Elstead's relative prosperity over the centuries can be partly attributed to the existence of a large watermill and a significant bridge over the river, parts of which are thought to be around 700 years old.
Elstead Mill, now a pub and restaurant, was occupied by Oliver Cromwell’s ‘roundhead’ army during the English Civil War, but subsequently burnt down. The present structure is therefore thought to date back to the seventeenth century.
The first known reference to Elstead is in the 1128 foundation charter for Waverley Abbey (sometimes spelt Waverly), where it was called Helestede. The church of St James was built around ten years later. It still contains thirteenth century windows and some fourteenth century timbers
In the 1300s, a bridge was built over the River Wey. Today this old bridge, strengthened by Surrey County Council in 1993, takes the westbound traffic whilst the eastbound traffic goes over a new bridge