Lying in the extreme south eastern corner of Surrey is the ancient parish of Lingfield known to be in existence at the time of the Domesday book, but for some reason not mentioned in it. A will made around 960 during the reign of King Edgar refers to certain lands in Lingfield and the advowson (patronage) of the church as part of a gift to the Abbey of Hyde, near Winchester.
It is from the 14th and 15th centuries that more detailed records of the parish really appeared as the great Wealden forest was being developed for agriculture and the iron industry, the latter just over the border in Sussex.
In the early 15th century Reginald de Cobham founded the college for secular chaplains and rebuilt the church that is much as we see it today. The church of St. Peter and St. Paul is an impressive building known as the 'Westminster Abbey' of the south east. Its collection of brasses and monuments are amongst the finest in England.
There is evidence of the prosperity of the parish at that time in the number of fine wealden houses that are still here in the 21st century. Though somewhat disguised, they have retained many of their original features.
The village originated from two small settlements. The first was around the church and known as Old Town. It is a collection of dwellings from circa 1500 to 1800 some of which formed the first shopping centre. There are some fine examples of medieval houses and 18th century buildings including the original 'Star' public house.
The second was the area of Playstowe which was first mentioned in 1332 as the home of William ate Playstowe. It was a scattered area of fairly properous farms also from the 15th and 16th centuries and is thought to have been the place for play and sport. The area has been infilled over the centuries but is remembered by part of the main road leading into the village from the west - Plaistow Street.
Playstow also boasts St. Peter's Cross which has been around for 500 years. The 'Cage' or lock up, was added in 1773 as a temporary gaol for minor felons and was last used in 1882. Both are dominated by an enormous oak tree also around 300 years old without its heartwood but still very healthy.
The village pond, which is adjacent to the oak tree and lock up,
is thought to have been created when sandstone was extracted
for road material. Animals from the local farms were watered
there into the 20th century.
Although there were additional dwellings throughout the centuries
it was the building development that followed the arrival of the
railways and the racecourse in the 1880's that linked these
two areas and created the village we see today.
Lingfield is now a very large village with a busy high street and all essential local amenities. It has a thriving community spirit in its social and sporting activities.