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Surrey.svg 80px
Flag Coat of arms
Surrey UK locator map 2010.svg
Surrey shown within England
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Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region South East
Established Ancient
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Sarah Goad
High Sheriff Helen Bowcock
Area 1,663 km2 (642 sq mi)
 – Ranked 35th of 48
Population (mid-2014 est.) 1,135,500
 – Ranked 12th of 48
Density 683/km2 (1,770/sq mi)
Ethnicity 95.0%White
2.2% S. Asian
Non-metropolitan county
County council Surrey County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Kingston upon Thames
Area 1,663 km2 (642 sq mi)
 – Ranked 25th of 27
Population 1,135,500
 – Ranked 5th of 27
Density 683/km2 (1,770/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-SRY
ONS code 43
GSS code E10000030
Surrey numbered districts.svg
Districts of Surrey
Unitary County council area
  1. Spelthorne
  2. Runnymede
  3. Surrey Heath
  4. Woking
  5. Elmbridge
  6. Guildford
  7. Waverley
  8. Mole Valley
  9. Epsom and Ewell
  10. Reigate and Banstead
  11. Tandridge
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Surrey Police
Time zone GMT (UTC)
– Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Surrey /ˈsʌri/ is a county in the south east of England, one of the home counties bordering Greater London. Surrey also borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the south-east, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west and south-west and Berkshire to the north-west. The county town is Guildford.[1] Surrey County Council sits extraterritorially at Kingston upon Thames, administered as part of Greater London since 1965.

The London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth, and parts of Lewisham and Bromley were in Surrey until 1889. The boroughs of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Sutton and Richmond upon Thames south of the River Thames were part of Surrey until 1965, when they too were absorbed into Greater London. In the same year, the county gained its first area north of the Thames, Spelthorne, from defunct Middlesex. As a result of this gain, modern Surrey also borders on the London boroughs of Hounslow and Hillingdon.

Today, administrative Surrey is divided into eleven districts: Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley and Woking. Services such as roads, mineral extraction licensing, education, strategic waste and recycling infrastructure, birth marriage and death registration and social and children's services are administered by Surrey County Council.


Surrey is divided by the chalk ridge of the North Downs, running east-west. The ridge is pierced by the rivers Wey and Mole, which are tributaries of the Thames, the river which constituted the northern border of the county as far as Bermondsey before the late 19th century. The River Bourne, a tributary west of the Thames from near Ascot, Berkshire and Hogsmill River, east of the Thames from Ewell, Surrey feed into the southern meander of the Thames, part of which crosses the county.


Towards the beginning of the Cretaceous age (146–66 million years ago) Surrey alternated between a fresh-to-brackish water embayment depositing Hastings Beds and Weald Clay, comprising shales and mudstones that are often finely banded. Offshore muds (now shales and mudstones) of the Atherfield Clay were deposited followed by shallow marine sands of the Hythe, Sandgate and Folkestone Beds. Where not eroded to lower heights, there is then a marine layer of the sands of the Hythe Beds topped by chert seen on today's remaining Greensand Hills. Instead of the mudstone and sandstone-producing three beds mentioned before Hythe Beds, west of Dorking the marine Bargate Beds made of calcareous (chalk and limestone-rich) sandstone were deposited. The Folkestone Beds contain phosphatic and iron-rich nodules, which locally yield a rich fossil fauna of marine shells.

Then under even deeper seas, Gault Clay and the Upper Greensand were deposited. The Gault Clay contains phosphate-rich nodules in discrete bands and has a rich marine fauna with abundant ammonites, bivalves and gastropods. The Upper Greensand comprises a variety of sediments with fine silts at the base giving way upwards into sandstones.

90 million years ago the North Downs hard chalk was deposited, a white limestone which is over 95% calcium carbonate. It contains thin beds of marl and nodules of flint, either scattered or in bands. The North Downs extending from Farnham to Dover, Kent are formed by this chalk. They now have an often white, almost vertical south-facing slope.[2]

Just before the paleogene, which included the mass-extinction event of the non-avian dinosaurs, sea levels dropped, exposing Sussex and Kent, and the marine Upnor Beds were deposited in Surrey. In the paleogene, Southern England rose slightly, and the seas retreated, and the reddish and mottled clays of the Reading Beds were deposited by a large river sand delta system. Later, a rise in sea level, around 50 million years ago, caused widespread deposition, until 2 million years ago, of the London Clay across the County. The London Clay is a bluish-grey marine clay with isolated pockets of fossils especially where chalkier. The youngest part of the London Clay is known as the Claygate Beds and occurs widely in Surrey. This even sandier material represents a transition between the deeper water London Clay and the succeeding shallower water, possibly estuarine, Bagshot Sand.[2]

Major climate changes in Britain causing sea level changes in the last 2.58 million years, with mini Ice Ages, the ice sheets did not extend to Surrey but sand and gravel deposits swept towards the fledgling River Thames were spread in all lower parts. Gravel terraces at various heights on the valley sides are the remnants of successive floodplains, the highest terrace being the oldest and the lowest the youngest. The most prominent terraces mark the former levels of the Thames in north Surrey. Along tributary slopes, a deposit, head, forms the main sediment of latest age. Head comprises angular pieces of rock and soil derived locally from the extensive frost-shattering of rocks and the subsequent movement of this material down valley slopes. Large areas of clay-with-flints, derived from the weathering of material overlying the present day chalk, occur across the North Downs. One particular suite of sediments that occur in the Guildford vale is known as the Headley Formation and comprises gravel and sand on top of the chalk. These sediments contain marine fossils and were probably derived from erosion of the Greensand and Tertiary rocks during the paleogene.[2]

The above describes the various many types of the sedimentary rocks of the Cretaceous and Tertiary age in their more modern nomenclature that cover the whole county, and in terms of a still visible structure, makes up the Wealden anticline that covers most of the county.[2]


The northeast of the county, such as the north of Tandridge (district), is in the wide part of the North Downs. Thus from the east, Tatsfield has two western pockets of slightly acid, loamy soils with free drainage otherwise has the expected shallow, lime-rich soil over chalk or limestone of the escarpment with lower parts of the escarpment summit here, where that topsoil has eroded, having slightly acid, loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage soil. Westward, the shallow lime is found all the way along the North Downs to the western border, past Guildford only a few hundred metres narrow to Farnham Castle and even Dippenhall, the latter accompaniment is found on both sides only to Buckland, well before Dorking. A horseshoe of land including the rise north of Godstone of Godstone Hill that leads to the escarpment is free draining lime-rich loamy soil (i.e. alkaline). Continuing with the Downs, in a broad band, the far northern type soil slopes such as near Croydon come across the Surrey border at Banstead and Ewell, which is free draining, slightly acid but base-rich soils, producing extremely fertile pastures and deciduous woodland, which becomes the edging for both sides of the high escarpment at Box Hill and is just found for a brief while in a middle section in Polesden Lacey then throughout the northern slope carrying on westward. Chipstead, Banstead and Tadworth have the first free draining slightly acid loamy soil that tops the wider downs to Guildford and is found around Dorking and the across the Vale of Holmesdale north of the Greensand Hills.

