Farnham: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°12′50″N 0°47′56″W / 51.214°N 0.799°W / 51.214; -0.799

Castle Street
Farnham is located in Surrey

 Farnham shown within Surrey
Population 38,000 
OS grid reference SU839468
District Waverley
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Farnham
Postcode district GU9
Dialling code 01252
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament South West Surrey
List of places: UK • England • Surrey

Farnham is a town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley. The town is situated some 42 miles (67 km) southwest of London in the extreme west of Surrey, adjacent to the border with Hampshire. By road Guildford is 11 miles (17 km) to the east, Aldershot 4 miles (7 km) to the north-east and Winchester 28 miles (45 km) to the south-west. It is of historic interest, with many old buildings, including a number of Georgian houses. Farnham Castle overlooks the town. A short distance south-east of the town centre are the ruins of Waverley Abbey, Moor Park House and Mother Ludlam's Cave. Farnham is twinned with Andernach in Germany.



Farnham's history and present status are mainly the result of its geography; a combination of river, streams, fresh water springs and varied soils, together with a temperate climate, attracted early man to the area and, even today, the geology of the area greatly influences the town, both in terms of communications, scenic and botanic variety and the main local industries of agriculture and minerals extraction. Farnham Geological Society is an active organisation in the town, and the Museum of Farnham has a collection of geological samples and fossils.[1]

Farnham lies in the valley of the North Branch of the River Wey, which rises near Alton, merges with the South Branch at Tilford, and joins the River Thames at Weybridge. The mainly east-west alignment of the ridges and valleys has influenced the development of road and rail communications. The most prominent geological feature is the chalk of the North Downs which forms a ridge (the Hog's Back) to the east of the town, and continues through Farnham Park to the north of the town centre, and westwards to form the Hampshire Downs. The land rises to more than 180 metres (591 ft) above sea level (ASL) to the north of the town at Caesar's Camp which, with the northern part of the Park, lies on gravel beds. There are a number of swallow holes in the Park where this stratum meets the chalk. The historic core of the town lies on gravel beds at an altitude of roughly 70 metres[2] (230 ft) ASL on an underlying geology of Gault Clay and Upper Greensand and the southern part of the town rises to more than 100 metres (328 ft) on the Lower Greensand.




Stone Age

Farnham's history has been claimed to extend back tens of thousands of years to hunters of the Paleolithic or early Stone Age, on the basis of tools and prehistoric animal bones found together in deep gravel pits.[3] The first known settlement in the area was in the Mesolithic period, some 7,000 years ago; a cluster of pit dwellings[3] and evidence of a flint-knapping industry from that period has been excavated a short distance to the east of the town. Neolithic man left evidence of occupation in the form of a long barrow at nearby Badshot Lea, now destroyed by quarrying. This monument lay on the route of the prehistoric trackway known as the Harrow Way or Harroway, which passes through Farnham Park, and a sarsen stone still stands nearby, which is believed to have marked the safe crossing point of a marshy area near the present Shepherd and Flock roundabout. The parallel Pilgrims' Way, known as such for linking Canterbury to Winchester, also dates back to prehistory and, like the Harrow Way, may date back to the time when Britain was physically joined to continental Europe[4].

Bronze Age

Occupation of the area continued to grow through the Bronze Age. Two bronze hoards have been discovered on Crooksbury Hill[5] and further artefacts have been found, particularly at sites in Green Lane and near the Bourne spring in Farnham Park. A significant number of Bronze Age barrows occur in the area, including a triple barrow at Elstead and an urnfield cemetery at Stoneyfield, near the Tilford road.

Iron Age

Hill forts from the early Iron Age exist locally at Botany Hill to the south of the town and at "Caesar's Camp" to the north of the town at Upper Hale. The latter is a very large earthworks on a high promontory, served by a spring which emerges from between two conglomerate boulders called the Jock and Jenny Stones. "Soldier's Ring" earthworks on Crooksbury Hill date from the later Iron Age. The final era of the Iron Age, during the 1st century BC, found Farnham within the territory of the Belgic Atrebates tribe led by Commius, a former ally of Caesar, who had brought his tribe to Britain following a dispute with the Romans. A hut dating from this period was discovered at the Bourne Spring and other occupation material has been discovered at various sites, particularly Green Lane.

