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The Hermitage

Pevsner described this gem of the area as "a peach of an early 19th century Gothic thatched cottage with two pointed windows and an ogee pointed door.

There was a hermit who lived in the grounds for many years, but any connection with the name of the Cottage is purely coincidental as he lived there after the cottage had already been named. The current owner, Dorothy Tyler (2000) has no idea how it got its name but she did know the hermit.

His name was John Wilkinson and was known as 'Chummy'. He was a real gentleman and he had lived in the back garden since 1918. He built himself a little home inside a hut which is still at the bottom of the garden.

Mrs Tyler bought the house in January 1953 and she let him live in her basement. He never went outside Hanwell and only ever walked a short distance from the cottage. He was 70 years old on the day of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation (June 1953) and died at approximately 95 years of age (c1978).

"The Hermitage" in Church Road was built in 1809 by George Glasse, a rector of St. Mary's. He never lived in the house.

In the 1920s & 1930s "The Hermitage" was the headquarters of the Selbourne Society.

There are many versions of how Hanwell got its name and one suggestion is that Hana was the owner of land, (near where the Hermitage Cottage and Spring Court in Church Road now stand), on which a spring, (wella), once fed a lake in the grounds. To this day, the Hermitage still has a pond and a spring known as Caesar's Spring, which continues to bubble out, in the garden behind the cottage.
It is now a Grade II listed building.

This page was originally prepared for Hanwell History society by Chris Edwards.