The known history of Rickman Hill Rec
How and when did it come about?
Here's some interesting points we have found out:
The area covered by the park, the woodland and surrounding area of the hill was originally known by the name of ‘Ruckkenhams’ which then became ‘Rickman Hill’
Rickman Hill (the road we know today) was originally a walking track winding its way up the incline
Parks and Gardens.org and Croydon Council identify the land of Ruckkenhams as having been in the Carew family (influential family within the court of Henry Vlll) The family had owned land in this area and at Harley since the 14th Century. Sir Richard Carew (1470-1520) bequeathed lands at Ruckkenhams ‐ Rickman Hill ‐ to his widow Lady Malyn (1475-1544) by way of the dower.
The site was then purchased in 1927 by Coulsdon & Purley UDC for use as a recreation ground
Located on the edge of the Green Belt and is the highest park in the area of Greater London at 155 meters.
If you know any more history please let us know! - we would also love to see any old photos you have!
Mother Kittys Shaw
Our very own ancient woodland!
‘Mother Kitty’ may have been Catherine Carew (1485-1545) or Katherine Champernown) (1500-1524 approx.) Many people have researched the identity of Mother Kitty, and this is documented in various places. However, she is rather elusive. Nobody has so far been able to pin down her identity with any certainty.
Established woodland is shown on John Rocque’s map of Surrey 1762 although not named.
It is listed in the Ancient Woodland Inventory as ancient “and semi- natural woodland”.
Woodland is classified as ‘ancient’ if it has been in continuous existence since 1600 AD
Surrey Archaeological Society holds full sized copy of Rocque’s map which can be viewed by appointment; Mother Kitty’s Shaw is approximately 0.5 hectares in size but does appear on Rocque’s map to have once extended down to Woodlands Grove (definition of ‘grove’- wood or group of trees)
Using the Woodland Trust online tree age calculator, the oldest tress in the wood and the park are between 340-360 years old
Mother Kitty’s Shaw recognised in London Borough of Croydon Habitat Action Plan- woodlands and hedgerows
The wood contains some key indicators of ancient woodland: old oak trees, bluebells, primrose, lily of the valley, lichen
Wildlife spotted in Mother Kitty’s Shaw: greater spotted woodpeckers, owls, crows, sparrows wrens, finches, buzzards
Mother Kitty Shaw and Rickman Hill Park are the start or end points for established green route walks