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The Houses on Goose Rye Road


Stonebridge Cottage

If you proceed up the first track off Goose Rye Road (coming from Rickford), you will find 2 houses:  The most easterly (to your right) is called Stonebridge Cottage and is the original house on this site.  The other house is today called Rickford Cottage (not to be confused with the Rickford Cottage of the 1800’s, now called White Lodge – see below – or the Rickford Cottage next to the bakery, which was demolished c1911).  This section covers Stonebridge Cottage, and we deal with Rickford Cottage below.

The earliest reference to Stonebridge Cottage is in the Tithe Map (c1840).  Stonebridge Cottage is the pink building in field 349 to the north west of Rickford Mill.  There are 2 farm buildings just below it, where Rickford Cottage is today. The plot comprised 1 acre.

In the 1841 census William Boylett and his family lived in a dwelling whose address was simply “Rickford”, but this was presumably Stonebridge Cottage, since in 1851, his widow Charlotte and family lived in one of the 2 dwellings called “Stone Bridge Cottage”.  William’s occupation was a cow leech (which was a cow doctor).  His son Daniel followed him into this trade, but in 1851 had proudly added the occupation of “castrater”.  Interestingly, a John Boylett of Perry Hill, who died in 1790 aged 86 was also recorded as being a “cow leech or farrier”.  So it seems that the Boyletts had quite a history in that particular profession.

By 1861 Stonebridge Cottage was still occupied by Charlotte Boylett, but in addition by George Goodwill, a 53 year-old tailor from Middlesex, and his wife Mary Ann.  This Mary Ann was born Mary Ann Boylett in Worplesdon c 1811, and there is a strong possibility that she was William and Charlotte’s daughter, and therefore brought up in Stonebridge Cottage although I can find no documentary evidence of this.  It seems a rather isolated place for a tailor to live, but perhaps his wife had helped him decide to leave this trade and join the rural community in the area where she grew up. 

In 1863 George was granted an acre of common land adjoining his house by the Manor of Worplesdon.  He then proceeded to build 2 dwellings (with the help of a mortgage from a pair of builders in Guildford).  This was the building now called Rickford Cottage, but then comprising 2 semi-detached dwellings.

By 1879, when George Goodwill died, much of the mortgage was still outstanding, and so some of the land passed to the builders, who later surrendered the copyhold back to the Manor of Worplesdon.  Soon after this, it was acquired by Abraham Cooke (who was a farmer at Ockford Farm, Pirbright).

Abraham Cooke died in 1882, and in September 1885, the Surrey Advertiser carried an ad for “a modern and substantially-built dwelling house at Rickford, nearly fronting the cricket green with a large garden lately occupied by the widow of the late owner.  Also a pair of semi-detached newly-built houses with large gardens adjoining the attached.”  This almost certainly describes Stonebridge Cottage, the pair of semi-detached houses being what is today Little Rickford.  The only mystery is the whereabouts of the cricket green.  Was it to the west (towards Rickford Mill) or to the north-east, towards Blanket Mill?  Or somewhere else?  The answer can be found elsewhere on this site....

Mary Ann Goodwill died in late 1885 in central London, having presumably moved out of Stonebridge Cottage earlier in the year.

At this time all 3 of the dwellings were simply known as Stonebridge Cottages, and it is not possible to tell which is which.  We do know that, between 1888 and 1903, one of the cottages was occupied by William Balchin, a hay binder and thatcher.  William then moved to Bridley estate.  His wife died in Guildford in 1914, and he died in Petworth, aged 62.  Their 6 children all appear to have lived to ripe old ages.  5 of them were girls, and the sole boy, William Henry was living in nearby Thatchers Lane, as a gravedigger and gardener.

The other cottage was occupied by different people, one of whom was William Larby, a “labourer/bricklayer”.  Another was Henry Beacham and his family, who moved to Pirbright in 1893, becoming one of the first 2 families to live in Pirbright Cottages at Fox Corner.  We do not know who owned the properties at this time.

