History

Iron age
Hill fort relics in south Weybridge atop St Georges Hill.
410ce
Unable to control its borders and pay its military forces, the Roman Empire gives Britain independence “You British must fend for yourselves…”  The only significant settlement in Elmbridge at this time is a Celtic village of unknown name.
500s
Sometime in the 500s two extended Saxon families, Chert and Mulas, arrive and settle either side off the Celtic village on islands in the Thames.  Chertsey (Chert’s island or meadow) upstream of the Celtic village and Molesey (Mulas’ island or meadow) downstream – both survive to this day.  They name the Celtic village Wealastun (foreigner’s town) – today’s Walton.
600s
A further Saxon village, Ditton, is founded on the Thames downstream from Molesey.  The Saxon kingdom of Surrey is divided into hundreds for legal and taxation purposes.  The local hundred was named after the meeting place – a bridge over the River Emel (now River Mole) called Emelbrugge.
675ce
Referred to in a document at ‘Waigebrugge’ – or Bridge over the River Wey. Land owned by Benedictine Order in 666. Chertsey Abbey.
700s
Ditton splits into two settlements of Ditone (Thames Ditton) and Ditone (Long Ditton).
900s
Weybridge situated in the Elmbridge Hundred, one of  ten settlements.
1086
At Domesday there are six parishes in Emelbruge (Elmbridge):

  • Chertsey containing the manors of Covernham (Cobham), Webruge (Weybridge);
  • Ditone (Thames Ditton) containing the manors of Claigate, Ditone, Immworth and Weston;
  • Ditune (Long Ditton)
  • Molesham (Molesey);
  • Stoche (Stoke D’Abernon);
  • Walatona (Walton).

1200s
In document of 1284 it is shown as ‘Waybrugg’. A simple wooden bridge over the Wey was used by monks and pilgrims to Chertsey Abbey, and Weybridge ‘hamlet’ would have comprised a few wooden huts and shelters situated along the present day High Street and Church Street. All local people would have had a smallholding on which to grow vegetables, graze stock, with water from River Wey.
1450
Weybridge’s St Nicholas, a small medieval church, survived until 1849 to be replaced by St James. First Rector of Weybridge appointed, and there has been a rector ever since.
1537
Henry VIII starts the building of Oatlands Palace in Walton.
1649
The Diggers, followers of Gerard Winstanley, occupied south Weybridge wilderness making the case that land ownership should be based on the tillage of land itself.
1653
The River Wey Navigation opened. It was one of the earliest canals in the country.
1670s
Portmore House purchased by Duke of Norfolk. Later became Dorchester House, after Countess of Dorchester, mistress of James II. House demolished in 1822, and the current Portmore House was in 1930s home of Dr Eric Gardner GP and first Honorary Curator of Weybridge, and later to be Elmbridge Museum.
1790
Duke of York purchased Oatlands House, built in the grounds of Henry VIII’s 1537 Oatlands Palace.
1822
The Duchess of York is commemorated by the monument on Monument Green, and the Dial Stone from this column is situated next to Weybridge Library (and Elmbridge Museum) adjacent to footpath to car park.
1831
Population has reached 930.
1838
Ditton March (now Esher – Esher Station is still in Ditton), Walton for Hersham (now Walton upon Thames) and Weybridge railway stations opened on 21 May.
1841
Claygate is made a village – separating from Thames Ditton.
1848
As the village’s population increase St James’ Church replaces the smaller St Nicholas, as it had become far too small for the hugely increased population of Weybridge. In churchyard are the chest tombs of the Duchess of York, Frederica Charlotte Ulrica, Bosomworth and Welland. Church designed by JL Pearson who later designed Truro Cathedral. Relics from St Nicholas church survive in St James’.
1849
Hampton court branch completed on 1 February with one station in Molesey (Hampton Court Station) and another in Ditton (Thames Ditton Station)
1851
Hersham is made a village – separating from Walton.  The population of Weybridge reaches 1,200.
1856
Weybridge’s St James Church spire completed.
1865
Victorian Brick and Iron bridge built over River Wey to replace medieval wooden bridge.
1867
Oatlands becomes a parish in its own right – separating from Walton – but unlike Hersham does not become a village because in 1866, under the Poor Law Amendment Act, church parishes and civil parishes were separated and Oatlands never gained the status of a civil parish.  Oatlands remained part of the civil parish of Walton until 1933 when it became part of Weybridge.
1876
Weybridge’s graveyard filled so a new cemetery was created in Brooklands Lane.
1885
In Ditton Hinchley Wood station opens.
1888
Weybridge’s St James’ chancel extended.
1890
1st February – Weybridge became the first towns (or place) in England to be wholly lit by electricity – but because overhead lines were not popular, the town government decided to go over to gas,
1891
Weybridge’s population has reached 3,944.
1890s
Portmore Park Estate and The Quadrant developed by Arthur Cobbett, who died in 1906.
1894
Cobham and Stoke D’Abernon become part of Epsom Rural District.  Esher, Long Ditton, Thames Ditton and West Molesey become part of Kingston Rural District. East Molesey, Walton (subsuming the civil parish of Hersham) and Weybridge become towns as they are created urban districts.
The funeral of the Duke of Paris who was buried in Weybridge at the old Catholic church. There were many mourners from European royalty in attendance. He was the end of the line of the French royal family who tried to claim back the throne.
1895
Ditton becomes a town subsuming the civil parishes of Long Ditton and Thames Ditton. East Molesey subsumes West Molesey civil parish to become Molesey.  Esher becomes a town subsuming Claygate, Cobham and Stoke D’Abernon civil parishes.  Weybridge’s Gas street lighting becomes operative in September.
1900
Population now 5,300. Weybridge Methodist Church begun, designed by Mr. Gunton, architect, and built by Mr. W. Greenfield.
1901
Weston Green becomes a church parish in its own right – separating from Thames Ditton church parish but remains part of the town of Ditton.
1907
Brooklands racetrack opened.
1913
Oxshott becomes a church parish in its own right – separating from the church parish of Stoke D’Abernon –  but not a civil parish and therefore not a village.
1933
Weybridge and Walton’s governments merged by Act of Parliament against the wishes of the people.  The towns of Ditton, Esher and Molesey and the villages of Cobham and Stoke D’Abernon are merged to into Esher Urban District.  Parts of Byfleet, Hersham and Oatlands become part of Weybridge,
1937
Hayfield Hall was built on land adjoining the Methodist church, and used as Sunday school and for social functions.
1939
Brooklands racetrack closed due to war and used as Vickers Aircraft Factory.
1953
Hinchley Wood becomes a church parish in its own right -separating from the Thames Ditton church parish but remains part of the town of Ditton.
1974
Walton and Weybridge local government merged with Esher’s to form the Borough of Elmbridge.
1991
Brooklands Museum opened on part of the old Brooklands racetrack.
2000
Claygate becomes a civil parish again after loosing that status in 1895.
2006
Brooklands racetrack becomes site of Mercedes Benz World and a local community park.
2012
Olympic cycle race runs through Weybridge.