Surrey ( ) is a county in the South East of England and is one
of the Home Counties.
London, Kent, East Sussex, West
Sussex, Hampshire, and Berkshire. The historic county
town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of Greater London since 1965.
divided into 11 boroughs and districts:
Elmbridge, Epsom and
Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate and
Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley, Woking.
After the elections of 1
, the Conservatives
are in control of 10
out of 11 councils in Surrey, with Epsom and Ewell in Residents Association
control. The Conservatives hold all 11 Parliamentary
within the county borders.
Settlements and communications
- See also list of places
Surrey has a population of approximately 1.1 million people.
historic county town is Guildford, although the county administration was moved to
Newington in 1791 and to Kingston upon Thames in 1893. The county council's headquarters have been
outside the county's boundaries since 1
April 1965 when Kingston and other areas
were included within Greater London by the London
Government Act 1963. Recent plans to move the offices to a new
site in Woking have now
been abandoned. Due to its proximity to London there are many
commuter towns and villages in Surrey, the population density is
high and the area is more affluent than other parts of the UK.
Surrey is the most densely populated county after Greater London,
the metropolitan counties
Bristol. Much of the north east of the county is an
urban area contiguous to Greater London. In the west, there is a conurbation straddling the Hampshire/Surrey
border, including in Surrey Camberley and Farnham.
English counties have nicknames for people from that county, such
as a Tyke from
Yorkshire and a Yellowbelly from Lincolnshire; the traditional nickname
for people from Surrey is 'Surrey Capon', as it was well known in
the later Middle Ages as the county where chickens were fattened up
for the London meat markets.
Surrey contains a good deal of mature woodland
(reflected in the official logo of Surrey
County Council, a pair of interlocking oak leaves). Among its many
notable beauty spots are Box Hill, Leith
Corner and Puttenham & Crooksbury
It is the most wooded county in Great
Britain, with 22.4% coverage compared to a national average of
11.8% and as such is one of the few counties not to include new
woodlands in their strategic plans. Box Hill has the oldest
untouched area of natural woodland in the UK, one of the oldest in
Surrey is in the Green Belt and is
rolling downland, the county's geology
being dominated by the chalk hills of the North Downs. Agriculture not being intensive, there are
many commons and access lands, together
with an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways
including the North Downs
Way, a scenic long-distance path.
Surrey provides much in the way of rural leisure activities, with a
very large horse
population. Towards the north of
the county, the land is largely flat around Staines and borders the River Thames.
highest elevation in Surrey is Leith Hill near Dorking at 965 ft (294 m) above sea level, which is
also the highest point in southeastern England with the exception
Hill in West
British and Roman Surrey
Roman times the area today known as Surrey was very probably
occupied by the Atrebates tribe centred at
Atrebatum in the modern county of Hampshire.
They are known to have
controlled the southern bank of the Thames
from Roman documents describing the tribal relations between them
and the powerful Catuvellauni
north bank. In about 42AD King Cunobelinus
or Cynfelin ap
of the Catuvellauni died and war broke out between his
sons and King Verica
of the Atrebates.
Atrebates were defeated in the conflict, their capital captured and
their lands made subject to the Catuvellauni now led by Togodumnus ruling from Camulodunum.
Verica fled to Gaul
appealed for Roman aid. The Atrebates were allies with Rome during
their invasion of Britain in 43AD.
The territory of Surrey
was traversed by Stane Street
less well known Roman roads. There was a Roman temple in Farley Green.
After the Romans left Britain in c.410AD the territory of modern
Surrey was officially part of Britannia
but was probably ruled by the successor realm of the
tribe. It has long been
speculated that Guildford may have been the Astolat of
Arthurian renown, however the legendary
city is more likely to have been Calleva (modern day Silchester), the capital of the Atrebates, which resisted the
Anglo-Saxons for many
The Saxon tribes and the sub-kingdom
around 480 AD Saxons from the south and Jutes from the east invaded
and began to settle in the area and establish a sub-kingdom
probably with Middle
The name Surrey is Saxon, and is
a corrupted form (with r replacing the sound ð) of "Suuð-ye"
meaning "South Ridge" or more probably "south administrative unit"
(the Old Germanic district "Gau" like those that were established
by Charlemagne; earlier German spellings were Gowe, Gouwe),
referring to its position on the South bank of the Thames. At this
time the Surrey area was sparsely populated and almost entirely
forested. There was a local truce recorded in c.500 (possibly as a
result of the Battle of Badon
) and only north and east Surrey were retained by the
. The westward
expansion into British territory continued from c.550AD with some
local British communities becoming marooned within the confines of
Saxon Surrey, probably around Walton-on-Thames.
