1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Esher

ESHER, a township in the Epsom parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 14½ m. S.W. of London by the London & South Western railway (Esher and Claremont station). It is pleasantly situated on rising ground above the river Mole, 3 m. from its junction with the Thames. To the north-west lie the grounds of Esher Place. Of the mansion-house founded by William of Waynflete, bishop of Winchester (c. 1450), in which Cardinal Wolsey resided for three or four weeks after his sudden fall from power in 1529, only the gatehouse remains. It is known as Wolsey’s Tower, but is apparently part of Waynflete’s foundation. A new mansion was erected in 1803. To the south is Claremont Palace, built by the great Lord Clive (1769) on the site of a mansion of Sir John Vanbrugh. In 1816 it was the residence of Princess Charlotte, wife of Prince (afterwards King) Leopold. She died here in 1817, and on the death of her husband in 1865 the property passed to the crown. Louis Philippe, ex-king of the French, resided here from 1848 until his death in 1850. In 1882 Claremont became the private property of Queen Victoria. Christ Church, Esher, contains fine memorials of King Leopold and others, and one of its three bells is said to have been brought from San Domingo by Sir Francis Drake. To the north near the railway station is Sandown Park, where important race meetings are held. Esher is included in the urban district of Esher and The Dittons, of which Thames Ditton is a favourite riverside resort. The whole district is largely residential. Pop. (1901) 9489.