A Brief History of Local Churches (within 9 miles of Leith Hill)


Abinger Common — St. James'

A church, perhaps of wood, may have stood on the present site before the Conquest but nothing of it remains. The site, around 551 feet above sea level, is the third highest of the ancient churches of Surrey. The Norman church built here in 1080 is recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Some experts are convinced that the nave was Saxon and others that it was 12th century.

The present chancel is the third. The second was built in the C 13th and the third in 1857. The small round-headed windows in the north and south walls reproduce the early Norman shape. The two large tie beams in the chancel are original 13th century timbers. In the North aisle, lying alongside the chancel is the Lady chapel originally built c.1200. The north chapel doorway, although heavily restored, incorporates stonework probably of the late 12th century, reset.

During its many centuries only one rector and one verger have served for more than 50 years. Three hundred years separate them; The Rev Robert Offley was rector from 1690 -1743 and Michael Bowler verger from 1941-1999. An illustrated chart displayed near the font shows Rectors of Abinger from 1286.

The oldest bells inscribed "Wm. Eldridge made me 1674" mark perhaps the final recovery from the spoliation of the Church in Edward VI's time when St. James' three bells and possessions other than communion plate were removed.

During the 19th century three major restorations took place. The original gallery was removed and the chancel rebuilt. A new vestry, a porch and lychgate were built and in 1879 a third bell joined the two 17th century bells in the belfry. Between 1934 and 1938 further restoration of the church took place with electric lighting replacing the oil lamps.

All these restorations and additions were overshadowed by two disasters that befell the church later in 20th century, destroying much of the work of restoration. The first disaster was in World War 2 when a flying-bomb exploded near the church just before 8am on the 3rd August 1944. The blast brought down the belfry, the roof of the nave and parts of the wall. The organ and almost all the furnishings were destroyed. Only the 13th century chapel remained more or less intact. St. James' was the only church in the Guildford diocese that suffered serious bomb damage.

The careful restoration of the church was lovingly and imaginatively directed by Frederic Etchells using old etchings and photographs to reconstruct it. The second 20th century disaster was in June 1964. This time a natural force was the cause of the destruction. During an exceptionally heavy thunderstorm, the tower was struck by lightning and fire caused extensive damage to the tower, roof and some furnishings.

Once again the church was restored to its previous state except that the work included the introduction of concealed lighting.

The two oldest bells, damaged in the two disasters were repaired, re-tuned and re-hung in time to be rung again in their tercentenary year (1974). The east window structure was built in the 19th C, the other windows are newer but follow the patterns of the originals, except the west one. The three-eight window near the pulpit is a copy of a 15th C window previously there. The triple-lancet east window is filled with colours of modem stained glass. The glass was given in memory of John Coe in 1967 The highly-praised contemporary design by Mr. Laurence Lee ARCA creates a striking effect with its elemental shapes and gorgeous colours.

At the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century, a new custom-built Nicholson organ was installed.

Further improvements to the church continued. In Spring 1994 a complete re-decoration of the interior was completed and two years later a much needed extension to the Vestry was completed. To greet the new millennium three further bells were added to the mature trio in the belfry .These new bells were cast at the same foundry (now called Whitechapel Foundry) as the 1880 bell. There are three beautiful C15th alabaster reliefs set in the walls of the church; by the altar, the font and in the porch.

The bronze relief of The Crucifixion on the west wall of the Lady chapel is signed Justin, believed to be the French artist Justin Matthieu who died in 1864. Monuments in the Lady chapel include The Scarlett Family (1st Lord Abinger), The Lugards, Baron Campion and Victorian artist and Surveyor of the Crown's Pictures, Richard Redgrove, RA.

[Surrey RH5 6HZ www.stjameschurchabinger.org]


Albury — St Peter and St Paul

Set in Albury Park, where the gardens were originally designed by John Evelyn, this ancient church is half a mile from the village of Albury. Another church with the same name, built in red brick, lies at the southern end of the village, known as Western Street.

The ancient church was closed in 1842 for regular services as the other one opened but the move created a lot of dissension especially between Martin Tupper, a writer, who was called to the Bar, but never practised as a barrister, and Henry Drummond, owner of Albury Park. For many years the villagers tried to maintain the ancient church but major restorations and repair had to wait until 1974 when the Churches Preservation Trust took over the preservation of the building because of its outstanding historic appeal and architectural merit.

The ancient church was built around Saxon remains and had a tower added over the original chancel in 1140 AD, some of the Saxon windows remain in the tower to this day. The Cupola is C17th. The north porch is a very precious relic with its delicately carved barge-boards created in the C15th and still in good condition. It is one of the finest examples of its kind in Surrey. The north entrance door dates from 1240 AD, it has long strap hinges and a huge lockcase which takes a key over 12" long.

On the north wall (to your left as you enter) can be seen the remains of the typical Saxon herring-bone rubble construction; further along the same side, on the walls of the tower, there is a faded red indication of the consecration cross dating from the early 12th century or even earlier.

In the uncluttered area of the C13th south chapel and aisle there are several points of interest. The piscina in the far left corner is late C13th. and its presence indicates that at some time there was an altar at that point, this is confirmed by the oblong patch of tiles (circa 1300) immediately to the east of the piscina. For those interested in old floor brasses there is one in the aisle with Latin inscription to Sir John Weston who died 23rd November 1440. The font base too is a real antiquity, thought to have come from the Roman buildings on Farley Heath. The bowl however was removed and is in the "new" (1842) parish church of St Peter & St Paul.

The arches, the walls of the transept and the east window are also late C13th. The interior decoration of the transept and the tracery on the south window and its glass is all C19th.- part of the work carried out under the direction of Augustus Pugin, the Victorian architect who a few years later became well-known for his interior design of the Houses of Parliament. Pugin was commissioned by Henry Drummond, to re-design the transept as a family mortuary . The vivid stained glass was designed by W.Wailes. On the wall, above the south door, is a wall-painting which dates from 1480; it is of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. For more than 200 years from the time of Oliver Cromwell this painting remained hidden behind a plaster covering. It was discovered by chance in 1884 when work of re-positioning a family monument was taking place. It was treated with a preservative five years later, and in 1978 was restored to its present condition by the Churches Preservation Trust. Some other major works carried out by the Trust during the last three decades include the restoration of the then roofless chancel and preservation, rather than a full restoration of the old walls.

Fortunately the church is open during most of the daylight hours throughout the year and occasional services are held in it.

A third church in Albury, just a short distance from the ancient one, has even stronger connections with Henry Drummond, the wealthy 19th century banker who owned Albury Park. Drummond was described by Carlyle as "a singular mixture of the saint, the wit, and the philosopher". He had been brought up in the Church of England and around 1823 attached himself to a small Caledonian chapel in Hatton Garden, London. Edward Irving was the priest and he had a group of fervent believers in the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Their belief was stimulated by a conference at Albury Park in 1826. Similar conferences and study groups were held annually at Advent at Albury. Groups and congregations came in being to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Eventually twelve men, including Henry Drummond, were called to be Apostles and thus was formed the community which became known as the Catholic Apostolic Church (sometimes called Irvingite) The title was intended to express their unity with all Christians in One Church of Christ. By 1835 Albury had become its spiritual centre and in 1840 Henry Drummond, built the Gothic style church, as an Apostles' Chapel and the spiritual and administrative centre for the new sect entirely at his own expense. The last service was held there in August 1950.

Wikipedia >>

[Surrey GU5 9BB www.alburychurches.org/tour.html]


Alfold — St. Nicholas

The footpath approach to the church is past two picturesque tile-hung cottages - a perfect setting for a church, much of which structure dates from the 13th century.

St Nicholas has a solid appearance with its huge roof. Once inside the building its antiquity is more obvious; it is almost square with three aisles whose breadth together is nearly equal to the church's length; the Norman font (circa 1080) is one of the finest and best preserved in Surrey; the remarkable 14th century oak timbering and the spire and bell tower supported on massive pillars of wood hewn out of the great oaks of the Wealdon Forest - a vast forest between the North and South Downs.

The three bells in the tower have for 90 years been chimed only, they have worn thin and are in danger of cracking. They date from 1625, 1631 and 1714 - an appeal was launched in 2003 for funds to refurbish the old bells and add three more. The first official record of the church is found in the reign of Henry III (1215 - 1272). A charter of William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury, was granted to one John Fitz-Geffrey giving the right of presentation to the Living, he died in 1256 but it is known that the church was in existence long before then.

The first Norman church, circa 1100, consisted of a nave and chancel; the South Aisle was added in 1200 and the North in 1280. Sadly this latter aisle was destroyed by fire in the 16th century and was not rebuilt until 1842. The Rector at that time, the Rev.John Sparkes, was the driving force behind the 1842 restoration which uncovered three ancient arches in a state of perfect preservation in the walled up area on the north side. John Sparkes had an eye for discoveries he also located the old communion table top, a beautiful single slab of polished Sussex marble containing fossils of freshwater winkles and a small silver chalice hallmarked 1570 hidden in the earth under the chancel floor. Even the pews are old; the most distinctive ones date from the 14th and 15th century and the Jacobean pulpit and sounding box are most beautifully carved. The arch over the chancel like most of the timbering dates from 1320, but the screen is C19th but with wood from a 5th century screen incorporated.

The Royal Coat of Arms, (George IV) now hanging on the south wall of the nave, is believed to be at least 170 years old. It was carefully restored in 1995 and re-hung in its present position.

The outline of the East window dates back to 1320, as do the five window openings in the south aisle; the glasswork however was imported from Normandy and constructed about 1850. In the chancel wall is a perpendicular style window which dates back to 1450. Another example of superb craftsmanship in wood can be seen near the North door. It is a large box known as a Churchwardens' Chest, designed to hold church records. It bears an inscription to the two wardens of 1687. Its original contents threw light on local and church history of the earlier years. Among the papers was an 1823 Act of Parliament, requiring marriages to be conducted only in churches or approved chapels between 8 and 12 noon, except by Special Licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anyone "knowingly and wilfully so offending , and being lawfully convicted and adjudged guilty" was "transported for a space of Fourteen Years according to the laws for the Transportation of Felons". Pretty harsh treatment for civil marriages!

More old woodwork can be seen in the doors of St Nicholas' two porches, they date from around 1230, however restoration work has been needed over the years so some of the wood is newer. In the churchyard, is the grave of Jean Carre, the man who in 1567 introduced Lorraine glass for glazing to this country. Carre obtained a licence to manufacture the type of glazing glass being produced in France. Within 50 years this type of glass making died out as coal firing replaced wood as fuel for firing.

The old village stocks, one of the very few complete sets in Surrey - another set can be seen outside St James' Church, Abinger - are sited just below the churchyard.

The name Alfold derives from the Saxon word Ald (or old) and Fold, meaning an enclosure for animals, in this case in the great Wealdon Forest. The village does not feature in the Domesday Survey, which took place about twenty years before the building of the Alfold church in 1100. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, many Alfold houses were used as hiding places for huge kegs of brandy and other contraband brought from France by smugglers . Those who helped these fearsome law breakers always received a present of spirits for their trouble. Few resisted the smugglers as nearly all the villagers were compliant.

See more at British History Online A History of the County of Surrey vol III H E Malden 1911.

[Surrey GU6 8EU , https://www.alflox.org/welcome.htm]


Betchworth — St Michael's

Reference to a church here is made in the Domesday Book, but details of that church are unknown except for a fragment of a stone shaft found during alterations in 1837, this fragment is now incorporated in the west side window under the tower. It has dated as before The Conquest, suggesting that the old church was probably of stone construction.

