Horley Town History
In early times the
Weald was a densely forested and marshy area unsuitable for agricultural purposes. During Saxon
times, the Manor of Horley came under the control of the Benedictine Abbey of St
Peter at Chertsey. No mention is made of Horley in the Domesday
Book and it is thought to have been included in the northern manor returns. The Manor
passed to Henry VIII on the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and changed hands
several times during the next sixty years.
In 1602 it became the property of Christ’s Hospital in London and the
original map of the manor is now held at the Guildhall in the City of London.
This shows that Horley consisted of three hamlets around a huge open common. One
was around the area occupied by St Bartholomew’s Church and the Six Bells public
house; another by the River Mole and the third in Horley Row where some of
Horley’s oldest buildings can still be seen.
The Common was enclosed in 1812, new roads were laid and the intervening land
was sold. In 1809 and later in 1816, two turnpikes were introduced to allow the
operation of regular coach services from London to B"right"on. The railway was
laid in 1841 and a station was built in the town. From that position, and from
that date, Horley grew at a slow rate until 1950. Since then its population has