Mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086, the area called ‘Benestede’ is known to have existed as early as the seventh or eighth centuries. Banstead is located on the North Downs east of the main road between Sutton and Reigate.

Today, Banstead is mainly residential with a thriving High Street lined with shops and restaurants. Just south of the High Street lies All Saints Church, a Grade II listed building which stands on ground 126 metres above sea level. A church has existed on the site for at least a thousand years.

All Saints church, Banstead, by John Hassell, 1823. Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/2/78/1

All Saints church, Banstead, by John Hassell, 1823
Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/2/78/1

Until about 150 years ago, Banstead was a small village centred round the Village Well at the east end of the High Street. At the time, the street was only the width of a country lane with London clearly visible in the far distance when looking to the north. The village was surrounded by open fields, downland and woods with a number of large houses that had extensive grounds and parklands. Scattered amongst the open countryside were farmhouses and cottages.

Excavation of the new Croydon-Epsom railway line at Kingswood, 1898. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 40

Excavation of the new Croydon-Epsom railway line at Kingswood, 1898
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 40

Banstead has been home to many prominent families including the Buckles and the Lamberts who lived in the area from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Banstead has also been connected with a number of notable local individuals including Hubert de Burgh, a powerful figure in the 13th century and in the 20th century, Lord Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. Lord Tedder lived at Well Farm which is the oldest surviving house in Banstead.

Rapid expansion of the village started in the 1920s after the sale of the large Garratts Hall and Nork Park estates for house building and has continued after a break for the Second World War. It was not until the 1950s that the east end of the High Street, badly damaged by a flying bomb during the Second World War, was redeveloped. The present Woolpack Inn was then rebuilt behind the old original damaged building and the road widened.

The old Village Well still stands at the east end of the High Street close to the War Memorial.

In recent years there have been more changes. In particular, the old Village school in the High Street has been replaced by a supermarket and the Victoria Public House at the west end of the High Street has been turned into a restaurant.

Did You Know?

Gally Hills” Saxon (410 – 1066 AD) burial barrows near Banstead were excavated in 1972. A Saxon warrior burial was found, with a spear, knife and hanging bowl. The name Gally Hills probably shows that a gallows stood nearby, which would explain later burials found of victims of hanging.

Finds from Gally Hills included a hanging bowl and spear boss. Image: Bourne Hall Museum

Finds from Gally Hills included a hanging bowl and spear boss
Image: Bourne Hall Museum

Further information

Search...Search for records related to Banstead on this website

  • The Banstead History Research Group has an extensive set of local history publications and a well illustrated website at www.bansteadhistory.com

8 Responses to Banstead

  1. Bill Mallion says:

    I was an 11 year-old schoolboy in 1943. From the St Helier Estate my friend and I watched in horror as a USAF P38 Lockheed Lightning plummeted from a great height in a blue sky. A plume of smoke rose from the far end of Sutton Bypass. Frustratingly, we had to be back at school for the afternoon, but that over, we trecked up the bypass, and on the edge of the Downs, where it joins Brighton Road, and just before the “EWS” emergency water tank, we found an ugly scar of churned-up earth and gorse, surrounded by a rope, a small crowd, and a special constable standing guard. The P.C. prevented us from searching in the crater for “souvenirs”. I’ve often wondered what happened to the pilot, and whether the site has been excavated since. One June evening/night in 1944, from our house at the top of Reigate Avenue, we heard a loud rattling, “heavy motorbike” noise coming from Banstead direction. There was a loud explosion and the ground shook. Could this have been the first “local” Doodlebug? Hundreds more followed and my brothers & sister and I would plot their course from the horizon (just beyond Banstead X-roads)right over our house, towards Raynes Park, Motspur Park, etc. Sometimes their rocket motor would cut-out before they reached us and they’d dive and hit (EG) St Helier Hospital, Ridge Road, D’Arcy Rd Cheam. That was the signal for us to scuttle to the brick shelter in the back garden! In 1953, my girlfriend and I took the 80A bus from Rose Hill to Great Tattenhams. We walked round the “back doubles” and emerged by Well House. I proposed to Joan in the garden of The Woolpack, over ham sandwiches, 1/2pt cider and and am exotic Babychamp for Joan! It was a temporary, patched-up building, much ravaged by (perhaps the same?) V1 flying bomb which exploded opposite. I remember the two sets of steps to the front doors were still intact. I treated my fiancee Joan to a cut-off-the-bone ham sandwich and a Babychamp, and my drink was 1/2 pint of cider! The exotic evening was rounded-off by a return trip on the 164, passing by the Sutton & Cheam Hospital (“Struggle and Scream”, as some conductors called it!). I doubt if the present occupiers of our Raigate Avenue house can enjoy the panoramic view we had of Sutton, Belmont and Banstead. A huge shops and flats complex opposite now blocks the view, I suspect. Greetings to all old Surreyites. Bill (exiled in Sufolk!) 18 March 2009

