Local History-Walliswood Village Hall
Facts about the Village Hall
The village hall and grounds are owned by Abinger Parish Council. They are managed by Walliswood Village Hall Association, which is a registered charity, formed in 2004. Day to day running of the hall is in the hands of a committee, currently comprising of 8 people. The hall raises money in several ways via regular hirers, one-off bookings and fund raising events, of which the biggest is WallisWoodStock, our annual pop/rock concert on the field attached to the hall. Grants from Abinger Parish Council and Surrey County Council as well as local and corporate bodies have been awarded towards specific projects.
Since taking on responsibility for the hall, the Association has carried out a continual programme of improvements, including a new pitched roof in place of the old flat roof, new windows, a new kitchen, the path with its lighting, and replacing the septic tank. The interior of the hall has been refurbished.
The most recent work has been upgrading the toilets, resurfacing the floor of the main hall and installing bi-fold doors from the main hall out to the field. Soft furnishings have been replaced and variable lighting allows hirers the chance to select the right ambience for their purpose.
Not Just The Dinosaur!
The fossil of a previously unknown species of dinosaur was discovered at the Smokejacks clay pit, at the south end of the village, in 1983. Named Baryonyx Walkerii, the fossil is now in the Natural History Museum. The pit has also been the location of many other finds, including a well-preserved partial skeleton of a young iguanodon in 2001. There is some speculation that the iguanodon was baryonx’s last meal. Other finds include the bones of a pterosaur (a flying dinosaur), fish, crocodiles, molluscs and numerous insects, including a number of new species. (and to think that Surrey County Council wanted the site for landfill!!)
Unfortunately it is no longer possible to access the site or the ancient woodland surrounding it, following the decision in 2012 of the brickworks owners to fence off the area.
Wallis Wood (two words, unlike the village name) is a Surrey Wildlife Trust nature reserve just north of the village. It supports a wide variety of insect life and is home to the triangle spider, a spider rare in England which lives in yew trees and is only recorded in one other site in Surrey. Dormice have also been recorded and in 2007 an extremely rare Bechstein’s bat was found in a bat box on the site.
The present Church dates from about 1220, but religious connections with the site probably date even further back. Originally built as a Chapel of Ease to the ‘official’ Parish Church at Wotton, Okewood was restored and endowed with lands by Sir Edward de la Hale in the 15th Century. De la Hale was hunting wild boar with his son when the boy was thrown by his horse and charged by a wounded boar. The boy was saved when an unidentified person killed the boar with an arrow and De la Hale paid for the chapel to be restored in gratitude. There is a brass plate set into the old floor of the chancel commemorating his death in 1431. By 1700 the Chapel had become dilapidated. Major restoration was undertaken in 1879 with the north wall replaced and the addition of the north aisle. At one time there were wall paintings all around the walls, and although eroded by damp, traces of them can still be seen on the south wall following the latest renovation work. Visit the church’s website: www.oofgchurch.org.uk/stjohns
Other Local Information
Much of the land around the village was once owned by the Barons Abinger, whose family name is Scarlett – hence the name of the pub (it is correctly spelled with 2 t’s). The pub dates back to the 17th century and is Grade II listed.
Visit the pub’s website: www.scarlettarms.co.uk
The village pump, with its stone pillars, carved wooden gables and tiled roof, is a typical Surrey pump, though now only ornamental. It is Grade II listed.