In 1089, the Manor of East Betchworth and the advowson (the right to appoint vicars) was granted to William de Warrene; 110 years later the right was given to the Priory of St. Overie (now Southwark Cathedral), it was confiscated during the Reformation, and finally passed to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, guardians and trustees of the Order of the Garterwho still hold the advowson to this day.

St. Michael's is an unusually large rural church formerly it served two large parishes - Betchworth and Brockham; the latter was created a separate parish and built own church holding the first service in January1847. Less space was now needed at Betchworth church and its balconies were removed during the 1851 alterations.

The church at Brockham was built as a memorial to Henry Goulburn (who died at 30yrs) the elder son of Rt.Hon Henry Goulburn. The Gouldron Chapel in the north transept of Betchworth church was added in 1879 and dedicated as a memorial to the other son Frederick Goulburn . Henry Goulburn acquired the Manor in 1816. He was at various times Chancellor of The Exchequer and Secretary of State for Ireland. The present Lord of the Manor, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell is a direct descendant.

The oldest part of the church can be seen in the Norman lancet windows in the north wall of the chancel. Their Victorian glass shows the Royal Coat of Arms and the Arms of the Archbishop of Canterbury (right) and the Bishop of Winchester. In the mid Victorian times Archbishop Sumner and the Bishop were brothers, hence the right hand side of the Arms are the same. Betchworth was part of Winchester Diocese at the time.

A Norman arch moulding and cushion support the arch the south aisle and the south transept came from the early 12th century tower when it was taken down in 1851.

Parts of the chancel and the lancet windows in the north wall are early C13th. and the nave windows on the north side also date from that century. A south aisle was added in C13th and lengthened in C15th into a south chancel with arcades and pillars.

Major repair work carried out in 1851 found the Norman unsafe, it was taken down and rebuilt in the present position between the nave and the chancel, that is south of its original position.

All this work meant new crossing arches to the chancel and to the space under the new tower. In the rebuilt tower new east and windows replaced the15th. century Perpendicular ones.

fie brass on the chancel north wall, near the communion rails, is to William Wardysworth, the last vicar of Betchworth before the Reformation. He died in 1533. Of special interest is the engravers treatment of the hands in the brass.

The slightly unusual pulpit (a gift in 1885 by Joseph Maynard of Hartsfield) uses five kinds of marble and inlet mosaic

In the late Victorian period of the north wall were repaired, they are noticeably different in a yellow limestone.

A little later the roof too needed attention and in 1882 it completely re-roofed using the original type of Horsham stone; in another 100 years the whole process had to be done again as Wear and weather conditions made replacement a matter of urgency.

This fine church has been featured in several major film sets for major box-office productions. It contains many interesting on the pillar at the east end of the nave is one to the Surgeon to Queen Victoria and President of the Royal Society, this is sited on the south side. In the south chancel another surgeon from a much earlier generation is mentioned on the brasses of his parents, Thomas & Alianora Morsted . Thomas Morsted, the son, was surgeon to Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in October 1415.

The banner in the south transept is that of General Sir Chares Richardson GCB,CBE,DSO who in 1942 was Head of SOE in the Middle East, a team which deception work aided victory at El Alamein. In 1944 he assisted in the Normandy landings with more deceptive devices and schenes to confuse the German Forces. He died in 1994.The font is modern (1951) by Eric Kennington and was given by Mrs Cunning of Broome Park in memory of her husband and their only son Pilot Officer Cunning, killed in action in 1941.

The massive oak chest under the tower in the south transept is of unknown age, the wood however is of a very early century AD.

[Surrey RH3 7DN https://stmichaelsbetchworth.net]


Great Bookham — St Nicholas

Bookham was spelt "Bocheham" in Domesday Book 1086; the record shows that there was a church in the village at that time. The side walls of that church stood where the two arcades of the present church now stand. The ancient church had no aisles or chancel and the altar was probably in an apse beneath the present chancel arch.

The church that stands today has a nave and a font dating from the 12th century, and remnants of the 11th century church are still visible over the north arcade. Over the many centuries additions and restorations have taken place. The decorated chancel was added in 1342; the north aisle was rebuilt in 1844 and the south aisle with its Slyfield chapel date from the mid-15th century.

There is an interesting contrast between the arches on each side of the nave; the south arcade was built in 1140, with massive round pillars and rounded arches typical of Norman style with ornate capitals; the north arches were built only 40 years later but the style has changed to the Transitional with pointed arches and angular pillars, oddly the centre pillar is not octagonal, like the others, but six-sided. It is possible that the font (1140) may have stood here in former times.

The two small windows above the arches of the north arcade were blocked up centuries ago and were re-discovered in 1983. The most easterly of these two windows shows a good example of Norman wall painting.

Two restorations of the Victorian period added the north aisle and the present pews, replacing the former box-pews. The pulpit and choir stalls date from the 1855 restoration by William Butterfield. Brasses always hold a fascination and St. Nicolas has a very old one at the foot of the pulpit steps dated 1433. It is to Elizabeth Slyfield. On the south pier of the chancel arch there is a further Slyfield brass this one dated 1598, but just above it is another very old brass commemorating John Barmsdale and his wife from 1481.

The 1841 east window is deceptively old, being a copy of a 1341 design but it does contain the only ancient glass in the church - six panels of C. 15th Flemish glass. Other panels in this group can be seen in York Minster, Wells and Exeter Cathedrals and nearer home in Stoke d'Abernon church. Originally all these panels came from a church in France and were smuggled into England during the French revolution. They were first installed smuggled in a private chapel in Contessy Hall, Norfolk, the home of the Jerninham family and when the hall and the chapel were closed during the 1914-8 war the glass came on the market.

Also in the east window, the modern shields bear the emblem of St. Nicolas and the Arms of the Duke of Beaufort. The narrow Norman south aisle is still intact west of the porch and the window at the west end is Norman, but with Victorian Porch aisle had a south porch added in 1380 and was lengthened in 1140, eventually this extension became the Slyfield chapel.

Within the Slyfield chapel the perpendicular east window is notable. The glass was given in memory of Field Marshall Raglan (Commander in the Crimean war). The 15th century piscina is also rather special The large memorial on the south wall of the chapel marks the death in the American War of the son of one-time patron of the living of St. Nicolas, Admiral Geary of Polesdon. The scene depicts the ambush in which he was killed at Flemington, New Jersey.

Other large memorials at the east end of the north aisle are to members of the Moore family of Polesdon, that to Colonel Thomas Moore is by a well-known sculptor Thomas Carter. The other large memorial is to Robert Shiers and family, it bears a Latin inscription by a Dr. Shortrudge, Rector of Fetcham, whose own memory is recorded on an 1823 tablet given by the Rector and Fellows of Exeter College. The 1180 stone tower dates from 1180 and the stonework is still intact. The timber tower is built on a framework of massive oak beams thought to be 500 or more years old. There are two bells, one by William Eldrige dated 1575, which have, over their time, announced the forthcoming services to many famous parishioners and their families Several members of the Howard family, including two Earls of Effingham, are buried in a family vault buried beneath the churchyard. Sir Francis Howard, nephew of the great Admiral of the Armada and Cadiz battles, is buried in the church.

Later generations of parishioners have welcomed Jane Austen, the novelist who often stayed at the Old Rectory and worshipped in the church, and another well-known author, Fanny Burney, who lived nearby. Her son was baptised in St. Nicolas church.

[Surrey KT23 3PH https://www.stnicolasbookham.org.uk/]


Little Bookham — All Saints

The church here had no known dedication, the original records having been lost. It was officially dedicated All Saints in 1986 by the Bishop of Guildford.

In a charter of 675 AD, the Abbey of St. Peter of Chertsey was granted 20 dwellings at Bocha cum Effingham. Although the Domesday Book made the first known distinction between Great and Little Bookham parishes, it did not record a church at Little Bookham. It referred to a Manor at Little Bookham being held by Halsard of William de Braose, Lord of Bramber. The Manor continued with the Halsard, or Hansard family until 1921. The population of Little Bookham in 1086 was between 40 and 50 persons and the manor was entirely agricultural.

About the end of the 11th century the church had been built on this site, probably by the Hansards, first as a manorial chapel. In 1160 records show a south aisle being added and a new chancel created. All was under a single roof 60ft by 18ft. Later that south aisle was pulled down and a new one built using arcades from the old nave. Strange though it may seem the records show that this second south aisle was also removed, probably in the early 15th century, perhaps due to serious fire. The material from the old south wall was used to fill in the spaces between the arcades. A lancet window believed to have come from the old wall was set in the centre bay of the arcade and at the top right hand corner of that window the remains of an ancient scratch (or mass) dial can be seen. At one time this window was on the outside of the south wall of the church and used by locals as their time piece. Scratch dials, usually about 7" in diameter, came into use after the demise of the Saxon sundials and remained for many centuries until clocks came into general use. The early dials had a metal style set in the centre with lines denoting Noon and 9am, the time of Mass. 35 dots were marked around the circumference of the dial and a second circle of dots around the hole in which the style was set, these marks assisted reading the dial in the hours of daylight.

All Saints has been enlarged twice in its history, the windows are therefore a mixture of several centuries. The blocked window in the south west corner, visible only from the outside is 14th or 15th century as is the single light window in the nave and the other blocked window' in the chancel.

Near the west end of the nave is a 12th century window recognisable by its deeply splayed round headed form. The west wall bears another 12th century window. Apart from old windows there is the C15 south doorway with modern (1901) porch, 17th century carved panels and other carved woodwork of similar date lining the modern pulpit, a font thought to be 12th century, its iron work however is much later (C 17) and in the Sanctuary a 13th century piscina above which is a four-centred cinquefoiled headed window of the 15th century with sunk tracery in the spandals. To the east of the chancel is a chest tomb, the remains of Major General Coote Manningham, Equerry to the King and Colonel of 95th or Rifle Regiment of Foot - a corps he raised himself and to which the inscription on the tomb refers. He died at 44 years of age in 1809. His widow was the daughter of Rev. George Pollen, rector of the parish and Lord of the Manor for 24 years. He died in 1847. On the north wall of the nave there is an interesting memorial to the Boileau family. The Boileau family were Barons of Castelneau in Languedoc, France and in 1690 fled their native country during the Protestant persecution in France and came to England. Of a later generation the eldest daughter and heiress, Henrietta, married the Rev. George Pullen in 1790.

The wooden bell turret contains a single bell, the date of which is unknown but the weather vane has a date of 1744 on it.

The five hatchments that hang on the west wall are of the Pollen family and details about them is thoughtfully presented on a chart below. The Pollen Family vault is under the chancel and contains 13 coffins. Before you leave Little Bookham and its ancient church spend a moment looking at one of the oldest living things in the area - a tree in the churchyard. Not just any old tree, this huge yew has been certified in 1988 by ancient tree specialists as being over 1,300 years of age. Planted therefore at a time when Anglo-Saxon England has been described by one historian as "seven kingdoms of varying strength all professing the Gospel of Christ and striving over each other for mastery by force and fraud".

[Surrey KT24 5LX , https://www.effinghamwithlittlebookhamparish.org.uk/]


Bramley — Holy Trinity

You enter Holy Trinity under a restored Norman arch, one of three arches which were part of the original church on this site within the Manor of Bramley. The presence of a church here is recorded in the Domesday Book.

