College Ride, Church Road and Vicarage Road

Church Road runs from the A30 London Road up a hill onto a ridge.   Vicarage Road runs north (from where Church Road ends) becoming a track named Vicarage Lane, ending at the county boundary. The whole road had been called Oakingham Road (and is so on the 1813 Enclosures Act map) - but then it stands to reason that it can't have been called Vicarage Road until Bagshot became its own parish and had a Vicarage! 

From the end of Church Raod, College Ride (location) runs parallel to the A30 towards Camberley on top of the ridge.  It degenerates into a track and eventually peters out. The road name College Ride resumes in what is now the Old Dean estate and continues to Kings Ride and the edge of the RMA.

Whether or not College Ride used to go all the way through to what is now known as the Royal Military Academy has intrigued many, including myself.   Lionel Parr emailed in to say that "Church Road / College Ride did indeed once go all the way through to what is now the Royal Military Academy". [xi08]

I did some research using maps of varying ages. You can make out the route on modern maps and on maps from 1880 . From the junction with Vicarage Lane, College Ride proceeds WSW for 700m as a metalled road, then 550m as a track (see here) before turning SW and meeting the end of Maultway North after 300m. Today this is the limit of the right-of-way footpath and the route is closed by post-war housing. In 1880 there were no houses and the track appears to keep going. Today a small detour via an alley gets you into Kingston Road which follows the route of the old track. The old track led to a star point where no less than 8 tracks met (at a point that is now within Collingwood schools' playing fields) from where College Ride, Camberley, proceeds in a WSW direction towards the RMA. Today College Ride (in part called Upper College Ride) makes a bit of a detour northwards which, by looking at current aerial photographs, is quite clearly around what is now the site of a school but which was a farm that must have belonged to a person with sufficient influence to force the revision of what, in 1880 was a straight road. Beyond Kings Ride the road is called Old Green Lane and its route can be traced to the Royal Military College. In the 1880's what is now Camberley town centre was fields and woods!

I had always wondered what Church Road was called before the church was built. An answer came when I saw a copy of  the deeds of 1884 transferring the land on which St Anne's Church is built - the associated plan clearly shows the road adjacent to the land as College Ride. I assumed therefore that College Ride then started at the junction of Jenkins Hill and the High Street, and not at the junction with Vicarage Road as it does now. I am told that at least part of the road had been known as Potato Row.  I do not know when the name Church Road was adopted (from census returns probably after 1901) - can you help? And to add confusion I found on a 1899 map that the road is called Mill Lane and in the 1911 census several residents insisted on calling the road Mill Lane!

The present Vicarage, adjacent to St Anne's Church, dates from the 1950s. The old vicarage is at the far end Vicarage Road (and is now divided into two dwellings). However the 1901 census shows the then vicar (Rev William H McKennel Caldwell) living in a house on College Ride.

Allen wrote "My uncle once told me about the "famous" holly hedge in College Ride, which he told me was 80 feet high, and was regularly trimmed. Unfortunately it was not until some years later that I ever went there. Certainly there were some very big holly trees along the south side bordering the Park." May09 There was indeed a large and nationally-famous holly hedge bordering College Ride and the grounds of Pennyhill House.  There are photos in numerous archives of it, including ones of it being trimmed by men climbing huge ladders rested against its side.  I think its height was more like 40 ft than 80 - but still very impressive.  The hedge was grubbed out about 2000 to facilitate the building of an extension to the hotel and leisure complex that is the current use of the property.

Vernon wrote in wondering when the hedge was first planted and asking if anyone can furnish any more information about it. Feb10 The holly hedge was here.

Douglas Marshall wrote of the cottages at the top of Collage Ride, by the back entrance to Penny Hill Park. "One of them, called Rose Cottage, I believe was owned by my great grand father, Daniel Wooders. He was married twice and had 12 children, one of whom was my grand mother.  She married and lived in Bagshot and Lightwater almost all her life. They had run businesses in Bagshot, one being the former Lupin Cafe on the A30." 699viii06  Unfortunately I no longer have contact details for Douglas.

Carla writes that Daniel Wooders was her great great grandfather. [May 20] 

Three separate, but similar enquiries have come in about properties on College Ride.

