"The Golden Ford" Top 5 Page for this destination Guildford by Bjorgvin

Guildford Travel Guide: 81 reviews and 227 photos

The name of Guildford, which began as a Saxon village by a ford in the River Wey, was probably in its early form the guilden (golden) ford because of the golden sands in the riverbed at the ford. The village became a town in the early 10th century and possibly a fortified one to stave off Danish invaders. Although not very populous it was a thriving community and it had its own mint. When the Normans came they built a wooden castle to overlook the town - a castle that in the 12th century was rebuilt in stone. The main reason for Guildford?s prosperity at the time was the woollen industry. The town was given its first charter in 1257, which meant that it got certain rights, such as self-government and the right to send a representative to Parliament. So Guildford became a "borough" and was also given the right to hold a market and a fair. The importance of Guildford began to diminish already in the 16th century with the decline of the wool trade in the area, but as such it continued to be an important market town for the surrounding villages. In the 18th century Guildford remained a small and rather unimportant market town, but in the 19th century, especially with the arrival of the railway in 1845, it grew rapidly. Today the Borough of Guildford has a population larger than the capital of Iceland, and it is a university town from the late 1960?s when The University of Surrey opened its doors to students.

  • Last visit to Guildford: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time - W. B. Yeats”

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