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.

Shere, High Street, 1924
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

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.

St. James’ Church, Shere, 2007
Image: Shere History Society

The squint & quatrefoil in the church, relating to the anchoress who once lived there.
Image: Shere History Society

Willow and Ash cottages, Shere. Together they form a 3-bayed Wealden house
Image: Shere History Society

Gomshall Mill, 2007
Image: Shere History Society

Towerhill Manor, Gomshall
Image: Shere History Society

Hazel Hall, Peaslake
Image: Shere History Society

Keepers, Peaslake
Image: Shere History Society

Further information

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

  • Shere, Gomshall & Peaslake Local History Society publications:
    bookOld Houses in the Parish of Shere ISBN 0-9550620-0-4
    bookThe Tillingbourne Story ISBN 0-9550620-2-0
    book Shere, Gomshall & Peaslake: A Short History ISBN 0-9550620-1-2
    bookA Tannery in Gomshall ISBN 0-9528625-3-7For details see the society website
  • Also see:
    bookShere: a Surrey Village in Maps ISBN 0-9541460-0-X
    bookShere Poverty: from Parish Workhouse to Union Workhouse ISBN 0-9528625-0-6

bookPeaslake: Story of a Surrey village ISBN 0-9532742-3-3
bookGomshall Mill: the Harris millers and their Shere connections ISBN 0-9551501-0-8

  • Available from St James church:
    bookHistory 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.

9 Responses to Shere

  1. Tristan says:

    Love your website – Really informative
    Here is Shere Church in the mid 1800’s

  2. Donald Norman Wilkins says:

    I was an evacuee to Gomshall during World War Two. (1940).
    I and my two brothers (William John Wilkins) & ( Alan Richard Thomas Wilkins) were taken in by Mr and Mrs Oswald and Helen Theobald, at Tower Hill Manor Gomshall.
    I remember having my 8th birthday at Tower Hill Manor
    I went to school in Shere.
    I am now 81 years old and completing a memoir, and would like to know more about the Theobalds I do recall three Theobald children ‘Joy” ‘Susan’ and ‘Peter’.
    Thank you in advance for any help you can give in this matter. Thank you D.N. Wilkins

  3. Peter Richard Wilkins says:

    This is a response to the post by Donald Norman Wilkins, I am the son of your brother Alan. I found this post whilst looking up some information on the house for a recent trip dad made back to visit the house as it is now. I would love to be able to exchange some information with you as dad has some letters going back to this time. This may assist if you have not completed your memoirs already. Hope to hear from you, Peter Richard Wilkins

    • Kim Wilkins Haskitt says:

      Peter…. doubt my dad looked at this but I just found it!!! Not sure how to contact you without us getting SPAMMED. Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Try haskittkids (at) gmail. com
      (spaced and spelled out to try to prevent spam…)

  4. Steve Mount says:

    My Nan was a Weller who were very active in Shere, owning the bakery and various businesses in the village. Also my grt grt grandmother was Maria Hooker, whos family were also a Shere family.

    • Don Longhurst says:

      To Steve Mount.
      It was Alf Weller who ran the bakery business or rather his wife. He ran the coal merchants in Middle Street. This was all after Fred Weller (brother?) retired and he ran the car hire business and maybe the coal business also. Alf had two sons Mick who later lived at Pathfields and David who became a fireman.
      The only Hooker I know of lived in Orchard Road. He was Fred and was a wheelwright and carriage maker in Lower Street. My grandfather bought his business and it became a builders premises. Contact me if you need more information.

  5. Robert Wilson says:

    Where did author Antony Gibbs live in Peaslake.

  6. Scott Read says:

    I am the grandson of the Reads that ran the butchers in Abinger, Shere and Peaslake. The Read butcher was in operation from about 1834 to about 1984.

    • Don Longhurst says:

      I knew Ernie Read who lived next door to his butchers shop in Gomshall Lane Shere. He was a keen fossil collector and I believe many of the fossils in Guildford Museum were donated by him.

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