The name Pyrford is derived from the Saxon ‘Pyrianforde’ which means “the ford by the pear tree”.
Evidence has been found of Roman occupation and a pot of coins from the first century AD was discovered when Romans Way was being built.
King Eadwig granted the Saxon manor of Pyrianforde to a friend in 956AD and a Charter exists which details the boundaries and with place names still familiar despite the passage of over a thousand years.
When William the Conqueror conducted the great Domesday Survey in 1086, Pyrford had a population of around 100 and was valued at £18. There was arable land for seven plough teams, half of which were owned by the villagers themselves: fifteen acres of meadows and woods with pasture for eighty pigs. Two mills were recorded and there may have been a chapel.
King William granted the “Manor of Piriford in the Forest of Windlesores” to the Abbott of Westminster in 1087. This Royal Charter carries one of very few remaining impressions of his Great Seal and is of considerable historical importance. The Charter is now kept at Westminster Abbey. The granting of the Charter was fortunate for Pyrford as the Abbey’s estates became tax free! Pyrford remained under Westminster Abbey until 1539.
In 1801, 715 years after the Doomsday book, the population of Pyrford was virtually the same at 101.
A hundred years later, in 1901 the population was 494, a five-fold increase and after another 100 years, the population in 2001 census was about 9,650 a nineteen-fold increase.
The big changes in population were due to the creation of the Waifs and Stray Home in 1907 and the associated housing around Aviary Road. This became the renowned Rowley Bristow Orthopaedic Hospital and then the St Nicholas and St Martin’s development on Floyds Lane, now commemorated by the memorial opposite. Then in the late 1950’s post-war development was responsible for further building of various estates such as Pyrford woods (Lincoln Drive, Hamilton Avenue & Lovelace Drive ) and off Boltons Lane to create the modern layout of Pyrford we see today.
Despite the significant increase in population from 1801 to 2001, much of the historical heritage of Pyrford still exists today.
Apart from Saint Nicholas Church, there are 20 other nationally listed buildings plus Pyrford Court Gardens and the War Memorial. These mainly date back to the Tudor times.
In a Heritage Study, dated 2000, Woking Borough Council identified a further 28 locally listed buildings. There are three conservation Areas in Pyrford, Pyrford Village, around Saint Nicholas Church on Church Hill, Aviary Road, including part of Engliff Lane, and the Wey Canal, owned by the National Trust. Maps of the first two and fuller descriptions can be found on our website by clicking here and going to pages 33 and 73 of Heritage of Woking 2000.
Where are these buildings? Well, a directory of both Nationally Listed Buildings and Locally Listed Buildings is kept on the PNF website.
Click here for Nationally Listed Buildings
Click here for Locally Listed Buildings
Analysis of these directories will show that the majority of our heritage is clustered in three areas. Until after the Second World War Pyrford was in fact a disparate village based around:
- St Nicholas’ Church and Church Hill
- Pyrford Green
- Lees Farm and The Old House on Pyrford Road (also known as Lower Pyrford Road)
Wheelers Farm and Barn (Warren Lane)
Stone Farm (Church Hill)
Pyrford War Memorial (Church Hill)
Bluegate & Weem Cottages (Boltons Lane)
and finally, the important escarpment from which on a fine day there are exceptional views across St Nicholas Church to the North Downs.
So, what else is there in Pyrford?
Well, there is a Grade II* building, Little Court (originally called Vodin) and beside it a Grade II Lodge Cottage built by the architect Voysey both off Old Woking Road. Further details can be found at Voysey Society
On Pyrford Common Road there is Pyrford Court & Gardens and The Bothy, the original stables of Pyrford Court now converted to housing.
On the part of Pyrford Road from Floyds Lane to Warren Lane there are 6 listed buildings:
- Grove Cottage
- Henry VII Cottage
- East Cottage
- Glebe Cottage – click here for more details
- Abbey Cottage
- The Garden House (John Donne Summer House) beside the River Wey, in the grounds of Pyrford Place
These were part of the old commercial centre, including a bakery and a workhouse in Glebe Cottage pictured below
Nearer to West Byfleet, between Floyds Lane and Boltons Close , there are still a cluster of buildings around Lees Farm all of which are worthy of note.
Those that are listed are:
- The Old House
- The Converted barn opposite Boltons Lane and 90 yards south of Lees Farm:-
but there are also two barns that are old and should be listed:
- The Granary Barn beside The Old House
- The Cart Barn by Lees Farm Cottages.
The Old House (Pyrford Road) The Granary Barn at The Old House
A full list of the national heritage assets can be found on Historic England’s website list.
The locally listed buildings are mainly from the early Victorian era to early twentieth century. These are listed by Street in Heritage of Woking 2000 here.
In the next few newsletters, some of these will be described in more detail.
If you are interested in the Heritage of Pyrford, why not come and join us in carrying out the conservation area assessments (CAAs) we need to do as a key part of the Heritage Project. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Grimshaw – Aug 2023