Historic Egham

Egham and the surrounding areas of Egham Hythe, Englefield Green, Thorpe and Virginia Water can trace their beginnings as far back as the Upper Palaeolithic period, over 12,000 years ago, and have seen many changes since in landscape and communities.

The Egham area has watched as Romans brought their trade and lifestyle here; has been referenced in the Domesday book; witnessed the sealing of the Magna Carta; suffered from the plague; developed into a thriving community serving the coaching trade; expanded with the arrival of the railway; and experienced great losses in two World Wars.;xNLx;Egham Museum brings this story to life through a time-line of thematic displays. Links to external websites are provided for further information: the Museum accepts no responsibility for any views expressed in those websites.;xNLx;The Egham-by-Runnymede Historical Society (EbRHS) set up Egham Museum in 1968 to preserve our proud heritage and keep it in trust for future generations. The Museum is now governed by a separate charitable trust, The Egham Museum Trust (TEMT), but still works closely with the EbRHS.;xNLx;[Visit Egham Museum](http://eghammuseum.org/)

0043-05-01 00:00:00

Roman Egham

The High Street is thought to run along the route of a branch of the London to Silchester Roman road. Roman pottery and other artefacts have been found during the course of new building projects.

0061-05-01 00:00:00

Did Queen Boudicca fight her last battle in Virginia Water?

The exact site of Boudicca's last battle against the Romans is unknown. Virginia Water is one of many places which seem to fit the description in the near-contemporary account by Roman historian Tacitus.

0100 BC-09-01 12:00:00

The Celts around Egham

It is commonly agreed that, among the Celts occupying this area during the 1st century BC, it was the Atrebates who were the dominant tribe.

0201-09-24 00:00:00

Roman sarcophagus found in Englefield Green

In 1866 a Roman sarcophagus was discovered at Bishopsgate House, Englefield Green. It appears to be a metropolitan Roman work of the early third century.

0410-08-15 00:00:00

Saxon Egham

Saxon settlers migrated to this area following the collapse of the Roman empire in AD410. Egham is a Saxon word meaning “Ecca’s Ham” or “land in the bend of the river.” Even the name Surrey probably derives from the Saxon Suthrige or Suthrea, relating to its position south of the Thames.

0672-03-01 00:00:00

The name Egeham

The first recorded mention of the town's name, spelled Egeham, was in the 7th century in Frithwald's charter endowing land to Chertsey Abbey.

0672-03-01 00:00:00

Charter gives Thorpe lands to Chertsey Abbey

A charter dated between 672 and 674 grants 5 hides of land at Thorpe to St Peter’s Minster, Chertsey. This is one of two surviving charters issued to Erkonwald (or Eorconwald), first Abbot of Saint Peter's, by Frithuwald or Frithwald, a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon ruler in Surrey.

0673-03-01 00:00:00

Origins of Egham Hythe

The word Hythe comes from a Saxon word meaning a port or landing place. However Egham Hythe was in use as a landing site long before the Saxons.

0893-11-10 00:00:00

Viking crossings at Staines Bridge

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle indicates that in 893/94 and 1009 the Vikings crossed Staines Bridge to escape Anglo-Saxon forces.

0900-12-01 00:00:00

Viking sword from Thorpe

In 1981 a 10th Century Viking sword was found in Mixnam's gravel pit in Thorpe.

0967-12-01 00:00:00

First mention of Englefield

The first mention of the name Englefield relating to a place in Surrey comes from a charter of 967 which lists 20 hides at Egham with Englefield (Egeham cum Hingefelda) as part of the lands of Chertsey Abbey. However as part of the manor of Egham it did not have a separate mention in the Doomsday Book a century later.

0993-05-24 00:00:00

Did the Vikings over-winter in Egham Hythe?

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 993 says "This year came Anlaf with three and ninety ships to Staines, which he plundered without, and went thence to Sandwich."

10000 BC-05-01 00:00:00

Aurochs in Thorpe

Among the animals which roamed south East England during the Mesolithic and Bronze Ages was the aurochs, an extinct member of the cattle family.

1053-06-01 00:00:00

The Hundred of Godley

In 1053 the hundred of Godley was granted to the Abbot and convent of Chertsey by Edward the Confessor. Godley comprised the parishes of Bisley, Chobham, Pyrford, Byfleet, Egham, Chertsey, Horsell and Thorpe.

