Until recently it was thought that the earliest settlements
in Bagshot were late Saxon, and the name Bagshot (and that of the
neighbouring Windlesham) are considered by many to be of Saxon origin.
However recent excavations
have shown that there was both pre-Roman and Roman occupation of
Bagshot. There were late Bronze Age settlements in the area,
and iron smelting appears to have been a major 'industry' in the
locality. There is a confluence of several Roman roads just
to the north of Bagshot.
The derivation of the name Bagshot is not clear. The
first part probably derives from BACGA (or Baga or Bacca), either a
personal name, that of a tribe, or of a small wild animal (badger or
fox). The second part (shot) is thought to be either an
angle, corner or strip of land; or that it means "the tribe of". The
origins of the name has been the subject of quite a bit of
correspondence and is discussed more fully on a separate
Following the Norman conquest (1066) the area was declared
part of a Royal Forest. 'Forest' means hunting ground, rather
than necessarily wooded, but the significant thing is that it placed
the area outside of the regular Law and thus was not conducive to the
development of stable communities.
The oldest detailed
map of England, circa 1360 (the reign of Edward III), includes Bagshot
among the limited number of places shown. The map, which is held in the
Bodleian Library in Oxford, is
known as the Gough Map even though it pre-dates Gough, a collector of
maps, by 400 years.
There had been a royal hunting lodge at Bagshot (now Bagshot Park)
certainly through Stuart and Tudor times and it is sufficiently likely
that Charles I was at Bagshot Park when he signed the warrent that
established the Royal Mail in 1635 for the Royal Mail to host their
350th anniversary celebrations there in 1985.
Apart from supporting
the hunting lodge, development of Bagshot occurred due to its position
on the main London to the West Country road (The Great West Road
established in Elizabethian times, late 16th century, and now
classified as the A30). The roads were dirt or gravel and narrow. On
another page I have an old picture of the road
going through Bagshot's narrow High Street. Many inns
developed to provide services to the stage coach passengers, and
stables to provide the coaches with fresh horses.
The area also bred its share of highwaymen,
one of note (or perhaps notoriety) being William Davis, a farmer who
lived near what was later known as the Golden Farmer and later still
the Jolly Farmer (see below). He was eventually caught (at the
White Hart Inn in
Bagshot) and hanged. He had hardly sought to avoid suspicion for he
always paid his debts in gold! It was after him that the pub used to be
called the Golden Farmer.
Ron recounts an alternative version, which I suspect
might be rather more fanciful. Do you know of any
corroberating information? : In the early 1950's I used to go
with my Father to Camberley on our bicycles to a gardening job. On our
ride home we always stopped at the "Jolly Farmer" for a pint. We were
told that horse drawn carriages conveying rich travellers would spend
the night there. The owner of the pub became very rich by receiving
payments from Dick Turpin the highwayman for giving him information
about his guests, and came to be known as the Golden Farmer. Dick
Turpin was eventually caught and hanged at Gibbet Lane, about a mile
along Portsmouth Road. Ref 612.0106
Gavin's version is a bit different - "I've always
been told it was Claude Du Val who paid his bills in gold and the pub
was named after him. When the sign was painted with the smiling farmer,
locals soon refered to the pub as the Jolly Farmer." 8042.708
John adds another highwayman tale "Nell Gwynne was
robbed by a highwayman on Bagshot heath. She was so taken by his charm
that she gave him a kiss and he gave her jewelry back. She then gave
him 10 guineas for his trouble. He was a former Captain in the
Goldstream guards by the name of Pat O'Bryan. It was suspected that he
was part of a small cartel of robbers in the area who shared their loot
between themselves." 8047.808
But one has to acknowledge that most if not all these stories
of highwaymen owe as much to legend as they do fact. Certainly Dick
Turpin was not hanged locally. There is even authorative opinion that
William Davies was not the Golden Farmer despite the prevalence of the
story quoted above.
The building of the railway (through Woking) in 1839 put a
vitual end to the coaching trade and Bagshot suffered a decline which
would not be reversed until a couple of decades later with the
construction of a local line whose direct access to London facilitated
the growth of market gardening.
from Windlesham to became its own Ecclesiastical parish in 1874.
1890 map defines the original
parish boundary (click on the map for a larger version 143k).
The northern boundary of the parish follows the Surrey -
Berkshire border. For some reason the map omits the road to Bracknell
that runs in a north-westerly direction from where the London road
crosses the railway north-east of Bagshot .
The most westerly point of the parish is Wishmore Cross,
where several tracks cross a stream.
The point on the western border where roads and rail meet is
the Jolly Farmer, until recently a public house. The parish boundary
from Wishmore Cross to here has little to identify it.
The boundary from the Jolly Farmer
to the most southerly point is rather ambiguous - some maps show it
running along the centre of the road known as the Maultway, others have
it about a hundred yards east of the road along a route that is
unidentified by anything on the ground. The shape of the boundary shown
on the map is about right, but the position and shape of the track does
not correlate with The Maultway. Clearly The Maultway has
been omitted and a lesser track (seen in this picture)
shown. I would speculate that the track, rather than The Maultway, was
shown solely in order to provide an excuse for marking the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum,
which had been opened in 1864.
The eastern end of the southern boundary runs along an old
track, the central part along a road, and the western part continues in
a more-or-less straight line while the road digresses to the south.
The western boundary follows a selection of roads, the
Windlebrook stream, and in two places what are now only tracks or
original creation of the parish, the southerly part has been taken away
to form part of Lightwater parish, and in 1973 some western parts were
returned to Windlesham and the southern boundary aligned with the M3
motorway. The coloured area on this second map shows the current parish
Bagshot was the name, and administrative centre, for the Bagshot Rural
District (which included Windlesham, Lightwater and other local
villages) until the reorganisation of local government that took place
about 1975. It is now a part of Surrey Heath borough.
The contribution of several correspondents to the information
presented here is acknowledged with thanks.
Data provided only for personal background
information. While every effort has been made to provide correct
information no assurance as to its accuracy is given or implied. Check
any facts you wish to rely upon.