A good audience enjoyed a talk on Chertsey’s Historic Houses by Mr M Loveday, member and Chairman of The Chertsey Society for nearly 30 years. Chertsey is one of Surrey’s five historic towns, founded in AD666 with the Saxon religious foundation of Chertsey Abbey & is where Henry VI was buried. His body was later removed to St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The curfew bell in St Peter’s Church is still run nightly.
Behind the church lay the Manor House and some of the oldest houses but we heard about The Orchard, The Cedars, Denmark House, Curfew House, Eldridge’s and the four Almshouses.
Denmark House, next to The Swan was saved from demolition & The Chertsey Society was formed there. It was an inn rebuilt in 1742. Later occupants lived there with their pet crocodiles. The Cedars, nearby, is a Grade II building, but has lost a good deal of ground & its cedars. It became the Museum in 1972.
The Orchard stands on the site of the Abbey fishponds and given to the people to Chertsey by the Agar Bequest as a public library, museum, art gallery or kindred purposes. It is now held in trust by Runnymede Borough Council. The former Chertsey gasworks stood in the grounds. Eldridge’s, an elegant Georgian house, is named after the family of bell founders who moved there in 1500s.
Curfew House was The Swan in 1495, lived in by the founder of Sir William Perkins School. In the 18th Century it educated 25 each of poor boys & girls.
The Almshouses are called Willets, Giles, Chapmans, & Cowley and administered by two trusts.
Several books exist if further history information is wanted including A Chertsey Camera by D & J Barker. A fuller report will come in the printed Members newsletter at the end of February.