Guildford Fruit Farm

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

If you’re trying to find Guildford Fruit Farm nowadays, you’re more likely to come across either Manor Fruit Farm in Normandy or Nuthill Fruit Farm in Send. These two venues are pick-your-own farms or farm shops where you can buy or pick the fruit you want. However, in the early 20th century, Burpham had its own fruit farm called Guildford Fruit Farm.

Advert in the West Surrey Times in 1915.

Winter Hill Coppice was a woodland area shown on maps in the 19th century, but before World War One, the rest of the farm was mainly arable land, most likely used for wheat cultivation. The orchard was developed on the southwestern part of Winterhill Farm, where Orchard Road is now.

Hugh Lancelot Robson owned the orchard from 1911 to 1924. According to newspaper adverts, apples, plums, and loganberries were grown and sold, along with probably many other fruits. Hugh lived in Orchard Cottage, which was situated between the brickfield and London Road, along New Inn Lane. This land was acquired in 1958 to provide housing for a Catholic priest in Burpham. Hugh was born in 1882 in Guildford, and his father was a Clerk in Holy Orders. He was always interested in horticulture and was a student at Wisley. He was also very involved in animal welfare. Hugh managed the fruit farm and had a foreman, Norman Arthur Phillips, who is better known as one of the names on the Burpham War Memorial. Norman joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and was the only officer among the Burpham fallen and the only one not in the army.

After 1924, the fruit farm seems to have vanished from the records, although Winterhill Farm continued as a working farm until 1934, when the first adverts for housing on the Winterhill estate appeared. Hugh lived in Echo Pit Road from 1932 onwards, and in later years he became a trustee of the local Poyle Charity. He died in 1953 at St Thomas’ Hospital in Hambledon, presumably from tuberculosis.

Left: Guildford Fruit Farm 1914. Right: Winterhill Development 1934.

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail ( or by phone or text (07963 756543). My book, Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford is still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon, but the History of Burpham Primary School 1908-2014 is now out of print (available to borrow at Guildford Library).


A brickfield is an open area where bricks are made. Usually, the owner of the land leases it to a brickmaster, who then conducts the manufacture of bricks.

In the past, the topsoil was removed, and the clay under-neath was mixed with chalk and ash to create bricks.

As a result, Brickfield or Brickfields became a common name for places in southeast England.

In the late 1800s, brick-making became a small industry in Burpham using the clay found locally. Brickfields were established in various locations, including New Inn Farm along New Inn Lane and Winterhill Farm. Another brickfield was located in Slyfield, just a short distance away across the river.

Guildford Poyle Charities

Guildford Poyle Charities was established nearly 400 years ago by Henry Smith (b. Wandsworth 1549) who left money in his will to help vulnerable people in need or distress in Guildford upon his death in 1628. His legacy was invested wisely in property in the town known as the Poyle Estate which today is the Old Town Mill and Pewley areas of the town. Since then it has sold most of this land.

Over the years, the charity has amalgamated with a number of smaller charities with aims similar to its own. Some of these charities date back to the 17th Century. This includes the Will of John How who bequeathed £400 upon his death circa 1676 and a later bequest left by John Parsons on his death in 1703. Annually the Charity conducts the ‘Dicing Money Ceremony’ in keeping with the Wills of these two men. The ceremony which has been taking place in Guildford for over 300 years involves two dice being thrown and the loser ‘wins’ a slightly higher sum of money.

The Charity’s first formal constitution was published on 27 June 1879 when a Scheme was registered with the Charity Commission, a fledgling body which had been established 26 years previously. A number of revised editions of this Scheme ensued over the next 130 years although the format of the Scheme remained much the same. In 2011 the charity completely revised its constitution and objects to bring them up-to-date with modern thinking. However, its work and those it helps have not changed in essence and it still stays true to its ancient purpose of helping the most vulnerable in Guildford.

The Charity remains committed to its original ideals and today distributes around 250 grants annually to help people in need with items they would not otherwise be able to afford. The Charity also gives grants to organisations working with such people in Guildford.

Guildford Poyle Charities welcomes donations at any time so that they can help more people in Guildford. Please either send a cheque to the address below or get in touch with the office by e-mail or telephone for more information on how you can help.

Guildford Poyle Charities


01483 303678

Guildford Poyle Charities, 208 High St, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3JB