From 1909 Stonebridge Cottage was occupied (and probably purchased) by John Leonard (“Jack”) and Marie Sime, who originated from Manchester, and their family.  John Sime’s main claim to fame is being the younger brother of Sidney Herbert Sime, the artist.  Sidney moved south to Worplesdon in 1908, choosing to live at Crown Cottage, an old coaching inn.  John moved south the following year and settled at Stonebridge Cottage, just half a mile away.  The brothers remained close, as evidenced by Sidney’s decision to name John as his co-executor (along with Sidney’s wife).  Sidney died in 1941, but his memory lives on via the gallery devoted to his work in Worplesdon memorial Hall.

John’s army records show that he first enlisted in 1886, but he claimed that he had been born in St Pancras, which is clearly untrue.  He was quickly promoted to colour sergeant.  In 1895 he served in The Punjab, followed by South Africa (during the Boer War).  He re-enlisted in 1914, giving his occupation as gardener, but was discharged in 1915 (with a note of his good character), presumably because he was deemed to be too old to serve. He was clearly a dedicated soldier.  Unsurprisingly he was on the receiving end of an amusing caricature drawn by his brother, pictured, below. 

Jack Sime.jpg

It is a particularly vivid drawing, and we can almost hear the man’s voice growling at us as he marches past in his flapping overcoat.

John and Marie moved to Aldershot in 1936.  John died in 1946, but Marie lived until 1969, dying at the Hollaway Sanatorium in Egham, aged 93. 

In 1932 they had been joined by Dulcie Coote, a divorcee aged 43, who continued to live at Stonebridge Cottage (alone) after the Simes left.  In 1939 she did “Unpaid Domestic Duties”, which was a euphemism at the time for living at home without paid work. She continued to live at Stonebridge Cottage until 1956.

A recent estate agent's picture of Stonebridge Cottage is shown below (with thanks).

Stonebridge Cottage 2021.jpg

Rickford Cottage

Rickford Cottage.jpg

Rickford Cottage was built in the 1860’s by George and Mary Ann Goodwill (who owned next-door Stonebridge Cottage) as a pair of semi-detached dwellings.  c1880, it was acquired by Abraham Cooke (who was a farmer at Ockford Farm, Pirbright).

After Abraham’s death in September 1885, the Surrey Advertiser carried an ad for “a modern and substantially-built dwelling house at Rickford, nearly fronting the cricket green with a large garden lately occupied by the widow of the late owner.  Also a pair of semi-detached newly-built houses with large gardens adjoining the attached.”  The first-mentioned house was almost certainly Stonebridge Cottage, whilst the pair of semi-detached houses was what is today Rickford Cottage. 

The ad mentions that the pair of newly built houses (ie today’s Rickford Cottage) was let to Messrs Neal and Sumshon.  Of these, Francis Neal was a stockman who moved from farm to farm. 

William Sumshon  (correct spelling) is of greater interest:  He was a Police Constable from Taunton who married Ann Walker from Guildford.  In 1871 they had been living at Pitch Place, in 1881 at Nightingale Cottage (near Perry Hill Chapel), and in 1891 they had moved to Send.  Presumably his was a role in which he was expected to move from parish to parish, keeping the peace as he went.

At this time all 3 of the dwellings were simply known as Stonebridge Cottages, and it is not possible to tell which is which.  We do know that, between 1888 and 1903, one of the cottages was occupied by William Balchin, a hay binder and thatcher.  William then moved to Bridley estate.  His wife died in Guildford in 1914, and he died in Petworth, aged 62.  Their 6 children all appear to have lived to ripe old ages.  5 of them were girls, and the sole boy, William Henry was living in nearby Thatchers Lane, as a gravedigger and gardener.

The other cottage was occupied by different people, one of whom was William Larby, probably between 1881 and 1897, a “labourer/bricklayer”. 

