Thames Tributary River Mole
The Mole flows north west, and then turns north east, forming the southern boundary of Painshill
The square covers only the south western section of Painshill Park.
TQ 08906 59088
A quarter section of amazing Painshill Park plus some surrounding posh countryside
Post to the east Painshill
Post to the south Chatley Heath
Post to the west Wisley Common
The Park was the idea of Charles Hamilton 1704-1780, fourth son of the Duke of Abercorn. It was laid out on what was barren heath land as a pleasure garden in a series of three dimensional pictures altered by surprises and illusions - a garden of the mood as you moved on. Inspired by the paintings of Poussan. In 1952 many of the follies were being destroyed by a timber company but the park has since been opened and restored by a Trust.
Waterwheel. The great Bramah wheel, said to be the first recorded use of cast iron in gardening. The lake is above the level of the River Mole, and had to be filled by lifting water from the river. Three different devices were successively used. At first a wheel, with paddles around its circumference was used. This was turned by the flow of the stream, and had four leather tubes which scooped up the water into a trough and thus into the lake. The second was an endless chain of buckets worked from a shaft with a horse mill. In the 1830's a pump operated by a large cast-iron water wheel, worked by the flow of the river was installed by Bramah and Son. By the 1950s this was dilapidated, the wooden weather-boarded pump house collapsing, great the wheel shedding paddles and the pumps and connecting rods rusted up. It is now restored and listed Grade II
Alpine valley. A path of evergreen conifers and pines leading to the Gothic Tower.
Temple of Bacchus. This stood on the terrace of the River Mole. It was built before 1760, and was the only building in England that Thomas Jefferson admired in 1786. It was used to house some of Hamilton’s statues. There were busts of the Caesars and an antique statue of Bacchus, allegedly Greek and smuggled out of Italy. The statues were sold in 1797, and four of the columns were used in the main house in 1925. The statue of Bacchus was tracked down by researchers. It had been sold in 1797 to William Beckford of Fonthill but was found at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge, amd owned by the National Trust. It is still being restored.
Elysian Plain - an area of colourful plantings
Gothic tower. 99 steps and public toilets at the bottom. It is a watch tower, square, castellated with a round turret
Hermitage. This was built of logs and roots. It had a thatched roof and Gothic windows. By the 1940s it was derelict and was chopped up for firewood by the military during the Second World War. In 2007 the building was re-created by the Painshill near the old foundations. Space for a hermit within.
Chatley Farm House. 16th with 18th front on a Timber framed core and red and blue brick. Weather boarded extension. Lead mark fire insurance plate from 1779. Hand in Hand Insurance.
A Roman bath house was found on the left bank of the Mole 360-320 AD. Excavation in 1942 uncovered four rooms, a stoke hole and furnace. There were also concentrations of Mesolithic worked flint.
British History on line. Cobham
Painshill Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. Surrey