Godalming was granted its first charter of incorporation by Elizabeth I in 1575, this being confirmed by Charles II in 1666.  The first recorded Warden of Godalming was John Perrior in 1575.  In 1674 the town had its first Under Warden (Town Clerk) who was Henry Chitty.  With the Corporation Act of 1835 Henry Marshall became the first Mayor and Charles Woods became the first Town Clerk.

Godalming remained a Borough until 1974 when most of its powers and functions were transferred by the Local Government Act 1972 to the Surrey County Council (responsible for Education, Highways, Libraries, Police and Fire Services, and Social Services) and Waverley Borough Council (responsible for Environmental and Leisure Services, Housing and Planning).  Waverley was a newly formed Authority in 1972 with its headquarters in the town. Godalming lies within the parliamentary constituency of South West Surrey.  In 2023 the Boundaries Commission split the South West Surrey parliamentary constituency; Godalming will lie within the new Godalming and Ash parliamentary constituency.

Godalming Town Council has the legal status of a Parish Council but has retained a complement of 20 councillors (for some years) and the style of “Town” on civic occasions.   From May 2023 the number of elected Members will reduce to 18 and will represent the five wards within the Godalming area, apportioned as detailed below.

These wards are:

Binscombe Ward – 3 Members

Central & Ockford Ward – 4 Members

Charterhouse Ward – 3 Members

Farncombe & Catteshall Ward – 4 Members

Holloway Ward – 4 Members

The Town Mayor is elected annually by Councillors amongst their number and represents the Town Council at many functions as the principal citizen of the town.

Godalming Mace
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