Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/335

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DOMESDAY SURVEY r A HE Domesday Survey of the county of Surrey is neither long nor of special interest. Its length, indeed, is proportionate enough to the actual area of the county when we compare it with its neighbours in the south-east of England, the counties of Kent and Sussex ; but its relative lack of interest is accounted for by other causes. Sussex, largely isolated by tracts of forest and of marsh, had an ancient life of its own, typified by its bishop's see ; Kent, with two sees within its borders, and, like Sussex, largely isolated by its geographical position, possessed a body of local customs, of which the entry in Domes- day is full of interest and of value. In Dover also it possessed a town of which there is a full and a striking survey. Compared with these historic counties, Surrey, in more respects than one, stood at a dis- advantage. With no bishop of its own, with no great town, it did not even contain the seat of a Norman earl or great baron. And worst of all, we have no such entry of local administration and customs as affords so precious and so welcome a break in the normal monotony of Domes- day. Geographical conditions were accountable, in no small degree, for Surrey's lack in historical importance. On the one hand the south of the county was largely forest waste ; on the other, the proximity of London would exercise so great an influence that its northern portion must have turned its eyes to Southwark rather than to Guildford. In- stead, therefore, of a county town forming a centre for local life, Surrey, we shall find, even then, possessed in Southwark an urban district over- shadowed by the great city that lay beyond the bridge and inevitably bound to become a mere suburb of London. This is, I think, the new fact that a careful study of Domesday reveals to our eyes. Guildford, for such importance as it possessed, was indebted only to its position in a gap of the chalk uplands, which made it the meeting-place of certain roads, and, therefore, of some commercial as well as strategical consequence. The west and the south-west of the county, for which it would have formed a natural centre, were largely occupied by heath and woodland. Southwark, on the contrary, in the north-east, was surrounded by a close array of villages, by places bearing the familiar names of Lambeth, Kennington, Walworth, Bermondsey, Hatcham, Peckham, Camberwell, Brixton, and Battersea, to say nothing of Clapham, Wandsworth, Balham, Streatham, and Tooting. But the relative position of Southwark and of Guildford at the time of the Domesday Survey must be separately discussed below. 275