inscribed with various house party signatures " Mabel Emily Broderick, Marion Broderick, A M Midleton, Arthur Brodrick, Laurance A Brodrick, Lowther Grant, Middleton , Nicola Brodrick
Peper Harow House was built by Sir William Chambers for George Brodrick, 3rd Viscount Midleton in 1765. Still incomplete when the 3rd Viscount died (in 1765) it was completed by his son after he came of age. It is a Grade I listed building.
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown landscaped the park in 1762-3, and many fine trees remain from this time. Particularly notable are the Lebanon Cedar. According to 'A History of the County of Surrey' published in 1911, the park and grounds at Peper Harow contained some fine timber at that time, notably the cedars of Lebanon, which were put in as seedlings from pots in 1735.
There is also an ancient bridge called Somerset Bridge which crosses the River Wey and connects Peper Harow with nearby Elstead.
The house was owned by the Midleton family until 1944 when it was sold to property developers. It, and the entire village, is now owned by a trust.
The Peper Harow residential community was founded in 1970 by Melvyn Rose and gained international repute for its pioneering work with disturbed adolescents. For over 20 years, this establishment provided a therapeutic environment for teenagers who had often suffered appalling abuse.
The Peper Harow therapeutic community was set up by Melvyn Rose who had been a house master at the approved school, Park House, that pre-dated the Peper Harow Community. All young people were assigned a personal mentor who developed close relationships with the children in their care. In keeping with the interest in eastern philosophy at the time these were, rather quaintly, known as "Gurus".
The residents and staff together took responsibility for the daily maintenance of the community and all contributed to cooking and cleaning. The young people were considered to be partners in the therapeutic endeavour and there was an expectation that everyone attended the daily community meetings. These meetings were the heart of the community and often young people were able to share and resolve very painful experiences from their past, and the daily difficulties and challenges of sixty adults and children living together could be addressed in a helpful way. Peper Harow was later sold and redeveloped into flats.
Peper Harow is a rural village and civil parish in south-west Surrey close to the town of Godalming. It was a noted early cricket venue. Its easternmost fields are in part given up to the A3 trunk road.
The name "Peper Harow" is very unusual and comes from Old English Pipers Hear perhaps meaning, approximately "The pagan stone altar of the pipers"; however, hearg can also be haeg meaning more prosaically hedged enclosure (of the pipers), or even hay meadow. Pipers might mean musicians, or sandpipers (the green sandpiper and wood sandpiper are migrants to marsh and swampy ground – as this is).
Peper Harow appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Pipereherge. It was held by Girard (Gerard) from Walter, son of Othere. Its domesday assets were: 3 hides. It had 3 ploughs, 1 mill worth 15s, 7 acres (2.8 ha) of meadow. It rendered £5 per year to its feudal overlords. Later documented forms are: Pipereherge (11th century); Piperinges (13th century); Pyperhaghe (14th century).
In the graveyard of St. Nicholas's Church (dating to 1301) is an ancient yew tree which has been dated to being 800 years old which could stand on the site of an old pagan site. Close to Peper Harow at Bonville Hanger Wood is a Holy well called Bonfield Spring that is also thought to have held pre-Christian religious significance.
Descent of the manor
Denzil Holles (who had no issue) died in 1694, and the manor reverted to John, Duke of Newcastle, his male heir who sold it in February 1699 – 1700 to Philip Frowde, who in 1713 sold it to Alan Brodrick, who was elevated to the Viscountcy of Midleton.
In 1725 this Viscount Midleton was 'expected to reside [in the manor] shortly, and was patron (sponsor) of the church, whose son died 1747. In the son's time his first cousin Vice-Admiral Thomas Brodrick also lived at the estate. George Brodrick, the third viscount died holding it in 1765. He was succeeded by his son George, created Baron Brodrick of Peper Harow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, who died 1836. His son George Alan was succeeded in 1848 by his cousin Charles, grandson of the third viscount, who died in 1863. The manor passed to his brother, the Very Rev. W J Brodrick, who dying in 1870 was succeeded by his son William, appointed (for the year term) Lord Lieutenant of Surrey. This Viscount Midleton died in 1907, and was succeeded by his eldest son.
St. Nicholas's church was almost destroyed by fire in December 2007. The yew was unharmed and the church has been restored. Parts of the village are privately owned with restricted access.
