Church Green

Church Green, Chaldon
Church Green, Chaldon

This piece of land was part of the Manor of Chaldon, which existed before the Domesday Survey of 1086. It is in front of the church, and beside Chaldon Court and the old farmyard and pond of Court Farm, with fields on two sides and Ditches Lane running beside it on the East.

Rocque Map of Surrey 1768 showing Ditches, Church & Doctors Lanes and the Green
Rocque Map of Surrey 1767 showing the Church, Green  and Ditches, Church & Doctors Lanes and the Green

The Rocque Map of 1767 (see image) shows a wide public area in front of the church, and the Tithe Maps of 1825 and 1837 show / list Church Green as common land. The Ordnance Survey map of 1933 has the name Church Green over both the triangle and the wooded area that extends North from there.

The green is planted with daffodils which return each spring, in commemoration of Capt B Granville White, a local resident, who was Killed in Action 20/8/1944, aged 28. He is also commemorated in the Church’s Book of Remembrance.

The Green is one of six (originally four) points at which a road or lane enters the parish of Chaldon, and as such is the site for one of the village signs. These were first erected as Coronation signs.

The Green was designated common land under the 1965 Act and taken into the Protection of Tandridge District Council in an ownership hearing in 1977 as no-one attended to claim ownership. It was named as the Green near Chaldon Church, rather than Church Green, with the idea that it could become the village green. (The current post of the wooden fingerpost footpath sign on it calls it Chaldon Green.)

Looking North from Church Green down Ditches Lane
Looking North from Church Green down Ditches Lane

In 1986, in celebration of the Novocentenary since the Domesday Survey, the medieval pond was cleared and some 70 tons of soil (and a live hand grenade) were removed to expose the red clay base.

Pam Alexander, John Rawling, Mrs Rawling, Patrick Alexander, and Lindsey Narcissi (Chairman of Tandridge District Council) 5 May 1986, photo from the Bourne Society Village Histories 7 Chaldon.
Pam Alexander, John Rawling, Mrs Rawling, Patrick Alexander, and Lindsey Narcissi (Chairman of Tandridge District Council) 5 May 1986, photo from the Bourne Society Village Histories 7 Chaldon.

The Novocentenary village sign was erected on the Green in May 1986, after a fund raising appeal.

The Green and all the land around it is included in the Surrey Hills Area of Great Landscape Value, the buffer zone of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is also in Chaldon’s Conservation Area.

The Green is a small, significant and locally distinctive place. It is a transitional place, one corner of the triangle is a typical rural Surrey sunken or tunnel lane through fields and woodland, another corner has the historic settlement of Chaldon church, manor house, farmyard and pond, and the third corner leads into the village of Chaldon with Glebe House and Rectory Cottage visible from it.

The tall trees, shaws (wide hedgerows) with blackthorn and hazel, and Ditches Lane on the line of an ancient north south trackway are all typical of the local area.

The low flint field wall edging the field in front of Chaldon Court (the Manor House) was repaired in 2003 with grant aid from Tandridge District Council’s Environmental Initiatives and Surrey Historic Buildings Trust in recognition of its significance as the local traditional style of walling and its impact on the public area of the Green etc.

The Victoria County History (1912) has the following description: “The church and Chaldon Manor farm form a picturesque group with a background of trees.”

A leaflet on the church’s history, written in the 1980s for sale in the church includes the following:
“It will come as no surprise to learn that the Church, Manor House, Village Pond and Village Green have become the centre of what has been designated Chaldon’s Conservation Area. Taken together they provide what is probably the most valuable historical picture of what the ancient village of Chaldon has stood for down the ages. Stand back and look about with awe at the beautiful vistas facing you from every point of the compass.”

(c) Madeline Hutchins 2016