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Title: Wisley  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Guildford, Send, Surrey, Surrey, July 2006, Ulmus parvifolia 'Yatsubusa'
Collection: Borough of Guildford, Civil Parishes in Surrey, Villages in Surrey
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



The new Wisley Glasshouse
Wisley is located in Surrey
 Wisley shown within Surrey
Area  4.03 km2 (1.56 sq mi)
Population 185 (Civil Parish)[1]
   – density  46/km2 (120/sq mi)
OS grid reference
   – London  20 miles (32 km) 
Civil parish Wisley
District Guildford
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WOKING
Postcode district GU23
Dialling code 01932
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Mole Valley
List of places

Wisley is a village and civil parish in Surrey, England between Cobham and Woking, in the Borough of Guildford. It is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Garden. The River Wey runs through the village and Ockham and Wisley Commons form a large proportion of the parish on a high acid heathland, which is a rare soil type providing for its own types of habitat. It has a standard weather monitoring station, which has recorded some national record high temperatures.


Wisley gives its name to the nearby road intersection of the A3 Portsmouth Road (which runs across much land of the village) and the London Orbital M25 motorway, Junction 10. The village is equidistant between Cobham and Woking, in the Borough of Guildford. It is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Garden. The River Wey forms part of the western part of the village, but is partly on both banks within Pyrford. Ockham and Wisley Commons form a large proportion of the parish on a high acid heathland, which is a rare soil type providing for its own types of habitat.,[2][3]



Variant spellings of Wiselei (11th century) and Wyseleye (13th century) feature in the feet of fines and similar rolls at Westminster and Lambeth Palaces.[4][5] The phoneme 'wiz' is typically a person's name a lea is another English word meaning meadow (not from Old French but from Old English, however with a similar Old French equivalent).

Domesday Book

Wisley appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Wiselei. It was held by Osuuold (Oswold) [of Wotton], whose main seat was Wotton.[4] Its domesday assets were: 1½ hides; one church, one mill worth 10 shillings, three ploughs, one fishery worth 5d, 6 acres (24,000 m2) of meadow, woodland worth six hogs. It rendered £3 in the feudal system to its overlords per year.[6]

Wisley Church was built in 1150.[7] There is a maintained medieval track running from Byfleet through Wisley to St Nicholas' Church, Pyrford.[8]

Manorial descent

After a series of minor nobility and non-nobility owners, the manor passed in the Middle Ages to an earl: in 1434 Robert de Poynings settled the manor on his daughter Eleanor on her marriage with Henry Percy, son and heir of the Earl of Northumberland, which led to his inheritance. The earl was murdered in a riot in 1489, and the Earl of Ormond (an Anglo-Irish peer) acquired it following litigation. That family granted it to John Covert who held in 1503. Richard Covert in 1594 joined with his son Anthony in conveying the manor to notable courtiers/high-ranking national executives Sir John Wolley (MP) and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir William More (died 1600).

Sir Arthur Mainwaring conveyed the manor in 1641 to Sir Robert Parkhurst, who died in 1651. His son died in 1674, and in 1677 it was sold to Denzil Onslow — it passed under his will, after his widow's death in 1729, to Thomas Lord Onslow, and early in the 19th century it was exchanged for the manor of Papworth in Send, Surrey with Lord King, whose main descendant, a third earl, (see Earl of Lovelace) owned it, as his family did Ockham, in the early 20th century.[4]

19th and 20th centuries

Slade Farm and a cottage were transferred from Wisley to Ockham 25 March 1883. The children of Wisley Common began to attend Byfleet School.[4] Charles Buxton, brewer and MP, had his solitary, stark Neo-Gothic mansion home placed upon the far woodlands of the heath, in land well within the orbital motorway of today and associated with Weybridge.[4]

In 1911 it was recorded in the Victoria County History "there is no village of Wisley; merely some scattered farms and cottages".[4]

The former Wisley Airfield, is a misnomer as it is within the bounds of Ockham, next to the junction of the M25/A3[9] had a 6,691 foot (1.27 mile) runway. Built towards the end of World War II as a flight test airfield for the Vickers aircraft factory at nearby Brooklands, it opened in 1944 and after extended use for the development of military aircraft during the Cold War, it finally closed in 1972.

Although the runway, taxiways and large areas of hardstanding survive, most of the buildings—including the unique control tower converted from an old timber-framed cottage—were demolished around 1980. The Ockham Beacon at the east end serves as a navigation aid for aircraft flying over the area.


Wisley Golf Club is in the village, and has (or has had) celebrity members including Colin Montgomery and Jamie Redknapp.[10]

Weather monitoring station


On 5 September 2004, Wisley recorded a temperature of 29.2°C, beating 28.6°C, which was recorded in Cardiff.

2006 heatwave

On 19 July 2006, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of July in the United Kingdom was recorded at Wisley, 36.5 °C (97.7 °F). This broke the record of 36.0 °C recorded in Epsom, Surrey on 22 July 1911. However, on 1 July 2015, this record was beaten, with 36.7C at Heathrow Airport. [11] The all-time United Kingdom record is 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) set near Faversham, Kent, on 10 August 2003. That day also saw Wisley's highest temperature of 37.8 °C (100.0 °F).

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
(Civil Parish) 22 34 5 19 3 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
(Civil Parish) 185 83 10.8% 9.6% 403

The proportion of households in the civil parish who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).


  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
  3. ^ Surrey Wildlife Trust leaflet Retrieved 2013-11-30
  4. ^ a b c d e f H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Wisley". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Note, the former are kept largely at The National Archives
  6. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  7. ^ Wisley Church
  8. ^ Church tracks
  9. ^ Google Maps – Location of Wisley Airfield
  10. ^ Lawrenson, Derek (October 4, 2008). "Redknapp is blooming as Rose shows how it’s done".  Retrieved July 31 2013
  11. ^ BBC News – Heatwave breaks record for July

External links

  • "Parishes: Wisley" A History of the County of Surrey Volume 3 (1911), pp. 378–81. Date accessed: 26 September 2007.
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