A Christmas gift for The Hermitage

The Hermitage gets a new hat!

A rustic cottage in a secluded spot on the western side of the landscape, not every visitor finds the Hermitage.

However, those who do stumble across it on their Painshill travels are rewarded with the most magical sight. Perched in the perfect position, the windows offer wonderful views of the Surrey hills for miles into the distance.

Photo: Before the re-thatching begins

This small but perfectly formed thatched building provides visitors with a glimpse of life as an 18th century hermit. Hermits were often hired by landowners to reside in their gardens and to live a simple life. The idea was that hermits should remain in the grounds and spend time in silence praying for the family. Legend has it Hamilton’s Painshill hermit did not last long in the role. After just three weeks he was spotted drinking in the local inn!

Photo: Lower ground view before the re-thatching

When Painshill was a lost landscape, the Hermitage became derelict and was chopped up for firewood in the 1940s. The Painshill Park Trust landscape team rebuilt it, using timber from the grounds, in May 2004. However, thatched roofs do not last forever and recently, the Hermitage has needed a new hat!

With huge gratitude to donors, a recent fundraising appeal achieved the £10,000 needed to rethatch the Hermitage roof. Our landscape team at Painshill along with dedicated craftsmen, full of expertise, began the task of re-thatching the new roof, where the old roof was carefully removed and the new roof was constructed.

Photo: Scaffolding in place and the re-thatching begins

The Hermitage is looking spectacular, just in time for winter visitors.

Photo: Scaffolding with the new roof nearly finished

During the re-thatching, we were able to interview Chris, the Master Thatcher, about this specialist skill and the process of the new roof…

Video: Chris, Master Thatcher who oversaw and managed the Hermitage new roof

As a small independent charity, we are incredibly grateful to each of the donors who made this vital project possible. This has allowed the Hermitage to continue to be a vital part of Painshill’s history and a special time for the new roof to be installed just before Christmas.

Don’t forget to wear your woolly hats too if you fancy a festive walk this Christmas season to the Hermitage.