By the middle of the 19th century as the population of Bramley increased, due in no small part to the coming of the railway, the congregation for this small church grew and the medieval building was no longer large enough.

The enlargement of the church unfortunately resulted in much of the original structure being replaced by modem work - a common occurrence when the Victorian architects and builders "restored" an ancient church. However the simple chancel is genuine 13th century and together with the tower, the oldest part of the church which remains apart from the remains of the Norman arch at the entrance. In 1850 a north aisle was added, this provided "free" seating for the poor of the parish, in 1875 the south aisle was built, incorporating the Ludlow family chapel. In the north aisle is a medieval font which came from a redundant church at St. Mary Coslaney, Norwich; close by the font is a fine reproduction of Fra Fillipo Lippi's The Annunciation, the original of which hangs in The National Gallery.

In this aisle the two figures in the middle window depict St. David or Dewi, a 5th century Welsh Bishop, and St. Edmund, most probably the Saint Edmund who was the last Archbishop of Canterbury (1234) to be canonised. St. Edmund Hall, the Oxford College is named in honour of him. The less likely figure in the window, the other Saint Edmund, was the King of Anglia (841-70) who remains were buried at Bury St. Edmunds. In the right-hand window, the left of the two bishops has been identified as St Boniface (c680 -c754), Anglo-Saxon missionary, born in Wessex, who preached the Gospel to the tribes of Germany and became Archbishop of all Germany in 732 for 20 years.

At the end of the north aisle there is a window under the tower which has stained glass depicting the [Virgin] Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth. Just over 40 years ago Holy Trinity church was re-ordered to reflect the contemporary, but also early, corporate activity. A nave altar on a platform in front of the chancel screen was introduced. The altar and reredos were dedicated by the Bishop of Guildford in 1962.

The icon which can be seen on the wall to the left of the chancel arch shows Christ with Cleopas. It came from a Roman Catholic Parish closed in 1999. The high altar and reredos are modern (1911). On the reredos are those of Mary and St. Paul (right) St. John and St. Peter (left). Posner & Nairn's Buildings of England says of the chancel "all the window lancets with blunt-ended splays, hence probably early, circa 1220: a triplet in the east end". The name Austen which appears in the right hand window on the north side refers to a local family of landowners who were patrons of the church until 1660. The crests in of the chancel windows show St. Mary's Hospital 1697, Canterbury and Winchester Dioceses, the latter being Holy Trinity's before Guildford. On the south wall of the south aisle, the window on the left represents St. Richard, (Richard of Wych) Chichester's most famous bishop who died in 1253 . He was canonised in 1263. After his death and canonisation, Chichester Cathedral became a place of pilgrimage and thousands of christians made their way to it. A shrine was erected to him in the Cathedral in 1276 .1t was destroyed in the reign of King Henry VIII.

[In 2004 to commemorate the 750th anniversary of St. Richards death, Chichester Cathedral exhibited a major display in its North Transept about Richard and his turbulent life and times. He was a talented administrator and manager, and a revered holy man and famous in England and other parts of Europe.]

On the south side is the large memorial to Henry Ludlow who died in 1730. This same wall is a hatchment to a member of the Sparkes family, another local family closely associated with this church in the eighteenth century.

The window frames on the south aisle wall side at the west end of the church certainly old. They were all taken out, restored and replaced as a Millennium project in 2000. They depict the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, The Holy Family going to Jerusalem, the Baptism of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana.

[Surrey GU5 0DH https://www.holytrinitybramley.org.uk/whoswho.htm]


Brockham — Christ Church

There was a chapel at the house of John FitzAdrian in Brockham, licensed by the Bishop of Winchester in 1254, but the Norman church at Betchworth, about 2 miles away became the main centre of worship for Brockham villagers until the late 18th century when their attendances dropped severely, encouraged perhaps by the regular visits of a Mr Bigsby, a Minister of the Gospel from Epsom, who preached in various parts of Brockham. By 1783 a Baptist Chapel had been built to meet the demand of the villagers and enlarged three times in the 183ffs. By 1844 the chapel had its own minister and had built a house for him in Brockham.

This situation no doubt helped The Rt. Hon Henry Gouldburn MP, one time Chancellor of The Exchequer, who owned the manor of East Betchworth to achieve a long-held ambition to built a new Anglican church as a memorial to his eldest son. Money was collected, the site on the Green was given by Henry Hope of Betchworth Park and Benjamin Ferrey, the architect who a few years earlier had designed Christ Church, Coldharbour , was appointed. The new church was consecrated in January 1847 and the first "perpetual" curate was appointed. The church became a daughter church of St. Michael's, Betchworth and remained so until 1868 when it became a freehold parish with its own vicar.

Within ten years the congregation had increased to such an extent that extra seating had to be created by moving the organ chamber and the vestry to another part of the building.

Brockham's schools were supported by local benefactors and the Vicar, the Rev. Alan Cheales was Secretary to both the Infant and the Parochial School.

The School's Rules of Conduct were very stern; Rule 8 for instance said " No talking allowed in school hours" and Rule 9 " All children to come cleanly in their person and neat in their dress. No curl papers, flowers or necklaces allowed".

In 1870 after major increases in their salaries due to the Education Act of that year, the Master of the Parochial School received £70 a year and the Mistress of the Infant School, £38 a year for work. Equal pay and equal opportunities had to wait another 100-plus years !

The first restoration work of the church began in 1883. It was a major task as much of the local stone used on the exterior was showing signs of decay. Much of the work involved replacing the quoin stones Bath stone and repairing the tower and the buttresses Wh work was finished a triangular tablet of white marble wms positioned in the front of the north porch in memory of Henry Gouldron the principal benefactor of Christ Church.

A few years before the restoration work in 1877, Brockham and Betchworth moved from the Diocese of Winchester to only to be moved yet again in 1905 to the new Diocese of Southwark .

In 1948 a move to link Brockham and Betchworth to Guildford Diocese because of the proximity of the churches to Dorking failed as Southwark did not wish to lose two of its few country parishes.

There are numerous tablets , windows and furnishings dedicated to the memory of members of local families. Notably, the reredos of English oak, carved in Munich dedicated to Sophia, the eldest daughter of the Vicar the Rev. Alan Cheales, who died in 1885 four months after her marriage. The Cheales second daughter died in 1881, aged 22, her memorial is the west window and its mosaic inscription.

Miss Gouldbron, sister to the benefactor gave the Communion Table in and the five daughters of Sir Benjamin Brodie of Brockham Warren presented the kneelers at the altar for Commufion.

Many of these memorial gifts and tablets record the love and affection that the Brockham villagers of the late 19th and early 20th century felt for their "new " church.

Most of the stained glass serves as a memorial to a loved one.

The window opposite the north entrance featuring St. George and St. Michael is in memory of Leopold Seymour of Brockham Park, together with two others either side of the nave. A further two in the north transept commemorate the parents of the Seymours.

ne east window was designed by a local artist, Constant Gardner of Beare Green; she also designed "children's' corner" window at the end of the church. These were part of Sidney Poland's bequest.

The oak choir stalls were a gift in memory of a churchwarde who served 42 years in the post and who also became Chairman of th Parish Council, a Mr. HR Kempe.

The octave of bells in the key of B and the lych-gate were also the bequest of Sidney Poland.

class="contact">[Surrey RH3 7JR Buckland — St Mary the Virgin

One of three local churches a short distance east of Dorking that strangely belongs to the Diocese of Southwark. The patron of the church is All Souls College, Oxford, and they appoint the rectors. It has been like this since 1639.

It is known that there was a church on this site before 1086 but in 1380 a new church building was started. Writing in 1931 about restoration Phillip Johnston RIBA reported "...it is common mis-statement ... that the church was rebuilt ... In fact, the present church is thought to have been built in 1380. The present timbering of the chancel and nave roof, the lower parts of the nave walls, the ancient north window, the western 'legs' of the tower are chief examples from this period"

The 1860 restoration by architect Henry Woodyear, the work is praised by no less an authority than Nairn & Pevsner in Buildings of England which says "a very pretty job indeed" and "...particularly effective at the W end with delicate windows in the belfry and a big window with a Curvilinear head below".

The East window has been refurbished since the Victorian changes - the original was destroyed by bomb blast in 1941 as was the window nearest the font. The fragments of the 1850 stained glass from that window were carefully removed and then became lost for 52 years. They were discovered in the rectory cellar wrapped in a wartime newspaper and returned to the window in 1994 with some parts of the glass being used to form a light box at the west end of the church.

The oldest windows in St. Mary's can be seen on the north wall opposite the entrance door. The windows date from the 14th century. The first illustrates St. Peter, in blue and yellow robes holding the keys of heaven and the second St. Paul in red and white robes holding the sword of the spirit. Nairn & Pevsner again, "Very good - about the best in the county - with beautifully fired dark blues and reds".

Fortunately these windows were removed for safe keeping during the 1939-45 War and replaced in 1945, thus avoiding the damage suffered by the Victorian glass from 1941 bomb blast.

A final quote from The Buildings of England about St. Mary's, "This is a Victorian village-church building at its best, completely appropriate to the size of building."

[Surrey RH3 7BB https://stmarythevirginbuckland.net/]


Capel — St John the Baptist

As you enter by the lychgate (1865) pause a moment and look to the left of the path. A yew tree. Yes, but no ordinary tree; an examination by the expert Conservation Foundation said it was planted over 1,700 years ago - that is before Christianity came to Britain. It is believed that it was one of a grove of yews fwhich formed a place of pagan worship and that when a church built in this area in the 12th century this site was chosen.

First it was a chapel or "capella" used for ordinary occasions by people who lived a long way from the "eccclesia" or parish church in Dorking. It was then known as Capella de la

. In those days the area was heavily forested, but gradually the land was cleared and farms were developed growing mostly wheat and oats. Many of those early farms still exist, Ewekene (1180) and Temple Elfold (1235), the latter became home of the Knights Templar. Both farms have long associations with the church.

Capel, originally in the Diocese of Winchester, is first mentioned in the mid 1100's when the right to grant a benefice was transferred to the Priory of St.Pancreas at Lewes in Sussex. In 1270 it is referred to as the church of Ewekene - probably after a grant of land by Maurice de Ewekene.

The first recorded priest at Capel was Henry de Ewekene in 1282. In 1334 Dorking cum Capella was transferred to the Priory of the Holy Cross at Reigate. At about this time it seems that the church was upgraded to a parish church and it became known as the church of St. Lawrence. It was not until the middle of the 16th century that the name was changed to St.John the Baptist.

After the dissolution of the Priory at Reigate, in the reign of Henry VIll, the patronage of the Living passed into private hands: Lord Howard of Effingham, father of Charles Howard of Armada fame, was the first and then to the Cowper family and finally the right of appointing a priest to Charles Webb of Clapham who died 1869.

The chief part of the present building was erected in the C13th (about 1240) and although there have been alterations and additions it still retains much of the original work; this includes the west and south walls of the nave, the east and south walls (and its windows) of the chancel, including the piscina and the roof. The west porch and the west and south doors are also part of the original building as is the fine buttress outside the south east angle of the nave.

Additions were made in 1838 when a small south porch was added and a small north transept with a gallery for children built by Scudi Broadwood family of Lyne.

In 1851 the chancel was restored and 13 years later a major restoration took place when a north aisle, an organ chamber, a vestry and an arcade of four arches (replacing the north wall) giving access to the north aisle were added.

