History and Heritage - History
The origins of Leatherhead appear to be Anglo-Saxon. Although there is no mention of the town in the Domsday Book, there is reference to the church of Leatherhead. The early nucleus of a population appears to have grown up on the east side of the River Mole close to the boundary of the two manors, Pachesham and Thorncroft, and at the crossroads of two tracks.
A market serving the developing agricultural economy developed at this crossroads and in 1248 Henry III granted to Leatherhead a Royal charter to host a weekly market and annual fair. The town survived an extensive fire in 1392, when the town was largely rebuilt. In common with many similar medieval towns it had a market house and set of stocks, probably located at the junction of Bridge Street, North Street and High Street.
In the Elizabethan and Stuart period the town was associated with several notable people. Edmund Tilney, Master of the Revels to Queen Elizabeth lived in the Mansion and Sir Thomas Bludworth of Thorncroft was Lord Mayor of London during the disastrous fire of 1666.
Located in the centre of Surrey and at a junction of north-south and east-west communications, the town was a focus for passenger transport throughout its history. From the construction of the bridge over the River Mole in the early medieval period, to the days of the Swan Hotel that for 300 years provided services to horse driven coaches, to the building of the M25 motorway, travel and transport has continued to dominate the form and function of Leatherhead.