1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Surrey
SURREY, a south-eastern county of England bounded N. by the Thames, separating it from Buckinghamshire and Middlesex, E. by Kent, S. by Sussex, and W. by Hampshire and Berkshire. The administrative county of London bounds that of Surrey (south of the Thames) on the north-east. The area is 758 sq. m. The north Downs are a picturesque line of hills running east and west through the county somewhat south of the centre (see Downs). Leith Hill, south-west of Dorking (965 ft.), is the highest summit, and commands a prospect unrivalled in the south of England; Holmbury Hill close by reaches 857 ft., and the detached summit of Hindhead above Haslemere in the southwest reaches 895 ft. At Guildford the Wey breaches the hills; and at Dorking the Mole. These are the chief rivers of the county; they reach the Thames near Weybridge and at East Molesey respectively. The Wandle is a smaller tributary in the north-east of the county. Surrey is thus almost entirely in the Thames basin. In the south-east it includes head streams of the Eden, a tributary of the Medway; and in the south a small area drains to the English channel. Three types of scenery appear—that of the hilly southern district; that of the Thames, with its richly wooded banks; and, in the north-west, that of the sandy heath-covered district, abundant in conifers, which includes the healthy open tracts of Bagshot Heath and other commons, extending into Berkshire and Hampshire. Possessing these varied attractions, Surrey has become practically a great residential district for those who must live in the neighbourhood of London.
county, covered chiefly by heath and Scotch fir, belongs to the Upper Eocene, Bagshot Sands: the Fox hills and the bleak Chobham Ridges are formed of the upper scries of the group, which rests upon the middle beds occupying the greater part of Bagshot Heath and Bisley and Pirbright commons, while eastwards the commons of Chobham, Woking and Esher belong to the lower division of the group. To the south of the Eocene formations the smooth rounded outlines of the chalk hills extend through the centre of the county from Farnham to Westerham (Kent). From Farnham to Guildford they form a narrow ridge called the Hog's Back, about half a mile in breadth with a higher northern dip, the greatest elevation reached in this section being 505 ft. East ot Guildford the northern dip decreases and the outcrop widens, throwing out picturesque summits, frequently partly wooded, and commanding wide and beautiful views over the Weald. The Upper Greensand, locally known as firestone, and quarried and mined for this purpose and for hearthstone near Godstone, crops out underneath the Chalk along the southern escarpment of the Downs. The Gault, a dark blue sandy clay, rests beneath the Upper Greensand in the bottom of the long narrow valley which separates the chalk Downs from the well-marked Lower Greensand hills. The Lower Greensand includes the subordinate divisions known as the Folkestone Sands, exploited near Godstone for commercial purposes ; the Sandgate beds, to which the well-known fuller's earth of Nutfield belongs, and the Hythe beds, which contain the Kentish Rag, a sandy glauconitic limestone used for road repairs and building; also a hard, conglomeratic phase of this series locally called Bargate stone. To this formation belong the heights of Leith.Hill, Hindhead and the Devil's Punchbowl^ Holmbury Hill. Between the Lower Greensand and the Weald Clay is a narrow inconspicuous belt of Atherfield Clay._ The Weald Clay itself consists of a blue or brown shaly clay, amid which arc deposited river shells, plants of tropical origin and reptilian remains. The lower portion of the Wealden series, the Hastings Sands, occupy a small area in the south-eastern corner of the county. Bordering the Thames there are terraced deposits of gravel and loam.
Agriculture.—Between one-half and three- fifths of the area of the county, a low proportion, is under cultivation, and of this about five-ninths is in permanent pasture. There are considerable varieties of soil, ranging from plastic clay to calcareous earth and bare rocky heath. The plastic clay is well adapted for wheat, but oats are the most largely grown of the decreasing grain crops. A considerable area is occupied by market gardens on the alluvial soil along the banks of the Thames, especially in the vicinity of London. In early times the market gardeners were Flemings, who introduced the culture of asparagus at Battersea and of carrots at Chertsey. Rhododendrons arid azaleas are largely grown in the north-western district of the county. In the neighbourhood of Mitcham various medicinal plants are cultivated, such as lavender, mint, camomile, anise, rosemary, liquorice, hyssop, &c. The calcareous soil in the neighbourhood of Farnham is well adapted for hops, but this crop in Surrey is of minor importance. There is a large area under wood. Oak, chestnut, walnut, ash and elm are extensively planted ; alder and willow plantations are common ; and the Scotch fir propagates naturally from seed on the commons in the north-west. The extent of pasture land is not great, with the exception of the Downs, which are chiefly occupied as sheep-runs. Dairy-farming is a more important industry than cattle-feeding, large quantities of milk being sent to London.