    • simon says:

      what a lovely story,i am moved,,my mum an dad lived on st helier around that time ,st albans grove,,an torre walk

    • simon says:

      did the plane explode in the air,i go walking on the common and there is bits of metal ,thats not old bikes or bits of car , or left over from the railway building,

  2. In 1943, aged 12, I was attending Picquets Way Secondary School for Boys. It must have been between between 12 and 1pm as I and my friend, Peter Foster, had almost reached our home road, Ferndale. There then appeared a US Lightning plane flying low in a northerly direction but clearly on fire and trailing lots of smoke. We watched it disappear towards Belmont but knew it had crashed from the muffled explosion and subsequent column of smoke. We both collected our bikes and went to investigate the fate of the plane. We found the crash site on Banstead Downs on the west side of the main road and not far from the start of the Sutton Bypass. The parachute of the unfortunate pilot was draped on a hawthorn tree with body parts scattered around. The plane was completely destroyed.We were obviously at the site before the police or military arrived. The experience is one of those which will never be forgotten and which brought home the cruel reality of war.

  3. Bill Mallion says:

    I was so fascinated to read Roy\’s account of the Lightning crash. People often say to me, \”How can you possibly remember such details from so long ago?\” It\’s nice when sombody else corroborates large parts of one\’s memories. Thankyou, Roy! As a lad, having made sure all our lights were off, I\’d peer out of our landing window at 24 Reigate Avenue Sutton, into the dense, blacked-out night. From there, I\’d peer until my eyes adjusted, and watched the Banstead Crossroads traffic lights changing- 3 miles away. Bear in mind that each lamp was masked, leaving a tiny cross barely 2 inches across! I\’d never find out if my eyes were up to it nowadays, due to the huge Rose Hillshops and flats development that\’s grown up to block the view! 16/2/2011

  4. Don Clifford says:

    No explosion no fire just a cloud of dust.We lived very nearby and hurried to the spot. I was just three and a half and very impressed by all the yellow I remember to this day: the special paint inside all the parts. My 9 year old brother exclaimed about something in the trees and my mother told us not to look.

  5. Susi Palmer says:

    Looking for information on Belmont Preparatory School for Girls, at 11-17 Station Road Banstead
    Principal was a Miss Attrill, and there was a Miss Doris, who I believe was related to Ms. Attrill. Grateful for any information the the two women and what happened to the school. It looked as thought it had been demolished when I went to take a look in 1994- 1995!

  6. R M says:

    The USAAF Lightning air crash mentioned above happened on May 31st 1944.

    The pilot was 22 year-old Second Lieutenant Andrew Leslie Jackson, USAAF. Andrew was assigned to the 33rd Photographic Reconnaisance Squadron, 10th Photographic Reconnaisance Group and had been with the squadron for a week. He was killed in the crash which occurred on a training mission, and he was posthumously awarded the US Distinguished Flying Cross for steering his aircraft away from houses.

    A detailed biography of Andrew is at:
    http://www.33rdprs.photorecon.org/html/history/ALJackso.html

    Details of his aircraft are at:
    http://www.33rdprs.photorecon.org/html/aircraft/F5C1.html

    Details of his burial place can been found at:
    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Jackson&GSfn=Andrew&GSmn=L&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1944&GSdyrel=in&GSst=3&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=50818554&df=all&

    I hope this is of some use.

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