Situated midway between Weybridge and the ancient Abbey town of Chertsey in Surrey, Addlestone today is a pleasant small town and seat of the Runnymede Borough Council. The name probably means “Attel’s Denu”; the valley belonging to a Saxon named Attel. In 1241 the place was listed as Attelsdene and by 1610 John Speede’s map shows Adleston half way between “St. Annhill and Sct. Georg Hill”, just south of the Thames.
Until the coming of the railway in 1848 the village was just a cluster of cottages around the George, now the town’s oldest inn, probably dating from the sixteenth century, and an inn since at least 1775. However, due to the proximity of the seventeenth-century Wey Navigation and the eighteenth century Basingstoke Canal there was industry here before that, mainly in the form of Coxes Lock mill, a watermill which began life as an iron mill in the eighteenth century, and which continued until recent times with several different functions over the years. There were also several large houses in the area, such as Firfield, home of authors Samuel Carter Hall and Anna Maria Hall; Sayes Court, occupied by Sir Bartholomew Reed (Lord Mayor of London) and James Paine (architect of Chertsey Bridge); and Woburn Park House (where Philip Southcote had his “ferme ornee”) and which is now St. George’s College.
The Crouch Oak in Addlestone is traditionally said to be one of Britain’s oldest trees. For long known as Wycliffe’s Oak, after the medieval scholar reputed to have preached here – it was definitely the scene of a sermon by the Rev. Spurgeon in 1872. It was fenced around 1810 by Capt. de Visme, to prevent village maidens stripping the bark to make a love potion.
After the coming of the railway the village increased in size and population, becoming the town that it is today. It had its own church in 1838, becoming a separate parish in 1857. More industry was also attracted here, notably the aircraft factory of Bleriot, the first to fly across the Channel.