Horley's History

Horley is a small but busy town of over 20,000 people situated almost half way between London and Brighton on the south coast. It is mainly residential and sits astride both the main line railway and the A23 main road, between the two locations, close by London Gatwick Airport.

Horley lies on what is known as the Weald that consists mainly of heavy clay soil, a few miles south of high chalk Downs. The local area was thought to have been at one time densely forested so early settlers preferred to live on the drier North Downs. They only penetrated the muddy and overgrown Weald during dry summer months to feed their animals and to forage. When Christianity first came to southern England during Saxon times, Horley and its Manor came under the control of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Chertsey, close by the River Thames. The Abbey also controlled many other manors on the North Downs, who in turn had claims on parts of Horley from earlier use of its land.

The Yattendon story!

Or How did the name Yattendon get around the World!


Why do we have a Yattendon Road in Horley? What is the connection between the pretty little village of Yattendon in Berkshire, population about 250, and Horley, Surrey.


The first reference to Yattendon, in Horley, appears on the 1870 25" Ordnance Survey map. It shows Yattendon Lodge, the large imposing Victorian Gothic house that used to stand on the Brighton Road in Horley together with several associated buildings.


At the beginning of my search I had been convinced that the connection would be through the first owner of Yattendon Lodge a certain John Alfred Burkinyoung, a well off retired tea planter from India. Several months later after chasing the Burkinyoung family history I still had not found the connection. I got in touch with the local historian of Yattendon to see if he could help - there was not even a tentative connection.


A careful examination of the 1871 census showed that Joseph Hatto,34, gardener, place of birth Hampstead, Surrey, lived at Yattendon Cottage. The Lodge was unoccupied. There was an error in the census, there is no Hampstead in Surrey. However I had noticed, during my searching, that on the Berkshire O.S. map of Yattendon that the next village, only 2 1/2 miles away was called Hampstead Norreys. A search through the census returns for that area of Berkshire revealed that Joseph Hatto was baptised in 1817 at Hampstead Norreys. In fact there were great extended families of Hattos all over that part of Berkshire. Further searching revealed that he was a gardener in Eaton ( the old spelling for Eton ), Windsor. It was while he was at Windsor that he married his first wife, Amey in 1847. They then moved to Greenford. Amey died in 1854. The next entry is of the marriage of Joseph to Leah Longhurst, from Abinger at Shere in 1857. Joseph and his family must have moved to Horley sometime around this time as the local Parish records of St Barts Church, Horley show three Hatto children being married at the church in 1870,1874 and 1875. Leah died and is buried at St Barts in 1881. Joseph seems to have moved from Horley and is believed to have been buried in Steyning Sussex in 1882.


Joseph Hatto left Yattendon Cottage sometime between the 1871 and the 1881 censuses. The 1881 census shows the next occupier of Yattendon Cottage as being Aaron Belcher from Sparshott, Berkshire. Was he a friend of Joseph's ?


From looking at the Burkinyoung family history it would appear that John Alfred was somewhat of a romantic spendthrift. There being no other connection between his family and Yattendon I consider that it is quite possible that he named his new house in Horley after the charming little village in Berkshire, the family home of his humble gardener.


It was just after concluding this research that my Grand-daughter, who lives in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, spotted a nearby road - Yattendon Close!
What was the connection between the UK and New South Wales? Was it between Horley,Surrey or Yattendon, Berkshire? The NSW Records Office soon informed me that Yattenden Close and Yattenden Park in the Baulkham Hills Shire Council area of NSW came into being in 1983. They were built on the site of an old racecourse that stood near an equally old inn, "The Horse and Jockey" that was built in the 1850's. Also, in passing, they told me that there was a very famous Australian racehorse called Yattendon!  Yattendon was at the peak of his fame during the 1850's. Did he race at The Horse and Jockey racecourse? A Google search revealed that there was another Yattendon Road in Coolah, also in NSW, some 60 Km north of Sydney. So how did the name of a very small Berkshire village end up in Australia?


I contacted my historian friend in Yattendon . Was there a local connection? He told me that several men had been transported to Botany Bay after being convicted for their part in the Swing Riots of 1830. Further research showed that a local man, Thomas Hicks, a horsebreaker by trade, was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. On arrival in Botany Bay he was assigned to a Mr Henry Cox. Henry, his brothers and father, Captain William Cox, ran a very famous race horse stud farm quite near Sydney. It was this stud that "Yattendon" was raised. By all accounts Hicks was a very good man. He was given an absolute pardon in 1838. He decided to remain in Australia and married a local girl. I consider that it is not beyond the realms of fancy to think that his coming to Botany Bay from Yattendon was the reason for Yattendon to appear as a name to be commemorated in the naming of a horse. Incidentally there is another race horse stud farm near Coolah!