Stefan writes that he lives at the junction of College Ride with Higgs Lane in what we both assume to have been the old gatehouse to the rear-entrance of Pennyhill Park. 319vi03

"I know a little of the history and would like to hear from anyone who may know more of the history or has old photographs of the property.

"Our address is often stated as Church Lodge on mail shots we receive. This is not an address we have used and wonder if it is simply a mistake or whether there is more to it. I look forward to learning more.."

I am surprised at the property being called Church Lodge, as some maps I have seen give that name to one of Bagshot Park's lodges that is off Church Road. A correspondent has written: .260204

"The house at the junction of College Ride and Higgs Lane was the Head Gardeners House for the Penny Hill Park estate in the 1960's. In about 1952 the estate was taken over by the Heywood family who owned the Oakey Sandpaper factory in Tottenham, North London. Mr Colin Heywood lived there as a single man until his death. Then it became a hotel."

Lionel Parr says that it is his understanding that Church Lodge is an old gatehouse of Pennyhill Park, the "bottom lodge". xi08

The housing estate built in 1995 to the side of the lodge is called Heywood Drive, which undoubtably confirms the Heywood name and association with the area.

Ian has written to tell us that the Head Gardener who lived in Stefan's house was Mr Wozencroft. 410vi06

Mary, in a separate enquiry, recounts that she stayed in a cottage on College Ride, but the owner (who had only bought the property recently) knew little of its history.  Between them they have managed to find reference on maps and census returns back to the mid 1800's, and have been told that it was probably a woodcutter's or other labourer's home on the original Bagshot estate. Mary wonders if anyone has any more information about the origins of the cottages on College Ride. 313.403

In a similar enquiry Ann Crump asks about Holly Cottages: "I have found my mother on the 1911 Census living with her Uncle, Edward Walter Payne, at 7 Holy Cottages, College Ride. I feel that it should be Holly Cottages but he has written Holy. I have a photo of the semi-detached house and it has a Holly hedge outside. He was a carpenter by trade and on the census it indicates that he worked on an Estate. Can anyone tell me which estate owned the cottages in College Ride at that time? Are they still there? If anyone is interested in the photo I can email them a copy."  ii9


Sam seeks information about Framfield on College Ride where he now lives. It was built in 1910 and he would love to know any history and see any old pictures if anyone has any information. 510Aii05

Ian wrote "Framfield is I believe a few doors away from the terrace which was 1-4 Oakdene. If this is the correct house, I remember the roof caught fire in the 60's or early 70's". 410vi06
The late Alan Gosden confirmed Ian's location. 260vi06

Jennifer Norman writes: I can remember the fire at Framfield clearly. It was in the early 60s as I left College Ride in 1966. It happened in the middle of the night so was quite a sight. vi9

Nicholas Banniste writes:  I lived in Framfield from 1967 to 1972 as the only son with three sisters so I slept in the room I called the kennel as it overlooked the garden. which was a lot larger than it is now. Prior to our family moving in the previous owner had sold half the garden to a builder who built the house next door. For some reason our biggest problem was bees who loved our chimney pots to nest in, and my dad and myself cutting the large lawn and the magnificent silver birch in the garden.  I could go on but it was a long time ago. As for the famous holly hedge which this column takes up at Pennyhill house, Guiness Book of Records gives it a mention back in the late sixties, many punctures on my bike when they cut it on my way to school at Old Dean [after the council closed down Bagshot secondary] happy memories.  [Aug 13]

Stanley Draper writes: We have some census information for a property on College Ride. The address is 153 College Ride but when we visited the numbers seem to finish at 115. Does anyone know if there were houses beyond what is now a gated track? 6148xii06

After making a few enquiries I have resolved this matter. 153 was the census enumerator's "number on schedule" (the first column on the hand written form) not the house number, which should have been in the second column but which enumerators were quite bad at filling in correctly, often only putting down the road name, or even just 'village'.  The reason in part for this might be that many houses simply did not have numbers or names, and in a row of cottages everyone knew where everyone lived so that house names/numbers were a wee bit redundant anyway. Back at the time of the available censuses College Ride was not numbered sequentially. A group of cottages or a terraced row would be given a name and the dwellings numbered within that row. For example Ian (above) refers to "the terrace which was 1-4 Oakdene" thus the address of the occupant of one of these would have been, say, 3 Oakdene, College Ride, Bagshot - an address that gives no clue as to whereabouts on College Ride the terrace is to be found. Furthermore 2 Oakdene would have been next door, not on the other side of the road! One of the residents of College Ride tells me that it is within his memory that the houses ceased to be known by these terrace addresses.