From 568 the eastern border of Surrey with
Kent was agreed and marked by a ditch. Local tribes named
Æschingas, Godhelmingas (around Godalming), Tetingas (around Tooting), Woccingas
(between Woking and Wokingham), Basingas (the
Valley) and Sonningas
(around Sonning) are known to have existed.
the sub-kingdom took Mercia as its
overlord. In 675 Surrey became one of the last
portions of England to convert
to Christianity when its sub-King
Frithuwold and his son were
The name of the area at this time is recorded as
or "southern region". In 685 Surrey changed
allegiance and took Wessex as its
overlord. In 690 the western border of Surrey was
settled with Wessex; the tribal
territories of the Sonningas became part of Berkshire and the Basingas became part of
Hampshire. In 705 Surrey was
transferred from the Middle Saxon diocese of London to the West
Saxon diocese of
Winchester. After 771 Surrey came under the rule of
Offa of Mercia and was so until 823
when Surrey reverted to Wessex and so
Some historians have also speculated that the
and the Oht gaga
tribes listed in the
Mercian Tribal Hidage
refer to two
distinct groups living in Surrey. They were valued together at
Sub kings and ealdormen of Surrey
a series of unknown subreguli
a series of unknown ealdormen
- Wulfherd (c.823)
- Huda (c.853)
a series of unknown ealdormen
- Æðelwerd (late 10th century)
- Æðelmær (? - 1016) son
The West Saxon shire
The territory of Surrey was formally annexed by Wessex in 860 and
became a Shire
under the same model as the other counties
of Wessex. It is around this time that the wars between the
and the Danes reach their height with Surrey
becoming the arena for a number of key battles; most notably at the
Battle of Ockley
in 851 and the
Battle of Farnham
death of King Alfred the Great in
899 his son, King Eadweard I was
crowned on the King's
Stone at Kingston upon Thames.
The use of this stone before 902 is unknown
but it seems likely that it would have been something of ancient
spiritual or political significance. After him another six kings of
England from the House of Wessex
were crowned here, the last being Ethelred
In 1011 it is recorded that Surrey was over-run by Danish forces
led by Canute the Great
of England submitted to them in 1016.
In 1035, Canute died and during the uncertainty that followed the
heirs of former Anglo-Saxon rulers attempted to restore the
House of Wessex
to the throne of
England. Alfred Aetheling
younger of the two heirs (his older brother being the future
Edward the Confessor
) landed on
the coast of Sussex with a Norman
bodyguard and attempted to make his way to London. In the
there is an account of this fateful encounter:
Ælfred and his men approached the town of Guildford in Surrey, thirty miles south-west of London, they
were met by the powerful Earl Godwin of
Wessex, who professed loyalty to the young prince and procured
lodgings for him and his men in the town. The next morning,
Godwin said to Ælfred: "I will safely and securely conduct you
to London, where the great men of the kingdom are awaiting your
coming, that they may raise you to the throne." This he said
in spite of the fact that the throne was already occupied by the
son of Knud, Harold Harefoot, and he
was actually in league with King Harold to lure the young prince to
the earl led the prince and his men over the hill of Guildown" (called today The Hog's Back and the route of the A31), "which is to the west of Guildford, on the
road to Winchester, not London. Perhaps the prince had insisted
on continuing his journey to his original destination, his mother’s
court in Winchester, in any case, Godwin repeated his tempting
offer; showing the prince the magnificent panorama from the hill
both to the north and to the south, he said: Look around on the
right hand and on the left, and behold what a realm will be subject
to your dominion. Ælfred then gave thanks to God and promised
that if he should ever be crowned king, he would institute such
laws as would be pleasing and acceptable to God and men. At that
moment, however, he was seized and bound together with all his men.
Nine tenths of them were then murdered. And since the remaining
tenth was still so numerous, they, too, were decimated."
- "Ælfred was tied to a horse and then conveyed by boat to the
monastery of Ely. As the boat reached land, his eyes were put out.
