News & Events

New Find – Bear’s Grease!

Here we have an interesting little object which was dug up in a garden during building works. It’s the remains of the lid of a pot of FS Cleaver’s Bear’s Grease.

Bears Grease

Just a fragment, but clear enough to identify the product as F.S Cleaver’s Genuine Bear’s Grease. Presumably to distinguish it from non-genuine versions which were often 99% pig’s grease.

Frederick Samuel Cleaver and Sons were ‘manufacturers of genuine honey soap and every description of fancy soaps and perfumery’, based in Red Lion Street, Holborn, London. Samuel Cleaver started the business in 1770; in 1921 it was sold to Lever Brothers but the Cleaver name remained in use until 1934.

Bear’s Grease was sold as a hair strengthener and restorer, from the belief that bears being hairy, application of their fat would confer similar upon the human head. In 1653 the botanist and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote ‘Bear’s Grease staies the falling off of the hair’. It was made with grease from the fat of the brown bear, plus beef marrow and a perfume. The best grease was said to come from Russian bears. In the 19th century, demand exceeded the supply of bears and so manufacturers substituted pig or veal fat, suet and lard. Green dye was added to make it look better, plus herbal fragrances such as thyme and lavender. An article in the London Journal and Weekly Record of Literature, Science and Art of July 1847 noted that ‘There is no medicinal property whatever in what is termed bear’s grease, except that of moistening the scurf, and goose-grease will be found equally useful for that purpose’. Nonetheless, it remained in fashion up to World War 1.

This lid is 3 inches across and made from sturdy white ceramic. The date is probably late 19th or early 20th century. This little pot retailed at 6d, almost certainly sold by a village pharmacy or barber shop. It was found amidst other bits of broken household and farm debris, in the garden of a 1907 cottage which was built by Alexander Whitaker for his estate workers. The cottage was built in a field at the edge of the farm, and the nature of the other things found nearby give the impression that this furthest corner was once used as a dump, perhaps for the farm in general.

The pot would have been a luxury purchase for a farm labourer. I rather like the possibility that it might have once been liberated from the squire’s dressing table by a valet or housemaid, perhaps nearly empty, then sampled by the farmhands and the evidence disposed of in the midden.

Bears Grease Full

An undamaged example, fancy enough to grace any gentleman’s dresser.

Pretty much every part of lowland Britain has been exploited by humans at some point. Even if your house is new, the land it stands on may hold little stories of its past waiting to be uncovered.

Fox and Pelican Booklet

We are delighted to announce the publication of our latest booklet, which commemorates the 120th anniversary of the Fox and Pelican. Written by Richard Peskett, it describes how the pub came into existence and became an enduring part of village life. The official launch was conducted at the F&P on Thursday 19th December, attended by an honorary guest in the form of George Bernard Shaw, and several Friends, and we hope will receive some press coverage in the Haslemere Herald. The booklet is available free of charge in the F&P itself and at various outlets around the village. Projects like this are funded entirely by subscriptions and donations, and we make our sincere thanks to all of you who’s support makes them possible.

Fox & Pelican Booklet Cover

The Fox and Pelican booklet, written by Richard Peskett.

Friends’ Evenings

The Autumn evening on 22nd October was generally held to be a great success. Over 60 people attended, and the Village Hall seems to be a popular venue. Our thanks to the Grayshott Heritage Catering Corps for their lovely selection of cakes and sandwiches, and to Lauren’s team for the liquid refreshments. Thank you as well to those who brought along collection peices or heirlooms to display, and to everyone who attended.
Our next evening, scheduled for Tuesday 5th May 2020, at the Village Hall, has also been POSTPONED. Two talks in preparation are Life in Tudor Grayshott and Grayshott’s Traditional Crafts and Trades, both of which we intend to present on an alternative date as soon as circumstances allow.
As always, if anyone has suggestions for future evenings, or how we can improve things, please get in touch through the Contact page.

Guided Walks

We now have four walks – Village Shops and Houses, The Medieval Hamlet, Village Trees and A Walk On The Wild Side. The first occasion of the latter was pioneered by a dozen hardy spirits recently, scrambling through some of The Hanger’s ancient woodland, to look at its archaeology and nature. We saw medieval woodbanks, charcoal hearths, sawpits, veteran coppice trees, a hydraulic ram pump, a seepage-step mire and a Saxon boundary marker. We will also do a short & easy walk around the new Applegarth Vale estate, to show residents new and old the surprising depth of history in the immediate vicinity.

