An exciting new project, Tales and Trails of the Tillingbourne Valley, which invites communities to work together and engage in this unique nationally important historic landscape, has recently started. Find out more here.
The parish, which includes the villages of Shere, Gomshall and Peaslake, lies between Guildford and Dorking. Shere and Gomshall are at the foot of the North Downs and beside the little river Tillingbourne; Peaslake is further south, in the greensand hills.
Today it seems to be a very rural parish with several farms and cows in the fields: in the 17th century there were twenty mills along the twelve mile length of the Tillingbourne and four of these were in the parish. Gomshall Mill is now a restaurant, but the mill wheel is still there.
The two industries associated with the parish are weaving and tanning. There were sheep to provide the wool which was spun by the women before weaving. On a map of 1753 Shere and Gomshall are labelled as ‘famous for weaving of fustian’.
Tanning needs hides and skins of cattle and sheep, clear running water and oak bark as a tanning agent, all present in Gomshall. One tannery became a major international business until it closed in 1989.
All three villages in the parish have a number of old timber-framed houses. In some of them there are beams dating back to before 1500 but the majority were built between 1560 and 1620 and are lived in and cherished by their current owners.
Click here to see the catalogue of the St James, Shere, Parish records and Shere Civil Parish Records (1776- 1968) held at the Surrey History Centre.
- Shere, Gomshall & Peaslake Local History Society publications:
Old Houses in the Parish of Shere ISBN 0-9550620-0-4
The Tillingbourne Story ISBN 0-9550620-2-0
Shere, Gomshall & Peaslake: A Short History ISBN 0-9550620-1-2
A Tannery in Gomshall ISBN 0-9528625-3-7For details see the society website
- Also see:
Shere: a Surrey Village in Maps ISBN 0-9541460-0-X
Shere Poverty: from Parish Workhouse to Union Workhouse ISBN 0-9528625-0-6
- Available from St James church:
History of St James Church , Shere Leaflet: Christine Carpenter, Anchoress of Shere
- Shere, Gomshall & Peaslake Local History Society meets on the second Tuesday in the month (not December, January or August) at 8pm in Shere Village Hall for a talk relating to local history. Outings are arranged. There is a small group engaged in local history research and we undertake projects such as recording the headstones in the new graveyard.
Enquiries to Barbara Karlsson, Dial Cottage, Shere Lane, Shere GU5 9HS
- Shere Museum. Shere Museum is now housed in the original Shere Parish Hall in Surrey, which was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1898.