For a while he was looked after by the monks, who were fond of him,
but soon after he died, probably on February 5, 1036."
Interestingly, during the 1920s the remains of several hundred
soldiers, probably Normans, were found to the west of Guildford.
They were bound and had been executed. The grave was dated to
c.1040. It is likely that they were the guards of poor Prince
After the Anglo-Saxon restoration through the accession of Eadweard III
in 1042 Surrey remained
unmolested until the Norman Conquest
Few remains of the ancient British, the Roman, or the Saxon periods
in Surrey exist. There is an Iron Age hillfort at Holmbury Hill
, and only remnants of the Roman
roads Stane Street and Ermine Street remain. Roman and Celtic
relics, of no great significance, have been
found at various locations.
Hundreds of Surrey c.825 - 1889
In 1088, William II granted William de Warenne
the title of Earl of Surrey
for Warenne's loyalty during the rebellion that followed the death
of William I of England
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. However, Guildford Castle was captured by
forces supporting Prince Louis
of France in 1216,
and in June 1497 the county was overrun by as many as 15,000
Cornish rebels heading for
This would have been the first Brythonic army to move through
Surrey for nearly 900 years. There was a brief battle just outside
Guildford at Gil Down before the Cornish rebels
marched north east through Banstead and right across Wallington and Brixton Hundreds as far as Blackheath in Kent where they
were eventually routed by an English army.
of monastic buildings of early English date occur in Chertsey
Abbey and Newark
These were all destroyed during the Reformation
. It was also the home
of the Merton
Priory from 1114 until 1538. From the Saxon period
up until Victorian times Surrey was
divided into the 14 hundreds of
Blackheath, Brixton, Copthorne, Effingham Half-Hundred, Elmbridge, Farnham, Godalming,
Godley, Kingston, Reigate, Tandridge, Wallington,
Woking and Wotton.
The Local Government Act
reorganised county-level local
throughout England and Wales. Accordingly, the
administrative county of
Surrey was formed in 1889 when the Provisional Surrey County
Council first met, consisting of 19 aldermen and 57 councillors.
The county council assumed
the administrative responsibilities previously exercised by the
in quarter sessions
. The county had
revised boundaries, with the north east of the historic county
bordering the City of
London becoming part of a new County of London. These areas now form
the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth, and the Penge area of the London Borough of Bromley.
At the same time, the borough of Croydon
, outside the
jurisdiction of the county council.
For purposes other than local government the administrative county
of Surrey and county borough of Croydon continued to form a "county
of Surrey" to which a Lord
) and a
had been administered from Newington since the 1790s, and the county council was
initially based in the sessions house there.
was included in the County of London it lay outside the area
administered by the council, and a site for a new county hall
within the administrative county was sought. By 1890 six towns
were being considered: Epsom, Guildford, Kingston, Redhill,
Surbiton and Wimbledon. A decision to build
the new County
Hall at Kingston was made in 1891, (the building
opened in 1893) but this site would also became overtaken by the
growing London conurbation and by the 1930s most of the north of
the county had been built over, becoming outer suburbs of London,
although continuing to form part of Surrey
the report of the Herbert
Commission recommended that much of north Surrey (including
Kingston and Croydon) be included in a new "Greater London".
The recommendations of the report were
enacted in highly modified form in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963
that now form the London Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Sutton and that part of Richmond south of the River
Thames were transferred from Surrey to Greater London.
same time part of the county of Middlesex, which had been abolished by the legislation, was
added to Surrey.
This area now forms the borough of Spelthorne
Further local government reform under the Local Government Act 1972
place in 1974. The 1972 Act abolished administrative counties and
in their place. The boundaries of the non-metropolitan
county of Surrey were similar to those of the administrative county
with the exception of Gatwick
Airport and some surrounding land which was transferred to
Sussex. It was originally proposed that the parishes
of Horley and
Charlwood would become part of West Sussex, however fierce
local opposition led to a reversal of this under the Charlwood and Horley Act
3 August 2007 it was
announced that foot-and-mouth disease had been discovered near Guildford. This was the first
outbreak in the UK since
Surrey is an affluent county with a service based economy closely
tied to that of London. Surrey has the highest GDP
per capita of any county in the UK and the highest
cost of living in the UK outside of London. Surrey is credited with
having the highest proportion of millionaires
in the UK. The average wage in
Surrey is bolstered by the high number of residents who work in
Surrey’s proximity to London and strategic location within South
East England has resulted in it becoming one of the most affluent
and successful counties in the UK. Surrey’s enduring popularity
explains why it dominated the top 10 best places to live in
Phil & Kirsty
2007 list. Surrey’s affluence is further shown by it having the
highest concentration of Waitrose
supermarkets outside of London. The busiest single runway airport in the
world (Gatwick) was historically in Surrey, but is now part of
also renowned for gardening, with the RHS’s flagship RHS Garden,
Wisley, along with the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew in Greater London. The National
Archives for England & Wales are also in Kew.