Roman Britain

During the Roman period the district became a pottery centre due to the plentiful supply of gault clay, oak woodlands for fuel, and good communications via the Harrow Way and the nearby Roman road from Silchester to Chichester. Kilns dating from about AD 100 have been found throughout the area, including Six Bells (near the Bourne Spring), Snailslynch and Mavins Road, but the main centre of pottery had been Alice Holt Forest, on the edge of the town, since about AD 50, just 7 years after the arrival of the Romans. The Alice Holt potteries continued in use, making mainly domestic wares, until about AD 400. Near the Bourne Spring two Roman buildings were discovered; one was a bath-house dating from about AD 270 and the other a house of later date. The Roman Way housing estate stands on this site. William Stukeley propounded that Farnham is the site of the lost Roman settlement of "Vindomis", although this is now believed to be at Neatham, near Alton. Large hoards of Roman coins have been discovered some 10 miles (16 km) south-west of Farnham in Woolmer Forest and a temple has been excavated at Wanborough, about 8 miles (13 km) to the east.

The Anglo-Saxon period

It was the Saxons who gave the town its name - Farnham is listed as Fearnhamme in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Fearn refers to the fern and bracken of the land and Hamme to the water meadows. They arrived in the sixth century and, in AD 688, the West Saxon King Caedwalla donated the district around Farnham to the Church, and to the diocese of Winchester. This was the first mention of Farnham in written history. A Saxon community grew up in the valley by the river. By the year 803 Farnham had passed into the ownership of the Bishop of Winchester and the Manor of Farnham remained so (apart from two short breaks) for the next thousand years. Although Farnham is documented in Saxon texts and most of the local names are derived from their language, there is only one fully attested Saxon site in Farnham, just off the lower part of Firgrove Hill, where a road called Saxon Croft is now sited. Here several Saxon weaving huts from about AD 550 were discovered in 1924. At the time of the Danish invasion in the 9th century (probably in 893 or 894) there was a battle on the edge of the settlement when Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, routed the invaders.

After the Norman invasion

Farnham appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Ferneham, one of the five great "minster" churches in Surrey. Its domesday assets were: 40 hides; 1 church, 6 mills worth £2 6s 0d, 43 ploughs, 35 acres (140,000 m2) of meadow, woodland worth 175½ hogs. It rendered £53.[6]

Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey in England, was founded in 1128 by William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester about one mile (1.6 km) south of the town centre. King John visited Waverley in 1208, and Henry III in 1225. The abbey also produced the famous Annals of Waverley, an important reference source for the period. By the end of the thirteenth century the abbey was becoming less important. By the time it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536 as part of the dissolution of the monasteries there were only thirteen monks in the community.

The entrance to Farnham Castle

The town is midway between Winchester and London and, in 1138, Henry de Blois (grandson of William the Conqueror and brother of King Stephen) started building Farnham Castle to provide accommodation for the Bishop of Winchester in his frequent journeying between his cathedral and the capital. The castle's garrison provided a market for farms and small industries in the town, accelerating its growth. A large earthwork north-west of the town at Barley (or Badley) Pound may be the ditch and ramparts of a wooden precursor of Farnham Castle built in the 11th century.

Farnham was granted its charter as a town in 1249 by William de Ralegh, then Bishop of Winchester.

The Blind Bishop's Steps, a series of steps leading along Castle Street up to the Castle, were originally constructed for Bishop Richard Foxe (godfather of Henry VIII).

The Black Death hit Farnham in 1348, killing about 1,300 people, at that time about a third of the population.[7] In 1625 Farnham was again subject to an outbreak of the plague which, together with a severe decline in the local woollen industry (the local downland wool being unsuitable for the newly fashionable worsted) led by the 1640s to a serious economic depression in the area[8]. Local wool merchants were, like merchants throughout the country, heavily taxed by Charles I to pay for his increasingly unpopular policies.

