The Village

Gentles Lane
Gentles Lane


The village of Headley (meaning 'clearing in the heath') stands on high ground above a loop of the Southern River Wey. 
The oldest of three villages in the south of England of that name, it has gone through a number of name spellings, but was noted  in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Hallege', at which time Eustace II, Count of Boulogne was tenant-in-chief and Lord. In 1066, Earl Godwin held it.

The parish borders on Surrey and comprises a number of hamlets as well as the village itself: these are Standford, Arford, Headley Down, Barford, Wishanger. Sleaford, Trottsford, and part of Hollywater.  The boundaries of the parish have changed over the years, and the civil parish now differs from the ecclesiastical definition. 

At the heart of the parish is All Saints' Church. There has been a church on the present site since the 12th century at least, possibly succeeding a Saxon Church of timber, but the nave and chancel were largely reconstructed in the late 1850s. A small portion of stained glass survives from the 12th century building.
The tower is dated at around 1380 and had a shingled spire until 1836 when it burnt down and was replaced later by the present battlements and pinnacles. The clock on the tower was added in 1900 in memory of the son of Sir Robert Wright and has now (2018 and 2021) been refurbished ready for the next 100 years...

On a grass triangle outside The Holly Bush  in the High Street stands a chestnut tree, planted in 1891 on the site of the old stocks. Around its base is a circular metal seat, and on this are inscribed six of the old ways of spelling Headley.
The High Street and the nearby hamlet of Arford were once the commercial centres of the parish, with shops supplying most local needs. Now everything in Arford has gone except for The Crown, and only two shops and the hairdresser remain with The Holly Bush in the High Street.