In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Esher like this:
ESHER, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Kingston district, Surrey. The village stands on high ground, adjacent to the river Mole, about a mile S of the Southwestern railway, and 4¼ SW of Kingston; and has a head post office, ‡ a station with telegraph on the railway, a good inn, and a fair on 4 Sept. It was known at Domesday as Aissele; it figured prominently, for some time, in connexion with a neighbouring episcopal palace; and it now presents a pleasant appearance, and has charming environs. ...
The parish comprises 2, 079 acres. Real property, £9, 027. Pop., 1, 460. Houses, 254. The property is much subdivided. Esher Palace stood on the bank of the Mole; was erected, in the latter part of the 15th century, by Bishop Waynflete of Winchester; underwent repair and reconstruction by Wolsey, on his appointment to the see of Winchester; became his retreat, on his disgrace at court; passed, under Bishop Gardner, to the Crown; was given, by Elizabeth, to Lord Howard of Effingham; went, through various possessors, to the minister Henry Pelham; and passed first to Lord Londes, and then to the Spicers. The estate, in 1865, had lately been sold; and the park was then about to be disposed for villa residences. No part of the palace now exists except a square tower with octagonal turrets at the corners, and a central gateway. The present mansion stands on higher ground; bears the name of Esher Place; is entirely modern; and commands a rich view over the valley of the Thames. A neighbouring well is popularly called Wolsey's, but does not seem to have any true claim to the name. The surrounding grounds are beautiful; and they retain some features of an elaborate care with which they were formerly laid out. Pope alludes to them in his verses; and Thomson speaks of
Where in the sweetest solitude, embraced
By the soft windings of the silent Mole,
From courts and senates Pelham finds repose.
Claremont also is in the parish, but has been separately noticed. See Claremont. A priory was founded, in the time of Henry II. at Sandon farm; and was annexed, in 1436, to the hospital of St. Thomas, Southwark; and some traces of it may still be seen near the railway station. Brass works were established in Esher, by two Germans, in 1639; and were the earliest in England. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Winchester. Value, £448. Patron, H. J. Pye, Esq. The church was built in 1854, and is a cruciform edifice, in the early English style. The previous church is now used as a mortuary chapel, and has many monuments. There are a Quakers' chapel a national and Infant schools, and charities £40. Jane Porter and Anna Maria Porter, the novelists, were residents. The sub-district includes also four other parishes. Acres, 8, 440. Pop., 7, 185. Houses, 1, 367.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Esher has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Elmbridge. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Esher and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Esher, in Elmbridge and Surrey | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 09th December 2013
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