Weybridge is a town by the River Wey in the Elmbridge district of Surrey. It is bounded to the north by the River Thames at the mouth of the Wey, from which it gets its name. It is an outlying suburban town within the Greater London Urban Area, situated 11 km northeast of Woking and 25 km southwest of central London. Real estate prices are well above the national average: as of 2008, six of the ten most expensive streets in South East England (defined as the official government region, which excludes Greater London) were in Weybridge.
An old tradition claims that this is the point where Julius Caesar crossed the Thames in 55BC.
Weybridge appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Webrige and Webruge held partly by Chertsey Abbey; partly by an Englishman from the abbey; and partly by Herfrid from the conqueror's brother, the Bishop of Bayeux.
In 1537, the south-west of Walton on Thames extra-territorially a manor house affiliated to Weybridge on what was a border of Weybridge and Walton, Oatlands Palace, was built by Henry VIII, which was where he married his fifth wife Catherine Howard. When it was demolished in 1650, bricks from its walls helped to line the then-new Wey Navigation canal.
In 1571, commissioners were appointed to report on the condition of the bridge across the Wey. They stated that for some years it had been so decayed as to be "unsafe for passengers, and that it was now ruinous . . . if the queen should be at her house at Oatlands and the waters should rise, 'as often they do,' she could not pass to her forest to hunt". It was accordingly ordered that a new bridge – a horse-bridge like the last – should be built, wood being used for its construction, as stonework would be too costly. The expense was to be borne by the queen, as the land on either side belonged to her.
War of the Worlds
In H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1897), Weybridge was the location of a battle in which a Martian fighting machine was destroyed. The title of chapter 12 of the book is: "What I saw of the destruction of Weybridge and Shepperton". The battle also featured in the track "The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine" from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (1978), and in a graphic novel by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli (2006), adapted from Wells' book. It was also the location that a ship carrying refugees from Southern England, sailed out of the Harbour protected by several vessels including the ship "Thunderchild". It was this ship that was involved in the battle and also managed to destroy one of the Martian Fighting Machines (only to be destroyed itself).
Notable past residents include:
Weybridge complex, Paulshof, South Africa