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Frensham is a village in Surreymarker, Englandmarker beside the A287, 20 km south west of Guildfordmarker. Neighbouring villages include Millbridge, Shortfield Common, Dockenfieldmarker, Spreakley, Batt's Corner and Rushmoor. Frensham lies on the River Weymarker. Farnhammarker is the nearest main town and it is to the north. The majority of the land around Frensham is located in a green belt. The non-agricultural land surrounding the village is mainly open heathland and birch woodland.

Planning permission is being discussed for a potential mineral zone for the extraction of sand and gravel near Frensham Manor.

Frensham Commonmarker is owned by the National Trust and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It covers about 1,000 acres and comprises a large area of heathland, together with some coniferous and mixed woodland. There are two large ponds, known as Frensham Great and Little Ponds, which were built in the Middle Ages to provide fish for the Bishop of Winchester's estate.

History

Mesolithic camp or living sites have been discovered around Frensham. Hundreds of Bronze Age arrowheads have been found around Frensham and there are several tumuli (burial sites). In 688 AD, King Caedwalla of Wessex made a charter conveying to the Catholic church 60 hides of land that included Farnhammarker, Frensham and Churtmarker. This became the property of Hedda, Bishop of Winchester.

The origins of the name Frensham come from 'Frena's ham'. Frena was the name of either a Danishmarker Earl who was killed in the battle of Ashdownmarker in the year 871, or of a Saxon who was driven south from Northumberlandmarker by the Danes in 993. The second part 'ham' means 'settlement', and is also from where we get the word 'home', so Frensham is 'Frena's settlement'.

In 1348, Frensham suffered from the plague. Before it ceased in 1350, fifty-two area farms had become desolate.

Locally clay was extracted from around Frensham for Farnham Pottery.

In the 17th century, farmers focused primarily on hop growing and sheep rearing.

During the Second World War, tanks based in the Headleymarker area used Frensham Common for training, whilst Canadianmarker soldiers used to gallop across the Common. At this time, Frensham Great and Little Ponds were drained as otherwise they would have provided markers for Germanmarker bombers.In the 1960s boxy little rowing boats were available for hire on the Little Pond from a boathouse near the road.

St Mary's Church

Originally a chapelry of Farnhammarker, the present St Mary's church was dedicated in 1239, having been moved from its previous site on low ground beside the River Weymarker. The move was probably due to the massive storms of the 1230s which flooded Waverley Abbeymarker (6 km downstream) to a depth of 1.75 m.

The chancel is the oldest part of the church, its walls being those of the original building, the 13th century niches, piscina and aumbry. The tower is 14th century, with massive diagonal buttresses and eight bells dated between 1627 and the 19th century. The porch is restored but is believed to be 15th century. The north aisle was built in 1827, and the whole church was subject to a major restoration in 1868.

The font, of Purbeck Marble, is early medieval but its carvings are nearly obliterated. The organ was installed in 1871 with subsequent modernisations. The exterior of the building is of local sandstone, flint and rubble, with evidence of endless repair and reconstruction.

Population

The population of Frensham in 1851 was 714. Today the area of Frensham, Dockenfield and Tilfordmarker has a total population of 3,961.

Today

Frensham post office and village shop is a community run shop and has celebrated its tenth anniversary.

There are four local schools: St Mary's Church of England Infants' School, Frensham Heightsmarker, Edgeborough and More House.

Frensham Great Pond, lying within Frensham Commonmarker, extends over and is a centre for sailing activities. In the summer, Surrey County Councilmarker provides a lifeguard to supervise the swimming area. However, the pond sometimes suffers from eutrophication due to excess run-off of nitrate fertilisers from nearby arable land. The occasional presence of blue-green algae means that official advice regarding swimming varies, as indicated by notices at the water's edge. The smaller Frensham Little Pond is a scenic area for picnics - no swimming or sailing is permitted here.

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