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Grayswood

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Grayswood

For the suburb in Buckinghamshire, see Hazlemere.

Coordinates: 51°05′24″N 0°42′42″W / 51.0899°N 0.7117°W / 51.0899; -0.7117

Haslemere

High Street
Surrey
Population 15,612 [1]
OS grid reference SU898329
District Waverley
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HASLEMERE
Postcode district GU27
Dialling code 01428
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament South West Surrey
List of places
UK
England
Surrey

Haslemere /ˈhzəlmɪər/ is a town in the borough of Waverley, Surrey, England; it extends to the tripoint with Hampshire and West Sussex and it is the most southerly town in Surrey. The major road between London and Portsmouth, the A3 lies to the west and a branch of the River Wey rises to the south. Haslemere is approximately 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Guildford.

History


The earliest record of Haslemere was in 1221 as a Godalming tithing.[2] The name describes hazel trees standing beside a mere (lake). The lake does not exist today, but there is a natural spring in West Street which could have provided its source. In the 14th century, Haste Hill, also called East Hill, was the main settlement at Haslemere and there may have been a church as there were references on the site to "Churchliten field" and the "Old church-yard" of Haslemere[2] Haslemere was granted a charter by Richard II in 1394. This right was confirmed by a new charter issued by Elizabeth I in 1596. Today, this special status is celebrated with the Charter fair, held once every two years in the High Street. There is a bust of Elizabeth I in the newly developed Charter Walk, linking West Street with the car park alongside Waitrose.

One of the rotten boroughs, Haslemere's borough expanded into the surrounding Haslemere parish and recovered with the construction of the Portsmouth Direct Line, which connected Haslemere with London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour railway stations. In Victorian Britain Haslemere became a fashionable place to live and continues to be a commuter town for London, and to a lesser extent Portsmouth, served by Haslemere railway station.[2]

St Bartholomew's Church was originally a chapel of ease for Chiddingfold, and probably dates from no earlier than the 16th century.[2] It was rebuilt in 1871. The bell tower is the only remaining part of the original building. The church contains memorials to many of the most prominent local residents, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, who lived south of Haslemere at Aldworth House and is commemorated in one of the stained glass windows, featuring Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail.

Haslemere Educational Museum is at the northern end of the High Street. It was established by eminent surgeon Sir Jonathan Hutchinson in 1888 to provide educational opportunities to local people, and moved to its present location in 1926 – a house with a Georgian façade, but partly dating back to the 16th century. The museum has extensive grounds, a permanent natural history collection including an observation beehive, and hosts talks from both local and national figures of interest.[3]

Geography

Haslemere is a town in the borough of Waverley, Surrey, England, close to the border with both Hampshire and West Sussex and is the most southerly town in Surrey. The major road between London and Portsmouth, the A3 lies to the west and a branch of the River Wey to the south. Haslemere is 11.9 miles (19.2 km) southwest-by-south of Guildford.[4] surrounded by hills, with Blackdown at 920 feet (280 m) to the south and Gibbet Hill at 894 feet (272 m) to the north. The latter was the site of state executions from at least medieval times until the late 18th century. Many of those hanged were highwaymen, because the roads around Haslemere, particularly alongside the nearby Devil's Punch Bowl, were notoriously dangerous. Today, much of the heathland and woodland is owned and protected by the National Trust and has become a popular attraction for walkers.

Walks

Haslemere marks the western end of the Greensand Way footpath which extends for 110 miles (180 km) to Hamstreet in Kent via the high Greensand Ridge, and is one end of the short Serpent Trail which connects to the Sussex Border Path.

Elevations and soil

Elevations range between, in fully developed roads, 205m AOD to 97m and 112m AOD alongside respectively the east and west streams which forms an east-west steep valley through the parish almost meeting in the town centre. This lowest point is specifically in the north east, where one headwater gently curves north following the line of the railway past the north of Grayswood, however rapidly descends another 40m in the space of a few miles. This east stream is the longest headwater of the River Arun/ˈærʊn/ then passing the north of Chiddingfold and turning south close to in the village centre of Dunsfold. By contrast the west stream, the River Wey south branch flows around Headley and past Frensham Common, joins the north branch in the centre of Tilford and heads towards Guildford before reaching the River Thames. However across the north and the south, the wooded hillsides reach 272m at Gibbet Hill in the north[n 1] and 204m, [n 2] AOD 211m on Marley Common south of Camelsdale and 280 on Black Down rising gradually across the county line in West Sussex.[5]

Soil is particularly unusual, though common in southwest Surrey, the Bordon area of Hampshire and bottom of the upper vale of Midhurst, being "freely draining very acid sandy and loamy soil" that forms 1% of English soil, of low fertility; its natural vegetation includes acid grasses, pines and coniferous trees; further examples include Blackheath, Surrey and Blackheath, London.;[6] to the east of Haslemere is the more naturally fertile "slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soil" that here forms the western start of the Low Weald soil that continues as far as Maidstone, Kent.[6]

