8th century  

Godalming founded by the Anglo Saxons. The town became the administrative centre for the Godalming Hundred, which stretched down to Haslemere. The Moot and the Hundred court were probably held at the site of the Pepperpot.


“In Godalming Hundred The King holds Godalming in lordship. King Edward held it. Then 24 hides. They never paid taxes. There is land for 30 ploughs. In lordship are 3 ploughs and 50 villeins and 29 cottars with 19 ploughs. There are 2 slaves and 3 mills worth 41 shillings & 8 pence and 25 acres of meadow. Woodland for 100 pigs.” (source: Domesday Book)


King Edward I grants The Lord of the Manor of Godalmyng (the Bishop of Salisbury) a Charter permitting a weekly market on Mondays and an annual fair at the Feast of St Peter & St Paul (June 28th – 30th).

15th century  

Godalming’s Market Hall (predecessor of the Pepperpot) built.

16th and 17th centuries  

The Hundred House an old name for the Market House? Documents refer to the King’s Way leading from the Hundred House towards the East Bridge, and to Church Street leading from the Hundred House to the Church.


Godalming constituted a Market Town by Statute.


Queen Elizabeth I grants The town of Godalming a Charter permitting the election of a Warden and eight Assistants as well as a weekly market on Wednesdays and an annual fair at Candlemas (February 1st – 3rd) Wardens are to be elected on the feast of St Michael (Michaelmas, September 29th) to serve for one year. The Charter appoints the first Warden, John Perrior.

The Hundred House or Market House becomes the Town Hall.

17th-19th centuries  

Where was the Fishcross? Referred to in a will of 1616, this was presumably in the Market Place.

Large quantities of fish were brought from the seaside towns through Godalming, in special fish vans drawn by four horses, for the London market. A cart drawn by Newfoundland dogs brought fish and oysters from Littlehampton to Godalming.


John Purchase, dyer of Godalming, leaves money in his will to repair the Market House and Fishcross “as well in timber worke, ground pynning, walling and other necessary reparations from the ground pynning to the plate of the said house”.


Ordinances for the governance of the town of Godalming

"That forasmuch as the Use of a Clock in the said Towne is very necessary for the Inhabitants thereof for the keeping of Fitt and Ordinary Hours for their Apprentices, Servants and Workmen. That the Warden and his Assistants and such as have born office in said Town...may as Occasion requireth from time to time make assessments for the keeping amending and mainteyning of the said Clock to be taxed upon all the Inhabitants which are Housekeepers in the said Town according to their Ability."


Market Day changed to Friday


"For two Lockes one for the Ducking forme and for Iron Chaine. Item, for two Iron pines for the Ducking Stoole Ladders 5s 10d. For mending of the Stocks to William Hoare 6d." (source: Warden’s Accounts)


A new bag purchased for the Ale Tasters - 2 shillings


A penthouse is added to the Market House


Market House partially destroyed by fire and substantially rebuilt


Two new dials purchased for the Town Clock - 13 shillings


The Market House is repaired; £23 19s raised by public subscription. Sir More Molyneux of Loseley donates five guineas, Mr James Oglethorpe of Westbrook donates one guinea.


John Lindsey, Bellman (Watchman)

“past four o’clock, moon behind the Church and stars around the Withy Patch”


The Market House is repaired. £26 5s 6d raised by public subscription.


Corporation Seal purchased - 10s 6d


Subscription raised for mending the fire engines and purchasing leather buckets. £15 raised from 47 subscribers. General Oglethorpe contributes one guinea.


The weathercock gilded - 13 shillings


Godalming’s Old Market Hall in some disrepair


98 French prisoners captured during the Belle Isle Expedition lodged at the Pepperpot by George Beuclerk, Colonel of the 19th Regiment of Foot. He paid 15 shillings for the storage of the regimental baggage and 17 for the prisoners. The Warden paid one shilling to recover the money from the Colonel Beuclerk, and three for beer for the prisoners and for the men who cleared out the corn to make room for the prisoners and cleaned the Market House afterwards.


Richard Stedman paid 16 shillings to repaint the south dial of the Town Clock.


