Urnfield History

Feature Map from OS 1934 with 1938 Additions

The Urnfield was owned (or appropriated) by Lord Onslow in the 17th century and was used for market gardening.

roman urns, merrow urnfield, archeology find, roman discovery guildford
Roman cinerary urns discovered on Urnfield

The fields were used the public allotments through the 18th and 19th centuries until a significant ancient URN find, in 1896, of 12 Romano British urns which led to the north part of Urnfield being sectioned off.  The south part of Urnfield was retained for public use as allotments. During WW2, an anti-aircraft gun was positioned there and even though the gun position was hit by German bombers, use of the allotments remained open for the war effort!

The Urnfield was gifted to The Corporation (Council) between 1950 and 1965 and was subsequently gifted to The County School for use as a football playing field. The Royal Grammar School (Surrey Advertiser News Article July, 1969 ) was granted a lease to use the area for rugby and cricket from the late 1960’s through to the early 1990’s.  They built the pavilion and leased the cottage for a groundsman. RGS moved their sports HQ to Shalford, however they did not obtain permission for lighting masts there! The County school continue to use the fields for sports and athletics.

Recent History

tormead girls schoolTormead girls private school started to use the fields for athletics around 2018 as they have little infrastructure within their limited campus for playing fields. Their main sports are Hockey, netball and swimming.

The use of the area has since intensified as well as interests to develop the facilities. These development interests were flatly refused by The Council for many years due to the area’s AONB status and to discourage urbanisation. In 2020 an extensive planning application was submitted for the development of a competition level hockey pitch and an all weather athletics track.  Both would be lit with high and bright lighting masts to allow for night-time use. The planning was refused. However the developer appealed, and the council’s refusal was overturned by a Planning Inspector, despite their acknowledgment of the harm that would result to that part of the Surrey Hills AONB and in particular Merrow Downs.

The Urnfield is on course to be bulldozed this May 2023 and the new facilities are set to open in late 2023. The main development site is to be located on The Urnfield over the point marked with an X on the map above, the Romano British Burial Site.



Historic England GU4 8PH showing Urnfield Burial site

SAS415_0 Urnfield Article 2009

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