This is a very typical Surrey village in the proportion of tile-hung, half-timber and brick houses, although not in any distinct style.

The parish church of All Saints forms a picturesque group with some cottages at the approach from The Street. It has a Saxon window of the mid-11th century and is noted for its fine, if faded, wall paintings of the Virgin, probably dating from about 1120.

Witley vicarage and church, by John Hassell, 1822  Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/3/51/2

Witley vicarage and church, by John Hassell, 1822
Surrey History Centre ref. 4348/3/51/2

John Hassell and Edward Hassell painted various views of All Saints. Use this link to see some examples.

The village is 4-5 miles south of Godalming and remained a small community until the mid 19th century. A village school was built in 1870 and a Village Institute nearby in 1883. Some houses at the northern end of the village are dated 1881 and there has been little new construction in the conservation area.

On the west side of The Street is the 18th century Witley Manor and its high brick wall which immediately abuts the road and faces a very attractive group of cottages.

Lea Park was the home of the wealthy financier J Whitaker Wright from 1890. He spent vast sums on the house and built a domed ballroom under the artificial lakes. After his business empire collapsed he was sentenced to 7 years in prison in 1904 and promptly committed suicide. He is buried in the churchyard of All Saints, Witley. When the estate was sold the Devil’s Punchbowl and Hindhead Commons were acquired by the newly formed National Trust. In 1909 the house was bought by William Pirrie, 1st Viscount Pirrie, chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, builders of the SS Titanic. Sadly Lea Park burnt down in 1952.

Click here to see the catalogue of the Witley Civil Parish Records (1894-1949) held at the Surrey History Centre.

Further information

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9 Responses to Witley

  1. Mary Redgwell says:

    Was there an Army camp in Witley/Milford/Elstead area in World War 1? Would there have been employment for a trooper in the Life Guards involving looking after horses?

  2. Dean Armond says:

    Mary Redgwell,

    There was an extensive military camp at Witley during WWI, it housed predominantly Canadian troops.

  3. tony hardy says:

    I am looking to contact any hardys from whitley.

    • Roy Pitchford says:

      Hi Tony and greetings from Australia, Whilst not directly a Hardy, my paternal grandmother Ida Charlotte Hardy was born in Witley in 1885 and her parents were Daniel and Ellen Hardy who lived at 2 Downs View Villas, Ash Road, Ash. Prior to that, the Hardy’s lived at Crossways. If you wish to contact me for any reason regarding the Hardy’s, please feel free to do so. Best regards.

  4. Ian Oliver says:

    I would like to get in contact with anyone linked to the Oliver family of Witley I am research my families history. Thanks.

  5. David Smith says:

    i would like to contact anyone related to the Smith, blacksmith Family
    from Witley & surrounding areas dating back to 1760’s
    John Smith & Beatrice Richardson would have been the main ancestors

    • Mary Smith says:

      I am descended from John and Beatrice – twice, through my paternal grandparents!

      • David Smith says:

        Hi Mary, i am also related through my paternal grandfather, there was a ling line of Alfred Shadrach Smith’s from John & Beatrice Smith
        then My Grangfather Archibald Augusus Smith, who were frpm Hayling Island in Hampshire
        please do not hesitate to contact me, as i would like to find out as much as i can, from any relations in the Witley area
        bye for now

  6. Jan Owen says:

    I am looking for information relating to a Baby boy born on 01/08/1920 possibly to a woman with the surname Booker.

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