Horsell High Street
Horsell shown within Surrey
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Horsell has a close association with H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, the sand pits of Horsell Common being used as the site of the first Martian landing. Horsell Common has since been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Another landmark is the McLaren Technology Centre, built on the northern edge of the common in the early 2000s for the McLaren Group.
Horsell was first documented in the 13th century, although the parish church of St Mary the Virgin is believed to date from the middle of the 12th century. The name probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon horig scylf, meaning "muddy slope". This may refer to the hill now carrying the metalled track known as "Horsell Rise"; tricky for cars in winter conditions it is then very much enjoyed by local children who create toboggan slides down the centre of it.
Until the late 19th century, the village consisted of scattered cottages and farms, surrounded by fields, heathlands and nurseries. Suburban development eventually began in the 1880s, although the village remains largely rural in character.
The commonland includes Horsell Common, which is notable for being the place where the martians landed in War of the Worlds, an Ancient Burial Ground and a Muslim Burial Ground. One of Horsell's most significant locations is Horsell Common. The common includes a bomb crater from WW2, a large, seasonal pond with a sandpit (which is where the Martians landed) and an open field which extends to the grounds of the McLaren HQ. Many different species of plants and wildlife can be found there. There was a Home Guard base there, though this has long since disappeared. The Common is popular with the locals and people of Woking Borough.
Schools and facilities
The Anglican parish church of St Mary the Virgin dates back to the middle of the 12th century, and still retains the original doors. The church has strong links with one of the village's junior schools, Horsell C of E Junior School. The village's other schools include the Horsell Village School, built 1851, and independent school St. Andrew's School along with Woking High School, formerly Horsell High School.
Notable people from Horsell include:
- Robert Green, former England and current West Ham United goalkeeper.
- Rev. Canon Norman Pares, vicar of Horsell from 1897 to 1936, smf a member of the Old Etonians side which won the 1879 FA Cup Final.
- The New Zealand poet Ursula Bethell, born in Horsell on 6 October 1874.
- http://www.horsellresidents.com/village/index.htm - Horsell Resident's Association - A Welcome in the Village and Local Area
- "Horsell". UKCrimeStats.com. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "The Sandpit". Horsell Common Preservation Society. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- "A Short History of Horsell". Horsell Residents' Association. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "Pares, Norman (PRS876N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
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