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Dorking, Surrey One Place Study

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Location: Dorking, Surrey, England, United Kingdommap
Surnames/tags: One_Place_Studies England
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Dorking, Surrey One Place Study

This profile is part of the Dorking, Surrey One Place Study.


Dorking[1] is an Ancient Parish (St Martin) and a market (trad. Thursday) town in the county of Surrey.


Continent: Europe
Sovereign State: United Kingdom
Country: England
County: Surrey
GPS Coordinates: 51.232, -0.333
Elevation: 64.0 m or 210.0 feet

Dorking is situated just to the south of the gap in the North Downs through which the River Mole drains water, from the local cachment area of the Surrey/Sussex Weald, northward into the River Thames.


Not much is known of the pre-roman history of the Dorking area, but there are Bronze Age barrows in the area, as well as Paleolithic and Mesolithic (old and middle stone age) finds.

Dorking lies on the roman road (post-roman name "Stane Street") from Londinium (London) to Noviomagus Reginorum[2] (Chichester). It thus joined two of the important towns and ports on the east & south coasts of Britain, and allowed easier transport of the iron that was mined and smelted on the Weald. The town is believed to have developed from one of the imperial roman staging posts (a mansio[3]), that were built at suitable intervals along all major roman roads, to support the passage of imperial messengers and important dignitaries.

"Dorking appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as the Manor of Dorchinges. It was held by William the Conqueror, who had assumed the lordship in 1075 on the death of Edith of Wessex, widow of Edward the Confessor. The settlement included one church, three mills worth 15s 4d, 16 ploughs, woodland and herbage for 88 hogs and 3 acres (1.2 ha) of meadow. It rendered £18 per year in 1086. The residents included 38 villagers, 14 smallholders and 4 villeins, which placed it in the top 20% of settlements in England by population."[4]



Burials 1855-1933 at Dorking Municipal Cemetery are included in National Burial Index for England and Wales[5]

Nearby Mansions

  • Dorking manor
    • Earls of Arundel & Surrey
    • Dukes of Norfolk
  • Deepdene House & Gardens[6]
    • 1807 - Hope banking family
    • 1917 - hotel
    • 1939 - offices
    • 1967 - demolished
  • Denbies[7]
    • John Denby
    • William Wakefield/Wakeford
    • 1734 - Jonathan Tyers (1702-1767)[8], a proprietor of [[Wikipedia:New Spring Gardens (later Vauxhall Gardens) in Kennington
    • 1767 - Thomas King (1712-1779), 5th Lord King of Ockham[9];
    • 1787 - Joseph Denison (c.1726-1806)[10], a banker;
    • 1849 - Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855)[11], a master builder;
    • 1984 - Sir Adrian Edwin White (1942- ), the founder and chairman of Biwater;
  • Leith Hill Place[12]
    • 17th century
    • 18th century
      • 1725 - Colonel/Lieutenant-General John Folliot (1691-1762)[13];
      • 1754 - Richard Hull (Bristol merchant);
      • 1772 - various inc. Rev Rusden (school proprietor);
    • 19th century
      • 1847 Josiah Wedgwood, III (retired);
      • 1851 Census[14]
      • 1871 Census[15]
      • Caroline Sarah (Darwin) Wedgwood[16]
    • 20th century - Vaughan Williams family
      • Henry Charles Vaughan Williams
      • 1944 Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958);
      • 1944 - The National Trust
      • 1950s leased to nearby school


