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History of Town Council

Old black and white photo of town council offices

Details about when Farnham Town Council was formed, the first Mayor, the crest and its meaning.

Local government in Farnham

The first Mayor

The town crest


Local government in Farnham

From 1895 until 1974, Farnham Urban District Council was the local and district body responsible for the town and environs of Farnham. The 1974 local government reorganisation saw Farnham Urban District Council disbanded and the creation of Waverley District Council through the merging of Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere District Council and Hambledon Rural District Council. All assets and responsibilities passed to Waverley Borough Council or Surrey County Council.

In 1984 consent was granted to create Farnham Parish Council. The Council was formed from 18 elected members representing nine wards in the Parish of Farnham. In May 1984 the Parish Council of Farnham resolved that it would be referred to as Farnham Town Council.

The first Mayor

The first Mayor of Farnham Town Council was WA Smallman. He was Mayor for two years until 1986. See our past Mayors page for details about who else has held the role.

The town crest

In 1986 Farnham Town Council was given permission to use adapted armorial bearings, known as the coat of arms, that had first been granted to Farnham Urban District Council in 1950.

The design expresses in heraldic form and colours, the main features in the history of Farnham.

The castle represents the stronghold built at Farnham in the twelfth century by Henri du Blois, Bishop of Winchester, and the mitre and pastoral staff allude to the town’s long associations with the Sees of Winchester and Guildford.

The green field, the stag’s head, and the oak refer to the parks and woodlands of the district, while the ears of wheat stand for agriculture, and the sprig of hops for produce for which Farnham was formerly famous.

The stone axe refers to the prehistory of the district. The motto ‘By Worth’ is taken from the name of one of the town’s benefactors, John Byworth. A clothier by trade, he presented the town in 1623 with the ‘Byworth Cup’, a replica of which can be seen in the Museum of Farnham.


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