The ‘Attfield alias Ripley’ family

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

Sometimes it is possible to find a family that lived in a community for not only decades, but centuries. The ‘Attfield alias Ripley’ family is one of these. Whilst Attfield was originally ‘At-the-fields’, later ‘Atte Felde’ or ‘Atefeld’ it’s not known where the ‘alias’ extension of the name originated, but variations (and there are many different ones) could date back to Saxon times.

It’s possible that one of the surnames was adopted as a condition of inheritance, or to show a relationship to a prominent local family. Research shows that most of this family lived in Surrey, and there are baptism records dating back to the 1500s at Worplesdon. Some of these early records show that the family lived in Burpham, which was then part of Worplesdon Parish. There are other records of the wider Attfield family in Farnham, Windlesham, Chobham and Egham. Here are just a few examples of the family, mainly from probate records:

Agnes Atffylde alias Rypley of Burgham, a widow, left an interesting will when she died in 1574. She left 12 dozen loaves, six cheeses and a kilderkin of beer for her wake, and money for the poor of Worplesdon and Merrow. Amongst a long list of bequests to family and servants, her godchildren received 6d each, a servant received various clothing and a calf, one of her sons received a bullock, some sheets, a chest, a pot and kettle, and some barley. The rest of her belongings went to her other sons.

In 1581 some land at Burpham, possibly around Pimm’s Row or near the Green Man, was transferred to Thomas Atfeild alias Ripley for 1,000 years, by Edmund Windsor of Hillesden, who had inherited the Lordship of the Manor of Burpham in 1566. When Thomas died he left the property to his wife, Alice.

Henry Attfeild alias Ripley died in 1629, leaving his house and land at Burpham Cross, presumably by the Green Man & possibly the Tudor cottages (now West Court), and land in Ganghill, to his son.

John Attfield alias Ripley died in 1754. He was the Victualler, or innkeeper, at the Green Man in Burpham, giving us the earliest record of the pub being in the village. He had three children, but he asked his cousin, Henry Attfield alias Ripley, to sell everything in order to pay for the children’s upkeep after his death.

In 1756 Thomas Atfield alias Ripley wanted his property at Hurst, now Burpham Court House and Willow Grange, to be sold in order to pay off his mortgage for Queenhithe Farm in Jacob’s Well, so that his wife could live there for the rest of her life.

By the 1841 census it seems that the family had left Burpham, though there were still members living in other parts of Worplesdon parish. Nowadays New Inn Farmhouse is the only building in Burpham that the Attfields would have known, but there are several still in Jacob’s Well.

The Attfield family are still researching their ancestors, and prior to the pandemic they held occasional reunions.

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.