Reminiscing over the history of Burpham

October 13, 2022| Past Issues, History of Burpham

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

As we celebrate 100 issues of Burpham Pages, it’s interesting to look back at the history of Burpham that we have discussed in past issues.

Communities are constantly changing. Some buildings get demolished and new ones are built. People come and go – some live here in order to commute to work more easily, and some live and work locally. We know from archaeologists that there were Roman and Saxon settlements around Burpham, and Guildford Museum holds various artefacts that were found here, such as the Samian Bowl*.

* Romano-British burials accompanied by pottery were found at Burpham in around 1897. The pottery is chiefly in private hands but some of it is in Guildford Museum, including a small 2nd-century Samian bowl. The pots suggest the cemetery was in use during or after the later 2nd century CE. The siting falls within an area of former sand and clay workings on the edge of the River Wey terrace; they were later under pasture before the construction of the A3.

Samian Ware, or Terra Sigillata, is basically fancy Roman tableware. It is the most commonly used high quality pottery from Roman Britain.

The paper trail telling us about people living in Burpham starts mainly in the 16th Century, with church records for Worplesdon Parish recording births, marriages and deaths. The Manor of Burpham at that time extended from Woking Road, including all of Jacob’s Well, right over to the boundary with Merrow at the edge of Great Goodwin Farm. The area was predominantly agricultural, with four farms along the London Road, as well as Burpham Court Farm and, later on, Gosden Hill Farm. The Domesday book tells us that there was a mill, which continued right up to the 20th Century. Sir Richard Weston created the Wey Navigation, working with Burpham landowners, enabling river traffic to access the River Thames, making transport links easier.

Kingpost Parade inherited its name from the Kingpost building, recently vacated by MJA.

100 years ago, Burpham consisted of farms, and limited housing along London Road and Burpham Lane, then more farms and housing in Jacob’s Well. There was one church, St Luke’s, and one school, Burpham Primary School. The Methodist Chapel had closed down. The blacksmith had given up and the mill had stopped milling. There were two pubs, the Green Man and the Anchor and Horseshoes. Occupations were changing, with more white-collar jobs such as sales, teaching and office work, instead of farm workers.

Recent boundary changes have resulted in Abbotswood and Ganghill being included in Burpham.

The old Green Man pub.

As we look around Burpham and Jacob’s Well today, there are few reminders of the history. New Inn Farmhouse is the oldest building in Burpham, dating back to the 17th Century, while Jacob’s Well has about five houses dating back to Tudor times. Burpham has lost the Green Man pub and the Tudor cottages on Burpham Lane. Marlyn’s and Marlyn’s Cottage probably date back to the late 18th Century. There are several Victorian cottages along London Road and Burpham Lane. Recent boundary changes have resulted in Abbotswood and Ganghill being included in Burpham. We’re still waiting to hear what will happen to Gosden Hill Farm – will it be developed to double the size of the community? MJA Car Sales has moved away, leaving the Kingpost building, so what will happen there?

Drawing of Burpham Court Farm Cottage.

Change happens. Communities evolve. Housing is needed. What will Burpham look like in the future? Hopefully some of the old buildings will be saved to remind us all what the community looked like in the past.

New Inn Farmhouse, the oldest building in Burpham.

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 ( or by phone or text (07963 756543). My two books (‘The History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) are still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon.