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Esher Listeni/ˈiːʃər/[n 1] is a town in Surrey, England, to the east of the River Mole. Located within the Greater London Urban Area, Esher is largely suburban in character, with few high rise buildings and very short sections of dual carriageway within the ward itself. Esher covers a large area, lying between approximately 12.5 and 15.4 miles southwest of Charing Cross, its town centre on 14 miles from central London. In the south it is bounded by the A3 Portsmouth Road which is of urban motorway standard buffered by the Esher Commons. Esher is bisected by the A307, traditional Portsmouth Road which for approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) forms its high street. Esher railway station (served by the South West Main Line) connects the town to London Waterloo. Sandown Park Racecourse is in the town near the station.
History Esher lay within the Saxon feudal division of Elmbridge hundred. Esher appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Aissela and Aissele held partly by the Abbey of the Cross in Normandy; partly by William de Waterville; partly by Reginald; partly by Hugh do Port; and partly by Odard Balistarius (probably a crossbowman). Its domesday assets were: 14 hides, 6 ploughs and 2 acres (8,100 m2) of meadow. It rendered £6 2s 0d per year to its feudal system overlords. In the 16th century, King Henry VIII annexed several of the manors to the Honour of Hampton Court to form a royal hunting ground and new residences were permitted by a number of wealthy courtesans. Esher's town slowly grew as a stagecoach stop on the London–Portsmouth road that was later designated as the A3 road, although it was bypassed in the mid-1970s, when it became the A307. Clive of India built the Claremont mansion[n 2] and this later became a royal residence used by Queen Victoria. In 1841 Esher had 1261 inhabitants across 2,075 acres (840 ha). Queen Victoria lent Claremont to the exiled French King Louis-Philippe and his consort Queen Marie-Amelie after the revolution of 1848. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg lived there until he became King of the Belgians. In 1863, "Bradshaw's Descriptive Railway Hand-Book" was saying of Esher that it was "... once a place of some importance, is now little better than an inconsiderable village. Esher Place is remarkable as having been the residence of Wolsey, when Bishop of Winchester..." By 1908, Esher contained the fashionable residences of several important figures including Lady Emma Talbot; Sir Robert Hawthorn Collins, the Duchess of Albany and Sir Edgar Vincent, K.C.M.G. who was later created 1st Viscount D'Abernon. George Harrison of the Beatles had a house (called Kinfauns) in Esher, during the 1960s. The other Beatles were regular visitors to the house, and Harrison's primitive home recording studio. Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees also owned a house called The Firs in Esher, during 1970s-2004 and sold after his death. This is where the hit single "Juliet" was written and recorded by Maurice & Robin for brother Robin's solo album project in the 1980s. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, placed the murder of fictional character, Mr. Garcia, in and around Esher in his Sherlock Holmes mystery, "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge". In the mystery, Dr. Watson described his and Sherlock Holmes' arrival in Esher by stating, "It was nearly six c'clock before we found ourselves in the pretty Surrey village of Esher, with Inspector Baynes as our companion."
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