Lords of the Manor of Burpham

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

Traditionally, most Manors were compact areas, centring around the Manor House, surrounded by the village church and tenants’ dwellings. Around these would be cultivated land, owned by the Lord of the Manor and farmed by the tenants. However, Burpham Manor was not compact, as it stretched from the Woking Road in Jacobs Well, to the top of New Inn Lane.

The earliest records show that in 1276AD the Manor of Burgham was given to William de Wintershull, and it stayed in that family until 1548, when it passed to Sir Anthony Windsor. By 1592 it passed to Sir John Wolley, who was an MP for Surrey. He was one of the commissioners who tried and sentenced to death Mary, Queen of Scots. He was also the Latin Secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, translating official documents – a job later held by the poet John Milton. His son Francis Wolley inherited, then in 1609 he bequeathed the Manor of Burpham to his illegitimate daughter Mary – a very unusual move. On her death the Manor passed to her half-brother Robert Wroth, who was MP for Guildford in the early 18th century.

When Robert Wroth died in 1720, Thomas, 2nd Baron Onslow, bought the Manor and it passed down through generations of the Onslow family, until much of the estate was sold in 1905.

The Manorial system enabled a sophisticated way of functioning in medieval England. Courts Baron were responsible for the internal regulation of the Manor, chaired by the Steward and would have a jury, known as the Homage. The courts would record changes in land transactions, resolve disputes between tenants, and regulate local agricultural practices. Surrey History Centre holds an example of minutes of the 1645 Court Baron, written in Latin, and rather hard to decipher. They also hold an example from 1858, and a number of names and places are recognisable in recent Burpham history. It is unclear where the Manorial Courts were held in Burpham, but it’s likely to have been either Burpham Court Farm or Burpham Court House.

Minutes of Court Baron 1645.

Burpham Court Farm Cottage.

Burpham Court Farm sales particulars.

Some Lordships of Manors fall into disuse and are forgotten. The Manorial Society warns people against several websites, which claim to offer Lordships for sale to the unsuspecting public. The Society’s records show that in 1938 William, 6th Earl Onslow, was Lord of the Manor for Burpham.

The 1944/5 Kelly’s Directory recorded that “The Manors of Worplesdon and Burpham belong to the Earl Onslow”, so the title was probably inherited by Rupert, 8th Earl Onslow, after his father’s death in 2011.

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail (moira.macquaide@gmail.com) or by phone or text (07963 756543). My book, Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford is still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon, but the History of Burpham Primary School 1908-2014 is now out of print (available to borrow at Guildford Library).