History of Chipstead Village

Chipstead village probably owes its birth to the presence of a number of natural ponds on the local high ground, of which Elmore pond is the most obvious. In the waterless downland territory these would have provided a very desirable spot for herdsmen driving cattle towards markets in London. The name of the village probably derives from 'Ceapstede', a place where a market existed, and it may have been the market for a group of downland parishes in the areas of Banstead and Coulsdon. Chipstead certainly possessed a village fair in Tudor times and later.

The Domesday survey of 1086 tells us that the principal manor of Chipstead was held by Richard of Tonbridge, whose descendants became Earls of Gloucester. There seems never to have been a resident Lord of the Manor until the 17th and 18th centuries when the manor was held by the Lords of Upper Gatton and subsequently by the Lords of Merstham. The principal mansion within the parish from the 18th century onwards was Shabden Park in High Road. The last private owner was Sir Horace (later Lord) Marshall, a Lord Mayor of London, who died in 1936, when the estate was bought by Surrey County Council.

Chipstead remained a very isolated rural parish until the 1860's when a number of mansions were built for wealthy City businessmen, such as Starrock Court, Elmore, Longshaw and Eyehurst Court. Several farms were transformed into residential estates.

The opening of the Tattenham Corner railway in 1897 provided the stimulation for extensive property development over the next 40 years and transformed the village into the residential area we see today. The Walpole family of Stagbury House in Outwood Lane began residential development of their property in the Chipstead valley, and Lord Hylton of Merstham sold similar plots on the higher ground. These large properties insulated the village from high density development and the implementation of the Green Belt policy, coinciding as it did with the death of Lord Marshall in 1936, induced Surrey County Council to buy and preserve the Shabden estate. To these two factors we owe the conservation of Chipstead's pleasant environment.

The last quarter of the 20th century saw the redevelopment of Chipstead's large mansions and estates into individual dwellings, and the relentless pressure from property developers to build high density residential accommodation continues.

'A History' is based upon abstracts from 'A History of Chipstead' by Charles E Pringle and 'Memories of the 20th Century' by Frances O'Donnell, published by the CVPS. Additional material was obtained from the archives of St Margaret's Church and from CVPS archives