The wooden tower at the west end of the nave roof has a spire of oak shingles, a very common feature of Weald churches, which was renewed in the 1950's; the peal of bells (earliest is 1593) were recast and rehung in 1951. Again in 1968 there was further restoration work.

There are many interesting monuments in the church, probably the one of greatest historical interest is in the chancel. It shows two small figures in Elizabethan dress kneeling at prayer. The figures represent John Cowper and his wife. John Cowper, who died in 1599 was a patron of the church and a Serjeant-at-Law ( a superior order of barristers which preceded Queen's Counsel ).

Major benefactors to the church in the 19th and 20th centuries are commemorated; the Scudi(Tschudi) Broadwood family, in a stone tablet in the north aisle and in the three large windows in the east wall of the chancel.nese windows were restored in 1994 due to efforts of members of the congregation and support from Friends of St.John.

The Mortimers of Wigmore are remembered on large brass on ebony memorial in the north aisle and a stone tablet in the chancel. Through their generosity the organ was rebuilt and enlarged in 1896.

Near the south door is a colourful marble mosaic monument to Rawson William Rawson, KCMG, Governor of the Bahamas and Windward Isles. He died in 1899, aged 87, and is buried in the churchyard.

One of the longest serving vicars was Rev.J.R. O'Fflahertie who served for 46 years, originally as Rector from 1848 to 1868 and then as the first Vicar of Capel until 1894. He has a memorial at the east end Of the nave. His successor, Rev.A.J.W.Howell (1895-1917) also has a memorial in the chancel.

Legend has it that if you walk round the old yew tree a hundred times at midnight a ghost will appear. After such a tour I suppose one could say that that was the least he or she could do !

Surrey RH5 5JY https://www.capelandockleychurch.org.uk


East Clandon — St Thomas of Cantebury

Although the dedication year is unknown, this church is the only one in Surrey dedicated to this saint. However there is no doubt that the church was built before 1110 AD, because in that year it was recorded that a broad nave was built in the church. Much of the structure of the original survives to this day.

About 1220 the church was enlarged to very much its present size. The East window unusually has two instead of the normal three lancets. St Thomas of Canterbury, East Clandon is a small and genuine example of an old family church.

Fortunately, by 1900, when major repairs were needed to the church, the Victorian fashion for removing all things old in church architecture appears to have abated and much of the original remains. In the C15 a bell turret was added and a pre-reformation bell cast for the church by a foundry at Reading. Two further bells joined this one in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the years of neglect by the Lords of the Manor the church was in a sad state of repair in the late 17th and 18th centuries, but at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries £2,000 (a large sum those days) was collected from nearby residents and major repair was started. Two of the additions were a new clock and organ - both still working today.

On the west wall are remnants of a wall painting of The Last Supper (probably C13) which was mutilated when the west door was blocked-up a long time ago. The font is C18, the cover modern. The main timbering is the original C15 work and early 11th century stonework surrounds the nave; the chancel is entirely C 13.

The bell tower, though dating from 1900 sits well with the old building, parts of the framing of tower are old. The adjacent north aisle and the vestry are also modern. The ceiling above the large memorial (Lord Rendel's) depicts St. Thomas á Becket with his crest of three ravens, above him is represented the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove and below a pelican on her nest. Pelicans in the Middle Ages used to represent the Church especially as custodian and giver of the Holy Sacrament, it being mistakenly believed that the pelican fed her family with her own blood.

Either side of St. Thomas are the four patron saints of the British Isles. This ceiling is part of the magnificent mock-Jacobean memorial below it which shows the unusual orders bestowed on Lord Rendel; Officer of the Crown of Italy, Knight and Order of King Charles XII of Spain and President of University College of Wales. Lord Rendel was Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire and promoted Welsh education and he helped found the National Library of Wales. He lived at Hatchlands and died in 1913 aged 79.

In the Lady Chapel is an interesting but badly mutilated piscina believed to date from 1220 when the church was enlarged. Also there in the Lady Chapel are two military memorials, a window on the north side to Roland Hepeler, a Captain 7th Battalion The Queen's, who died in action in 1915, and a plaque to Edward Fisher 2nd Battalion Hon. Artillery Company who was killed in action in the Asago district of Italy in June 1918.

A third military memorial to the left of the altar is to David Keswick a Lieutenant in the 12th Royal Lancers who was killed during the Boer War in the Battle of Poplar Grove, Orange Free State on 7th March 1900. On the north side is an authentic C13 doorway, with a shouldered lintel and the single arch between the nave and the aisle - a good example of a standard mid-13th century Surrey type. On the south side near the pulpit is a memorial window to a husband and wife who moved to Philadelphia, USA, Emily and John Burling Longstreth. The inscription says "They lived and gloried in the Quaker strongholds". The window also features some strange symbols.

Hatchments hang over the arch to the Chancel. These are a set of six, all of the Sumner family and cover the period mid to late 18th century. The practice in those days was for the hatchment, a diamond-shaped canvas which showed the armorial bearings of the deceased, to be hung over the main door of the deceased residence for some weeks following the death and for it to be carried in the funeral procession, its final resting place was the local church. On marriage a man was entitled to place the arms of his wife next to his own on the shield. At death a half-white background denoted that one spouse survived, all-white was unmarried and an all-black background, a widow or widower.

In addition to the hatchments hanging over the arch there is the Royal Arms of King George Ill which was hung in the church during the last two decades (1801 to 1816) of that king's long reign.

Surrey GU4 7RG http://clandon-churches.org/st-thomas-of-canterbury-east-clandon/


West Clandon — St Peter & St Paul

Entry to the church is by the north door (i.e. that closest to Clandon Park) and not via the 13th century porch which in olden times was used as a place of penance and sanctuary and for parts of the Baptism and Burial services. Marriage banns also were read from the porch.

Facing you as you enter the church is the old Sussex marble font, specially made for the church in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. The bowl is now supported on a modern base, and the font cover is from the 17th century.

If you move to the west end of the wide nave you will appreciate the long association of the church of St. Peter & St. Paul with the Onslow family of Clandon Park. The west window was erected in 1716 and glazed with panels of the three coats of arms which depict the family line from the earliest times. Nearby is a wall plaque dedicated to the memory of the 4th and 5th Earls of Onslow, the last earl died in 1946. Below this plaque are four old pews, probably late C17 Italian, the pew with the tall back was the original Onslow pew. (In 1713 Thomas Onslow employed the Venetian, Giacomo Leoni, to build a new house in Clandon Park in the Palladian style .Strangely the house has un-Palladian brick elevations which have much puzzled architectural historians).

Moving eastwards along the nave, just beyond the entrance door is another interesting wall plaque, below which are two shelves holding 20 small loaves of Charity Bread. The plaque, dated June 24th 1817, records that "John Bone and Elizabeth gave 20 Sixpenny loaves on Christmas Day and 20 more on the 1st Sunday after Midsummer Day, and money to poor widows and widowers". John and Elizabeth also state that the charity bread and money is "to be paid by his heirs and assigns for ever".

The walls of the nave are the earliest parts of the church to survive, they date from the 11th and 12th centuries. The Tower originally built in 13th century was rebuilt in 1879 with a wooden spire but this was destroyed by fire in the early 20th century. The present tower was built with a new belfry in 1913.

The east window in Decorated Style(1330) replaced the original three Norman lancets. The stained glass has C17 medallions reset into the early C19 glazing. In unusual marguerite pattern the pure white Victorian reredos is a striking background to the altar. The cost of this work of building the choir stalls and the chancel arch was largely contributed by the Countess of Onslow.

In the chancel on the south side is a stone seat - a C14 sedilla used by priests during the saying of Mass. Just above this ancient stone seat is a medieval triptych depicting the Saints Peter and Paul with St. Thomas of Canterbury. It was probably set behind the altar at one time.

Returning to the nave, an unusual pillar-piscina with palm tree motifs can be seen on the south side just below the pulpit. At its apex the window bears the arms of William de Weston, a patron of the church and owner of Albury Park (1330). There appears to be a connection between the ancient church of identical dedication at Albury Park because of a floor brass, with Latin inscription, to the memory of Sir John Weston who died 23rd November 1440, which is set in the Saxon aisle of St. Peter & St Paul in Albury Park; doubtless Sir John was a descendant of William.

Continuing along the south side of the nave in a westerly direction there is the damaged remains of an ancient (1330) stoup, a stone basin set against the wall near a church entrance which in earlier days contained Holy water. Unfortunately this ancient vestige of church architecture was broken in the 18th century when the present pews were installed. Passing the font, the last window on the south side was a lancet originally made in chalk and changed for a shutter in the 13th century.

The earliest recorded Rector of the church is Richard de Boclynton (1290), the latest (2003), the Rev. Barry Preece.

St. Peter & St. Paul at Clandon is open in the afternoons of Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, apart from Sundays.

Surrey GU4 7RG http://clandon-churches.org/st-peter-and-st-paul-west-clandon/


Charlwood — St. Nicholas

"The wood of the peasants" is considered the meaning of Charlwood. In Saxon times open cast mining went on here and continued right up to the early 18th century. It was part of the Wealdon iron industry which flourished in the South until deep mining of coal and iron ore started in the Midlands. Nowadays, when the wind is in the "wrong" direction for villagers, low-flying aircraft landing at nearby Gatwick blight the area.

St Nicholas' Church is well worth a visit, even if you pick a day of ill wind. The church has two nationally important features; a set of unusual wall paintings and some rare medieval woodwork. The original Norman church, a simple three-cell structure was started in 1080, that is very early for a Norman church in England. It was aisle-less with a squat tower and a semi-circular apse at the east end. The tower base and nave still remain today.

From the rear of the north aisle, opposite the entrance door, you stand in the oldest part of the building. Its two Norman arches eastwards and the Norman north wall alongside. The window on the north wall of the nave dates from 1320 and has very old glass. In 1280 the church was made bigger. The new structure created an aisle on the south side but the enlargement stopped at the western edge of the tower, creating an area for a chapel. The location of this chapel's altar is indicated by the well-preserved piscina in the south wall alongside the pulpit's east side. The enlargement meant that entrance to the church was now by a door in the new south side. The porch was added the 15th century. The door is old but of the 13th century, however the top hinge of it is a genuine charcoal forged one of early date.

The present pulpit built in 1480 has some fine woodwork -Tudor linen fold panelling and it is surrounded by the important wall paintings. All except one of these have been dated 1320-1350 among the first medieval paintings in Britain, they pre-date the earliest English paintings in the National Gallery. A unique feature of the oldest ones was revealed during the 1993 restoration work. Traces of the artist's one foot square rulings became visible; it is thought that this happened because a pigmented string was used and held taut over fresh lime plaster leaving its mark forever in the plaster. The squares aided the artist when enlarging his smaller original drawing onto the wall. He then sketched in the outlines of his drawing in red ochre and then filled these in with a simple palette of red, yellow ochre, amber, charcoal black and lime white. The wall paintings feature four separate stories, (complete details of which are given in a helpful leaflet available in the church). The first, portrayed in three tiers, is about St Margaret of Antioch, one of the most venerated saints of the early church.

