WANBOROUGH - 10,000 YEARS OF HISTORY
FROM PREHISTORIC MAN
Humans in prehistory travelled along the Hog's Back, attracted by the springs in the locality. The earliest settlement dates to 8000 BC with Prehistoric tools and arrowheads having been found around Wanborough. It was the huge barrow on the Hog's Back called Wen-Berge (White Barrow) by the Saxons, that gave Wanborough its name. The Barrow was excavated for the final time in the 1960's as the dual carriageway was being built. Pottery fragments, flint arrowheads and coins were among the items discovered.
TO THE CELTIC/ROMANO TEMPLE
Water was the key reason for the area to be inhabited. A very early Celtic circular temple was built near what is now Christmas Pie. This collapsed and was replaced in 160AD by the Romans with a rectangular temple surrounded by a covered walkway and a square inner sanctuary. On excavation, as well as coins, the site yielded a priest's headdress and a number of bronze sceptre handles. The site was looted by 'nighthawks' during the 1980's with many thousands of coins, in particular, stolen. The British Museum calls the destruction of the Romano-Celtic temple at Wanborough 'one of the saddest stories in British archaeology'.
TO THE NORMANS
Wanborough was two estates in Saxon times and the owners, Sweign and Leofwin, were brothers of King Harrold. After 1066, the lands passed to a Norman lord, Geoffrey de Mandeville, and when the Domesday book was written in 1086, 'Weneberge' was recorded as having a church as well as a number of villagers, small-holders and even slaves.
AND THE CISTERCIANS
The Cistercian Monks founded Waverley Abbey in 1128, acquiring the Wanborough Estate soon after. They farmed sheep and cultivated crops, so built a barn in Wanborough around 1250 to process and store their produce. This barn burnt down - we think during the 14th Century peasant revolt - but some of the timbers were re-used in the construction of The Great Barn that was built in 1388 and survives to this day. The monks and lay-brothers left at the dissolution of the monasteries in around 1540.
PRIME MINISTERS AND QUEENS
Wanborough Manor was built around 1670 by Guildford MP Thomas Dalmahoy and, on his death, was sold to the Onslow family. It passed through a variety of hands after that, but for one reason or another the owners never lived there. One of the tenants was Sir Algernon West who was both a Privy Councillor and private secretary to Gladstone, the Liberal Prime Minister. This meant a stream of notable visitors, Gladstone himself on many occasions and even Queen Victoria. Asquith took over the tenancy (two of his very young daughters are buried in the churchyard) before he also became Prime Minister.
TO THE SOE
Wanborough Manor was taken over by the Special Operations Executive during WWII and became STS 5 - a training school for agents who were later sent behind enemy lines. The Manor was used by French Section and of the 400 or so agents sent to France, some 130 passed through Wanborough. At least half of these agents lost their lives.