Village History

By Nick Swan
(History Master, Aldro School)

The Domesday Book of 1086 records Hurtmore and Peper Harow, both of which were small villages of about 20 – 30 people. Their values in 1086 were a lot lower than they were in 1066 and it seems likely that they were laid waste by the Normans when they burned Guildford on their march to London after defeating King Harold at the battle of Hastings. Shackleford at this time was simply woodland.

In the 1380s there was a William de Shackleford and so a small hamlet may have started by this time, but the first reference to a house of any size is in 1486 when the Godalming rental roll records a Richard Bydon owning Hall Place. We do not know exactly where this house was, but it was likely to have been on the same site as the present Aldro School. Before work began on the Centenary Building in 1998 a small piece of medieval pottery was found in a brief dig on this site, so the area seems to have been inhabited at this time.

What is now the village of Shackleford must have been all part of the estate of Hall Place. When this was sold in 1942 after the death of Sir Edgar Horne it covered 204 acres.

Most of the Bargate stone cottages were built in the mid-eighteenth century and therefore were probably built by Edward Garthwaite as cottages for his farm labourers. Some of the other houses may be older and Home Farm House in thThe Street is probably Tudor. In the 1960s a large chimney was knocked down there and a priest-hole was discovered. Does this indicate that the people of Shackleford were largely Catholic in the 16th and 17th centuries?

During the civil wars in the 1640s the Parliamentary army of 6,000 men at Farnham Castle under Sir William Waller billeted some men in the village, as they did in all the local area. There do seem to have been some Royalist sympathies in Shackleford because one villager was captured in Haslemere in the summer of 1642 when Captain Quennel’s rising was put down.

With the coming of the railway to Farncombe in 1849 and the extension of the line to Portsmouth in 1859 the whole of west Surrey began to change. The old coaching inns in the area died overnight and a new type of wealthy London businessman began to commute from the village to London. Soon the houses in Grenville Road were built to meet the needs of this new type of resident and the whole character of the region began to change. In 1865 St. Mary’s Church was built to cater for the religious needs of the Victorian age.

In 1942 Sir Edgar Horne’s estate was sold off and many people like the Stovolds of Cross Farm bought up the farms of which they were tenants and the Hill family who owned Aldro also acquired large amounts of property; but the days of the village being part of one large property were gone for ever.

Today the village is a very sought-after place to live and few who now live in Shackleford work in the village itself. It is a dormitory village for Godalming, Guildford and London.