A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The village of Weybridge is 8½ miles south-west of Kingston. The parish is bounded on the north by the Thames. It measures 3 miles from north to south and 1 mile from east to west, and contains 1,330 acres of land and 41 of water. It is bounded on the west by the natural stream of the Wey, and for a short distance by the artificial navigation. The Wey joins the Thames on the borders of the parish. The soil is Bagshot sand on the south, where St. George's Hill is partly in the parish. In the valleys of the Thames and Wey it is gravel and alluvium.
On the Wey are seed-crushing mills, and there are also extensive nurseries, but before the Inclosure Act of 1800 more than a third of the parish was waste, and a good deal of open land still remains, with 12½ acres of allotments for the poor.
The road from London to Chertsey passes through Weybridge and crosses the river by a bridge which gave its name to the place. (fn. 1) The bridge dates back to very early times. In 1235 Henry III granted to William son of Daniel Pincerna, for his homage and service, two mills on the River Wey, one above the 'bridge of Wey,' and the other at Feyreford, at an annual rent of five silver marks. (fn. 2) In 1571 commissioners were appointed to report on the condition of the bridge. They stated that for some years it had been so decayed as to be unsafe for passengers, and that it was now ruinous. If the queen should be at her house at Oatlands and the waters should rise, 'as often they do,' she could not pass to her forest to hunt. It was accordingly ordered that a new bridge— a horse-bridge like the last—should be built, wood being used for its construction, as stonework would be too costly. The expense was to be borne by the queen, as the land on either side belonged to her. (fn. 3) The county rebuilt the bridge in 1809. (fn. 4)
Shadbury Eyot, an island in the Thames, is in Weybridge parish. A lawsuit took place in connexion with it in 1795. (fn. 5)
In 1641 it was proposed to make a canal from Arundel through Guildford to Weybridge. An Act for the purpose was read twice and committeed, but no further proceedings were taken. (fn. 6)
Weybridge was a place of very small importance, as appears from its 14th-century description as juxta Byflet, and was taxed under Edward III at half Thames Ditton and a third of Walton on Thames. In 1607 it is recorded to have protested against the burden of carriages for royal removals in Surrey, having only one cart in the parish; (fn. 7) but it must have been increasing, probably on account of the proximity of the court at Oatlands, for in the ship-money assessment it stood at £24 to the £18 of Thames Ditton and the £38 of Walton on Thames.
In the reign of Charles II the Duke of Norfolk rebuilt a house at Weybridge near the confluence of the Wey and the Thames, which came to him from his second wife, Jane daughter of Robert Bickerton. (fn. 8) Evelyn says in his Diary, under 23 August 1678, 'I went to visit the Duke of Norfolk at his new palace at Weybridge, where he has laid out in building near £10,000 on a copyhold, and in a miserable barren sandy place by the street side; never in my life had I seen such expense to so small purpose. . . . My lord [Thomas Howard] leading me about the house made no scruple of shewing me all the hiding-places for the popish priests, and where they said Mass.' (fn. 9) After the duke's death the duchess who had married again, sold the house to Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, former mistress of James II when Duke of York. (fn. 10) She married David Collyear, Earl of Portmore, and the house continued to be the seat of the Earls of Portmore until the title became extinct in 1835. (fn. 11) The house was shortly afterwards pulled down, but the grounds are still known as Portmore Park. A view of it is in Weybridge Museum.
The residence of Frederick Duke of York at Oatlands from the time of his marriage in 1791 made the neighbourhood, in which there were already many good houses, more fashionable, and Weybridge assumed its modern character of a great residential neighbourhood. There are a great many houses of a considerable size. Brooklands is the seat of Mr. H. F. LockeKing, Oakfield of Mr. J. A. Clutton-Brock, Noirmont of Mr. P. Riddell, Oatlands Lodge of Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady. The last house contains a very fine oak mantelpiece, of the 16th century, bearing the arms of Elizabeth, brought from Winchester by a former owner. In 1907 Mr. Locke-King opened the motor racing track at Brooklands in Weybridge and Byfleet parishes. Waverley Cottage, Heath Road, is the residence of Mr. C. T. Churchill; Bridge House, Heath Road, of Mr. H. Seymour Trower.
The Inclosure Act of 1800 (fn. 12) inclosed 422 acres, including common fields.