Paid to John Chitty, for looking after the clock one year, from Michaelmas 1768 to Michaelmas 1769 £1 5s 0d. There is still an annual contract for looking after the Town Clock. It is now with Gillett & Johnston and is paid for by the Museum Trust


Kent the Player Manager of a travelling company of actors paid half-a-guinea to hire the Market House.


Expenses to prevent the throwing of fireworks in the streets £1 6s 6d


Two new coats and a hat trimmed with silver lace purchased for the Bellman - £4 18s 3d


New bell for the Market Hall. This is still in use in the Pepperpot today.


Leggatt the player Manager of a travelling company of actors paid half-a-guinea to hire the Market House.


A new laced coat and a hat purchased for the Bellman - £6 3s 0d


5 November - Abraham Toft paid 3 shillings 8 pence for mending the Market House windows, broken on Illumination Night.


The corner stone of Godalming Market House was laid by Mr T Haines, Warden then going out of office who was then succeeded in office by Mr H Woods (source: Maybank family diary)


The Pepperpot is built - Warden Thomas Haines, Architect John Perry £783 7s 2d raised by public subscription £81 19s 6d raised by sale of the old Market Hall.


A new Town Clock, ordered from London, is set up in the Pepperpot by Richard Stedman. This is the clock now in the Museum.


George Chennell and William Chalcraft appear before the Magistrates’ court at the Pepperpot and are committed for trial at Guildford for the murder of George Chennell senior and Elizabeth Wilson. They are found guilty and hanged on the Lammas Land, the last public hanging in Godalming


A new hat purchased for the Bellman - £2 15s 0d


Act of Parliament "For Paving, Lighting, Watching and otherwise Improving the Town of Godalming”

A Board of Commissioners is established to oversee the work. The Warden and his Assistants raise £478 10s 0d by public subscription to pave the town.


Reconstitution of the Borough of Godalming under the Municipal Corporations Act. The Warden and his Assistants are to be replaced by a Mayor and Aldermen.


Godalming’s first Mayor, Henry Marshall


Godalming’s Police Force established.


The Market Place and High Street are lit by gas, supplied by the new Godalming Gas Works on the Wharf.


Last ‘view of frankpledge’ (guarantee of good behaviour of people living in each tithing by their tithingmen) held at Godalming.


The last Hundred Court presided over by the Lord of the Manor and Hundred of Godalming held at the Pepperpot.


The Market Place around the Pepperpot was the traditional site of the town’s Bonfire Night celebrations, which sometimes got out of hand…


“20 Pounds Reward,

Whereas some evil disposed Persons did on the Night of the 5th Day of the present month of November, riotously & tumultuously assemble together, & unlawfully & feloniously demolish and destroy the Windows, Window Sashes & Window Shutters in the Dwelling House of the Mayor. Any Person or Persons giving information which leads to the Appehension & Conviction of the Offenders will receive the above Reward.”


"Great apprehension prevails in the town of Godalming, lest the 5th of November should be marked by a serious breach of the peace. The Mayor convened a meeting in the Town-hall, which was soon filled to suffocation, while a noisy mob outside joined its demonstrations to those which were made within. The vicar, the Rev Mr Long, proposed that the Fireworks be banned. On the Rev. Long emerging into the street he was mobbed, and the crowd sang in lusty chorus “The Sour Apple Tree”, while a few of the roughs raised a cry of “Chuck him into the river.” The Mayor has called upon every male inhabitant aged between 18 and 50 to attend at the Town-hall to be sworn in as a special constable to preserve the peace should it be threatened by to-morrow’s expected proceedings." (source: The Times)


The world’s first public electricity supply switched on at the Pepperpot, powered by the water wheel at Westbrook Mill.



Godalming Illuminated by the Electric Light

“The effect of the quaint old High Street with its gabled houses and miniature town hall lit by electric light is so strangely theatrical that one almost expects to see a bevy of fair damsels appear from the side and dance across the streets while the heavy villain of the piece is attempting to hide himself in the deep shadow at the back of the town hall.” (source: The Graphic)


Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee


Proposed New Municipal Buildings at the junction of Church Street and the High Street, to replace the Pepperpot. The cost of £3000 proved prohibitive.