Equally it is this topsoil north of the Thames across Spelthorne (such as around Ashford) and west of the Thames in the east of Runnymede (such as around Thorpe): here the land is flat flood plain, mostly silt mixed with lime-rich London Clay.[3]

Between the Thames and the North Downs the land is overall slightly lower than south of the Downs but is less in the current flood plain, drained by the tributaries mentioned. There is more loam persisting the further from the alluvial plain of the Thames and tributaries; from the southbank at Thames Ditton (near Hampton Court southwest to Ripley, Send and Old Woking is still more free draining slightly acid loamy soil. Impeded drainage but rarely waterlogged soil features in Addlestone, north Knaphill and around Perry Hill, Worplesdon while Chobham lies in loamy soils with naturally high groundwater producing wet acid meadow and woodland edged by streamside fen/peat marshy brooklands.[3]

Heath: in Esher, Oxshott, Weybridge, Wisley, all around Woking, Brookwood, Deepcut, Pirbright, Frimley, Lightwater, Camberley, Chobham Common, Virginia Water and Ottershaw is naturally wet, very acid sandy and loamy soil which is just 1.9% of English soil and 0.2% of Welsh soil, which gives rise to pines and coniferous landscapes, such as pioneered at Wentworth and Foxhills estate (now spa, hotel, restaurant and golf club) by pro-American Independence statesman Charles James Fox.[3]

South, but not beyond the North Downs and to the south of the Greensand Ridge is slowly permeable loamy/clayey slightly acid but base-rich soil forming a 3–4-mile-wide (5–6 km) band from Ewell and Claygate through Leatherhead, Little Bookham, the north side of Guildford to Farnham, whereas South of the Greensand is some 20–15 miles (30–25 km) thick (with some areas of free then poor drainage around East Grinstead/Felbridge).[3] The Greensand ridge itself has the heath soil above and zones of slightly acid only freely draining sandy soils, which make those areas more densely wooded such as Thursley, Brook, Churt, Seale, Runfold and Puttenham.

Vegetation and woodland

Flora naturally present from west to east comprise mixed woodland and meadow; continuing where the band of loam continues to Farnham, but between this and the river floodplain, replaced by silver birch, ferns, temperate coniferous forest on the peat and purer Bagshot Sands covered now by acid heathland increasingly moving west, rising to gentle hills. In this band are the well-maintained sites of biodiversity and woodland such as managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust as well as government and groups who help to manage Chobham and Horsell commons,[4] St Anne's Hill, Fetcham and Weyside meadows (Ripley or Burpham water meadows), Esher and Oxshott Commons and Princes Coverts (Stoke Wood and Great Oaks) west of the Chessington outspur of Greater London, east of this, wooded Epsom with Ashtead Commons and Banstead Common and Downs.

The Downs themselves are much wider in the northeast than in the narrow band in the west of the county.

To the south of the Downs is the Vale of Holmesdale with its many streams providing a very fertile but narrow plain then a variable thickness band of the Greensand, a soft often muddy sandstone that when unoxidised contains green glauconite forming the south of the Surrey Hills, the heavily wooded Greensand Ridge yielding Bargate stone, that extends into Kent, while south of the ridge is the plain of the Low Weald, rising in the extreme south-east to the edge of the hills of the High Weald. near Felbridge. At the opposite extreme the forests around the Devil's Punch Bowl, Hindhead give way to heaths mentioned throughout, the acidic soil and dramatic heather lands present even to Frensham Ponds further north.

Much of Surrey is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. It contains a good deal of mature woodland (reflected in the official logo of Surrey County Council, a pair of interlocking oak leaves). Its natural beauty spots with widest panoramas include Box Hill, Leith Hill, Frensham Ponds, Newlands Corner and Puttenham & Crooksbury Commons, part of the Hog's Back. Surrey is the most wooded county in England, with 22.4% coverage compared to a national average of 11.8%[5] and as such is one of the few counties not to include new woodlands in their strategic plans. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in the UK, one of the oldest in Europe. Surrey also contains England's principal concentration of lowland heath, on the sandy soils in the west of the county mentioned above.

Leith Hill Tower

Agriculture is not quite as extensive as other English non-metropolitan counties, largely owing to its proximity to London. There are, however, many commons and access lands, together with an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways including the North Downs Way, a scenic long-distance path. Accordingly, Surrey provides rural leisure activities with a large horse population.


The highest elevation in Surrey is Leith Hill near Dorking in the Greensand Hills. It is 293,[6] 294[7] or 295 m[8] (961, 965 or 968 ft) above sea level and is the second highest point in southeastern England after Walbury Hill 297 metres (974 ft) in West Berkshire.

The variation in the elevation of the North Downs can be seen in the following: 185 metres (607 ft) at Warlingham, 138 metres (453 ft) at Hooley, 208 metres (682 ft) at Reigate Hill, 224 metres (735 ft) at Box Hill and 152 metres (499 ft) above OD for much of the Hog's Back. The elevations of important settlements also vary widely; Redhill is at 81 metres (266 ft), central Reigate is 94 metres (308 ft) ±20m, Ewell is 39 metres (128 ft) ±4m, Weybridge varies between 11 and 78 metres (36 and 256 ft), Staines-upon-Thames is at 15 metres (49 ft), Woking is at 39 metres (128 ft) ±10m and Guildford's riverside industrial and business premises are at 34 metres (112 ft).[9] Horley is in the Mole plain in the centre and south-east at 57 metres (187 ft). Godalming, along the Wey from Guildford, typical of southwestern and south Surrey varies widely, in this case between 37 and 105 metres (121 and 344 ft) ±4m. The lowest point in the county is on the now non-tidal, controlled Thames by old reservoirs at Long Ditton at 6.6 metres (22 ft).[10]


The population of Surrey has increased at each census since 1801, except in 1971 due to the major loss of its metropolitan north-east in 1965 to form Greater London.[11] Surrey has the highest GDP per capita of any county in the UK, and the highest cost of living in the UK outside of the capital.[12]

For the purpose of district council elections, Surrey is divided into 206 electoral wards ranging in population from a three-councillor ward of 10,574 people to a one-councillor ward of 1,735 people as at the 2011 census.[13] Surrey's proportion of Job Seekers Allowance and Income Support claimants has been lower than the national average since the respective dates of introduction of these benefits. A small minority of wards have above UK average deprivation, which in two of the 206 wards, bucking the large overall nationwide decrease, increased slightly from 2001 to 2012.[n 1] Education and in-work training programmes including apprenticeships are promoted by the Department for Work and Pensions and Surrey County Council. The map of economic poverty is not simple. The top and bottom wards in terms of people reliant upon very low income or job-seeking benefits contrasts with the same extremes in terms of districts:

