Mangles Collection

The lithics section of the Prehistoric Group has recently reassessed the Mangles Collection held by GuildfordMuseum. This collection has now been itemised on a spreadsheet held by the group and used by the museum in the formation of a database. There are over 100 implements, a third of which are unprovenanced, and the rest of the collection is largely from sites in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, with a number of scrapers, axe fragments, blades and hammerstones; mostly attributable to the broad dating range of the Neolithic. Amongst the collection from Sussex is a number of implements from Cissbury including a probable Early Neolithic handaxe which looks like a Palaeolithic ficron, and induced much discussion.

The collection was deposited at GuildfordMuseum by Miss Mangles in 1931, but there was no other information available. However some research has shown that the collector was Henry Albert Mangles (1833-1908), a scion of a prominent Guildford family. His lithics collection was well known to the Surrey Archaeological Society in the nineteenth century as they are mentioned by Lasham in theCollections of 1892. Henry Mangles was also a member of the Geological Society  to which he had been elected in 1890 and his obituary in their Quarterly Journal in 1909 notes that ‘he was very much attached to geology and a keen collector of flint-implements’. He had acted as Director on two of their excursions to Farnham when he exhibited a series of implements from the Farnham Gravels. The obituary also recorded that he was well know to horticulturalists and had received many awards from the Royal Horticultural Society.

In fact, he had inherited a plant collection from his brother James (1832-1884) who lived in Valewood, Haslemere and had been one of the earliest rhododendron collectors and hybridisers, and Henry continued this work. In 1873, a house had been built on open heathland for Henry at Littleworth Cross, Seale, and much of the plant collection survives. Gertrude Jekyll lived nearby at Munstead (from where an axe fragment in the collection was collected) and knew the family. Visiting Littleworth Cross in May 1889 she was introduced to Edwin Lutyens, who was designing a cottage and garden buildings for Henry, and their famous collaboration began. Henry lived in Seale with his sister Clara who stayed there after his death until her own in 1931.

Many of the Mangles family are equally noteworthy. James (1762-1838) and John (1760-1837) Mangles owned three ships which traded with the East Indies and Australia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This led to a close relationship with the East India Company and the Bengal Civil Service who employed many of the sons and grandsons of these men. The family also had a close interest in the Swan River Colony of Western Australia, and ManglesBay in Western Australia is named after them as is the Western Australia floral emblem (Anigozanthus manglesii or the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw). Elizabeth Mangles, a daughter of James Mangles, married Sir James Stirling the Governor of Western Australia who named his residence after the Mangles family home (Woodbridge House). In 1829, James Mangles had retired and bought the Wanborough estate from Lord Onslow and in 1832 he became MP for Guildford until his death in 1837. His son Ross Donnelly (1801-1877) also represented Guildford from 1841-58. The connection with India continued, and Ross Lewis (1833-1905) the son of Ross Donnelly is one of only five civilians to be awarded the VC; in his case, for heroism during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. John Mangles had a son James (1786-1867) FRS, who travelled extensively in the Middle East and to Australia and commissioned collections of seeds and plants to be sent to England. All in all, a most remarkable family.

This work would not have been possible without the contributions of our current members: Roger Ellaby, Judie English, Robin Tanner, Chris Taylor, Ken Waters and Keith Winser. Although space is limited we welcome enquiries from anyone who might wish to participate as the opportunity arises.

Rose Hooker & Jen Newell sends e-mail) sends e-mail)


Lasham F 1892  Palaeolithic Man in West SurreySyAC 11, 25-29

Lasham F 1892 Neolithic and Bronze Age Man in West SurreySyAC 11, 243-51

Quarterly journal of the Geological Society of London 65 (1909), lxxx is external) (28/04/2011)