Godalming Directory


Godalming Directory


The last Court Baron presided over by the Lord of the Manor and Hundred of Godalming held at the Pepperpot.


The Duchess of Albany opens The Meath Home of Comfort for Epileptics, now The Meath


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee


“Of course we could not escape the Pepperbox. “What is this?” said Hepplethwaite, stopping and placing his hand impressively on my arm. I offered the best explanation I could, & at last convinced my awestruck friend that the days of this “survival” were really numbered & that before long we should have a set of municipal buildings worthy of the town, where our “city fathers” could meet & perform their duties without being baked, boiled and almost pickled” (source: Surrey Times) (quoted by John Janaway in Yesterday’s Town)

1898   Godalming Directory


Public petition against the Council’s proposal to demolish the Pepperpot.

"We venture to point out that such impediments to the traffic as exist between the High Street and the Railway Station are not due to the presence of the Market Hall, but to the narrowness of Church Street,& that no effectual remedy for these impediments can result from the proposed demolition ... We are not confronted by the exaggerated traffic of London Streets..."


Proclamation of King Edward VII


“Perhaps it is not exactly beautiful, but its slender-pillared little clock tower and copper sheathed cupola are distinctly good, and I believe it to be the latest building in Godalming that has that precious quality of character.” (source: Gertrude Jekyll)


Godalming Borough Council moves to the new Borough Hall in Bridge Street.


The bus stop at the Pepperpot


King George V’s Coronation



6 May - The Old Godalming Town Hall is not to be pulled down. A resolution to this effect was carried by the Town Council last night by 12 votes to 9. Rival petitions were presented on the subject. One, signed by nearly 900 ratepayers pleaded that the building should be demolished, on the grounds that it was an obstruction and even a danger to traffic under modern conditions. The petition in favour of its preservation had 570 signatures.


Soldiers who had been injured in the First World War sold toys they had made on market stalls beneath the Pepperpot


March- Public Conveniences for Women and Children

The Hon. Secretary of the Women’s Section of the Local Labour Party pointed out to the Borough Council the need for a Public Convenience for Women and Children in the town. The Council resolved unanimously to recommend that Miss Pitchers be given 6 months notice to terminate her tenancy of the Old Town Hall, with a view to Public Conveniences for Women and Children being provided in the lower part of the same.


April - Public Conveniences at the Old Town Hall

The Borough Surveyor submitted a plan for the provision at the Old Town hall of suitable Sanitary Conveniences for Ladies and Children, consisting of two W.C.s with lavatory basins, also a suitable Water Closet for Men, the whole of the cost not to exceed £100.


Godalming Museum opens in the Pepperpot.


Shopping Week


King George V & Queen Mary's Silver Jubilee


Proclamation Of King Edward VIII


King George VI’s Coronation


Plans to refurbish the toilets and bus shelter in the undercroft of the Pepperpot


The Town Council agree to remove the public conveniences and open up the spaces between the pillars on the ground floor of the Pepperpot. The committee decide to take no action on a protest received from Messrs Grimmonds against the decision to remove the lavatories from the Old Town Hall


The Godalming Rotary Club were anxious to display three Christmas trees in the Old Town Hall and asked whether the iron gates could be removed as they would impede the view of the trees. The Council decided to instruct the Borough Surveyor to have the iron gates removed and to grant permission to display three Christmas trees


Godalming Museum moves from the Pepperpot to 109a High Street.


The Old Town Hall is now refurbished with double-glazing, gas fired central heating, modern kitchen and toilets. With seating for forty and the ‘market area’ beneath, it is an ideal function venue for hire for exhibitions, display, promotions, meetings, lectures, receptions and gatherings of a business, charitable or private nature (source: Town Guide)


Town Centre Enhancement Scheme


Friends of the Pepperpot established




View down the High Street from the roof of the Pepperpot


View down Church Street from the roof of the Pepperpot


200th anniversary of the building of the Pepperpot.

Exhibition in Godalming Museum 29 July - 30 August



Return to The Pepperpot