Puttenham: Surrey village life

Home to a founding member of rock band Queen, the villlage of Puttenham has genuine Royal links too (not to mention an up-and-coming vineyard and a great pub)

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011

Home to a founding member of rock band Queen, the villlage of Puttenham has genuine Royal links too (not to mention an up-and-coming vineyard and a great pub)

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Village voice…“The basic ingredients for a lively village are a school, a pub, a church and a shop,” says former Puttenham churchwarden John Hewitson. “Yet, despite losing its shop, Puttenham remains lively because Puttenham School is top of its class; The Good Intent pub lives up to its name; and the church stands sentinel over the village. However, it is the people, not buildings, that make a village lively.”

Did you know…?Adjacent to the first green at Puttenham Golf Club is a mound known as Frowsbury Hill. This Bronze Age burial site is where on a warm summer’s day, in July 1858, Queen Victoria stood to take the salute of 20,000 members of the British Army during a special parade. Thirty-six years after the Queen’s visit, General Sir Frederick Marshall wrote to Mark Smallpiece, Lord of Puttenham Manor, asking if he would allow a group of army officers, Charterhouse School masters and local businessmen to form a golf club on his land at Puttenham Common. The fact that General Marshall was a special favourite of Queen Victoria at the time probably helped sway his judgement and, thus, Puttenham Golf Club was born.

At the village hall…Activities at The Marwick Hall include a weekly children’s dance class, puppy training and the fortnightly meetings of the youth club. It is also used for regular meetings of the parish council, garden club and history society.

Did you know 2…?In the 1970s, one of the yew trees lining the path up to the church sank into the ground, revealing a well, long disused, but believed to be the ‘town well’ referred to in an 18th century document about a disastrous fire in the church.

Making the headlines…The nearby Hampton Estate has been used for a number of high profile films, including Russell Crowe’s outing as Robin Hood. Most recently, however, it was host to a 30-foot beanstalk for the movie Jack the Giant Killer.

Grab a bite…The Good Intent pub has been featured in the CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for over 20 years and features three regular real ales. The food is good honest pub grub and the atmosphere is friendly.

Something to take home…Up on the Hog’s Back, you’ll find Greyfriars Vineyard. Originally planted in 1989, it has enjoyed over 20 years in production as a successful micro-vineyard. Last year, the estate was taken over by former oilman Mike Wagstaff, and now the vineyard is embarking on an exciting period of expansion to turn it from ‘hobby’ scale to commercial.

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In the spotlight…

Roger Taylor, drummer of Queen, is the most famous current resident. The village was mentioned in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley �– his family had considerable connections to neighbouring Compton and he is buried in Compton Cemetery. The actor David Niven used to live on the Hog’s Back in a house that is now a BUPA nursing home.  

 

Getting there…Just off the Hog’s Back by car, the nearest main train station is Guildford, with the smaller Farncombe and Warnborough also within reach.

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