Friday Street

The hamlet of Friday Street, with its beautiful sheet of water, is one of the prettiest sights in this neighbourhood, and forms a picture calculated to excite the admiration of all beholders. The pond itself nestles among heather-clad sand-hills, whereon grow some fine specimens of Scotch firs. Among the masses of fir-trees rise oak, beech and hazel, which add much to the charm of the scene, and the spectator might with very little effort imagine that he had been transported to fairyland. The pond abounds with trout, and many a disciple of Isaac Walton may be 'seen plying his craft amongst idyllic surroundings. From the northern extremity of the pond issues a brooklet which joins the Tillingbourne Stream near Wotton House. In the time of Queen Elizabeth there was a gunpowder mill at Friday Street, hence the pond is still known as Friday Street mill-pond.

The name Friday Street** carries one back to the time of the Saxon invasion of Britain. In 491 AD Ella, King of the South Saxons, took Pevensey, and extended his dominions over the modern county of Sussex and a great part of Surrey, and it is very probable that about the beginning of the sixth century a band of Saxons established themselves in this parish, and named their settlement Friga Street after their goddess Friga or Freya, bestower of riches and good seasons, of peace and plenty.

The late Martin Tupper, in his well-known book, Stephan Langton, or The Days of King John, claims that Friday Street was the birthplace of that patriotic prelate, Stephan Langton, to whom the English nation owe a debt of gratitude for his zealous efforts to secure the foundation of their liberties. We have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the evidence on which Martin Tupper relied to substantiate his claim is not very trustworthy, but believers in the Tupper theory may probably derive some consolation from the fact that the memory of England's famous Archbishop is still preserved at Friday Street, for over the portal of the inn of the hamlet is written the name of the distinguished Churchman who played such a prominent part in the reign of King John.

** a derivation from Anglo-Saxon Frigedaeges east (East of Friday), a colloquial term denoting poor, unproductive soil, or a poverty-stricken settlement. There are three "Friday Streets" between Dorking and Horsham, one of these, near Horsham, is relatively modern, but the other two, Wotton and Ockley, both could have deserved this name.

Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News, March 1999 (from Wotton Quarterly Magazine July 1904)