In Brief

Did You Know This about Headley?

Random interesting snippets from the Headley Archives

The church tower is probably the oldest building in the parish, dating back to the 14th century. The rest of the church was rebuilt in 1859, though "many original features were preserved from the ancient fabric".

1211: Headley has many '...fords' and Bilford  appears in the Winchester Pipe Rolls from 1211 onwards.  Located at the junction of The Hanger and Frensham Lane, it is also in the 1774 Rent-roll of Headley. Bilford Farm is mentioned in the 1822 'Valuation' of the parish, but seems to have disappeared now.

1415: (the year of Agincourt), ‘Gentills’ is first mentioned in Ludshott records, as a farmhouse with 38 acres plus woodland, annual rent 1 red rose. Gentles Copse and Gentles Lane still exist.

1520: The Church wardens to "make a new house, for use of the Church for ‘recreation’, as long as the Church wardens pay 5/3d per annum". We believe this to be Suters in the High Street.

1528:  Richard Drake paid a fine of 4d for a piece of land 'next to Drakes Bridge' for use as a mill for iron working. The Survey of Headley in 1552 notes the existence of this piece of land, but no mill is described.  We now don't know where Drakes Bridge might have been.

1730: John Huggins of Headley Park in Newgate prison (from May until November) for his part in the maladministration of the Fleet prison in London.

1755: Dr Holme starts his school in Headley. Nathaniel Bayley (Parish Clerk) appointed headmaster.

1771: The population of Headley was 700 “as computed accurately in February 1771” – from a note on ‘Health in Headley’ dated 10 April 1773.

1821: “Henry Parfect have lost his life by getting into strange waters in Frensham Pond and was drownded – he was walking in the water and sliped into a trench knot nowing any thing about the pond” – he was “breakin the sabbath day”! – Sarah Carpenter in a letter to her brother Thomas

1846: During the great drought, a fire began near Trottsford Farm which destroyed woodland extending from Headley to Petersfield.

1867: Alfred Tennyson and his family rented Grayshott Farm (now Grayshott Hall) for over a year, with three servants while he looked for a permanent place to live away from the Isle of Wight - where he was harassed by 'cockneys'. He stayed at Grayshott whist Aldworth was built for him on Black Down.

1870: Headley Workhouse was sold to a builder, Thomas Kemp junior of Blackmoor, for £420. He converted it into a private house, now called Headley Grange.

1871: In the census, the population of Headley was 1,581

Sunday October 13th 1850: One of the last cases of sheep-stealing for which the offender was sentenced to transportation occurred at Simmondstone.

In 1878 :

  • The Allotments started near The Grange
  • A list of Epitaphs in All Saints churchyard printed
  • The main schoolroom enlarged - chairs bought
  • Bye Laws made for the Parish of Headley by the School Attendance Committee of the Alton Poor Law Union made attendance of children aged 5 to 13 compulsory - this was announced in The London Gazette as "approved by the Queen"


Since 1894, when civil parish councils were first introduced in this country, the boundaries of church parish and civil parish began to diverge. So when you ask about Headley Parish, you have to add 'which Headley parish'.
Some notable differences between church and civil parish boundaries in Headley are as follows: Lindford, Frensham Pond Hotel, and the strip of land along Grayshott Road where the 'natural' burial site will be, are in the church parish of Headley, but not in the civil parish. Trottsford Farm and the old New Inn at Sleaford, and an area bordered by Gentles Lane and Hurland Lane are in the civil parish of Headley but not in the church parish.
The Ordnance Survey holds details of civil parish boundaries, but not of church parish boundaries.   More on the Parish boundaries can be found here.

The father of Sir Richard Branson was born in Wishanger in March 1918.
Branson Road in Bordon is named after James Reddy Beadon Branson, the great-uncle of Sir Richard, who bought Headley Mill Farm early in 1915 and was a rather eccentric benefactor to the local community for many years. During WW2 he wrote books about eating grass 'for victory'!

The pop group Fleetwood Mac lived in 'Benifold' on Headley Hill Road during the early 1970s and made four albums during their time here. They left for California in late 1974. Prior to their tenure 'Benifold' had for 7 years been an Ecumenical House of prayer!

Headley Grange in Liphook Road was originally built in 1795 as the Workhouse for the parishes of Bramshott, Headley & Kingsley, and was famously sacked during the Swing Riots of 1830. It became a private house in 1870, and in the early 1970s was used as a recording studio for such bands as Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Pretty Things, Ian Dury and others. More recently in 2014, Chad Smith, the drummer from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Roger Taylor (Queen) Andy Gangadeen (Chase and Status amongst others) have all been recording drum samples in the Grange - Links to the sessions at Headley Grange website

The house now called Cronborne (once The Ooks) at the bottom of Barley Mow Hill is named after Lord Robert Cecil M.P., who became Viscount Cranborne in 1865 while a resident here. He later became third Marquis of Salisbury, and then prime minister both in 1885 and again during the Boer War.