St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic chapel was originally built by Mrs. Taylor in 1836 to take the place of a smaller chapel opened in 1834, and now used as a school. It was the temporary burying-place of Louis Philippe, king of the French, his queen, and many members of his family, whose bodies were removed to Dreux in 1876. In 1881 it was rebuilt and consecrated by Cardinal Manning. In 1894 the Comte de Paris was buried here.
WEYBRIDGE is said to have been granted by Frithwald of Surrey to Chertsey Monastery before 675, (fn. 13) and in 933 this grant was confirmed by Athelstan. (fn. 14) At the time of the Domesday Survey the monastery held in demesne 2 hides in Weybridge, which Alured had held in King Edward's time; and in the same vill an Englishman also held 2 hides of the same abbey. (fn. 15)
In 1239 Geoffrey de Lucy was holding the manor of the abbey and received a grant of a weekly market on Tuesday and of a yearly fair there on the vigil, feast, and morrow of the translation of St. Nicholas. (fn. 16) In 1284 he died seised of the hamlet of Weybridge held of the Abbot and convent of Chertsey in free socage, rendering to them 15s. yearly, to Richard le Grant for a meadow called Grant's-mead half a pound of pepper, and to Sir Hamo de Gatton one mark. The estate contained in demesne 20 acres of arable land, 16 acres of meadow, pasture called Contese and Gers'm, also rents of assize, a fishery, &c., and was valued at £6 13s. 10¾d. He left a son and heir Geoffrey, aged seventeen. (fn. 17)
It is not known when Weybridge became a royal manor. Byfleet, which often passed with it, and which, like Weybridge, had been held of Chertsey and was annexed to the duchy of Cornwall, was in the king's hands in the reign of Edward I (see Byfleet). Weybridge was apparently annexed to the duchy of Cornwall before 1346, for in that year Reginald de Wodeham and others invaded the closes and houses of Edward the king's son, Duke of Cornwall, at Weybridge, mowed his hay, cut his trees, and hindered his servants in the collection of rents. (fn. 18) This seems to prove that there was some local feeling against the justice of the royal acquisition.
In 1540 Henry VIII annexed it, together with Byfleet Manor, &c., to the honour of Hampton Court, assigning to the duchy in return the manor of Shippon, co. Berks. (fn. 19) From this time onwards the manor appears to have been held by the Crown and leased out to various persons, generally to the possessors of Oatlands. In 1578 Queen Elizabeth granted free warren in Weybridge Manor to Thomas Wilkins and others. (fn. 20) James I granted leases of the manor successively to Henry Prince of Wales, (fn. 21) to Queen Anne, (fn. 22) to Sir Francis Bacon, (fn. 23) and (in reversion) to Charles Prince of Wales. (fn. 24) Denzil Lord Holles held the manor under a lease from Charles II. (fn. 25) In 1749 Abel Walter received a grant of it in reversion after a lease for 1,000 years from George II. (fn. 26)
In 1804 an Act of Parliament (fn. 27) enabled the Duke of York to become owner of the leasehold under the Crown. His estates were broken up at his death in 1827 (see Oatlands). Mr. Henry Edwards Paine is now lord of the manor.
OATLANDS and the former manor of HUNDULSHAM, or HUNEW ALDESHAM. In 1086 Herfrey held Weybridge of Odo Bishop of Bayeux. Two sisters had held it in King Edward's time. When the bishop possessed himself of this land he had not the king's livery officer or writ therefor, as the hundred testified. (fn. 28) This cannot have been what was known as the manor of Weybridge, since that was held simultaneously by the Abbot and convent of Chertsey. It seems probable, therefore, that we have in this extract from Domesday the early history of the only other manor in the parish, that of Hunewaldesham or Hundulsham, afterwards included in the manor of Oatlands. Hunewaldesham was one of the alleged gifts of Frithwald to Chertsey, (fn. 29) so that this was another of the many usurpations of the bishop recorded in Domesday. There is, however, a gap of nearly two hundred years before any further mention of the estate occurs. In 1252–3 Richer Maunsell and his wife Cecilia conveyed land in Hunewaldesham to Sarra de Wodeham; and Richer conveyed land in Hunewaldesham to Joan widow of William de Hunewaldesham. In 1271–2 James de Wodeham made a grant in Hunewaldesham to John de Souwy. (fn. 30) In 1290 Robert atte Otlond and Sibill his wife granted to James son of James de Wodeham 2 acres of land in Weybridge at a yearly rent of one rose. (fn. 31) In 1324 the Wodehams held property in Weybridge consisting of a messuage, 64 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 5 acres of pasture, 6 acres of wood, and a rent of 6s. (fn. 32) Fifty years later John de Wodeham, son and heir of Reginald Wodeham, (fn. 33) granted to John Bouelythe lands in the parish of Weybridge called Hunewaldesham. (fn. 34) In 1383 Symon atte Otlond is mentioned as paying a rent to Byfleet Manor, (fn. 35) probably for 'Otlond,' which was held of Byfleet, and a Simon atte Weybridge appears in the Court Rolls in 1389 as holding 'Otlond.'
