Godalming ( ) is a town and
civil parish in the Waverley district of the county of Surrey, England, south of
Guildford. It is built on the banks of the River Wey and is a prosperous part of the London commuter belt.
shares a three-way twinning
arrangement with the towns of Joigny in France and Mayen in Germany.
links are in place with the state of Georgia in the United States and the city of Moscow in Russia.
James Oglethorpe, of Godalming and educated
School, was the founder of the colony of
The town has existed since Saxon
(see also Godalming
probably earlier. It is mentioned in the will of King Alfred the Great
, and the name itself has
Saxon origins, 'Godhelms Ingus' roughly translated as “the family
of godhelm”, and probably referring to one of the first lords of the manor
grew in size because its location is roughly half-way between
Portsmouth and London, which
encouraged traders to set up stalls and inns for travellers to buy
from and rest in.
Godalming appears in Domesday Book
1086 as Godelminge
. It was held by William the Conqueror
. Its domesday
assets were: 2 churches (both held by Ranulf Flambard) worth 12s, 3
worth £2 1s 8d, 25 ploughs
, 40 acres of meadow
worth 103 hog
. It rendered £34. Its population was roughly
400 people. At the time, its manor belonged to the King, but a few
hundred years later, ownership transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury
, under a charter
granted by King Edward I of
In the year 1300, the town was granted the right to hold a weekly
and an annual fair
. Its major industry at the time was woollen cloth
contributed to Godalming’s prosperity over the next few centuries,
until a sudden decline in the 17th century. Instead, its people
applied their skills to the latest knitting
technology and began producing
in a variety of materials, and
later to leatherwork
A willingness to adapt, and move from one industry to another meant
that Godalming continued to thrive. For example, papermaking
was adopted in the 17th century, and
was still manufactured there in the 20th
century. The quarrying of Bargate stone also provided an important
source of income, as did passing trade - Godalming was a popular
stopping point for stagecoaches and the
Mail coach between Portsmouth and London.
trade received an additional boost when early canalisation of the river took place, linking
the town to Guildford, and from there to the River Thames and London on the Wey and
In 1726 a Godalming maidservant called Mary
hoaxed the town into believing that she had given birth to
rabbits. The foremost doctors of the day came to witness the freak
event and for a brief time the story caused a national sensation.
Eventually Mary was found out after a porter was caught smuggling a
dead rabbit into her chamber, she confessed to inserting at least
16 rabbits into herself and faking their birth.
successful was Godalming, that in the early 19th century it was
considerably larger than today’s county town of Guildford, and by 1851 the population had passed
Already, it was becoming a popular residence for
commuters, for it was connected to London by railway two years
earlier, in 1849, and to Portsmouth in 1859. Today the town is
served by Godalming railway station on the Portsmouth
The first mayor of Godalming was Henry
Marshall who also founded the firm of Marshalls Solicitors
On 14 August 1818, the town was the site a dual public hanging of
George Chennell and William Chalcraft, convicted of murdering
George Chennell the elder (father of one prisoner, and master of
Chalcraft) and Elizabeth Wilson, his housekeeper.
Godalming Parish Church
The town has around 230 listed
, including Tudor timber framing
and 17th century brickwork
. Godalming Parish Church has an early Saxon chancel and Norman tower.
The 19th century
, nicknamed 'the Pepperpot' due
to its cupola
, is a distinctive octagonal
building situated on the High Street. Due to its unique design, it
has become the defacto 'logo' of the town today.
The current building dates back to 1814 and replaced the medieval
"Old Market House" that had occupied the site since the early
. It was in this Market House
(and its predecessors) that the local Hundred
Court met and
discussed matters of local importance for more than a thousand
years. The upstairs rooms continued to be used for civic gatherings
until 1908. The Pepperpot later housed the town museum, and
continues to be used as a public function room. The arched area
beneath the building, at street level, has been used as a
significant buildings in the town include Edwin Lutyens's Red House, and a significant
English public school,
Charterhouse stands about a mile from the town, on the top of
Charterhouse won the FA
as the Old Carthusians in 1880 and 1881.
Arboretum, with its collection of rare trees and shrubs, is situated a
few miles to the south.
Public electricity supply
Godalming came to world attention in September 1881, when it became
the first town in the world to have installed a public electricity
supply, which made electricity
available to consumers. It was Calder & Barnet who installed a
Siemens AC Alternator
which were powered
by a waterwheel, located at Westbrook Mill, on the river Wey. There
were a number of supply cables that fed seven arc lights
and 34 Swan
, some of which were laid in the gutters.
Floods in late 1881 caused problems and in the end Calder &
Barnet withdrew from the contract. It was taken over by Siemens.
Under Siemens the supply system grew and a number of technical
problems were solved. But later on in 1884 the whole town reverted
back to gas lighting as Siemens failed to tender for a contract to
light the town. This was due to a survey he undertook in the town
that failed to provide adequate support to make the business
viable, and Siemens had lost money on the scheme in the early
years, but was prepared to stay on to gain experience. Electricity
returned to the town in 1904.
railway station is on the Portsmouth Direct Line between
and Portsmouth, and is served by South West Trains.
