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Surrey, England

Historical Description

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.

Manufactures of numerous kinds abound in the vicinity of the metropolis. The river Thames, the Surrey Canal, the Basingstoke Canal, and the Arun and Wey Canal afford extensive navigation. Railways traverse and intersect the county in all directions, and give ample communication. Population (1801) 268,223, (1821) 399,417, (1841) 584,036, (1861) 831,093, (1881) 1,436,899, (1891) 1,731,343.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were:—Professional, 27,475 males and 10,376 females; domestic, 4562 males and 58,938 females; commercial, 27,958 males and 657 females; agricultural, 27,393 males and 506 females; fishing, 27 males and 1 female; industrial, 74,892 males and 14,601 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 42,220 males and 153,016 females; or a total in the county of 204,527 males and 238,095 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:—General labourers, 13,495; gardeners and nursery. men, 11,787; agricultural labourers, 11,698; and boot and shoe makers, 2233. The chief occupations of women were —domestic service, with a total of 47,638; millinery and dressmaking, 7159. There were also in the county 495 blind persons, 436 deaf, 229 deaf and dumb, 7458 mentally deranged. The above figures do not include the registration county of London.

The ancient or geographical county of Surrey includes metropolitan parishes south of the Thames which now form part of the administrative county of London. It is divided for parliamentary purposes into the following six divisions, each of which returns one member—viz., North-Western or Chertsey, South-Western or Guildford, South-Eastern or Reigate, Mid or Epsom, Kingston, and North-Eastern or Wimbledon. The county also contains the parliamentary borough of Croydon. The administrative county includes five municipal boroughs exclusive of the county borough. It has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into eleven petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Croydon, Godalming, Guildford, Kingston-on-Thames, and Reigate have separate commissions of the peace, and Croydon and Guildford have in addition separate courts of quarter sessions. The central criminal court has jurisdiction over certain parishes adjacent to London. All those civil parishes within the county of Surrey of which any part is within 12 miles of, or of which no part is more than 15 miles from, Charing Cross, are within the metropolitan police district. The administrative county contains 133 entire civil parishes, and the county borough of Croydon one entire civil parish. The ancient county (exclusive of the parishes now in the county of London) contains 210 entire ecclesiastical parishes or districts, and parts of 6 others, situated in the dioceses of Rochester, Winchester, Canterbury, Oxford, and Chichester.

Surrey is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, and a county council consisting of 19 aldermen and 57 councillors. It is in the south-eastern circuit, the assizes being held alternately at Kingston and Guildford. H.M. Prison is at Wandsworth.

The territory now forming Surrey was inhabited by the ancient British Bibroci, or Rhemi, or Regni; was included by the Romans in their Britannia Prima; took the name of Suthrige or Suthrea, in the Saxon times, seemingly with allusion to its position S of the Thames; was then a small separate state, whose reguli were subject first to the South Saxons, afterwards to successively Wessex, Mercia, and Kent; became one of the many earldoms of Godwin and his sons; was given, after the Norman Conquest, to William de Warenne, and gave to him and his descendants the title of Earl. The chief subsequent event connected with it was the signing of the great charter at Runnymede, and other public events were mostly intertwined with the history of the metropolis. Few remains of either the ancient British, the Roman, or the Saxon periods exist. Stone Street and Ermine Street have left some vestiges, and Roman relics, of no great interest, have been found at various places. Guildford Castle is the county's best specimen of Norman military architecture; and Farnham Castle, of Early Edwardian. Specimens of monastic buildings of early English date occur in Waverley Abbey and Newark Priory.


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

Archives and Libraries

Surrey History Centre
130 Goldsworth Road,
Woking,
Surrey
GU21 6ND
Tel: 01483 518737
Fax: 01483 518738
Email: shs@surreycc.gov.uk


Church Records

We have a database containing transcripts of marriage records for some parishes in Surrey.

Ancestry.co.uk, 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.

We have transcribed the entry for Surrey from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