By 1925, Rickford Cottage was occupied (and presumably owned) by Whitworth (or Wentworth) and Enid Crosse.  At this time the house was known as “The Cottage, Rickford”.  In 1928 the Crosses acquired a telephone and were given the number Worplesdon 100.  There must have been something very satisfying about answering a call with a booming “Worplesdon One Hundred”...

In 1937, The Crosses decided to give the house a more distinctive name, and chose “Rickford Cottage”.  I wonder if they knew that there had already been 2 houses close by with this name.  I suspect not, but who knows?  Whitworth died in 1948, but Enid remained there with their son David until c1962, before moving to Wandsworth.  She died in 1967, aged 88. 

White Lodge & Little Rickford (previously Rickford Cottage, then The Hollies)

Our early knowledge of what was once called Rickford Cottage (but is now called White Lodge and Little Rickford) comes from a 19th century deed, which helpfully lists previous deeds relating to the property.  The earliest dated record is from 1711, when Thomas Onslow sold the property to James Rickard.  There is an earlier reference to it in the will of one William Cooke, but this is undated.  In 1760 James Rickard sold the property to John Field.  The property stood on the site now occupied by White Lodge, on the north side of Goose Rye Road 400 yards east of the Guildford – Bagshot road.  It is shown on the 1768 Rocque map with 3 fields attached, and so was presumably a farm at that time.

Rickford Cottage was sold by John Field in 1801 to John Collins, who also owned the Speeches fields in Pirbright, and was the brother of William, who owned nearby Norton Farm.  John’s sister Elizabeth married George Linnard (whose father had owned Whites Farm and Gander Hill - now The Fox Inn - in Pirbright) in 1767.  So it seems that much of the property in the area at this time was owned by members of the Collins family.

John’s wife and son predeceased him, and so, on John’s death in 1815, the property passed to his nephew Henry Collins, who had by now inherited Norton Farm, a property in Chapel Lane, Pirbright called Bones, and now Rickford Cottage.  A lucky man.  On his death in 1826, he allocated the properties to 2 of his 3 sons (Nortons and the other Worplesdon properties, including Rickford Cottage, passed to William, and Bones to Henry.  His third son, John and his youngest child, Ann, received annuities from the properties).

c1840, Rickford Cottage was owned by Ann Collins, and occupied by Jane Spencer.  It included 2 acres of land.  George Spencer (aged 50) rented 2 further fields of 3 acres each.  He and Jane (aged 35) appeared in the 1841 census as farmers, but they did not remain in Worplesdon for long.

Rickford Cottage remained within the Collins family until it was sold to James Stanford in 1855, who died 2 years later.  His 2 daughters inherited the property, but soon sold it to Stephen and Elizabeth Coles.  At that time the property comprised 4 acres, but In 1863 the Coles’s took advantage of an initiative by Worplesdon Manor (to convert common land to more productive land) to acquire just over 1,000 square metres (1/4 acre) to the west of the cottage. 

They then sold the new enlarged property to Richard Brettell, a solicitor in Chertsey, in 1878 for £760.Mr Brettell had asked his uncle for a mortgage, and his uncle seemed happy to grant one.The deeds included a plan which is shown below (left). The sale document described the property as abutting the common, the green and Mr Layton’s garden.“The Green” is of interest, as there was a cricket green in the area referred to in the sale particulars of Stonebridge Cottage (see above) in 1885.The exact location of this cricket green was a mystery to me for some time, but the mystery is now solved, and the explanation can be found found elsewhere on this site.  Mr Layton’s garden refers to the garden of Layton Cottage.

Rickford Cottage 1878 map adj.jpg
Little Rickford 2010.jpg

Mr Brettell made some “thorough repairs” and sold the property a year later (after a “spirited auction”) for £1,000.The property at that time had 7 good rooms, 2 paddocks, 2 acres, and faced both the green and the common.Once he had repaid the mortgage to his uncle, he would have made a tidy profit.Richard Brettell went on to become the Conservative Party agent for Chertsey.He died in 1901, aged 55.