The station has
been recognised for its floral decorations including 10 hanging
baskets. The next stations up and down the line are
at Farncombe and Milford which in many respects (for example transport and
education) are effectively suburbs of Godalming.
The town is
also served by a bus network connecting the town centre with the
main residential areas.
Roads running through, or close to, Godalming are:
A community transport service is provided by "Hoppa
". Chaired through its difficult early
days by Brian Richards
Hoppa has burgeoned into a low priced provider of minibus and MPV
personalised transport for the elderly, the disabled, the young and
others for whom simply getting from where they are to where they
want to be is a problem.
lies approximately equidistant (50 kilometres) from Heathrow and Gatwick, the two major commercial international airports in South East
Godalming Navigations terminates at the United
live in the town centre and various suburbs;
to the east there is Catteshall; to the west there is Aaron's Hill
and Ockford Ridge; to the north there is Farncombe, Charterhouse and Frith Hill; and to the south
there is Holloway Hill, Busbridge and Crownpits.
Milford is classed as a suburb of Godalming.
Educational establishments in or near Godalming area include:
of Surrey is just outside Godalming (in Guildford).
- Charterhouse School is a famous public boarding school founded in 1611
and located in Godalming from 1872. Although the 6th form is
mixed (2:1 boys:girls), lower forms are boys only. Exam results in
2006 at B grade or higher were GCSE 96%, AS level 81%, A level
- King Edward's School, Witley is an independent co-educational boarding and day
school located in nearby Wormley. Founded in 1553 in the London area of
Street (formerly Bridewell Palace), the school moved to its current location in
1867. Ages 11 – 18 with a strongly international Sixth
- Prior's Field School is an
independent private girls boarding school founded at the beginning
of the 20th century by Julia Huxley.
Exam results in 2006 at B grade or better were: A levels 57%, GCSE
86%. There are 333 pupils of which about 40% are boarders (weekly
- St Hilary's School is an independent preparatory school for boys 2.5 -
7 (around 90) and girls 2.5 - 11 (around 200). Boys mainly
go on to Aldro (74% 2006) and girls mainly to Prior's Field (36%),
St Catherine's School Bramley (19%) and Tormead School Guildford
(13%). Scholarships were gained by 17% of girls in 2006.
State 6th form colleges
- Godalming College is in the Holloway Hill area of Godalming.
Founded in 1975 on the campus of Godalming Grammar School, it
caters for sixteen to nineteen years olds. Awarded Beacon
status in 2006, it was the best performing state school for
AS/A levels in the Surrey area in 2004; its Ofsted report for 2005
graded the college as "outstanding" in six of the seven key areas
("good" in the 7th).
State secondary schools
Numbers in brackets indicate the % of pupils achieving 5 A-C
in total and then including the key
subjects of maths
- Broadwater School is in the Farncombe area of Godalming, caters for
young people from 11 to 16 and has no 6th form. (42,
- Rodborough Technology College is in the village of Milford on the outskirts of
Godalming, Rake Lane. It caters for young people from 11 to
16 and has no 6th form.(64, 59).
State primary schools (includes grant aided)
All primary schools in Godalming are coeducational. Infant schools
cover the age range 4 - 7, junior schools cover 8 - 11.
The figures shown in brackets are VA value added
of how pupils' performance has improved, and AGG aggregate
the sum of the percentages of pupils achieving the
expected levels in English, maths and science (thus the maximum
possible is 300).
- Loseley Fields Primary
School (VA 98.9, AGG 195) is in the village of Binscombe, on
the outskirts of the Farncombe side of Godalming.
- Busbridge C of
E Aided Junior School was built over a 100 years ago by members
of nearby Busbridge Church and extensive links between the two have
continued to this day. It admits 60 children each year with
preference being given to Christians and in particular to children
of Busbridge/Hambledon church members. (VA 100.9, AGG 279)
- Busbridge County
Infants School is in Hambledon Road Godalming. It caters for
around 150 children (2007)
- Chandler C of E Junior
School is in the Witley area and caters for around 330
- Godalming Junior School
is in the Farncombe area of Godalming. It has 230 children in 8
classes (4 per year). The Ofsted report for 2005 graded the school
as at least satisfactory in all 4 of the new categories.
(VA 100.6, AGG 275)
- Milford School is an infant
school situated in the centre of the village of Milford, on the
outskirts of Godalming. .
- Moss Lane School
- St Edmunds
Catholic Primary School is a voluntary aided parish school
covering both primary and junior age ranges (4 - 11); it is linked
to both St Edmund's Church in Godalming and to St Joseph's Church
in Milford. The 2005 Ofsted report described it as "a good school
with a well deserved reputation of providing a good standard of
education".(VA 100.1, AGG 282)
- Green Oak C of E
Primary School, formally St Mark's, currently covers just the
first two year groups but will expand by a year group
- Witley C of E Infant
- Godalming Angling Society founded in 1881, with fishing rights
to 6 lakes and the River Wey from Lower Eashing to Guildford.
- Godalming Town F. C. currently play in the Ryman Division
One South, level 8 of English football. They were formed in 1971
and play their home games at Wey Court, Meadrow.