To the right of the pulpit is the story of St. Nicholas (the Patron Saint of Charlwood's church) and the Butcher. The third painting is set lower down and is probably the most famous. The story's subject was much in use in various parts of England at the time of the Black Death. The three youths, two with hawks on their wrist, are out for a day of hunting in the forest when they meet three hideous spectres; these images of death give the youths a lecture on the vanity of human happiness and grandeur and conclude with the daunting words "As you are, we were; as we are, you will be". The last painting, now called "The Archer", was painted in the late 15th century, originally it covered the whole wall and featured the martyrdom of St. Edmund, King of the Angles, who met his death after losing a battle against the Danish invasion in 870. The story goes that he refused to give up his Christian faith and was tied to a tree and shot by the pagan Danish archers. Sadly, today the King and a lot more of the painting has disappeared but one archer remains.

The other nationally-important feature of Charlwood's church is its screen. The colours of the beautiful frieze atop the screen were repainted in 1973 to represent the original form. The screen is the only sizeable piece of medieval woodwork in Surrey. Originally it was part of the tomb of Richard Saunder and set in a chantry chapel erected by his son Nicholas for Masses to be said for, his father. Nicholas himself died in 1553 and a memorial brass is on the south wall of the chancel. Richard's other son, (Sir)Thomas, served three monarchs as Solicitor & Remembrancer , Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I. St Nicholas is one of the few old churches that escaped the Victorian craze for restoration, often eliminating much of the history of old churches. Charlwood escaped because the villagers were poor and could not afford to commission an architect for such work. How lucky!

Surrey RH6 0EE https://www.stnicholaschurchcharlwood.co.uk/


Coldharbour — Christ Church

Until the 19th century Coldharbour was nothing more than a scattering of houses in the woods. In 1817 Saxon coins were found nearby at Broome Hall, suggesting some settlement took place in the 9th century.

The Roman road, Stane Street, which passes near the village, may have brought trade but no significant settlement took place in Roman times. However, the nineteenth century saw development of three large estates surrounding the village. These large estates shaped the village as it is today. Houses were built for estate workers, two village schools created and through the generosity of one of these wealthy families, a church. The year that the church was designed (to be built on land donated by the Duke of Norfolk) Queen Victoria gave birth to her second child, Alice (Princess Alice married Louis IV of Hesse and their grandson was Louis, later Lord Mountbatten of Burma).

It was the generosity of John Labouchere of Broome Hall, who in 1841 when Coldharbour became a separate parish (previously part of Holmwood) that Christ Church was built. The building is a fine example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture designed by Benjamin Ferrey, a friend and disciple of August Pugin, the man who crusaded to re-establish substance as well as form in the Gothic Revival and provided foundation to the later Arts and Crafts Movement. Ferrey was influenced in his choice of design (between Early English and the Decorated period) by a religious movement called the Ecclesiologists and probably drew inspiration from his time at Wells Cathedral where there is much Decorated work including the magnificent West Front.

The Ecclesiologists was a society dedicated to the study and reform of ecclesiastical architecture, strongly stressing the importance of ritual and a belief that the Church could strengthen itself through return to old rituals, which in turn demanded a return to true Gothic architecture. This emphasis extended to an enthusiasm for symbolism and mathematical significance of design. In practice this theory meant, for example, that churches should have a triple horizontal division, with steps separating the nave, chancel and sanctuary (as shown in the design at Christ Church). Correspondingly, fonts were designed with eight sides (The Regeneration).

A late C19 water-colour of the interior of Christ Church, looking towards the altar, shows a different roof from the present structure. Further there were no rerodos behind the altar and the organ is shown projecting into the chancel.

This form of structure stood until 1904 when restorations and rations were carried out by W D Caroe for Sir Alexander Hargreaves-Brown. The major changes were reconstruction of the roof and the new organ chamber, projecting to the north of the chancel. The new roof design was a more robust structure departing from the purity of Ferrey's late 13th century design. The new organ chamber provided for a larger organ, a gift from Alexander Hargreaves-Brown of Broome Hall, as well as providing a new vestry. The design of the new pulpit and reredos was a free form of Gothic Revival, reflecting the influence of the Arts & Crafts Movement on Gothic style.

Repairs and improvements to the church were carried out in 1932 principally provided by a legacy of Miss Margaret Vaughan-Williams, daughter of the eminent composer, who lived at Leith Hill Place. In 1995 the cost of extensive organ and organ loft repairs were met by the George John Livanos Trust. Until the recent renovation and construction work, the design of Christ Church remained little altered from that of 1904, excepting memorials and commemorative windows.

Annabel Constantine who died in 1997 left a legacy for the purpose of a room for children, behind the screen at the west end of the chuch. The initial structural survey for this revealed that the whole of the nave was suffering from Dry Rot. Major repair and renovation was urgently needed. Additional money was raised and generous donations were received form within the parish to meet these extra costs and for provision of a vestry at the back of the church.

The newly installed weight-bearing timbers are of Greenheart specially imported from Guyana to mark Christ Church's link with that country. Four delightful chandeliers designed by Jonathan Masefield, the architect responsible for the repairs and renovations, and crafted in the Forrest Forge were given by an anonymous donor.

Surrey RH5 6HF https://www.coldharbourchurch.org.uk/welcome.htm


Cranleigh — St Nicolas

You can just about see the pyramid-shaped tower of this old church through the branches of the magnificent Lebanon cedar planted by the Rector after return from his honey-moon in the Holy Land in 1850.

The first St.Nicolas' church was built c.1170. The building has seen many changes since then; the first church occupied the area of the present nave and was enlarged during the 12th century by the addition of side aisles and the tower. About 1340 the chancel was built. In those days Cranleigh was a tiny hamlet in a clearing of the great forest of the Weald - an area popular with early Plantagenet Kings with several local families playing a part in the affairs of state.

Like Abinger's church, Cranleigh's was a casualty in World War 2, a flying bomb exploded very nearby destroying the Church Room and the Infant School as well as creating severe damage to the church. One noticeable effect of the war-damage repairs was the replacement of all but three of the windows with plain glass. This has been particularly effective in the fine East window revealing the natural beauty of the surrounding trees.

St Nicolas church is full of interest; the font dates from the 12th century, but the stone carving is a later copy and the window behind it is a reminder of various patrons and benefactors of the living including Kings Edward IV and Henry VII.

The Tower has an impressive pattern of beams and rafters and now houses a complete peal of eight bells. The lower window is dated 1350. As you walk up the centre of the church you will see two pillars, the left-hand one surmounted with a statue of StJohn and the other, on the right, a statue of the patron saint of the church at Cranleigh - St Nicolas. Now glance up at the trussed-rafter roof with its massive tie-beams and then as you reach the end of the nave you will see the unusual lectern with its heavily strapped pediment and the supporting column carved in the shape of a twisted stem. It is thought to be Dutch or German in origin and dates from the 16th century.

The chancel underwent extensive restoration work during 1840 and 1868, a time when other major alterations also took place.

There are several memorials of interest. The reconstruction in 1876-77 was carried out by architect T E C Streatfield, a memorial window to him can be seen in the tower and on the south wall of the chancel there is a brass plate commemorating Joane, first wife of the Rev. George Steere, the rector during the period of the Civil War who founded and endowed the village school, which still flourishes today. Another memorial is in the west window of the north aisle, it shows Jesus in the carpenter's shop - an apt reminder of a major benefactor of the church, Mrs Ellen Jansen, who, together with school master, Henry Hackwood, started the wood-carving classes for local youths. Among works resulting are the wood carvings of angels on the choir stalls, the poppy heads on the front pews and the symbolic designs on the bench ends. These carvings were dedicated to Henry Hackwood, the school teacher who shared the teaching of the youths with Mrs Jansen.

Of the many gravestones which formerly were situated in the nave that of William de Newdigate who died in 1377 is the oldest. This is now under the tower on the south side. The Coat of Arms of Newdigate, three lion's paws, are evident on the gravestone. However, the observant visitor studying the oldest glass in the church (north east window of the north aisle) will see the Arms again but back-to-front! During 1877 restorations the window glass was reset wrong way round.

The present altar was made from a single piece of 4" thick oak by local craftsman, David Cramp, who also constructed the lych gates. A candlestick and cross were added in 1975 to commemorate 800 years of worship in St.Peter's As part of these special celebrations a specially bound lectern edition of the New English Bible was commissioned (in a special Bible box), it contains the signatures of most residents of Newdigate in that year. Also 120 kneelers were made by a team of parishioners, they were based on eight different designs; the signatures of all the embroiderers were inscribed in the lectern bible.

With a pair of binoculars directed at the roof of the nave you can see all the names of the sixty people who redecorated the church interior in 1977.

The Church is open every weekday morning.

Surrey GU6 8AR https://www.stnicolascranleigh.org.uk/


Dorking — St Martin's

As with the sites at Abinger, Wotton and Shere, the Domesday Survey records that there was a church here at Dorking in 1086. That church was rebuilt in the mid-12th century in cruciform shape with a central tower.in the C14th side aisles were added and the east window, in particular, was made larger to beautify the church. Over time the building became very delapidated, and by the beginning of the 19th century it became too small for the expanding community it served. The inside of the medieval church changed almost beyond recognition. By 1837 the Nave had been replaced by a large rectangular building with extensive galleries supported by cast iron columns - this "Intermediate Church" was not attractive and soon fell out of favour.

In the next rebuilding programme, 1866-68, the Chancel came first. It was beautifully rebuilt in C14th style to the designs of Henry Woodyear and became his most important church work. The work was entirely paid for by Mr. W H.Forman of Pippbrook together with his widowed sister-in-law. The rest of the present church, Woodyear's design, followed 4 years later and completed with the spire (210ft to the weathervane) in 1877. The foundation stone for the tower and spire was laid on 29th May 1873 by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, whose death from a riding accident only a few months later on Abinger Roughs is recorded by the memorial cross at the spot. Since those days little has changed in the building except that the Lady Chapel was created between 1905 and 1913. This has a fine altarpiece designed by GF Bodley. Lady Laura Ashcombe who was a daughter of a former vicar and mother of the wife of Canon Chichester are both commerated in this chapel, the latter when an extension was added in 1913 to mark his 25 years incumbency at St.Martin's. Also in the chapel are two wall tablets erected by fellow officers to honour William George Cubitt Chichester, the son of the Canon; Captain in The London Regiment, he died in action at High Wood in the Battle of the Somme on 15th September 1916.

The kneelers in the Lady Chapel were made to mark the centenary of the birth of Dorking's eminent composer citizen, Dr.Ralph Vaughan Williams and a bronze monument to his memory,by David McFall, can be seen in the porch. On the north aisle there is a memorial to Arthur Powell (died 1894) whose firm, James Powell of Whitefriars, made the huge Crucifixion design by GW Rhead over the chancel arch and many other wall panels and stained glass throughout the church. Powell , who lived in Dorking for thirty-six years, was a churchwarden. He greatly influenced the murals and stained glass in St.Martins .Apart from stained glass his firm specialised in a form of mural decoration known a opus sectile - a bit like mosaic but really a halfway point between painting on tile and stained glass.

The commemorative panel for Queen Victioria's Diamond Jubilee, the the memorial to Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, a much loved parishioner who died in 1909, and several other panels are further examples of opus sectile work by James Powell of Whitefriars.

The east window of the Chancel creates a dramatic centre piece to the church. The stained glass design by Hudson, depicting the Resurrection and Passion, was created by William Wailes. Other windows in the north east and south east of the chancel showing the life of St.Martin of Tours are also William Wailes work. The rerodos has a central panel of English alabaster into which are set a gilt brass crucifix and stone symbols of the Evangelists. Each side are stone panels with angels and other saints. The octaganol pulpit was originally in the "intermediate" church and was bought in 1837. It appears to have been assembled from various wooden pieces including 16th century Netherlandish carvings.