Claimants of JSA or Income Support (DWP)[13]
Unit Claimants
(August 2012)
(August 2001)
(April 2011)
Surrey 22,840 38,770 1,132,390
% of 2011 Surrey resident population 2.0% 3.4% -
Five highest-ranking wards
Old Dean, Camberley, Surrey Heath District 5.1% 6.5% 4,636
Court, Borough of Epsom and Ewell 4.5% 5.8% 6,830
Preston, Borough of Reigate and Banstead 4.2% 8.5% 2,950
St Michaels, Camberley, Surrey Heath District 4.1% 4.6% 5,197
Redhill West, Borough of Reigate and Banstead 4.0% 5.6% 8,185
Five lowest-ranking wards
Blackheath and Wonersh, Borough of Guildford 0.5% 1.3% 1,914
Reigate Hill, Borough of Reigate and Banstead 0.4% 2.8% 5,695
St Pauls, Camberley, Surrey Heath District 0.4% 1.1% 5,790
Weston Green, Borough of Elmbridge 0.4% 1.9% 3,876
Godalming Holloway, Borough of Waverley 0.3% 1.3% 4,320
Three highest-ranking districts
Borough of Spelthorne 2.7% 4.1% 95,598
Borough of Reigate and Banstead 2.4% 3.6% 137,835
Tandridge District 2.1% 3.6% 82,998
Three lowest-ranking districts
Borough of Elmbridge 1.7% 3.4% 130,875
Mole Valley District 1.6% 3.1% 85,375
Borough of Waverley 1.6% 3.5% 121,572


See also list of places in Surrey.

Surrey's population is about 1.1 million. Its largest town is Guildford, with a population of 66,773; Woking comes a close second with 62,796. They are followed by Ewell with 39,994 people and Camberley with 30,155. Towns of between 25,000 and 30,000 inhabitants are Ashford, Epsom, Farnham, Staines-upon-Thames and Redhill.[14] Guildford is the historic county town, although the county administration was moved to Newington, London (then Surrey) in 1791 and to Kingston upon Thames in 1893. The county council's headquarters have been outside the county's boundaries since 1 April 1965 when Kingston and other areas were included within Greater London by the London Government Act 1963.[15] Recent plans to move the offices to a new site in Woking have now been abandoned.[16] Due to its proximity to London there are many commuter towns and villages in Surrey, the population density is high and the area is one of the richest parts of the UK, with many celebrities and famous people choosing to live here. Surrey is Britain's most densely populated county, excluding Greater London, the metropolitan counties and Bristol. Much of the northern part of the county is a suburban area contiguous to Greater London, especially in the boroughs of Spelthorne, Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, and Reigate and Banstead. In the west, there is the Blackwater Valley conurbation with its further recent development there focused on the aviation industry and on computer technology in Farnborough at its centre and Fleet to the west.[17] straddling the Hampshire/Surrey border, including in Surrey, Camberley and Farnham.


British and Roman Surrey

File:Stane Street.JPG
The Roman Stane or Stone Street runs through Surrey

Before Roman times the area today known as Surrey was very probably occupied by the Atrebates tribe centred at Calleva Atrebatum in the modern county of Hampshire. They are known to have controlled the southern bank of the Thames from Roman texts describing the tribal relations between them and the powerful Catuvellauni on the north bank. In about AD 42 King Cunobelinus (in Welsh legend Cynfelin ap Tegfan) of the Catuvellauni died and war broke out between his sons and King Verica of the Atrebates. The Atrebates were defeated in the conflict, their capital captured and their lands made subject to the Catuvellauni, now led by Togodumnus ruling from Camulodunum. Verica fled to Gaul and appealed for Roman aid. The Atrebates were allies with Rome during their invasion of Britain in AD 43. The area of Surrey was traversed by Stane Street and other less well known Roman roads. There were Roman temples on Farley Heath and near Wanborough.

The Saxon tribes and the sub-kingdom

During the 5th and 6th centuries Surrey was conquered and settled by Saxons. The names of a number of Saxon tribes who may have inhabited different parts of Surrey in this period have been conjectured on the basis of place names. These include the Godhelmingas (around Godalming), Tetingas (around Tooting) and Woccingas (between Woking and Wokingham in Berkshire). It has also been speculated that the Nox gaga and the Oht gaga tribes listed in the Mercian Tribal Hidage refer to two distinct groups living in Surrey. They were valued together at 7,000 hides. Surrey may have formed part of a larger Middle Saxon kingdom or confederacy also including areas north of the Thames. The name Surrey is derived from Suthrige, meaning "southern kingdom", and this may originate in its status as the southern half of the Middle Saxon territory.

If it ever existed, the Middle Saxon kingdom had disappeared by the 7th century, and Surrey became a frontier area disputed between the kingdoms of Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex and Mercia, until its permanent absorption by Wessex in 825. Despite this fluctuating situation it retained its identity as a coherent territorial unit. During the 7th century Surrey became Christian and initially formed part of the East Saxon diocese of London, indicating that it was under East Saxon rule at that time, but was later transferred to the West Saxon diocese of Winchester. Its most important religious institution throughout the Anglo-Saxon period and beyond was Chertsey Abbey, founded in 666. At this point Surrey was evidently under Kentish domination, as the abbey was founded under the patronage of King Ecgberht of Kent. However, a few years later at least part of it was subject to Mercia, since in 673-5 further lands were given to Chertsey Abbey by Frithuwald, a local sub-king (subregulus) ruling under the sovereignty of Wulfhere of Mercia. A decade later Surrey passed into the hands of King Caedwalla of Wessex, who also conquered Kent and Sussex and founded a monastery at Farnham in 686, and it remained under the control of Caedwalla's successor Ine in the early 8th century. Its political history for most of the 8th century is unclear, although it may have been under South Saxon control around 722, but by 784–5 it had passed into the hands of King Offa of Mercia. Mercian rule continued until 825, when following his victory over the Mercians at the Battle of Ellandun, King Egbert of Wessex seized control of Surrey, along with Sussex, Kent and Essex. It was incorporated into Wessex as a shire and continued thereafter under the rule of the West Saxon kings, who eventually became kings of all of England.

Identified sub-kings of Surrey

  • Frithuwald (c.673 – 675)
  • Frithuric? (675 – c.686)

The West Saxon and English shire

A map showing the traditional boundaries of Surrey (c.800-1899) and its constituent hundreds

In the 9th century England was afflicted, along with the rest of north-western Europe, by the attacks of Scandinavian Vikings. Surrey's inland position shielded it from coastal raiding, so that it was not normally troubled except by the largest and most ambitious Scandinavian armies. In 851 an exceptionally large invasion force of Danes arrived at the mouth of the Thames in a fleet of about 350 ships, which would have carried over 15,000 men. Having sacked Canterbury and London and defeated King Beorhtwulf of Mercia in battle, the Danes crossed the Thames into Surrey, but were slaughtered by a West Saxon army led by King Æthelwulf in the Battle of Aclea, bringing the invasion to an end. In 892 Surrey was the scene of another important battle when a large Danish army, variously reported at 200, 250 and 350 ship-loads, moved west from its encampment in Kent. It was intercepted and defeated at Farnham by an army led by Alfred the Great's son Edward, the future King Edward the Elder, and fled across the Thames towards Essex.

