Facts about Camberley
Camberley is a town in the Borough of Surrey Heath in Surrey, England, approximately 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Central London. The town is in the far west of the county, close to the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire. Once part of Windsor Forest, Camberley grew up around the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the associated Army Staff College. Known originally as Cambridge Town, it was assigned its current name by the General Post Office in 1877.
Camberley’s suburbs include Crawley Hill, York Town, Diamond Ridge, Heatherside, and Old Dean. The town is immediately north of the M3 motorway, which may be accessed via junction 4. Camberley railway station is on the line between Ascot and Aldershot and train services are run by South Western Railway.
Before the 19th century, the area now occupied by Camberley was referred to as Bagshot or Frimley Heath. An Iron Age fort liberally among one of many examples known as Caesar’s Camp was to the north of this area alongside the Roman road The Devil’s Highway. The Intenarium Curiosum, published in 1724, describes a collection of Roman pottery around the area, and a further collection was discovered at Frimley Green in the late 20th century. In the Middle Ages, the area was part of Windsor Forest.
In the 17th century, the area along the turnpike road through Bagshot Heath (now the A30) was known as a haunt of highwaymen, such as William Davies – also known as the Golden Farmer – and Claude Duval. The land remained largely undeveloped and uncultivated due to a sandy topsoil making it unsuitable for farming. In A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain, written between 1724 and 1726, Daniel Defoe described the area as barren and sterile; “a mark of the just resentment shew’d by Heaven upon the Englishmen’s pride… horrid and frightful to look on, not only good for little, but good for nothing”. A brick tower was built on top of The Knoll in the 1770s, by John Norris of Blackwater. It may have been used for communications but there is no firm evidence. The remains are now known as The Obelisk.