© Wonersh History Society - www.wonershhistory.co.uk (WHS)


On    the    corner    of    Chinthurst    Lane    and    The    Street    is    Gerald’s    Wood,    a    wood managed   for   Wonersh   Parish   Council   by   volunteers   of   the   Wonersh   Woodland Group   (with   a   great   deal   of   help   from   the   Scouts).      The   wood   has   a   wide   variety   of trees,   predominantly   Sweet   Chestnut   but   also   Oak,   Norway   Maple,   Ash,   Douglas Fir,   Hazel,   Elm,   Elder,   Holly   and   Spindle.      There   are   signs   it   may   have   been   ancient woodland   and   there   is   also   evidence   of   coppicing   of   the   Sweet   Chestnut   in   the past, a traditional form of woodland management. WHO WAS GERALD? Many    people    have    an    opinion    as    to    who    Gerald    was,    and    according    to    the information   board   at   the   edge   of   the   wood   “Gerald’s   Wood   was   given   to   the   Parish by    local    man    Gerald    Spark    in    1959    ‘for    public    walks    and    pleasure    gardens    or recreation grounds’”. In   fact,   Gerald   was   Gerald   Farrer ,    a   solicitor   believed   to   have   worked   for   Farrer   & Co   solicitors   in   Lincoln’s   Inn   Fields,   one   of   three   sons   of   James   and   Florence   Farrer.      He   was      born   in   the   Lewisham   area   in   1925   and   after WW2   moved   with   his   parents   to   Shamley   Green   (they   are   shown   living   in   Hulbrook   Farm   in   1947).      In   1948   he   married   Priscilla   Hulse   and by 1954 had moved to Linersh Cottage in Bramley.  They then had a daughter in 1955. Gerald   died   on   1   August   1957,   at   the   young   age   of   32   of   what   is   believed   to   have   been   a   soft   tissue   tumour   around   the   hip   and   although   he had surgery he then developed metastases.  His probate was proved in London to his widow and his effects were valued at £19,117 4s 8d. Priscilla   went   on   to   marry   Peter   Down   in   1958   and   they   had   two   children,   Peter   and   Philippa.      By   1961   they   had   moved   from   Linersh Cottage to Wonersh Hollow,  staying for a year before moving away from the village.  Priscilla died in 1998. Gerald’s   father   and   Percy   Fuller,   as   his   trustees,   transferred   the   land   on   the   north   east   side   of   Chinthurst   Lane   to   Wonersh   Parish   Council for consideration of the sum of one pound on 21 May 1959. So,   the   woods   then   are   a   gift   from   the   Farrer   family   in   memory   of   Gerald   Farrer,    a   local   man,   and   not   Gerald   Spark   as   so   many   people believe.