This small hamlet sits to the north of the Hogs Back, five miles west of Guildford, but the parish extends over the North Downs. The small settlement has a very long history. Flint and bronze implements have been found in the fields. The name Wanborough is from Wenberge, the Anglo-Saxon name for the White Barrow, a burial mound on the Hogs Back. On the northern boundary of the parish is an area known as Christmas Pie where a Romano-British temple was discovered. It became renowned in the 1980s when large numbers of metal detectorists robbed the site during the nights and local police chased them across the fields in an attempt to recover some of the thousands of stolen golden coins.

Great Barn, Wanborough
Image: Margaret Saunders

After the invasion of 1066 the settlement was laid to waste by the Norman army travelling to London along the chalk ridge. The Domesday Book of 1086 records that two manors and a church existed in Wanborough before the Norman conquest. The monks of Waverley Abbey purchased the land in the 12th century and were responsible for building the Great Barn, still standing today, used by the monks for storing fleeces. Guildford, renowned for its blue woollen cloth, was a nearby market for the wool they produced.

Wanborough, the Church, 1906
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

The church fell into disuse in the 17th century, one local man being prosecuted for keeping pigs and chickens in the building, But after a time as a stable and a carpenter’s shop it was restored in 1861 so that it could be used also by Puttenham people whilst their church was being restored. In the 17th century the manor house was rebuilt by Thomas Dalmahoy, MP for Guildford. He had married the widowed Duchess of Hamilton who had inherited the manor as well as the Friary estate in Guildford. In the 19th century Sir Algernon West, private secretary to the Prime Minster William Gladstone, was a tenant of the manor. As a director of the London and South East Railway he named the station on the new line at Normandy as ‘Wanborough’.

During World War II the manor was leased to the War Office for the training of SOE agents. These agents were dropped into occupied France and many later died in concentration camps.

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One Response to Wanborough

  1. Raymond Byrne says:

    35 years ago I came to Wanborough (I think) on a school geography trip. The teacher brought us to a pond that he said was a spring, an artesian well. It held water that was the clearest blue. A sight to behold. Similar to the colour of the Silent Pool in years gone by. He said that the spring was on private property and the school had to get permission for us to be there. Am I right that there is a spring here and how would I be able to go and visit it?

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