  • William de Warenne (d. 1088)[17] was a close relative of Guillaume (William) "William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, King of England" (c.1027-1087)[18]. In around 1087, William II granted the manor of Dorking (or Reigate) to William de Warenne, the first Earl of Surrey, whose descendants have held the lordship almost continuously until the present day;
  • Six of the Mayflower Pilgrims lived in Dorking before they sailed from Plymouth, Devon to the New World. They included William Mullins (c.1572-1621)[19], his wife Alice (c.1575-1621), his son Joseph (c.1602-c.1621) and his daughter Priscilla (c.1602-1680)[20], who were all born in the town of Dorking. Like many others, Pricilla's parents and her young brother Joseph all died in the Plymouth Colony during that first winter. Pricilla soon married John Alden, who was a ship's cooper on the Mayflower, who had remained in the colony when the ship sailed back to England. They had at least 10 children
  • Daniel Defoe (c.1660-1731)[21], an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy, lived in Dorking as a child. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719.[22];
  • Thomas Humphrey (16 January 1839 – 3 September 1878) was an English cricketer who played first-class cricket for Surrey between 1862 and 1874.[23] After he retired from from cricket, he was variously the landlord of the Cricketers Inn at Westcott and the Ram Inn and the Jolly Butchers Inn, both in Dorking.
  • Charles Darwin FRS (1809-1882)[24], an English naturalist, geologist and botanist. He was a grandson of Josiah Wedgwood I (1730-1795)[25], and married to a Wedgwood first cousin. They frequently visited their grandmother at Leith Hill Place, in the grounds of which Charles Darwin conducted research on earthworms for his work on "The Origin of Species".
  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams (12 Oct 1872 - 26 Aug 1958)[26], was one of the major British composers of the 20th century. He was born in Gloucestershire, but spent his childhood (from 1875, when his father died) at the Leith Hill Place, Dorking[27]. At the time, this was the home of his maternal grandfather Josiah Wedgwood, III (1795-1880)[28] and his maternal grandmother Caroline Sarah (1800-1888)[29], who was a sister of Charles Darwin. In 1944, Ralph Vaughan Williams inherited Leith Hill Place from his brother, and he generously gave it to the National Trust (who have created a small museum about him)[30].
  • Laurence Kerr Olivier (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989)[31], became an important British stage and film actor, as well as director (1963-1973) of the National Theatre. There is a blue plaque at 26 Wathen Road Dorking, marking where he was born, but he only lived there for a couple of years. His father Gerard was a clerk in holy orders (Church of England), working as a curate at St Martin's. The family left Dorking in 1910, when Gerard was moved to a church in Kensington, London (see 1911 Census[32]). Previously, in the 1901 Census[33], Gerard and his wife were running a preparatory school, in a large house on Tower Hill Dorking, prior to the birth of Laurence's older sister and brother.

Special Pages on Dorking

I have created a number of WikiTree special pages to support this One Place Study for Dorking, Surrey. They contain abstracts from significant historical references, that have been enhanced by cross-referencing, from the names of notables and inhabitants associated with Dorking, to their corresponding WikiTree profiles.

  1. Space:Dorking in Wotton Hundred[34]
  2. Space:Dorking parish in Victoria County History[35]
  3. Space:Dorking from Topographical Dictionary[36]


  1. Wikipedia:Dorking
  2. Wikipedia:Noviomagus Reginorum
  3. Wikipedia:Mansio
  4. Wikipedia:Dorking
  5. https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/national-burial-index-for-england-and-wales
  6. Wikipedia:Deepdene_House_and_Gardens
  7. Wikipedia:Denbies
  8. Wikipedia:Jonathan_Tyers
  9. WikiTree profile for Thomas King
  10. WikiTree profile for Joseph Denison
  11. WikiTree profile for Thomas Cubitt
  12. Wikipedia:Leith_Hill_Place
  13. WikiTree profile for General John Folliot
  14. "England and Wales Census, 1851," database with images, (FamilySearch Record: SGK6-WFG), Josiah Wedgwood, Ockley, Surrey, England;
  15. "England and Wales Census, 1871", database with images, (FamilySearch Record: VRNK-H4L), Josiah Wedgewood, 1871;
  16. FamilySearch Person: LH1D-7VN
  17. Warenne-112
  18. Normandie-32
  19. Mullins-5
  20. Mullins-7
  21. Foe-19
  22. Wikipedia:Daniel_Defoe
  23. Wikipedia:Thomas Humphrey (cricketer)
  24. WikiTree profile of Charles Darwin
  25. WikiTree profile of Josiah Wedgwood, I
  26. WikiTree profile for Ralph Vaughan Williams
  27. https://rvwsociety.com/leith-hill-place/
  28. WikiTree profile for Josiah Wedgwood, III
  29. WikiTree profile for Caroline Sarah (Darwin) Wedgwood
  30. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leith-hill/features/leith-hill-place-early-history
  31. WikiTree profile for Laurence Olivier
  32. FamilySearch Record: XW2J-HJ4
  33. FamilySearch Record: X9X6-39Y
  34. 'The hundred of Wotton: Introduction and map', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3, ed. H E Malden (London, 1911), p. 128. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol3/p128 [accessed 25 February 2021].
  35. 'Parishes: Dorking', in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3, ed. H E Malden (London, 1911), pp. 141-150. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol3/pp141-150 [accessed 2 January 2021].
  36. A Topographical Dictionary of England, ed. Samuel Lewis (London, 1948)

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