Project Purley

The Local History Society for Purley on Thames

The Workplace

Purley has long been mainly an agricultural parish. It is only in recent years that residential developments have totally replaced farming in the eastern part of the parish.

Because of the way the land was rented out the farms that operated within Purley from time to time must be considered only as the base from which the operation was conducted, the actual land moved around and was attached to whichever farm happened to rent the land at the time. Even in modern times this pattern has persisted with farmers from many miles away operating within the village.

Initialy almost everyone was employed by the estates employing skills such as shepherding, ploughing, hedging and ditching. Young children acquired their skills from their parents and usually were forced to look to a much wider area for employment when they grew to adulthood. There has been very little in the way of industry in Purley and only a handful of shops.

In more recent times there has been a considerable diversification of the occupations of the people of Purley. Nowadays very few are employed in Purley itself. Even fewer are employed on the land. The village has become a dormitory for commuters to Reading and London and as far afield as Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol and Swindon.

The following accounts deal with the subject under the headings:-

Feudal and pre-enclosure Farming

The Mediaeval Village economy

Crofts, Shaws and Piddles

Agriculture from the Civil War to WW1

Farming since World War One

Small holdings

Rural Crafts

Village blacksmiths c1594-1936



Commerce and Industry


Businesses Conducted from Home

The Commuter

S2000 26/1/2018

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