Old Market House

The Old Market House, Chertsey, photograph of an original painting by Edward Hassell, c.1828

Chertsey was granted permission to have a market from at least as early as the 13th century, and this was reiterated by Elizabeth I in 1599, with the Chertsey Market Charter. It stated that a market should be held on Wednesdays on a piece of waste ground set aside for that purpose, and required that market Feoffees should be appointed for administration purposes. The Charter also stated that a Market House should be built. It was erected in front of St. Peter’s Church at the point where Guildford Street meets Windsor and London Streets. The building was half-timbered and quite substantial, with a granary above. Some market stalls were set up there, and it was a place for stallholders to go in bad weather. The Market House was also the location for the Court of ‘Pie Poudre’ (which means court of ‘dusty foot’) which was a summary Court of Record held by the Market Steward, and supposed to settle disputes arising at the market. There was also a ‘Cage’ or jail attached to the west end of the Market House, and a set of stocks next to that.

The Market House was the subject of a dispute in the early 19th century. One of the Feoffees of the market, John Brown, had it pulled down in 1809. Reasons given were that it was in a bad state of repair and that the local ‘youths’ were gathering there, especially during church services. It was also obscuring St. Peter’s Church from view. There was a long dispute as some felt that John Brown did not have the right to demolish the Market House. Eventually the dispute was settled, and in 1819 a new Market House was put up on the site of the Town Hall (now the Old Town Hall) on London Street. By 1851, the Market House had been rebuilt as the Town Hall we see today. The arcaded section was used for markets until at least 1870, and the building still belongs to the Feoffees of Chertsey Market.