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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
From J. English (2005)
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.
Charlotte as wife
- 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
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. http://docplayer.net/31964392-Survey-of-a-post-medieval-squatter-occupation-site-and-19th-century-military-earthworks-at-hungry-hill-upper-hale-near-farnham.html
[iii] 1841 Census for Aldershot
|Tithe Plot||1851 entry|
|Richard||45||1796||Hampshire||7||1||1||481||Parish Relief in 1851|
|Tithe Plot||1851 entry|
|James||30||1811||Hampshire||97||1||1||481||Ag Lab in North Lane in 1851|