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SURREY DESCRIPTIONS

Old gazetteer entries for Surrey.

SURREY, an inland county; bonded, on the NW, by Berks; on the N, by Bucks and Middlesex; on the E, by Kent; on the S, by Sussex; on the W, by Hants. Its boundary, along all the N, is the river Thames. Its greatest length, from NE to SW, is 37 miles; its greatest breadth is 27 miles; its circuit is about 145 miles; and its area is 478,792 acres. A line of downs bisects it, from E to W, nearly through the centre; culminates at an altitude of 993 feet; and abounds in romantic and picturesque scenery. Another line of downs, parallel to the preceding, runs along part of the S border; and a group of downs lies in the NE, between Croydon and Epsom. The rest of the surface is much diversified with undulations, knolls, and hills; and exhibits much pleasing natural scenery, adorned with culture. The chief streams, besides the Thames, are the Wey, the Mole, and the Wandle. Mineral springs are at Epsom, Cobham, Seatham, Kingston, Dulwich, Godstone, Stoke, and Dorking. Lower chalk rocks, chiefly Weald clay, occupy all the S; upper chalk rocks form a belt along the course of the central line of downs; and lower and middle eocene rocks, with large preponderance of London clay, occupy all the rest of the area. Ragstone, manurial chalk, fire clay, and fullers' earth are the chief useful minerals.
The soils correspond much to the character of the underlying rocks; yet exhibit considerable intermixture of chalk, clay, loam, and humus, and are exceedingly various. Upwards of 400,000 acres are arable, meadow, market-garden, or cultivated pasture; and above 60,000 are heath. Agricultural practice varies with the character of the land, and with distance from the metropolis. Wheat yields from 2 to 6 quarters per acre; barley, from 4 to 7 quarters. Beans, pease, and. turnips are much grown on the arable lands; clover, sainfoin, and woad also are much grown on certain soils; hops are cultivated, on an aggregate of about 2,000 acres near Farnham; cabbages, carrots, parsnips, asparagus, and kindred plants are currently cultivated in the market-gardens; and enormous quantities of mint, lavender, camomile, liquorice, rosemary, hyssop, and other seasoning or medical plants are raised in Mitcham and its neighbourhood. Farms average from 200 to 300 acres, but are of all sizes; and many are held on leases of 21 years. Cattle of various breeds are fatted; houselamb, particularly around Guildford, is reared for the markets; about 300,000 sheep, chiefly South-downs, are pastured in the centre and in the west; and Berkshire pigs and Dorking fowls are largely kept. Manufactures of numerous kinds abound in the vicinity of the metropolis; and calico-printing, snuff-making, cement-working, glass-making, pottery, and brick-making, occur in other parts. The river Thames, the Surrey canal, the Basingstoke canal, and the Arun and Wey canal afford extensive navigation. Railways traverse and intersect the county in all directions, and give ample communication. The roads, as long ago as 1814, comprised 248 miles of paved streets and turnpikes, and 1,508 miles of other highways used for wheeled carriages.
Surrey contains 143 parishes, part of another, and two extra-parochial tracts; and is divided into 4 boroughs and 14 hundreds. The registration county gives off 9,010 acres to Sussex, 8,930 to Berks, and 23,621 to the London districts; takes in 38,960 acres from Middlesex and Hants; comprises altogether 476,191 acres; and is divided into 12 districts. Kingston is the seat of Lent assizes; Guildford and Croydon alternately, of summer assizes. Twelve towns have each a pop. of more than 2,000; and there are about 440 smaller towns, villages, and hamlets. The chief seats include 10 of noblemen, 6 of baronets, and amount a1together to about 98. The county is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, about 90 deputy lieutenants, and about 410 magistrates; is in the home circuit, and within the jurisdiction of the central criminal court; and, excepting 5 parishes and 3 parts, is all in Winchester diocese-The county jail is in Horse monger Lane; and the county house of correction is at Wandsworth. The police force, in 1864, in the parts beyond the metropolitan police district, and exclusive of Godalming, Guildford, and Reigate boroughs, comprised 133 men, at an annual cost of £10,318.The crimes committed in the same year, within the same limits, were 124; the persons apprehended, 131; the known depredators and suspected persons at large, 1,566; the houses of bad character, 50. The county, under the reform act of 1832, was cut into two sections, E and W, each section sending two members to parliament; and, under the reform act of 1867, it was rearranged into three sections, East, Mid, and West. Electors of the E section in 1833, 3,150; in 1865, 9,912. Electors of the W section in 1833, 2,912; in 1865, 4,081. The poor rates for the registration county in 1863 were £162,237. Marriages in 1863, 1,835,-of which 219 were not according to the rites of the Established Church; births, 9,064,-of which 406 were illegitimate; deaths, 5,497, of which 2,005 were at ages under 5 years, and 138 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 13,986; births, 68,556; deaths, 42,233. The places of worship within the electoral county, in 1851, were 262 of the Church of England, with 143,783 sittings; 1 of English Presbyterians, with 900 s.; 84 of Independents, with 30,076 s.; 68 of Baptists, with 19,783 s.; 11 of Quakers, with 2,743 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 700 s.; 55 of Wesleyans, with 14,435 s.; 1 of New Connexion Methodists, with 582 s.; 7 of Primitive Methodists, with 650 s.; 4 of Bible Christians, with 539 s.; 4 of the Wesleyan Association, with 862 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 295 s.; 1 of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, with 100 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 500 s.; 21 of isolated congregations, with 2,286 s.; 2 of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, with 450 s.; 4 of Latter Day Saints, with 410 s.; 14 of Roman Catholics, with 3,046 s.; and 2 of Jews, with 200 s. The schools were 406 public day-schools, with 54,219 scholars; 1,386 private day-schools, with 30,994 s.; 363 Sunday schools, with 44,422 s.; and 50 evening schools for adults, with 1,269 s. Real property in 1815, £1,589,702; in 1843, £2,939,068; in 1860, £5,280,841,-of which 878 were in quarries, £17,351 in canals, £1,456,997 in railways, and £82,130 in gasworks. Pop. in 1801, 268,233; in 1821, 399,417; in 1841, 584,036; in 1861, 831,093. Inhabited houses, 130,362; uninhabited, 4,670; building, 1,402. Pop. of the registration county, in 1851, 202,521; in 1861, 273,264. Inhabited houses, 46,716; uninhabited, 1,623; building, 650.
The territory now forming Surrey was inhabited by the ancient British Bibroci, or Rhemi, or Regni; was included by the Romans in their Britannia Prima; took the name of Suthrige or Suthrea, in the Saxon times, seemingly with allusion to its position S of the Thames; was then a small separate state, whose reguli were subject first to the South Saxons, afterwards to successively Wessex, Mercia, and Kent; became one of the many earldoms of Godwin and his sons; was given, after the Norman conquest, to William de Warenne; and gave to him and his descendants the title of Earl. The chief subsequent event connected with it was the signing of the great charter at Runnymede; and other public events were mostly intertwined with the history of the metropolis. Few remains of either the ancient British, the Roman, or the Saxon periods exist. Stone-street and Ermine-street have left some vestiges; and Roman relics, of no great interest, have been found at various places. Guildford Castle is the county's best specimen of Norman military architecture; and Farnham Castle, of early Edwardian. Specimens of monastic buildings, of early English date, occur in Waverley abbey and Newark priory. Specimens or portions of Norman architecture occur in 7 churches; of early English, in 11; of decorated English, in 4; of later English, in 10.
(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))