NGOs including WWF
& Compassion in World
are based here.
Surrey has more organisation and company headquarters than any
other county in the UK. Electronic giants Nikon
, Whirlpool, Canon
are housed here. Kia Motors
UK also have their HQs in Surrey. Some of the
multinationals in the world have
their UK and/or European headquarters here, including Unilever
, SC Johnson
Government Quangos such as SEEDA
, SEERA and
GOSE are headquartered in Guildford. Drug giants Pfizer
house their UK headquarters
here, as does oil conglomerate Esso
racing organisation McLaren is based in Woking, and the once famous Brooklands race track is near Weybridge.
There has been criticism in recent years due to public spending per
head being the lowest of any county in the UK.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Surrey at
current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for
with figures in millions of British Pounds
||Regional Gross Value Added
There are two active landfill sites in Surrey. One is at Albury near
This site is managed by SITA
largest town in Surrey is Guildford with 66,773; Woking is a close
second with a population of 62,796. The third largest
town is Ewell with
39,994 people to the north of the county and the fourth is Camberley with 30,155 people in the west of the
county. Towns with between 25,000 and 30,000 are
Ashford, Epsom, Farnham, Staines and Redhill.
- See List of places in
Three major motorways pass through the county. These are the
Orbital), M3 and the M23.
trunk road is another important road
and is a major route to the south coast and London.
well connected to London by rail and services to Surrey originate
from London's Waterloo, Victoria or London Bridge stations.
Services are operated by
South West Trains
There are three main lines which pass through Surrey. They are the
Brighton Main Line
or London Bridge, and the South
Western Main Line
and the Portsmouth Direct Line
However, there are also many other lines which branch off from
either of those three.
stations in Surrey are Woking, Guildford and Redhill.
no airports in Surrey although Gatwick (near the Sussex/Surrey border) and Heathrow airports are close at hand and both are connected
to Surrey by the modes of transport mentioned above.
Surrey has a comprehensive
secondary education system with 53 state schools (not including
sixth form colleges
), but there
are also 41 independent schools including Preparatory schools
and Senior schools
—a high proportion of school
children in Surrey are privately educated. Most have sixth forms
although Reigate, Spelthorne, Woking and Waverley districts tend to
have separate sixth forms colleges.
Places of interest
Significant landscapes in Surrey include
Hill just north of Dorking; the Devil's Punch Bowl at Hindhead; Frensham Common, heathland with a variety of plant, animal
and birdlife plus the Great Pond and Little Pond dating from the
Middle Ages when they were constructed to provide food for the
Bishop of Winchester's estate. Leith Hill to the south west of Dorking is the highest point in south-east England.
Common, Thursley Common and Elstead
are expansive areas of ancient
heathland south of Godalming
are run by the
and Ministry of Defence
Hills are an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
manicured landscapes can be seen at Claremont
Landscape Garden, south of Esher (dating
from 1715). There is also Winkworth Arboretum south east of Godalming which was created in the 20th century.
Wisley is home to the Royal Horticultural Society
has important country houses such as Clandon Park
, an 18th century Palladian
mansion in West Clandon to the east of
. Nearby there is Hatchlands Park
in East Clandon
, east of Guildford
, was built in 1758 with Robert Adam
interiors and a collection of
keyboard instruments. Polesden Lacey
south of Great
is a regency
villa with extensive grounds. On a smaller scale, Oakhurst
Cottage in Hambledon near Godalming is a restored 16th century worker's home.
a museum at Rural Life Centre, Tilford.
county is linked to the sea by the River Wey and the Wey and Godalming
Navigations. Dapdune Wharf in Guildford commemorates this and is home to a restored Wey
barge, the Reliance. Furthermore on the River Tillingbourne, Shalford
Mill is an 18th century water-mill.
many typical English villages including Holmbury St Mary which lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty, close to the Greensand Way and North Downs Way.
