Brixbury, or Bricksbury Hill, is located to the north of Farnham Park, within Surrey. It therefore lies outside the formal boundary of Aldershot as defined by the River Blackwater. And yet, this was property let by the Aldershot Parish Officers adding revenue to the parish funds.

Cropped to show Brickbury Hill

    • At its summit sits the so-called “Caesar’s Camp”, a term reputedly first used by antiquarians of the 18th century, according to Judie English who noted that archaeologists had long considered that the fort on the site was an Iron Age construction.
    • This area should not be confused with Hungry Hill on which Bricksbury Estate was later built.

Aldershot Parish Officers

These are the office-holders elected annually at meetings of the Vestry. Reference was made to ‘Brixberry’ on page 15 of the Vestry Minute Book during a meeting held in March 1837.  Agreement was given to allow Richard Cawson to have tenancy of a cottage and  two acres of land at £3 per annum, “to commence from Michaelmas last and expire at Michaelmas 1841.” He was “to use his best endeavour to protect the land from the occupation of others situate at Brixberry and to acquaint the Parish of anything to his knowledge is going on in the Common improper.” 

    • The 1841 Census records Richard Cawson as an agricultural labourer then living close to the farm of William Tice in North Lane.

The 1841 Tithe Apportionment Survey, published in 1843, noted that the ‘Aldershot Parish Officers’ then owned a total of over 69 acres. That included two cottages with 42 acres of  arable and rough land at Brixbury.

The 1841 Census for Aldershot recorded the households of two labourers in the two cottages at ‘Brixberey’. One was James Paine with his wife Sarah and two young children, Emma and Alfred. The other labourer was Richard Barnett with his wife Ann, together with four sons aged between 8 and 21. It is clear from what follows that these families were being assisted with a form of parish  poor relief.
Those two families had left the cottages at Brixbury by 1851. According to the 1851 Census and Rate Book, James Paine moved to the Alms House where he was with his wife Sarah and two other young children, James and Edwin, together with her father James Dutton. James and his family were there in 1853. Their two former children had both died:  Emma had died shortly after the 1841 Census aged only 6; Alfred was buried in February 1849 aged 11.  

Richard and Ann were recorded in 1851 as agricultural labourers living at Dog Kennels, both were aged 62 and in receipt of parish relief; Ann was listed as born in Lambeth and might have been the Ann Neal who married Richard Barnett in Aldershot in 1818. Their four sons had left home.

    • By 1851 his eldest son James has set up his own household in North Lane, having married Caroline Searle in January 1848. Their household included her son David, aged 5. His second son John had enlisted in Farnham with the 70th Regiment of Foot in 1844. At age 19, he was described as of fair complexion, with light hair and blue eyes, his height precisely measured 5 foot 6 & 5/8th of inch. The two younger sons had found employment in other households in Aldershot. Richard was employed as a labourer in the household of the 52-year old widow Ann Harding, an annuitant, in North Lane; Henry, the youngest, aged 18, was employed as a carter in the household of Richard Allden.

By 1851, the Aldershot Vestry had let the land they owned to John Trussler, listed by the Census as aged 62, married and a farmer of 16 acres employing one man, presumably the agricultural labourer who was his lodger. The Poor Law Rate Book for 1853 records that John Trussler held a house and 20 acres of land at Brixbury and that this was owned by the Parish.Brixbury Entry in 1853 Rate Book

With an estimated annual rental of £15, it had a Rateable Value of £13 -10s, contributing to the parish chest over and above the rent which would have been collected by the parish officers from the tenant farmer John Trussler.

The Bishop and Brixbury

Known in earlier time as Tuxbury or Tukesbury Hill, Brixbury formed part of the lands owned by the Bishop of Winchester. It formed part of a larger area of ‘the waste’ which was settled by squatters prior to 1800. Evidence of settlement is included in the first maps made by the Ordnance Survey, such as the sketch made in 1806 shown above.

“In 1831 the settlement was extended by means of a grant of waste made by Bishop [Charles] Sumner to a number of trustees for the benefit of the poor of Farnham (HRO: 11M59/Bp8). .. at Farnham nineteen parcels of land were enclosed and made available to such honest, industrious and deserving poor persons belonging to the parish (HRO: 11M59/Bp8). … A further enclosure of 20 acres, intended for subdivision, only attracted a single tenant and 19 acres remained undisposed. Under this scheme legal title would have remained with the trustees, thus both preventing the development of permanent settlement and denying the squatters right to poor relief.” (J.English, 2005)
This formed part of 20 acre of land s at Brixbury had been made available for permanent settlement by lease from trustees who were authorised by the Bishop of Winchester. 

Below is a another sketch intended to show land parcels recorded the Tithe Apportionment for the parish of Farnham also recorded cottages on Brixbury and Hungry Hill. 

