Guildford Town Defences

Has been described as a Possible Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameGuildford Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySurrey
Modern AuthoritySurrey
1974 AuthoritySurrey
Civil ParishGuildford

The old defensible town ditch of Guildford ran, as the names indicate, from the Dominican Friary near the river along North Street (the North ditch) and round to South treet. (the South ditch). This connected with the Castle Ditch (now Castle Street.). It has been traced at the corner of Chertsey Street. and right across Trinity churchyard between these two lines. When the church was enlarged in 1888, and graves were removed in consequence, the ditch was traced, with much Mediaeval pottery in it. It is possible the oldest town was walled and of yet smaller dimensions. A very thick ancient clunch wall, with a well on its South side, showing that to be the inside, ran about 30 yards South of the High Street, nearly parallel to it. It would have included St Mary's Church, and a small town around the Castle mount. If this was so, the High Street itself was originally a suburban extension, later included by the ditch (VCH). No traces of the town wall or ditch are now visible. (F1 ASP 27-NOV-58). There is insufficient evidence for siting the course of the town ditch. No early literary references were encountered and early maps show nothing that could be associated with the features described by VCH (F2 EGG 03-JAN-59). (PastScape)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU996493
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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 74
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 258
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Clinch and Montgomerie, 1911, Malden, H.E. (ed), VCH Surrey Vol. 3 p. 547 online transcription


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86


  • Surrey County Council, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Surrey (English Heritage) Download copy