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Godalming History

GODALMING, a parish, municipal borough, market and post town in the first division of the hundred of Godalming, county Surrey, 4 miles S.W. of Guildford, 17 in the same direction from Dorking, and 34 from London by the South-Western railway, which has a station here. It is situated on the river Wey, and the London and Portsmouth turnpike road passes through the town. The parish includes the tythings of Binscomb, Catteshall, Deanshold, Upper and Lower Eashing, Ferncombe, Labourn, and several small places.

In the will of Alfred he calls it Godelming, and bequeaths it to his nephew Ethelwald. The bishops of Salisbury, in the reign of Henry II., came into possession of it. The demesne afterwards passed to the Paston and More families. The town was incorporated in the reign of Elizabeth.

The local government is vested in a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 common councilmen. It is clean, well paved, and lighted with gas. It contains a townhall, commodious public hall for meetings, a commercial and savings-bank, and a county court. The chief employments of the people are in the paper and flour mills, also tanning, leather making, and the manufacture of hosiery and parchment. The mills are situated on the river Wey, which is here crossed by abridge, and flows with great strength to Weybridge, where it mingles its waters with the Thames. Good building-stone is obtained in large quantities.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Winchester, value £461, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is an ancient edifice, built in the form of a cross, and dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul. It contains several monuments and tombs, and two brasses of the early part of the 16th century, one being to Owen Manning, a former vicar, who compiled a history of this county.

There is also a district church at Farncombe, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £120, in the patronage of the bishop. The charitable endowments and funds consist of Wyatt's almshouses and Smith's bequest of money. The former are under the jurisdiction and patronage of the Carpenters' Company; and the latter is derived from an estate which produces upwards of £300 per annum, the proceeds being spent in clothing and binding as apprentices the children of the poor. They produce, in all, upwards of £400 per annum.

The Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians have chapels, and there are National, British, and infant schools, for the children of both sexes. The neighbourhood abounds with springs of pure water. There are many villas and respectable residences in the vicinity of the town. The Surrey Union hounds meet here. Wednesday and Saturday are market days, and fairs are held on the 13th February and 10th July.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003] These pages are intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use