A beautiful borough

Our borough is an attractive and interesting place to work with several town centres, good places to live, plenty of history and easy travel links to London and Reading.

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Runnymede is in the north west of leafy Surrey and is famous as the place where King John and the Barons sealed the Magna Carta in 1215.

In the 21st century, Runnymede is an important centre for business and has several national and international companies within its boundaries, making it one of the more significant locations for commerce and employment in Surrey.

The Borough is home to Royal Holloway, University of London, Wentworth Golf Club, as well as Thorpe Park and the £19m Egham Orbit leisure centre and spa.

The Council places great importance in facilitating economic prosperity as well as providing a good quality of life for people living and working in the Borough.

Travel

Runnymede's excellent communications, by road and rail, make it an ideal area in which to live, close to unspoilt country and river scenery and yet within an hour of central London. Rail routes link all parts of the Borough with Waterloo while the M25 and M3 motorways provide easy access to all parts of the country.

The south coast and Heathrow airport are also within easy reach.

Small local communities

Explore our Borough on Google Maps

The Borough has a population of over 87,000 and covers 30 square miles in north Surrey. It covers 7,804 hectares, of which around 6,000 is green belt land.

Within our boundaries are a number of distinct town and village communities. In the north, there is Englefield Green, Thorpe, with its famous theme park, and Egham, which includes historic Runnymede.

To the west, is an extensively wooded area embracing the village of Virginia Water and the famous Wentworth Golf Course.

Further south located on the Thames is Chertsey, an historic town whose history, through its former abbey, goes back to Saxon times.

Chertsey merges into the newer town of Addlestone which is home to the AddlestoneOne shopping centre and has a proud history in the aviation sector.

Also, in this southern part of the Borough there are more modern residential villages of New Haw, Woodham and Ottershaw.

The Borough has a long north-eastern boundary formed by the Rivers Thames and Wey, across which are the towns of Staines and Weybridge. In the north-west, the Borough boundary cuts across the wooded areas of Windsor Great Park, whilst on the west the boundary reaches along the edge of Chobham Common. In the south, the Borough extends almost to Woking.

Rights and freedoms

The Magna Carta, 'The Great Charter', was sealed at Runnymede Meadows in the north of the borough on 15 June 1215 by King John.

The Magna Carta is recognised as one of the most important documents in English history as it marked the road to individual freedom, parliamentary democracy and to the supremacy of law.

In the spring of 1215, England stood on the brink of Civil War. A group of barons demanded King John agree to a document as protection against the King's arbitrary behaviour. King John met these Barons at Runnymede and agreed to their demands by sealing a document known as Magna Carta, which is Latin for Great Charter.

The Great Charter placed the English monarch firmly under the rule of law for the first time. It superseded the vague Saxon laws of Edward the Confessor and set limits, which the King could not go beyond.

From the date of the meeting, or perhaps from the date the Charter was finally approved by all parties, no English King could act in a tyrannical manner to erode the rights of free men, nor could the King dominate the church.

The Great charter of Freedom concludes with these words:

"Given by Our hand in the meadow which is called Runnymede between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the Seventeenth year of Our Reign"

The liberties of towns, ports, and cities were guaranteed and merchants of all nations were allowed free passage.

The Charter contained the important general expressions of freedom which forbade the selling of justice, protected the rights of the City of London, prevented the arbitrary imprisonment of freemen, and protected the rights of heirs.

These great principles were exported to the United States of America and as a result it was the American Bar Association which installed the current Magna Carta Memorial in Runnymede Meadows.

The Council and residents are very proud of this historic heritage, and the Magna Carta, and the great figures in its creation are remembered in memorials across the area.

The Borough Crest

Runnymede crest 2020

The Borough's crest picks up the themes of the great charter - the Crown, the Church represented through Chertsey Abbey, the Royal swans, the green of the meadows where the Magna Carta was sealed and the blue of the River Thames. They are brought together in the Borough's motto, "In Freedom, We Serve".

In heraldic terms, the armorial bearings amalgamate the arms granted to the former Chertsey and Egham urban district councils, and the motto - "In freedom we serve" combines the ideas from Egham's "Ut homines liberi sint" (That men might be free) and Chertsey's "Servire contendimus" (We strive to serve).

The formal description of the crest is: 

ARMS: Vert, a representation of Magna Carta, ensigned by a representation of the Crown of King John proper, on a Chief Argent, two barrulets wavy azure.

CREST: On a wreath Or and Vert, upon waves in front of a representation of Chertsey Abbey, a swan, all proper.

BADGE: Upon a fountain in front of a representation of Chertsey Abbey, a swan statant proper.

SUPPORTERS:  On either side a swan gorged with a Crown as in the Arms, pendent therefrom by a ribbon azure a representation of Magna Carta proper.

MOTTO:  In Freedom We Serve.

The crest is a ceremonial emblem of the Council and is an integral part of our logo.