The village and most of the parish of Esher sit on the only considerable elevation of Bagshot Sand east of the Mole Valley and so are picturesque, dry and favourite locations for houses. In 1839 Pigot and Company’s Directory said of Esher that, ‘as a place of business, it is not to be regarded: but as one where nature and art have delighted to wantonly and harmoniously unite to deck its neighbourhood, it cannot but be noted’.
The original house and famous landscape gardens at Claremont were designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the Duke of Newcastle in the early 18th century. Later, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown built the present Palladian mansion for Clive of India and landscaped the grounds. In the 19th century Claremont was the royal residence of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of the Belgians and played an important part in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
The village centre first served the large houses in the neighbourhood and grew as Victorian and later development took place, initially near to the main road and Green and later in the more widespread residential estates. Christ Church (click the link to see the Historic Environment Record for the church) and the adjoining school were built in 1853 and 1859 respectively.
Click here to see the catalogue of the Christ Church, Esher, Parish Records (1686-1901) held at the Surrey History Centre.
At the southern end of the High Street and around the Green there remain several buildings of interest, and of particular note is St. George’s Chapel, (click the link to see the Historic Environment Record for the chapel) built in 1540 and now used as a meeting hall. It contains many features of interest and includes the Newcastle Pew, a small chapel built for the family of the Duke of Newcastle in 1725-6.
- Esher District Local History Society website