Late in the 15th century John de Wodeham died seised of Hundulsham Manor, which descended from him to his daughter and heiress, Margery Waker. (fn. 36) She was disturbed in her possession by the heirs of Sir Bartholomew Reed. In 1505 Sir Bartholomew Reed, kt., had died seised of land in Weybridge called 'Otland,' (fn. 37) which he bequeathed to his wife Elizabeth, with remainder to his nephew William Reed. (fn. 38) After his death Dame Elizabeth and William Reed, the latter a goldsmith of London, took possession not only of those lands in Weybridge which Sir Bartholomew had undoubtedly held, but also of Hundulsham Manor. Thomas Waker, son and heir of Margery, appealed in the Court of Requests against the injustice of this proceeding, stating that as he himself was a poor man with but few friends, while the Reeds were 'of great substance' and had great friends in the county, he was not able to sue against them. The Reeds denied that there had ever been such a manor as Hundulsham, (fn. 39) but said that Sir Bartholomew had been seised of two messuages and various lands in Weybridge, and that his right to them had been admitted in 1499 by Joan Arnold, daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of John Wodeham, who had quitclaimed from her heirs to Sir Bartholomew and his heirs. (fn. 40) Rightly or wrongly, the Reeds won their case: the manor of Hundulsham is never mentioned again, and in September 1534 William Reed died seised of 'the manor called "Oteland" in Weybridge held of the ex-Queen Catherine,' and a number of tenements in Weybridge, under the will of his uncle Bartholomew. (fn. 41) His son John was still a minor, and was placed under the guardianship of Cromwell. (fn. 42) A letter from Thomas Stydolf to Cromwell is still in existence, arranging for John Reed to come to Weybridge to attend his father's month-mind. There was to be 'a great assembly of his kin,' and Isabel Reed, John's stepmother, thought it right for him to be present. (fn. 43) Mistress Isabel was a thorn in Cromwell's side; she continued to live at Oatlands for a time as his tenant, and made various efforts to get possession of her stepson's property. (fn. 44) However, in 1537 John Reed and his guardian conveyed the manor of Oatlands to Henry VIII, who wished to annex it to the honour of Hampton Court, (fn. 45) receiving in exchange the house, lands, &c., of the suppressed monastery of Tandridge. (fn. 46) In December 1537 the king spent a fortnight at Oatlands in the Reed's old house (fn. 47); and he set on foot repairs there as well as at Hampton Court and Nonsuch. (fn. 48) The building of the new palace began in 1538. During the next few years he paid frequent short visits to his new palace, and was there married to Katherine Howard. (fn. 49) Queen Elizabeth visited Oatlands on several occasions, (fn. 50) for the last time in August, 1602, when she is said to have shot with a crossbow in the paddock. (fn. 51) James I, with the queen and prince, was at Oatlands for some time before his coronation. (fn. 52) In 1611 he granted the manor, house, and park to the queen for eighty years. (fn. 53)
Charles I stayed several times at Oatlands, partly for the sake of the stag-hunting, (fn. 54) though he found the accommodation insufficient for his retinue. (fn. 55) In 1640 his fourth son, Henry Duke of Gloucester, was born there. (fn. 56) The head-quarters of the royal army were there after the advance to London had been stopped at Turnham Green in 1642. (fn. 57) Charles himself was taken to Oatlands on his journey from Holdenby House in August, 1647, (fn. 58) and apparently spent some days there in the charge of the Commissioners, as Lord Montagu wrote from here to the Commons requesting more money for the king's privy purse, and that his clothes, table-linen, &c. might be sent there. (fn. 59)
