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

GERALD’S WOOD

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, James, 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.