The Gilliats – a Chorleywood Family History

Posted On December 5, 2016
December 05, 2016

Local Historian, retired history teacher and Heronsgate resident, Ian Foster’s latest book is an entertaining illustrated history of distinguished Chorleywood family The Gilliats.  

The Gilliat family deserve to be at the top table in a history of Chorleywood. John Saunders Gilliat lived at The Cedars from 1861 to 1912 and was Chorleywood’s most influential figure in those years: he was an MP and chairman of the Bank of England and played a major role in the life of the Church, the common, the Golf Club, the Cricket Club and the welfare of the poor. His aunt and brothers Algernon and Howard were powerful figures in Chorleywood life too.

He built The Cedars, in the style of a French chateau. He also helped finance the building of three Chorleywood churches: Christ Church, St John’s Heronsgate and St Andrew’s; and donated land from The Cedars for the extension of the railway line.

When Irish navvies working on the new railway line caused trouble at a pub on the Common (now Constable’s Cottage), JS Gilliat provided the money for the building of a new pub, now the Black Horse.

The Gilliat Story continues when the Rev John Gilliat arrived in Chorleywood in 1948, he was vicar of Christ Church until 1969 and with his family lived at the Vicarage until its demolition. His youngest son, Richard, learnt his cricket in Chorleywood and went on to captain Hampshire to a county championship.. but for injury he might have captained England on a tour to Australia. He retired from cricket to become a senior master at Charterhouse.

Research into the Gilliat family has revealed much about English and American history and has been a most rewarding task.

Ian Foster

Ian will be signing books at

Chorleywood Cricket Club from 11am to 1pm on Sunday 4 December

Land of Liberty pub, Chorleywood, from 3pm to 7pm on Friday 9 December

The Cedars retirement village, Chorleywood at 11am on Tuesday 17 January.


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