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According to the Salisbury Journal the project might  go ahead – but not till 2013. 

The newspaper says that on Thursday English Heritage project development manager Martin Harvey updated councillors and members of the public on progress made and quotes him as saying “If all goes well with the remainder of this year, we believe we can still start work on the site in 2012 and open for business the following year.”

That’s puzzling, to say the least! Is it true? Has the Olympic deadline been missed? And if so, isn’t that the big story? Are people expected to not notice?

Or is it felt that the world will end in 2012 so it’s all a bit academic?

Wouldn’t a proper announcement in the proper place now be appropriate?!

A guest feature by Resonox

 
Godstone’s church has long fascinated me… why is it set on a hill so far from the current village green? The only way to find out was to quiz residents of the area known as “Church Village”, fortunately they are most helpful and welcome queries about the village history with unbridled enthusiasm, as I found when I met with Ann Stamford, resident and unofficial keeper of the village history, in the churchyard of St Nicholas, on a sunny afternoon last July, so it is to her I am indebted for the majority of the following information, if I might also add she will willingly meet in the churchyard and relate the history of the parish from earliest records right up to The Civil War for any interested parties.
 
First we studied the mound upon which the church itself is sited…it is distinct and quite large, which to my (untrained) eye is suggestive of a settlement mound perhaps predating even the Saxon village itself which was known and mentioned in the Domesday Book as Wachelstede… later to become Walkinstead… before Godstone, but I am getting ahead of myself. The site despite being very close to main south coast to London routes the Romans used (now known as the A23 and A22), very little Roman encampment/occupation signs have been discovered, although there is evidence that early hunter/gatherers used the surrounding area as summer hunting camps, finds and recent excavations close to and around the Caterham valley bear this out.
 
It is also very close to the stone marking the site of the hall where The Saxon Hundreds convened… as well as being rumoured to be on a ley-line connecting it with the nearby church of Bletchingley, also built on a substantial mound. Wachelstede/Walkinstede  is a possible corruption of the Saxon Wolcin’s Stead which loosely translated is “Welkin(Cloud) Homestead” perhaps because the streams around created misty conditions… but the translation can also mean “wool farm”… more likely as the area is rich in Fuller’s Earth which is essential for the treatment of wool, and the Saxons were, after all, great sheep farmers.
 
The name Godstone is derived from Goda’s Tun, Goda being the daughter of King Ethelred II (the Unready) and sister to Edward The Confessor, who had land in the area as part of her dowry and had the first church built, we assume on the present site. She was married to Eustace II of Boulogne who fought against the Saxons at Hastings, despite being related by marriage to the royal house… though by the time of the battle Goda was dead and Eustace had remarried. It is claimed that he had lost the land the marriage had afforded him, because of his Norman heritage and it was awarded to one of Harold’s followers. This may explain why he fought against the Saxon side… though having previously fought with them as a rebellion against being excommunicated for marrying his second wife to whom he was related (how closely related has never been fully examined).
 
The renaming of the village might have been the work of one of Eustace’s sons (by his second marriage) in a fit of religious atonement for the way his late stepmother’s name and her supporters suffered at the hands of Eustace once the lands were rewarded to him after 1066.  Still why is this “church” village so far from the present one? Nothing odd or sinister, the plague was to blame as was the case with many villages, so no mystery.  As an interest there is a little cut in the hills close by called The Enterdent, said to have been the site of quarrying peoples’ homes from before history until quite recently…and  people claim that because it was the site of stone of such good quality that the village took it’s name from the fact that “good stone” was available. There also seems to have been evidence of a 12th century farm called Cudstun close by… again perhaps the tumuli close nearby were once marked by stones and these were also the source of the present name and later corruptions and legends have evolved around them.
 
Take your pick… all have romantic connotations.
 
PS. The village also had its own witch, a lass called Polly Paine who is remembered by the ambiguously named area Polly Pains Bottom.

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