Most of the buildings were destroyed and the land was disparked during the Interregnum, a quantity of timber being felled in the park for the use of the navy; (fn. 60) but after the Restoration the queen-dowagor regained possession of Oatlands. (fn. 61) The estate was subsequently leased to Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans (traditionally the second husband of Queen Henrietta Maria), who sold his interest in it to Sir Edward Herbert, who lived in the Reeds' old house. (fn. 62) Sir Edward was a faithful servant of James II, and was attainted in consequence of having taken part in that king's invasion of Ireland; his estates were confiscated, and Oatlands reverted to the Crown. In 1696 Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington, his elder brother, obtained from William III a grant in fee-simple of Oatlands, which he bequeathed in 1716 to Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln. The latter formed the gardens at Oatlands about 1725, and rebuilt the house on the terrace, which was burnt down in 1793. (fn. 63) He died in 1728, and was succeeded by his son George, who only lived eighteen months after his father's death. The second son, Henry, came into the property, which he held for many years. He altered the garden, built the grotto, and made the Broad Water. He became Duke of Newcastle in 1768; and some time before his death in 1794 sold Oatlands to Frederick Duke of York. (fn. 64) The Duke of York died in 1827, and Oatlands was then sold to Mr. Edward Ball Hughes. The estate has since been broken up; much of it was bought by Lord Francis Egerton and the Hon. John Locke-King. The house of the Duke of York, rebuilt after the fire of 1793, has been mostly pulled down, but part is incorporated in the Oatlands Park Hotel. A great part of the park, in the two parishes of Weybridge and Walton on Thames, is covered with villa residences.
The site of the palace is in the grounds of Oatlands Lodge, Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady's estate. In the garden walls are two gateways, bricked up, surmounted by fine flat pointed arches of moulded brickwork, and the traces of two blocked windows. These belonged to the small building shown in views on the northwest side of the courtyard of the palace. There is much old brickwork in the garden walls. There also remains what is known as the Subterranean Passage, along the line of the west side of the main building. It is in places 10 ft. wide, but has been narrowed by party walls in others. It is covered by a pointed arch of brickwork, and a cellar opening from it has a good arched entrance of moulded brick. It apparently extended beyond the palace at both ends. It has been interrupted, and its length is not exactly known. Though rather puzzling from its length, it probably was a basement to keep the house dry. There is a well in it, still used to supply a pump in the gardens, and as the cellar opens from it, it was clearly not a sewer. Tradition says that it reached at the north-west to Dorney House, in Weybridge. In the grounds of the same estate is the well-known grotto, built of tufa, quartz, shells and spars, with winding passages, imitation stalactites, and a marble bath, now dry. It was made for the Duke of Newcastle and was formerly much admired. The allied Sovereigns lunched in it in 1814. The skull of Eclipse, the race-horse, is kept in it.
The estate known as BROOKLANDS formed part of Oatlands Manor. (fn. 65) It was held by Isabel Reed in 1535, and was annexed by Henry VIII to the honour of Hampton Court. (fn. 66) In 1541 it was granted to Thomas Hungate. (fn. 67) In 1610 the king leased it to John Eldred and others. (fn. 68) The property was acquired by the Duke of York when he held Oatlands, and was sold to Mr. Ball Hughes. It was bought from him by the Hon. John Locke-King. The Duke of York pulled down the house built by George Payne, a friend of Warren Hastings. (fn. 69) A new house has now been built, the property of Mr. H. F. Locke-King, J.P. The Brooklands Automobile Club holds the ground covered by the motor racing track, which extends beyond Brooklands into Byfleet.
