Sir Edward Zouch (died 1634) acquired Woking Palace and its adjoining estate from the crown in 1620 and proceeded to demolish most of it to build a new house at Hoe Place – now rebuilt and expanded as Hoe Bridge School - and other buildings in the area. He was much given to high living and it is highly probable that he built the tower always named after him in one of the fields to the north of the Palace site and to the east of Hoe Place.
While it has been said that a lantern was lit at the top of the red-brick octagonal tower (60’ high) to guide travellers over the heathland to Zouch’s house, it is in a plot named as ‘Banqueting House Field’ in estate maps of 1709 and 1719. The former shows the monument at the centre of four avenues of trees, and it could well be that the tower was an early landscape feature, giving light and a degree of heat to the revellers gathered below. It gradually fell into decay, losing its cupola about 1852 and eventually falling down in a storm in 1867.
Excavations on the site have found no remains, since at its fall only the fuel chamber at the base remained and a letter to ‘Notes and Queries’ in 1883 mentions that some years earlier the owner had blown this up for its bricks. It is first named as ‘Zouch’s Monument’ on a map of 1729, but is also known as the Hoe Pillar.
The hill it stood on was known as Monument Hill, and hence the road leading more or less towards it also took the name of Monument Road or Monument Hill. The site of the ‘monument’ is now within Hoe Bridge Golf Course.
Discover more about the monument at our Object in Focus display outside Woking's Story until 18 June 2017.