Oxted or 'Acstede', meaning the 'place of oak trees', was held by Count Eustace of Boulogne at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086. The property included two mills and also a house many miles away in Southwark. There was also a church. The present parish church of St Mary has a 12th century tower and many other features dated to the 13th century.

The town is situated on a well-drained narrow strip of the Lower Greensand, and it has a special claim to fame as the only Surrey town which is exactly on the Greenwich Meridian at 0 degrees of longitude.

Roland of Oxted was holding the manor when he died in 1291 and before 1359 Oxted had become the property of Robert de Stangrave. It passed to Sir Reginald Cobham and the Cobham family, who lived at Starborough Castle near Lingfield, continued to own it until William Cobham sold it to John Reade in 1550. Oxted was then held by the Hoskins family from 1587 until well into the last century. In the late 19th century Charles Hoskins Master, a member of the family, was the founder of the Friary Brewery in Guildford.

There are numerous ancient buildings to be found in the streets of Oxted. They are mainly timber-framed and date from the 15th to the 17th centuries and closely there are others which can be dated as early as 1400.

The music of the popular Christmas carol, 'In the Bleak Midwinter', was composed at Oxted by Harold Darke (1888-1976) and the writer, Joseph Conrad, also stayed here.

A railway station was not opened at Oxted until 1884, but it quickly spawned a new settlement known as New Oxted, which grew up adjacent to the station.

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