The timber-framed stucco façades of buildings in Oxted
Location within Surrey
Area15.15 km2 (5.85 sq mi)
Population11,314 (Civil Parish 2011)[1] or 13,452 as to Built-up Area [2]
• Density747/km2 (1,930/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ3953
• London17.9 mi (28.8 km)
Civil parish
  • Oxted
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townOxted
Postcode districtRH8
Dialling code01883
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°15′25″N 0°00′22″W / 51.257°N 0.006°W / 51.257; -0.006Coordinates: 51°15′25″N 0°00′22″W / 51.257°N 0.006°W / 51.257; -0.006

Oxted is a town and civil parish in the Tandridge district of Surrey, England, at the foot of the North Downs. It is 9 miles (14 km) south south-east of Croydon in Greater London, 8.5 miles (13.7 km) west of Sevenoaks in Kent, and 9 miles (14 km) north of East Grinstead in West Sussex.

Oxted is a commuter town with a railway station, with direct train services to London and has the district council offices. Its main developed area is contiguous with the village of Limpsfield. Six intermittent headwaters of the River Eden unite in the occasional market town including its furthest source, east of Titsey Place. The Eden feeds into Kent's longest river, the Medway. Only the southern slope of the North Downs is steep and its towns and farmland form the Vale of Holmesdale, a series of headwaters across Surrey and Kent to separate rivers.

The settlements of Hurst Green and Holland within the civil parish to the south, including a public house named after Oxted, are continuous but almost wholly residential areas (contiguous neighbourhoods).


The first written mention of Oxted is from an Anglo-Saxon charter of 862 AD, in which it appears as Acustyde.[3] In the Domesday Book of 1086, the settlement is recorded as Acstede.[4] In later documents, it appears as Akested (12th century), Axsted, Axstude and Ocsted (13th century) and Oxsted (14th century).[5] The name derives from the Old English āc meaning "oak" and stede meaning "place". Oxted is generally agreed to mean "place of oak trees". [4][5]

Hurst Green is first recorded in the mid-15th century as le Herst in a deed of Edward IV and as Herste grene in 1577. The name is thought to mean "open space by the wood (hurst)".[3] "Holland" appears in 1757 as Hollands[5] and is thought to mean "land by the hill".[6]


Early history

The earliest evidence of human activity in the civil parish is from the Iron Age and finds include a metal brooch dating from the 3rd or 4th centuries BCE.[7] During the Roman period, the roads from London to Lewes and London to Brighton ran either side of Oxted.[8] The name Oxted suggests that the modern settlement was founded in the Anglo-Saxon period and it is possible that St Mary's Church is built on a pre-Christian religious site.[9][10] From late Saxon times, the area was administered as part of the Tandridge Hundred.[11]

Mills and manors

Oxted appears in the Domesday Book as Acsted and was held by Eustace II, Count of Boulogne.[12][note 1] Its Domesday assets were: 5 hides; 1 church, 2 mills worth 12s 6d, 20 ploughs, 4 acres (1.6 ha) of meadow, pannage worth 100 hogs. It rendered £14 and 2d from a house in Southwark to its feudal overlords per year.[14]

Three mills are mentioned in the inquisition on Roland of Oxted, 1291–2. To a greater or lesser extent these were alienated from the main manor, which had become one of four, before 1689, when they were in the possession of Thomas Causton. In 1712 only one is mentioned as appertaining to the manor. The five manors were: Oxted, Barrow Green, Bursted/Bearsted, Broadham, Stocketts and Foyle.