Its location and the growing power of the West Saxon, later English, kingdom kept Surrey safe from attack for over a century thereafter. Kingston was the scene for the coronations of Æthelstan in 924 and of Æthelred the Unready in 978, and, according to later tradition, also of other 10th century Kings of England. The renewed Danish attacks during the disastrous reign of Æthelred led to the devastation of Surrey by the army of Þorkell the Tall, which ravaged all of south-eastern England in 1009–11. The climax of this wave of attacks came in 1016, which saw prolonged fighting between the forces of King Edmund Ironside and the Danish king Cnut, including an English victory over the Danes somewhere in north-eastern Surrey, but ended with the Danish conquest of England and the establishment of Cnut as king.

Cnut's death in 1035 was followed by a period of political uncertainty as the succession was disputed between his sons. In 1036 Alfred, son of Æthelred the Unready, returned from Normandy, where he had been taken for safety as a child at the time of Cnut's conquest of England. It is uncertain what his intentions were, but after landing with a small retinue in Sussex he was met by Godwin, Earl of Wessex, who escorted him in apparently friendly fashion to Guildford. Having taken lodgings there, Alfred's men were attacked as they slept and massacred by Godwin's followers, while the prince[clarification needed] himself was blinded and imprisoned, dying shortly afterwards. This butchery must have contributed to the antipathy between Godwin and Alfred's brother Edward the Confessor, who came to the throne in 1042. That hostility was of critical importance in bringing about the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Domesday Book records that the largest landowners in Surrey at the end of Edward's reign were Chertsey Abbey and Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex and later king, followed by the estates of King Edward himself. Apart from the abbey, most of whose lands were within the shire, Surrey was the not the principal focus of any major landowner's holdings, a tendency which was to persist in later periods. Given the vast and widespread landed interests and the national and international preoccupations of the monarchy and the earldom of Wessex, the Abbot of Chertsey was therefore probably the most important figure in the local elite.

The Anglo-Saxon period saw the emergence of the shire's internal division into 14 hundreds, which continued until Victorian times. These were the hundreds of Blackheath, Brixton, Copthorne, Effingham Half-Hundred, Elmbridge, Farnham, Godalming, Godley, Kingston, Reigate, Tandridge, Wallington, Woking and Wotton.

Identified ealdormen of Surrey

  • Wulfheard (c.823)
  • Huda (?–853)
  • Æðelweard (late 10th century)
  • Æðelmær (?–1016)

Later Medieval Surrey

After the Battle of Hastings, the Norman army advanced through Kent into Surrey, where they defeated an English force which attacked them at Southwark, before proceeding westwards on a circuitous march to reach London from the north-west. As was the case across England, the native ruling class of Surrey was virtually eliminated by Norman seizure of land. Only one significant English landowner, the brother of the last English Abbot of Chertsey, remained by the time the Domesday survey was conducted in 1086. At that time the largest landholding in Surrey, as in many other parts of the country, was the expanded royal estate, while the next largest holding belonged to Richard fitz Gilbert, founder of the de Clare family.

Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was sealed

In 1088, King William II granted William de Warenne the title of Earl of Surrey as a reward for Warenne's loyalty during the rebellion that followed the death of William I. When the male line of the Warennes became extinct in the 14th century the earldom was inherited by the Fitzalan Earls of Arundel. The Fitzalan line of Earls of Surrey became extinct in 1415 but the title was revived in the late 15th century for the Howard family who still hold it. However, Surrey was not the principal focus of any of these families' interests.

Guildford Castle, one of many fortresses originally established by the Normans as part of the process of subjugating the country, was developed as a royal palace in the 12th century. Farnham Castle was built during the 12th century as a residence for the Bishop of Winchester, while other stone castles were constructed in the same period at Bletchingley by the de Clares and at Reigate by the Warennes. During King John's struggle with the barons, Magna Carta was issued in June 1215 at Runnymede. In the following year Surrey was overrun by forces supporting Prince Louis of France, who passed through on their way from London to Winchester and back and occupied Guildford and Reigate castles. Guildford Castle later became one of the favourite residences of King Henry III, who considerably expanded the palace there. In 1264, during the baronial revolt against Henry III, the rebel army of Simon de Montfort passed southwards through Surrey on their way to the Battle of Lewes in Sussex. Although the rebels were victorious, soon after the battle royal forces captured and destroyed Bletchingley Castle, whose owner Gilbert de Clare was one of de Montfort's leading supporters. By the 14th-century castles were of dwindling military importance, but continued to be a mark of social prestige, leading to the construction of castles at Starborough near Lingfield by Lord Cobham and at Betchworth by John Fitzalan, whose father had recently inherited the Earldom of Surrey.

Surrey had little political or economic importance in the Middle Ages. It was not the main power-base of any major aristocratic family or the seat of a bishopric. Its agricultural wealth was limited by its soil varieties. Its forested North Downs and the Wealden plain were of timber, charcoal and hunting use. Population pressure in the 12th and 13th centuries led to the gradual reduction of the Weald, by 1800 a patchy forest. Urban development, excepting the London suburb of Southwark, was sapped by the overshadowing predominance of London and the major towns in neighbouring shires, many of which benefited from access to the sea or from political or ecclesiastical eminence. Significant prosperity focussed in the later Middle Ages here on the production of woollen cloth, England's main export industry, which in Surrey saw much of its manufacture in Guildford.

Ruins of the monks' dormitory at Waverley Abbey

One benefit of obscurity was that Surrey largely avoided being seriously fought over in the various rebellions and civil wars of the period, although armies from Kent heading for London passed through what was then north-eastern Surrey during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, Cade's Rebellion in 1450 and one stage of the Wars of the Roses in 1460.

In 1082 a Cluniac abbey was founded at Bermondsey by Alwine, a wealthy English citizen of London. The first Cistercian monastery in England, Waverley Abbey, was founded in 1128. Over the next quarter-century monks spread out from here to found new houses, creating a network of twelve monasteries descended from Waverley across southern and central England. The 12th and early 13th centuries also saw the establishment of Augustinian priories at Merton, Newark, Tandridge, Southwark and Reigate. A Dominican friary was established at Guildford by Henry III's widow Eleanor of Provence, in memory of her grandson who had died at Guildford in 1274. In the 15th century a Carthusian priory was founded by King Henry V at Sheen. These would all perish, along with the still important Benedictine abbey of Chertsey, in the 16th-century Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Now fallen into disuse, some English counties had nicknames for those raised there such as a 'tyke' from Yorkshire, a 'yellowbelly' from Lincolnshire and a 'Surrey capon', being associated in the later Middle Ages as the county where chickens were fattened up for the London meat markets.

