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WONERSH – History

The name Wonersh is of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning “the hamlet in the winding stubble field” and the church, built on foundations of great chalk blocks, dates from this period. The original development of farmstead estates polarised around Tangley, Northbrook and Wonersh House and spread along the road linking Wonersh to Shamley Green.

From the late 14th century, Wonersh had a thriving cottage industry of weaving. When that declined it became a mainly agricultural village, although there was employment to be had in Gosden Tannery, which lay between Wonersh and the neighbouring village of Bramley. The Lawnsmead cottages were built in the late 19th century to house the workers employed there.

The timbered houses in The Street are particularly old and much photographed. Green Place, on the edge of the village, has parts dating back to the 14th century. These houses form the core of the Conservation area and most of them are Grade 11 or Grade 11* listed buildings. Great Tangley Manor is the only Grade 1 listed building in the village and is a fine example of a Tudor moated manor.

Following the sale of the Grantley estate in the 1980s, land ownership became fragmented and this resulted in considerable building development. The extension of the area covered by housing increased markedly in the 1930s, particularly around the edges of Wonersh Common and with the Wonersh Park Estate development. In the post 1939/40 war era, further pressure on potential building sites resulted in the construction of both Council-owned and private dwellings on the lower slopes of Barnett Hill. Subsequently a process of plot sub-division, infilling and extension building began and still continues. Some larger residences, such as Derry’s Wood and Little Tangley have been divided into apartments and some barns have been converted to residential use, such as Woodyers Farm.

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