Surrey map - Framed Picture - 12" x 16"
Surrey is a county in the south east of England and also one of the home counties.
Much of Surrey is Green Belt. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in the UK, one of the oldest in Europe.
Before Roman times the area today known as Surrey was occupied by the Atrebates.
During the 5th and 6th centuries Surrey was conquered and settled by Saxons. The Saxon tribes who inhabited Surrey in this period have been conjectured on the basis of place names. These include the Godhelmingas (Godalming), Tetingas (Tooting) and Woccingas (Woking and Wokingham). The name Surrey is derived from Suthrige, meaning "southern region", and originates in its status as the southern portion of the Middle Saxon territory.
In the 9th century England was afflicted, by Viking raids. Surrey's inland position shielded it from coastal raiding, so that it was not normally troubled. In 851 an exceptionally large invasion force of Danes arrived at the mouth of the Thames in a fleet of about 350 ships, which carried over 15,000 men. Having sacked Canterbury and London and defeated King Beorhtwulf, the Danes crossed the Thames into Surrey, but were slaughtered by a West Saxon army led by King Æthelwulf in the Battle of Aclea.
Its location and the growing power kept Surrey safe from attack for over a century thereafter. Kingston was the scene for the coronations of Æthelstan and of Æthelred the Unready. However, the renewed Danish attacks during the disastrous reign of Æthelred led to the devastation of Surrey by the army of Thorkell the Tall.
During King John's struggle with the barons, Magna Carta was issued at Runnymede.
Surrey had little political or economic importance in the Middle Ages. It was not the main power-base of any major aristocratic family or the seat of a bishopric. Its agricultural wealth was limited by the infertility of most of its soils. One benefit of its obscurity was that Surrey largely avoided being seriously fought over in the various rebellions and civil wars of the period.
For a time in the mid-17th century the Surrey mills were the main producers of gunpowder in England.
The Wey Navigation, opened in 1653, was one of England's first canal systems.
Surrey had a prominent role in the development of the radical political movements unleashed by the civil war. In October 1647 the first manifesto of what became known as the Leveller movement, was drafted at Guildford. This document formed the template for the more systematic and radical Agreement of the People, drafted by the same men later that month, and led to the Putney Debates between its signatories and the army leadership.
In 1649 the Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley established their communal settlement at St. George's Hill.