Manufactures and Communications.—The more important manufactures are chiefly confined to London and its immediate neighbourhood. The rivers Mole and Wandle, however, supply power for a variety of manufactures, such as oil, paper and sheet-iron mills. Communications include the navigation of the Thames and Wey, and the Basingstoke canal, communicating with the Wey from Frimley and Woking. Owing to its proximity to London the county is served by many lines of railway, the companies being the London & South-western, the London Brighton & South Coast and the South-Eastern & Chatham.
Population and Administration.—The area of the ancient county is 485,122 acres, with a population in 1901 of 2,012,744. The population in 1801 was 268,233, and in 1851, 683,082; and it nearly doubled between 1871 and 1901. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1888, part of the county was transferred to the county of London. Thus the area of the ancient county, extra- metropolitan, is 461,999 acres, with a population in 1901 of 675,774. The area of the administrative county is 461 ,807 acres. The county contains 14 hundreds. Croydon (pop. 133,895) is a county borough, and the other municipal boroughs are Godalming (8748), Guildford (15.938), Kingston (34,375), Reigate (25,993), Richmond (31,672), Wimbledon (41,652). The following are urban districts: Barnes (17,821), Carshalton (6746), Caterham (94.86), Chertsey (12,762), Dorking (7670), East and West Molesey (6034), Egham (10,187), Epsom (10,915), Esher and The Dittons (9489), Farnham (6124), Frimley (8409), Ham (1460), Leatherhead (4964), The Maidens and Coombe (6233), Surbiton (15,017), Sutton (17,223), Walton- on-Thames (10,329), Weybridge (5329), Woking (16,244). There are six parliamentary divisions — North Western or Chertsey, Mid or Epsom, Kingston, North Eastern or Wimbledon, South Eastern or Reigate, South Western or Guildford ; each returning one member. The borough of Croydon returns one member. Surrey is in the south-eastern circuit, and assizes are held at Guildford and Kingston alternately. The administrative county has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into eleven petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Croydon, Godalming, Guildford, Kingston, Reigate and Richmond 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 m. of, or of which no part is more than 15 m. from, Charing Cross, are in the metropolitan police district. The total number of civil parishes is 144. The ancient county contains 230 ecclesiastical parishes ordistricts, wholly or in part situated in the dioceses of Rochester, Winchester,Canterbury, Oxford and Chichester.
History.—The early history of this district is somewhat uncertain. Ethelwerd, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 823, places it in the "Medii Angli" or "Medii Saxones." Its position between the Weald and the Thames decided its northern and southern borders, and the Kentish boundary probably dates from the battle of Wibbandune between Ethelbert of Kent and Ceawlin of Wessex, which traditionally took place at Wimbledon, though this is disputed. The western border, like the southern, was a wild uncultivated district; no settled boundary probably existing at the time of the Domesday Survey. The number of hundreds at that time was fourteen as now, but the hundred of Farnham was not so called, the lands of the bishop of Winchester being placed in no hundred, but coinciding with the present hundred of that name. There is no record of Surrey ever having been in any diocese but Winchester, of which it was an archdeaconry in the 1 2th century. At the time of the Domesday Survey there were four deaneries: Croydon, Southwark, Guildford and Ewell. Croydon was a peculiar of Canterbury, in which diocese it was included in 1291. In the time of Henry VIII., Croydon was comprehended in the deanery of Ewell, some of its rectories being included in the deanery of Southwark. The old deanery of Guildford was included in the modern one of Stoke. In 1877, Southwark, with some parishes, was transferred to the diocese of Rochester. In the 7th century Surrey was under the overlordship of Wulfhere, king of Mercia, who founded Chertsey abbey, but in 823, when the Mercians were defeated by Egbert of Wessex, it was included in the kingdom of Wessex, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates.
