Ottershaw or 'Otreshaghe', possibly meaning 'otter wood', is recorded in a charter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, in 889 A.D. The manorial history of Ottershaw is complex. It may have been the land given to Chertsey Abbey before 1066 known as 'Ottersaye'. However, by 1270 Nicholas de Croix possibly held Ottershaw and by 1279 it formed part of the properties of the Earl of Hereford and 'Nicholas de Cruce'. John Danaster held it in the early 16th century.

The earliest settlement in Ottershaw was along the Bourne stream near to Durnford Bridge and by the Tudor period there were also a few scattered farms nearby. Ottershaw formed part of the ancient parish of Chertsey but, with adjacent Brox, it became a separate ecclesiastical district in the 19th century.

Christchurch was built in 1864 to designs by the famous Victorian church architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. A tower was added in 1885. Several substantial country seats were built at Ottershaw during the 18th and 19th centuries including Ottershaw Park, Annersley Park and Ottermead.

Apart from work on the estates of these large houses, many local people were employed in the nursery gardens, which were established in the Ottershaw area around 1820 and continued here until about 1930. The local clay was also good for brick-making, tiles and pottery and there were works in the area from about 1777. Bonsey's Pottery was founded about 1851 and made a large range of items including flowerpots, vases, ornamental pots, sea kale and rhubarb pots as well as the usual tiles, bricks and garden edging.

Even in the 1920s Ottershaw was still a rural village 'with a duck pond on the Otter Green, and a small Otter Inn on the Guildford Road', as one resident described it. The inn takes its name from the place rather than the other way round.

The development of housing in Ottershaw gathered pace in the 20th century but one local writer could still say in 1996 that although 'the M25 has affected the village in so many ways ... it has still remained a village'.

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