Since 1998 has had a ring of ten bells; seven of the old bells, one of which goes back to 1626, were recast and three new ones added to commerate the milllenium. The remaining old bell of the original eight was retained as a service bell.

For those interested in ecclesiatical history, there is a wall tablet on the west wall near the tower,recording the Bishops of Winchester since 636 - Dorking like all these parts of Surrey was in Winchester Diocese until May 1927 when Winchester was divided into the Sees of Guildford and Portsmouth.

On the south wall, near the main door, is an even larger wall tablet recording all the Archbishops of Canterbury from Augustine in 597 to George Carey - and shortly to have a new name added.

St.Martins's church is shared by Anglicans and Methodists and is open every week day, including Saturdays from 9am till 1pm.

[Surrey RH4 1DW https://stmartinsdorking.org/]


Dunsfold — St Mary & All Saints

Dunsfold Parish church is part of a joint parish with Hascombe; the buildings and the fittings of each could hardly be more different. St Mary & All Saints, although restored is largely the original and over seven centuries old and therefore a rarity.

Experts like Pevsner say that all the visual evidence of construction point to the church being built by royal masons in 1270. There is no surplus ornamentation or display, it is functional and common sense church building.

The restoration work of the late 19th century was needed to repair decay due mostly to poor maintenance but at the same time the chancel arch was enlarged, a new north east vestry added and the east window raised and its tracery removed.

Also in the same century the west window (1300-1320) was rebuilt and re-glazed. The bell turret dates from the 15th century but apart from these modifications and additions the church you see today is the original 1270 structure.

The Rectors of Shalford (originally a Crown living) were the first of Dunsfold. In 1305 the advowson (guardianship and patronage) of all the churches in the vicinity, including Dunsfold, were granted by royal charter to the Prior and Convent of the Hospital of St. Mary without Bishopsgate. The tie between the parish and the Hospital was to last 230 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries when it reverted to the Crown and until recently was in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.

By the entrance is a yew tree of great age, it almost certainly is older than the church. Above you on the leading edge of the roof are four courses of the original Horsham stone, the remainder were replaced in the 19th century. The porch is part of the original, its rafters and boarding still retain scroll patterns believed to have been painted in 1280.

Entry is through the main door, a C14 construction with a key to the lock which is over 12 inches long.

The antiquity of the interior is readily noticeable, especially so in some of the pews, the genuine C13 ones, as distinct from the 19C replicas, have adze marks and taper holes in the top of the bench ends. These elegant pews started life as free-standing ones their fixed positions is comparatively recent.

On the south side of the chancel the arrangement of the door and windows of different heights shows the quality of the design work as does the way in which the piscina and sedilla were accommodated. The seats of the sedilla are set different levels to relate to the hierarchy of the clergy. On the capitals of the pillars can be seen the initials "NW", recording Nicholas Wilder, rector 1603-1633 - a man of strong Puritan opinions who held church ornaments in contempt.

The walls of the nave shows sings of two different periods of wall paintings. The earliest in red outline and the later in full colour. What remained of these paintings was destroyed or whitewashed over in 1547 probably at the time that the belfry was constructed.

Another unusual and even unique feature among Surrey churches is visible on the outside of St. Mary & All Saints. The base mould which runs around the exterior structure is stepped so as to follow the slope of the land. Still visible are three drainage holes covered by wooden plugs secured by chains through which water used in periodical sluicing down of the church floor was brushed. A short-lived addition to the church was a gallery at the west end, erected in 1828 during the tenure of Hon. John Evelyn Boscwen, it was used by instrumentalists and singers during services. Access to the gallery was by an external wooden staircase. It was dismantled in 1890 during the restoration work.

The association of this ancient church with the recent past lies is its connection with the nearby Dunsfold airfield. The airfield was constructed in World War II and became the base of two of the Free Dutch Armed Forces - the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Force and 320 Netherlands Squadron Royal Air Force operating B25 Mitchell bombers. A wall plaque marking the association can be seen west of the main door. Also on the south wall of the nave is a tablet to the memory of those from Dunsfold who gave their lives in World War II. Those villagers who died in World War I are shown on a tablet on the north wall. Dunsfold Parish Church is a Grade 1 listed building and has had many admirers in its time. William Morris, English craftsman and poet who studied Holy Orders at Oxford and later architecture described it as "the most beautiful church in all England".

[Surrey GU8 4LT http://www.dunsfoldchurch.co.uk/]


Effingham— St Laurence

Here is another C12/13 church which suffered from the Victorian plague of destruction of old buildings, it was "restored" in 1888/9 and little remains of the original church design.

The nave is probably 12th century, but the two-light window on the north side is authentically 1250-1270.

The transept or St. Nicholas chapel is Early English style (1250-1270) with king (or crown) post roof, possibly added by Merton Abbey, the holders of the advowson from 1147. In 1358 the old chancel was in such a ruinous state of repair, especially the walls and roof that the Bishop of Winchester, William of Wykeham, commanded the canons of the Augustine Priory of Merton to make repairs. The Bishop's master mason, William Wynford, who was busy building Winchester College at the time seems to have had a hand in the lower chancel windows in Effingham's church as they are almost identical to his "perpendicular" design for the College chapel side windows, suggesting that the lower chancel windows of St. Lawrence are genuine C14th.

William of Wykeham was keeper of the Privy Seal and Secretary to the King before he became Bishop of Winchester in 1367. He was Chancellor of England for two periods near the end of the 14th century and before creating Winchester College founded New College, Oxford. He is said not to have been an ardent theologian and has been dubbed "father of the public schools".

William's command to Merton Priory could not be ignored. The Priory situated 7 miles from London, on Stane Street in the now London borough of Merton , had been richly endowed and highly regarded for over two centuries but by the mid 14th century all was not well at Merton. William of Wykeham in his capacity as Bishop, strongly criticised the canons for their neglect of their work and poor management. In 1357, just a year before his command to repair St. Lawrence of Effingham church, he found the canons and monks were enjoying a high life and rebuked them for "wearing precious furs, knotted sleeves, silk girdles and gold and silver ornaments to the scandal of their order".

Despite the Victorian renovations some ancient items can still be seen today; the lower part of the south side of the original tower (the old tower toppled in 1759 and was not replaced until 1887) reveals evidence of an ancient heart-burial.

On north wall of the tower near the base are a row of seven unusual tiles taken from the original chancel floor to commemorate the 7 children of Rev. William Walker, vicar 1626-96. Higher up on the same wall is a monument to Maria Paratt 1844, an effigy by William Pistell and admired by the eminent architectural historian Sir Nicolas Pevsner.

Just below the chancel steps, set in the floor of the nave, is the stone lid from Walter de Geddinge's 1312 coffin. He was a sheriff of Surrey from 1302 and 1307. The lid's inscription is in Norman French. The north west window in the chancel, best viewed from outside the church, has hood mouldings which end in heads, one is said to be the Prior of Merton ,William de Brokebourne (1307-1335). In the 13th century transept, or St. Michael's chapel, on the south side is an ancient piscina and ambry set in the wall (discovered in 1887).

The Bible Box kneeler in the chapel bears the arms of Lord Howard of Effingham, the Lord High Admiral at the time of the battle with the Spanish Armada in 1588. Also in the chapel lies the old Parish Chest, dated 1745, which bears the name of the Lord of the Manor at that time.

By the door in the south aisle is another discovery made during the restoration work in 1887, this is a Holy Water stoop, or stoup. Was it so named because those attending bent when taking the water? Most of the stained glass is Victorian, but one fragment of the early glass is in the highest window on the east wall of the chapel. The choir stalls with their tapestry covers date form 1977 and the hassocks from 1965.

The churchyard as usual with all old churches holds interest but perhaps in the case of St. Lawrence's tombs a more modern one probably reminds the present generation of Sir Barnes Wallace, a famous aeronautical engineer and inventor in the 1939-45 World War whose many designs and ideas could be said to have helped to shorten the War. He is buried alongside his wife, to the left of the entrance door at the side of the church. After valuable wartime service, including designing the special bouncing-bomb for the Dam raids, and designing the Wellington, he designed the first ever swing-wing aircraft, the Tornado, and in complete contrast, in his early days as an aeronautical engineer, he designed Britain's first airship the R100.

[Surrey KT24 5LX, https://www.effinghamwithlittlebookhamparish.org.uk/]


Ewhurst — St Peter & St Paul

The church was founded circa 1140 but the original structure, probably rectangular, has been so altered over the ensuing years that little of the Norman work is now visible. The Nave walls are original C12th, but 15th and 16th century alterations and those of 1838/9 make the old structure less obvious.

The present West entry door (C15th) was closed and covered up on the inside by the organ console from 1838 until 1902, when the original entrance was regained. The South doorway to the Nave is Norman and this was the main entrance to the church during the West door closure.

A major catastrophe occurred during Rector Stewart's time; under-pinning work on the central tower appears to have been miscalculated by the builders, resulting in the fall of the tower and with it severe damage to the chancel and north transept. However, the building was satisfactorily restored in 1838/9. The four arches holding the original tower and the shape of the tower were altered during the reconstruction. The interior gives a spacious appearance - the massive, rough-hewn stonework of the crossing catches the eye adding to this impression. The font is 13th or 14th century and the crude workmanship and design suggests that it would be of local origin. The base is modern.

The large perpendicular window in the west wall replaced a 15th century version in restoration work in 1838/9.

Approaching the chancel there are many interesting features. In the nave, the oldest part of the church, 17th century tablets, in handsome frames, inscribed with the Ten Commandments and The Beatitudes can be seen on the walls; the pulpit is a good example of post-Reformation Jacobean woodwork; the carved lectern is in memory of Major Philpott, a churchwarden who died in 1964 and the altar rails (C18th) with their twisted supports are a good example of their period. The rails are arranged, as in a college chapel, on three sides of the altar. They came from Baynards in 1879 as a gift of Revd. Thomas Thurlow. The altar table is late 17th century , the carved chair is of the same period. The altar kneelers and those in the body of the church, created in the mid 1980's by the ladies of the church's Needlework Guild, have received high praise in national magazines. It is believed that the crucifix formation of the building dates from the 13th century alterations. The transepts are 13th century. The south transept has survived well; of particular interest here are the arches around the three lancet windows.

In the south window the arms of the Onslow family and those of the Thurlows (of Baynards) and the Stewarts, Rector from 1811-44 are portrayed. The small panes of tinted glass in the 15th. century window in the east wall have been attributed to early glass-making works at Chiddingfold, West Sussex.

A screen recording all the known rectors of the church since 1242 divides the north transept from the body of the church.

Unlike many church clocks Ewhurst's was not installed to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, but much earlier in in 1841. It shares the belfry with a ring of eight bells - a "full peal"- a rarity in country churches. Four of the bells survived the collapse of the tower; two are of medieval origin and two from 1671. Of the remaining four, two were cast in 1839 and two in 1939. The original founding of the church in 1140 was by the Priory of Merton (near Wimbledon). Merton Priory was an important priory which held hundreds of estates like Ewhurst, given to them by the pious in various parts of the country. Those estates that could provide things the Priory needed were leased on a variety of terms ranging from an annual supply of wax candles to a pound of cinnamon. The Priory had an outstanding contribution to higher education through its close connections with Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester(1274) when he founded Merton College, Oxford about 1264.