Thomas Arthur Hope lived at the property between 1887 and 1897.  The 1887 Post Office directory records him as living at The Hollies, which gives us the approximate date of the name change (it is shown as The Hollies on the 1913 OS map).  He may well been the owner of the property, but this is not certain.

By 1901 Colonel William Montgomery and his wife Agnes had moved in (as owner-occupiers).  William was born in Ireland in 1852, and died in 1916.  Agnes continued to live in the house until her death in 1937, aged 76.  Both of their deaths were reported in The Times.  In 1929 she had divided the house into 2, giving the new properties the names of Little Rickford and Little Rickford West.  She chose to live in Little Rickford West (now White Lodge), whilst the other dwelling (Little Rickford) was let out.

After her death, it seems that the 2 houses were combined, becoming Little Rickford and being occupied by Mabel Braybrooke  and her son, Captain Edward Braybrooke.   During the second world war Captain Braybooke ran a Vetinerary First Aid Post at Little Rickford, posting several messages in the local newspapers, giving his address and phone number (Worplesdon 99).  Mabel also appeared in the newspapers at this time, but for violating blackout rules (fined £5).

The Braybrookes left immediately after the war.  Around 1961 it seems that the house was re-divided, as the name White Lodge appears in the phone directory (as well as Little Rickford). 

A recent estate agent’s photo showing Little Rickford, with White Lodge behind, is shown above right.

Great Oaks

This house appears on earlier Land Registry maps as Rickford Lodge, but has since been renamed.  It looks as though it was built at the same time as Holly House (below).  Its earliest appearance in the electoral rolls is in 1957, when Geoffrey and Muriel Oxley were living there.  They remained there until at least 1969.

Cecilia Cottage

Back in 1841 the land where Cecilia Cottage now stands was shown as common, but on the 1873 and 1915 maps it is shown as a field, probably part of Blanket Mill Farm.

The first documentary record of Cecilia Cottage is the 1934 Electoral Roll, when the house was occupied by George and Agnes Stedman.  Perhaps it was another of Henry Rance’s constructions. 

George was born in St Johns (Woking) in 1887.  By 1911 he was living with his parents and siblings at Saunders Lane, Woking.  His father was a nurseryman.  In 1914 he married Edith Louise Bone, and they had one child, Freda Maud, in 1915.  Sadly Edith died in 1916, which must have put a terrible strain on George and his very young daughter.

George married his second wife, Agnes White, in 1930.  In 1939 he was recorded as still being a nurseryman.  Freda’s marriage in 1940 was reported in the Surrey Advertiser. 

Agnes died in 1949, but George continued to live at Cecilia Cottage until his death in 1963.

Holly House

This house appears on earlier Land Registry maps as Little Rickford Cottage, but has since been renamed.  That has removed any possible confusion with the other 3 Rickford Cottages that had existed nearby in the previous 100 years.  It looks as though it was built at the same time as Great Oaks (above).  Its earliest appearance in the electoral rolls is in 1958, when Anne and Richard Webb were living there.  They remained there until at least 1964. 

Blanket Mill Farm

The early history of Blanket Mill Farm is difficult to piece together.


However, Miss Evelyn Thompson in her “Notes on the History of Worplesdon” (1921) states that “There was also a colony of Huguenot refugees at one time in the (ie Worplesdon) village, said to have lived in the old cottages on The Green and in Vine Farm.  They wove blankets in the mill at Goose Rye, which, now a farm, is still called Blanket Mill.”  The blankets were apparently of good quality and James Terry (who owned Blanket Mill in the mid-1800’s – see below) and who had laid on them in his youth reported that “They was very thick blankett”.

As historical background, in the 1680’s, Louis XIV exercised increasing restrictions on the Huguenots (French Calvinist protestants) in France, and consequently c200,000 people left France for Protestant countries (mainly The Netherlands, England, Germany and Switzerland). 

Between 40,000 and 50,000 Huguenots) arrived in southern England during the period 1680 – 1710.  This was the largest influx of foreign refugees into the UK up to that time, and represented around 1% of England’s population.  It is reported that they showed a willingness to work hard, to persevere and to lead frugal lives, and assimilated into local populations well.  They were particularly known for their weaving skills.

