Alfold History

Alfold House

KEY POINTS

  • Alfold is 1.5 miles from Loxwood just over the County border into Surrey.
  • Alfold Church of St Nicholas dates to the twelfth century.
  • The early settlers in Loxwood attended the church at Alfold, instead of their own Parish Church at Wisborough Green, because it was too far to attend each week.
  • The area around Alfold carried stories of smuggling in the fifteenth century and it was rumoured that some of the farmhouses had hidden cellars.
  • In the sixteenth century the woods were used for glassmaking, gunpowder and charcoal burning.
  • The Sussex Turnpike Road of 1757 was one of the earliest to be built and came from Guildford, through Dunsfold, Alfold and Loxwood and on to Newbridge.
  • The Toll House at Alfold Crossroads was known as “Alfold Gate”.
  • Alfold has an unexpected historic link to the Capital of New South Wales in Australia.
  • Maurice Botting, Chairman of Loxwood Chapel Trustees and the Miller at Brewhurst in Loxwood lived near Alfold Church.

Introduction

The centre of Alfold is 1.5 miles from Loxwood, just over the county border into Surrey. The history of Loxwood and Alfold are interwoven, through their businesses, schools, churches, and villagers who made significant contributions to the history of both villages. Alfold is around 2.5 miles long and 1 mile wide and is bounded on the north by Bramley, on the north & east by Cranleigh, on the south by Loxwood, Rudgwick, Wisborough Green & Kirdford and on the west by Dunsfold.

Alfold Crossroads and The Plantation

The route of 1757 turnpike road from Guildford, came through what is now Dunsfold Airfield. The road continued over Compasses Canal Bridge, across Lakers Green, past The Compasses pub (now The Three Compass) along to Alfold Gate and the Alfold Toll House. The Old Toll House can be seen on the corner at Alfold Crossroads, but it appears to be the wrong way around, and that’s because it is!

The original turnpike road was on the other side of the Toll House, and it weaved between the houses. The road then curved towards Alfold village and continued along a similar route to the road of today. As traffic from Guildford increased a road to Horsham opened in 1809, and it was decided to straighten the turnpike road, by running the route straight on to the Horsham Road. The turnpike road was subsequently moved to the other side of the Toll House, through the garden as it remains today.

During the early years of the motor car in the 1920’s and 30’s, Alfold Crossroads was a stopping place for traffic coming from London and Brighton. The area became known as “The Plantation” because of the beautiful rural scene, which was wooded with natural mature shrubs, this began to attract cyclists and walkers. Gibbs Hatch Tea Barn was the first café to open and there was a parking area outside in a layby. Then in the late 1920’s a bungalow cottage was constructed across the road (possibly by the owners of Gibbs Hatch Farm) and in the 1930’s that opened as a tearoom. The Tea Room was ideally positioned, on the corner, facing the traffic coming from Guildford.

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Bibliography of primary reference sources used to create this article:

Ancestry.com
British Library
Buckwell, J, C. The Stories of Loxwood
English Heritage
Findmypast.co.uk
National Archives
Loxwood Church of St John the Baptist Archive
Loxwood Historical Society Archive
Loxwood History Archive
Oldmapsonline.org
Surrey History Centre
West Sussex Record Office

Disclaimer:

This historical summary has been compiled from research using a wide range of sources. The information, dates and details are based on that research, but Loxwood History does not guarantee the original source contained accurate information. While Loxwood History uses reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information in its articles, Loxwood History makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy. Loxwood History assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content of this article and any reliance you place on the information is entirely at your own risk. Please contact us if you believe any of the details in this article are inaccurate, and we will review those details and where appropriate, amend the article accordingly.

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