Pre Modern Weybridge
Bronze weapons have been found in tributaries of the Thames, such as the River Wey. Once thought to be signs of local battles, they are as likely to be deliberate offerings.
A sign of the importance people placed on the locality and the waterways. Their power harnessed again by Celtic newcomers around 700 BC, who brought the iron age revolution.
Part of a lifestyle which may not have changed too much for over a thousand years. Roman rule doubtless came to Weybridge in theory but no Roman roads, or major buildings.
As Rome withdrew after 400 AD, tribes of Angles and Saxons began to arrive. The entirety of Surrey becoming part of the kingdom of Wessex, ruled by the Saxon King Alfred.
This period saw Elmbridge, Weybridge's borough, appear as an area of governance. Still benefiting from the vicinity of the Thames, although easy navigation also brought downsides.
No better way to invade and plunder, as the Vikings did off and on from the beginning of the 9th Century. Peace and war came and went over a long period but with a degree of continuity.
Chertsey Abbey was founded in 674 AD and the monks supported Weybridge for many centuries. Such as looking after the bridge over the River Wey and building a church there for travelers.
Their building saw changes and important Norman additions, part of new occupation. Even so, their simple chapel endured for over a thousand years, until complete replacement in 1848.
Two notable houses dominated Weybridge from the Norman period. The manor house at Oatlands built in 1478 the last and best known version of either, before being co-opted by Henry V111.
He built Oatlands Palace in it's place around 1538, part of significant local change to the landscape. Vestiges of this still exist, such as in the video above, showing the remains of Oatlands Park.
Royal power would not however remain dominant. Parliament claimed Oatlands Palace towards the end of the civil war, before demolishing the building and putting the bricks to a different purpose.
They were used to line the Wey Navigation. A 20 mile stretch of managed waterway opened in 1653, to carry barge loads of goods between Guildford and London, along with places on route.
They included Weybridge, although not a notable centre of key trades, from timber, coal and metalwork, to gunpowder production. A different technology would bring greater change.
The arrival of the railway in the mid nineteenth century transformed the Weybridge area. Large estates broken up, to allow housing to be built for the growing business and middle classes.
St George's Hill well known, a former Celtic hill fort transformed into luxury homes by W. G. Tarrant. Pre dated by Brooklands House, originally built in 1861 and renowned for the later race track.
The burgeoning town which followed deserves more, as do the people living there. Our potted history of Weybridge is simply a back drop for modern times, we hope this encourages you to dig deeper.