In medieval times Ripley was always linked to Send and it is first recorded in 1204. The name may mean 'Rippa's clearing', referring to a personal name or it perhaps comes from the Old English 'rippel' meaning 'a strip of woodland or coppice'.
The church at Ripley was originally a chapel of Send and there are features in the church of St Mary probably date from the mid-12th century. The church was enlarged and restored in 1846 and further work was done on it in 1869. Send, including Ripley, belonged to Newark Priory, the ruins of which stand serenely in the meadows of the River Wey nearby. It remained the property of the priory until the Dissolution in the late 1530s.
In 1544 Henry VIII granted the manor of Send to Sir Anthony Browne and it remained in the Browne family until 1711, when it was sold to Sir Richard Onslow. The Onslows, major Surrey landowners, were still holding the manor into the 20th century.
Following the closure of Newark Priory, Ripley found fortune catering for the increasing number of travellers on the Portsmouth Road, which passed straight through the village. At one time the High Street was lined with numerous inns, pubs and beerhouses. Many of these have now gone but the 'Talbot' and the 'Anchor' still give a taste of those great days of coaching.
The coaching trade was, of course, killed off quickly once the railways had been built. As a result Ripley passed through a 'thin' period during the mid-19th century. However, it was revived from the 1870s onwards by the growing interest in cycling, both for recreation and sport. Following the invention of the modern 'safety' bicycle in the 1880s Ripley developed as a weekend destination for Londoners, who had discovered the 'freedom of the open road'. It became the most popular run from the capital and it is claimed that the number of cyclists arriving at Ripley could sometimes be counted in their thousands.
By 1910 the cyclists had a new rival on the road to Ripley - the automobile. The motor car was eventually to oust all but the most daring cyclist from the Portsmouth Road. It also threatened to strangle Ripley, especially when the number of cars on the road began to increase dramatically from the late 1950s.
Fortunately, Ripley was saved by the building of new A3 road which bypasses the village. Traffic can still be heavy at times but Ripley has managed to retain a great deal of character.