Miss Thompson’s assertion of a Huguenot presence in Worplesdon may have been based on hearsay, rather than any hard evidence, but it may well be true, as we shall see a few paragraphs further down.  There are also occasional instances of French names in the Worplesdon parish registers of the period.

In 1712 it appears that Thomas and Sarah Hoad, who owned Rickford Mill, sold 21 acres of their property to Henry Burlace, scion of a family that had been living in Worplesdon since at least the mid-1600’s.  This property may have comprised parts of Blanket Mill and Brook Farms, as well as 2 fields north of the Hoe Stream.  Perhaps it was he that encouraged the Huguenots to make blankets in Worplesdon.

The farm appears on the 1768 Rocque map.  By 1782, 19 acres of this land had been inherited by Ann Burlace (probably Henry’s great-grand-daughter).  When Ann married Edward Sanders, a widowed blanketmaker from Worplesdon, in 1789, she was aged just 26, and was given a mill and 2 acres as a marriage settlement.  It seems likely that new enlarged property comprises what is now Blanketmill Farm.  In 1789, most of the property was sold to a John Creuze, whom we discuss further in the next paragraph.  (5 years later the remainder of the property, comprising 2 fields “north of Rickford Brook” (which was an old name for the Hoe Stream) were sold to John Baker, who owned Bakersgate and was a wealthy fellow.  These 2 fields were later incorporated into Rickford Malthouse land, which in turn became part of the Bridley Estate in the mid-1800’s.  But these fields are in Woking parish, and so are not dealt with here.)

John Creuze had an interesting background.  His family was from Niort, a town near the Atlantic coast of France, near La Rochelle.  The surname was spelt Creuzé at that time.  John’s father, Pierre, and his wife, Marie, were both born in France around 1690, but married in England (Spitalfields) in 1722.  It seems highly likely that they were 2 of the 40,000+ Huguenots who arrived (with their parents) in England at that time.  They lived in Hackney, and had 7 children, including Jean in 1737.

Jean married Elizabeth in The French Huguenot Church in Spitalfields in 1772.  The marriage certificate records his name as John, but the surname still has an accent on the final e.  John (Jean) was a jeweller in London, and clearly made a great deal of money in his trade, as by 1791, he was living in Guildford (possibly in the Woodbridge Road area) owning quite a lot of land there.  He had already purchased Blanket Mill Farm in 1789 (the year when the French Revolution started).  How had he come by the money to buy all this land?  Perhaps his family had somehow managed to bring some of their wealth to England when they arrived some 90 years earlier.  Perhaps he just worked hard in the Huguenot tradition.

Fortunately for historians, in 1792, a map of John Creuze’s lands in Worplesdon was prepared and is shown below.

Parchment Map of Worplesdon c1792.jpg

This highly useful document is in private hands, and seems to have been passed from one owner of John Creuze’s properties to another for over 200 years.  It shows that in 1792 John owned not just Blanket Mill (top left), but also Vinehouse Farm (left and bottom) and Perry Hill House (bottom centre), as well as 2 other blocks of land.  [As an aside, Coombe Lane seems to be named as “Bilselport Lane”.  I can’t trace what this refers to.]

An intriguing newspaper advert appeared in 1797:

Blanket Mill 1797.jpg

It is quite difficult at first to work out what was being offered (at least for me it was).  It seems that the ”Overseers of the Poor” are asking for someone to look after the poor of the parish, and to run the blanket-making business in which they were employed (in an early form of workhouse).  The advert doesn’t specify the exact location in Worplesdon, but the only reference to blanket-making I can find in the historical records is at Blanket Mill, so this seems likely.

As background, at that time each parish was responsible for the care of poor people who had been born in their parish.  Overseers of the Poor were appointed in each parish for this task.  Parishes used a variety of methods to alleviate poverty, but these didn’t work particularly well, especially in times of hardship.  And the 1790’s were indeed times of hardship.  Poor harvests, an ongoing war against Spain, and French Revolutionary conflicts across Europe contributed to rising prices.  All this was against a backdrop of a rising population.

