The Stillwell family once owned most of Yateley. John Pakenham Stillwell, the head of the family at that time around 1836, lived in Hilfield, a large country house just off Cricket Hill Lane in Yateley.

 

Being a major supporter of St Peter’s Church in Yateley he wanted to be able to walk to church over his own land so he bought all of the fields in between, as well as several nearby farms including Hill Farm in Cobbetts lane.

His wealth derived originally from owning the family’s “Stillwell Bank” which was over 200 years old and originally The Royal Navy’s bank.

His son Geoffrey Holt Stillwell inherited Hilfield but John, his wife and Geoffrey all died within five years (Geoffrey in 1927) and the enormous death duties meant that Hilfield had to be sold, eventually being burnt down in 1973. 

In 1929 Elizabeth Stillwell, Geoffrey’s widow, with eight children, had “Thriftswood” built nearby in 1929 on Stevens Hill (named after John Pakenham Stillwell’s wife Georgina Stevens) and Elizabeth moved there with two of her children, the others having left home.