The Civil War

Against this background the English Civil War began, with Farnham playing a major part. Here, support for the Parliamentarians was general. The castle was considered a potential rallying point for Royalists, resulting in the installation of a Roundhead garrison there in 1642. As the King's forces moved southwards, taking Oxford, Reading and Windsor, the garrison commander at Farnham (and noted poet), Captain George Wither, decided to evacuate the castle; the new High Sheriff of Surrey (John Denham, a Royalist sympathiser and another noted poet) then occupied the vacant castle with 100 armed supporters. With the castle and much of the surrounding area in Royalist hands, Parliament despatched Colonel Sir William Waller to Farnham to retake the castle. The defenders refused to surrender but Waller's men used a petard to destroy the castle gates and overcame them, with only one fatality, and took the High Sheriff prisoner. The following year, as the Royalists strengthened their position west of Farnham, the garrison at Farnham Castle was strengthened when it became the headquarters of the Farnham regiment of foot or "Greencoats", with some eight to nine hundred officers and men, supported by a number of troops of horse. Further reinforcement by three regiments from London, 4,000 strong under Waller's command arrived in Farnham that October prior to an unsuccessful foray to recapture Winchester from the Royalists. Eight thousand Royalists under Ralph Hopton (a former friend of Waller) advanced on Farnham from the west and skirmishes took place on the outskirts of town. Despite further reinforcement for Waller from Kent, Hopton's entire army gathered on the heathland just outside Farnham Park. There was some skirmishing but Hopton's men withdrew. Through the next few years Farnham was an important centre of Parliamentary operations and the garrison cost Farnham people dearly in terms of local taxes, provisioning and quartering; even the lead from the Town Hall roof had been requisitioned to make bullets. A number of local women were widowed following the pressing of local men into the militia. The bombardment of Basing House was by a train of heavy cannon assembled at Farnham from other areas and, in 1646, most of the garrison was removed from Farnham to form a brigade to besiege Donnington Castle near Newbury. The King surrendered shortly afterwards at Newark and a small garrison remained at Farnham.

In 1647, having escaped from custody at Hampton Court, the King rode through Farnham at dawn on November 12 with a small party of loyal officers, en-route to the Isle of Wight, where he sought sanctuary under the protection of Colonel Robert Hammond, a Parliamentarian officer but with Royalist sympathies. The following March, Oliver Cromwell stayed at Farnham for discussions concerning the marriage of his daughter to a Hampshire gentleman, although some historians have speculated that this was cover for secret negotiations with the King.

Following the rebellion during the summer of 1648 the keep was partially dismantled at the orders of Cromwell, to make further occupation by garrison indefensible. In late November that year Hammond was summoned to Farnham, where he was arrested, and the King was removed under military escort to the mainland. On December 20 the King and his escort entered Farnham, where groups of men, women and children gathered at the roadside to welcome him and touch his hand. That night the King lodged at Culver Hall (now Vernon House) in West Street before the party continued to London for Charles's trial and execution in January 1649. The King gave his night cap to Henry Vernon, owner of Culver Hall, "as a token of Royal favour". Records show that the following period of interregnum until restoration of the monarchy in 1660 was a time of prosperity and growth for Farnham. In 1660 the bishops of Winchester were restored to the adjoining Bishops Palace, which remained their residence until 1927. From 1927 until 1955 it was a residence of the bishops of the newly created diocese of Guildford. The castle is currently owned by English Heritage.


Farnham became a successful market town; the author Daniel Defoe wrote that Farnham had the greatest corn-market after London, and describes 1,100 fully laden wagons delivering wheat to the town on market day. During the seventeenth century, other new industries evolved: greenware pottery (a pottery, dating from 1873, still exists on the outskirts of the town), wool and cloth, the processing of wheat into flour, and eventually hops, a key ingredient of beer. The Anglican divine, Augustus Montague Toplady composed the hymn Rock of Ages in 1740 whilst living in West Street - a plaque now marks the building where he resided.

William Cobbett's birthplace

The radical MP, soldier, farmer, journalist and publisher William Cobbett was born in Farnham in 1763, in a pub called the Jolly Farmer. The pub still stands, and has since been renamed the William Cobbett.

The railway arrived in 1848 and, in 1854, neighbouring Aldershot became the “Home of the British Army”. Both events had a significant effect on Farnham. The fast link with London meant city businessmen could think of having a house in the country and still be in close contact with the office; Farnham thereby became an early example of a 'commuter town'. Also, the railway did not reach Aldershot until 1870; during the intervening period soldiers would be carried by train to Farnham station and then march to Aldershot. Many officers and their families chose to billet in Farnham itself. The railway was electrified by the Southern Railway company in 1937 as far as Alton, and a carriage shed for the new electric stock was built in Weydon Lane. This building, which carried fading camouflage paint for many years after World War II, was replaced in 2006.

St Andrew's Parish Church seen here from the junction of Middle Church Lane and Vicarage Lane Farnham

In 1895 Farnham Urban District Council (FUDC) was formed. In 1930 the council purchased Farnham Park, a large park which occupies much of the former castle grounds. The FUDC was abolished in 1973 by the Local Government Act of the previous year. Farnham, together with Hindhead, Haslemere, Cranleigh and surrounding areas were absorbed into the new Waverley District Council (latterly Waverley Borough Council) with its headquarters in Godalming. At a later date Farnham Parish Council became Farnham Town Council and took back some of the minor roles of the former FUDC from Waverley.

