History of the area

Carol Brown’s History of Stoughton

Stoughton is now a busy and thriving suburb of Guildford with over 3,500 homes and a population of around 10,500 however, back in 1086, it had a recorded population of 39 households putting it in the largest 20% of settlements recorded in the Domesday Book.

We start with a look at the history of the area to understand how it’s boundaries were originally established, as nowadays Stoke and Stoughton are two separate areas, but in the Saxon period it was all one large parish of Stoke. The name Stoughton has been spelt in several different ways – Stockton, Stogton, Stockton and Stoke.

In the Domesday Book Stoughton, or Stoke as it was then, is shown as:

Households: 24 villagers. 10 smallholders. 5 slaves.

Ploughland: 16 ploughlands. 2 lord’s plough teams. 20 men’s plough teams.

Other resources: Meadow 16 acres. Woodland 40 swine render. 2 mills, value 1 pound 5 shillings. 1 church. 0.5 church lands.

Annual value to lord: 15 pounds in 1086; 12 pounds when acquired by the 1086 owner; 12 pounds in 1066.

Tenant-in-chief in 1086: King William. Originally the term ‘Hide’ was used to describe the amount of land which could be ploughed in one year by a plough and an eight-ox team. This was used as a means of Tax Assessment in the 1086 Domesday Book.

The Domesday book of 1086 showing the entry for Stoughton

The church, St John the Evangelist, is also included in the Kings holding, so we can see that there has been a church in the Parish since Saxon times (Stoughton eventually would have its own churches and become a separate parish). A large portion of the land was part of the King’s Hunting Forest and a large area was farmed.

Although Stoke was one large parish there were two manors, that of Stoke, which was sold by King John to the Bishop of London in 1205, and Stoughton Place.

Anne Sankey, in her publication Stoughton, Guildford People and Places, suggests that this arable land was likely to be the furthest away from the river; the higher ground at Stoughton. We have highlighted five farms on the 1870 map to give an idea of where this was. None of these farms exist anymore, but the names do – Stokehill, Tilehouse, Rydeshill, Shepherd and of course Stoughton.

1870 map showing some of the farmland before development took place.

Although Stoke was one large parish there were two manors, that of Stoke, which was sold by King John to the Bishop of London in 1205, and Stoughton Place. The Stoughton family tree shows that this manor was in their ownership, and a separate manor by 1265. By the 17th century both manors belonged to the Stoughtons.

Sir Nicholas Stoughton described the area thus in 1660: “took in all that part of the Parish of Stoke, which lies northward of the River Wey, including also the mills; and extended to the Lynches westward, and from there to Rydes Hill which it included, as also the clay pits sometime in occupation of James Rede. From the bounds extended to New Pond in Stoughton Common; and thence by Gilbert’s Bushes, to North Lake to Slyfield Green; including also so much of that as was not parcel of the Manor of Poyle.”

Many of these names are now gone but it demonstrates how large the original parish was.

1885 map showing Stokehill and the site of Stoughton Place as development began in the area in the 19th Century.

In the next issue of Stoughton Pages, as we have just passed the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war, we will explore the history of an agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and his connection with Stoughton. The SOE trained men and women to be infiltrated into occupied countries and work with the resistance – exciting stuff!

Please do feel free to contact Carol with any stories or images you have, or any thing you would like to see covered in future issues. Carol can be contacted at browne@ntlworld.com