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Template:Infobox UK place Claygate is a suburban village in the English county of Surrey, and within the Greater London Urban Area, between 13.1 and 14.2 miles south-west of Charing Cross, central London. It is the only civil parish in the borough of Elmbridge.

Once the main manor of Thames Ditton, since the 19th century its post town is the only place directly adjoining, Esher.Unknown extension tag "ref" Claygate is primarily residential and has a small number of offices, outlying farms and two modest shopping areas: the Old Village, and the Parade, altogether providing boutiques, hair and beauty shops, a supermarket, five pubs and restaurants. Claygate has primary schools, churches of several denominations and a wide range of social and sporting clubs and societies.



Claygate may have its name from the clay pits in the village that provided bricks for a large surrounding area including some of Hampton Court Palace. Claygate's lack of main thoroughfares has been attributed to angle of the River Thames leading the A3 main road (from London) south-west instead through Esher (now instead between Claygate and Chessington) and historical conditions when through roads became impassible in wet weather because of the clay often close to the surface. Equally, mid-distance routes chose a line to avoid this land, before the advent of road surfacing, such as those through Tolworth and Esher.


Claygate appears in Domesday Book as a manor of Thames Ditton, Claigate. This main manor of the village was held by Westminster Abbey. Its domesday assets were: ½ hide; 2 ploughs, Template:Convert of meadow, woodland worth 1 hog. It rendered £2 10s 0d per year to its overlords. The manor descended (after its purchase in 1565) from the Vincent family to the Evelyn family. Much land remained in the manor when it was sold between 1718 and 1721 to the Earl of Lovelace, the King family and currently Locke-King family who had sold the vast majority of its land by 1970.<ref name=m/>

Other medieval history

Claygate was formed as an ecclesiastical parish from Thames Ditton in 1841. Scant remains were traced in boundary lines of an early medieval track running from Kingston Hill to the ford of the Mole near to a square entrenchment in Leatherhead almost in Stoke D'Abernon.<ref name=m/>

19th century

In about 1822 the Claygate Pearmain apple was discovered by John Braddick, growing in a hedge here. In 1840 its church, Holy Trinity, was built of stone in 14th-century style, with a tower, enlarged in 1860, and restored in 1902. The school was built in 1838 as a Church school, and enlarged in 1849.<ref name=m>Template:Cite web</ref> It was rebuilt by the School Board of Thames Ditton in 1885. Claygate has a Baptist chapel, built in 1861.

Claygate's development chiefly was in the 60 years after the construction of its railway line and station (on the New Guildford Line); the station opened in 1885.

With views particularly towards Cobham, Chessington and Leatherhead is Ruxley Towers, a Neo-Gothic Victorian edifice constructed by Lord Foley who owned a considerable amount of land. On the other side on Telegraph Hill is a semaphore station built in 1822 to transmit messages between the Admiralty and Portsmouth.

20th century

In 1911 brick and tile production works, rather than retail sites, continued to employ men near the station in the 1910s. In 1911 Claygate was under the same urban council as Thames Ditton.<ref name=m/>


As the name partly implies, the topsoil rests upon the youngest beds of the London Clay which are named after the village, here capped in places by sand in the southern part of the civil parish. Claygate has its own parish council. Apart from an interweave of streets with Esher, Claygate is surrounded by woodlands and open countryside, including Claygate Common, Princes Covert, Winney Hill, Surbiton Golf Course, Telegraph Hill, Littleworth Common and Arbrook Common. Much of the outlying farmland is used for grazing ponies, two farms are run for cultivation. The Rythe is a major stream running north through Claygate, and as a responsive channel in the clay basins has been implicated in late 20th century flash flooding in small pockets of the village: a major flood alleviation scheme has been completed which commenced in 2002. The centre-to-centre distance from London is Template:Convert.

Many of Claygate's residents commute to the capital using the train services, see Transport. Claygate is in the relatively small area between the M25 and Kingston-upon-Thames. Constrained by the Green Belt, demand has resulted in Claygate being subject to a level of permitted in-fill and back-garden development.<ref name=c>Planning pages Claygate Parish Council. Retrieved 21 November 2013</ref>

View over Claygate from Telegraph Hill to Ruxley Towers

Commerce and services

thumb Claygate has a large and diverse selection of shops and restaurants for its size of development, having two main centres: "The Parade" and "The Old Village". Claygate Village Association organises the annual Christmas lights in the Parade funded but donations fro the Parish Council and other local businesses. The Parade is the larger shopping area, adjacent to Claygate railway station and extending beyond one row into St Leonards Road and Hare Lane. Claygate has its own supermarket, a Post Office, two newsagents, four estate agents and a number of specialist shops. Many of the shops in Claygate are family-run, independent businesses, for instance The Game Larder opened in the early 1960s as R.E. Grimes. the butcher.

Claygate has five public houses, and one of the annual village traditions is a Boxing Day tour of these by Morris Dancers.

In the "Old Village" there is a range of restaurants representing wide selection of international cuisine. The Parade close to the station has a kebab shop, a fish and chip takeaway, a Chinese restaurant and a Tandoori restaurant run by the same family since 1974.

