Up One Level Molesey Books

A selection of books and papers about Molesey written by Rowland Baker are listed below, click on a book title to open it.
N.B. It is inevitable that changes to the area have taken place since the books were written over 20 years ago.

Molesey was shaped by water - by the Thames, Mole and Ember, and before that by a great glacier. Low-lying, wooded and often flooded, it was a place for transients in the Stone Age: men who left behind their dugout canoes, daggers and shields. Iron Age man settled on the site of St Mary's Church, and in 666 the monks of Chertsey recorded their 'fields, woods, meadows . . . (at) Mulesei'. When the Normans came, they called it Molesham, and in the 12th century it was split into East and West Molesey. In 1518 Wolsey completed Hampton Court Palace - roads were laid, craftsmen prospered and the Moleseys grew. In 1535 Henry VIII moved in, and transformed the area into a Royal chase: crops were damaged, homes destroyed and people ruined. Only when he died did the villages return to normal and they stayed much the same until 1849. That year the railway came, and with it, first visitors, then wealthy Londoners with their many mansions, and finally, the commuter. Thus started the development that continues even today. The earliest developer was Francis Jackson Kent; he was speculating in property in 1848; he sold part to the Westminster Freehold Society. Others like Arnison, Hansler and Feltham were quick to follow their lead. From 1851 to 1871 the population trebled. Much needed schools and churches did not spring up overnight: rivalry between new and old delayed matters - right into our own times. Although it took sixty years to replace the farms and great estates with speculative housing, 'modern' services and to complete the translation from villages to suburbia.

For books and papers about other parts of Surrey see this page.