Ewhurst's 1140 AD building was probably a chapel, under the chapelry of Shere. The first record of the creation of a parish was in 1291, however, the patronage of the benefice continued to be held by Merton Priory until 1538 when, under the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it and Merton Priory passed to the Crown. The current patron of St. Paul and St. Peter, Ewhurst is HM The Queen.

In the Muniment Room of Guildford Museum can be seen the church registers of births, deaths and marriages since 1612. Ewhurst entered more modern records when BBC TV decided to feature village ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday interspersed with the major Whitehall event. One observant and generous TV viewer from Rochester noticed that Ewhurst church did not own a processional cross and kindly donated one, of the village's preference, for future use. Strangely, another connection for Ewhurst with Rochester, but this one much more direct and very helpful!

[Surrey GU6 7PX, https://eofgparish.org.uk/]


Fetcham — St Mary's

The first recorded rectors of this parish were of the D'Abernon family in the early 13th century. The D'Abernons, a Norman family, owned the Manor of Stoke D'Abernon and later that of Fetcham.

Before the Normans there was a church here, as you can see if you stand in the middle of the nave facing the altar and look high up on the right hand wall - Roman bricks, used by the Saxons, form the top of the small window (built over a 1,000 years ago). Then look below at the three fine Norman arches with their scalloped capitals which were erected in 1150 by cutting and underpinning the Saxon wall. The Norman south aisle collapsed in the 18th century, the arcades being filled in with windows between the arches. An 1874 model of the church, still on display at the rear of the centre aisle, shows the absence of the south aisle. The aisle was rebuilt in 1877.

Continue to the end of the south aisle and above the war memorial is a large, very dark, painting (dated 1660) of the Royal Coat of Arms of Charles this was hung over the chancel arch until 1872. The opposite North aisle is graced by two arches, built to replace the Saxon wall in the 14th century. Return to the entrance door on this aisle where the surround to it is original (1250). The windows and the porch are of much later date.

In the porch is a tablet recording the will of Sir George Shiers (1690) in which a yearly rent of 24 shillings was payable out of a farm at Welwyn in Hertfordshire for the overseeing of the of Fetcham parish and for putting them (the younger ones, one presumes) to apprenticeships "preferring in marriage such maidens born in Fetcham as and behaved themselves well for seven years". Back inside the North aisle to the right of the entrance door is a memorial to George Richards, who joined the Navy as a boy of 13ys and rose to become an Admiral and a knight of the realm. He was Hydrographer to the Admiralty and on his retirement from the seniorservice made a major contribution to the development of submarine telegraphy with his management of a company that laid 76,000 miles of submarine cable.

At the east end of the aisle is the delightful Lady Chapel which was built in 1220. The dog-toothed altar recess and the lancet windows are original. The north window is a very early example of 14th century tracery. Like most churches of that period the altar recess was painted.

Some medieval paintings were exposed in the redecoration scheme of 1857, copies can be seen at the Surrey History Centre. From the centre of the nave, to the left of the pulpit and just visible, is one of two 1535 altar recesses, now used as a floral niche. Ahead in the chancel is the old stone font which dates from 1632 it holds a modern (1996) pewter basin (the old one leaked!).

Behind the font is a list of Rectors of Fetcham in which is recorded the removal of a cleric from his living. In 1634 Thomas Turner (Dean of Canterbury) was appointed to Fetcham; he was ejected in 1643 and replaced by the Rev. Fisher but in 1660 Thomas Turner was reinstated and stayed till 1672. Doubtless, like other priests in the Civil War who had similar sympathies he suffered removal from his living for his support of the King. In 1715, Dr. Hugh Shortrudge, the rector at that time made an endowment to the four vicars of Gt. Bookham, Effingham, Shalford and Leatherhead, conditional upon the annual preaching of a sermon on 30th January, the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I; known as the Shortrudge sermons they are still preached at most of the endowed churches.

The Victorian organ dates from about 1863. It is a famous Father Willis organ and is original, except for electric pump and light which replaced the manual pump and candle light.

The lancet widows in the north wall of the chancel date from 12205 the date when the chancel was built. It has been much restored since. The East window is C15 and the south one C17. The oldest glass in the church is that in the south window and dates from 1858.

The tower of St. Mary's is a further example of the antiquity of this attractive church. The tower base is 1180 and the lancet windows are Norman. The three bells were cast in 1588, 1613 and 1665. In the 17th and 18th centuries the top part of the tower was rebuilt.

The church is situated on the right hand side of The Ridgeway, Fetcham. The slightly hidden entrance is just before the roundabout. The Rectory is on the right next to the hall. It is a good idea to call the Rectory (The Rev. Paul Boughton 01372 372598) because on weekdays the church is not opened on a regular basis. Altogether, a lovely church, full of the history of over 10 centuries of Christian worship. Don't miss a visit to St. Mary's, Fetcham it is well worth while.

[Surrey KT22 9AZ , https://stmarysfetcham.org.uk/]


Forest Green — Holy Trinity

This is probably one of the smallest churches in the locality; it has a charming simplicity about it and sits well in its surroundings just off the road to Ewhurst, on the west side of the Green. Like so many of our village churches it was built through the generosity of wealthy local families. Charles and Christina Hensley of Pratsham Grange gave it in memory of their eldest son, Everard, who was fatally shot by his cousin while they were hunting rabbits in a nearby wood. He was just 18 years of age.

Holy Trinity, so designated because young Hensley was born on Trinity Sunday, was dedicated by the Bishop of Southampton on 30th January 1897. It was the first real C of E church Forest Green had; prior to it the vicar of Okewood journeyed on horseback to hold Evensong once a month in the jack-of-all-trades hall, called The Institute. The Congregationalists faired better. They had built a Chapel in 1877 on a parcel of waste land nearly opposite the pond. This chapel was in use for worship until the 1950's when it was closed. Not being a consecrated building and having no burial ground around it was, after a few years, able to be converted to an artist's studio.

Later in 1887 an Anglican Mission Room, a corrugated iron structure, dedicated to St. Barnabas, was erected on the corner of Tillies Farm and this was used until the new "church" was built. Although to all intents and purposes the new "church" of Holy Trinity was a "church", technically it was a private chapel until its consecration at a confirmation service on 13th May 1934. Even then it had to wait a further two years before being licensed for weddings.

Holy Trinity is built of local Surrey brick. It has a warm look about it; its small belfry tower adds to the impression that this is a small, and perhaps rather ordinary building. However, on entering the church the semicircular chancel and sanctuary with its wooden-domed roof and five lancet windows in bright stained glass are a pleasant surprise and add great character to the building. The windows are dedicated to the Hensleys and their cousins the Burneys. The one on the far right depicts the youthful face of the young Hensley who died so tragically in 1892. The only other stained glass window faces the chancel and is therefore rarely observed other than by the priest during the service; it was presented by Lady Harrison in memory of her husband, Sir Charles. Harrison, Vice Chairman of London County Council and one time M.P. for Plymouth, who died on Christmas Eve 1897.

The organ built by Samuel Letts in 1806 was originally in a private house in Reigate. It was donated by two local lady residents.

The belfry tower houses two manually-operated bells of no particular distinction other than their calling the faithful to worship. The churchyard, which was consecrated in 1896, includes the family grave of the Hensleys. Everard Hensley was first buried at Holmbury St. Mary, the parish of the Hensleys home, Pratsham Grange, but when Holy Trinity's churchyard was dedicated his body was exhumed and re-interred at Forest Green, the first in the family grave.

The village of Forest Green was first mentioned in records of 1580, at that time it was also spelt Folles Green and during the intervening centuries spelling swung from one to the other until in about the late Victorian period the present name stuck.

Many of the villagers in those early times were engaged in brick-making in local kilns. Few however could afford to have a brick-built home, but one such still exists to this day in the village. It dates from the Fifteenth century and is a genuine timber and brick construction with the famous Horsham stone slabs as a roof.

In Victorian times, and up to 1897, Wotton, Abinger and Okewood (in which parish Forest Green lay) had a joint venture in the publishing of a monthly News Sheet, priced one penny. Then Okewood Parish created its own parish magazine which embraced Forest Green. Okewood together with Forest Green was a dual parish for many years, but in 1981, following the death of a fairly newly-appointed incumbent, the old dual parish was joined with Ockley to form a combined benefice of three churches. The churches of St. Margaret, Ockley and St. John the Baptist, Okewood were both ancient buildings over 600 years old, whereas Holy Trinity, Forest Green was less than 100 years old at that time.

It was not until 1992 that the final stage in the joining together of the three churches took place. An Order in Council dated 4th June 1992 was signed by HM The Queen giving formal consent to the United Benefice from 1st July 1992.

[Surrey , https://www.forestgreenvillage.co.uk/church.php]


Hascombe — St Peter

Pevsner in " The Buildings of England" says " … worth a very special look to see how good and how free from period associations a Victorian country church could be when an architect took pains over it".

Built in 1864 by Henry Woodyear, the well-known Surrey architect who was an apostle of the Gothic revival school for design and rebuilding, the new building replaced the ancient church (C 1220) which by the mid 180Cs was in such a bad state of dilapidation that it was beyond repair. Fortunately, the interior and exterior were faithfully recorded by artist's drawings in the three decades prior to its demolition. Two years before the to rebuild was taken a new young rector was appointed - Vernon Musgrove MA, second son of an Archdeacon and nephew of an Archbishop and with family wealth which was to finance his ambitious plans for a new church.

He held the Hascombe living for 44 years until his death in 1906 and in that time demonstrated his vision, practical ideas, wealth and confidence, resources on which he was able to call in his unwavering pursuit of a richer spiritual life and social life for his parishioners. A memorial brass to his memory is set on the chancel floor and he is buried in the churchyard. Vernon Musgrove chose Woodyear for the design of the new church which was built in Bargate stone from a local quarry. It has a shingled bellcote and an independently roofed south chapel. The interior is a tangible expression of the powerful personality of the rector - its decorated walls and roof, painted windows, highly gilded and coloured chancel and ornamentation on the pulpit, the bright coloured stained glass, all work undertaken by Hardman & Powell following Musgrove's vision and guidance.

A further quotation from Buildings of England says: "Sombre gilding round the deep apse and an ornamental effect as rich as anything Art Noveau produced. All the roof rafters are cupsed and gilded so that there is a continuous interplay of highlights."

The panels on the stone pulpit depict Christ with Noah and St. John with St. Peter centre.

The screen from the old church was restored and returned to a place in the new one. Little else remains of the old church except the porch which was constructed from the ancient timbers and a giant door lock was made to allow the old (1600) key to be used again.

The stained glass windows mostly date from 1869 when some major improvements were made. Those in the nave depict scenes from the life of St. Peter, the patron saint of the church. The small diamond-shaped panels at the base of each of the north windows are not representative of St. Peter but from east to west show Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester 1204-38; St Elizabeth of Hungary; John, first named rector of Hascombe; St. Etheldreda; St. Cecilia; St. Joseph of Arimathea; St. Helene, mother of Constantine.

In 1883-1886 major redecoration was undertaken, the plain cross replaced with a richly carved and decorated Reredos representing the Adoration of the Lamb. The roof of the chancel was richly painted in red and gold so that there is hardly any surface without some kind of decoration. The cost of all the paintings on the walls were paid for and inspired by the Rector, and designed and painted by one of Hardman & Burrows team, thought to be JA Pippet.

Little has since changed in the fabric or decoration apart from enlargements of the vestries, the most recent in 2006. The Lady chapel, originally a family private chapel, was furnished and decorated by the Godman family in 1935 when they surrendered their ownership. The chapel was consecrated in that year.