1086-08-15 21:33:33

Domesday Book: Egham

Egham, in the hundred of Godley, is mentioned in the Domesday Book, with 57 households - a very large community. It belonged to the Abbey of St Peter in Chertsey

1086-08-15 21:33:33

Domesday Book: Thorpe

Thorpe, in the hundred of Godley, is mentioned in the Domesday Book, with 36 households . Like Egham it belonged to the Abbey of St Peter in Chertsey

1100-06-01 00:00:00

Mediaeval Egham

The medieval town seems to have followed a planned design along the High Street, with regular blocks of strip-plots (burgage plots) facing one another across a single road with back lanes along the far end of the crofts.

1110-04-01 00:00:00

St Mary's Church, Thorpe

It is not known exactly when St. Mary's Church was built. Parts of the building may date from the time of Abbot Hugh in 1110 or even earlier. Other sections were added in the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries.

1150-05-01 00:00:00

The old St John's Church

An earlier St John's Church in Egham was built early in the 12th Century when the parish was still under the patronage of Chertsey Abbey. The church is mentioned in a papal confirmation of 1176.

1200-06-12 21:33:33

Broomhall Priory

Broomhall, a Benedictine Priory on the borders of Windsor Forest is first mentioned in a charter of 1200, granting it the church of St Margaret, Sunningwell.

1215-01-01 00:00:00

The name Runnymede

The name Runnymede is suggested to be a compound of the Old English word 'runinge' meaning ‘taking counsel’ and 'maed' 'mead or meadow.'

1215-06-15 00:00:00

Magna Carta

The late 12th and early 13th Centuries were expensive for people living in Britain. Each time the King lost a war abroad, he raised taxes, made people sell their possessions and would imprison them if they refused. The Barons became very unhappy with how the King was treating them and so forced him to agree to the Magna Carta, meaning the ‘Great Charter’. The Magna Carta set out a series of laws for everyone to follow and was sealed at Runnymede on 15th June 1215.

1262-01-01 00:00:00

The Causeway

The Causeway running from Staines Bridge to Egham appears to have been constructed during the reign of Henry III by a merchant named Thomas de Oxenford to make it easier to convey wool to the London markets.

1490-09-20 00:00:00

The oldest building in Thorpe

The oldest building in Thorpe is The Cottage, built in 1490, using timbers thought to have come from an earlier house on the site.

1507-05-01 00:00:00

Catherine Wheel, High Street Egham

The oldest public house in Egham was the Catherine Wheel at 85 High Street which by the mid 17th Century was one of the principal local inns.

1521-03-06 00:00:00

The Red Lion, Egham

The Red Lion pubic house apparently dates from the 16th century. However it has been rebuilt and restored several times, most recently in 2014.

1521-06-18 00:00:00

Great Fosters

The first mention of the name Fosters occurs in the court rolls of Thorpe dated 1521. Describing boundaries on the Egham side of the parish, they refer to ”lands on the west called Fosters”.

1530-06-01 00:00:00

Boleyn Hotel

Parts of the Boleyn Hotel date from the 16th century although excavations have unearthed prehistoric and medieval pottery, plus evidence of Roman buildings.

1532-10-18 00:00:00

First mention of Thorpe Green

Thorpe Green was first mentioned as a location in the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Bartlett, written on 18th October 1532.

1537-07-06 00:00:00

Dissolution of Chertsey Abbey gives Egham and Thorpe to the Crown

Chertsey Abbey was closed down in 1537 as part of Henry VIII's wholesale dissolution of the monasteries. The manors of Egham and Thorpe passed to the Crown .

1559-07-23 00:00:00

Highway robbery in Egham

On 31st January 1560 William Allen, a yeoman from London, was found guilty of having assaulted John Appowell on the highway at Egham on 23rd July 1559. He stole £4 in money, and a gold signet ring. Allen was found guilty, but his sentence was not recorded.

1603-06-18 21:33:33


Plague was a recurring problem in the early modern period. An outbreak of bubonic plague in 1603 led to 68 recorded deaths in Egham, starting with 11 year old Mercy Bullen who was buried on 18th June 1603.