The history of the first suggests wealthy tranche of the parish and is instructive as to social history; by marriage it became by agreed settlement a manor of Ralph Earl of Westmorland, with remainder to Thomas Cobham, his wife's uncle. Margaret died in 1460, leaving no children and her husband held the manor until his death in 1485, when it passed to Anne, only child and heir of Thomas Cobham, who had married Sir Edward Burgh. She died in 1526, and her husband, who 'became distracted of memorie,' died two years later, leaving a son and heir Thomas, afterwards created the Lord Burgh.[15]

Civil development and expansion from village into a commuter town

The original village of Oxted (now Old Oxted) is a small village centred on a short high street with four pubs (The Old Bell, The George Inn, The Crown Inn and The Wheatsheaf) just off the A25. Oxted's oldest church which still provides services, St Mary's, was built in a field, upstream from and north-east of the medieval heart of Oxted, near Master Park and the railway station. The Grade I listed church dates from at least Norman times and stands on a conspicuous mound.[16]

With the arrival of the railway in 1884 (after many years' delay caused by lack of funds) Oxted boomed in line with London's trade growth around its station, north-east of Old Oxted, and new buildings created "New Oxted". These new buildings were built in the Tudor style, particularly with stucco frontages. All Saints Catholic Church was built in 1913–1928 designed by Arts & Crafts architect James L. Williams (died 1926, his other work includes Royal School of Needlework, St George's in Sudbury, London (1926–27) and The Pound House in Totteridge (1907)).[17] The United Reformed Church's building followed in 1935, which is listed for its coloured glass and Byzantine design by architect Frederick Lawrence.[18]

In 2011 The Daily Telegraph listed Oxted as the twentieth richest town in Britain.[19]


The Greenwich Meridian runs through Oxted, passing through Oxted School. The parish encompasses a long divide between two ranges of hills, reaching up to the escarpments of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge which is itself almost completely eroded at Hurst Green within the parish due to the action of the multiple headwaters of the River Eden, Kent.

The north of the parish is within the Vale of Holmesdale, which is drained by four, unconnected rivers. A nearby village is Tandridge, to the southwest, which sits on an edge of the Greensand Ridge.[15] Limpsfield, to the east, is contiguous with Oxted; both have a clustered community with the remainder of the land largely wooded or agricultural. Godstone is to the west and Crowhurst, Surrey to the south. Woldingham on the North Downs is to the north.

National and local government

Oxted is in the parliamentary constituency of East Surrey and has been represented at Westminster since May 2019 by Conservative Claire Coutinho.[20]

There is one representative on Surrey County Council, Conservative Cameron McIntosh.[21] There are six representatives on Tandridge District Council with much of Oxted South being Hurst Green :

Member Since Member[22]


2018 Catherine Sayer Oxted North & Tandridge
2016 Jackie Wren Oxted North & Tandridge
2019 David Stamp Oxted North & Tandridge
2019 Chris Langton Oxted South
2018 Lynn Mills Oxted South
2021 Deb Shiner Oxted South

There is also a parish council with 11 members.[23]

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
(Civil Parish) 1,427 1,282 911 799 3 1

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
(Civil Parish) 11,314 4,423 36.6% 36.5% 1,515

The proportion of households in the civil parish who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).

Culture and community

Band and civic centre

Oxted is one of the few Surrey towns to retain a town brass band, Oxted Band, which has been a fixture within the town since 1901. The town became the administrative town of the Tandridge District when it was established in 1974.[24][25]

Pram race

Oxted is host to a charity pram race held annually. It was started in 1977 by Eric and Elsie Hallson, who ran it for nearly 20 years before retiring. Entrants wear fancy dress and must push a pram around the two-thirds of a mile course, stopping at each of the seven licensed premises on the way to quaff a drink as quickly as they can. The race ends in Old Oxted high street where the road is closed for the evening and a street party is held.[26]

Events in Master Park

The park hosts annual events such as that run by the local football/cricket club. Every year there is also the Oxted Beer Festival.[27]

Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre was conceived as a public hall for the local parishes and was opened on 22 May 1924 by the playwright Harley Granville-Barker.[28] The building, parts of which date from between 1362 and 1433, was originally used as a barn for a sawmill and was moved from Limpsfield to its current site in Blue House Lane. A rehearsal space was constructed to the rear of the theatre in 1931[29] and a cyclorama was installed in the building in 1968.[30] In 2021, the auditorium has 244 seats.[31] A project to reconfigure the entrance and foyer areas is underway in advance of the theatre's centenary celebrations in 2024.[29]


Southdown PSV route 410 in Oxted Town Centre
Southdown PSV route 410 in Oxted Town Centre