David Hall, November 2008

The Mesolithic site at Haroldslea was first discovered in 1998. The then landowner, Peter Cox, had given permission for an area of his orchard to be used for a practice dig by a local WEA Archaeology group. As the site is only approximately 30m from "Thunderfield Moats," it was a possibility that medieval artefacts may have been found.


Thunderfield Moats are a Scheduled Monument under the protection of English Heritage, and are believed to be the site of a 12th century manor house. The only known excavation on the moats was carried out by S. E. Winbolt and E. Hart in 1936, it revealed the existence of a late medieval bloomery.

The area around the moats was once extensively wooded, indicated by the great abundance of charcoal in the soil. Other evidence of iron working in the vicinity comes from the lumps of slag, bloom and nodules of ironstone found all over Haroldslea.


The WEA excavation in 1998, carried out in early summer in an area of 3 sq metres, revealed large amounts of pottery dating from modern times back to medieval. A small piece of worked flint was found by Jennifer Robinson and identified as Mesolithic by Jean Shelley, and later Peter Cox dug another pit nearby and found several flakes and blades which were confirmed as Mesolithic by Roger Ellaby and the British Museum.


Further areas of the orchard and the adjoining paddock were dug by Peter Cox during the late summer of 1998 and since then, Maureen Hart (no relation of E. Hart) and Roger Ellaby are still continuing the dig, and the approximate extent of the flint working site is becoming apparent. The north eastern boundary of the site, lying only a few metres from the road and the outer ditch of the moats, shows much evidence of soil disturbance, most of which is undoubtedly due to medieval and later digging and earthmoving.
It is likely that the moats were originally stream-fed, and that the ditch leading from the southern corner was once the course of the present Burstow stream. The Mesolithic site may therefore once have been much closer to running water than it is at present.


The site so far excavated at Haroldslea is relatively small, and may simply have been where a couple of hunters stopped to light a fire and repair their weapons. So far some 6,664 pieces of flint have been found, but flint-knapping always produces an extremely large percentage of waste material.

The list of finds up to 30th April, 2012 is as follows:

Microliths  124
Microburins  206
Scrapers  7
Piercers, awls, borers  14
Truncated flakes and blades  27
There are no positive burins and no axes or axe sharpening flakes
There are a few miscellaneous retouched pieces
Cores  73
Blades and blade fragments  1904
Pieces affected by fire  1791 (26.9%)


Some sites have produced tens of thousands of waste flakes. The most interesting finds in this site are the microliths, cores and a few scrapers which have been found in the approximately 160 sq. metres dug so far. Microliths are believed to have been used as barbs in arrows.


Maureen Hart, Roger Ellaby & Peter C. Cox.   May 2012


Pictured are four of the microliths.


St. Bartholemew's Church, Horley, Surrey

Following the Norman Conquest, Horley is not named in William 1st's Domesday Book as it is thought to be included within the northern manor returns. After the Dissolution of the Monastries in 1539, Horley Manor passed to Henry VIII who gave or sold it to various people until 1602, when it became the property of Christ's Hospital in London. A map of its purchase was produced in that year, the original of which is held today by the Guildhall Library in the City of London. This map clearly shows that Horley consisted of three separated settlements around the western and northern edges of a huge open common.

Ye Olde Six Bells, Horley, SurreyOne by the Church, parts of which are thought to be 14th century, along with today's Six Bells Public House of 15th century origin; another where the Watermill once stood by the River Mole; and the third, along the northern boundary of the common (today called Horley Row) where several other properties can be seen, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

High Street, Horley, SurreyHigh Street, Horley, Surrey

By 1812 with a population of a little under 1000, the huge common was enclosed. New roads were planned and the intervening land sold. However, Horley changed little even when two of its planned roads were turnpiked, one in 1809 and the other in 1816, to allow regular stage coach services to operate between London and Brighton.

In 1841, the railway was laid across the common and the first Horley station came into operation to serve its population that had by then reached 1500. From that location and from that date, the town of Horley grew steadily to a population of around 8000 by 1940. Whereas agriculture was its main industry prior to World War II, it changed rapidly after to become a dormitory town for London commuters and a place to house the growing workforce, and associated businesses, of Gatwick Airport. From its humble beginnings in 1930 as a recreational airfield, Gatwick first became a continental airport with its own terminal (now listed) building in 1936. Today, it is the UK's second largest airport and before September 2001 it was handling some 30 million passengers a year.

Depite the fact that Horley is now mainly a residential town with business services and some light industry alongside Gatwick Airport, it is still situated within pleasant rural surroundings from which it originally evolved. Something its population remains keen to safeguard.