In 1901, the population of Farnham was about 14,000. Since the end of the Second World War, Farnham has expanded from a population of about 20,000 to the present 38,000. Of that figure, about 15,000 live in the town centre, whilst the remaining 23,000 live in the surrounding suburbs and villages within the town's administrative boundaries.

Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square was once a tannery; the site expanded to become part of the Farnham United Breweries, which included its own maltings. Taken over by a major brewer (Courage's) brewing ceased but malting continued into the 1960s, when Courage's planned to sell off the site for redevelopment. Money raised by the people of Farnham saved the buildings from demolition for conversion to a community centre for the town. Current management places the emphasis on the arts over other community activities, many of which have ceased or moved elsewhere, but the famous Farnham Beer Exhibition (or "Beerex") continues, after more than 30 years, to be as popular as ever. Other buildings in Farnham once linked to the Farnham Maltings include The Oasthouse (now offices) in Mead Lane and The Hop Kiln (now private residences) on Weydon Lane.


Farnham railway station is on the Alton Line, which provides commuter links to London at Waterloo. The A31 Farnham bypass links the town by road to Winchester, Alton and Guildford; the A325 links the town to Farnborough and to the A3 (London-Portsmouth) at Greatham. The A287 links Farnham to the M3 at Hook and the A3 at Hindhead. London Heathrow Airport is 31 miles (50 km) by road but is served only by indirect public transport routes from Farnham. Gatwick Airport and Southampton Airport are each about 43 miles (69 km) away by main roads.


Shopping in Farnham

Farnham is a former market town with many shops located along both sides of the main thoroughfare running through West Street, The Borough and East Street. The town includes a significant number of independent retailers, some who have been in business since the nineteenth century, such as Rangers Furnishing Stores (est. 1895), Elphicks department store (est. 1881) and Pullingers (est. 1850). The latter evolved into the Pullingers Art Shop chain and is thought to be Farnham's oldest surviving business. A popular independent retailer (est. 1986) is Colours situated in the Lion and Lamb Yard between Waitrose and Starbucks.Bubinga.co.uk is one of Farnhams elite company's who specialise in all aspects of furniture manufacturing and international design. There are also branches of national retailers such as Argos, Robert Dyas, Boots the Chemist, Waterstone's and W H Smith. The major supermarkets are represented by Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Lidl and Iceland in the town centre, and two Tesco Expresses located on Ridgeway Road and in Upper Hale. Sainsbury's also have a larger Superstore on the outskirts of town towards Badshot Lea. Large garden centres exist nearby at Holt Pound (Forest Lodge), Frensham (Frensham Garden Centre) and Badshot Lea (Squires). Castle Street's market stalls have been replaced by semi-permanent "orangery" style buildings selling some fresh flowers and produce. Farnham is also known for its numerous secondhand charity shops which offer plenty of high-quality items, especially clothes.


A large market selling arts, crafts, antiques and bric-a-brac operates under-cover at the Farnham Maltings on the first Saturday of each month. A Farmers' market is held in the central car park on the fourth Sunday of each month, selling high-quality, locally-produced meat, fruit and vegetables, bread and cakes, preserves, beer and cider, fruit juices, cheeses and other dairy products. Toy, crafts and militaria fairs are hosted by the Maltings from time to time where new and used items can be bought and sold.

Leisure and recreation

There are two main parks in Farnham town centre: Farnham Park and Gostrey Meadows. Farnham Park is adjacent to Farnham Castle. Gostrey Meadows is in the centre of Farnham town next to the river, and includes a fenced children's play area.


Cricket is played in the ground north of Farnham Castle

There are various facilities available in Farnham one of which is the local leisure centre. The leisure centre has a gym under the Kinetica franchise through which personal instructors can be hired. The centre is also the home of Farnham Swimming Club which allows youngsters to swim and compete with other local clubs such as Guildford.

The town is represented in the non-league football pyramid by Farnham Town F.C., who compete in the Combined Counties League.

Farnham Cricket Club was started in 1782.[9]. The ground is at the edge of Farnham Park and in the shadows of the castle. There is also a local umpires association.[10]

The Farnham and Aldershot hockey club runs three men's teams and two women's teams. Floorball hockey is played by the adult team Southern Vipers FBC and junior floorball is also played at Farnham Sports Centre.

