Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for BLETCHINGLEY, or Blechingley

BLETCHINGLEY, or Blechingley, a village and a parish in Godstone district, Surrey. The village stands on an eminence, adjacent to one of the sources of the Medway river, near the Roman vicinal way, and near a branch of the Southeastern railway, 3 miles E of Redhill Junction station, and 5 E by N of Reigate; and it has a post office‡ under Redhill. It claims to have been a place of ancient importance; is said to have once possessed seven churches; contains some picturesque old houses; and sent members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till disfranchised by the act of 1832. It formerly had a weekly market; and still has fairs on 19 May, 22 June, and 2 Nov. The parish includes also the hamlet of Ham Farm. Acres, 5,585. Real property, £7,513. Pop., 1,691. Houses, 292. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged at one time to the Clares, and passed to the Mordaunts, the Howards, and others. A castle on it, belonging to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, was destroyed in 1263, by the royal forces; but was afterwards restored; and the foundations of it may still be seen in a field south of the village. Earl Godwin is often said to have retreated to Bletchingley, after the overwhelming of his fine Kentish manors by the sea, and to have lived here in great state; but h does not appear to have had any property here. Pendhill, the seat ofManning, Esq., between the village and neighbouring chalk hills, is thought to have been designed by Inigo Jones. Traces of a Roman villa, under White Hill, were discovered in 1813; and very many Roman coins have been found. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £1,200.* Patron, H. Chawner, Esq. The church is early English, with traces of Norman; consists of nave, south aisle, and double chancel, with a tower; had once a wooden spire, 160 feet high; and contains some splendid monuments. There are an Independent chapel, a free grammar school, a charity school, an orphanage for 100 girls, four almshouses for widows, and a workhouse. The orphanage was built and endowed, by the Duchess of Leeds, in 1866; and, together with one for 100 boys at Hellingly, cost upwards of £70,000. Archbishop Herring and Bishop Thomas were rectors.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Bletchingley CP/AP       Godstone PLU/RegD       Surrey AncC
Place: Bletchingley

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