East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972


The villages of East and West Molesey lie contiguously along the banks of one of the pleasantest stretches of the river Thames, on the northern boundary of the County of Surrey, twelve miles south-east of London, within the old hundred of Elmbridge. East Molesey was at one time a chapelry with the parish of Kingston from which it was separated by an Act of parliament in 1769. The parish of West Molesey had strong ties with the church at Walton. The Moleseys were combined into one urban district in 1895. This was merged with surrounding districts in 1933 to form the present Urban District of Esher.

East Molesey comprises 781 acres of land and 38 of water, West Molesey 658 acres of land and 81 of water; a grand total of 1,558 acres.

There are no striking geographical features, with little or no ground rising above thirty or so feet. Nevertheless the vista "along the shore of silver streaming Thames" towards the gables of Hampton and the mighty pile of Hampton Court is not indeed displeasing. Neither are the walks along the banks of the river Mole, to what Thomson in his "Seasons" calls "Claremont's terraced height and Esher's groves". The Mole has often inspired the romantic poets; Drayton speaks of the "soft and gentle Mole"; Spencer of the "nousling Mole"; Milton and Pope of the "sullen Mole"; and Moore of the "gentle Mole". Further to the south may be traced the blue outline of the Surrey Hills. Thames Ditton lies to the east, Esher to the south, and Walton-on-Thames to the west.


In 1974 the functions of the old Esher U.D.C. were taken over by the borough of Elmbridge.

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