Woking has had it’s fair share of famous residents over the years. George Bernard Shaw lived in the town for a short time as did H.G. Wells who wrote War of the Worlds at his house on Maybury Hill. Several local landmarks are mentioned in the story.
Not to mention musical legends the likes of Paul Weller, Rick Parfitt and Petula Clarke!
Perhaps, though, Woking’s most famous, or infamous resident was King Henry VIII. His original residence, alongside the River Wey has long since succumbed to decay and neglect. However the palace built as a replacement on the bank of the nearby Hoe Stream remains intact and in use as a preparatory school. On the hill opposite the palace a beacon was built to serve as a landmark so that travellers to the palace could find it with ease.
This beacon stood, albeit in various states of repair or decay, until a storm demolished it in the early 19th century. Now, at the site of this octagonal tower is a health club and “pay and play” golf course. The road to the club house runs parallel to the original road known as Monument Hill, which linked the palace with Pyrford Place a couple of miles away.
As I drove Angela down Monument Hill towards the old palace I realised that the view I was enjoying was one not so very different from the one that The King and his courtiers would have seen as they returned home hundreds of years ago.
The wedding that I had just finished hadn’t been particularly different to many others, a brief jaunt from Woking to Weybridge registry office and then on to The Hoebridge Golf Club. Rhonda was accompanied by her two grown up daughters to the ceremony to marry Paul.
To be fair the weather had not been kind to her, but as we arrived at the reception the sun finally broke through the clouds.
It was those last couple of minutes that made it special, in a vintage Rolls Royce with the sun shining, looking at the English countryside.
Maybe I take too much for granted…