It was developed in the 19th century and
still has a mainly Victorian
as on the whole no new building is allowed. The youth hostel
, constructed in the village in
1935, was the first purpose-built by the Youth Hostels Association
Runnymede at Egham is the site
of the signing of the Magna Carta in
1215. Waverley and Chertsey Abbeys were very significant in medieval
Cathedral is a post-war cathedral built from bricks made
from the clay hill on which it stands.
Brooklands Museum recognises the motoring past of
Surrey. The county is also home to Thorpe Park, & Chessington World of
, sister theme parks of Alton Towers
Culture, arts and sport
The first known record of cricket was in Guildford, Surrey (see
History of English
cricket to 1696
). Currently, the Surrey County Cricket Club
represents the historic
county of Surrey, although its largest ground, The Oval in Kennington, is now in Greater London. The club also uses Whitgift
School, South Croydon and Woodbridge Road, Guildford for some games. Mitcham Cricket Club
, formed in 1685
and the oldest documented club in the game's history, was within
Surrey's borders until 1965.
Surrey has numerous football teams. As of the end of the 2008/09
season the top 20 clubs based on their league finishes within the
National League System
In popular music, the "Surrey Delta" produced many of the musicians
in 60s British blues movements, notably, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck
and Jimmy Page who all came from south west Surrey. The Rolling
Stones developed its music at Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. Paul
Weller of the Jam was also brought up in Woking.
Surrey in film and books
Surrey has been mentioned in literature: in the Harry Potter
's only living relatives, the
, live in Little Whinging
fictional town located in Surrey. The character Ford Prefect
from The Hitchhiker's Guide to
claimed to be from Guildford in Surrey, but in
actuality he was from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of
.Surrey was mentioned often in
Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New
. Much of H. G. Wells
novella The War of the
is set in Surrey with many specific towns and
villages identified. The Martians first land on Horsell
Common on the north side of Woking, outside the Bleak
House pub, now called Sands. In the story the narrator flees in the
direction of London, first passing Byfleet and then Weybridge before travelling east along the north bank of
Jane Austen's novel Emma
is set in Surrey and the famous picnic where Emma embarrasses Miss
Bates takes place on Box Hill. In The Secret
Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
by Sophie Kinsella, Rebecca
Bloomwood's parents live in Oxshott, Surrey. Atonement
is also set in the Surrey lands.
Tom Felton, who is most famous for his role as Draco Malfoy in the
Harry Potter films, lives in Surrey with his mum and three
Non-wellsian Tripods were also seen in Surrey in
the village of Friday Street ( )
Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman
mentions Camberley in his poem "A Subaltern's Lovesong".
contrast, Carshalton forms the literary backdrop to many of the
poems by James Farrar.
The county has also been used as a film location. Part of the movie
was filmed in
Surrey: Kate Winslet
's character Iris
lived there and Cameron Diaz
character Amanda switched houses with her as part of a home
exchange. The final scene of Bridget Jones: The Edge of
uses the village church in Shere, as does the movie
The Wedding Date
1976 film The Omen,
the scenes at the cathedral were filmed at Guildford
Cathedral. The film I Want Candy follows two hopeful
lads from Leatherhead trying to break into the movies.
woodland represented Germany in the opening scene of Gladiator
, starring Russell Crowe
; it was filmed at The Bourne
Woods near Farnham in Surrey.Surrey has been also mentioned in
Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books.Scenes for the 2009 BBC production of
Emma by Jane Austen,
starring Romola Garai and Michael Gambon, were filmed at St Mary the
Virgin Church Send near Guildford and at Loseley
Surrey is the location for Lara Croft's mansion in the Tomb Raider
County Emergency Services
Surrey is served by these emergency services.
- Surrey County Council press release January 17,
- The Times, March 27, 1890
- David Robinson, History of County Hall, Surrey County
- Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
- includes hunting and forestry
- includes energy and construction
- includes financial intermediation services indirectly
- Phil Shaw, The Independent, 13 July 2003, Cricket: After 400 years, history is made next
to the A323. Retrieved on 6 February 2007. Quote: "Mitcham
Green has been in continual use as a cricket venue for 317