Oxted railway station and Hurst Green railway station are on the Oxted Line. Northbound trains run via East Croydon to either London Victoria or London Bridge. Southbound trains run to either Uckfield via Edenbridge Town or to East Grinstead via Lingfield.[32]

Oxted is also served by a total of four bus routes, operated by Southdown PSV (routes 236, 410, 594, 595).[33] These services provide connections to Westerham, Redhill, Godstone, Edenbridge and East Grinstead.[34]


St Mary's C of E Primary School opened as a National school in Beadles Lane in 1872. Between 1963 and 1974, it moved in stages to its current site in Silkham Road.[35] In 2018, it merged with the adjacent Downs Way School to create a primary school with a total enrolment of 660 pupils.[36][note 2]

Hurst Green Infant School opened as a primary school in 1960. In 1993, it became an infants school with a nursery department[38] and since then has educated children aged from two to eight. Holland Junior School opened in 1971 as a middle school. It became a junior school in 1993[38] and educates pupils aged from eight to eleven.

Oxted School was opened in 1929 and was the first co-educational grammar school in Surrey. Originally called Oxted Secondary School, it opened with 22 pupils, but numbers had grown to 120 by 1932. Following the Second World War, it adopted the name Oxted County School and was renamed to Oxted School in September 1999. In August 1998, a fire destroyed 22 classrooms, the dining hall and the library, but the school reopened for the Autumn Term on time, with many lessons held in temporary buildings. A replacement building, named the Meridian Building, was opened in January 2000.[35] The refurbished arts centre was opened in 2019 by musician Richard Stilgoe as part of the school's 90th anniversary celebrations.[39]

Moor House School and College, in Hurst Green, was founded in 1947 by the neurologist Cecil Worster-Drought to educate children with speech and language impairments. Initially it catered for residential students only, but in 2011 it began to admit day pupils and, a year later, a sixth-form centre was opened.[40] The new residential student village was opened by Sophie, Countess of Wessex in October 2016.[41]

Places of worship

St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church
St Mary's Church

A church is mentioned in the entry for Oxted in the Domesday Book and St Mary’s Church is thought to be on the same site. It is around 1.5 km (0.93 mi) north of Old Oxted and the circular churchyard suggests a pre-conquest origin.[42] The oldest part of the current church is the tower, which is constructed of Bargate stone with brick battlements and which is thought to date from the 12th century. The octagonal stone font and the chancel date from the 13th century.[43] The aisles, built partly from clunch, were added in the 14th century along with the stained glass panels in the east window, depicting the four Evangelists. The building was damaged by fires following lightning strikes in 1637 and in 1719, and the second incident resulted in the destruction of the ring of bells. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new windows, designed by Edward Burne-Jones and Marjorie Kemp, were installed in the aisles and chancel respectively.[42]

St John's Church, Hurst Green

The foundation stone of St John's Church was laid in July 1912 and was consecrated a year later by the Bishop of Southwark.[44] It was dedicated to John the Evangelist[45] and initially was a daughter church to St Mary's. A new parish was created in 1953.[46] It was designed by John Oldrid Scott in the Gothic Revival style and was built on land owned by Uvedale Lambert, who lived at South Park, Bletchingley.[45] Scott is commemorated in the 3.2 m diameter (10 ft) rose window above the altar, which was given by his family in 1914.[47]

On 1 April 1988, an arson attack took place and the resulting fire destroyed much of the interior. During the subsequent rebuilding, the opportunity was taken to remodel the church, and both the rood screen and altar rails were repositioned to make the chancel more accessible from the nave.[48] The new font cover and two mural panels were designed by the artist John Hayward. A carved oak eagle was presented to the church by the Rev'd Hugh Ford to celebrate its rededication on 1 April 1990.[47]

All Saints' Catholic Church

Main article: All Saints Church, Oxted

The first Catholic Mass to be celebrated in Oxted since the Reformation took place in a garden shed in April 1914.[49] Three months later, a plot of land on Chichele Road had been purchased for a new church from the Barrow Green estate. The building was designed by James Leonard Williams in the neo Gothic style[50] and the foundation stone was laid in August 1914.[51][note 3] The first mass took place in the completed crypt in October of the same year,[51] but building work ceased for much of the First World War and the shell of the church was not completed until December 1919.[52]

