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Effingham, Surrey

Effingham is an English village in the Borough of Guildford in Surrey, bordering Mole Valley. There is a railway station at Effingham Junction (actually in the parish of East Horsley), at the point where a branch of the Sutton & Mole Valley Line joins the New Guildford Line - these are both routes between London Waterloo and Guildford.


Late Stone Age

Long before Effingham was named by the Saxons, a prehistoric road now called the North Downs way or Pilgrims' Way was an important pre-historic thoroughfare in South East Britain. Part of this ancient road forms the southern boundary of Effingham parish. It was used by early traders of flint and stone implements and there is evidence of stone age flint mining in the nearby village of Horsley.[1]

Roman Times

A Roman coin featuring Tiberius (AD 13-47) and his mother Livia was found in Effingham in 1970 by Dr Sutton in land being prepared as Rugby fields in King George V Playing fields. It is not known whether the coin was dropped on the land by a passing Roman or arrived in Chalk from nearby Horsley used as foundations for the rugby pitches.[1]

In 1802 General Oliver de Lancy, Lord of the manor of Effingham East Court found a small camp of irregular form near Mare House, Dunley Hill in the south of Effingham parish. It is believed to be of Roman origin but was lost after the land was enclosed and became arable.[1]

Saxon Times

Around c. AD 493, a Saxon noble called Aeffing built his "ham" or house in the area now known as Effingham. A charter of AD 727 granted 20 dwellings in Bookham and Effingham to the Benedictine monastery at Chertsey.[2]

Effingham lay within the Saxon administrative district of Effingham (half hundred)[3]

Effingham appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Epingeham. It was held by Osuuold (Oswald) from Chertsey Abbey and Richard Fitz Gilbert. Its domesday assets were: 4 ploughs, of meadow, herbage and pannage worth 18 hogs. It rendered 8.[4]

Pre 1800

By the 14th century, a manor house stood on the site of the current Effingham Golf Club clubhouse owned by Sir John Poultney, four times Lord Mayor of the City of London[1]

By 1545, King Henry VIII was hunting on what is now Effingham Golf Course whilst staying at Hampton Court nearby. The manor house and lands were then owned by Lord William Howard (the Lord High Admiral, and later 1st Baron Howard of Effingham) and it was his son the 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham (later 1st Earl of Nottingham) who commanded the English fleet against the Spanish Armada.[1]

The Effingham Golf Club clubhouse contains a spectacular carved oak fireplace in the Armada room, dated 1591, which is believed to have originated on one of Lord Howard of Effingham's ships.[1]

History post-1800

The house and lands which Effingham Golf Club is now based passed through many distinguished hands until in 1815 the house and of land came into the possession of Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece. It was in 1927 when the Surrey Land and Development company negotiated a lease for a group of people wishing to build a golf course. Effingham Manor Golf Club was formed with the artisan club house using what are now greenkeepers' cottages situated near the third tee area. Also by the third tee is one of the largest man made lakes in the county which is used to water the golf course during drought's.

The club house, previously known as Effingham House, is Georgian in style and was reconstructed by David Burnsall in about 1770. A feature of the club house today is an ancient cedar tree believed to be over 400 years old which give rise to the club emblem,regrettably due to storm damage this had to be felled. The course is known as one of the finest in the south and used to hold the qualifing rounds for the Open Championship. The Effingham Golf Course was designed by Harry S. Colt who was renowned for his skill in modelling and landscaping. During his architectural career he was involved in either the construction or improvement of over 300 courses in the UK and Europe.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Effingham like this:

"EFFINGHAM, a village, a parish, and a hundred in Surrey. The village stands 3 miles SW of Leatherhead r. station, and 4 NW by W of Dorking; has a post office under Leatherhead; was formerly a place of some importance, said to have contained sixteen churches; and gives the title of Earl to the Howards of Grange. The parish, with the village, is in Dorking district, and comprises 3, . Real property, 4, 094. Pop., 633. Houses, 122. The property is much subdivided. Effingham Hall is the seat of the Stringers. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. Value, 370.* Patron, Andrew Cuthell, Esq. The church is ancient, has stalls, and is good. There is a Wesleyan chapel. The hundred contains also two other parishes. Acres, 7, 347. Pop., 1, 958. Houses, 373." [5]

