Gunpowder Mills Group retires, but representation carries on

After 20 years of keeping an expert eye on the Gunpowder Mills site, with particular interest in the history and archaeological remains on the site, the members of the Gunpowder Mills Group are retiring, and the group is to be disbanded. Much has been achieved over the time, in partnership with the GBC Parks and Leisure team, in trying to stabilise the ruins and manage the site. Not an easy task, with different priorities and management styles, and of course within limited budgets.

At its last meeting, the Group invited the local parish Council, St Martha’s PC, that has always had representatives on the Gunpowder Mills group, to consider continuing their involvement. As a result, the representatives from the Parish Council will consider whether they should form a sub-group of the Council, so that the dialogue and good relations with GBC can continue. It is envisaged that local expert advice and the support of the community will continue as before.

The local Annual Gunpowder Mills Meeting, chaired by the Parish Council, will meet as usual in the autumn. The date has been set, and the village hall booked for Thursday November 8 at 7.70pm.

The community would like to thank the gunpowder Mills Group for giving freely of its time and expertise, to make the Gunpowder Mills a better place.

St Augustine’s Abbey update

From St.Augustine’s Abbey, Chilworth (Benedictine monks)

We are a community of ROMAN CATHOLIC monks following the ORDER OF ST BENEDICT (Subiaco Cassinese Congregation) and WELCOME ALL visitors of faith and none, including those exploring their spirituality and vocation.

MASS with the monastic community is available to the public daily from Monday to Saturday at 9am and on Sunday at 10am.

DIVINE OFFICE is also available to the public from Monday to Friday: Vigils 5.50am – 6.30am (Sunday Vigils at 8.00pm on Saturdays) Lauds 7.00am – 7.25am Terce 8.40am – 8.50am (8.30am on Sundays) Sext 12.30pm – 12.45pm (12.45pm on Sundays) None 1.35pm – 1.45pm Vespers 6.00pm – 6.30pm Compline 8.30pm-8.50pm.

We have a GUEST HOUSE, RETREATS, MEDITATION GROUPS, STUDY GROUPS, HEALING DAYS and EVENTS, all welcoming visitors too.

We also make and sell ‘Sanctuary Products’, a range of skin creams made of bees wax, also furniture polish.

Search online for CHILWORTH BENEDICTINES. http://www.chilworthbenedictines.com

St Augustine’s Abbey,
Sample Oak Lane,
Chilworth,
Surrey
GU4 8QR

Tel: 01483 899360

Chilworth Manor Launches its first wine

Chilworth Manor Vineyard is now in production, following a launch party held at the Manor on Sunday, May 20.

Everyone who had taken part in the picking of the grapes, and those who have expressed an interest in following the development of the vineyard were invited to a talk on how the wine was made.

The Wrigley family stressed how much they wanted to share the story of the vineyard with the local community and to involve the community as much as possible.

Attendees were then invited into the walled garden to taste this year’s vintage and to have the opportunity to buy a bottle or two to take home.

The newly appointed Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Mike Parsons, known to those in the west of the village as their elected borough councillor, attended officially with his wife and said a few words – pictured below with Graham and Mia Wrigley.

A new website for the vineyard has just been launched – click here to visit the site

Reverend Stephanie blesses horses at St Martha’s Church


Over thirty horses and riders converged on the very top of St Martha’s Hill on Horseman’s Sunday. They were joined by as many again on foot.

This old tradition has been revived this year by the Surrey Hills Board, and the Equestrian Group it has formed, as part of an initiative to promote and celebrate horse riding in the Surrey Hills.

In glorious sunshine, all the horses lined up with their heads over the church wall. Reverend Stephanie Sokolowski, used a traditional branch of hyssop to bless each horse and pony, and delivered a short celebratory service outside St Martha’s Church. Participants all received a souvenir rosette as a memento before riding off to enjoy the bridleways in the area

Chilworth2gether urges GBC at Council meeting not to sell off West Lodge

GBC, with Councillor Illman who represents West Chilworth being the lead Councillor making this decision, intends to apply to the Secretary of State to sell off West Lodge, the only building that remains intact at the entrance to the Gunpowder Mills site on Blacksmith Lane.

West Lodge is an integral part of the Gunpowder Mills Story. St Martha Parish Council, assisted by representatives from the Gunpowder Mills Group and Chilworth2gether have tried to find ways to retain the building in GBC ownership for future generations, and have consistently counselled against the sale of the building.

Here is the contribution made by Chilworth2gether to the full Council which met on Tuesday April –

“My name Maggie Scott, active member of Chilworth2gether, and member of St Martha Parish Council West lodge Working Group.

I attended the recent executive meeting at which regrettably, the executive recommended West Lodge be referred to the Secretary of State for the removal of covenants. These have never been revealed, but I surmise that they relate to the building having protections as part of our community’s open space.

So, my first question to Councillors is, at a time of major housing development, why aren’t Councillors seeking to preserve and enhance the open spaces we have to enjoy?
The whole of West Lodge is an important integral part of the historic Gunpowder Mills story –
Is it not counter-intuitive to sell off the only building providing shelter, electricity, drinking water and a toilet for the Gunpowder Mills Site, a scheduled monument categorised as Community Open Space?

At the Executive, a perfectly reasonable and obvious proposal was put forward by Councillor Reeves that GBC should create a separate Heritage Asset List. Councillors may not be aware of this sensible suggestion until it has been mentioned by Gavin tonight {Gavin Morgan, the previous speaker), because, surprisingly, it has not been minuted.

Were West Lodge to be included in such a list, it would immediately open up a path for the Council to enter a dialogue with the Parish Council as to how the building might be used and maintained in the future, within a different framework than Commercial viability, something a Historic Heritage asset is unlikely ever to be.

St Martha Parish Council has formally requested such a dialogue with the Council, but the Council to date has not responded to the Parish Council.

Surely a more creative way forward can be found by this Council than stripping the Borough of its Heritage little by little, including selling off this little building. These Heritage buildings have a different kind of value for the Borough, measured in different ways than a one-off cash in the bank transaction.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and we are all the poorer.

GBC has lots of alternative options other than selling it off. Councillors please consider forming a separate Heritage Asset list, and take a more creative approach to the future of heritage in the borough, including West Lodge. Thank you.