Dorney House also formed part of the Crown property in Weybridge. It was leased by Queen Elizabeth to John Woulde, yeoman, (fn. 70) who died in 1598. (fn. 71) In the reign of Charles I it was granted for twenty-five years to Humphrey Dethick, gentleman usher, (fn. 72) who died in 1642 and was buried in Weybridge Church. There is extant an address by the author of a history of the Netherlands to his two sons dated at Dorney House, 15 November 1621. (fn. 73)
In 1461 Edward IV granted to Thomas Warner, citizen and ironmonger of London, for life, two acres of land called Weybridge Hawe at a rent of 3s. 4d. per acre. (fn. 74) Two years later he licensed him to build a wharf or quay on this land, which bordered on the River Thames, and to load and unload vessels there, and take merchandise to and from the City of London and other places adjoining the river. (fn. 75) Henry VII granted the Hawe wharf to William Reed for 13s. 4d. yearly, and Reed leased it to Richard Allddere for £3 6s. 8d. over and above the king's rent. After Reed's death a dispute arose as to his tenure of the property, and Stydolf wrote to advise Cromwell to step in while the matter was yet undecided and take possession of it. (fn. 76) The name of Warner, wharfinger of Ham Hawe, occurs in 1636; he was summoned for sending his barges weekly to London in spite of the orders to the contrary which had been given in consequence of the prevalence of the plague. (fn. 77) But probably, though resident in Weybridge, his landingstage was on the other side of the river, in Ham in Chertsey.
The church of ST. JAMES is a fairsized modern structure designed by Pearson, and consists of a chancel with a north vestry and organ chamber, a nave with a north and two south aisles, one being a later addition, and a western tower with a stone broach spire. The whole church is in 13th-century style, and is of excellent design. The chancel is extremely ornate, and is completely lined with polished marbles and further decorated with glass mosaics. The colour scheme is so well conceived and the materials so well chosen that the general effect, while rich in the extreme, is quite free from gaudiness. The texture and degree of polish of the various marbles is also managed with considerable subtlety. It is worthy of note that the whole of this decorative treatment was at the cost of an anonymous benefactor. The old church stood in the present churchyard, a little to the north of the existing structure.
There are in the tower a number of brasses brought from the old church. On the south is one to John Woulde, esq., 1598, and his two wives; the first—Adrye (formerly the wife of Thomas Street), 1596, by whom he had four daughters and four sons; the second, Elizabeth (Notte, formerly the wife of Henry Standish), date of death left blank, by whom he had five sons and three daughters. There are three shields of arms. The first bears an owl standing in an orle. A second is Street, of six quarters: (1), three Catherine wheels; (2), a cheveron; (3) six griffons segreant; (4) three harts' heads razed; (5) bendy; (6) three roundels, between five crosslets fitchy, impaling a bend with three martlets thereon between three leopards' heads, for Adrye. The third shield bears the coat given above impaling ermine three roundels and a cinqfoil. On the north side of the tower is a monument, with three skeletons, and the inscription:—
|Three of ye children of||Sir John Trevor, Kt. and Dame Margaret||viz.||Francis||buried||1596|
Also an inscription plate to Humphrey Dethick, 1642, 'who was one of his Mates Gentn Vshers (Dayly waiter)'; with the arms (Argent) a fesse vairy (or and gules) between three water bougets (sable), for Dethick quartering Allestry and (?) Boshall. Another brass is to 'Thomas Inwood ye Elder, late of this towne, Yoman,' 1586, with the kneeling figures of himself and his three wives and their children.
The first book of registers contains mixed entries from 1625 to 1762, the burials to 1676 only. The second has burials from 1678 to 1775; the third, mixed entries from 1771 to 1797; the fourth, baptisms from 1797 to 1824; the fifth, marriages from 1797 to 1820. There is also a book of banns from 1754 to 1812.
The advowson of Weybridge Church belonged with the manor to Chertsey Abbey. In the early 13th century the monks transferred it to Newark Priory, (fn. 78) reserving a rent of 6s. 8d. (fn. 79) In 1262 the priory obtained licence for an appropriation, and from the Winchester Episcopal Registers it appears that vicars were instituted till 1414. The latter part of the Beaufort Register (1415–47) is lost, but in 1450 the church was presented to as a rectory by John Penycoke (fn. 80) (probably by grant from the priory), and the presentations have since continued under that denomination. After the dissolution of Chertsey Abbey the king granted the payment due to it from Weybridge Church to his new monastery at Bisham, (fn. 81) but retained the advowson, which has ever since remained with the Crown. (fn. 82)
During the Commonwealth period the living was sequestrated, and temporary ministers were appointed. In 1657 the Commissioners for inquiry into ecclesiastical matters reported that 'the patrons of Weybridge were the Lords.' In 1660 the king appointed to the living as before. (fn. 83)