Post Dissolution

The dissolution of Chertsey Abbey meant that for the first time in nearly a thousand years the King was now the Lord of the Godley Hundred – the former Abbey lands.

With the passing of Chertsey Abbey, there was some thing like a free for all in acquiring the former Abbey’s lands. In Chobham a large number of houses were built between 1550-1600 which indicates the selling off of parcels of land, thus making smaller farms.

The Manors passed to the King, Henry VIII. Joy Mason wrote “he made a splendid state visit to Chobham bringing what was virtually a prefabricated town. They encamped at the Manor and what a sight it must have been. His daughter Mary came to Chobham for she had sold the Manor for £3,000 to Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York. The Archbishop was a Roman Catholic and had his own chapel in the house. He was loved and respected by all, so much so that even when the Protestant Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, she visited him annually and allowed him to continue to follow his religion. When the Archbishop died he was buried in Chobham church and his kinsman”

In 1573 Chobham was under forest law; for among the Loseley papers is the following presentment.

‘the presentment of John Chapman with his four men of the township of Chobham at the Swainmote court holden there Oct. 15th. 1573. They present:

Mill bridge in Chobham is so far run to ruin and decay that no man can pass that way on horseback nay yet by night on foot.
There is one other bridge in the same township also decayed that men cannot have their free passage as they ought to have.
They present that Richard … there keepeth a mastiff dog unlawed contrary to the statute of the forest and that John Edsawe then likewise keepeth a dog unlawed and further all is well.
Signed William More, Richard Polshead’

There are notes in the margin indicating that the Queen would have to repair the bridges. The court met three times a year and dealt with small offences in the forest. Dogs kept in the forest had to have a claw removed to show that they were licensed. If this was not done then they were ‘unlawed”. William More was an ancestor of the More-Molyneuxs who still live at Loseley House near Guildford.

The Manors
The history of the manors can be read by clicking here

The Church
The Rectory
The ownership of the Rectory (including its 70 acres of glebe lands and its parish tithe income) went with the Chertsey monks who relocated to Bisham Abbey. But soon Bisham too was dissolved and ownership passed back to the Crown. So Henry VIII had Chobham Manor and its Rectory. Queen Elizabeth granted the Rectory to William Harber, and Richard Duffield in fee, but in 1565 they sold it to Owen Bray of Chobham (M&B).

In the 17th C, several individuals purchased the Great Tithes (the right to have 10% of all the produce of the parish of Chobham). Some tithes must have stayed with the vicar because we know he sold them in the 1920s.
We don’t know if the rectory and the glebe lands went with the purchase of the tithes.

After 1687 the rectorial tithes appear to have been divided. Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy of Chobham Place purchased a part of the great tithes from Anthony Beauchamp. In 1910, the impropriators were Sir Neville Abdy and Sir Henry le Marchant, the owner of Chobham Place. VCH III p419
Sir William Abdy has the West End tithes, Lord Bulkeley has the East end. Mr Woods of Chobham, and Mr. ___ have part, and several owners of land have purchased the tithes thereof. M&B.

The Vicar seems to have taken on the collection of dues, for in 1831, the Lay Impropriator disputed the Vicar’s right to these dues known as “Modus”.

In 1595 this is what the parishioners had to pay to the Vicar:-

Tithe eggs yearly on Good Friday or thereabouts, 3 for the cock and 2 for every hen or money in lieu.

1. for every cow 1/-

2. for every calf sold 1/-

3. for every calf weaned 1/2d

4. the tenth calf pig or goose

5. the tenth of Apples, pearse, plumbs wheresoever they grow in the parish

6. the tenth of beans, hashings, roots and hopps

7. the tenth of mustard seed, hemp, flax

8. the tenth swarm of bees tenth part of honey and wax

9. the tenth groat of that they sell

10. for the fall of every colt

11. for every mill in the parish

12. Mortuaries according to the value of the goods of the dead

13. for the burial of a stranger in the church

14. for the burial of a parishioner

15. for every-communicant at Easter.

In 1607 the King wished to extend his rights of hunting over north-west Surrey. He therefore commissioned Norden to map the area and instructed him to be liberal when mapping hunting grounds. Although Norden’s map is not very accurate, it is the earliest detailed map that we have.

Roads shown in yellow (dashed if cannot be certain of their exact routes)

Red circles indicate centres of habitation

Blue indicates the flood plain.

The pattern of roads is dominated by the need to avoid the flood plain. The routes from Chobham going NE across the common and SE across West End common are no longer in use.

The condition of the roads was attrocious; even the highways were poor. In 1664 a boy travelling with his father along the ‘A30’ to London was drowned at Park Corner – the water running high over the bridge.1 p224

At the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Charles II came to the throne on a wave of public popularity. This may have been damped somewhat two years later when Parliament passed an act ‘for establishing an additional revenue upon his majestie, his heires and successors, for the better support of his and their crown and dignity”. Under the act the occupier of every house in the kingdom had to pay two shillings a year on every chimney hearth unless exempted by poverty. The results show that Chobham still lay in one of the poorest areas of Surrey. This map shows what percentage of households had only one hearth – a sign of poverty. Large houses would have 7 or even 9.

Plague returned in many years. Records for Egham record plague in 1594, 1603, 1606 and in 1608 it was very severe – burials in unconsecrated ground were frequent. Strangely there are no records of the great plague of 1663-1666 when many Londoners took refuge in the suburbs and villages around. Smallpox broke out in 1672.

From 1780 many small cottages were built, both on enclosed land and as ‘squatters” on the heath. These cottages were usually built by their owners and thus were much of a pattern, consisting originally of two rooms with a large external chimney and bread oven. They also had a lean-to extension right along the back. This was sunken internally and used as part-pantry, part-storeroom. Their gardens ranged in size from 1/4 acre to an acre. The men cultivated these large gardens and often had an allotment as well. They also tended their pigs, poultry and any other animals they might keep. Pets as such were unknown since each animal had to justify its keep.

When in the early 1700s Chobham Park house fell into ruins, Chobham was left with two largish houses, Chobham House and Chobham Place, together with many small farms and even more cottages whose occupants were mostly labourers working on the land or for artisans. During this period many of the old timber-framed houses were altered and renovated. The brick encasing of a building was often done of necessity as the timbers and wattle-and-daub infill deteriorated. At the same time it brought the exterior of the house up to date.


1 Egham. Frederick Turner. 1926