Early Modern Surrey

Under the early Tudor kings magnificent royal palaces were constructed in northern Surrey, in convenient proximity to London. At Richmond an existing royal residence was rebuilt on a grand scale under King Henry VII, who also founded a Franciscan friary nearby in 1499. The still more spectacular palace of Nonsuch was later built for Henry VIII near Ewell. The palace at Guildford Castle had fallen out of use long before, but a royal hunting lodge existed just outside the town. All these have since been demolished.

During the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 the rebels heading for London briefly occupied Guildford and fought a skirmish with a government detachment on Guildown outside the town, before marching on to Blackheath in Kent where they were crushed by a royal army. The forces of Wyatt's Rebellion in 1554 passed through what was then north-eastern Surrey on their way from Kent to London, briefly occupying Southwark and then crossing the Thames at Kingston after failing to storm London Bridge.

Surrey's cloth industry declined in the 16th century, and effectively collapsed in the 17th. The introduction of new furnace technology in the early 17th century led to an expansion of the iron industry in the Weald, whose rich deposits had been exploited since prehistoric times, but this hastened the extinction of the business as the mines were worked out. However, this period also saw the emergence of important new industries, centred on the valley of the Tillingbourne. The production of brass goods and wire in this area was relatively short-lived, but the manufacture of paper and gunpowder proved more enduring. For a time in the mid-17th century the Surrey mills were the main producers of gunpowder in England. The Wey Navigation, opened in 1653, was one of England's first canal systems.

George Abbot, the son of a Guildford clothworker, served as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1611–33. In 1619 he founded Abbot's Hospital, an almshouse in Guildford, which is still operating. He also made unsuccessful efforts to revitalise the ailing local cloth industry. One of his brothers, Robert, became Bishop of Salisbury and another, Maurice, was a founding shareholder of the East India Company who became the company's governor and later Lord Mayor of London.

Bankside in Southwark, then part of Surrey, was the principal entertainment district of early modern London. This was due to its convenient location outside the jurisdiction of the government of the City of London, since the social control exercised over this London suburb by the local authorities of Surrey was less effective and restrictive. Bankside saw the theatres at the golden age of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, with the work of internationally acclaimed playwrights William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and John Webster performed in its playhouses.

Surrey almost entirely escaped the direct impact of fighting during the main phase of the English Civil War in 1642-6. The local Parliamentarian gentry led by Sir Richard Onslow were able to secure the county without difficulty on the outbreak of war. Farnham Castle was briefly occupied by the advancing Royalists in late 1642, but was easily stormed by the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller. A new Royalist offensive in late 1643 saw skirmishing around Farnham between Waller's forces and Ralph Hopton's Royalists, but these brief incursions into the western fringes of Surrey marked the limits of Royalist advances on the county. During a political crisis in summer 1647 Sir Thomas Fairfax's army passed through Surrey on its way to occupy London, and subsequent billeting of troops in Surrey caused considerable discontent. In the brief Second Civil War of 1648 the Earl of Holland entered Surrey in July hoping to ignite a Royalist revolt. He raised his standard at Kingston and advanced south, but found little support. After confused manoeuvres between Reigate and Dorking as Parliamentary troops closed in, his force of 500 men fled northwards and was overtaken and routed at Kingston.

Surrey had a prominent role in the development of the radical political movements unleashed by the civil war. In October 1647 the first manifesto of what became known as the Leveller movement, The Case of the Army Truly Stated, was drafted at Guildford by the elected representatives of New Model Army regiments and civilian radicals from London. This document combined the presentation of specific grievances with wider demands for constitutional change on the basis of popular sovereignty. It formed the template for the more systematic and radical Agreement of the People, drafted by the same men later that month, and led to the Putney Debates between its signatories and the army leadership. In 1649 the Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley established their communal settlement at St. George's Hill to implement egalitarian ideals of common ownership, but were eventually driven out by the local landowners through violence and litigation. A smaller Digger commune was then established near Cobham, but suffered the same fate in 1650.

Modern history

Until the late 18th century Surrey, apart from its north-eastern corner, was sparsely populated and somewhat rustic, despite its proximity to the capital. Communications began to improve, and the influence of London to increase, with the development of turnpike roads and a stagecoach system. A far more profound transformation followed with the arrival of the railways, beginning in the late 1830s. The availability of rapid transportation enabled prosperous London workers to travel daily to homes across Surrey. This phenomenon of commuting brought explosive growth to Surrey's population and wealth, and tied its economy and society inextricably to London. Existing towns like Guildford, Farnham and most spectacularly Croydon grew rapidly, while new towns such as Woking and Redhill emerged beside the railway lines. The huge numbers of incomers to the county and the transformation of rural, farming communities into a "commuter belt" contributed to the process of decline in the traditional local culture and, in particular, the gradual demise of the distinctive Surrey dialect which had been spoken by "Surrey Men" perhaps as recently as the late 19th Century; it is now extinct.

Britain's first crematorium, in the Borough of Woking.

Meanwhile, London itself spread swiftly across north-eastern Surrey. In 1800 it extended only to Vauxhall; a century later the city's growth had reached as far as Putney and Streatham. This expansion was reflected in the creation of the County of London in 1889, detaching the areas subsumed by the city from Surrey. The expansion of London continued in the 20th century, engulfing Croydon, Kingston and many smaller settlements. This led to a further contraction of Surrey in 1965 with the creation of Greater London.

Until parliamentary reforms in the mid 19th Century which abolished so-called rotten boroughs, Surrey returned fourteen Members of Parliament (UK); twelve representing boroughs and two representing the county,[18] as follows:

In 1849 Brookwood Cemetery was established near Woking to serve the population of London, connected to the capital by its own railway service. It soon developed into the largest burial ground in the world. Woking was also the site of Britain's first crematorium, which opened in 1878, and its first mosque, founded in 1889. In 1881 Godalming became the first town in the world with a public electricity supply.

The eastern part of Surrey was transferred from the Diocese of Winchester to that of Rochester in 1877. In 1905 this area was detached to form a new Diocese of Southwark. The rest of the county, together with part of eastern Hampshire, was separated from Winchester in 1927 to become the Diocese of Guildford, whose cathedral was consecrated in 1961.

Guildford Cathedral was designed by Yorkshireman Sir Edward Maufe.

During the later 19th century Surrey became increasingly important in the development of architecture in Britain and the wider world. Its traditional building forms were significant in re-encouraging incorporation of traditional architectural elements or shapes also known as the Arts and Crafts Movement, and would continue to influence domestic building permanently. The prominence of Surrey peaked in the 1890s, when it was the focus for globally important developments in domestic architecture, in particular the early work of Edwin Lutyens, who grew up in the county and was greatly influenced by its traditional styles and materials though also incorporated features such as hidden gutters to allow for modern architectural advances and designed engineering such as Runnymede Bridge.

