History at Limpsfield Common

Limpsfield Common's memorial stone, 1972

Work on the common goes back a long way and in fact, stone was quarried here as far back as Domesday times. You can still come across some of the shallow stone pits whilst walking on the common today.

Working the common

During the medieval years coarse domestic pots were made in the pottery kilns at Scearn Bank, near Limpsfield Chart. This pottery was called Limpsfield Ware, and pot shards can be found in the area today.
From around the 14th century Limpsfield Common was used by commoners for grazing animals and collecting stone and firewood. These activities shaped the landscape into a rolling, open heathland. However, since the decline of commoning the woodland has encroached, leaving just a few patches of heath.
Brick-Kiln Lane is named after a brick works producing here from the 1800s to the early 1900s.

Second World War air-raid shelters

During the Battle of Britain many dog-fights occurred in the skies above East Surrey and Kent. German bombers were also frequently seen above Limpsfield Common, heading for London. Sometimes the bombers even shed their bombs over the common as they fled the country, pursued by British fighters.
The children of Limpsfield School were protected by six air raid shelters on the common.

Spigot Mortar

In 1942 the Home Guard units were equipped with anti-tank weapons called Spigot Mortars (named after the steel pin or ‘spigot’ on which they were mounted). You can see one of these pins near our air raid shelters.
Download our Spigot Mortar information sheet (PDF / 0.3037109375MB) download

Medieval handover

We’ve been looking after Limpsfield Common since 1972.
At a ceremony held on 26 August 1972 Major Richard Levenson-Gower (Lord of the Manor) revived an ancient medieval custom of land transfer. He cut a sod of turf from the common and handed it to our Director General.

Did you know?

The common's old Roman road used to link Southwark in London to the south coast near Lewes
Major Baden-Powell and Colonel Cody were said to fly man-lifting kites from the common in the days when men were learning to fly.