The earliest record of Haslemere was in 1221 (when it was spelt Haselmere). The name describes hazel trees standing beside a mere (lake). The lake does not exist today, but there is a natural spring in West Street which could have provided its source.

Haslemere became an important market town in the Middle Ages, having been granted a charter by Richard II in 1394. This right was confirmed by a new charter issued by Elizabeth I in 1596. Today, this special status is celebrated with the Charter Fair, held once every two years in the High Street. There is a bust of Elizabeth I in the newly developed Charter Walk, linking West Street with the car park alongside Waitrose.

The town was one of the rotten boroughs, but recovered with the construction of the Portsmouth Direct Line, which connected Haslemere with London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour railway stations. The town became a fashionable place to live and continues to be a popular commuter town, still served by Haslemere railway station.

St Bartholomew’s Church was originally built in the 14th century, but rebuilt in 1871. The bell tower is the only remaining part of the original building. The church contains memorials to many of the most prominent local residents, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, who lived south of Haslemere at Aldworth House and is commemorated in one of the stained glass windows, featuring Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail.

Haslemere museum is at the northern end of the High Street. It was established by eminent surgeon Sir Jonathan Hutchinson in 1888 to provide educational opportunities to local people, and moved to its present location in 1926 — a house with a Georgian façade, but partly dating back to the 16th century. The museum has a permanent natural history collection as well as hosting talks from both local and national figures of interest.

Source: Wikipedia, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Haslemere&oldid=324441697 available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License