Pyrford

This village, close to the M25 and bisected by the Wey Navigation Canal, is to the south-east of Woking.

The Pyrford Stone on the corner of Upshott Lane is thought to be prehistoric and there is evidence of Roman occupation. King Eadwig granted the Saxon manor of Pyrianforde to a friend in 956AD.

Pyrford was called Peliforde in the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was owned by Westminster Abbey. It remained under the Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. The Norman parish church of St. Nicholas was commenced about 1140 and has been little altered.

Newark Priory was founded at the end of the 12th century by Ruald de Clane and his wife Beatrice of Send. It was dissolved in 1539. It is said that a cannon was employed from the top of Church Hill to bombard and demolish the extensive buildings of the Priory. The lands were taken by Henry VIII to include in his hunting park. Local people came under the oppressive Forest Law. The manor of Pyrford was given by Elizabeth I to the Lord High Admiral, the Earl of Lincoln, who in 1550 built Pyrford Place. Elizabeth I is known to have visited Pyrford.

The next Lord of the Manor was Sir John Wolley who was a friend of the poet John Donne who wrote many of his famous poems here.

The Wey Navigation Canal was initiated in 1653 by Richard Weston. It covered 15 miles with 12 locks. Initially it was not a great success but later became very profitable carrying iron, leather, gunpowder and coal, transforming the life of the village.

Pyrford, the Anchor Inn, c.1955 Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

Pyrford, the Anchor Inn, c.1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

The Pyrford Enclosure Act of 1815 enclosed 1400 acres, half of which went to the Lord of the Manor. Pyrford Common is all that remains of the medieval common land.

Population grew and a school was opened in 1846. The Royal Horticultural Society moved to nearby Wisley. It owns substantial land and its famous gardens attract thousands of visitors each year.

The Waifs and Strays Society moved to Pyrford in 1915 and St. Nicholas and St. Martin homes were built for disabled children. These homes were developed into the Rowley Bristow Hospital in 1928. The hospital closed in 1992 and the land was redeveloped.

A new parish church, the Church of the Good Shepherd, was built in 1963.

Pyrford Court was built c.1910 by Clyde Young for Lord Iveagh. This was one of the last large English country houses.

Further information

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

Click here to read about Pyrford Church war memorial and Pyrford Village War Memorial Hall

Read more about the history of Pyrford Common on Carole Gale’s blog.

Click here to view a brief history of Pyrford provided by Pyrford Press.

Contributor:David Potter

One thought on “Pyrford”

  1. knightA says:

    I know in 1904 Lady Dilke died in a house down the road called ‘the rough’, however along side Pyrford Court and The Boffy there are other houses down that road, do you have any information on them houses and the people that previously lived in them?

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