There are an interesting range of historical buildings, manor houses and inns in the town dating back as far as the 15th century. Downe Place is recorded as one of Cobham’s most important medieval estates, owned by the Downe family until the 17th century.
In 1822 John Hassell painted a watercolour entitled ‘Payne’s Hill [Painshill, Cobham] the seat of Lady Carhampton’.
Located in central Surrey, north of the chalk Downs and south of the River Thames. The Thames is joined here by the River Mole which was a major reason for the town’s development.
A number of the town’s buildings tell us a lot about the social and religious practices of Cobham since the 17th century. Cobham became a Quaker centre in the 1670s and a Quaker meeting house was built in 1680. In the 18th century, Cobham Workhouse was located on the south eastern side of the town. However, Cobham’s poorest were eventually transferred to Epsom. A schoolroom for the poor was built in 1833. Later this was turned in to a parish room, a fire engine house and, finally, a warehouse.
Early schooling in Cobham seems to have been a largely charitable affair. A local Lord financed a school for forty children in the 1720s and Church Stile House in Church Street was used as a school for crippled children in 1822.
Two bridges over the River Mole were built in the town. Cobham Bridge is said to have been built by Queen Matilda in the 12th century. This wooden structure was replaced with a brick one in 1780. Downside Bridge was first built in the 16th century. This was destroyed by floods in 1968 and the present bridge opened in 1971.
See the catalogue of the St Andrew’s church, Cobham, Parish Records (1409 -1966) held at the Surrey History Centre.
A great deal of the development of Cobham town has taken place within the last century. Until the 20th century, Church Street was the old shopping area of the town, and High Street contained little more than a few houses, a dairy farm and a forge.