Dennis Sabre fire engine

The late 19th and early 20th century saw the demise of Surrey's long-standing industries manufacturing paper and gunpowder. Most of the county's paper mills closed around the turn of the century and the last survivor shut in 1928. Gunpowder production fell victim to the First World War, which brought about a huge expansion of the British munitions industry, followed by sharp contraction and consolidation when the war ended, leading to the closure of the Surrey powder mills. New industrial developments included the establishment of the vehicle manufacturers Dennis Brothers in Guildford in 1895. Beginning as a maker of bicycles and then of cars, the firm soon shifted into the production of commercial and utility vehicles, becoming internationally important as a manufacturer of fire engines and buses. Though much reduced in size and despite numerous changes of ownership, this business continues to operate in Guildford.

During the Second World War a section of the GHQ Stop Line, a system of pillboxes, gun emplacements, anti-tank obstacles and other fortifications was constructed along the North Downs. This line, running from Somerset to Yorkshire, was intended as the principal fixed defence of London and the industrial core of England against the threat of invasion. German invasion plans envisaged that the main thrust of their advance inland would cross the North Downs at the gap in the ridge formed by the Wey valley, thus colliding with the defence line around Guildford.

Historic architecture and monuments

The gate of Abbot's Hospital, Guildford

Few traces of the ancient British and Roman periods survive in Surrey. There are a number of round barrows and bell barrows in various locations, mostly dating to the Bronze Age. Remains of Iron Age hillforts exist at Holmbury Hill, Hascombe Hill, Anstiebury (in Capel civil parish), Dry Hill (within Lingfield), St Ann's Hill, Chertsey and St George's Hill, Weybridge. Most of these sites were created in the 1st century BC and many were re-occupied during the middle of the 1st century AD.[19] Only fragments of Stane Street and Ermine Street, the Roman roads which crossed the county, remain.

Anglo-Saxon elements survive in a number of Surrey churches, notably at Guildford (St. Mary's Church, Guildford), Godalming's (Church of St. Peter & St. Paul), Stoke D'Abernon, Thursley, Witley, Compton and Albury (in Old Albury).

Numerous medieval churches exist in Surrey, but the county's parish churches are typically relatively small and simple, and have had Victorian restoration. Important by being almost completely unaltered and medieval[20] are the church interiors at Chaldon, Lingfield, Stoke D'Abernon, Compton and Dunsfold. Large monastic churches fell into ruin after their institutions were dissolved, although foundations with history panels are in the Abbey Gardens in Chertsey, and walls of Waverley Abbey and Newark Priory survive.[n 2]. Farnham Castle keeps its medieval construction, in large part, and a restored tower in original 13th century walls surveys the county town at Guildford Castle and its town centre has a medieval tall, pointed-arch Undercrypt.

Medieval houses, manors and barns survive including in: Littleton, Ewell, Horsley, Cobham, Guildford, Bramley, Ewhurst Dockenfield/Frensham, Chobham, Chertsey, almost every settlement along the Harrow Way i.e. Pilgrims' Way and of the Weald (including areas from Lingfield to Haslemere), albeit with considerable later modifications.

The 16th century is the earliest from which a sizeable amount of non-military secular architecture survives in Surrey. Large examples include the grand mid-century country houses of Loseley Park and Sutton Place and the old building of the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, founded in 1509. A considerable number of smaller houses and public houses of the 16th century are also still standing[n 3]. From the 17th century the number of surviving buildings proliferates much further. Abbot's Hospital, founded in 1619, is a grand edifice built in the Tudor style, despite its date. More characteristic examples of major 17th-century building include West Horsley Place, Slyfield Manor and the Guildhall, Guildford.


Besides its role in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, many important writers have lived and worked in Surrey.

Arts and sciences

Popular music

The "Surrey Delta" produced many of the musicians in 60s British blues movements. The Rolling Stones developed their music at Crawdaddy Club in Richmond.


Epsom is famous for the Epsom Downs Racecourse which hosts the Epsom Derby; painting by James Pollard, c. 1835

Surrey Football Clubs

The county has numerous football teams. In the Combined Counties League can be found the likes of Ash United, Badshot Lea, Banstead Athletic, Camberley Town, Chessington & Hook United, Cobham, Dorking, Epsom & Ewell, Epsom Athletic, Farleigh Rovers, Farnham Town, Frimley Green, Horley Town, Knaphill, Mole Valley SCR, Molesey, Sheerwater, Spelthorne Sports and Westfield; Ashford Town, Chertsey Town, Godalming Town and Guildford City play higher in the Southern League; equally Leatherhead, Merstham, Redhill, South Park, Walton Casuals and Walton and Hersham are in the Isthmian; higher than this Staines Town play in the Conference South and Woking play in the Conference Premier

Local government


 • 1891 452,218[23]
 • 1971 1,002,832[24]
 • Created c.825
 • Abolished N/A
 • Succeeded by N/A
Status Administrative county
 • HQ Newington 1889–1893
Kingston upon Thames from 1893
The arms granted to Surrey County Council in 1934 and used until 1974

The Local Government Act 1888 reorganised county-level local government throughout England and Wales. Accordingly, the administrative county of Surrey was formed in 1889 when the Provisional Surrey County Council first met, consisting of 19 aldermen and 57 councillors. The county council assumed the administrative responsibilities previously exercised by the county's justices in quarter sessions. The county had revised boundaries, with the north east of the historic county bordering the City of London becoming part of a new County of London. These areas now form the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth, and the Penge area of the London Borough of Bromley. At the same time, the borough of Croydon became a county borough, outside the jurisdiction of the county council.

For purposes other than local government the administrative county of Surrey and county borough of Croydon continued to form a "county of Surrey" to which a Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum (Chief Magistrate) and a High Sheriff were appointed.

Surrey had been administered from Newington since the 1790s, and the county council was initially based in the sessions house there. As Newington was included in the County of London, it lay outside the area administered by the council, and a site for a new county hall within the administrative county was sought. By 1890 six towns were being considered: Epsom, Guildford, Kingston, Redhill, Surbiton and Wimbledon.[25] A decision to build the new County Hall at Kingston was made in 1891, (the building opened in 1893[26]) but this site would also become overtaken by the growing London conurbation and by the 1930s most of the north of the county had been built over, becoming outer suburbs of London, although continuing to form part of Surrey administratively.

In 1960 the report of the Herbert Commission recommended that much of north Surrey (including Kingston and Croydon) be included in a new "Greater London". The recommendations of the report were enacted in highly modified form in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. The areas that now form the London Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Sutton and that part of Richmond south of the River Thames were transferred from Surrey to Greater London. At the same time part of the county of Middlesex, which had been abolished by the legislation, was added to Surrey. This area now forms the borough of Spelthorne.

