Chertsey

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Chertsey is a town in Surrey, England, on the River Thames and its tributary rivers such as the River Bourne. It is in the Greater London Urban Area. It can be accessed by road from junction 11 of the M25 London orbital motorway. It shares borders with Staines-upon-Thames, Weybridge, Shepperton, Addlestone, Woking and Egham. It lies within the Godley hundred, 29 km southwest of Central London, close to the M3 and the M25.

The town is part of the London commuter belt, and is served by Chertsey railway station. It is located on the Chertsey branch of the Waterloo to Reading Line which is currently operated by South West Trains as part of the UK state-owned National Rail network. The town is home to the head office of Compass Group and the UK head office of Samsung Electronics. Thorpe Park is also in the town, including frequent buses from Staines-upon-Thames and the car park. Elevation is generally low at 14m in the High Street and 11m on the river Thames where the Boat House and Kingfisher restaurants are located, making this the lowest place in Chertsey. The highest point is St. Anne’s Hill in the forest, which peaks at around 77m, making it the second highest point in Runnymede. Across the river Thames from Chertsey Bridge on the Middlesex side of the river is the Thames Path National Trail, and Chertsey Lock.

Chertsey is one of the oldest towns in England. It grew around Chertsey Abbey, founded in 666 A.D by Eorcenwald, Bishop of London. In the 9th century it was sacked by the Danes and refounded from Abingdon Abbey by King Edgar of England in 964.

Chertsey appears in the Domesday Book as Certesi. It was held partly by Chertsey Abbey and partly by Richard Sturmid from the abbey. Its Domesday assets were: 5 hides, 1 mill and 1 forge at the hall, 20 ploughs, 80 hectares of meadow, woodland worth 50 hogs. It rendered £22.

The Abbey grew to become one of the largest Benedictine abbeys in England, supported by large fiefs in the northwest corner of Sussex until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536. The King took stone from the Abbey to construct his palace at Oatlands; the villagers also used stone for raising the streets. By the late 17th century, only some outer walls of the Abbey remained.

Today the history of the abbey is reflected in local place names and the surviving former fishponds that fill with water after heavy rain. The nearby Hardwick Court Farm, now much reduced in size and cut off from the town by the M25, retains the abbey’s impressive 15th century tithe barn.

The eighteenth-century Chertsey Bridge provides an important cross-river link, and Chertsey Lock is a short distance above it on the opposite side. On the south west corner of the bridge is a bronze statue of local heroine Blanche Heriot by Sheila Mitchell, F.R.B.S.

In the 18th century Chertsey Cricket Club was one of the strongest in the country and beat the rest of England (excluding Hampshire) by more than an innings in 1778. The Duke of Dorset, (who played cricket for Chertsey), was appointed Ambassador to France in 1784. He arranged to have the Chertsey cricket team travel to France in 1789 to introduce cricket to the French nobility. However, the team, on arriving at Dover, met the Ambassador returning from France at the outset of the French Revolution and the opportunity was missed.

The original Chertsey station was built by the London and Southampton Railway, opened on the 14th of February 1848. The present Chertsey station across the level crossing from the site of the original station was opened on the 10th of October 1866 by the London and South Western Railway. The Southern Railway energised the electrified line using the third rail on the 3rd of January 1937.

Chertsey Regatta has been held on the river for over 150 years.

Chertsey was the home of Charles James Fox, who had wished to be buried there but was not.

The Chertsey troop of the Berkshire Yeomanry occupied the Drill Hall on Drill Hall Road since 1977. The unit has close ties with the borough and was granted the freedom of Runnymede in 2009. The Drill Hall closed at the end of March 2010 and the troop was forced to return to Windsor, following severe cuts suffered by the Territorial Army in 2009-2010.

Chertsey has an admission-free museum on Windsor Street, which provides considerable information about the history of Chertsey. It features clocks by two local makers, James Douglass and Henry Wale Cartwright. (Note however that there were three successive watchmakers called James Douglass (or Douglas) in the Douglas family, the latter based in Egham)  The Black Cherry Fair is an annual event which the Museum hosts. It includes live music and refreshments in the museum garden.

St. Peter’s Hospital, originally intended to serve casualties of the Second World War, formally came into being on 12 September 1939. It now has 400 beds and a wide range of acute care services.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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