Bletchingley: Surrey village life
PUBLISHED: 00:46 04 May 2011 | UPDATED: 16:20 11 June 2014
A tightly-knit community, the charming village of Bletchingley can be traced back to medieval times
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2011
Photo: Adam Swaine
Did you know?
Archaeologists working at North Park Farm in Bletchingley, between 2001 and 2005, discovered over 50,000 flints in a sand quarry just south of the North Downs. The most exciting evidence to emerge, however, was of Mesolithic date – a series of pits. Hunter-gatherers have rarely left any visible trace on the landscape other than flint artefacts, so this was highly unusual.
“Bletchingley is a historic and quintessential English village with a strong sense of community spirit,” says Tracey Barker, owner of the Red Lion pub. “When you stroll through the High Street, it’s a joy to see the beautiful church, which dates back to Saxon times, as well as the pretty wisteria clad cottages and Georgian villas.”
Local resident Lisa Swan will be running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday April 10 in a bid to raise funds for the Bletchingley Church House Charity. The charity aims to transform the dilapidated arts and crafts era Church House, by St Mary’s Church, into a well-equipped and versatile community venue. A staggering £320,000 has already been raised, primarily through private donations from Bletchingley residents, but a further £245,000 is still needed to reach the target fund-raising total.
@ the village hall…
Bletchingley’s halls, the larger Village Hall and its sibling the Community Centre, are located in the heart of the High Street and available for hire seven days a week. Clubs that regularly use their facilities include the Age Concern Lunch Club, which operates twice monthly, the bridge club, the conservation and historical society and the horticultural club.
Did you know 2?
The Royal Charter permitting the holding of an annual fair in ‘Blechingeleye’ was granted by King Edward I in 1283. Markets were usually set up near the main building of a village but as Bletchingley Castle – an 11th century motte and bailey fortress that is barely visible today – was on a flat brow overlooking precipitous slopes it was impracticable to have the market there. This year’s village fair will take place on Sunday June 26, between 1pm and 5pm, at Grange Meadow.
Grab a bite…
Home to two popular ancient hostelries, The Red Lion (01883 743342) on Castle Street dates back to 1309 and the Whyte Hart (01883 743231) on the High Street to 1388 – both offer good home cooked food and real ale. The former won the south east’s ‘best cask beer pub’ in last year’s Great British Pub awards. Dame Judi Dench’s daughter, the actress Finty Williams, claims that Lamington’s, also on the High Street, is the only place for coffee and cakes.
Something to take home…
Four-generation family business Lawrences Auctioneers (01883 743323), on the High Street, hosts regular auctions of up to 3,000 lots.
In the spotlight…
Ginger dreadlocked singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner spent his formative education at The Hawthorns prep school at Pendall Court before going on to storm the UK music charts.
Bletchingley is found on the A25, between Redhill and Godstone. The closest station is in South Nutfield.