Guildford - Surrey

Guildford is the home town of the Russell family.  The history of the Russell family has been traced to Guildford back to the 17th century.  John Russell (1680-1750) was mayor of Guildford in the 1720's.  He is the grandfather of John Russell (1745-1806) the portrait painter.

Guildford is the county town of Surrey, England, as well as being seat for the borough of Guildford. Being in a very sandy area, Guildford is probably named after a golden ford over the River Wey which existed in Saxon times

Alfred Atheling, son of King Ethelred II, had been living in Normandy during the Danish invasion of Saxon England. After Canute died, in around 1040, he returned to England where he was met and entertained in Guildford by the Earl Godwine who handed him to Harold Harefoot's men who blinded and mutilated him, so that he died not long afterward.

There is a 12th century Norman castle, which was built as an overnight resting place as the southernmost point of the Windsor hunting park. It was visited on several occasions by King John and King Henry III. Today only the keep remains and the rest of the grounds are a pleasant public garden. 

From the 14th century to the 18th century the town prospered with the wool trade.

On October 5, 1974, bombs planted by IRA terrorists went off in two Guildford pubs, killing five. The subsequently arrested suspects, to become known as the Guildford Four, were convicted and sentenced to prison. They were released in 1989 when it was made clear that the conviction had been based on false evidence, so the four were in fact innocent.

In the 21st century Guildford is a typical modern English town, with shopping malls with the standard national and international shops present. It also has the usual traffic problems of most British towns. There are two railway stations which provide a convenient link to London for commuters, the main line station also connects to Portsmouth, Reading, Epsom and Gatwick airport. There is a small museum in the town centre and a nationally successful sports centre in Stoke park which is home to the Guildford Flames Ice hockey team. The University of Surrey is situated to the north-west of the town centre.

In 2002, Guildford's application to be granted the status of a city was unsuccessful, losing out to Preston, the only English town being formally recognized as a city as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Politically Guildford is thought of as a traditional "Conservative" constituency. However the first election of the 21st century returned a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass lived in Guildford.

The clock at Guildhall
Installed in 1683


View of High Street from Holy Trinity Church


Home and Birthplace of John Russell R.A.
137-141 High Street


Churchyard at Holy Trinity Church
John Russell (1711-1804) and Ann Parvish (1719-1775), parents of the painter, were buried here


St. Mary's Church
This is the church where John Russell (1711-1804) and Ann Parvish (1719-1775), parents of the painter, were married in 1741.



Information taken from Wikipedia

Created by Edgar H. Cross