- Cricket has been played in Godalming
since at least 1767; Godalming
Cricket Club now plays at the Holloway Hill Recreation
- Guildford Rugby Club
(formed in 2002 following the merger of Guildford & Godalming
RFC and Old Guildfordians RFC) plays in the London 2 South West
league at the Broadwater Sports Club in Godalming.
- Godalming Bowls Club play at the Holloway Recreation
- Contract Bridge is played at
- Busbridge Duplicate Bridge Club 
meets at the Busbridge Village Hall on three evenings a week
- Godalming Bridge Club meets on Monday afternoons at the Milford
- Waverley Bridge Partnership (owned by Brian Richards and
Rosemary Bayley) has two clubs:
- Holloway Hill Bridge Club meets on Tuesday afternoons at the
Holloway Hill Recreation Ground pavilion
- Chapel Lane Bridge Club meets at the Clocktower, Milford on
three evenings a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays for duplicate and
Wednesdays as a workshop
- Bridge lessons, on behalf of the partnership, are given by Iain
Ure at the Holloway Hill pavilion on Mondays
"Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre" in Godalming is named after
Wilfrid Noyce (1917–1962), a master at
Charterhouse and a mountaineer who
was on the expedition that made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.
- The Clocktower, or Milford and Villages Day Centre, is a day
centre for people over 50. The money to build it in 1997 was raised
entirely from charitable donations and local fundraising.
The Godalming Town Lottery "GOLO" was launched in Godalming on the
1st November 2008, by the Go-Godalming Association, a member of the
Lotteries Council. Tickets, sold at local shops and pubs, cost £1
and the draw takes place on the last Saturday of every month. The
first one was on Godalming Town Day, 29 November 2008, at the
Pepperpot. It is considered to be the first town lottery of its
kind. There are 17 prizes, ranging from £500 to £10. Profits are
donated to local causes, beginning with the Bandstand roof fund.
GOLO is a community lottery for the Godalming Community.
In a charter dated 7 June 1300, King Edward I granted the Bishop of
Salisbury the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair in
the town. Godalming remains a typical English market town, with a
market every Friday and a selection of independent and national
retailers selling clothing for all ages, shoes, watches, jewellery,
fine art, books, gifts, stationery, music, guitars, computers,
photography, pine furniture, antiques, flowers, hardware, food of
all sorts, and household goods. In addition there are the
ubiquitous banks, building societies, estate agents, travel agents,
solicitors, accountants, employment agencies and charity shops.
There are several pubs, restaurants and cafes, occasional visiting
French and Italian markets, and an annual Godalming Food
The comic novel The Fall and Rise of
, by David
, contains the following footnote: "Note: It is
believed that this book mentions Godalming more than any other book
ever written, including
A Social, Artistic and Economic
History of Godalming by E. Phipps-Blythburgh.
The novel was the second in a trilogy, adapted to become a hit TV
Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
The town has often been used as a backdrop for the shooting of
various films and television programmes. In February 2006,
Church Street, which runs from the Pepperpot to the parish
church, was used in the production of The Holiday.
- See also alumini of Godalming
Grammar School and List
of notable Old Carthusians
Numerous notable people were born in the town including: James Oglethorpe
(born 1696) founder of the
colony of Georgia; Julius
(born 1830), cricketer; Aldous
(born 1894), writer; Nick
(born 1948), radio journalist and presenter; and
(born 1949), footballer.
operator of RMS
Titanic, Jack Phillips, was
born and lived in Godalming.
He is famed for remaining at
his post, sending a distress call, until the ship sank completely.
There are several articles of remembrance around the town,
including a section of Godalming Museum, a memorial fountain,
cloister and garden walk near the church (the largest Titanic
memorial in the world), and a Wetherspoons
pub named in his honour.
The architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens
began work in 1896 on a house at Munstead Wood, Godalming for the
garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll
She died in 1932 and is buried in the churchyard of St. John the
Baptist, Busbridge, Godalming next to her brother.
In the 1800s judge James
Wilde, 1st Baron Penzance
lived at Eashing Park,
In the 1900's George Mallory,The man who almost went to the peak of
everest lived here after marriage ,before the fatal accident on the
everest during his third expedition to the mountain.
In the late twentieth century, actor Terry-Thomas
, comedic actor Terry Scott
, actor Christopher Timothy
, comedian Billy Dainty
and the singer Alvin Stardust
resided in the town. Dainty
died at his house, "Cobblers", in the village on 19 November 1986
Genesis was formed in 1967 by
Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks while students at Charterhouse
Significant people currently living in the town include the actress
pundit Alan Hansen
, a famous chef who has appeared
several times on British TV, was a pupil at Rodborough.
- Surrey Domesday Book
- Godalming, Surrey : Murder, Trial & Execution,
- History of The Pepperpot, Godalming Town Council
- 2006 AA Road Atlas of Britain
Survey Landranger 186 Aldershot, Guildford & surrounding
- United Church
- Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre page
godalming-tc.gov.uk Accessed 29 July 2008
- John George Phillips Biography on Encyclopedia