Farnham also has a public golf course which is situated next to the cricket ground directly behind Farnham Castle. It was designed by Sir Henry Cotton, three times British Open champion.[11] It is a nine-hole, par-three golf course, open daily.

Farnham's sporting heroes
  • "Silver Billy" Beldham (1766–1862) was one of the greatest cricketers in England during the Napoleonic era, pre-dating W. G. Grace. He was born on the outskirts of town at Wrecclesham and played in Farnham Cricket Club's first match, against Odiham, when he was 16 years old, and later played for the famous Hambledon Club. By the age of 21 he was widely recognised as the best batsman in England.
  • Mike Hawthorn (1929–1959), driving for Ferrari, became the first British Formula One World Champion in 1958. His family moved to Farnham when he was two years old, so his father could be near to Brooklands race track. Mike Hawthorn Drive is named after him.
  • Jonny Wilkinson (1979– ) England's world-cup-winning kicker and former captain, and England scrum half Peter Richards (1978– ) were not born in Farnham but both played for Farnham Rugby Football Club at mini level.
  • Graham Thorpe (1969– ) England cricket captain, was born in Farnham and played at the Farnham cricket ground.
  • Joel Freeland (1987– ), international basketball player, was born in Farnham.


Farnham Maltings has diverse concerts including opera, folk and acoustic music gigs, band evenings and stand up comedy nights, as well as shows and workshops for younger people. There is a cinema run every Wednesday at the Maltings. The Maltings also hosts a successful "Acoustic Fridays" evening once a month, and this has a student following due to the fact many students play sets there. A regular blues night takes place in the "Cellar Bar" and the whole venue is taken over for the annual Blues Festival. In keeping with the town's historical link with hop-growing and beer, the Farnham Maltings also plays host to the Farnham Beer Exhibition, one of the largest beer festivals in Britain, an annual event that started in 1977. Some of the most popular pubs in Farnham are The Plough, The William Cobbett, The Lamb, and the student union bar of the UCCA, all of which have live music regularly.


Farnham also has a yearly carnival, normally on the last Saturday in June, organised by two charitable service organisations, the Farnham Lions Club and The Hedgehogs. Castle Street is closed for the evening, with bands playing on a stage in the street, a beer tent, barbecue, and sideshows. A procession of carnival floats, marching bands, tableaux, trade floats and classic vehicles parade through the main streets of the town. Staff of the local Kar Ling Kwong Chinese restaurant traditionally perform the Lion Dance each year as part of the parade,a lot of the local schools also participate.

Public library

Farnham Public Library is a community facility that provides a free lending library service to local residents and workers of a wide range of books, audiobooks, periodicals, DVDs and videos. It includes a children's section. The library was refurbished in November 2005. The library also provides IT facilities and a reference library for research purposes. The library is housed in the historic Vernon House at which King Charles I slept on his way to his trial and execution in London in 1649, a situation commemorated by a plaque on the building wall. The library also features public gardens with sculptures provided by local artists.

Museum of Farnham

Willmer House, in West Street, houses this extensive collection of artefacts from all periods of the town's history and prehistory.[12] The museum has active support from both the Friends of the Museum of Farnham and The Farnham and District Museum Society. In addition to permanent displays such as "Discover the History of Farnham", "On the road to Winchester", Farnham motoring links, Farnham Greenware Pottery, William Cobbett, George Sturt and Harold Falkner, it features a changing range of activities and exhibitions, many of which are aimed to be of particular interest to children and families. The museum has received numerous awards, including a special commendation in the European Museum of the Year awards in 1994.[13] The museum also has a Local Studies Library to support family tree and house detectives, school projects & local history queries.The museum also has a club for children.

Willmer House is a fine eighteenth-century town house with a decorative brickwork facade. The house and its garden are worth a visit in their own right.


The town has a number of attractive houses from various periods and many interesting passages which reveal hidden parts of the town including old workshops, historic cottages and pretty, hidden gardens. Farnham Castle was built by the Normans and updated over the years as the Palace of the Bishops of Winchester. The former Bishops' Palace of the castle is now a conference centre,[14] but the medieval keep is in the care of English Heritage and has limited opening to the public.[15]

Many of the places mentioned in the books of George Sturt can be seen, and Waverley, the first Cistercian Abbey in England is open to the public. Farnham Park is attractive for walks and wildlife and there is a variety of attractive scenery - Farnham borders on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the North Downs Way long-distance path starts here. Alice Holt Forest is nearby, as are Frensham Ponds and many heaths and downland scenery. The Rural Life Centre is nearby at Tilford, and the town is a suitable touring base for Winchester, the Mid-Hants Railway and canal trips on the Basingstoke Canal and Wey Navigation.

