Chobham Common, Chobham

Continuation of survey work carried out under the direction of C Currie of CKCA, as part of the Community Archaeology Project for SCC and SyAS, to assess whether the study area was suitable for designation as an ASHLV. The survey examined a large expanse of heathland that appears to have seen little change since the Bronze Age. The poor sandy soils seem to have been abandoned late in this period, and the area subsequently became a heathland pasture, with little evidence of occupation. A large banked enclosure in Albury Bottom known as the Bee Garden has been attributed by some sources to the Bronze Age, although other commentators consider this to be a Medieval enclosure. There seems to be little evidence for settlement activity in the area until the Medieval period. A larger enclosure called Langshot is specifically mentioned in the early 14th century, the boundaries of which still survive largely intact today. Chertsey Abbey records tell of the creation of a large fishpond of over sixty acres on the common called Gracious Pond in the early 14th century. Maps dating from the 18th and 19th centuries show that there were a number of other ponds built on the common by unknown builders. These were still intact in 1766, but most had disappeared by the mid 19th century. The area demonstrates a particularly high concentration of fishponds for common land, possibly as a result of the apparent unsuitability of the landscape for farming or settlement purposes. There appears to have been little new activity on the common after the 14th century, with the boundaries largely fossilising after this date. Minor earthworks in the northern part of the study area are probably the result of army exercises on the common from the 1850s onwards.