As you cross the busy A11 and head to Balsham, the first building you will see in the parish is Dotterel Farm and the cottages balanced on the hill before the road sweeps onwards but is it one '‘l’ or two (as the new development seems to be called)? We’ve got the answer!
Dotterel Hall covers an area of about 325 hectares to the North West of Balsham on the chalk escarpment of the North Downs. Bronze Age man used the easy working glacial sand pockets towards what is now Worsted Lodge, crossing the Roman Icknield Way and the Via Devana, for several burial sites. During the winter, travellers chose the dry ground up over the chalk rise to Dungate, which was known as the ‘gate to the moor’. Records show that migrating ‘dotterel’ birds roosting here were netted and taken to London for food in the earlier times.
Using this heathland to grow cereals necessitated the building of a tithe barn where the wind blows and underground water could be drawn. In the eighteenth century, the timber framed farmhouse and further barns were erected. When this area of the Balsham parish was purchased by Charterhouse in London in 1800, the estate was enclosed with a 35 yard wide belt of beech trees with hawthorn hedges and named Dotterel Hall, ‘hall’ meaning ‘farm’.
So there you have it. One l! If you’d like to know more about the Dotterel bird then there’s more on this link here.
You can find out more about the cottages and owners in our book which can be bought in the Old Butchers Shop or Post Office in Balsham or online by clicking here.