Godalming, Surrey Family History Guide

Godalming is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Surrey. Shackleford is a chapelry of Godalming.

Other places in the parish include: Deanshold, Binscomb, Catteshall, Tuesley, Low Eashing, Labourn, Hurtmore, and High Eashing.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1582
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1689

Nonconformists include: Calvinist, Independent/Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Unitarian.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Milford
  • Compton
  • Hascombe
  • Chiddingfold
  • Farncombe
  • Bramley
  • Shackleford
  • Dunsfold
  • Witley
  • Hambledon

Historical Descriptions


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

GODALMING, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred in Surrey. The town stands on the river Wey, and on the Guildford and New Portsmouth railway, 4 miles SSW of Guildford. Its site is a fine valley, or tract of meadow, of the kind the Saxons called Ing; nearly surrounded by steep high ground. Its name is supposed to have been derived from an ancient Saxon proprietor, named Godhelm, and to have been originally Godhelm's Ing. Its arrangement is both contracted and straggling; includes one principal street, and several smaller ones; and may be said to include also, as suburbs, the villages of Farncombe and Crownpits. The town is ancient; and was, in the 17th century, an occasional resort of king and courtiers for hunting. A decayed timber house, very recently standing in Bridge-street, is said to have been a hunting-lodge of Charles II.; and some interesting brick houses, in High-street, bear the date of 1663. The town has a head post office, a r. station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a public hall, a church, three dissenting chapels, national schools, alms-houses with £148, and other charities with £150. The public-hall was built in 1861, after designs by Peak. The church is variously early English, decorated, and perpendicular, chiefly the last; has an early English central tower; was restored and enlarged in 1840; and contains monuments of the Eliots of Busbridge, the Wyatts of Shackleford, the Rev. A. Warton, vicar of Godalming and grandfather of the historian of English poetry, and the Rev. O. Manning, also vicar of Godalming and historian of Surrey. Markets are held on Wednesdays; and fairs, on Feb. 13, and July 10. The Wey is navigable, by means of cuts made in 1768, to Guildford; and gives communication thence to London. A manufacture of cloth formerly flourished; and paper-making, tanning, and the manufacture of fleecy hosiery are now largely carried on. The town was chartered by Elizabeth; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, four aldermen and twelve councillors; and is a seat of county courts, and a polling place. Real property, £9,314; of which £40 are in quarries, and £129 in gas-works. Pop., 2,321. Houses, 491.

The parish includes also the tythings of Binscomb, Catteshall, Deanshold, High Eashing, Low Eashing, Farncomb, Hurtmore, Labourn, Shackleford, and Tuesley. Acres, 9,098. Real property, £21,927. Pop. in 1851, 4,657; in 1861, 5,778. Houses, 1,205. The property is much subdivided. The manor is mentioned as Godelming in Alfred's will; was given by that king to his nephew; was given by Henry II. to the bishops of Salisbury; and passed to the Pastons and the Mores. Some remains of the old manor-house. with its chapel, are near Catteshall. Westbrook, adjoining the town on the W, was long the property of the Oglethorpes, and is traditionally said to have once given concealment to Charles Edward Stuart. Busbridge Hall, 1½ mile from the town, is the seat of J. Ramsden, Esq.; contains some good pictures; and stands amid fine park scenery. The picturesque features of the town and its neighbourhood figured much in the paintings of Inskipp and Creswick. A famous deception, which caused much sensation at the time, was practised at Godalming, in 1726, by Mrs. Mary Tofts, who pretended to have brought into the world some hundreds of rabbits; and is celebrated by Hogarth in his "Cunicularii. " The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £461. Patron, the Bishop of Winchester. The rectories of Farncombe and Shackleford, and the vicarage of Busbridge, are separate benefices. The sub-district includes also two other parishes, and is in the district of Guildford. Acres, 12,629. Pop., 6,472. Houses, 1,348. The hundred excludes the borough; and is cut into two divisions, first and second. The first div. contains Compton parish, the parts of Godalming not in the borough, three other parishes, and part of another. Acres, 15,975. Pop. in 1851, 4,532. Houses, 856. The second div. contains Chiddingfold parish and three other parishes. Acres, 19,489. Pop. in 1851, 4,406. Houses, 871. Pop. of both divisions in 1861, 10,445. Houses, 2,065.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Binscomb, a tything in Godalming parish, Surrey; 1 mile N of Godalming.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records


Online Records (Free)

England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992

Census returns for Godalming, 1841-1891

Baptisms, 1877-1893

Births, baptisms and burials, 1786-1837Independent Church. Hart's Lane Chapel (Godalming)

Bishop's transcripts for Godalming, 1793-1867

Parish registers for Busbridge, 1865-1940

Parish registers for Godalming, 1582-1948

The parish registers of Godalming, Surrey Co. Author:
Malden, Henry C.

Computer printout of Godalming, Surr., Eng

Monumental inscriptions, Godalming, Surrey, England 1882

Court rolls, 1339-1866

Court rolls, 1360-1717

Charterhouse register, 1872-1920

Poor rates 1794-1850

Land tax assessments for the parish of Godalming, 1780-1831


Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Surrey
Civil Registration District: Guildford
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Surrey
Diocese: Winchester
Rural Deanery: Stoke
Poor Law Union: Guildford
Hundred: Godalming
Province: Canterbury