2002-2008 Excavations at Chiddingfold Villa

For some years now David and Audrey Graham have been undertaking fieldwork on the site of the building complex at Whitebeech, Chiddingfold in order to gain a better understanding of this enigmatic site. What follows is the text of a recent report to English Heritage dealing with the outcome of a geophysical survey. The report contains a useful summary of what has been achieved to date.


Sayers Croft, Ewhurst

Excavation by A Guinness of SCAU for the Community Archaeology Project, involving the investigation of two former air-raid shelters on the site. The shelters had been partially demolished and the remains buried, with the excavation being an opportunity to establish their correct locations and state of preservation, while providing a training platform for over 100 local children to learn basic excavation techniques, learn about the archaeological discovery process, and handle real artefacts from the Second World War.

Aldebrook House, Cranleigh

Historic building recording and evaluation by G Thompson and S Watson of PCA. The original Aldebrook House was designed in an 'Old English' fusion of Surrey and Wealden vernacular style by celebrated architect Richard Norman Shaw for the Liberal politician Pandeli Ralli in the early 1880s. Following alterations in the mid-1930s, the house was used as a convalescence hospital for servicemen during the Second World War, and subsequently demolished in the late 1950s and replaced by a smaller property of uninspired contemporary design.

Dunsfold Park, Dunsfold

Evaluation by M Donnelly of OAS. A single pit containing 13th-14th century pottery and an undated ditch were revealed, together with some agricultural furrows, one of which contained (possibly residual) 12th-14th century pottery. A small amount of worked flint was recovered, supporting previous evidence for a limited prehistoric presence in the area.

Sidney Wood, Alfold

Geophysical survey by T Munnery of SCAU as part of the Wealden Glass Project. A series of clearings within a heavily wooded area were suggestive of former activity, as was evidence for local water management. One location in particular provided positive geophysical results and a large quantity of glassworking finds, making it the most likely to be that of the former glassworks.

Knightons, Alfold

Geophysical and topographic survey by T Munnery of SCAU as part of the Wealden Glass Project. Two adjoining rectangular structures were revealed, together with earthworks and various artefacts associated with glass manufacturing waste.

Wiggins Yard, Godalming

Watching brief by S Porter of TVAS. No finds of archaeological interest were recovered. A peat deposit was revealed and sampled, which provided evidence about the environmental conditions of the site, although the material was not concluded to be of significant age as it was directly sealed by later post- medieval deposits.

Godalming town centre

Test pitting by A Guinness of SCAU. Eight test pits were excavated in various locations around Godalming town centre as part of the Community Archaeology 'Staycation' project. Although limited in scope, the results were encouraging in the overall aim of improving the understanding of the origins and development of the historic town, and provided evidence for Saxon occupation near the present church, suggesting that Mint Street might be a focus for late Saxon activity and signs of 12th century expansion from the High Street towards the north of the town.

Watts Gallery, Compton

Watching brief by W Weller of SCAU. No features of archaeological interest were revealed, and only a few finds of medieval or earlier date were recovered. This paucity of evidence is somewhat surprising given the medieval origins of Compton and the known presence of a Roman villa in the vicinity. Debris from an early 20th century artists' kiln that produced pottery and other objects will be of some interest when placed in the context of the presence and work of George Frederic and Mary Seton Watts in the local area.


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