So the advert may have been an attempt by the parish council to outsource (ie offload) one of their activities – making blankets at Blanket Mill and caring for the workers.  It presumably had the approval of the landlord, John Creuze, but whether or not the attempt was successful is not known.

Miss Thompson’s assertion that there was a colony of Huguenot refugees at Worplesdon is surely connected to John Creuze, himself son of a Huguenot refugee, especially as the properties Miss Thompson refers to match the properties listed on the 1792 map of John Creuze’s properties in Worplesdon.  The simplest explanations are that John either initiated the colony himself on his lands, or purchased the lands where an existing colony already lived and worked.  We may never know.


c1820, John Creuze sold his Worplesdon lands, comprising Blanket Mill and Brook Farms, to a George Watts of Guildford, who left them in his will to his daughter, Anne, the wife of James Terry.  Thus James and Anne Terry acquired a great deal of property in Worplesdon, as is described in the section on the Terry family, but most of it was sold off in the second half of the 18th century.  Blanket Mill was one of the longer-held properties, and was to remain in the hands of the Terry family for around 80 years.

Meanwhle, John Creuze died in 1823, and is commemorated in Stoke Church by a memorial tablet, which he had erected in honour of Elizabeth, who had died in 1805 (see photo below left)

Harwood Newspaper cutting 1867.jpg

The c1840 Tithe Map shows that Blanket Mill, comprising 3 acres, was owned by James Terry and let to William Harwood, an agricultural labourer who remained there until at least 1881.  He was a keen gardener evidenced by his potatoes and cabbages winning third and second prizes at the local show in 1865.  However a less savoury side of him was displayed 2 years later (see Surrey Advertiser cutting above). 


In the late 1800’s, the censuses show a series of agricultural labourers living at Blanket Mill, presumably in farm cottages rather than the main house.  It is difficult to know who the owner of the farm was, but one Thomas Cust shows up on the electoral rolls in the late 1880s, possibly as the tenant farmer.

In 1891, Francis Terry (one of James’s sons) was living at Blanket Mill, and was still living there when he died aged 83 in 1899, so I assume that it was still held by the Terry family at that point.

By 1911 the farm was owned by Humphrey Smallpeice, who was clerk to the Guildford Borough Magistrates (as his father had been before him), and lived in Guildford.  James Criddle was the resident farm bailiff. 

Humphrey Smallpeice died in 1920 and by 1927 the farm had been bought by Henry and Gladys Alles.

2 bungalows were built at Blanket Mill in the early 1930’s, one of which became today’s Worplemill Retreat.  Charles and Kathleen Randall lived there from c 1938 to c 1962.  It also appears from the electoral rolls that some people were living in caravans at Blanket Mill in the 1950’s.

Sadly Gladys Alles died in 1944, but Henry stayed at the farm until at least 1964, when Blanket Mill was described (in the phone book) as “Model Dairy”.  He died in 1984 at Worplemill Retreat (into which he had moved after the Randalls left).

Since then, some additional properties appear to have been built within the farm’s estate.

One obvious question we haven’t addressed:  Why is Blanket Mill Farm so called?  Miss Thompson’s story about the Huguenot blanketmakers in the early 1700’s is the obvious answer.  And the settlement in 1789 to a widowed blanketmaker suggests that around this time, the mill was or had been used for blanket making. 

Another question is:  What did blanket making involve?

Blankets were made from short-fibred, lower-quality wool.  Given Guildford’s reliance on the wool trade during medieval times, it is perhaps not surprising that blankets had been made in the vicinity.

Whereas the better-quality wool could be combed, wool for blankets went through a “carding” process, which broke up any locks and unorganised clumps of fibre, and then aligned the individual fibres to be parallel with each other.  The end product of the weaving process was a heavy, nappy product, used for heavy clothing or blankets.

