Norbury Park

Norbury Park

The current manor house, built in 1774.
Norbury Park is a swathe of mixed wooded and agricultural land associated with its manor house near Leatherhead and Dorking, Surrey, which appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. It occupies mostly prominent land reaching into a bend in the Mole and is divided between the parishes of Mickleham and Westhumble. Box Hill, to the south-east, was once part of the estate.

A small Bronze Age hoard consisting of two palstave axes and a scabbard chape dating from around 1150-1000 BC was discovered in 2003 in woodland on the western side of the park.[1] The park also contains, at Druids Grove marked on Ordnance Survey maps, an important grove of yew trees used by Druids for rituals and ceremony. They are some of the oldest trees of Great Britain. The manor was also known as Northbury for some time.[2]

The Park was owned for two centuries by the Stydolf family and the diarist


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References

Marie Stopes, the British scientist and writer, lived at Norbury Park House from 1938 to 1958. She had been an active proponent of sexual education and birth control in the early twentieth century; her book Married Love, published in 1918, was the first sexual manual written in language simple enough to be accessible to a wide public and in 1921 she opened the first birth control clinic in London. On her death in 1958 she bequeathed the Park to the Royal Society of Literature, of which she was a member. The house was subsequently sold to Philip Spencer, an industrialist.[8]

Surrey County Council purchased 1,340 acres (5.4 km2) of Norbury Park in July 1930 for (equivalent to £4,799,482 in 2015) to protect the land from development.[7] The parkland remains the property of the council today and is managed on their behalf by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

The estate was purchased in 1850 by Thomas Grissell. It was home to Leopold Salomons JP by 1911 — Salomans gave Box Hill to the nation in 1914 and died on 23 September 1915.[4] The Norbury Park estate appears to have been partly broken up by the executors of Salomons' will. The House, stud farm and 634 acres (2.57 km2) of parkland were purchased by Sir William Corry in September 1916.[5] In August 1922 he sold the property to Sir Edward Mountain, the chairman and managing director of the Eagle Star Insurance Company.[6]

Locke died in 1810 and his family left Norbury Park in 1819.[2] Ebenezer Fuller Maitland, the former MP for Wallingford purchased the house in around 1822, exchanging it for Park Place, Remenham, Berkshire, with Henry Piper Sperling. Sperling remained at Norbury Park for 24 years and was responsible for developing the gardens around the House, including the building of Weir Bridge over the River Mole, which still stands today and is Grade II* listed.[3]

Grade II* listed Weir Bridge over the River Mole built in 1840.[3]

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