The house called Belmont in the High Street was built in 1888 for the rector Mr Laverty's parents-in-law. It was bought by the War Department in 1903 (& marked then by four WD boundary stones), and the first Brigade Major to live there was a Fitzclarence, grandson of William IV. His wife was a Churchill, first cousin to the Duke of Marlborough. It has been a private house again since 1978.

There was once a Congregational chapel in Long Cross Hill, built in 1860 with 100 'sittings'. A recreation room ('The Institute') was added later and used as a school room. The Chapel was active until after the Second World War, when rising costs forced it to be sold. It was then used as a doctor's surgery until he retired, after which the building was demolished in 1947.

The chestnut tree on the triangle in the High Street was planted in September 1891 on the site of the old stocks by Frederick Wakeford (the butcher), Mr W.H. Laverty (the Rector) and Mr J Kenyon (the licensee of the Holly Bush).

The Bridleway (No.36) from Headley Park towards Alice Holt (now part of the Shipwrights Way) has the name Cradle Lane. Mr Laverty, rector 1872-1928, said that the name was given because the gypsies used a copse along it for their winter quarters, and the women gave birth to their babies in the Spring before setting out on their Summer travelling.

Headley has been spelt in a variety of ways in the past: Hallege (11th century); Hertelegh (13th), Hedle and Hetlegh (14th), Hedley (15th), Hethle and Hethelie (16th), Hedleigh (17th) and Heathley (18th).

Spelling counted for very little in the names of people and places prior to the 1800s. For example, Pickett and Piggott were the same family - it just depended on how you said it and who was transcribing.

Headley Village Hall was gifted to the community by Mr McAndrew of Headley Park. It was built in 1925, primarily so that the Headley Wl should have a pleasant place in which to meet. The site had originally been a gravel pit and, after a few years, buttresses had to be built along the side walls to prevent subsidence.

In his 'A Souvenir of Headley' in 1896, Charles Beck wrote: 'There are eight inns'. He does not name them, but the following were in Headley parish at the time: The Crown (Arford), Holly Bush (High Street), The Wheatsheaf (Arford); The White Horse (or Frensham Pond Hotel); The New Inn (Sleaford); The Royal Exchange (Lindford); The Robin Hood (Standford); The Royal Oak (Hollywater). Of these, the Wheatsheaf and the New Inn are now closed and the Robin Hood has become a restaurant (Whiteleys).

Bilford (Billeford, Billyford): was the name of an area which appears in the Winchester Pipe Rolls from 1211 onwards, the 1774 Rent-roll of Headley and other lists - located near the junction of The Hanger and Frensham Lane, but the name is not used today. Bilford Farm was mentioned in the 1822 Valuation, sited at the junction of The Hanger and Frensham Lane - the farmhouse seems to have disappeared now.During 1920: 

  • A letter from Mr William Gamblen as a member of the Headley Carnival was sent requesting permission from the Parish Council to erect a large Wooden Building in the Arford Gravel Pit.
  • A letter from the Hindhead & District Electric Light Co Ltd was sent regretting that owing to heavy capital expenditure involved they could see no prospect at present of making an extension to their mains to Headley.
  • A letter from Mrs Ord-MacKenzie was sent complaining of the bad smell by Mr Gates’ stables and Mr Gamblen’s premises in Long Cross Road, also to the condition of the bottom of Shamble Hill which appears to have been converted into a dumping ground for empty Nestlés Milk tins.


A stream near the Wheatsheaf Inn (itself now demolished and replaced with houses) used to supply a sheep wash just below the Wheatsheaf meadow. It is now silted up.  Two shearers at a time were given the privilege of using the sheep wash, the last two being James Marshall, of Parish House Bottom, and the father of George Glayford of Barford. Farther on in the Hanger beyond the sheepwash used also to be some famous watercress beds.  Many years ago this stream also supplied a tanyard, the site of which is now occupied by Brook Cottage.  The cottages opposite called the Fellmongers take their name from their connection with the tanyard.

1928: A small amount of Glebe land was sold to the Holly Bush (to the North and East of the pub) in compensation for demolition of their stable block which had been where what is now the middle of the road on the bend. The building had also housed the letterbox, and that was replaced with one on a telegraph pole in the High Street, but was much smaller and "one had the utmost difficulty in putting letters into the box"

1946: Superior Camp was vacated by troops, but then occupied by squatters.

1971: Led Zeppelin recorded ‘Stairway to Heaven’ amongst other tracks in Headley Grange.  The hallway in the Grange provided a superb acoustic backdrop for some of the drum tracks on the album (IV).
The untitled fourth studio album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, was released on 8 November 1971. Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page and recorded between December 1970 and February 1971, mostly in& Headley Grange.
The informal setting at Headley Grange inspired the band, and allowed them to try different arrangements of material and create songs in a variety of styles. Unlike the prior two albums, the band was joined by some guest musicians, such as Fairport Convention vocalist Sandy Denny on "The Battle of Evermore", and Rolling Stones pianist Ian Stewart on "Rock and Roll".  

1996: Exterior of All Saints' tower re-rendered and the wartime observation post removed.

According to the Historic England website, the ‘K6 Telephone Kiosk to north of the Holly Bush public house’ in Headley is a Grade II listed building.