WOKING'S HISTORY DISTRICT BY DISTRICT
Old Woking, Kingfield and Westfield
Kingfield, Westfield and ‘Town Field’ (to the north of Old Woking High Street) were the names given to the three ‘open fields’ of the ancient town of Woking. The ‘west’ field was in fact divided into two areas with the ‘lower west field’ occupying the area of present day Westfield Avenue and the Football Ground and the ‘upper west field’ covering the area to the south and east of the Westfield Road.
Church Street, Old Woking.The area was once one of the poorer parts of the district, with the parish workhouse near the old Cricketers Inn (the 16th c building next to the present pub) whilst one of the more unusual industries was the ‘liquorice factory’ which once operated from the 16th century Walnut Tree Cottage in Highlands Lane!
As well as the ‘common fields’ Westfield had a large area of ‘common land’ that, despite being bought by the Necropolis Company in the mid-19th century, remains open even today.
All of the modern development of Westfield (as well as Kingfield and Old Woking) has been on the former fields of the area, with the bounds of many of these fields still traceable in the estate boundaries.
The ‘King’s field’, like Westfield, was first recorded in 1548. The common field itself was situated to the north of Kingfield Road, covering most of the land of the Elmbridge Estate. Kingfield Green was larger than it is today, with roadside wastes running along what is now Loop Road and down Kingfield Road to ‘Elmbridge Green’ (the entrance to Woking Park). It was off the green that several old properties were grouped. Some still survive, such as Howards Farm and Laurel Cottage in Stockers Lane, and the thatched-roofed Elmbridge Cottage in Kingfield Road.
Map of Old Woking c1870.Old Woking - the real ‘town’ of Woking - properly consists of two areas known in the past as ‘Shackleford’ (around the Shackleford Road/Gloster Road area) and ‘Town End’ (around the Church and the junction of the road to Send).
The Baptist Church at the Shackleford end of the High Street is on the site of the ‘Independent Huntingdon Chapel’ built in 1778. The ‘Hoad’ family who lived at Shackleford Farm set it up and although the farm was demolished in the 1920s/30s, there are still a number of old properties along this part of the High Street. They include on the northern side Hale Lodge (17th c) and The Old Cottage (16th c), with Nos. 34 (16th c), 80-82 (17th c) and 84-88 (18th c) on the southern side. The Venture, almost opposite Shackleford Road, was once a printing works (hence the large north-facing windows).
Walnut Tree Cottage, Westfield.Between Shackleford and Town End was Mill Moor and the Mill (mentioned in the Domesday Book). At Town End were the brewery, three public houses (the White Horse, The Hand & Spear and the White Hart), the village almshouses and the church. The Old Woking Conservation Area contains most of the old town centre, including The Grange (16th-18th c) on the corner of the High Street and Old Woking Road. The Grange stands on the site of one of the gates into the parkland of Woking Palace, and some of the houses in this part of the village are said to contain bricks that were ‘robbed’ from the ruins of the former Royal Manorial site.
The Woking Community Play Association’s book ‘Changing Woking - 1900-1929’ contains a wealth of information on the Mayford, Sutton Green and Worplesdon Hill area.
Kingfield Road, Kingfield.The Woking Community Play Association’s book ‘Changing Woking - 1900-1929’ contains a wealth of information on Old Woking, Kingfield and Westfield.
Booklets on ‘The Prehistory of the Borough of Woking’, ‘The Place Names of Woking’, ‘The Early Medieval History of the Manor of Woking’, ‘The Tudor Buildings of Woking Palace’, ‘Woking Palace in Tudor Times’, ‘A Brief History of the Wey Navigation’, and ‘Famous People from Woking’s Past’, as well as ‘Heritage Notes’ on ‘Old Woking (Town End)’, ‘Old Woking (Shackleford)’, ‘Kingfield’ and ‘Westfield’, are also available - please see the list of publication on the HERITAGE WALKS page.