Surrey, co. in SE. of England, bounded N. by the Thames, which separates it from Bucks and Middlesex, E. by Kent, S. by Sussex, W. by Hants, and NW. by Berks; greatest length, N. and S., 26 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 40 miles; area, 485,129 ac., pop. 1,436,899. The co. is traversed from E. to W. by the North Downs range, from which the surface slopes gently down towards the Thames on the N., while on the S. it descends into an extensive flat plain (partly also in the cos. of Kent and Sussex) called the Weald. Except a small portion in the SW., and another small portion in the SE., the whole of the co. is drained by the Thames and its tributaries, the Wey, Mole, and Wandle. There are many varieties of soil, including plastic and alluvial clays, rich vegetable loam, calcareous earth, and almost barren heath. On the plastic clays the crops are wheat and beans; the alluvial soils, particularly in the vicinity of the metropolis, are chiefly occupied by orchards, market gardens, and farms for the culture of medical and aromatic plants; on the loamy soils the crops are barley, oats, and pease, carrots and parsnips; while the chief products of the calcareous soils are hops and clover. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) There are some industries in oil, paper, calicoes, woollen goods, &c., and those places situated on the Thames share in the trade of the port of London, but (except in that part of the co. included within the limits of the metropolis) the trade and raft's, are not of great importance. The amenities of climate and scenery, the vicinity of the metropolis, and the complete means of railway communication, have caused many parts of Surrey to be studded over with mansions and villas. The co. contains 14 hundreds, 152 parishes with parts of 2 others, the parl. and mun. bor. of Croydon (1 member), the par], bors. of Battersea and Clapham (2 members), Camberwell (3 members), Lambeth (4 members), Newington (2 members), Southwark (3 members), and Wandsworth (1 member) - all the parl. bors. being metropolitan except Croydon - and the mun. bors. of Godalming, Guildford, Kingston upon Thames, and Reigate. The co. is in the dioceses of Canterbury, Rochester, and Winchester. For parl. purposes it is divided into 6 divisions - viz., North-Western or Chertsey, South-western or Guildford, South-Eastern or Reigate, Mid or Epsom, Kingston, and North-Eastern or Wimbledon, 1 member for each division.
(John Bartholomew, Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887))

Antique map of Surrey.

 




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