Mention of Burwood in historical records appears as early as 962 AD. At that time the Anglo-Saxons used to cross the river at Walton-on-Thames and attend the church which was there. From 1066 Burwood become part of one of the four Norman manors in the area, that of Walton Leigh and some time after was owned by the Lee family from whom King Henry VIII purchased it in 1540. He converted it into a deer park and hunting for wild deer and foxes in the Park went on for many years, although the heather undergrowth made the chase a little difficult at times. Common British mammals such as badgers, foxes, grey squirrels and hedgehogs exist in some numbers in the area now.
Because of the number of trees which have been planted in the Park through the years, together with the existence of Broadwater and Heart Pond, the bird-life has become quite notable, with over 150 species having been recorded. These include Little and Tawny Owls, Jays and Magpies and others of the crow family, Ring Necked Parakeets, Herons, Woodpeckers, various Finches, Thrushes and a number of waterfowl. Less common British birds and migrants can also be seen.
Between 1617 and 1720, Burwood Park passed through a succession of purchasers and their heirs, the names of whom are in the records, but of these, the most notable owner of the period is John Latton who purchased the area in 1720. Latton was Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey under Queen Anne and was later a great favourite of King William IV for whom he held several important posts.
In 1739 the first of the Frederick family acquired it and successive Fredericks enlarged it from 18 acres to its present extent of 360 acres (1.5 km2) by buying up parts of Walton Common, various tithe lands around the perimeter and also by purchasing the little hamlet of Burwood. The hamlet, with its windmill which was destroyed in 1797, was on the site of the house named Webbers' Ridge in Cranley Road.
The original Burwood Park mansion was built by Sir John Frederick (1708–1783), a wealthy city merchant. It was he who planted many of the trees and shrubs, which are a feature of the woodlands, for he collected a number of fine and unusual specimens. The famous oak tree in Eriswell Road, one of the 200 oldest trees in Britain, pre-dated his landscaping the Park, although he did develop the gravel pits into the present ornamental lakes. These drained into Black Pond, under the site of Lynwood in Eastwick Road and thence to the War Memorial Pond (now filled in) in Hersham and thence to the River Mole.
The second Sir John Frederick (1749–1825) lived in the mansion, as did Sir Richard Frederick. The bridge across the ex-London and South Western Railway main line from Nine Elms to Woking Common was named after Sir Richard who had it built to enable his pony and trap access to Walton and Hersham Station (as it was then called) which was opened in May 1838. He died in 1863 and one Henry Askew of Westmorland was the next purchaser. Two of his three daughters (named in the deeds held by many present day residents) erected a black painted corrugated iron fence all around the Park and lived in the mansion as virtual recluses. The Park deteriorated rapidly and become overgrown although the ice-houses near the lakes may still have been used at this time for refrigeration purposes.
After both of these ladies died, an estate company first purchased and then sold the park to Edward Guinness (1847–1927), First Earl of Iveagh, in the year in which he died. Rupert Guinness (born 1874), Second Earl of Iveagh, offered the Park as a special kind of residential estate in 1934. He was the first Chairman of the Burhill Estates Company formed for this purpose and named a number of roads in the Park after Guinness family estates in Suffolk.
A number of houses in the Park, like The Beeches, had been built by the late nineteen twenties, but the first major housing development was in 1934 in Onslow Road. The mansion in Burwood Park was converted into a girls' school under a Miss Jean Byrne. Vacated during the Second World War the mansion was later occupied by over forty boys and girls whose qualification for residence was that they were born deaf. A new sixth form college was opened in 1975. The School was the only Secondary Technical School for deaf boys and girls in England and was sponsored by the Guinness family. The school eventually closed, and in 1999, Octagon Developments were commissioned to convert the listed building into one residential dwelling and to build seven further individual houses in the grounds.
Plans were advanced in 1966 for the construction of a further twenty houses on an extension of Cranley Road returning to Eriswell Road near the School. Now, new houses have been built in Albury Road, Patmore Lane, Kelvedon Avenue, Ince Road and Eriswell Crescent and an area that used to be covered in Birch, Beech and Oak trees and was a favourite area for exercising dogs. This latter area of some 80 houses almost completes the development of the Park. Now, what was once Henry VIII's hunting ground, is now a large residential estate.
Burwood Park is situated in Surrey, south-west of London, in the borough of Elmbridge. It is bordered by the A317 to the North, the B365 to the West, Hersham to the East, and Whiteley Village to the South. Nearby are two other private estates, Saint George's Hill, and Ashley Park.
There are seventeen different roads:
- Kilrue Lane
- Eriswell Road
- Onslow Road
- Broadwater Road North
- Broadwater Road South
- Broadwater Close
- Chargate Close
- Pond Close
- Kelvedon Avenue
- Patmore Lane
- Eriswell Crescent
- Albury Road
- Ince Road
- Cranley Road
- Farmleigh Road
- The Quillot
- Manor House Drive