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Paper contributed by David Barker, Addlestone Historical Society, June 2008


Mentioned in the foundation charter of the original grant of land to Chertsey Abbey in c.666AD, Hamme or HamThe Manor of Hamme. Morag E Barton M.A. 1972

A History of Hamm Court Farm may have an added significance for the study of the distribution of Border Wares and indeed many types of merchandise for the whole of West Surrey.


The area was home to Ham HawHAM HAW WHARF.

The Manor and estate associated with the wharf has an extremely long history being included in the bounds of Chertsey Abbey in the 7th century. Its situation at the head of the meandering but navigable Wey suggests its strategic and commercial have an ancient origin perhaps best explored archaeologically. Some of the evidence for the history of the two sites is presented here. or wharf which from its earliest settlement must have been a significant riparian location linking the Thames Highway with major parts of Western Surrey and beyond with the Capital. A significant medieval reference occurs when the timbers for Westminster Hall's new hammer beam roof, prepared at Farnham, were brought here in 1399 for shipment to Westminster, indicative of the long-established movement of heavy loads to the location. By the late 16th century a number of sources give further specific mention of the site and the timber trade in particular, reflecting the regular movement of timber for the Royal Navy from Alice Holt and other forested areas of Hampshire and west Surrey. For example among the Loseley Manuscripts there is a draft of a petition to the Privy Council, dated post 1603S.H.C. L.M.6729/11/102.. The county of Surrey was ordered to carry 1600 loads of timber for the navy from Alice Holt, Hampshire, 400 loads of which were to be carried this year, to the waterside at Ham Haw. Other recorded users of the wharf here were the suppliers of building materials for Ashley House, Walton on Thames between 1602 and 1607 and the manufacturers of gunpowder at the Chilworth works. Another wharf on the Weybridge bank of the Wey is also noted at this time. In 1671 Charles Dethicke, gent owner of a wharf and messuage claimed damages caused by the canal.


By 1504 Ham Haw was in the hands of the Deans of St George's Chapel, Windsor and its tenants and subleases recorded. One name of particular interest in Borderware study appears in 1625 when Edward Rogers the elder sub-let the site for 3 years. In 1652, Sir George Aiscue, the Commonwealth Admiral, petitioned Parliament in respect of his reputed losses at Ham Haw occasioned by the building of a new wharf two miles up the river (New Haw). Aiscue purchased the manor house in 1649. His petition also noted that his father, William Aiscue, had let the three acre wharf in 1642 to a Mr Warner for £140 per annum, and Sir George had improved it to the extent that its annual worth was now £200. As well as confirming the continued use of the wharf during the interregnum, the report also gives the name of the Wharfinger, Robert Dawson.


The "New Haw" at New Haw (as opposed to the "old" Haw at Hamme) opened when the Wey Navigation commenced in 1653 and was another area with timber handling facilities. It is assumed that the new cutting was also used as a means of transporting pottery to the London market, loading at Guildford, although very few details of specific cargoes carried on it in the 17th century are known. By the late 18th century the promoters of the Basingstoke Canal were suggesting that a thousand tons of pottery a year were to be carried to London via the new canal joining the Wey Navigation at Woodham.


From the examples quoted here it can be seen that considerable numbers of wagons from West Surrey and Hampshire were regular visitors to the parish of Chertsey at precisely the time of the boom in Borderware production. I had always assumed that the major route into London itself and many large settlements and market towns on the way was via the Thames. A regular land route, maintained for the passage of Royalty and its departments linked to the relatively smooth passage of fragile bulk cargoes on the water seems to have been the preferred means of carriage.


It should also be remembered that the Victory Park production site is within 1 mile of Ham and Weybridge wharfs. At this stage of the investigation it seems that the vast majority of its products were Redware, some typical White bodied forms including Stove Tiles were also made at Addlestone. Could loads of white firing Reading Beds clay have been part of the regular traffic, indeed if the carriers were Hampshire and West Surrey men, the possibility of a return load of the excellent Addlestone clay to other potters might be suggested. This and the alternative exchange could perhaps be verified with a further scientific analysis of the Victory Park material.


All the above is presented as a working hypothesis. It may be thought that loading and unloading a cart or carts of essentially fragile goods more than once to stow on a barge would be undesirable. However it is clear from the memoir of William Smith that later border ware production was indeed transported thus and delivered to a Thameside Wharf. Improvements of the route between Hounslow and Bagshot following the establishment of the Turnpike Trust in 1728 no doubt also helped to facilitate the journey, apparently toll free on the return trip with a load of manure to the impoverished soils of the Heath. The possibility of the smooth movement of the ware in bulk for the majority of its journey to the capital and unloading at one of the City's Thameside Wharfs would surely have merit especially once the Guildford ? Thames link opened in 1653. It should also be noted that the configuration of the pre canalised Wey mitigated against large scale down stream traffic but allowed limited but significant upstream passage. A petition of the inhabitants of Guildford in support of an improvement scheme mooted in 1621 make no mention of pottery or ancillary cargo. However if the majority of the production from Hampshire and west Surrey was embarked at Chertsey these goods in bulk would not figure in the main items listed embarked at Guildford.


Although the regular passage of heavy goods vehicles from the main area of Border ware production is clear we also need to see what specific products of the individual kilns were being sold in London. The presumed use of the wharfs in Chertsey and Weybridge is enhanced by the location of potters working beyond the originally defined areas of borderware production. For example, were the products of the makers known for Chertsey (Addlestone), Horsell, Cobham, and Woking also collected en route and traded in bulk by the putative traders and wholesalers in the capital or merely sold directly in the local markets of say Farnham, Guildford and Chertsey. Research continues.

David Barker June 2008



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