Surrey, England


Surrey, an inland county, bounded on the NW by Berks, on the N by Bucks and Middlesex, on the E by Kent, on the S by Sussex, and on the W by Hants. Its boundary along all the N is the river Thames. Its greatest length from NE to SW is 37 miles, its greatest breadth is 27 miles, and its circuit is about 145 miles. The area of the ancient county was 485,128 acres, but several parishes are now included in the county of London, and the area of the present administrative county is 461,230. A line of downs bisects it from E to W nearly through the centre, culminates at an altitude of 993 feet, and abounds in romantic and picturesque scenery. Another line of downs parallel to the preceding runs along part of the S border, and a group of downs lies in the NE, between Croydon and Epsom. The rest of the surface is much diversified with undulations, knolls, and hills, and exhibits much pleasing natural scenery adorned with culture. The chief streams besides the Thames are the Wey, the Mole, and the Wandle. Mineral springs are at Epsom, Chobham, Streatham, Kingston, Dulwich, Godstone, Stoke, and Dorking. Lower chalk rocks, chiefly Weald clay, occupy all the S; upper chalk rocks form a belt along the course of the central line of downs; and lower and middle eocene rocks, with large preponderance of London clay, occupy all the rest of the area. Ragstone, manorial chalk, fire clay, and fullers' earth are the chief useful minerals.

The soils correspond much to the character of the underlying rocks, yet exhibit considerable intermixture of chalk, clay, loam, and humus, and are exceedingly various. More than 60,000 acres are heath. The county is one of the driest and warmest in England. Agricultural practice varies with the character of the land and with distance from the metropolis. Wheat yields from 2 to 6 quarters per acre, barley from 4 to 7 quarters. Beans, pease, and turnips are much grown on the arable lands; clover, sainfoin, and woad on certain soils; hops are cultivated near Farnham; cabbages, carrots, parsnips, asparagus, and kindred plants are currently cultivated in the market-gardens; and enormous quantities of mint, lavender, camomile, liquorice, rosemary, hyssop, and other seasoning or medical plants are raised in Mitcham and its neighbourhood. Farms average from 200 to 300 acres, but are of all sizes. Cattle of various breeds are fattened; house-Iamb, particularly around Guildford, is reared for the markets; sheep, chiefly Southdowns, are pastured in the centre and in the west; and Berkshire pigs and Dorking fowls are largely kept.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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Archives and Libraries

Surrey History Centre
130 Goldsworth Road,
GU21 6ND
Tel: 01483 518737
Fax: 01483 518738

Church Records

We have a database containing transcripts of marriage records for some parishes in Surrey., in association with Surrey History Centre, have images of the Parish Registers for Surrey online.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Surrey from 1837 to 1974.

Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Surrey online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Surrey is available to browse.


Old map of Surrey circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Surrey circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Surrey papers online:

Parishes and places

The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.