Localities

Grayswood

Grayswood is a small adjoining village to the northeast of Haslemere which is 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Witley. In 1894, Alfred Hugh Harman moved to Grayswood and in 1900 he offered to finance a church in Grayswood on land given by Lord Derby, on condition that a parish was created. The new ecclesiastical parish of Grayswood was formed from parts of the parishes of Witley, Chiddingfold, Haslemere and Thursley in 1901.[2]

Shottermill

Shottermill is a second 'village' area close into the main town, joined to it by a busy shop-lined street, - Weyhill. It takes its name from its old mill along the top reach of the south branch of the Wey which rises in Haslemere; this area includes 5,769 of Haslemere's 15,612 residents (2001).[7] George Eliot, novelist, had a cottage on what was Shottermill Common, where she wrote most of Middlemarch, said to be the building now bearing that name with an ornate gothic architecture door, lozenge windows and which was in that period extended and was one house rather than two. Part of the building is 17th century that is timber framed.[8] Ten buildings strewn about the village are listed, additionally two on the hillslopes around the fishponds which form the part known as Critchmere.[5] Woolmer Hill to the west here is half developed, half wooded hill, which includes The Edge sports centre with sports ground[9] and Woolmer Hill School which is state-sponsored.[10]

One of the latter is Branksome Place, the highest category of architecture identified as worthy of heritage recognition, Grade II* listed. Dated 1901 over its entrance, it has later Edwardian additions and was designed by E J May and has enormous classroom wings in Glass Reinforced Polyester by James Stirling connected by a corridor at the rear and used for conferencing,[11] the modern parts mark a shift in Stirling's career away from the heavy, Brutalist brick aesthetic of his early work to a more classically-inspired post-modern tradition which is international in flavour; also here develops first use of GRP as a sophisticated building material in England, for this is the first "major building by a major architect to be built in GRP in Britain". The principal spaces are richly designed, and survive virtually unaltered.[11] In terms of use, hotel, wedding and conference use ended in April 2012. Extension rooms have a nautical theme as it was previously a naval college.

Following the county border is the viaduct-carried and embankment-carried railway and the brook from otherwise almost adjoining southern settlements which are neighbourhoods instead of villages with far fewer shops: Hammer, Springhead and Camelsdale — all in West Sussex in the civil parish of Linchmere, named after a small village surrounded by deep woods of Linchmere and Stanley Commons.[5]

Shepherd's Hill

Shepherd's Hill is the term belonging to all the southern neighbourhoods adjoining the town centre accessed by any of three short roads Shepherds, College or Museum Hill; the area has considerably larger gardens however only four listed buildings.[5] One of these is at Grade II*, Broad Dene featuring a round tower with conical roof and spike; this home was built in 1900 by William Frederick Unsworth, see Shakespeare Memorial Theatre; his business partner was Inigo Triggs. Substantial and sensitive masonry makes up the house, carefully recalling medieval solidity and enclosure.[11]

Nutcombe

This hillside community nestles among the woods leading to Hindhead and consists of approximately forty houses of which three are listed buildings.[5]

Economy, culture and community

Its High Street is wide because of its use as a cattle market before the 1920s and characterises the heart of Haslemere, with the Town Hall standing at its southern end. The White Horse and The Swan Inn are the two public houses along the main street. Along the High Street, West Street and Charter Walk are a mix of shops (mostly independent), restaurants, cafes, banks and estate agents. In 2009 a Waitrose opened in the town centre replacing the previous Somerfield supermarket.

Haslemere has a concert hall known as Haslemere Hall. Located on Bridge Road, just off West Street, the hall can seat 340 people and is used regularly as a theatre, a concert venue and as a cinema. Performances are held by local theatre groups including the Haslemere Thespians, the Haslemere Theatrical Society and the Haslemere Players. Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Ross, also hold performances and there are popular music concerts. Films are shown shortly after their general release.

To the west of the High Street, separated from it by the railway station is an area known as Wey Hill. Here, there are further banks, public houses, shops (again, mostly independent), restaurants and takeaways. The town library is in Wey Hill and so are two further supermarkets, a Tesco and a Co-Op.

Dolmetsch Early Music Festival

The town is significant musically, and largely through the contribution of an immigrant family: Arnold Dolmetsch, musician and instrument maker, was born in France in 1858, and it was his family who revived the recorder and began the revival of many other instruments of early music, at the very beginning of the revival of historically informed performance which came to fruition in the late 20th century. The family settled in Haslemere and his son, Carl Dolmetsch, took over the business. The family firm still manufacture viols, recorders and harpsichords today. Their presence in the town inspired the International Dolmetsch Early Music Festival held every year in the town.

Haslemere Charter Fair

In 1397 Richard II and the Bishop of Salisbury confirmed an order dated the 29th April 1221 allowing an annual fair to be held in the town. The first ever recorded fair was held in the year 1394 and continue yearly, for example 7 May 2012. Although this ceased to be a yearly event some time ago and was reinstated in 1984 and now runs every two years.

Haslemere Town Band

Haslemere Town Band was officially founded in 1837 following the amalgamation of two small bands which had started in 1834, and is one of the UK’s oldest brass bands in continuous existence. Their first engagement was playing for the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838. The Band continues to play an active part in the life of the town, playing at community events throughout the year, as well as at numerous summer fetes and garden parties in the surrounding district. They have also performed in the twinning towns of Bernay in France and Horb am Neckar in Germany.