Cricket has long been played here, with evidence of rules and matches dating to 1727. In the 1720s, Peper Harow was the seat of Alan Brodrick, 1st Viscount Midleton who was succeeded by his son Alan Brodrick, 2nd Viscount Midleton in the viscountcy on 29 August 1728. Before succeeding, the latter made his mark as a cricket patron by arranging major matches against his friend Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond. Records have survived of two such games that took place in the 1727 season.These two games are highly significant because Richmond and Brodrick drew up Articles of Agreement beforehand to determine the rules that must apply in their contests. These were itemised in sixteen points. It is believed that this was the first time that rules (or some part of the rules as in this case) were formally agreed, although rules as such definitely existed. The first full codification of the Laws of Cricket was done in 1744.
During the Second World War, Peper Harow was used as a holding area for Canadian Forces. Part of the park not in the parish is used annually for point-to-point horse racing.
The parish of Peper Harow is said to have been named after a proprietor called Pepard or Pipard, in about 1100 A.D.
It is referred to as Piperherge in the Domesday Book and it is stated to be owned by Walter Fitz Other, Castellan of Windsor.
Since then there is an unbroken record up to the present day of the estate's owners, many of whom held high positions in the service of the king or queen of their time.
One owner on the other hand, Sir Bernard Brocas, was beheaded on Tower Hill in January 1400 for plotting against King Henry IV.
The estates were forfeited to the Crown but later restored to Sir Bernard’s son and remained in the Brocas family for a further 170 years.
Passing through the hands of Ralph Peckshall, Master of the Buckhounds to Edward IV, so to his son and various other owners, the estate came into the ownership of John, Earl of Clare, who had to have a special Act of Parliament passed to authorise its sale to Philip Frowde, postmaster-general in the reign of Queen Anne.
From him it was bought, in 1713, by Brodrick, afterwards created Viscount Midleton and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.
What the house was like in his time we have no record as it was completely rebuilt in something like its present form by the Third Viscount, though the work was not completed until after his death in 1765.
The estate remained in the Brodrick family in unbroken succession to the 9th Viscount Midleton, who was responsible for the additions to the house which brought it to its present size in 1930.
So it remained until after the Second World War, in which it was used as the headquarters of the Canadian Ordnance Corps.
In this house a large part of the planning for the Dieppe raid and the Normandy invasion was carried out.
After the death of the 9th Viscount Midleton, by then raised to the title of Earl, the house was sold by his son to the managers of Park House School and the farm and largest part of the lands to Mr Fuller.
As stated earlier, the house as we know it today was not conceived or begun until the time of the third Viscount Middleton, nor finished until some time after his death in 1765.
It was designed by Sir William Chambers, architect of Somerset House in London. His first drawings show a house 80 ft by 88 ft, with only two stories between basement and hipped roof.
These measurements were adhered to in the building but alterations to the arrangement of rooms within the outline were made before completion of the work.
The original estimate of the cost was £8,180, of which the principal items were:
Brickwork £2,253 0s 0d
Portland stone £1,208 13s 8d
Firr and Labour in floors and roof £1,179 5s 0d
Westmoreland slating £336 0s 0d
Lead for roof, gutters, water pipes, etc. £386 10s 0d
The final bill was for £9,912 10s 51/2d, but by the completion of the work only about £900 remained to be paid as payments had been going out since the beginning of the project.
The bill included fees to Samuel Alken, wood-carver and Joseph Wilson, R.A., sculptor, for work on door frames, chimney pieces, etc.
He also included the cost of painting and decorating, which must have been considerable.
We know that the ceiling of the drawing room (later Gould Houseroom) had six coats of paint, green on a purple ground with a white ornamentation.
That of the dining parlour, later Godfrey Houseroom, had five coats of green with white ornamentation, while the ‘ground to centre’ in this room was 'seven times done, finished in Lalock colour’.
The ceiling of the library (later Spielman Houseroom) had a scheme of grey on a pink ground. Decoration in the hall (Front Hall) included ‘three pictures by Stubbs painted on purpose’.
Other examples of the care and consideration that went into the construction and finish are to be found in specifications on paper headed ‘memorandums relating to the finishing of the house at Peper Harow’, notably that for sound-proofing: ‘all the floors built on the principal storey and attick to be filled between the joists with cockle shells’.
Once completed, no major alterations were made to the house until the time of the late Lord Midleton, who succeeded his father in 1907. In 1913 the parapet was taken down, laid carefully around the house while a third story with a low pitched roof was added in place of the old attics, and then replaced.
The coming of the school in 1950 brought further changes not so much to the outward appearance of the house itself but the grounds in which it stands. With the laying down of Park Avenue and the erection of houses for staff, each taking a parcel of land for a private garden, has almost disappeared the last trace or what was an exceptionally beautiful leisure garden, stocked with many rare trees and shrubs, stretching from the house right up to the wrought iron carriage gates at the northern end of the estate.
In its place, besides the staff houses, a lawn tennis court was laid down, a new sick bay added for the school and the old conservatory was converted to a gymnasium.