Further local government reform under the Local Government Act 1972 took place in 1974. The 1972 Act abolished administrative counties and introduced non-metropolitan counties in their place. The boundaries of the non-metropolitan county of Surrey were similar to those of the administrative county with the exception of Gatwick Airport and some surrounding land which was transferred to West Sussex. It was originally proposed that the parishes of Horley and Charlwood would become part of West Sussex, however fierce local opposition led to a reversal of this under the Charlwood and Horley Act 1974.


After the elections of May 2013 the County Councillors' party affiliations are as follows:[27]

Party Affiliation Number
Conservative 58
Liberal Democrats 9
Residents Association 9
United Kingdom Independence Party 3
Labour 1

As of 3 May 2012, the Conservative local councillors control of 10 out of 11 councils in Surrey, with Epsom and Ewell in Residents Association control. The Conservatives hold all 11 Parliamentary constituencies within the county borders.[28][29]


Export House, one of Surrey's tallest buildings

Surrey has the highest GDP per capita in the UK and the highest cost of living in the UK outside of the capital. The county is said to have the highest proportion of millionaires in the UK. The average wage in Surrey is bolstered by the high proportion of residents who work in financial services.

Surrey has more organisation and company headquarters than any other county in the UK. Electronics manufacturers Nikon, Whirlpool, Canon, Toshiba, Samsung and Philips are housed here, as are distributors Future Electronics. Kia Motors and Toyota UK, the medico-pharma companies Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis and oil giant Esso. Some of the largest fast-moving consumer goods multinationals in the world have their UK and/or European headquarters here, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Superdrug, Nestle, SC Johnson, Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. NGOs including WWF UK & Compassion in World Farming are also based here. Government Quangos such as SEEDA, SEERA and GOSE are headquartered in Guildford.

Its transport ties it inward and outward; Central London and nearly all parts of the rest of the South East are within the average UK commuting times.[12]



Three major motorways pass through the county. These are:

Other major roads include:


Much of Surrey lies within the London commuter belt with regular services into Central London. South West Trains is the key operator in the county running regular services into London Waterloo and regional services towards the south coast and South west. Southern also operates mainly in the east of the county providing services into London Bridge or London Victoria.

There are a number of national rail routes: in anti-clockwise order, the Waterloo to Reading Line, South Western Main Line, Portsmouth Direct Line, Sutton and Mole Valley Lines (from Horsham, West Sussex itself on the Arun Valley Line from Littlehampton) and the Brighton Main Line.

The Waterloo to Reading Line after calling at the economically important town of Bracknell enters Surrey and calls at unskipped stops of Virginia Water, Egham, Staines upon Thames and several other stations in Greater London before terminating at Waterloo. The South Western Main Line runs from Weymouth, Southampton, the significant technology towns of Basingstoke and Farnborough (Main), then normally calls at Woking, up to six other Surrey stops including Walton-on-Thames, and then for fast services Clapham Junction and Waterloo only. The Portsmouth Direct Line is significant in linking Haslemere, Godalming and Guildford to the South Western Main Line at Woking. The Sutton and Mole Valley Lines link Dorking, Leatherhead, Ashtead, Epsom and Ewell to either Waterloo or London Bridge and also have spurs to the SWML northbound and New Guildford Line southbound. The Brighton Main Line calls at mostly unskipped stops Horley and Redhill before reaching either London Bridge or London Victoria. Reigate is the only town terminus one stop off this main line network, with its station west of Redhill station one stop further from London and is on the east-west North Downs Line.

Consequently, the towns Staines, Woking, Guildford, Walton-on-Thames, Epsom/Ewell and Reigate/Redhill, statistically the largest examples,[30] are established rapid-transit commuter towns for Central London. The above routes have had a stimulative effect. The relative development of Surrey at the time of the Beeching cuts led to today's retention of numerous other commuter routes, all with direct services to London, including:

  1. Chertsey Line linking the first two of the above national routes via Chertsey and Addlestone
  2. New Guildford Line via Claygate and Effingham Junction from Surbiton
  3. Hampton Court Branch Line to East Molesey via Thames Ditton from Surbiton
  4. Shepperton Branch Line via Sunbury-on-Thames
  5. Ascot to Guildford Line via Wanborough, Ash, Aldershot, Frimley, Camberley and Bagshot
  6. Alton Line via Farnborough that calls at the far southwest Surrey outcrop in Farnham with a change to steam at Alton, Hampshire for Alresford via the seasonal and off-peak hours heritage Watercress Line.
  7. Epsom Downs Branch from Sutton and then Belmont in Greater London to Banstead and Epsom Downs only.
  8. Tattenham Corner Branch Line from Purley, London via Chipstead, Kingswood and Tadworth
  9. Oxted Line via Croydon that calls at Oxted and Hurst Green and East Grinstead or Uckfield with a change for the Bluebell Railway at East Grinstead for services to Sheffield Park
  10. Redhill to Tonbridge Line via Godstone with a change to the South Eastern operator required at Tonbridge for Ashford, Kent

The only diesel route is the east-west route in Surrey, the North Downs Line, which runs from Reading, Berkshire to Redhill via Farnborough (North) and Guildford. Trains to London Waterloo are run by South West Trains, trains to London Victoria and London Bridge are operated by Southern, and services on the North Downs Line are operated by First Great Western.

Redhill with the diesel Class 166 service to Reading on the North Downs Line.

Major stations in the county include Guildford (8.0 million passengers),[31] Woking (7.4 million passengers),[31] Epsom (3.6 million passengers),[31] Redhill (3.6 million passengers)[31] and Staines (2.9 million passengers).[31]

Long-Distance National Services to the north


Both Heathrow (in the London Borough of Hillingdon) and Gatwick (in Crawley Borough, West Sussex) have a perimeter road in Surrey. A National Express coach from Woking to Heathrow Airport and early-until-late buses to nearby Surrey towns operate.

Fairoaks Airport on the edge of Chobham and Ottershaw is 2.3 miles (3.7 km) from Woking town centre and operates as a private airfield with two training schools and is home to other aviation businesses.

Redhill Aerodrome is also in Surrey.


Like the rest of England, Surrey has a comprehensive education system, with 37 state secondary schools, 17 Academies, 7 sixth form colleges and 55 state primaries. There are 41[citation needed] independent schools, including Charterhouse, which along with Eton College and Harrow School was one of the nine independent schools mentioned in the Public Schools Act 1868, and the Royal Grammar School, Guildford. More than half the state secondary schools in Surrey have sixth forms[citation needed] Reigate, Esher, Egham, Spelthorne, Woking and Waverley districts have separate sixth form colleges.

Higher education

Emergency services

Surrey is served by these emergency services.

