Jollife and Banks

The historic Quarry Dean limestone quarries at Merstham play an significant part in the history of Chipstead. Over centuries, these quarries were a nationally important source of building stone and were a source of great wealth to the families who owned them. Two such families, the Tattershalls and the Jolliffes, became Lords of the Manor of Chipstead, although neither family took the title.

The quarry estate was owned by the Tattersall family of Upper Gatton in the 18th century. The Rev'd John Tattersall became Rector of St Margaret's Church in 1718. In 1788 James Tattersall sold the estate to William Jolliffe of Petersfield, and the Jolliffe dynasty at Mestham House was established.

In 1802 William's son Hylton inherited the quarry estate and came into contact with Edward Banks, who was involved in the construction of the Surrey Iron Railway between Wandsworth and Merstham. This horse drawn railway was the world's first to have iron rails, and passed through Chipstead, roughly following the alignment of the Brighton Road. Jolliffe saw the railway as a means to transport his quarry stone to the Thames for onward conveyance by water, and entered into partnership with Banks to create the firm of Jolliffe and Banks. In 1803, Hylton Jolliffe handed the business over to his younger brother, the Rev. William Jolliffe.

The Jolliffe and Banks company rapidly expanded and became one of the principal construction companies of the time, with a portfolio of prestigious contracts in London including Waterloo Bridge (1817), Southwark Bridge (1819), and finally the New London Bridge opened by King William in 1824. Banks was knighted in 1822. The partnership of these two remarkable men was dissolved in 1834 but neither lived long enough to enjoy their hard-earned fortunes as both died in 1835. Banks is buried in St Margaret's churchyard.

The Manor of Chipstead was acquired by the Jolliffe family from the Tattersalls in the 1790s and as the tithe map of 1847 (see local maps) shows, the family owned a substantial area of land. Rev William Jolliffe's son, Sir William G Hylton Jolliffe (1800–1876) became an MP in 1837. He held the seat at Petersfield until 1866 when he was granted the title 1st Baron Hylton of Merstham, and his descendents as Lord Hylton continued to hold the title until recent times. The areas of land in Chipstead known as the Hylton Estate survive to this day.