HORLEY LOCAL HISTORY CENTRE
On Wednesday 15 November 1995 the “Horley Local History Centre” desk came into being in Horley Library. So from that date on, the “Desk” has opened every Tuesday 3-5 pm and Saturday 11 am -1 pm to answer any historical query about the locality. Yes, it is now in its 21st year.
The setting up of this completely free facility came about by a desire of the “Horley Local History Society” to make available to everyone its historical knowledge about the town and locality. At the same time the Surrey County Council was tasked to do the same thing with its historical knowledge and the idea of the “DESK” was conceived.
It is manned entirely by volunteers from the History Society and the “DESK” has a dedicated section within the Library. Since it opened it has handled many queries, well over 1500 in the last 5 years. Some dealt with in 5 minutes, others lasting over several visits. Not only does it attempt to answer those who personally visit the “DESK”, but it also answers the many emails received from all over the world, some requiring many weeks of continued interaction.
As one volunteer said, “it is extremely fascinating as you never know what the next query will be about. For example we recently had an enquiry from a German owner of a 1930s Bentley car who wished to know about a garage in Horley by the name of Hunt, who he said was responsible many years ago for modifying the coachwork of his car? We even learned a lot more ourselves.” It was by the way at Salfords, where the second-hand car sales site is today.
A lady enquirer phoned one day to ask where the WW1 hostel for Belgium families was in Horley? We had no idea. Her husband was billeted with a Belgium family during WW2 and both families became the best of friends. During one of their recent visits one of their Belgium son-in-law’s took them for a car ride around the Belgium countryside and remarked that his father was born in England during WW1 but did not know where. When the lady returned home to the UK she immediately applied for the father’s birth certificate that boldly gave his birth place as Hostel in Horley. Hence her phone enquiry. One volunteer realised that we had a WW1 post card of a group of Belgium refugees that stated it was taken in Horley so we copied it and it was sent to the son-in-law. He in turn showed it to an elderly aunt who recognised many in the photo and pointed to a babe in arms and said this was your father!
Many of the enquiries received are far more involved than the two examples above and often take weeks to research with several letters and emails to follow. Frequently they add to the Centre’s knowledge and to our photographic archives. Some add to our knowledge so extensively that it is thought so important as to produce the subject as a history note or monograph to place on the library shelves with a copy to the Surrey History Centre. In this way we are building up Horley’s heritage for all to read about. (For details of past, present and planned publications see www.horleyhistory.org.uk and follow the link to Publications) Some we give permission to those still building up their own knowledge on the subject, to use what the Centre has produced. (Eg see www.wadhurst.demon.co.uk and follow the history link for High Trees School at Horley).
The Centre also maintains a constant and varying photographic exhibition on different subjects that is found to be of great interest to the general public when just visiting the library. Volunteers are always ready to discuss with those who view them which often leads to other local enquiries that were not initially intended.
This type of activity relieves the full-time library staff of having to deal with such enquiries while at the same time having a facility akin to a semi-professional arm about local history within the library. This in turn can often interest the general public to take up the study of the subject and help to improve the desirability and knowledge of the area.
Another benefit is to the Surrey History Centre through Centre volunteers suggesting to enquirers perhaps they should carry out further research there. This was one of the prime reasons for the initial idea to set up such centres back in 1994/5 as mentioned above.
There are now 7 such Local History Centres within Surrey, some servicing larger community areas but all benefit by knowing what others are doing. Horley set up the very first in Surrey and won an auspicious award for doing so..
Brian Buss 01.06.16
Archaeological surveys have been taking place in the area north of Langshott in connection with the Horley North East development known as "The Acres".
The work by Archaeology South-East has revealed that there were Iron age "Round Houses" and agricultural activities in the area near Great Lake Farm and north of Tanyard Farm.
Below is an article from the Archaeology South-East web site reproduced with their kind permission.