Places of interest

Significant landscapes in Surrey include Box Hill just north of Dorking; the Devil's Punch Bowl at Hindhead and Frensham Common. Leith Hill south west of Dorking in the Greensand Ridge is the second highest point in south-east England. Witley Common and Thursley Common are expansive areas of ancient heathland south of Godalming run by the National Trust and Ministry of Defence. The Surrey Hills are an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

More manicured landscapes can be seen at Claremont Landscape Garden, south of Esher (dating from 1715). There is also Winkworth Arboretum south east of Godalming and Windlesham Arboretum near Lightwater created in the 20th century. Wisley is home to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens. Kew, historically part of Surrey but now in Greater London, features the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as well as The National Archives for England & Wales.

There are 80 Surrey Wildlife Trust reserves with at least one in all 11 non-metropolitan districts.[32]

Surrey's important country houses include the Tudor mansion of Loseley Park, built in the 1560s and Clandon Park, an 18th-century Palladian mansion in West Clandon to the east of Guildford. Nearby Hatchlands Park in East Clandon, was built in 1758 with Robert Adam interiors and a collection of keyboard instruments. Polesden Lacey south of Great Bookham is a regency villa with extensive grounds. On a smaller scale, Oakhurst Cottage in Hambledon near Godalming is a restored 16th-century worker's home.

A canal system, the Wey and Godalming Navigations is linked to the Wey and Arun Canal with future full reopening expected after 2015. Dapdune Wharf in Guildford commemorates the work of the canal system and is home to a restored Wey barge, the Reliance. Furthermore, on the River Tillingbourne, Shalford Mill is an 18th-century water-mill.

Runnymede at Egham is the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Guildford Cathedral is a post-war cathedral built from bricks made from the clay hill on which it stands.

Brooklands Museum recognises the motoring past of Surrey. The county is also home to the theme parks Thorpe Park and flanks to three sides the farmland and woodland surrounding Chessington World of Adventures in Greater London.

Surrey in film and books

Sculpture of a Wellsian Martian tripod in Woking

Much of H. G. Wells's 1898 novel The War of the Worlds is set in Surrey with many specific towns and villages identified. The Martians first land on Horsell Common on the north side of Woking, outside the Bleak House pub, now called Sands. In the story the narrator flees in the direction of London, first passing Byfleet and then Weybridge before travelling east along the north bank of the Thames. Jane Austen's novel Emma is set in Surrey and the famous picnic where Emma embarrasses Miss Bates takes place on Box Hill. The character Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy claimed to be from Guildford in Surrey, but in actuality he was from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. Thomas Paine Kydd, the hero of the Kydd series of naval adventure novels written by Julian Stockwin, starts off as a young wig-maker from Guildford who is pressed into service and thus begins a life at sea. Atonement is set in Surrey. The late Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman mentions Camberley in his poem "A Subaltern's Lovesong", while Carshalton forms the literary backdrop to many of the poems by James Farrar. In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the home of Harry's pernicious relatives, the Dursleys, is set in the fictional town of Little Whinging, Surrey. They lived at Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey in a perfectly ordinary house on a perfectly ordinary street.

The county has also been used as a film location. Part of the movie The Holiday was filmed in Godalming and Shere: Kate Winslet's character Iris lived in a cottage in Shere and Cameron Diaz's character Amanda switched houses with her as part of a home exchange. The final scene of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason uses the village church, also in Shere, as does the movie The Wedding Date. In the 1976 film The Omen, the scenes at the cathedral were filmed at Guildford Cathedral.[33] The film I Want Candy follows two hopeful lads from Leatherhead trying to break into the movies, and was partly filmed in Brooklands College (Weybridge campus). Surrey woodland represented Germany in the opening scene of Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe; it was filmed at the Bourne Woods near Farnham in Surrey. Scenes for the 2009 BBC production of Emma by Jane Austen, starring Romola Garai and Michael Gambon, were filmed at St Mary the Virgin Church Send near Guildford and at Loseley House.

See also


  1. These key measures of deprivation increased marginally in Charlwood and Whyteleafe, with 3.2% and 3.7% respectively of people dependent upon these benefits as of August 2012 in these wards.
  2. Southwark Priory, no longer in Surrey has survived, though much restored and extended by becoming a major church and is now a cathedral (see Southwark Cathedral)
  3. An example of fine late Tudor architecture in Surrey is Great Tangley Manor—exterior largely 1584


  1. "Medieval Guildford—"Henry III confirmed Guildford's status as the county town of Surrey in 1257"". Guildford Borough Council. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Natural England - Geodiversity
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
  4. Anthropologists suspect much overlying woodland was cleared on Chobham Common in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age Surrey Wildlife Trust leaflet and Chobham Common is the largest site the Wildlife Trust manages in Surrey at 1,419 acres and adjoins similarly biodiverse commons partly or mostly used by the MoD
  5. "Surrey's woodlands". Surrey County Council. Retrieved 16 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Leith Hill". Retrieved 27 July 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Driscoll-Woodford, Heather (1 December 2009). "See for miles from Surrey's hills". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Relative Hills of Britain – Chapter 4: The Marilyns by Height". Retrieved 27 July 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Grid square map Ordnance survey website
  10. Grid Reference Finder - elevation tools
  11. Administrative County of Surrey: Total Population 1911-1961 Vision of Britain website. University of Portsmouth and others. Retrieved 2015-02-26
  12. 12.0 12.1 Thornton, Philip (27 September 2003). "Surrey 'stockbroker belt' tops UK house-price list". The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Key Statistics: Quick Statistics: Population Density; Economic deprivation: Jobseekers Allowance Claimants; Economic deprivation: Income Support Claimants Retrieved 2015-02-26
  14. "2001 Census: Town/villages in Surrey with population more than 1000" (PDF). Surrey County Council. Retrieved 16 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Relationships / unit history of Surrey". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Surrey County Council press release 17 January 2006
  17. See
  18. Davis, Graeme, Dictionary of Surrey English, Studies in Historical Linguistics (vol.2), 2007, p.26
  19. Dyer, James. Penguin Guide to Prehistoric England & Wales, pp. 235–239.
  20. See their highest grade I listings when searching for the places on the English Heritage Listed Buildings map
  21. Shaw, Phil (13 July 2003). "Cricket: After 400 years, history is made next to the A323". The Independent (London). Retrieved 6 February 2007. "Mitcham Green has been in continual use as a cricket venue for 317 years".
  22. "Surrey Storm". Retrieved 20 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Census of England and Wales 1891, General Report, Table III: Administrative counties and county boroughs
  24. Surrey, Vision of Britain, accessed 17 October 2007
  25. "Surrey County Council". The Times. London. 27 March 1890. p. 13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. David Robinson, History of County Hall, Surrey County Council
  27. "Surrey council results". BBC News. 29 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Election 2010 – South East". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Local election results 2012: English councils". The Guardian. London. 4 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. The 2001 Census of England and Wales population chart
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Rail Regulator Station Usage Estimates
  32. [1] Surrey Wildlife Trust reserves
  33. Sharp, Rob (4 June 2004). "Church fears return of Omen curse". The Observer. London. Retrieved 31 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links