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 & places

Abinger
Addington
Addlestone
Albury
Alfold
Annerley
Arlington or Artindon
Arun and Wey Canal
Ash
Ashley Park
Ashtead
Badshot and Runfold
Bagshot
Balham
Banstead
Barnes
Battersea
Baynards
Bear Green
Beddington
Bermondsey
Betchworth
Binscomb
Bishopsgate
Bisley
Bletchingley or Blechingley
Blindley Heath
Borough Road
Borough Street
Botleys and Lyne
Bowling Green
Bowling Green House
Box Hill
Bramley
Brixton
Brockham or Brockham Green
Brockwell
Brookwood
Buckland
Burgham
Burstow
Burwood Park
Bury Hill
Busbridge
Byfleet
Capel
Carshalton
Caterham
Catshall
Chaldon
Charlwood
Cheam
Chelsham
Chertsey
Chessington
Chiddingfold
Chilworth
Chipstead
Chobham
Churt
Clapham
Claremont
Claygate or Cleygate
Clayhill
Clink
Cobham
Cold Harbour
Colliers Wood
Combe Park
Common Side
Compton
Coombe
Coulsdon
Cranleigh
Croham
Crooksbury Hill
Crowhurst
Croydon
Crystal Palace
Cuddington
Culverlands
Deepdene
Denbies
Dorking
Downside
Dulwich
Dunsfold
Duppas Hill
Earlswood
Eashing
East Clandon
East Horsley
East Molesey
East Sheen
Eastwick Park
Effingham
Egham
Elstead
Englefield Green
Epsom
Esher
Ewell
Ewhurst
Farley
Farley Green
Farncombe
Farnham
Felbridge
Fellow Green
Fetcham
Figgs Marsh
Flinthill
Frensham
Fridley Farm
Frimley
Garrat
Gatton
Godalming
Godstone
Golden Farmer
Gomshall
Grafham
Grand Surrey Canal
Great and Little Tangley
Great Bookham
Greyhound Lane
Guildford
Guildford Bowling Green
Guildford Friary
Guildford Holy Trinity
Guildford St Mary
Guildford St Nicholas
Hackbridge
Hale End
Hale or Heal
Ham
Ham Farm
Ham Haw or Ham House
Hambledon
Harrowsley Borough
Hartswood
Hascombe
Haslemere
Hatch
Hatcham
Hatchford
Hatchlands
Haydens Lane
Headley
Heath Side
Hedgecourt
Hersham or Heversham
Hoebridge
Holmbury St Mary
Holmwood, North and South
Honor Oak
Hook
Hope Town
Horley
Horne
Horsell
Horsleydown
Horton
Hurtmore
Juniper Hall
Kenley
Kennington
Kew
Kingston on Thames
Kingswood
Knaphill
Knowl Hill
Labourn
Lambeth
Leatherhead
Leigh
Limpsfield
Lingfield
Little Bookham
Little London
Littlefield
Long Ditton
Longcross
Lordship Lane
Loseley
Malden, or Old Malden
Marden Park
Masons Bridge
Maybury
Mayford
Melrose Hall
Merstham
Merton
Mickleham
Milford
Mill Street
Milton Court
Milton Street
Mitcham
Morden
Morrow
Mortlake
Mount Felix
Mount Grace
Mousehill
Netley Place
Newark Priory or Newark Abbey
Newchapel
Newdigate
Newington
Newlands Corner
Nimhead
Nine Elms
Nonsuch Park
Nork Park
Norrels Green
Northwood (Croydon)
Norwood
Norwood Hill
Norwood Junction
Nutfield
Nutley Lane
Oakland
Oakwood or Okewood
Oatlands
Ockham
Ockley on Stone Street
Old Kent Road
Ostend
Ottershaw
Outwood
Oxshot, Ockshot or Oakshade
Oxted
Paddington
Painshill
Park Town
Parkgate
Pattersham or Patchenham
Peckham
Penge
Pepperharrow
Peteridge Wood
Petersham
Pirbright
Pitland Street
Plaistow Street
Platt Green
Poveys Cross
Priest Bridge
Purley
Putney
Puttenham
Pyrford or Pirford
Ranmer or Ranmore
Redhill
Reigate
Reigate Hill
Richmond
Ripley
Robin Hood Gate
Roehampton
Rotherhithe
Runwick
Rushett Common or Rushwood Common
Sanderstead
Scotland Brook
Seale
Selhurst
Send
Shackleford
Shalford
Shamley Green
Shere
Shirley
Shotter Mill
Siddinghurst
Sidlow Bridge
Silvermere
Sneakenhall
South Norwood
South Nutfield
Southend
Southwark
Spa Road
Spices Bridge
St Catherine
St Pierre Green
Stoats Nest
Stockwell
Stoke next Guildford
Stone Street
Streatham
Summers Town
Surbiton
Surrey Canal
Sutton
Sutton (Dorking)
Sutton (Woking)
Talworth
Tandridge
Tatsfield
Thames Ditton
The Blackwater
The Mole
The Oaks
The Wandle
Thornton Heath
Thorpe
Thursley
Tilford
Tilford (Farnham)
Titsey
Tongham
Tooting Graveney
Tooting, Upper, or Tooting Bec
Town Street
Tulse Hill
Virginia Water
Waddon
Wallington
Walton on the Hill
Walton upon Thames
Walworth
Wanborough
Wandsworth
Warlingham
Warninglid
Waverley
Waverley (Ville)
West Clandon
West Horsley
West Molesey
West Norwood
Westcott
Westhumble Street
Weston
Weston Street
Westow Hill
Weybridge
Wheeler Street
White Hill
Wimbledon
Windlesham
Wisley
Witley
Woking
Woldingham
Wonersh
Wood Street
Woodmansterne
Woodside
Worcester Park
Worplesdon
Wotton
Wrecklesham
Wyke
York Town
Map of Surrey