Garden Staff Tichborne 1939  (Ernest Clay front centre)

Why did I call my company 'Chalcraft & Clay' when my name is Phil Hanks?

The name is taken from my lovely grandparents on my mother's side, Martin Clay and Elsie Chalcraft,  whose combined family history represents land and estate based working lives since 1841, much of this in Hampshire. This is not only my legacy but also my story as I too have spent the majority of my working life connected to the land and estates and most of this in Hampshire.  

My first job as a farm labourer on farms in Alresford (one of which my Great Grandfather had also worked on many, many years before) lead to me serving an apprenticeship in and becoming a horticultural mechanic which some years later resulted in me becoming a golf course manager and in turn eventually  to becoming the Estates Manager for Old Alresford House.

So when I was made redundant in 2014 and decided to set up my own landscaping business, Chalcraft & Clay seemed the perfect name. I am very proud to be able to continue the family tradition through my own company.

Unfortunately the Chalcraft side has been difficult to trace but below is a timeline of the Clay family kindly provided by my cousin Rod Clay, a true horticulturist himself (now retired):

Martin Clay at The Grange, Northington, 1935

Martin & Elsie

Ernest Clay Tichborne

Martin Clay award winning Rose

Elsie's Father Arthur & Grandfather, Chawton

Great Great Great Grandfather

Nicholas Clay 1841 Bramdean: Woodman

Great Great Grandfather

John Clay       1871 West Meon: Woodman

                            1884 Worthy Park Lodge: Gamekeeper

Great Grandfather

Ernest Clay     1893 Worthy Park Lodge : Garden Boy

                             1895 The Grange Northington: Journeyman

                              Broadlands, Romsey: Gardener

                              Cobham Hall, Kent: Foreman Greenhouse

                              Waddesdon Manor: Gardener

                              Cutbush's Nurseries: Nursery Man

                              Little Halands, Seaford: Head Gardener

                              1920 The Grange Northington: Head Gardener

                              Tichbourne Park: Head Gardener


Martin Clay     Lavington Park: Gardener

                             Gatton Park: Gardener

                             Otterbourne House: Gardener

                             Wormwood Scrubs: Head Gardener

Great Uncle

Richard Clay   Blenheim Palace

                              Little Cote House

                              Nursery Sarisbury Green

                              Sparsholt Nursery   

                              Swan Nurseries, Mansbridge                     


Rod Clay           Swan Nurseries, Mansbridge: Horticulturist (retired)


Andrew Clay    Winters Hill Estate: Head Gardener (present)


David Hanks    1996 Cell Park, Markyate: Estate Manager

                              2001 Lower Langham Farm: Head Gardener  (present)    


Phil Hanks        1994 Royal Winchester Golf Course: Manager

                              2003 Botley Golf Course: Manager

                              2008 Old Alresford House: Estates Manager

                              2014 Chalcraft & Clay Ltd: Director

My son

James Hanks  2019 Joins the company: Director



Martin at Wormwood Scrubs

Phil Hanks Director of Chalcraft and Clay

James Hanks Director of chalcraft and clay