Famous Effingham villagers include Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb which breached the Eder and Mohne dams in the Second World War. He also designed airships including the R100 and applied the geodetic construction methods to aeroplanes.[1]

Wallis lived with his wife Molly in the village for 49 years. Their former home North of the village centre in Beech Avenue was called White Hill House but is now renamed Little Court and looks over Effingham Golf Club's 17th fairway. It is said early 'bouncing bomb' experiments were carried out in his garden using the family washtub and his children's marbles.[1]

Barnes Wallis joined the Parochial Church Council of St Lawrence Church, Effingham in 1932 and served as their secretary for eight years until 1940.[1]

In 1946 Barnes Wallis became an Effingham Parish Councillor and served as Chairman of Effingham Parish Council for 10 years.[1] He was also the Chairman of Effingham Housing Association which helped the poor and elderly of the village with housing.[1]

Knighted in 1968, Sir Barnes Wallis was instrumental in the founding days of the KGV playing fields at Effingham. He was Chairman of the KGV Management Committee and negotiated the landscaping of the "bowl" cricket ground. As a fanatic cricket fan he was keen to see a first class ground in his village; the County Council wanted to improve the line of the adjacent A246 Guildford road and Wallis persuaded them to cut and fill the sloping playing field to achieve the current superb flat cricket ground. At one stage it was the back-up ground to The Oval. He was the first Chairman of the Effingham Housing Association, a charity which built homes for local people; the most recent development, Barnes Wallis Close, was opened by two members of his family in 2002.[1]

In 1967 on Barnes Wallis 80th birthday the village presented him with an album about the history of Effingham in recognition of his national and village contributions.[1]

Sir Barnes Wallis died on 30 October 1979 and was buried in St Lawrence Churchyard, just a few yards from KGV fields. During the funeral an Avro Vulcan bomber from 617 Squadron (the Dambusters) flew overhead as a mark of respect.

On 3rd July 1944 a V1 flying bomb fell on Beech Avenue and hit the ground close to a house called Orchard Walls which was damaged.[1]

On the 10th July another V1 flying bomb scored a direct hit on a cottage called little thatch It killed the owner and injured his wife and child. This was the only civilian casualty of World War 2 in the village. The cottage was rebuilt and renamed Phoenix Cottage which survives to this day on Effingham Common Road.[1]

The Royal Army Service Corps were stationed in Effingham with Canadian soldiers encamped and headquartered in High Barn, Beech Avenue, close to where Barnes Wallis lived.[1]

Effingham featured in the 1971 comedy film She'll Follow You Anywhere.


A prosperous small village, dwarfed by its neighbours the Bookhams, it is known for its railway station (which is north of the village), large common, generous sports park (called the KGV playing fields), St Teresa's School (private girls' prep school) and the Howard of Effingham School.

The Wealth of the Nation report in 2002 found that Effingham has the 2nd highest average income per household in the UK, at 52,700. It also found that Effingham has the 4th highest percentage of residents earning over 100,000 in the UK.[6]

As well as a number of historically significant buildings within the village there is an early work by Edwin Lutyens, the Red House built in 1893 for Susan Muir-Mackenzie, a friend of Gertrude Jekyll (who laid out the original garden and orchard). The house later became Corpus Dominii Convent and was converted to apartments in 2008. About half of housing is now South of the A246 (between Bookham and East Horsley) at the top of the small High Street "The Street". The village grew as a result of spring-line development, situated at the foot of the North Downs. Two parallel roads, The Street and Church Street reflect this by their steep gradient. At the bottom wells exist, whereas towards the top chalk prevents reaching water.


As well as the above-mentioned golf club,which membership is available. the village is home to Effingham Cricket Club and Effingham and Leatherhead Rugby Club. Also, local skater Matt Axebey has been making headlines in the US after some impressive performances.

Famous residents

  • Barnes Wallis (resident 1930-1979), inventor of the Bouncing Bomb; buried in St Lawrence Church graveyard
  • Toni Mascolo, co-founder of Toni & Guy
  • Admiral Sir Francis Turner, lived at Effingham with his family until his death in 1991.
  • Tom Felton, actor
  • Julian Bailey, former Formula 1 and Le Mans racing driver and former Stig on BBC show Top Gear

External links


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