The Village Trees walk brochure is nearly out of stock. You may be lucky and find a copy lurking somewhere, but we hope to get another batch printed for summer.
Our walks are free but places are limited; if you are interested in any of them for this year please get in touch through the Contact page and we’ll set a date once we can gauge interest. However, everything is currently in abeyance due to COVID-19 precautions. When things start returning to normal we will mobilise walks as quickly as possible – we will all need the fresh air and company!

Some New Articles

Residents of Grayshott may have seen our series of articles in Grayshott Today magazine. For those further afield, we are putting them onto our website on a new page called Grayshott Through the Ages.

Latest Loss – The Golden Hind

The latest building to succumb is the Golden Hind Cafe at Hindhead, more recently known as Cooper Brothers furniture shop. Time and decades of pounding from recent traffic had taken its toll, and the building was sadly beyond economic repair. It was demolished in May 2018

The ‘Golden Hind’ café 1920's

The ‘Golden Hind’ café north of the crossroads in the 1920s, one of the many such establishments along the A3.


Latest Newsletter: Number GH16, June 2019

Our first evening of 2019, a Grayshott Heritage Pub Quiz at the Fox and Pelican, was a great success and enjoyed by over 40 friends.  Thanks to the Fox & Pelican for hosting the event, Ann Myers for the raffle, Jan Bebbington & friends for cakes and not forgetting some great questions from John Childs and Richard Peskett.

The Autumn Friends’ Evening will be on Tuesday October 22nd in the Village Hall and the theme will be ‘Grayshott in 1939‘.  This evening will incorporate our AGM.

We are planning a visit to Huntington House but await a date from the owners.  Huntington House is one of the substantial original local houses and grounds, now restored.  The visit will comprise of a tour of the restored house, a walk around the grounds followed by refreshments.  As soon as a date is confirmed we will contact you with further details.

On August 23rd this year the Fox and Pelican will be celebrating 120 years of serving the village with suitable refreshments.  We hope to produce a small booklet about the history of the pub to mark this occasion.  Our regular feature in ‘Grayshott Today’ in the September issue will also be about the pub.  We hope the pub that will celebrate its birthday in a suitable fashion and will let you know further details when they become available.

Please take time to look at our website, there is often news and new items of interest to look at.  Also, we would be very pleased to receive any offers of articles and other suitable news, finds etc. that can be included.

We have just acquired, from eBay, an original indenture dated 1812 regarding land at Bulls Farm. This is one of the oldest original documents we know of outside Hampshire Records Office. We will put it on the website soon.

We continue our regular monthly presence in ‘Grayshott Today’, highlighting a different aspect of Grayshott history every month.

We are pleased to welcome Helen Vyner as our new representative from the Parish Council.  Ann Myers, the previous representative, has retired after 18 years on the Parish Council but we are very pleased that she has decided to continue as a member of Grayshott Heritage committee.

We are still looking for someone to help us by taking minutes at our meetings.  Please contact us if you can help, we would love to hear from you.

John Childs led a very interesting tree walk around the village on Sunday 26th May as part of Hidden Gardens.  He and his wife Annie also produced a beautiful “Grayshott Village Tree Walk” booklet which was funded by Hidden Gardens of Grayshott.  The booklet is available free of charge at several village shops, the Post Office and the Fox & Pelican.  It has a map, which is easy to follow, for a self-guided walk around the village.

John is planning to do another tree walk in the autumn if there is enough interest. There are also plans for ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’, an energetic scramble around some hidden corners of our woods to explore their nature and history.  Please contact John Childs through our website to register interest in either of these walks:

Following an introduction from Huntington House, Richard Peskett has met with Lizzy Butler (Public Relations, Stepping Stones School) at Undershaw.  They are keen to become more involved with the local community and there are plans for them to host an evening on local history open to our Friends and other local residents.  We hope that through this contact we will be able to become more involved with Hindhead and its history.  We will update you on developments.

Richard Peskett, (Chairman)

Tel: 01428 604862

Liz Cross (Friends’ Secretary)

01428 607169