An insight into the village of Sarratt in 1842 - the date of the Sarratt Tithe Map. 

The following article, slightly adapted, was clearly written by somebody who had analysed the buildings and fields as shown in the Tithe Map and its accompanying index. Unfortunately, the article is unsigned but we are indebted to the author for this imaginative piece of writing.

Glimpses of Sarratt`s Past - The Village in 1842

Any inhabitant of twenty-first century Sarratt who was able to take a journey back in time to 1842 (the date of the Sarratt Tithe Map) would doubtless be most conscious of the emptiness of the village.

Only in the North-West (where Newhouse, Whitedell, Bragmans and Rosehall were all flourishing farms) can the landscape have been substantially the same as today. In the South-East the main course of the River Chess still took its way beside the drive to Sarratt Mill House and flowed under the old mill buildings themselves; and at the corner of the churchyard nearest to the almshouses was a cottage, soon to disappear.

Walking Northwards from the church up Church Lane we shall not pass any sign of habitation (apart from the lane leading to the Rectory – or Vicarage, as it was then known) until we come to The Green; and if we carry on round the corner to the right we should find nothing in Dimmocks Lane after two pairs of cottages (now the Garage Cottage and Rose Cottage), and nothing in Deadmans Ash Lane apart from four cottages on the left just before the road drops down the hill. Green End Farmhouse was there, although we might not recognise it at first because large barns hid the house from the road. On the spot where now stands The Cricketers, there was a block of four cottages and a Meeting House. There was nothing else around the Dell.

Moving left onto the main part of The Green, we should be struck firstly by the fact that there was only the current “main” road over The Green; the present road in front of the shop did not appear until later in the century. Along the road on the right one would pass a series of farms – Great Wheelers Farm, Pear Tree Cottage (then worded as a cottage farm), the Boot, a farm on the site of Sarratt House and then Red Lion Corner, much as it is today but with pub and farm functioning as such. There was no Wheatsheaf pub, only pairs of cottages one of which housing a shop, then nothing else until one reached Sarratt Hall and two cottages (one of which including another shop) and an Infant School.

On the left hand side of The Green, walking from the Dell and The Cricketers, one would pass a block of eight cottages, of which Ivy Cottage is possibly a solitary survivor. Then there was nothing again until one reached what is now the entrance to Alexandra Road, after which one would pass seven cottages, mainly in pairs. Finally a block of five, including a workshop, just before Dawes Lane, itself containing only a pair of cottages on the left, and a now disappeared block of five at the “Fold”. Passing Dawes Lane and a single cottage we come to a beer house, a house on the site of The Laurels, and a block of three cottages where there is now The Woodyard. Holly Tree Farm and Holly Tree Cottage were there as the only pair of semi-detached (to use a modern term) houses in the village – pairs of cottages were common enough, but rarely pairs of houses, except this one. Still travelling Northwards we whould have come to three cottages and the Wheelwright’s shop (the origin of “The Nook” and “Oakbeam” and probably “The Old Cottage” as well), and then on to more familiar ground with Little Sarratt Hall and Sarratt Hall Farm (but no Great Sarratt Hall), with the pair of cottages beyond this (now Great Sarratt Hall Cottage), and the three cottages at Rosehall Green.

Poleshill was without a single house, as was the Sarratt side of Belsize where the road from Sarratt kept to the left towards Flaunden, and the road from Chipperfield kept to its left into “Under the Heavens”. Woodmans was certainly there to the left of the Chipperfield Road and the beginning of Ollieberrie Farm was there in a pair of cottages, rejoicing in the name of “Bacon Sops” – but of the buildings which at present flank Holly Hedges Lane, there was no sign.

Not surprisingly, of the twenty houses (as opposed to cottages) the majority were farm houses, in fact if not in name. Only Sarratt Mill, Goldingtons, Sarratt Hall, Little Sarratt Hall and one of the pair of semi-detached houses on the Green were residences pure and simple. Major farms were Green End Farm (although it did not at that time bear this name), Sarratt Hall Farm and Rosehall Farm, each of these covering more than two hundred acres. These, together with Bragmans Farm and New House Farm (each nearly one hundred acres), between them farmed the bulk of the arable fields in the Parish. But there were ten smaller farms varying from thirty-five to five acres, and four cottages working from one or two small fields apiece.

Of the present “pubs” two were active – “The Cock” and “The Boot” - together with the “Red Lion” and a beer house on The Green near the corner of Dawes Lane. There were two shops – both at the North end of The Green. Finally to round off the statistics, there were eighty-seven cottages, eleven of which had either fields and/or an orchard attached.

NOTE: The Tithe Map was printed in 1842 but the original survey was carried out in 1840.
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