1624-06-30 21:33:03

Denham Almshouses

Sir John Denham, a 17th century Judge (formerly Lord Chief Justice of Ireland) and resident of Egham, founded almshouses in the town in 1624 for five poor widows over the age of 50, on condition that they attended services at the parish church.

1641-10-14 00:00:00

Deer-poachers escape custody

On 27 October 1641 keepers from Egham Walk petitioned the House of Lords to complain that four Egham men, John Greene, Robert Mills, Daniell Coggs, and Wm. Purse, had killed a Brace of Great Stags on the 14th October, claiming they were out of the Bounds of the Forest.

1642-05-01 00:00:00

Sir John Denham's poem celebrates Cooper's Hill

This poem, composed in 1642, is widely regarded as the first example in English of a poem devoted to local description, picturing the Thames Valley scenery round the poet's home at Egham.

1642-11-11 00:00:00

Civil War Expensive for Egham!

Like most of the areas around London, Egham was under the control of Parliamentary forces and had no direct involvement in the conflict.

1656-06-01 00:00:00

First incidence of the place name Virginia

The first mention of Virginia as a place comes from the Egham parish burial register of 1656. An official survey of Windsor Great Park in 1662 records a house called Virginia, just outside the southeastern boundary of the park.

1700-03-06 00:00:00

The Red Lion, Thorpe

The Red Lion public house in Thorpe dates from at least the year 1700.

1700-11-01 00:00:00

Egham Poor House

Egham had a Poor House (early version of the workhouse) from approximately 1700.

1703-06-01 00:00:00

Strode's Almshouses

Henry Strode's will drawn up in 1703, stipulated that any residue of his £6000 legacy intended to build a school in Egham, was to be used for almshouses - with the Cooper's Company acting as trustees.

1704-01-20 00:00:00

Money for teaching the Bible - and Needlework!

In her will of 1704, widow Mrs Mary Barker left £350 to pay for teaching poor children of Englefield Green to read the Bible in English and girls to sew, make plain work and to knit.

1706-06-01 00:00:00

Strode's School

In 1706, funds from the Will of Egham resident Henry Strode, a master cooper, were used to set up a ‘good strong substantial schoolhouse… for the learning and edifying of the poor children of the Parish of Egham...gratis and without fee or reward’.

1725-08-04 00:00:00

Thomas Beighton, 'the honest Vicar of Egham' and David Garrick the actor

Thomas Beighton, apparently a Yorkshireman, was Vicar of Egham from 1725 until his death in 1771. He was a keen book-collector and corresponded with such luminaries as David Garrick who played a part in winning him the living of Egham .

1730-11-06 00:00:00

What's in a name? The Packhorse public house

There has been a public house on Egham Hill since at least the 18th Century - but with three changes of name. It opened as Ye Pack Horse ....

1734-08-22 00:00:00

Egham Races

The first horse races in the area seem to have taken place in Englefield Green in 1729. However by 1734 they had moved to Egham at Runnymede and were held sporadically over the next 30 years or so. In 1774 they were launched as an annual event with a three-day meeting from Monday 5th to Wednesday 7th September.

1743-01-28 00:00:00

John Wesley preaches in Egham

A plaque now in the lych-gate of St John's Church records that John Wesley passed this way and preached in 1744. John Wesley's Journal describes the visit as being on 28 January 1743 when he rescued the text of Matthew 8:16 from the preacher's 'miserable sermon'

1749-06-01 00:00:00

The Virginia Water Lake

After George II's son the Duke of Cumberland was made Ranger of Windsor Great Park in 1746, he commissioned Henry Flitcroft to dam the Virginia Brook to create the great lake, Virginia Water. It was the largest artificial lake of its day.

1750-06-01 00:00:00

Fort Belvedere

Part of the Crown Estate, Fort Belvedere was built on Shrubs Hill between 1750-1755 in the Gothic style, for Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (son of King George II), and used as a summer house.

1755-01-06 00:00:00

Highwayman caught in Shrubbs Hill

In January 1775 two men from Chertsey chased a highwayman who had robbed them, to the Red Lion public house, Shrubbs Hill, where he had stabled his horse.

1776-06-01 00:00:00

Mrs Davies' Boarding School

A Mrs Davies ran a Boarding School in Egham from 1776-1880. No details of this school survive.

Historic Egham

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