The church bell dates from 1768, but was recast in 1862 and purchased for All Saints' in 1922.[53] The following year, the stained glass window of St Hedwig, designed by Margaret Agnes Rope was installed in the lady chapel.[54] The church was finally consecrated on 6 July 1927[55] and the elaborately carved reredos was finished in the same year. The waggon roof, decorated to a design of Geoffrey Fuller Webb, was completed in 1928[56] and the Stations of the Cross, carved in oak, were installed in 1931.[57] During the Second World War, an incendiary bomb fell on the church, but the fire was extinguished before it could spread to the roof.[58]

Church of the Peace of God

Church of the Peace of God
Church of the Peace of God

The first congregational church in Oxted was opened in Station Road East in 1902. By the early 1930s, it had become unable to cope with the number of worshippers and so a new church, named the Church of the Peace of God, was built in 1934-35.[59] It was designed by Frederick Lawrence in the Byzanitine style and was constructed in red-brown brick. The church has a cruciform plan, oriented north-south, and has a central square tower.[60] The church underwent considerable alteration in 2000, with the addition of an entrance concourse at the front and a new hall at the rear. The sanctuary was also refurbished and the church was rededicated in March 2002.[59]


Leisure Centre

Tandridge Leisure Centre was opened in 1990.[61] It was run by the district council until 2000, when management was transferred to a private company, Tandridge Leisure and Culture Trust.[62] Freedom Leisure took over the operation of the centre in May 2018. The centre offers a fitness gym, exercise studio, a 25-metre fitness pool, and a lagoon pool with a 70 m (77 yd) flume slide.[63][64]

Association Football

Oxted and District Football Club was founded in 1894 and the team have played their home games at Master Park for over a century.[65]


The first recorded cricket match including a team from Oxted took place at Caterham in 1840 and the first known matches in Oxted took place in 1855 and 1857 on Broadham Green.[66] Oxted United Cricket Club was formed c. 1870 and ran until 1893.[67] Oxted and Limpsfield Cricket Club was formed November 1889[68] and the first matches took place following year on Marls Field, much of which later became Master Park.[69] The pavilion on Master Park was constructed by 1906.[70]

Parks and open spaces

Great and Little Earls Woods

Covering a total of 9.8 ha (24 acres), the Great and Little Earls Woods are an area of ancient woodland managed by the Woodland Trust. The sites are designated as ancient semi-natural woodland and the dominant tree species are oak and sweet chestnut.[71][72]

Master Park

The 4.7 ha (12-acre) Master Park has been used as an outdoor recreation area since before 1900,[73] although formal permission was only granted by the Hoskins Masters family in 1920. Three years later, a trust was formed to manage the park[73] and local sports teams began to play matches there.[74] The pavilion dates from 1996[75] and replaced an earlier building constructed in 1967.[76] A red oak tree was planted at the park in 1994, to celebrate the centenary of Oxted Parish Council.[77] The children’s playground was opened in 2000.[78]

Mill Lane Playing Fields, Hurst Green

The 6 ha (15-acre) Mill Lane Playing Fields are owned by the District Council and leased by the Holland Sports and Social Association. The facilities include an athletics track and various sports pitches. The pavilion provides changing facilities and a licensed bar. The fields have been legally protected by the charity, Fields in Trust, since 1961 and are designated under the King George V Fields scheme.[79]

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ Before the Norman conquest, the manor of Oxted was held by Gytha, the mother of King Harold.[13]
  2. ^ Downs Way Primary School opened in 1969 and merged with St Mary's C of E Junior School in 2018.[37]
  3. ^ James Leonard Williams also designed St George's Catholic Church in Sudbury, which is similar in style to All Saints'.


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  • Percy, Kay; Gray, Peter, eds. (1975). Oxted Explored. Oxted: Tandridge District Council.