Country: England 

Region (County/State/Province): Surrey

Website: &

Contact: Jan Cooper

Study Description 

Wonersh village lies in a valley bounded by Chinthurst Hill to the west and Barnett Hill to the east. It is four miles from Guildford and lies on the B2128 road from Guildford to Cranleigh and is set in the Surrey Hills area of outstanding beauty. Almost all the names of Surrey towns and villages are Anglo-Saxon in origin and Wonersh is no exception. Its earliest form, recorded in 1199, was Wogenhers. Wunhers, Unhers, Wogenhersh, Ognersh, Wonarsh, Onersh and even Woronish spelling variations have appeared. Some of these variants must have been clerical errors and this list is not exhaustive. The familiar spelling – Wonersh – first occurred in 1334 and means ‘the hamlet in the winding stubble field’.

The church is probably the one of the oldest buildings and there is evidence that parts of the north wall are mid-eleventh century. This evidence indicates that the chapel was one of the three churches recorded in the Doomsday Book as being in the Manor of Bramley, though it is not named. The chapel itself might of course have replaced an even earlier wooden structure.

The ancient ilex tree in the garden of Green Place, a tree not indigenous to Surrey, is thought to be 1,200 years old, this suggests that there was human habitation here three centuries before the Norman Conquest.

The foundation of the blue cloth industry in the village, dyed using woad grown locally, dated from the late fourteenth century. Several of the timbered cottages in The Street were the homes of weavers, the house called ‘Weavers’ still retains the old weaver’s beam in the living room, although the loom has been removed. Most of the houses in The Street are Grade II listed buildings.

In front of and beside the church, Wonersh Park was a lightly wooded deer park. Through the park ran a small stream and its seventeenth century stone gatehouse houses a protected species of bat. The original owner, Richard Gwynn, died in 1701 and the property passed in 1741 to Fletcher Norton, the 1st Baron Grantley of Grantley in Yorkshire, a leading government lawyer who was made Lord Grantley in 1782. His family held Wonersh Park until 1884 on a sale to Mr John Jackson Sudbury and later Robert H Haslam although he never lived there, preferring to live in the Mill House. Wonersh Mansion, the seventeenth century mansion, fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1929 and the land sold. Beatrice Cook (wife of Frank H Cook) bought part of the area between the church and old gate house donating it to the villagers for quiet contemplation, no ball games are allowed. Frank and Beatrice bought the land on Barnett Hill and had a substantial house built there, later donating it to the Red Cross.

The Wonersh History Society was formed in 1992. I am an active member, Treasurer and Membership Secretary and keeper of the Digital Archives


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1841: about 250
2001: 3,297

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