Fowlers Wells stands on a bend in the old, now bypassed, road from Chobham to Windsor half way up to Burrowhill; map reference SU 973626. There are two old buildings in Fowlers Wells Road. Fowlers Wells Farm (the timber framed thatched cottage) and Fowlers Wells (the brick house). They are often confused; here we are describing the latter.
Fowlers Wells, probably early in the 20th C
This Grade 2 listed farmhouse appears to have originated as a modest early 16th century timber-framed open hall house which in the 17th/18th century was remodelled as a two-storey brick built yeoman farmer’s residence.
The site is probably much older. During the Bronze Age people cleared the high ground to the north of Burrowhill and for a short while, until it became exhausted, probably grew crops. But it quickly became unfertile sandy heathland fit only for sheep. The Saxons, on the other hand, were apparently able to clear the wooded land along the Bourne and use the riverside land as meadow and the higher ground out of the village as arable. Prior to the Saxons, it is quite likely that Iron Age peoples cleared and developed the middle ground between the Bourne and the high heathland – the band in which Fowlers Wells sits.
After the dissolution of Chertsey Abbey in 1537, NW Surrey fell into private hands and much of the heathland around Burrowhill was enclosed. From Gracious Pond to Buckstone Farm are a string of farmhouses dating from the late 16th century which probably indicate this enclosure of the southern boundary of the heathland. Fowlers Wells sits somewhat south of this line and therefore it is reasonable to assume that the site predates the late 16th century enclosures.
Two houses together with the same name is unusual, as is the name itself. It may be that ‘Fowlers Wells’ refers not to a house but an old settlement – but not quite as important as Tunbridge Wells! The old route of the Windsor road detours to Fowlers Wells; hardly justified for one house but perhaps justified for a settlement?
Detailed information regarding the architecture and history of the building can be seen by clicking on the subject in the left margin.