Arts and crafts

Farnham has long had a strong association with the creative arts.[16][17] Farnham School of Art opened in 1866 and was associated with the Arts and crafts movement when architects such as Edwin Lutyens and Harold Falkner, painters such as George Watts and W. H. Allen, potters such as Mary Watts and landscape gardeners (Gertrude Jekyll) worked in the area. Lewen Tugwell, a Farnham sculptor in the 1960s, invented a technique for production of a unique craft product made from resin, Shattaline. Items made by this process in his workshops in Long Garden Walk are now very collectable. Farnham has several art galleries - the New Ashgate Gallery in Lower Church Lane has exhibitions by established and new artists in a variety of media, the exhibition changing on the first Saturday of each month. The gallery at Farnham Maltings also has frequent exhibitions.


Since Roman times the wealden clay of the area has been exploited for pottery and brickmaking. Pottery continued on a small-scale commercial basis until the closure of Farnham Pottery at Wrecclesham in 1998, when it passed to the Farnham Buildings Preservation Trust. Farnham Pottery , in addition to utility wares, became famous during the Arts and crafts movement for their decorative wares, either hand-thrown or moulded and decorated in a variety of coloured glazes, particularly "Farnham Greenware". There was close co-operation between the pottery and Farnham School of Art (now a campus of the UCCA).


William Herbert Allen, the notable English landscape watercolour artist, lived and worked in Farnham for most of his career. He was Master of Farnham Art School from 1889 to 1927 and many of his works depict landscapes of the Farnham area. Popular artists from Farnham in recent years include Charles Bone, whose watercolour landscapes of the area are very popular as limited edition prints, and Josephine Wall, a popular fantasy artist who was born in the town.


The Castle Theatre in Castle Street was replaced by the Redgrave Theatre in 1974 which, itself, closed down in 1998 due to the decline of repertory theatre in England. In 1998 'The New Farnham Repertory Company' was formed to carry on the tradition of repertory theatre in the town, and also to fight for the restoration of the Redgrave Theatre to the people of Farnham. In 2009 'The New Farnham Repertory Company' became 'Farnham Rep'. Productions still regularly take place at the Maltings, which both produces work and receives touring shows as well as occasionally in the grounds of Farnham Library. Various genres of music are also promoted at the Maltings, where there is also a dance studio. Gerald Flood, stage, TV and film actor, lived in Farnham for most of his life; Peter Lupino, a well-known West End actor of the 1930s and 40s, and member of the famous theatrical family, also lived for many years in Farnham, in Red Lion Lane and was a well-known local character in his retirement. Actor Bill Maynard, the "Carry On" and "Heartbeat" actor, was born in the town, as was Bill Wallis, who learned his trade on the stage of the Castle Theatre. Opera singer Sir Peter Pears (1910–1986) was born in Farnham and Jessie Matthews, OBE (1907–1981), the popular English actress, dancer, and singer of the 1930s to 1960s, lived in Farnham, where she ran the Alliance public house (now closed).


It was in Farnham that J M Barrie wrote Peter Pan, whilst living at Black Lake Cottage.


Farnham Grammar School was created some time before 1585 (the date of a donation being made by a Richard Searle "to the maintenance of the school in Farnham"). It is possible that this ancient school dated back as far as 1351 when a chantry was created at Farnham Castle, but there is no documentary evidence of this. It benefited over the years from bequests by different people as well as the generosity of bishops of Winchester who occupied Farnham Castle over the centuries. In 1905 the town centre assets of the old grammar school, located in West Street, were sold in order to purchase and build new premises in fields to the south of the town. In 1973 this campus became a Sixth Form College and was renamed Farnham College.

Primary schools

Hale school (www.hale.surrey.sch.uk)

Secondary schools

Further & Higher Education

Farnham College (part of Guildford College) offers further education The University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester or UCA (a merger of the local Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College and Kent Institute of Art & Design) offers higher education.


Farnham Town Council is composed of 18 councillors. Of these, 14 are Conservatives, 3 are Independents, and 1 represents the Liberal Democrats.


