No doubt long known to our membership for its fine retail facilities it was fascinating to learn the history of Guildford on the first of the Society’s 2017 summer visits.
We joined our guide at the TunGate in the High Street and learnt of the Saxon origins of the town and its growth over the centuries including the building of the castle by the Normans and the medieval importance of the wool trade and subsequent strategic importance of the town as a coaching stop on the road from London to the South Coast.
As the tour proceeded down the High Street we viewed the picturesque facade of the 17th century Guildhall with its projecting clock and the Angel Hotel, the only remaining Coaching inn with medieval crypt beneath. Opposite the Angel we descended into the medieval Undercroft with stonework carvings and vaulted ceilings and then onto to the 12th century St Mary’s Church.
After reaching the River Wey we started the ascent reaching the 12th century Castle Keep and its beautiful landscaped gardens and then onward to the grade one listed Trinity church at the top of the High Street. Our tour ended in the superbly preserved Jacobean Abbot Hospital built in 1619 by Guildford’s most significant son George Abbot who became Archbishop of Canterbury.