish of Frensham.

Right up until at least the middle of the nineteenth century Churt was remote and backward.  In a court case reported in the West Surrey Times on 28 January 1871 which was headlined DEPLORABLE IGNORANCE the chairman of the magistrates remarked that he found great ignorance among the witnesses in this neighbourhood.

This is how Churt was described in the report about the opening of St John’s School in the Surrey Advertiser of 21 October 1871.

‘At a distance of about seven or eight miles from Farnham, and about midway between that town and Haslemere, from the latter of which it is separated by the Hindhead hills, lies the most sequestered portion of the most romantic scenery in the wilds of Surrey, embosomed in which is situated the picturesque village of Churt, with its verdant fields and leafy lanes, standing forth in the midst of “brown heath and shaggy wood”, like oases in the broad desert.  The primitive appearance of the place, the quaint character of its few early buildings, the nearly new church on the hill, and other features suggest comparison with a missionary station in a foreign land.  Judging also from the remarks made on Friday last by gentlemen whose acquaintance with the locality enabled them to speak from experience, the resemblance is equally close in another point of view, the intellectual and moral condition of the inhabitants having been up to a comparatively recent period of a low standard: and we are led to believe that its secluded lanes were associated only with deeds of violence and horror, while they afforded a safe retreat for smugglers and highwaymen, who frequented the old coach road from  Portsmouth to London, in the days when George the Third was king.’  Happily a higher degree of civilisation now exists.

When a new vicar was appointed to St John’s, Churt in 1883 he walked around the new parish, and filled a notebook with the names, and sometimes details, of all his parishioners.

He started his walk near Frensham Pond and these are the houses he saw as he walked along what is now the A287.  You will be surprised to see how few buildings there were.

 

 

The first house was a cottage near Frensham Pond and after that as he walked along the road (now the A287) he passed Churt House on the left.  The first vicars of Churt lived here before the vicarage was built in 1870.

First vicars house in Churt lived here

The next house on the left was Mr Hook’s Studio, possibly the house now called Chimney Corner, followed, just before Jumps Road turned off on the left, by the run of houses called Wayside Cottages.  These had all been built in about 1881 and were owned by the artist James Clark Hook who lived at Silverbeck just round the corner in Jumps Road.

These had all been built in about 1881 and were owned by the artist James Clark Hook

 

 

The next building would be the (Old) Post Office.

The old post office

The vicar lists another house here.  It may have been Bulls Farm, the old farm on the Silverbeck land, which would probably have been visible from the road then.  Or it may have been an old cottage at Beefolds which Mr Hook demolished.

 

 

On the right, opposite the Post Office there was another house built by Mr Hook, then called Beefolds, now Threeways.  These are two pictures of the house in1909.

he vicar lists another house here

Just like today there were no more houses until you come to Redhearn Green.  There was a cottage (Redhearn Cottage) on the left next to the church which had been built in 1838.  And an old farm (now Piper’s Well) on the right.  There was another old farm on the opposite corner of the Green opposite where the War Memorial is now.  This map was drawn in 1895 and shows how few houses there were.

There are no more buildings before the crossroads where you have the pub on the left and the buildings which have recently been demolished (2021) and the school on the right.  No village centre at all!  Going uphill there are two cottages on the right (now Rosemead and Pear Tree Cottage) and Parkhurst Farm on the left.  Interesting how the road divided even then.  I wonder why?

There were more houses scattered throughout the very big district of Churt, but, for instance, there were only four in the whole length of Hale House Lane with none on the northern side at all.

A village centre started to appear at the end of the 1920s.  The farmer’s field, which is now the recreation ground, was purchased and donated to the village as a memorial to the dead of World War I.

This map was drawn in 1895 and shows how few houses there were.

 

 

Plots around the western margin of the field were reserved for shops and the village hall which was built in 1928.   Plots on the south side were sold to returning soldiers for housing.

 

Plots around the western margin of the field were reserved for shops and the village hall which was built in 1928

So the village began to look as it does today.

By 1939 the shops must have been flourishing since this advertisement appeared in the Farnham Herald: Herald, Dec. 16 1939.

The Plague of Darkness imposed on us until the Fuehrer lets the people of Poland and Czechoslovakia go is a very unpleasant obstacle in our daily lives.

This hindrance to shoppers can be minimised to a great extent by doing your shopping in Churt instead of wasting the precious daylight in bus journeys, perhaps standing in queues in wintry weather and other discomforts.

Our shops are warm and only a few minutes from your own cosy fireside.

Fishmonger, Greengrocer, Hairdresser, Tuck Shop, Newsagent and Confectioner, Ladies’ and Gents’ Outfitter, Chemist, Baker, Ironmonger. All in Churt!

Garage and scout hut on the left, shops on the right