Figure 2a showing Tithe Apportionment plots

From J. English (2005)

The 1841 Census for Farnham recorded nine households at Brixbury in in 1841, reducing in 1851 to to six, the heads of household of five were agricultural labourers, four having the name Pharo, in addition to that of the land proprietor, William Knight.
Details of both settlements were depicted on the tithe map of 1841 (fig 2a) and recorded in the accompanying award. Most of the enclosures were described as arable land; one landowner, William Mitchell, given the occupation of farmer in 1841, also grew a small area of hops. Some seasonal work would have been available around Farnham to augment the living available from this poor land, particularly tying in the hop vines and harvesting their product (Batey 1965, 24). By 1855 small-scale exploitation of sand, gravel and clay was being
undertaken, possibly for the squatters’ own use, but the brick kiln shown (HRO: DP139/A) was probably part of the extensive brick-making industry of the Hale area.
For some at least, existence on Hungry Hill was well above subsistence level. The Farnham tithe award records Mary Pharo occupying encroachments on the bishop of Winchester’s land totalling over 110 acres and in her will dated 1874 she left £525 in monetary bequests
(HRO: 50M63/B43/6).
Many squatter settlements on agriculturally marginal land were depopulated due to
enclosure of the commons during the late 18th century and early 19th centuries, in the drive
to bring new land into production to feed a rapidly increa
Comparison with the tithe map and award for Farnham parish.
 shows them to be parcels described as cottages and land (numbers 823–825a, fig 2a). Earthwork remains of the settlement area in the valley corresponded with the settlement shown on both the tithe map for Farnham parish and the map of 1855, and in the census returns called Brixbury or Bricksbury. Squatting on common land began in the 16th century and was often tolerated by landowners.
Rent could not be charged since the enclosures were illegal, but yearly fines provided some income from what was otherwise, in financial terms for the landowner, often
non-productive land. Within these enclosures the squatters were able to cultivate small parcels of land and graze stock on the commons but they also participated in small-scale industries based on the resources available locally. On heathland bracken, furze, birch for besom brooms, peat for fuel and carstone for building, provided material both for the squatters to
use themselves and, in some cases, the bases for cottage industries whose products could be sold for cash.


Some 30 homesteads were to be found on Bricksbury Hill, and in winter it is still possible to find the flint and brick foundations of the old cottages.  Some of the ditches which marked the boundaries of the arable plots surrounding the cottages are still in existence.



John Trussler listed by the 1851 Census as 62, married and a farmer of 16 acres employing one man, presumably the agricultural labourer who was his lodger.

John Trussler 1851 Census

Charlotte as wife

First name(s) John
Last name Trusler
Name note –
Marriage year 1817
Marriage date 08 Jan 1817
Marriage place Aldingbourn
Spouse’s first name(s) Charlotte
Spouse’s last name Trusler
Spouse’s age –
Residence Aldingbourn, Sussex, England
County Sussex
Country England
Record set England Marriages 1538-1973
Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Subcategory Parish Marriages
Collections from England, Great Britain





  • The occupants of that land were included in the 1841 Census of the Aldershot parish. James Paine and Richard Barnett and their families occupied the two cottages at ‘Brix Berey’; In 1851 they were listed, respectively, as an agricultural labourer and ‘on parish relief’.[iii]


Clearing up misconceptions about Hale  by Barbara Knight

published in the Farnham Hearld & republished in


 Displaced Families

Misconception number two — that the Army drove cottagers off the Common and into Hoghatch. Once the construction of the permanent camp at Aldershot was under way, the War Office realised that it needed more heathland than was first envisaged.  It bought extra land at Ewshot, Crookham, and Hale.  It was necessary to displace the families who were living on Bricksbury Hill, in Longbottom, and around the summit of Hungry Hill.  In all some 40 or 50 families were displaced.  Many of these families were descended from the original squatters who had taken up residence in the latter half of the 18th century.  Around the turn of the century, the Bishop of Winchester had granted rights of allotment to many of the cottagers and these cottagers and their descendants had to be recompensed by the War Department for the loss of their properties.


The 1861 Census returns show that some of the displaced families moved in to Hoghatch and Hungry Hill.  A study of the Hale Parish registers would provide more detailed information about the fate of the displaced families: unfortunately these are not yet available to researchers.


[ii] Survey of a post-medieval ‘squatter’ occupation site and 19th century military earthworks at Hungry Hill, Upper Hale, near Farnham. Judie English. Surrey Archaeological Collections, 92, 245–253, 2005.

[iii] 1841 Census for Aldershot

Tithe Plot 1851 entry
Richard 45 1796 Hampshire 7 1 1 481 Parish Relief in 1851
Ann 45 1796 Hampshire 7 481
James 21 1820 Hampshire 7 481
Richard 16 1825 Hampshire 7 481
John 15 1826 Hampshire 7 481
Henery 8 1833 Hampshire 7 481


Tithe Plot 1851 entry
James 30 1811 Hampshire 97 1 1 481 Ag Lab in North Lane in 1851
Sarah 27 1814 Hampshire 97 481
Emma 6 1835 Hampshire 97 481
Alfred 2 1839 Hampshire 97 481