Jacobs Well

Moira McQuaide Hall’s history of Burpham (and Jacobs Well)

Dating back to the 15th century Jacobs Well has grown to be a thriving modern community that still displays some of the clues to its history. But is it actually a village and where is the well?

Where is the well?

Extensive searching has been carried out but there is still no definitive answer, though one website suggests it is in the grounds by the Catholic church of St Edward the Confessor on the edge of Sutton Place. But there are other wells in the vicinity, including near Burpham Court House, and by the crossroads of Clay Lane and Blanchards Hill. The name Jacobs Well only appeared on maps from the early 1800s, but until the early 20th Century it was part of Burpham Manor, which was a tything of Worplesdon Parish.

Jacobs Well OS map 1871

Parts of the village are very ancient. The OS map of 1871 shows that Jacobs Well was a farming community, with little else but the five farms: Hurst, Watts, Queen Anne, Queenhythe and Jacobswell. The only other big house shown was Burpham Lodge, built in the 18th Century, which was renamed The White House in about 1930.

Parts of the village are very ancient. The OS map of 1871 shows that Jacobs Well was a farming community, with little else but five farms.

On the eastern edge of the community was Burpham Court Farm, with cottages that date back to the 17th Century. On the western edge was Hurst Farms, straddling the Woking Road, dating back to the 16th Century, now two separate houses called Willow Grange and Burpham Court House. Queen Anne Farm was built as a timber-framed medieval house, probably in the 15th Century. Jacobswell Farm was originally an open hall medieval house built about 1500. Queenhythe Farm, or Queen Hive Farm, appears to be late 17th Century. Watts Farm was built around the late 16th Century.

Burpham Court House, Jacobs Well

Around the village are Whitmoor and Stringers Commons, Sutton Place, the River Wey/Wey Navigation, and Slyfield, as well as other farmland. Over the years the community has grown and the 19th Century records show there were cottages along Clay Lane. Then on the OS map of 1914 there are houses along Jacobs Well Road. This has expanded into about ten smaller roads (some named after local dignatories), and now there are well over 1,000 houses.

Is it a village?

It doesn’t conform to the old definitions of a village, which should have a church, a school, a public house and a community meeting place. The latter is a well-used Village Hall, where a range of different events take place. However, residents need to travel further afield to find their nearest church (in Bellfields), school (Worplesdon, Stoughton or Burpham), and public house (Worplesdon).

The Jacobs Well Residents Association has moved with the times, hosting a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account, to keep everyone informed about what’s going on – a very modern approach for a community with a lot of history.


If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail (moira.macquaide@gmail.com) or by phone or text (07963 756543). My two books (‘The History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) are still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon.


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