Looking back at bygone Worplesdon

IT’s been said that Worplesdon is one of the largest villages in England.

Covering an area of 6.93 square miles it may be a contender, although there are likely to be many others claiming the same. And what exactly constitutes a village? There is no standard definition.

The top of Perry Hill with the New Inn on the right

The parish of Worplesdon is, in fact, made up of a number of settlements. The principal ones are Jacobs Well, Fairlands, Wood Street Village and Perry Hill. The latter is often simply referred to as Worplesdon.

There appears to be only one Worplesdon in the UK and the name is said to derive from ‘werples’ a bridleway and ‘dun’ a hill.

The vintage pictures here show the Perry Hill area more than 100 years ago. Records reveal that there was an inn called the White Lyon opposite the green as far back as 1675. However, in 1718 it became the New Inn.

The old building was pulled down at the end of the 1930s and the current pub soon replaced it, sited slightly to the north of the original one and built in the then fashionable ‘roadhouse’ style; no doubt hoping to cash in on the motor-coach trade that was increasing along the Bagshot Road.

It reverted back to the White Lyon in 1966. More recently it doubled up as a Thai restaurant going by the name of the White Lyon & Dragon, yet is now the White Lyon once again!

Rickford Mill on the Hoe Stream

On the edge of Perry Hill, near the boundary with the borough of Woking, was a watermill on the Hoe Stream. Eventually powered by a turbine, Rickford Mill was later owned by corn merchants D. Taylor & Sons. It was still in use by the early 1950s when the book Old Surrey Watermills by J. Hillier was published.

Mr Hillier had visited Rickford Mill and had spoken to the miller. He wrote: “For all the advent of the turbine, the miller’s work is no different from that in a mill powered by a wheel, and his conversation was seasoned with the same milling terms and cant as any other of the confraternity.

If  you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call me, David Rose, on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: davidrosemedia@gmail.com

For the full story get the 14 November edition of the News & Mail

Picture captions:

Worplesdon 01.jpg

ON THE GREEN: The top of Perry Hill with the New Inn on the right

Worplesdon 02.jpg

GREAT BARN: Primmer & Terry were wheelwrights, blacksmiths and undertakers

Worplesdon 03.jpg


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