Surrey was constantly overrun by Danish hordes in the 9th century and until peace was established by the accession of Canute. In 857 a great national victory over the Danes took place at Ockley near Leith Hill. Surrey is not of great historical importance, except its northern border, the southern part having been forest and waste land, long uninhabited and almost impassable for an army. Guildford, though the county town, and often the seat of the court under John and Henry III., was of little importance beside Southwark, the centre of trade and commerce, the residence of many ecclesiastical dignitaries, a frequent point of attack on London, and a centre for rebellions and riots. The Norman army traversed and ravaged the county in theirmarch on London, a large portion of the county having been in the hands of Edward and Harold, fell to the share of William himself; his most important tenants in chief being Odo of Bayeux and Richard de Tonebridge, son of Count Gilbert, afterwards "de Clare." The church also had large possessions in the county, the abbey of Chertsey being the largest monastic house. Besides these private jurisdictions, there were the large royal parks and forests, with their special jurisdiction. The shire court was almost certainly held at Guildford, where the gaol for both Sussex and Surrey was from as early as 1202 until 1487, when Sussex had its own gaol at Lewes. The houses of Warenne and de Clare were long the two great rival influences in the county; their seats at Reigate and Blechingley being represented in parliament from the time of Edward I. till the Reform bills of the 19th century. At the time of the Barons' Wars their influence was divided—de Clare marching with Montfort, and de Warenne supporting the king. In the Peasants' Rising of 1381, and during Jack Cade’s Rebellion in the next century, Southwark was invaded, the prisons broken open and the bridge into London crossed. London was unsuccessfully attacked from the Surrey side in the Wars of the Roses; and was held for three days and pillaged during a rising of the southern counties under Mary. During the fears of invasions from Spain, levies were held in readiness in Surrey to protect London; and it was an even more important bulwark of London in the Civil War, on account of the powder mills at Chilworth and the cannon foundries of the Weald. In common with the south-eastern district generally, Surrey was parliamentarian in its sympathies. Sir Richard Onslow and Sir Poynings More were the most prominent local leaders. Farnham Castle and Kingston, with its bridge, were several times taken and held during the war by the opposing parties, and in the later part of the war, when the parliament and army were treating, three of the line of forts defending London were on the Surrey side, from which the army entered London.
The last serious skirmish south of the Thames took place near Ewell and Kingston, where the earl of Holland and a body of the Royalists were routed. This was the last real fighting in the county, though it was often a centre of riots; the most serious being those of 1830, and of the Chartists in 1848, who chose Kcnnington Common as their meeting-place. The Mores of Loscley and the Onslows were among the most famous county families under the Tudors, as at the time of the Civil War; the Onslows being even better known later in the person of Sir Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House under George I.
The earliest industries in Surrey were agricultural. The stone quarries of Limpsficld and the chalk of the Downs were early used, the latter chiefly for lime-making. Fuller’s earth was obtained from Reigate and Nutfield; and the facilities afforded by many small streams, and the excellent sheep pasture, made it of importance in the manufacture of cloth, of which Guildford was a centre. Glass and iron were made in the Weald district, whose forests produced the necessary charcoal for smelting. Chiddingfold is mentioned in 1266 for its glass-making, and was one of the chief glass-producing districts in late Tudor times. The ironworks of Surrey were of less importance, and much later in development than those of Kent and Sussex, owing to the want of good roads or waterways, but the increasing demand for ordnance in the 16th century led to the spread of the industry northward; the most considerable works in Surrey being those of Viscount Montague at Haslemere. Chil- worth, which was famous for its powder mills in the 16th century, remains a seat of the industry. Southwark and its neighbourhood early became a suburb of London and a centre of trades which were crowded out of London. The earliest Delft ware manufactory in England was at Lambeth, which maintains its fame as a centre of earthenware manufacture. The beautiful encaustic tiles of Chertsey Abbey are thought to have been made in English monasteries and date from the 13th century. Although the county was doubtless represented in the representative councils of the reign of Henry III., the first extant returns of two knights of the shire are for the parliament of 1290. The Reform Bill of 1832 gave Surrey four members; dividing the county into east and west divisions. Several boroughs were disfranchized then and in 1867, when East Surrey was again divided into east and mid divisions, on account of the growth of London suburbs, two more members being added at the same time. In 1855 all old boroughs and divisions were superseded; the county being divided into the electoral divisions of Chertsey, Guildford, Reigate, Epsom, Kingston and Wimbledon, each returning one member. Finally, in 1888, the new county of London annexed large portions of Surrey along the northern border.