Local newspapers covering Claygate include The Surrey Advertiser, The Surrey Comet and The Herald, and two freely distributed newspapers, The Informer and The Guardian. Claygate is in the editorial area of BBC Surrey, although its proximity to London means all of the capital's radio stations can be heard.

There are several small farms in Claygate, one with direct customer and user amenities being Horringdon Farm, Vale Road; many of the farms are or incorporate horseriding centres.

Claygate (Primary) School was established in Elm Road in 1885, becoming an Infant School which closed shortly after its centenary — The Firs, the Junior School, became the new single site. The original school building was in the late 20th century redeveloped as Claygate's Youth Centre/Community Centre and Capelfield surgery.


thumb The Anglican church is "Holy Trinity", built in 1840, which is of architectural idiosyncrasy for having two spires. There is also a First Church of Christ Scientist. Roman catholicism is served by the Church of the Holy Name in Arbrook Lane, Esher, with a peak recorded of 600 families.Template:When?Template:Cn.

Claygate Village Association has been at the heart of the village since 1946. The Association is a non-political charity which, with a large number of volunteers, organize some of the key village events; the Christmas lights, The Claygate Music Festival, the Claygate Gardens Trail and Claygate in Bloom.

There are a large number of local clubs, community groups and sports teams. A major annual event is the Claygate Flower & Village Show which takes place on the Recreation Ground in late July each year.

A monthly magazine covers the borough with one other edition nationally, Living Within.

In arts and the media

Telegraph House on Telegraph Hill

Filming carried out in Claygate include:

  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson 1961) starring Tom Courtenay, set at Ruxley Towers (Ruxton Towers in the film) and showing much of the surrounding countryside before the construction of the Esher By-pass.
  • The BBC TV situation comedy Wyatt's Watchdogs which starred Brian Wilde and Trevor Bannister and was about a Neighbourhood Watch group.
  • Never the Twain (1981) which used the Greek Vine frontage as the shop fronts. It starred Windsor Davies and Donald Sinden as two grumpy antique shop owners.
  • A sketch for The Two Ronnies
  • A shampoo commercial
  • A clip from Men Behaving Badly. (filmed outside The Winning Horse)
  • Ronnie Wood Famous Rolling Stones guitarist at one point lived in Ruxley towers .

Previous residents of Claygate include "Python" Terry Jones "Rolling Stone" Ronnie and presenter/actor Michael Aspel. Claygate often has a celebrity to switch on its Christmas lights. These have included Cliff Richard, Gloria Hunniford, Tony Stamp and Roger Valentine from The Bill Bernie Nolan. Mick Hucknell, Ronnie Wood, Anthea Turner and most recently Bobby Davro<ref name=c/>



From Claygate railway station; the journey to a London terminus takes, at its fastest, 29 minutes, the station also provides direct access to central Guildford, London Road, Guildford, Surbiton and Wimbledon. Guildford provides a number of other direction routes as does Clapham Junction.


Claygate is served by the K3 Bus to Esher, Kingston and Roehampton Vale, operated by Abellio (London %26 Surrey) for Transport for London.


The A3 at motorway width past the settlement, has its Hinchley Wood and Esher spur road directly north of Claygate allowing a traffic-lit junction with convenient access to/from London, and second junction by the Scilly Isles Roundabout with access to Hampton Court Bridge for journeys north.

A third A3 junction is almost 2km along Copsem Lane to the south for journeys towards the south-west and west, Wisley interchange or for journeys east, continuing south along the A245 to the Leatherhead Common junction of the M25.


The proportion of households in Claygate who owned their home outright was 8.5% above the regional average. The proportion who owned their home with a loan was 4.0% higher than the regional average; providing overall a lower proportion than average of rented residential property and of social housing relative to the average in Surrey, the district and the national average.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares<ref name=ons/>
Claygate (CP) 7,168 2,788 41.0 39.1 471<ref name=ons/>


Claygate is served by a non-political Parish Council made up of 10 elected representatives. The Parish Council has some developed responsibilities from Surrey and Elmbridge such as Highway Garden Sites and tree planting. They are also key in responding to the planning applications in the area.

Claygate is in the parliamentary constituency of Esher and Walton, which since its inception has been a relatively safe seat for the Conservative Party. Local government is administered by Elmbridge Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

At Surrey County Council, one of the 81 representatives represents the area within the Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Oxshott division.

At Elmbridge Borough Council all wards of the borough are deemed appropriate to be represented under the current constitution of councillors by three councillors.<ref name=r>Your local councillors Elmbridge Borough Council . Retrieved 20 November 2013</ref>

Elmbridge Borough Councillors
Election Member<ref name=r/>


style="background-color: Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/color" | 2011 Alex Coombes Claygate
style="background-color:Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" | 2010 Geoffrey Herbert Claygate
style="background-color: Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/color" | 2012 Mary Marshall Claygate
Surrey County Councillor
Election Member

Electoral Division

style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" | 2013 Mike Bennison Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Oxshott


  • Malcolm W H Peebles The Claygate Book: a History of a Surrey Village (1983) and Millennium edition (1999)
  • Claygate Village Residents Association Claygate Village: Enquire Within (1983)

Notes and references





External links

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