From Alan Edwards : An old friend and neighbour of mine recently told me her parents, who lived near junction of the A30 and Church Rd., always called Church Road 'Mill Lane' which figures with the old mill site on left hand side before St Annes church. 7019iii07 

Diana asks if anyone has any information about Pinewood Cottage, College Ride. 7024iii07
Alan Edwards replied: If this is the pink cottage beyond Pinewood House my great grandfather Henry Sumner lived there as a tied house to the Elphinstones, running the surrounding fields as a smallholding.  My late mother Margaret Edwards remembered being frightened of the pigs when visiting her grandparents.7019v07

Christine  :  I have been looking for my great grandfather Henry Sumner and his daughter Kathleen who was my grandmother. She would have been 10 at the 1901 census but I cannot trace her, however it is certain that my greatgrandfather Henry Sumner was living at Pinewood Cottage, College Ride at this time. 8010iii08  I have been able to put Alan & Christine in touch.

If you can help answer any of these questions, please use the message pad below to reply.

Bagshot Hall and the old Catholic Church are addressed on a separate page.

The Higgs family enquiries have been relocated here  and Higgs Lane to here

Was this beech tree planted by Lord Nelson?

Mark remembers ... a huge beech tree opposite the church in College Ride; the one next to the house with the pond in the garden. The story was that it was planted by Lord Nelson. Is there any truth in that? Did the tree survive the great storm of 1987? [453.1203]

The beech tree survived the storm and is still there. When Mark wrote to me I had not heard of the connection , though I have heard it since from another sourse so I assume that it is correct. I have also heard reports that Nelson stayed at both the near-by Bagshot Hall (now demolised) and at Hallgrove.  One suggestion I heard that Nelson had stayed at Beech House itself has to be flawed as the property was not built until about a century after his death.   Location of the beech tree. Do you know about the tree? Please use the message pad below to reply. There is more about Nelson here.

Beech House

Beech House is a large, somewhat ornate property adjacent to the former mill pond and to the beech tree. James, who lived there as a very small child, wrote asking if anyone has any information about the property and who lived there in 1911. [Oct 13]   

There is no Beech House recorded in the 1911 census. In one of his books, the late John Jillings had written that the house was built about 1911, so did it actually exist then?  Where one might expect to find Beech House in the sequence of properties on Church Road in the 1911 census is a 16 room property described as "Nursing House".  Despite its size only four occupants are named: Constance Maud Soames, single, age 46 and living on private means is recorded as the head of the houseold. Living with her she has 2 nurses and one general servant (presumably housekeeper). At the 1901 census Constance and her parents and several more of their children were living in the even larger Hall Grove House. The family were clearly very well off and seem to have moved about quite a lot.  By 1911 the Soames family had left Hall Grove, Constance's mother, now a widow, was living in London, on her own apart from many servants.

The current owners of Beech House tell me that the present property does not have anything like 16 rooms, but that several of the present rooms may have been created from 2 smaller ones.  From its size and its location in the 1911 census schedule it seems highly likely that Beech House and what was called "Nursing House" are the same property.

While that answers who was there, it raises yet more questions: Why were there only 4 people in such a large house? Was it used for nursing more people than just Constance? Did Bagshot have a Nursing Home prior to the Memorial Home created in 1921 by the Duke of Connaught?  Why should Constance and her mother each be living alone in separate large properties?

If you can thow any light on this puzzel please use the message pad below to reply.

Florence Villas, the Mill and builder Edwin Spooner.

Alison Bowe wrote: My husband and I live at 15 Church Road (Florence Villas) and I have been doing some research about the house and Bagshot in general and would like like to find answers to the following.  Thanks! [7091 Sep 07]

  1. Were a lot of the houses in Church Road built by Edwin Spooner?
  2. Who was Edwin Spooner?
  3. Does anyone know who through the ages lived at 15 Church Road and what their profession would have been?
  4. How could I trace (since 1888) who has lived in the house?
  5. Any other information about Church Road and the mill that used to be in Church road also of interest to me.

