1. Gunpowder Mills



Below the vineyard, the woodland hides a site of an industry that is hugely significant for Chilworth Manor’s history. If you look down from the fence line, you can just make out the remnants of buildings that were once part of the gunpowder mills along the Tillingbourne river. The Chilworth mills were established in 1626 by the East India Company which was licensed for manufacture gunpowder for its own use.

It was the ownership of these mills that brought the Randyll family to Chilworth in the mid-17th century and helped to finance the building of a fine manor house and the life of a country gentleman. 

In 1885 Chilworth was at the forefront of the development of a new type of powder for the use of heavy guns. The Chilworth Gunpowder Company was formed to manufacture the new product, however this phase was short lived because of high explosives based on the development of new chemical technology. 

After the end of the First World War most gunpowder factories closed and in the 1930s the manufacture of most explosives became largely concentrated in Scotland. Chilworth closed in 1920 and in 1922 the landowner, Duke of Northumberland, sold the site. 

Now, the ruins have evolved into a watery woodland habitat of ponds and watercourses fed by the Tillingbourne as well as the natural springs and runoff from the hills to the north that pass through the vineyard. 

 

 

For Children

Q: What event do we celebrate on the 5th of November which involves gunpowder?  

CLUE: We celebrate it by watching fireworks and lighting bonfires.  

A: Guy Fawkes Night. In 1605 Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament and assassinate James I of England using thirty-six barrels of gunpowder.

 

Navigation

Please continue with the vineyard on your left for approximately 200 meters where you will find the next QR code and corresponding point of interest. 

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