Plus a few other Great Names who had connections with the town :
Royalty: Apart from Henry de Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror and brother of King Stephen many Kings and Queens have blessed us with their presence, they include:-
King John 1166-1216 Was a frequent visitor to Farnham Castle around 1200.
Prince Louis of France 1187-1226 Took the English throne in 1216 and occupied the Castle.
Henry VIII 1491-1547 Spent part of his boyhood at the Castle and later hunted in Farnham Park.
Elizabeth I 1533-1603 Visited the Castle many times around 1602 a year before she died.
James I 1566-1625 Was a guest of Bishop Andrewes at the Castle in 1620.
Charles I 1600-1649 Slept a night at Vernon House (now the library) on 20 December 1648 before going to London for his trial and subsequent execution. He left his nightcap with the Vernons but perhaps he realized he would not be needing it for much longer as he was beheaded 40 days later on the 30 January 1649.
William III 1650-1702 (William of Orange) Stayed at Moor Park in the late 17 century.
Queen Victoria 1819 -1901 was an occasional visitor whilst checking her troops at Aldershot. There’s The Victoria Garden, commemorative London plane trees planting in Castle Street and plaques in her name.
HRH Elizabeth II 1926 - I can’t find any records of visits but there are commemorative gates at the entrance to Gostrey Meadow for her Coronation, a dawn redwood tree for her Silver Jubilee, a mosaic plaque for the Golden, the creation of the Jubilee Wharf at the Maltings and other tributes for the Diamond Jubilee.
Non royals include:
Charles Darwin 1809 - 1882 Evolutionist, Author.
His theories of natural selection are accepted by all - except creationists.
Author of On the Origin of the Species…. first published in 1859 and it is still in print today, there’s even an e-book edition.
Frequent visitor to Moor Park House for hydrotherapy treatments
Appeared on the £10 note, 2000 to 2018.
Darwin, Australia named after him. His links to Farnham may be a little sketchy but he is one of this Country’s great scientific pioneers.
Florence Nightingale OM 1820 - 1910 Pioneering Nurse and Social Reformer.
Came to prominence in the Crimean War as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ as she checked soldiers on the nightly ward rounds. Pioneered modern nursing with schools in London. Frequent visitor to Lowlands (Brightwells) and to Waverley Abbey House owned by her uncle.
First female to be awarded the Order of Merit by Edward VII. Donated gifts to Farnham Hospital. Also appeared on the £10 note. Like Charles Darwin another National hero.
William Willett 1856 - 1915 Pioneer of Day-light Saving Time (BST).
Born in Farnham but spent most of his life in Kent. As a builder he could see the benefits of day-light saving or British Summer Time and spent many years convincing others. He died a year before it became law and as we all know it remains in place today - but for how long?
There are memorials to him in Petts Wood and a pub named The Daylight Inn.
Sir James Matthew Barrie Bt. OM (J M Barrie) 1860-1937 Novelist and Playwright
Born in Scotland and moved to London where he met his wife Mary Ansell. Mary found Black Lake Cottage on Tilford Road and they used it as a bolt hole from London from 1900 to 1909 when they separated. The property is now called Lobswood Manor. He liked to play cricket with his literary friends on Tilford Green. It is thought that whilst living on the outskirts of Farnham he was inspired to write Peter Pan and plays like The Admirable Crichton. The Lost Boy restaurant in Downing Street refers to Farnham’s connections with Sir James.
Philip Alexius de Laszlo MVO 1869 - 1937 Portrait Artist to the Famous.
Hungarian born and after marrying a member of the Guinness family settled in England, granted British citizenship in 1914. Became one the most celebrated portrait artist with clients including British and European royalty, a Pope and a couple of US Presidents.
Lived in Frensham and he and his wife are buried at All Saints Church, Tilford.
Guy Maxwell Aylwin Architect 1889 - 1966 Farnham architect.
Educated, lived and worked in Farnham and became a notable British architect. Worked with Harold Falkner on several major projects like the Town Hall building and the Bush Hotel. His last project was Sequel House opposite 26 West Street where he lived and worked. His children John and Jill continued the architectural practice.
Henry Hammond 1914 -1986 Head of Pottery at West Surrey College of Art and Design
specialising in brush work pottery and slipware and
Arthur Hackman 1925-2010 Artist and print maker also at the W. S. C. of Art.
Both Henry and Arthur consolidated the earlier work of WH Allen leading eventually to the Farnham campus of the University for the Creative Arts and Farnham’s designation as a ‘Craft Town’. There are other UCA campuses at Canterbury, Epsom and Rochester.
Alan Mitchell 1922 - 1995 Dendrologist, botanist and author.
He worked at the Forestry Commission’s Alice Holt Research Station at Wrecclesham and frequently seen in Farnham at all times of the year in shirt sleeves and sandals. Founded TROBI (Tree Register of the British Isles) - he personally measured over 100,000 notable trees. The most respected of UK’s tree men. Author of several tree books in particular A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe which is still a standard reference.
Gerald Flood 1927 - 1989 Stage and television actor
Born in Portsmouth but lived and died in Farnham. After WWII service joined Farnham Rep appearing at the Castle theatre (now Zizzi’s). A popular TV actor in the 1960’s in shows like The Rat Catcher and Crane. Appeared in the West End in the play There’s a Girl in My Soup.
In the 80’s was the voice of the shape-changing robot Kamelion to Peter Davison’s Dr Who.
His son Tim went to Frensham Heights school and his grandson Toby played 60 times for England at rugby.
Martin Clunes OBE 1961 - Actor and Director
Television actor in shows like Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin, Manhunt and Warren.
Attended Barfield school as boarder from aged 8 but suffered from being homesick and bullying. It didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most popular British TV actors.
With his wife runs a heavy horse farm in Dorset and is President of the British Horse Society.
Awarded an OBE in 2015 and an Honorary Doctorate from the Bournemouth University.