Marie de Eedle's book tells us that E Spooner was a builder and timber merchant.  He also won, for a while, the contract for collecting rubbish and emptying cess pits.
Can you add anything more?  I am no longer able to forward replies to Alison, but contributions to publish on this page will be welcome - please use the message pad below.

One of my regular correspondents wrote: There is (or was in the 1980's) a pamphlet from the Surrey Heath Museum, "The Bagshot Series", No.8 "Bagshot Mill" which may still be available. It covers both of her queries, there is more elswhere. He added that he has accumulated bits and pieces of information about the Spooners and offered to talk directly with Alison. 540.1207

From Kay : My father took over the mill in the mid-60's (I believe) and ran his business from there (also a builder) until the mid-late 80's. I have a large aerial photo of the mill and its yard.  [Apr10 x]


Ian wrote to tell us "A V1 'Doodlebug' landed in the fields and exploded behind St Anne's Church during WW2. It brought down lots of ceilings further up College Ride and caused structural damage, to my certain knowledge, to a property close to the junction of College Ride and Higgs Lane." 410.

The late Lionel Parr had contributed: xi08

I vividly recall the V-1 incident in the fields behind the church. It was August or September of 1944; the oats were almost ready for harvest. The flying bomb hit an oak tree at about head height. The effects of a 1000 kg warhead impacting at speed on the tree can be imagined. The explosion also literally blew away all surrounding vegetation, leaving a circle of BARE SOIL around the point of impact. Both the church roof and the stained glass were damaged, as were shop windows in the village.

V-1 explosions were characterised by the quantity of wire left lying among the debris. This was because V-1 contained two wire-bound spherical compressed air bottles.

Almost 300 Doodlebugs fell in Surrey. For further reading on V-1s and V-2s, see:
Bates, H E. FLYING BOMBS OVER ENGLAND. Publ. Froglets, 1994
Jones, R V. MOST SECRET WAR. Various publishers.
Ogley, B. DOODLEBUGS AND ROCKETS. Froglets, 1992

From Michael Campbell  iix9

My mother once told me a story about a doodlebug exploading in the fields near our house in Park Row in late 1944. I was outside in my pram when it hit. She said all the windows in the house were broken and some of the glass landed in my pram. I guess I was very lucky. I wonder if this was the same bomb that Lionel was talking about.

From Maureen 

My mother grew up in Connaught Road (as did I!). She clearly remembered seeing a doodlebug fly down the road as she was looking out of the front window. She said to her mother (with whom she lived) that she had seen "a funny little plane with no engine noise" go past flying very low. Her mother said that was ridiculous, then they heard an explosion and the following day the news broke that the first doodlebug attacks had happened. This was, I imagine, the one that exploded behind the church so she probably saw the very first one. [Aug 14]

Penny Hill Park

From Nigel

Do you know the history of the Penny Hill Park house? As a child I was told that it was once owned by the inventor of sandpaper, do you know about this? I would be very grateful for any information. [Nov 12]

From Ian

Nigel is on the right track. The Heywood family came from Shrubs Hill, Sunningdale and moved to Bagshot in the 30's. My Grandfather was the Butler until his death in 1953. The Heyooods owned a factory in Tottenham, and the owned the brand OAKEY. It did indeed make sandpaper, and the brand name remains today in the hands of a new owner. (Take a look on the back of sandpaper next time you are in B&Q or Homebase). The last of the line of Heywoods was a single man Mr Colin Heywood. I remember him driving on College Ride; he owned a series of Humber cars if I remember correctly. [Dec 12]

From Vernon

YES ! You must be on the right track Penny Hill Park was once owned by Colin Heywood - his firm was called English Abrasives - my Company in Sunningdale looked after all his wiring and electrical appliances during the 1950 and 60s.  I also believe his sister Mrs Fox owned Sunningdale School in Dry Arch Road.[Dec 12]

From Janet

We lived at Pennyhill Park in 1962/3 in accommodation in what had been the original stables. My father was chauffeur to Colin Heywood and my step mother worked for the formidable housekeeper who wore a long black dress and had a huge bunch of enormous keys attached to her belt, 'Mrs. Danvers'style. Mr Wozencroft was the Head Gardener and lived with his family in the house on the corner, described earlier on this site. There were a number of 'under gardeners' who worked with Mr. Wozencroft and the grounds were immaculate. [Nov 21] 

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