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The Ancient Tithing of Frymlesworth

It might surprise some people that the name Normandy did not appear in Surrey until 1604 when references were noted in the Court records of the Manor of Cleygate to "Normandy Causeway" and "a messuage with a garden in Normandy abutting upon More Meade in Asshe". Those references were to areas of land now known as Normandy Common. At that time the main settlement of the area was located around where the Anchor public house used to stand (demolished in July 2000) and replaced with a group of five houses, the address of which is appropriately named "Anchor Close". It is clear from other entries in the Court Records that this settlement was called Frymlesworth and was one of the two tithings of the Manor, the other being Henley.

The Anchor in May 1989
The Anchor in May 1989

The location of Frymlesworth
Most references to Frymlesworth in the Court Records concern holdings of land now identified as being in the vicinity of Anchor Close. For example: "Prichelles scytuate in Frymlesworth within the parish of Ash". That property is identified and is still called "Pritchells", located in Wells Lane on the opposite side of the A323 to that of Anchor Close. Another example is: "one Little Meade in Frymlesworth called Westmeade otherwise Hewersgrove". That land has been identified as "West Field" on the 1839 Tithe Map, located at the rear of what is now the CCB garage. There are suggestions elsewhere that West Mead was once part of the Open Field System before enclosure.


Other holdings within the Manor of Cleygate, such as Marlyns (now Glaziers of Glaziers Lane) and Wheybournes (the Mariners holding of Guildford Road adjoining Normandy Garage), are recorded as being in Frymlesworth indicating that the Tithing of Frymlesworth included land up to the boundary of the Manor of Wyke. The extent of the Tithing is further indicated by a statement in a survey of the Manor of Cleygate between 1547 and 1549 concerning the messuage of one Robert Purse "in the hamblett of Frymlesworth extending in length from the land of John Gillerd unto the Quenes Waye and in breadth betweene the land sumtyme of John of Henley of the one parte and the heath of the other parte". The Queen's Way is now Pirbright Road. Also, there is a reference to "one close in Frymlesworthe called Grove at Heath"; identified as Grovers Heath on the Tithe Map located to the north-west of the Manor

There are seven references to Frymlesworth in that survey, the location of which have been identified. There was good reason for the main settlement being where it was because it lay on a strip of alluvium more fertile and friable than the heavy clay in the rest of the valley. It was not until the coming of the railway in the mid 1850s and the building of Wanborough Station in 1891 that the centre of gravity of the village began to shift westwards to the crossroads area of Guildford Road with Glaziers Lane.

Wanborough Station about 1913
Wanborough Station about 1913

The name of Frymlesworth
The earliest written reference is in 1225 when it was recorded as Fremelesworth. However, the name is certainly much older since after the Conquest, Old English elements were not generally used in place naming. The variant form of the name descends more or less intact from 1225 to 1548. Thus, we have: Fremelesworth (1225), Frumlesworth (1255), Fremesworth (1263), Framlesworth (1305), Frymlesworth in 1548 and finally Frimlesworthe in 1604. The name is formed of two elements, namely Frymles and Worth. The second element means an enclosure or protected homestead. The first element could refer to a person (Frimle or Fremle) or the settlement of Frimley and if so would mean "the enclosure belonging to Frimley" which would infer a later settlement to that of Frimley in north-west Surrey. In 1548 Frymlesworth was described as "infra parochiam de Asshe" (under the parish of Ash). Ash was in the Hundred of Woking (now Old Woking), which then was called "Wockinges" in 1086 (Domesday Book). The Hundred Court was held on the verge of the Hundred at Harmes Hatch.

The name of Frimley
The name of Frimley has been recognisably similar to the modern form since the year 933 when it was rendered as Fremeley. By 1203 it was Fremle, and in 1445 was Fremley, attaining its present form of Frimley in 1575. The name is formed from two elements meaning the woodland clearing of a man named Frem(m)a. The element Ley, Leah or Lee only later came to be applied to a field or meadow.
Frimley, although originally a hamlet of Ash in the Woking Hundred, was yet always reckoned to be in Godley Hundred, probably because the Manor of Frimley belonged to Chertsey Abbey. According to the historian Aubrey, the Hundred Court was held at Hardwick in Chertsey

The retention of ancient place names
Frymlesworth is described in the English Place Names of Surrey as (lost), which is true. Its disappearance from the geographic arena could be laid at the door of several and otherwise reliable reference sources, including the Victoria County History of Surrey. Such sources have contributed to the confusion of the name Frymlesworth and its associated derivations with those of Frimley located several miles to the north. Closer examinations of primary sources indicates, that such speculation about Frymlesworth is based on nothing more than a similarity of Saxon named elements notwithstanding the fact that the derivation of Frimley has remained remarkably unchanged since AD 933.

However, it is perhaps questionable as to whether the retention of the name Frymelsworth as a place name would be welcome or retained today. Of interest is a reference in the Manor of Cleygate Records of 1604: "William Sherrett held land in Frimlesworthe and Constance Hawarde, John Ticknor and his wife Alice were admitted to a messuage with a garden in Normandy abutting upon More Meade in Asshe". Thus in 1604 the names of Frimlesworthe and Normandy existed side by side. Perhaps it was more convenient from 1604 onwards to drop Frimlesworthe and use the name "Normandy" for reasons of both the written and spoken word?

Jack Kinder

The Court Records of the Manor of Cleygate.
A Survey of the Manor of Cleygate 1547-49, Harley Roll C12
The Victoria County History of Surrey
Tithe Award Map for Normandy Tithing, 1844
English Place Names, Elements English Place Names Society, Cambridge UP 1956

Wikipedia links
English Place-Name Society

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