Excavations undertaken by Archaeology South-East near Horley in Surrey have completely changed our understanding of the prehistoric settlement of this little-studied region. Desk-based assessment and evaluation trial trenching led to an archaeological excavation carried out in four targeted areas of this housing scheme between December 2007 and July 2008. The excavations revealed new and exciting evidence of Middle and Late Iron Age, Romano-British and medieval settlement, farming and possible ritual practise along the banks of the Burstow Stream. Other than iron-working sites, prehistoric, Roman and medieval archaeology is rare in the Weald which has historically been conceived as being a wilderness throughout much of antiquity. Contrary to this, the results from the site appear to suggest that prehistoric, Romano-British and medieval origins in the area may have developed and extended along arterial waterways such as the Burstow Stream through the otherwise densely forested Weald. The location of the site with fertile farmland and both riverine and forest habitats available as valuable and abundant resources close to hand would have presented an attractive proposition to ancient settlers. The evaluation and excavation process has shown without a doubt the legitimacy that archaeological fieldwork can have in areas previously considered of lower archaeological potential.
Project Officer: Jim Stevenson, Dan Swift
Client: CPM Environmental Planning and Design
Here is a further report from Archaeology South East
> > >>
Archaeological Investigations at Brook Wood, NE Horley
Phase 1 Excavation
ASE Project No. 3641
Archaeology South-East were commissioned by Bovis Homes Ltd. to undertake a programme of archaeological work at the Brook Wood Horley development. This follows on from previous phases of work on wider residential development in the area. Work on this site began with a stage 1 desk based assessment (CPM 2000). This was followed by stage 2 geophysical survey (WYAS 2001). Archaeological evaluation (stage 3) was undertaken within the site during 2007 (Margetts, 2007). This revealed Iron Age, late medieval and post medieval evidence. The majority of the remains uncovered comprised ditches or gullies probably mostly of MIA/LIA date. Two removed field boundaries were also in evidence, one of which has a probable late medieval date assigned to its foundation as well as a late 19th century date for its decommission. Much post-medieval blast furnace iron slag was also recovered from the southern part of the site.
This phase of work comprised large stripped areas centred on the development footprint as well as suspected Iron Age remains encountered during the evaluation stage. The general aim of the work was to identify, excavate, record and characterise any archaeological remains present in the excavated area. More specific aims included:
·To assess what evidence there is that changing environmental conditions, such as the flooding of the Burstow Stream, may have dictated settlement shift in the area during the MIA/LIA and Romano-British periods.
·To assess what was the Iron Age and Romano-British ‘network’ of sites in this region in light of the theory that these follow arterial waterways such as the Burstow Stream and the River Mole etc.
·To use any Middle and Late Iron Age pottery recovered to help to improve our knowledge of Iron Age material culture in the Weald.
·To attempt to relate any evidence of the medieval tannery * Scheduled Ancient Monument site recorded in Scotchman’s Copse
Further aims were to identify and examine the evidence for continuity between past and present landscapes and to:
·Examine the relationship of cut features, particularly field / enclosure boundaries and trackways to the existing field boundaries, roads and lanes.
·Examine the documentary and cartographic sources and relate these, if possible to the excavated evidence.
·Particular attention should also be paid to the continuity of land use from the prehistoric / Romano-British period and the medieval landscape. This has been suggested for other areas of the Weald, particularly Kent (SERF seminar October 2007)
Area A Results
The earliest activity at the site comprised Prehistoric activity of an early date including probable Mesolithic flint artefacts (including a microlith) found residually in features dated to later periods or collected from subsoil deposits. This probably represents transient hunter gather activity within the site
Phase 1 Iron Age
Activity relating to this phase comprised the majority of archaeological evidence encountered on site. Arrangements of ditches probably representing enclosures and field-systems of this date were encountered throughout the area on a general northeast and southwest alignment. Within some of these enclosures were encountered the remains of at least two roundhouses with partial remains of up-to two more found close by.
The only artefacts recovered relating to this activity comprised finds of pottery possibly of Mid to Late Iron Age date.
Fig 2: The largest and best preserved Iron Age Roundhouse
Phase 2 Late Medieval to Post Medieval
This phase is typified by boundary and drainage ditches relating to land division across the site. These can often be traced on cartographic evidence.
The large drainage/boundary ditches possibly have 15th to 16th century origins indicated by the presence of un-abraded pottery recovered from deposits filling the base of the features. Further finds of post medieval brick tile and glass as well as cartographic evidence indicate a late 19th century date for the boundaries removal.
Area B Results
The earliest activity at the site comprised Prehistoric activity including flint artefacts found residually in features dated to later periods. This probably represents transient activity within the site.
Phase 1 Iron Age
Activity relating to this phase comprised the majority of archaeological evidence encountered. Arrangements of ditches probably representing enclosures and field-systems of this date were encountered throughout the area on similar alignments to ditches found during Area A. In contrast however these enclosures were not associated with settlement evidence (i.e. roundhouses and concentrations of artefacts) and more likely represent field-systems.
There was a distinct lack of artefactual evidence related to these field-systems their similarity to ditch features of Iron Age date encountered within Area A excavation area however makes a likely Iron age date for these features most probable.
Phase 2 Late Medieval to Post Medieval
This phase is typified by a single boundary/drainage ditch encountered in the south of the area.
The large drainage/boundary ditch was similar to features encountered in Area A however this example had a ceramic land-drain inserted into its base.
The majority of discrete features encountered on site did not provide any dating evidence and were largely unremarkable in nature. Several pits however displayed evidence of gully fed terminals and are likely to be industrial in nature although what this industry entails is unknown at present.
The bulk of the archaeological evidence is of probable Mid-Late Iron Age date (4th century BC to 1st century AD) being the period of most intensive land-use of the site. This is followed by a period of low intensity land-use until the present day.
The Iron Age activity clearly relates to an agricultural settlement and comprises a continuation of activity found during previous phases of archaeological work on the wider northeast Horley residential development.
Early indications based on boundary orientations and spatial analysis look to further suggest continuity of land-use patterns from the Iron Age to the post-medieval and even modern periods on the site. It also seems likely that settlement zones confirmed by the presence of the roundhouses show a predilection for being sited close to the course of the Burstow Stream.
The possible late medieval origins of some of the boundary/drainage ditches on site may indicate associations with the nearby Langshott Manor.
Some of the pits encountered on site may be industrial in nature and associations with nearby tannery * activity should not be discounted at this time.
For full details see:
14th May 2012
* Regarding the Moat in Scotchmans Copse, there is no evidence that it was used in connection with Tanyard Farm which was a tannery that existed in the late 18th c.
The moat within Scotchmans Copse has been in existence since before 1324 when it is mentioned in connection with Labbokland and Guldenland in the Chertsey Abbey Cartularies.
Also the field adjoining the moat was named Moat Field. (Peter Cox, H. L. H. S.)
Below is a picture of the site of a round house which was located about 100 metres north-east of Langshott Manor. Four of the post holes can be seen exposed by the archaeologists. (photo Peter Cox Horley Local History Society)
Below is what an Iron Age roundhouse looked like. This reproduction is at The Chiltern Open Air Museum. (photo P. C. C.)
A small quantity of ash containing bone fragments were examined at the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London. They have confirmed that the bone fragments are human, from an adult and included cranial and leg-bone fragments. Most of the burial had been disturbed by ploughing.
In the picture below, the cranial fragments are on the left.
Included in the finds was a bronze age flint arrowhead,(pictured at the bottom) which had not been burnt, this seems to indicate that it was buried at the same time as the ashes were interned, but after the actual cremation. This arrowhead was in the soil above the ashes.
It was reported that in 1840 some land was being cleared by the tenant farmer and human bones were found, but there is no further information recorded as to where this was on the Haroldslea estate, or even if they could have been connected to this recent find.
This find was made near the moated site. The map reference is TQ2995 4245.