Fringe Box



Royal Proclamations In Guildford Over The Last Century

Published on: 14 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 18 Sep, 2022

By David Rose and Hugh Coakley

The recent proclamation of the accession of King Charles III to the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has been just one of the many seen in the town over the centuries.

Proclamation in 1901 of Edward VII by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Charles Hoskins Master, on the Guildhall balcony.

Guildford’s mayor reading the formal accession statement from the steps of Holy Trinity church in the High Street on Sunday, September 11 followed the pattern and tradition of proclamations in the past. But the number attending were tiny compared to erstwhile ceremonies.

People knew about the death of Queen Elizabeth within minutes of the official announcement. But they still attended ceremonies at the cathedral and on the steps of Holy Trinity Church in the High Street to be a part of the historical change, to be able to say: “I was there” and for the pageantry of the occasion.

An estimated 10,000 people came to witness the proclamation of Edward VII in 1901 in Guildford High Street.

Crowds estimated at around 10,000 people came to hear Edward VII’s accession in 1901. Guildford’s population then was about 20,000.

In times past, the news would be confirmed and details read on notices posted outside the Surrey Advertiser’s office then in Market Street. Now we get our information from the internet, social media and the 24 hours news broadcasts.

Journalist Michael Buerk speaking to The Dragon at the accession proclamation said: “It’s about the continuity, I think. It’s wonderfully arcahaic and indeed, slightly ridiculous in the days of the internet and 24/7 news on TV.

“It’s the idea you are part of a community that has been going for a thousand years or more. It’s rather life affirming.

“In a society which is fractured in many ways, you feel part of something bigger than yourself when you are part of one of these ceremonies.”

The Mayor of Guildford, Dennis Booth, proclaims the accession of King Charles III to Guildford.

The proclamation of Edward VII was held on January 31, 1901 on the Guildhall balcony, not on the church steps. The High Sheriff of Surrey, Charles Hoskins Master..

On far left of the photo (top) is Bishop Ingham, rector of Stoke-next-Guildford and the High Sheriff’s chaplain.

David Rose said: “Charles Hoskins Master was the chairman of Guildford’s largest brewery, the Friary, Holroyd & Healy’s Brewery. His main place of residence was Barrow Green House, Oxted.

“In 1920 the brewery bought Pewley Down in Guildford and gifted it to be a public open space in thankfulness for the successful conclusion of The Great War.

“In 1923 Charles Hoskins Master gifted a piece of land in Oxted to be a public open space. It is called Master Park.”

Proclamation in 1910 for George V on Holy Trinity Church steps.

For the proclamation of George V, the High Sheriff, Sir Harry Waechter, made the announcement on Holy Trinity Church steps.on May 14, 1910. Again, the crowds appear to be considerably larger than the two or three hundred who attended the recent King Charles II proclamation.

1911, with fears that the sports ground in Woodbridge Road site might be developed, Waechter bought it and gave it to the town for the purposes of “cricket, cycling, athletics, football, hockey, tennis, military parades, and charitable purposes – in perpetuity.”

Proclamation in 1910 of George V on the Holy Trinity Church steps.

He also paid for drill hall in Godalming for territorial soldiers, supported the West Surrey Cadet Corps and gave £100 towards Guildford’s celebrations for the coronation of George V. He was the son of a German shipping magnet, and was educated in England.

The Proclamation in 1936 when Edward VIII was proclaimed king on the Holy Trinity Church steps.

The High Sheriff of Surrey, Sir Lawrence Halsey, proclaimed Edward VIII as king on January 21, 1936 on the steps of Holy Trinity Church.

Sir Lawrence was a chartered accountant and justice of the peace and lived at Goose Rye, Worplesdon. He was a chairman of Worplesdon Football Club in the 1920s and donated funds (anonymously at the time) for the building of Worplesdon Memorial Hall that opened in 1922.

Proclamation of 1936 George VI at Guildford’s Guildhall.

That same year after the abdication, the proclamation of George VI was made by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Captain Charles Hoskins, on the Guildhall balcony on December 14, 1936.

David Rose said: “They certainly packed them on to the balcony back then. “The man standing to the right wearing a bowler hat is Sir John Jarvis, Guildford’s MP at the time.”

The proclamation of Elizabeth II on the steps of Holy Trinity Church.

The proclamation of Elizabeth II in Guildford was on February 8, 1952, by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Sir Francis Paget Hett MBE, again on the steps of Holy Trinity Church.

Sir Francis was a Canadian by birth and was a lawyer, author, and editor, and known as “Padge”. He lived at Littleworth, Esher.

He was a co-founder, director, and chairman of the British Legion poppy factory in Richmond upon Thames. He accompanied Earl Haig on his tour of Canada in 1925 and was the Commodore of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. He died in Worthing, West Sussex in 1966.

Of this proclamation, the Surrey Advertiser reported: “For the first time in their lives thousands of people who jammed the High Street sang ‘God save the Queen’, many stumbling over the unfamiliar phrase.”

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *