There was a medieval Guildhall on this site but the present hall dates from 1589 – when Elizabeth I visited the town. Her coat of arms can be seen in the stained-glass window above the judge’s bench. The 16th century Guildhall was formerly a courtroom and council chamber – where the mayor and corporation met to regulate the commerce of the borough and the courts of law sat in judgement. The ground floor is of Tudor origin, and was substantially remodelled with a new facade and a new council chamber being installed on the first floor in 1683.
The Guildhall houses the civic plate and many other rare items. The front of the building holds what is arguably Guildford’s most iconic landmark – the suspended bracket clock made in 1683 by London clock-maker John Aylward. There’s lot’s written about his motives for making the clock.
Walk up the High Street for 25m until you reach Lloyds Bank
On Lloyds bank there’s an inscription that dates this building back to 1765. The Princess Louise referenced is the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria, and seemingly HRH Louise knew Guildford – having shopped here on her many trips between London and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Either way, she was contacted by the Old Guildford Society when plans to knock down the building were mooted, and these plans were quietly scrapped soon after.
If you look inside, you see some of the grandeur that was once this venerable property.
Just beyond Lloyds Bank you get to Nat West bank.
Looking at the sign above what is currently the Nat West bank, you’ll see a crown – reflecting the fact that this building was once The Crown – one of Guildford’s major inns.
If you look inside, you see how it’s possible to wring every last drop of character from a building, and flush it away.
Barely 3 paces further up the High Street you’ll find Guildford House – distinctive with its wooden panels depicting Tudor roses.
Next : Guildford House
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