Mechanisation arrived at the end of the eighteenth century with spinning and carding machines.  It would have been difficult for a small mill in Surrey to compete with the rapidly industrialised north of England, where many coal-fired power looms were in operation in a factory system.

Later, in the mid-1850’s, steam-powered looms, coupled with the newly expanding railway system would have made blanket-making in Rickford even less competitive.  The advert above tells us that blanket making in Worplesdon was taking place was taking place in 1797, but my guess is that it would have finished in the very early 1800’s.  After that Blanket Mill would have been moved on to an agricultural basis.

Little Rickford

Little Rickford is a semi-detached house adjoining White Lodge.  However this has not always been the case. 

The history of the building is provided in the section on White Lodge above, and can be summarised as:

  • c1711-1929:  Single residence, named Rickford Cottage (the first), then The Hollies

  • 1929-1937:  2 semi-detached houses, renamed as Little Rickford West and Little Rickford

  • 1937-c1961:  Single residence once more, named Little Rickford

  • 1961:  Reverted to 2 semi-detached cottages, named White Lodge and Little Rickford.


So, quite a complicated picture, which shows that the house now known as Little Rickford had 2 periods of separate occupation.  The first period (1929-1937) was quite short, and the house appears to have been let out during this time.  1961 presumably marks the time when Little Rickford was formally separated from White Lodge (ie the 2 houses were under separate ownership). 


This house first appears in the records in in 1957, when it was purchased by Dorothy Dyer.  Recently widowed, she had lived for over 30 years at The Corner House just north of the Fox Corner roundabout on the Bagshot Road.  From 1962, it was occupied by Brenda and John Beer.  They remained there until at least 2008.

Layton Cottage

According to Cubitt & West (who were selling the property in 1982), Layton Cottage dates from 1867 – a rather precise date, suggesting that they had some documentary evidence to support this. 

The first contemporaneous mentions, however, are on the 1873 OS map and then in the 1878 Kellys Directory, when an L Layton was living at a previously undocumented “Rickford Villa”.  More information was provided in the 1881 census, when a Lavender Layton was recorded as living near Blanket Mill Farm.  The exotically-named Lavender was actually a (male) confectioner, born in 1807, who had lived on Putney High Street, and was the 4th generation of (male) Lavender Laytons, originally from Cambridgeshire, but established in Putney from 1789. 

Lavender and his wife, Louisa, had moved to Rickford sometime after 1871.  It may seem a strange move for a couple in their 60’s, but there was a connection to the area, as Lavender’s younger brother, Thomas, had moved to Chapel Lane in Pirbright a few years earlier. 

Perhaps both families had wanted a more peaceful lifestyle than Putney could provide.  We can only imagine the brothers and their wives walking past Rickford Bakery, and along Malthouse Lane to meet up at each other’s homes.  On second thoughts, maybe they used The Fox as a convenient half-way meeting place....

Louisa died in 1880 and Lavender in 1884.  Lavender left an estate valued at £1,400, worth £115,000 today, and a tidy sum in those days. 

By 1891 the “Villa” had been renamed Layton Cottage, probably by Lavender to match the name of his brother’s house (which was named at around the same time).

By 1901 it was occupied by Thomas Barns, who moved into Heath View (later renamed The Elms) sometime before 1911.

Layton Cottage was lived in by a series of families until 1938, when John Charnock moved in.  John and his wife, Florence had been living in Pirbright for many years, and prior to that, in Farnham.  It is difficult to be certain of their backgrounds, but John may have been born in 1884, and married Florence in Canada.  Florence was mentioned in the local newspaper several times in the 1930’s and during the war for her charitable and fund-raising activities (often referred to as Mrs Finch Charnock).  She had produced plays, pageants, etc, and had had overseas experience (presumably in Canada), but never appeared in the Worplesdon Electoral Registers (maybe because she was a foreign national?).  Florence died in 1958 in Eastbourne.  John remained at Layton Cottage until his death in 1964. 

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