The local press is the Farnham Herald, a broadsheet. The local BBC TV news is BBC South Today. Farnham is covered on BBC radio by BBC Surrey (which covers Surrey & North-East Hampshire on 104.6FM). Ashgate Publishing which publishes books in the Social Sciences and Humanities is based in Farnham.

Famous people

John Henry Knight with his car

In addition to those mentioned in the text above, notable people born in Farnham include William Willett, campaigner for daylight saving time (1856); George Sturt, writer and social historian (1863); and Maud Gonne, feminist and activist in Irish politics (1866). John Henry Knight (1847–1917), who built the first British motor car and designed a number of innovative digging machines for use in hop fields, was born and brought up at Weybourne on the outskirts of the town. Actor Jim Sturgess was raised in Farnham (1981).


  1. ^ Farnham Geological Society
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey data
  3. ^ a b Our History on webside of neighbouring Frensham Parish Council
  4. ^ Saxon Farnham by Elfrida Manning, Phillimore & Co, 1970
  5. ^ Crooksbury Hill, Farnham
  6. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  7. ^ Dr Mike Ibeji Black Death: The Effect of the Plague. A BBC article on the rural impact of the Black Death of 1348, substantially discussing Farnham]
  8. ^ Hall D E & Gretton F Farnham During the Civil Wars and Interregnum 55pp, Farnham Castle Newspapers, c. 1980
  9. ^ Farnham Cricket Club
  10. ^ Farnham Umpires Association
  11. ^ Farnham Park Par 3 Golf Course
  12. ^ Museum of Farnham website
  13. ^ European Museum of the Year Awards, at the Council of Europe's website
  14. ^ Farnham Castle: International business training and conference centre
  15. ^ Farnham Castle Keep is run by English Heritage.
  16. ^ "A Sketch History of Art in Farnham" by Robin Radley (published by Farnham Castle Newspapers, undated)
  17. ^ Farnham Art Society, founded in 1944

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Farnham is an ancient medieval town in Surrey, it's one of the most haunted towns in Britain with many historical sites and classic old buildings. Farnham has an intact Norman castle atop of castle hill and is home to the University College for the creative arts.

Get in

By bus


By plane

Farnham is well served by London's collection of airports. For travellers coming directly to Farnham, the most convenient (in reducing order of convenience) are:

  • Heathrow Airport [1] is about 35 minutes drive along the M25 motorway then the M3 motorway. Alternatively it is linked directly to Woking rail station by the RailAir [2] express bus service.
  • Gatwick Airport [3] is about a hour and a quarter drive away via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and M3 (southbound) roads.

By train

Farnham main line station is served by commuter and regional train services from many different directions. There are regular services to and from London Waterloo via Woking which take approx 55 minutes. There is a direct stopping service from London Waterloo which takes about 1 hour.

Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner [4] or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK.

