THE HISTORY OF MAYFORD VILLAGE
Mayford has been translated as ‘The Ford of the Mayweed’, or alternatively as ‘Meaga’s Ford. The settlement has been known under numerous variations including ‘Mayeford’ (1210-12), ‘Mainford’ (1250) and ‘Meyford’ (1255).
Egley (as in Egley Road) is first mentioned in 1005 in the Red Book of Thorney as ‘Egceanlaea’, it was known as Eynsham (Eggele) in 1354 and ‘Egly’ in 1604. The name is likely to be a derivative of ‘Ecga’s Clearing’
Following the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave the church and manor of Woking to the Norman
Osbern and Mayford to William Malet. There is one confirmed entry for Woking in the Domesday Book undertaken in 1086. At this time Woking comprised 33 villagers, 9 smallholders with 20 ploughs and a church held by Osbern. Also included were a meadow, 32 acres and woodland at 133 pigs. Mayford is returned as containing 90 acres and containing ‘nothing accessible’.
The parish of Woking was initially divided into 9 tithings. Mayford is not mentioned in association with Woking until the early 13th century when Geoffrey de Pourton held Mayford in chief of the King (Survey of Woking 1280-1).
The Manor of Mayfield is speculated from Post-medieval cartographic evidence to have been situated on the east side of Mayford Bridge at the site of a farm complex and is unnamed on Rocque’s map of 1762 but is also recorded on the Tithe Map 1840. This is speculated purely on the strength of its geographical location.
However, there are further indications of a focus of medieval activity in the vicinity that may go some way to strengthen this theory. Investigations undertaken during construction works associated with the Mayford roundabout in the 1970’s recorded Medieval pottery. The convergence of several roads at Mayfield Bridge also suggests the location has been a fording point from early times.
Furthermore, there is documentary evidence for two medieval farms in Mayford. These comprise Egley Farm, first mentioned in 1280 and Hook Farm referred to as ‘La Hok Mor’ in 1280. Hook Farmhouse is still extant, but Egley farm survives only as a Victorian building known as Egley Cottages fronting onto the east side of Egley Road.
Due to Mayford’s isolation from Woking, the village retained its rural aspect throughout the Post-medieval period and indeed well into the 20th century. Historically, it has represented one of the most rural parts of the parish. In the Woking parish registers dating from 1698-1726, over 80 percent of the population of Mayford was involved in agriculture. This contrasts with the statistics for Woking itself where the figure is only 17 percent.
A further unnamed farm complex is recorded to the east of Mayford roundabout. The site is shown on a map dating from 1840 but not by Rocque. However, the fabric of the extant farmhouse is noted to comprise 16th-century material.
Further Post-medieval sites in Mayford include the location of 2 lime kilns, the first at Smarts Heath, which was archaeologically investigated in 1969 and a location identified on the Tithe Map in ‘Great Lime Kilns Field’ at Saunders Lane/Smarts Heath.
History of The Egley Road Fields
From the second half of the 18th century, Mayford can be traced cartographically. In 1762, John Rocque shows that the farming estates at Egley, east of the Site and Hook Hill to the west are in place. Ordnance Survey Edition reflects an unchanged landscape with the exception of a trackway running along the modern boundary between areas to the north of the Egley road fields. The track is accessed from Egley Road and terminates on open heathland north-west of the Site. The field inspection noted this boundary to be retained as a mature tree line delineated by a raised earthen bank. No trace of the associated track was visible. These impressive and long established field boundaries are discernible at various locations across the Nursery land.
The London and Southampton railway (now known as the London and South Western Railway) which cuts through Mayford was sanctioned in 1834 and opened as far as Woking in 1837. The Woking to Southampton extension was opened on 11th May 1840 and served by a station on open heathland around which the modern town of Woking developed. Following the opening of the railway, Mayford Road became heavily congested as a result of traffic travelling to and from the station. In spite of this most of Mayford and its farming estates stayed intact until the 1920’s.
The Old Village green as in many areas of the English countryside is characteristic of the Woking area. Most in the locality do not represent the classic central village green but were areas of elongated rough grassland bounding the road used for grazing livestock. Map analysis notes the remnants of Mayford village green in patches of common land bounding either side of Egley Road retained as roadside verges.
The Tithe Award Map and Apportionment Books dating from 1840 give the first large-scale detailed view of land ownership. The map shows the line of the railway. The Tithe Apportionment book (1843) show Areas be known as ‘Outer’ and ‘Inner Hook’ and owned by Richard Egley. The lands are occupied by Thomas Newman. The field names point to an earlier association with Hook Hill Farm.
The Hoe Valley School Site is listed as arable land known as ‘Hock Hill and ‘Close’ owned by John Gaiment and occupied by William Woodhatch. The field name here would again suggest an association with Hook Hill Farm. The Far North end of the Egley Road Fields is separated from the rest of the Site by the trackway is known as Upper and Lower Knapp listed under the ownership of Thomas Ennell and occupied by Joseph Chilly.
All land use is listed as arable with the exception of a small strip of land at the eastern extent which is listed as pasture. This strip is likely to have been part of the elongated ‘village green’.
A shift in land use is notable by the close of the 19th century (1894-5). The areas are occupied by nurseries. At this date, the Woking area had become renowned for its nurseries. The sandy soils which hampered agricultural productivity were ideal for horticulture. The rise of the Arts and Crafts Movement, suburbanisation and standards of living resulted in an increased demand for ornamental garden species. Railway development meant that nurseries formerly based in London were able to relocate to open countryside while retaining their trade links with the city. By the 1850’s, the Woking area was one of the most important nursery centres in western Europe.
The far north end of the Egley Road fields was occupied by Woking Nursery (owned by William Jackman [1763- 1840] and his sons Henry and George) from at least the 1890’s into the 20th century as shown on the 1913 edition of the 6” Map. The southern end occupied by a nursery in the 1890’s is still home to Woking Nursery (currently Edwins Garden Centre) in the present day.
Mayford in WW2
20th century archaeology is notable within Mayford and concerns World War II anti-invasion defence site.
The location concerns an Anti Tank Block now destroyed located at Beech Hill.
Pill boxes are among the most numerous military structures of World War II, and at least 14,163 examples were standing by 8th October 1940. They provided infantry and military defence of linear systems, beaches and nodal points of all kinds and were very diverse in size, form, construction and function. Most were built during a 20 month period prior to February 1942.