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Esher, Surrey

Historical Description

Esher, a village and a parish in Surrey. The village stands on high ground, adjacent to the river Mole, and has a station on the L. & S.W.R., 15 miles from London. It has a head post office. It was known at Domesday as Aissele, it figured prominently for some time in connection with a neighbouring episcopal palace, and it now presents a pleasant appearance, and has charming environs. The parish comprises 2044 acres of land and 50 of water; population, 2282. Esher Palace stood on the bank of the Mole, was erected in the latter part of the 15th century by Bishop Waynflete of Winchester, underwent repair and reconstruction by Wolsey on his appointment to the see of Winchester, became his retreat on his disgrace at Court, passed under Bishop Gardner to the Crown, was given by Elizabeth to Lord Howard of Effingham, went through various possessors to the minister Henry Pelham, and passed first to Lord Sondes, and then to the Spicers. The estate was sold in 1865. No part of the ancient palace now exists except a square tower, with octagonal turrets at the comers, known as " Wolsey's Tower," and a central gateway. The present mansion stands on higher ground, bears the name of Esher Place, is entirely modern, and commands a rich view over the valley of the Thames. It was sold to Sir Edgar Vincent in 1893. The surrounding grounds are beautiful, and they retain some features of the elaborate care with which they were formerly laid out. Pope alludes to them in his verses, and Thomson speaks of" Esher's grove Where in the sweetest solitude, embraced By the soft windings of the silent Mole, From courts and senate Pelham finds repose."

The Queen's estate of Claremont also is in the parish, but has been separately noticed. (See CLAREMONT.) A priory was founded, in the time of Henry II. at Sandon Farm, and was annexed in 1436 to the hospital of St Thomas, Southwark; j and some traces of it may still be seen near the railway station. Brass works were established in Esher by two Germans in 1639, and were the earliest in England. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester; net value, £326, of which in the 14th century the king was patron, but now is in the gift of Wadham College, Oxford. The church was built in 1854, and is a cruciform edifice in the Early English style. The old parish church is now used as a mortuary chapel, and has many monuments. There are Wesleyan and Baptist chapels, and a Friends' meeting-house. Jane Porter and Anna Maria Porter, the novelists, were residents. A granite drinking-fountain was presented to the village in 1877 by Her Majesty the Queen, in place of an ornamental pump presented by H.R.H. The Comte de Paris on his marriage with the Infanta of Spain. Adjoining the railway station is the Sandown Park race course, covering about 150 acres. There are two good inns, and many fine residences.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySurrey 
Ecclesiastical parishEsher St. George 
Poor Law unionKingston 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records, in association with Surrey History Centre, have images of the Parish Registers for Surrey online.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Esher from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Esher are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

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

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Surrey, 1662-1668 is available on the Heraldry page.

RegionSouth East
Postal districtKT10
Post TownEsher