Education

Haslemere has a mixture of State and Independent schools at all levels. The only state secondary school is Woolmer Hill School, which is an academy.[12] The Royal School is the only boarding school of the three private schools in Haslemere, Haslemere Preparatory School and St Ives.[13]

Religious Institutes

In 2012 Jamia Ahmadiyyah, a religious university owned by the Ahmadiyyah Muslim Association, was relocated here. Its UK campus was formerly situated in London. An old hotel by the name "Branksome Place" was bought by the Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community and converted.

Transport

Haslemere railway station is operated and served by South West Trains.[14] It is situated on the Portsmouth Direct Line with trains running between London Waterloo and either Portsmouth harbour or Portsmouth and Southsea.[15]

Haslemere is served by buses to Aldershot, Guildford, Hindhead, Linchmere and Midhurst.[16]

The A286 and the A287 are the main routes into Haslemere, with the A3 running close by.[17]

Sport and leisure

Haslemere has a Non-League football club Shottermill & Haslemere F.C. who play at Woolmer Hill Sports Ground.[18]

The Herons Leisure Centre, on King's Road, replaced the leisure centre previously at Lion Green in the 1990s (now the site of Tesco). The Herons facilities include a 25m swimming pool, children's pool, jacuzzi, hot-tub, sauna, steam room, a fitness suite, squash courts, tennis courts, a skate-park and an outdoor basketball court. The Woolmer Hill sports ground has a clubhouse that is home to a number of local teams and the facilities include four rugby pitches, two football pitches, and two artificial hockey pitches. The senior Haslemere RFC team plays in the Surrey Leagues.

Politics

Haslemere had an Urban District Council (including the villages of Shottermill, Grayswood and Hindhead) until 1974, when the area became part of the new Waverley District which has since gained borough status. Haslemere, including its satellite settlements, retains a Town Council with lesser powers. The two leading political parties in Haslemere are the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Mayor

The town council elects a ceremonial mayor for a term of one year.

  • 1976–78 Bob Bleach
  • 1978–79 John Bowing
  • 1979-80 John Sugden MBE
  • 1981-82 John Ashfield
  • 1987-88 Edward (Ted) Orchard
  • 1988–89 Dorothy M.C. Pemberton
  • 1993–94 James Mackie
  • 1999–00 Patricia Hills
  • 2000-01 Fay Foster
  • 2003-04 Michael Foster
  • 2005–06 Michael Dover
  • 2007–08 Stephen Mulliner
  • 2008–09 William King
  • 2009–10 Melanie Odell
  • 2010–11 Melanie Odell
  • 2011–12 Jim Edwards
  • 2012-13 Cyndy Lancaster
  • 2013-14 Libby Piper

Notable inhabitants

Arnold Dolmetsch (1858–1940), a French-born musician and instrument maker who spent much of his working life in England, established an instrument-making workshop in Haslemere.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), the creator of Sherlock Holmes, lived in a house called Grayswood Beeches in the latter half of 1896. At the beginning of 1897 he moved to nearby Hindhead.

Neil Drysdale, US-based thoroughbred horse trainer, was born in Haslemere in 1947.[19]

Axel Haig (1835–1921), architect and illustrator of the Victorian Gothic Revival, lived and worked in Haslemere from the 1890s until his death. He had a house built for himself, Grayshurst, and designed All Saints' parish church, Grayswood.[20]

Sir Robert Hunter (1844–1913), one of the founders of the National Trust, lived in Three Gates Lane between 1883–1913.[21]

Sir Jonathan Hutchinson (1828-1913), eminent surgeon and scientist, lived in the High Street. He founded Haslemere Educational Museum in 1888. [22]

General James Oglethorpe (1696–1785), who founded the Colony of Georgia in British North America, was Member of Parliament for Haslemere 1722–54.


John Penfold (1828–1909) lived at what was then called Courts Hill House. He was a surveyor, architect, and in 1866 designed a standard pillar box for the General Post Office.

Rachel Portman, a composer best known for film music, was born in Haslemere in 1960.

James Cholmeley Russell (1841–1912), a barrister, financier, property developer and railway entrepreneur, lived at The Woodlands, Merrow and latterly Longdene House, Haslemere, where he died on the 29 August 1912.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) lived and worked at Aldworth House, Haslemere, for much of his later life, dying there in 1892. Tennyson spent much of his time walking around Blackdown in Haslemere and famously sat at the Temple of The Winds in Blackdown.

John Tyndall (1820–93) retired to Haslemere in 1885 and is buried in St Bartholemew's parish church, Haslemere. He was an eminent physicist, mountaineer and science educator, and first established the radiative properties of various greenhouse gases.

Twinning

Haslemere is twinned with Bernay in France and Horb am Neckar in Germany.[23]

Notes and references

Notes
References

See also

External links

  • Waverley Borough Council
  • BBC report on violence and highway robbery in the parish of Haslemere in the 1850s
  • Official Website of the Town Council; includes Virtual Tour of Haslemere, News, Events and Meetings

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