  • Farnham Castle A Norman castle permanently lived in for almost 900 years with buildings reflecting the changing architectural styles through the centuries.
  • Lion and Lamb Yard Award winning shopping centre in the centre of Farnham is named after a former coaching inn.
  • St Andrew's Church St Andrew's is the Parish Church of Farnham. There was a church on the same site as the present St Andrew’s some five hundred years before the present building was begun in the eleventh century.
  • Gostrey Meadow Gostrey Meadow is a beautiful park that the River Wey flows through. There is a children's play area and a large grassed area ideal for a lazy summer picnic. Gostrey Meadow was created in 1910 as a recreational area for the residents of Farnham. The name comes from the 17th Century meadows, part of the Bush Hotel estate, which were known as Gostreeds.
  • Farnham Maltings Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey 01252 726234. The Farnham Maltings is an exciting and lively community arts centre housed in Farnham’s historic maltings buildings on the River Wey. The centre offers a vast array of activities for adults and children alike
  • Elphicks 10-12, West St, Farnham, Surrey. Classically styled department store, unique to Farnham.
  • Pullingers Art Shop [5] 109, West St, Farnham, Surrey. Thought to be the oldest surviving business in Farnham.
  • The Nelson 50, Castle Street, Farnham, Surrey, 01252 716078. Serving very tasty traditional English food with generous portions. The owners are very friendly and will happily give advice on the local area.
  • The Coach and Horses, 2, Castle Street, Farnham, Surrey 01252 724520. Classically styled comfortable establishment serving fine ales in the heart of Farnham
  • The Jolly Sailor, 64, West St, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7EH 01252 719139
  • The Nelson, 50, Castle Street, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7JQ 01252 716078
  • Plough, 74 West Street, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7EH
  • Mercure Bush Farnham The Borough, Farnham, Surrey This 17th century coaching inn has a reputation for unsurpassed quality, charm and service. Provides a stylish retreat retaining much of its 17th century grandeur, surrounded by tranquil beauty and luxury. From £50.
  • Farnham Park Hotel, Lower Hale, Farnham, Surrey. The Farnham Park Hotel and Restaurant is tucked away in one of the prettiest corners of Farnham at the edge of Farnham Park. The building is an attractively styled 17th century barn conversion, set in 40 acres of secluded parkland, with ample off road parking. The hotel offers a warm and friendly atmosphere. Farnham Park hotel offers family rooms, double rooms, twin rooms and single rooms all with en-suite bathrooms. From £60.
  • Hotel De Vie Firgrove Hill Farnham Surrey. Luxury boutique hotel has recently opened after major refurbishment to offer a unique fusion of traditional but sensual décor. From £90
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FARNHAM, a market town in the Guildford parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 371 m. S.W. by W. from London by the London & South Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 6124. It lies on the left bank of the river Wey, on the southern slope of a hill rising about 700 ft. above the sea-level. The church of St Andrew is a spacious transitional Norman and Early English building, with later additions, and was formerly a chapel of ease to Waverley Abbey, of which a crypt and fragmentary remains, of Early English date, stand in the park attached to a modern residence of the same name. This was the earliest Cistercian house in England, founded in 1128 by William Gifford, bishop of Winchester. The Annales Waverlienses, published by Gale in his Scriptores and afterwards in the Record series of Chronicles, are believed to have suggested to Sir Walter Scott the name of his first novel. Farnham Castle, on a hill north of the town, the seat of the bishops of Winchester, was first built by Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester, and brother of King Stephen; but it was razed by Henry III. It was rebuilt and garrisoned for Charles I. by Denham, from whom it was taken in 1642 by Sir W. Waller; and having been dismantled, it was restored by George Morley, bishop of Winchester (1662-1684). Farnham has a town hall and exchange in Italian style (1866), a grammar school of early foundation, and a school of science and art. It was formerly noted for its cloth manufacture. Hops of fine quality are grown in the vicinity. William Cobbett was born in the parish (1766), and is buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's. The neighbouring mansion of Moor Park was the residence of Sir William Temple (d. 1699), and Swift worked here as his secretary. Hester Johnson, Swift's "Stella," was the daughter of Temple's steward, whose cottage still stands. The town has grown in favour as a residential centre from the proximity of Aldershot Camp (3 m. N.E.).

Though there is evidence of an early settlement in the neighbourhood, the town of Farnham (Ferneham) seems to have grown up round the castle of the bishops of Winchester, who possessed the manor at the Domesday Survey. Its position at the junction of the Pilgrim's Way and the road from Southampton to London was important. In 1205 Farnham had bailiffs, and in 1207 it was definitely a mesne borough under the bishops of Winchester. In 12 4 7 the bishop granted the first charter, giving, among other privileges, a fair on All Saints' Day. The burgesses surrendered the proceeds of the borough court and other rights in 1365 in return for respite of the fee farm rent; these were recovered in 1405 and rent again paid. Bishop Waynflete is said to have confirmed the original charter in 1452, and in 1566 Bishop Horne granted a new charter by which the burgesses elected 2 bailiffs and 12 burgesses annually and did service at their own courts every three weeks, the court leet being held twice a year. In resisting an attack made by the bishop in 1660 on their right of toll, the burgesses could only claim Farnham as a borough by prescription as their charters had been mislaid, but the charters were subsequently found, and after some litigation their rights were established. In the 18th century the corporation, a close body, declined, its duties being performed by the vestry, and in 1789 the one survivor resigned and handed over the town papers to the bishop. Farnham sent representatives to parliament in 1311 and 1460, on both occasions being practically the bishop's pocket borough. In accordance with the grant of 1247 a fair was held on All Saints' day and also on Holy Thursday; the former was afterwards held on All Souls' Day. Farnham was early a market of importance, and in 1216 a royal grant changed the market day from Sunday to Thursday in each week. It was famous in the early 17th century for wheat and oats; hopgrowing began in 1597.

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Simple English

Farnham is a large market town in the county of Surrey, England. It is famous for its castle and its historic buildings. The town lies south from the River Wey.


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