Antiquities.—The only ecclesiastical ruins worthy of special mention are the picturesque walls of Newark Priory, near Woking, founded for Augustinians in the time of Richard Cœur de Lion; and the Early English crypt and part of the refectory of Waverley Abbey, the earliest house of the Cistercians in England, founded in n 28. The church architecture is of a very varied kind, and has no peculiarly special features. Among the more interesting churches are Albury (the old church), near Guildford, the tower of which is of Saxon or very early Norman date; Beddington, a fine example of Perpendicular, containing monuments of the Carew family; Chaldon, remarkable for its fresco wall-paintings of the 12th century, discovered during restoration in 1870; Compton, which, though mentioned in Domesday, possesses little of its original architecture, but is worthy of notice for its two-storeyed chancel and its carved wooden balustrade surmounting the pointed transitional Norman arch which separates the nave from the chancel; Leigh, Perpendicular, possessing some very fine brasses of the 15th century; Lingfield, Perpendicular, containing ancient tombs and brasses of the Cobhams, and some fine stalls (the church was formerly collegiate); Ockham, chiefly Decorated, with a lofty embattled tower, containing the mausoleum of Lord Chancellor King (d. 1734), with 'full-length statue of the chancellor by Rysbrack; Stoke d'Abernon, Early English, with the earliest extant English brass, that of Sir John d'Abernon, 1277, and other fine examples. Churches at Guildford, Reigate and Woking are also noteworthy. Of old castles the only examples are Farnham, occupied as a palace by the bishops of Winchester, originally built by Henry of Blois, and restored by Henry III.; and Guildford, with a strong quadrangular Norman keep. Of ancient domestic architecture examples include Beddington Hall (now a female orphan asylum), the ancient mansion of the Carews, rebuilt in the reign of Queen Anne, and in modern times, but retaining the hall of the Elizabethan building; Crowhurst Place, built in the time of Henry VII., the ancient seat of the Gaynesfords, and frequently visited by Henry VIII.; portions of Croydon Palace, an ancient seat of the archbishops of Canterbury; the gate tower of Esher Place, built by William of Waynflete, bishop of Winchester, and repaired by Cardinal Wolsey; Archbishop Abbot’s hospital, Guildford, in the Tudor style; the fine Elizabethan house of Loseley near Guildford; Smallfield Place near Reigate, now a farmhouse, once the seat of Sir Edward Bysshe (c. 1615–1679), garter king-at-arms; Sutton Place near Woking, dating from the time of Henry VIII., possessing curious mouldings and ornaments in terra-cotta; and Ham House, of red brick, dating from 1610.
See Topley’s Geology of the Weald and Whitaker’s Geology of London Basin, forming part of the Memoirs of Geological Survey of United Kingdom (London, 1875); J. Aubrey, Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey (5 vols., London, 1718–1719); D. Lysons, Environs of London (5 vols., London, 1800–1811); Baxter, Domesday Book of Surrey (1876) ; O. Manning and W. Bray, History and Antiquities of Surrey (3 vols., London, 1804–1814); E. W. Brayley, Topographical History of Surrey (5 vols., London, 1841–1848); another edition, revised by E. Walford (London, 1878); Archaeological Collections (Surrey Archaeological Society; London, from 1858); Eric Parker, Highways and Byways in Surrey (London, 1908).