Cathedral city and county town (since 1257) of Surrey, southeast England, on the River Wey, 48 km/30 mi southwest of London; urban population (2001) 69,400; borough population (2001) 129,700. Industries include telecommunications, engineering, and the manufacture of plastics and pharmaceuticals. Features include a ruined Norman castle, a cathedral (founded in 1936 and consecrated in 1961), the main campus of the University of Surrey (1966), and the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (opened in 1965).
Features Only the ruined 12th-century Norman keep remains of the castle, once a royal residence. Guildford's museum includes relics of the author Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) who died in Guildford in 1898. The Guildhall has a 17th-century facade and a gilded clock dating from 1683 projecting over the street. An inscription over the gate of the Royal Grammar School attributes its foundation to Edward VI in 1552, but it is thought to have been originally founded by Robert Beckingham (d. 1528) and the present building was begun about 1557. The Abbot's Hospital was founded in 1619 by George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury (d.1633). Battersea College of Advanced Technology was granted a charter as the University of Surrey in 1966. The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, built on the banks of the Wey, was named after the French actor who lived in Guildford for many years and died here in 1958.
The Tudor mansion Sutton Place, 3 km/2 mi to the northeast of the city, was the 17th-century home of Richard Weston, a noted agricultural innovator and instigator of the 25 km/15.5 mi-long Wey Navigation (1651–53), built to transport grain, timber, gunpowder, and chalk. Sutton Place later became the home of J Paul Getty, the 20th-century US oil millionaire. Loseley House, an Elizabethan manor house, lies 2 km/1 mi to the southwest.
Cathedral and churches The brick-built cathedral is situated on Stag Hill, to the northwest of the city centre. Designed by Edward Maufe, it was the third entirely new Anglican cathedral to have been built in England since the Reformation. The partly-Saxon St Mary's Church contains medieval wall paintings; the original stone tower of the church, rebuilt in 1050, still survives. Holy Trinity was built in 1740 and the church of St Nicholas in 1875. St Martha's is an ancient cruciform church, restored in the 19th century.
History In about 880 Alfred the Great bequeathed the town to his nephew Ethelwold, and it began to develop as a defensive and commercial centre. Guildford was a royal mint town until 1100, and the earliest known charters of Guildford are dated 1257. In medieval times Guildford prospered as an important centre of the wool trade, introduced by the Cistercians, and it was an important staging post in the 17th century. The railway replaced this service in 1845.