Egham is a town and civil parish in the Runnymede Borough of Surrey, west southwest of London. It is part of the London commuter belt and Greater London Urban Area. It has its own railway station, and is situated close to the M25 motorway--the London outer ring road. It can be considered a university town as it has on its highest part, Egham Hill, the campus of Royal Holloway, University of London. Not far from this town at Runnymede the Magna Charta was signed.
Egham Hythe is a part of Egham, but split into two post towns in Surrey. It is on the south bank of the River Thames between Runnymede and Thorpe. Its northern section has many of the largest businesses of north Surrey and its southern section includes the largely residential locality Pooley Green.
In 2011 the two wards of Egham and Egham Hythe had, according to the census of that year, a total population of 12,858.
Egham once lay within the Godley Hundred. In the early medieval period the hundred was within the Windsor Forest. There was a long-running dispute as to whether this section of the Forest lay within the historic county boundaries of Surrey or Berkshire.
In 1894 Egham Rural District was created as a Local Government District within the administrative county of Surrey. It was replaced in 1906 with Egham Urban District, which was abolished in 1974 in a nationwide reorganization of local government structure. Since 1974 Egham has been part of the Borough of Runnymede, a non-metropolitian district.
Egham predates 666AD when Chertsey Abbey was founded with many square miles of land which included that of Ecga's Ham, a one of the very oldest surviving charters of the country.
Egham appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as "Egeham". It was held by Chertsey Abbey and kept by that institution after the Conquest when its assets were: 15 hides; 12 ploughlands, of meadow, together with woodland, 'herbage and pannage' worth 75 hogs. It rendered £30 10s 0d to its feudal overlords per year (i.e, to Chertsey Abbey), one of the largest sums in Surrey.
The manor of Egham, which includes Runnymede, belonged formerly, and in 1215, to Chertsey Abbey. After the dissolution (around 1540) it became the property of the Crown, though granted to various tenants at different times.
As an ancient parish before the 19th century, Egham covered land totalling 7,435 acres (30 km2) in Surrey and, for a brief time, in Berkshire. Until 1974 the area incorporated Egham, Egham Hythe, Egham Hill, Coopers Hill, Englefield Green, Virginia Water, Shrubs Hill and Runnymede. In the medieval period it was divided into four roughly equal tythings:
The principal properties of Egham in the late 19th century were 'Wentworth' and another in Virginia Water, 'Egham Manor and Park', 'Egham Wick', 'Kenwolde Court', 'Markwood', 'Kingswood' and 'Alderhurst'.
Two memorials whose significance stretches beyond the island of Great Britain are to be found within the parish of Egham: that in honour of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215 was built in 1957 by the American Bar Association; and the Air Forces Memorial at Englefield Green commemorates all Commonwealth air force personnel killed in World War II. It is administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Surrey Research Tips
Administrative boundaries of the county of Surrey (Surrey History Centre. The centre has a website with a number of useful indexes--titheholders in various parishes, deaths at the county gaol, etc.)
The website GENUKI provides a very comprehensive list of reference sources for the County of Surrey. It includes: