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Guildford Walking Tour : Castle Grounds and Henry Peak

Henry Peak

Walking around Guildford, you’re almost guaranteed to walk past, under, through, or on something that is directly attributable to Henry Peak. Arriving in Guildford as an apprentice architect, he soon set up his architecture practice in 1861, designing churches, chapels, shops and houses of all shapes and sizes.

He designed the Castle Grounds, was responsible for the High Street setts, laid out various areas of Guildford, and built the reservoir on Pewley Hill to supply the town with clean water. He was the Borough Surveyor between 1864 and 1891, becoming Mayor in 1899. Henry Peak played a profound and positive role in the appearance of Victorian Guildford, and much of what is still seen today. I wish he’d been around in the 1960’s…

Choosing any route, make your way up to the main door to the Castle Keep (the tall, square section of castle on the raised embankment).

Guildford Castle Keep

Guildford Castle Keep

Guildford Castle and its grounds are probably the most written about feature in Guildford, and so this will be brief.

Guildford Castle is thought to have been built by William the Conqueror, or one of his barons, shortly after the Norman invasion of England in 1066, but likely a little while after this, as it doesn’t appear in the Domesday book of 1086. It has been used as a royal palace, a prison and a private residence. Guildford Castle and the grounds were sold to the Guildford Corporation in 1885, and opened as public gardens in 1888 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

Below you, you will see a stone-built underpass near to the bowling green. Head down to this fern under-pass, and once below ground, stop after a couple of paces to look at the plaque on your left.

This stone plaque is dedicated to the courageous and selfless act of Murray Mark Boxall – who died trying to save Gilbert Scott in June 1904 by the Town Mills.

Where the underpass splits, take the right-hand fork – shortly finding a bench, and a sculpture of a man holding a book.

Next : Alice’s Garden

Previous : Castle Cliffe Gardens

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