Abinger Hammer History
Abinger Hammer is an attractive village with a green set beside the banks of the Tillingbourne River. It is perhaps best known for the clock which juts out above the main street - this distinctive feature was built in 1891. Abinger Hammer forms part of Abinger, with the rest of the village set on the hills to the south of the valley.
Abinger is recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as 'Abinceborne', when it was held by William Fitz Ansculf, but by 1191 the name had changed to 'Abbingewurda' and thence to 'Abbyngere' by 1558. It has been suggested that the name means the 'farm of Abba's people'. However, there is clear evidence of a much more ancient past going back thousands of years. Many prehistoric flint tools have been found in the area and, at nearby Holmbury Hill, is a Iron Age hill-fort. Adjacent to Abinger Hammer a substantial Roman villa has been discovered.
The parish church of St James has had a chequered history. In August 1944 it was hit by a German flying bomb and in 1964 it was seriously damaged by fire. The church has since been painstakingly restored.
In the valley of the Tillingbourne River below the main village of Abinger a 'hammer mill' was established, probably in the 16th century, the name 'Abinger Hammer' first appearing in the Abinger parish registers in 1600. There was a substantial iron works here, where a hammer driven by waterpower from a mill was used to pound the irregular masses of iron bloom from the furnaces or 'bloomeries'. It was in places like Abinger Hammer that the real industrial revolution began and, in the attractive village of today, it is difficult to imagine the cacophony of noise that once echoed down this beautiful valley.