Thursday, 24 October 2013

An Introduction to Surrey

Surrey is one of the most charming of counties. But for those who think they know it, there are some surprises in store. The county is not all suburban gardens, rolling hills and quiet villages. History has been made here, tragedy has struck and fortune has smiled.

Surrey folk today might not notice, but the bridge they drive over may be 700 years old, or might be only the latest in a string of bridges that go back to Roman times. They may, if they go shopping in Epsom, make a purchase in a shop that was once home to Nell Gwynne, the witty mistress of Charles II. Others unknowingly walk on battlefields where brave men fought and died for the causes they believed in.

For those who think Surrey is a peaceful place they might be surprised by the time that the army had to be called out to end a riot in Guildford that left houses in flames and a policeman dead. And there have been brutal murders in plenty, some of the killers ended up swinging from a gibbet but others got away with thier brutal crimes.

Not everything in Surrey has been a success. Take the grandly named Staines, Wokingham and Woking Junction Railway which never got as far as Woking. Then there was the great playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan who moved to Leatherhead to find peace and quiet in which to work, but who got so distracted by the fine fishing that he didn’t write a single word the whole time he was there.

But Surrey is not all about the past. There is plenty to be seen today, be it theatres or country walks, wildlife or fine churches.

Wherever you are going in Surrey, slip this book into your pocket and prepare to be surprised.

From "A Little Book of Surrey"

Buy your copy at Amazon or a bookshop

The Little Book of Surrey is a funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of the sort of frivolous, fantastic or simply strange information which no-one will want to be without. The county's most unusual crimes and punishments, eccentric inhabitants, famous sons and daughters, royal connections and literally hundreds of wacky facts about Surrey's landscape, towns and villages (plus some authentically bizarre bits of historic trivia), come together to make it essential reading for visitors and locals alike.

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