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A Brief Crockham Hill History

Crockham Hill is situated on the Lewes to London Roman Road on the Kent side of the Kent and Surrey border, with some buildings dating back to the sixteenth century, the majority of the buildings and houses dating from the 19th century. The road on the hill (Main Road) was once a toll road with the toll both being situated next door to the The Royal Oak public house.

The northern part of Crockham Hill is mostly common land and the wooded part of Squerryes Park, whilst much of the rest belongs to the National Trust, including the Chartwell estate. There are many well-maintained public rights of way, which includes the Greensand Way.

Crockham Hill & Crockham Grange Farm - National Trust

Acquired in 1943, this 120-hectare property lies at the foot of the Greensand Ridge Escarpment and the northern half lies within Kent's AONB. Within the woods are many woodland copses and ponds. Crockham is a working farm, mainly arable but with grazing cattle. The area has a good amount of human history scattered within its boundaries. A medieval moated manor house site exists and a Roman road passes within 100 metres of Crockham. The property is crossed by many rights of way and has a bye-way running east to west through the centre - the boundary of the designated AONB. The local primary school lease their playing field from the Trust and are involved in the conservation work. The village holds a fireworks event each year on the farm and the local churchyard is the resting place of one of the Trusts founding members, Octavia Hill. Within two miles to the north lies Mariners Hill and to the east, Limpsfield common. Footpaths link both National Trust areas. (National Trust)

Tragic event at Crockham Hill during the Second World War

In 1944, Little Mariners at Froghole (Crockham Hill) was being used by the LCC as a home for evacuated children, but the house was severely damaged by incendiaries and the children and staff moved to Weald House (now Hoplands) on the edge of Crockham Hill Common. In the early hours of Friday 30 June 1944 a flying bomb (doodlebug) came over, apparently struck a tree on Mariners Hill and was deflected onto Weald House. Twentyone children and eight female staff were killed in the tragedy - Kent's largest single civilian loss during World War II. (Oliver Fielding-Clark's autobiography, Unfinished Conflict contains a piece about this - he was Vicar of C Hill at the time and one of the first on the scene.) There was one survivor Peter Findley, then a year-old infant with measles who had been put in another house for isolation. Over the years Mr Findley has been trying to find details of his mother, who was killed in the tragedy. He lives in Yorkshire and has visited both Edenbridge and Crockham Hill several times with his wife, and has so far managed to locate a woman who worked at Weald House at the time and knew his mother well. (K Reynolds)

 

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