Archeology

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Military Activity

Apart from the numerous hollow ways across the common and the areas of diggings, the next most frequent feature are the numerous slit trenches which can be seen in groups in areas, especially around Felday. Slit trenches are zigzag depressions in the ground, which were generally back-filled after use, and may also have other associated depressions for the storage of arms etc. The extent and coverage of the surviving slit trenches, weapons trenches and dugouts suggest intensive military use. In…

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Mineral Extraction

Stone digging was another activity well recorded in the archives and Holmbury Hill was a frequent place for extraction, as the number of large pits and quarries in the slopes of the hill give evidence. The Edser family of Robert and his son William (masons and bricklayers) frequently had accounts of digging stone either in the rough or hand-cut. Again a load of stone was valued at 6d to the Lord of the Manor. The stone was carted to places such as the church at Shere, Sutton Place, the Hammer…

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Walking Bottom Pond

Water Supply

An important element in managing the commons for stock was providing a reliable supply of water. Where the valleys have exposed impervious layers of clay beneath the sandstone or where bands of tabular sandstone outcrop, small springs or seepage occur. These may have been used by stock for water. A recently constructed pond lies on Holmbury Hill itself, at the top of a main hollow way from the Radnor Road. It was constructed in a possibly small quarry or depression as it is shown on the OS 6”…

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Jellies Hollow

Hollow Ways

Winding their way across the common are numerous hollow ways of varying depths and widths. The pattern is dominated by a north-south trend graphically shown on John Rocque’s County Map of Surrey (1767). There were four main north-south routes across “Hurt Wood Common”, together with the sinuous route from Sutton through Pedland (alias Pitland) Street to Jeoland and Radnor Farms. Traces of these routes can still be seen today.

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Ironage Pot

Historic Management

Preserved within the Bray Manuscript collection are numerous accounts for turf digging and cutting. This activity was undertaken by turf cutters on behalf of local people, for which the cutter paid 6d a load. A load was generally a cart. Each turf cutter apparently had his own patch within the respective manor and it was often a family affair. For example, William Bray’s agent lists the turf cutters in the respective manors Thomas Chennell and two sons, Thomas Farley and two sons, William Baker…

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The Boundaries

The common is enclosed by distinct boundaries which generally are dictated by the topography. There are two distinct boundary types. The first is the wood-bank type, most frequent on the northern side, where an asymmetrical bank is topped by ancient beech trees outgrown from a former hedge. The banks today are being undermined by natural erosion of the sandy soil, especially where the tree roots have grown over. This is common along the edges of Spurfold, Ridings and Tenningshook Woods. On the…

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