Outside a clock was added to the bell turret in 1982 and a major scheme of restoration of the chancel and nave wall paintings started in 1986. A new organ and a new font cover followed in 1992. This excellent example of Gothic revival architecture and interior decoration inspired and introduced in the 44 years of Vernon Musgrave time as Rector of Hascombe is not everyone's idea of church interiors but as Musgrove himself said "There is no harm nor danger in elaborate ritual and costly decoration in itself; it is only when used as symbolical of doctrine contrary to the Church's teaching, these things become dangerous and are to be forbidden ... the more costly, the more handsome are the surroundings of a Church in themselves, the better, and more worthy are they as offerings to Him whose House it is." This C19 Gothic revival church is essentially an expression of Canon Musgrove's piety and inspiration.

[Surrey GU8 4AG , https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/8125/]


Holmbury St. Mary — St Mary the Virgin

The church at Holmbury, built 1879, shares common ground with Coldharbour (built 1841); both came about through the generosity of wealthy local residents and both were designed as Gothic Revival buildings. Holmbury's donor was eminent ecclesiastical architect George Edmund Street RA. George Street lived at Holmdale in the village, a house he designed and had built for his first wife who sadly died before the house was completed. His second wife died within eight months of their wedding and it was to her memory that he built the church, her tomb is on an outside wall of the chancel facing south. George Street, born in 1824 was an assistant to Sir George Gilbert Scott, architect of many Victorian buildings including the Albert Memorial, before setting up his own architectural practice. From his influence on design emerged major Victorian craftsmen and architects like William Morris and Philip Webb.

A new parish was formed by amalgamating three hamlets, Sutton, Felde (Felday) and Pitland Street, its name came partly from the nearby hill and the dedication of the church to the Virgin Mary. The typical Gothic Revival design of the building is clear from the moment one enters at the western end. The narthex (or ante chamber) has a glazed screen leading into the nave. In the narthex is a bas-relief of Virgin and Child by Luca della Robbia (1400-1481). The work has an unusual depth to it and portrays the Virgin with a tender expression. Also in the narthex is a marble tablet erected by George Street to insure that all seats in the church remain free. There were no exceptions. Prime Minister, William Gladstone and his cabinet who came to Holmbury House in 1880 attended the church during their stay and had to share the pews with the villagers.

The roof is a splendid example of Street's work and his use of Early English style is particularly noticeable in the pillars of blue Pennant stone with their marble shafts. Most of the stained glass in St. Mary's, including the East window is from Street's own designs. The central theme of the east window is the Virgin and St. John at the Cross with St. George and St. Edmund kneeling either side - the two name-saints of the architect.

There is a 14th century triptych below the east window and a painting of interest which has been attributed, with some uncertainty, to Spinello Aretino a Florentine artist who died in 1410. The church also possesses a remarkable 12th century crucifix of Limoges enamel; it is a fine example of Medieval craftsmanship and not only depicts Christ crucified but also the head of Adam rising from the dead and St. Peter, the porter, at the gates of Heaven.

Both these splendid works were placed in the church by Street himself to exemplify his own teaching, which he expressed in an 1881 lecture, viz. "The perfect building is that in which not only the architectural lines, proportions and features are all good and beautiful in themselves, but the one in which provision is thoughtfully and wisely made by the architect for the best display in harmony of the arts of painting and sculpture."

In the sanctuary there is a richly carved stone seat and a basin (piscina) and above the sanctuary and choir are suspended two pairs of brass candelabra of 18th century Flemish design. The Chapel of the Holy Spirit is reached via small flight of steps from the north side of the nave, its altar having the east window as its reredos. A painting of the Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Francis of Assisi, thought to be by Jacopo del Sellaio (1442-93), hangs on the north wall in a twelve-sided frame. Also in the chapel hangs a reproduction of the Annunciation by Lorenzo di Credi.

The carillon of bells, originally five, were made up to an octave in 1927. These are rung from a gallery set above the porch. A familiar sound in the valley around Holmbury is the chime, every quarter, of the church tower clock; this was installed as a gift from parishioners to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. George Street was an active churchman; he was sympathetic to the Oxford Movement, a high church revival movement dissatisfied with the decline of Church standards which the Movement felt arose from the increase of liberal theology. The Movement had a lasting influence on the standards and ceremonial of the Church. When George Street died in 1881, at the age of 57, he was buried in Westminster Abbey; He was churchwarden at the church he built and his duties at Holmbury church were filled by Edwin Waterhouse (co-founder of the well-known accountancy firm).

In the churchyard near the porch of St Mary's church stands a cross designed by Street's craftsman son in memory of his father. [Material extracted from "The story of the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Holmbury St. Mary" ]

[Surrey RH5 6PD , https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/8125/]


The Holmwood — St Mary Magdalene

In a 40 year period of the 19th century, no less than five new churches were built around Dorking, mainly south of the town, to provide worship locally for the growing population of the outlying areas. St. Mary Magdalene church was the first of these built in 1838 at South Holmwood, (the postal name) but correctly, The Holmwood.

As with so many of these new churches, The Holmwood's new church was the result of inspiration and benefaction of wealthy residents, in this case Mr & Mrs Larpent, who lived at Holmwood House - a 120 acre site (later called Holmwood Park). Mrs Larpent with her mother (Mrs. Arnold) and Mr. Heath of Kitlands met the building costs of £1,118.

The design was by John Burgess Watson. Stone quarried from Coldharbour and Leith Hill was used in the construction of the original building which is now represented by most of the present chancel up to the west end wall with its bell turret. This wall was opened up in 1842 and the nave added. Eight years later the north tower and aisle were built the vestry came a little later in 1844. In 1862 the south aisle was formed and the porch built.

St. Mary Magdalene gives the appearance of being older than its 164 years, it was consecrated on 25th June 1838. For a village church it is surprisingly large, seating over 200 people. Additions to the structure continued. In 1887, the almost national vogue of installing a clock on local churches to mark the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was, in the case of St. Mary Magdalene's, met by fitting one to the tower.

The windows are of interest. On the north side of the chancel is a memorial window to Mrs Larpent, the one to her mother, Mrs Arnold can be seen in the left hand window of the tower. There is window dedicated to Laura, Marchioness of Normanby on the north side of the sanctuary. Test your skills of observation to spot the one with an apostle with two right feet! As a clue look for the window commemorating Robert Henry Wilson who died in 1907.

The West window is a fine example of Victorian craft, but you can really do with a small pair of binoculars to pick out all the Old Testament heroes featured in it. The 1850 tower wall carries some memorial tablets. Three are to members of the Rennie family. Sir John the father, and his two sons John (also knighted) and George. They were a very famous family of architects who seemed to specialise in bridge design and building. The old London Bridge was designed by the father and completed by the two sons in 1831. In 1914 there was an extension to the chancel and the building of a new east window. At the same time the old rerodos was replaced by a fine carved and gilded design which is a splendid central feature of the church. Part of the old rerodos now surrounds the sacristy situated in the south aisle.

The latest additions to the church are the brightly embroidered kneelers - a millennium project by the ladies of the church; dedicated to the memory of various local folk they depict the fauna and flora of the countryside around Holmwood; butterflies, birds, foxes, wild flowers, mushrooms - a real harvest of embroidery. The designs were by Mary Lindon. The first vicar was the Rev. J. Utterton, obviously a cleric destined for higher office; who thirteen years later became Bishop of Winchester. More fame, but not so direct, surrounded the vicar of St. Mary's in 1911, when his brother William Inge was appointed Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral where he reigned for 24 years and soon became known as "the gloomy Dean", because of his pessimistic sermons and articles in the newspapers mostly predicting the inevitability of war. After World War II, another little bit of fame, but of a more secular kind, arrived with the new vicar, the Rev F. E. Spurway, who in his younger days had kept wicket for Somerset County Cricket Club; Holmwood's village cricketers must have been overjoyed at his arrival.

Bill Smith, a Holmwood man with a gift for poetry, published a book in 1984, "Allegiance to church" is one of the collection.

[Surrey RH5 4JY , https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/8230/]


North Holmwood — St John The Evangelist

Probably the best preserved record of Roman influence in Surrey lies in a road - one in particular - Stane Street. The church of St. John The Evangelist lies close to this famous road to Chichester, but no Roman encampments have been found nearby.

In medieval times the area was "in bosco de la Hornwode juxta Dorkyng" - in the woodlands of Homewood, close to Dorking. There were but a few farmhouses and homes scattered around the district at that time. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries Holmwood Common became increasingly inhabited by squatters who built small cottages and enclosed plots of land. Their main source of livelihood was the cultivation of these plots of poor soil, making brooms, sheep stealing and smuggling. The prohibitive tariffs on trade between England and France in the C18th and early Cl9th made lawful commerce unprofitable, hence the growth of the smuggling business to meet the demands of London for French wines, silks, satin and brandy. Many smugglers passed over Holmwood Common and found friendly reception from locals.

The Victorian era brought increased population and more house building such that by the middle of the 19th century the outlying areas of Dorking parish began to be sub-divided. North Holmwood, in 1874, was one of the last areas to be separated. Later that year work began on building the church on land donated by the 15th Duke of Norfolk, (the Norfolk family held Holmwood Common from 1652 until 1956). Two sisters, Mary and Anne Legge were the principal benefactors and the architect was Rhode Hawkins of South Holmwood. Somewhat unusually in church architecture, Major Hawkins was a churchwarden of nearby St. Mary Magdalene, The Holmwood. He died in 1884 and is buried in the churchyard there.

The style of the church is Early English, with a tower topped by a spire reaching to 75ft above the porch step to the top of the weather cock. The clock in the tower came from St. Martin's Church, Dorking. The interior is simple; the nave with a single aisle, leads to the chancel with its choir stalls and organ. The sanctuary is small but in keeping with the overall size of the building.

A later addition to the church is a series of elegant carvings, probably in boxwood, set around the walls, featuring the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The artist is unknown.

The East window contains original 1874 glass and includes scenes of the Annunciation; Nativity; Crucifixion and Resurrection and of St. John, the Evangelist, to whom the church was dedicated by The Bishop of Winchester on Easter Day 1875. The glass work is by James Powell of Whitefriars, the same firm who created many stained glass windows and wall tablets in St. Martin's Church, Dorking. The West window (1891) is by C. E. Kempe and depicts the four fathers of the Western Church. The stained glass windows on the north side recall some of the sayings of Christ, including "I am the light of the world ..."and "I am the good shepherd...".

A previous incumbent, The Rev. Somerset Lowry (1891-1900) was a hymn writer of some note and also, living in the parish from 1895 was Prebendary Wilson Carlile, who in 1882 founded the Church Army to attract the working classes to the Church of England. Although modelled on the Salvation Army, it was different because it based its organisation on the parish unit. In 1906 he became an honorary prebendary of St.Paul's Cathedral and in 1926 he was made a Companion of Honour.

Among other well-known residents and parishioners in North Holmwood was George Rennie, eldest son of the famous bridge builder John Rennie, and like his father a great civil engineer. His genius lay in mechanical engineering; he designed the first screw-propelled vessel for the Royal Navy.

Sir Joseph Boehm, an Austrian-born British sculptor who had a virtual monopoly in the production of stone statues of royalty and leading figures of the Victorian era, built a large residence in 1880 at North Holmwood and converted two cottages near the church into his studio. He worked in bronze as well, and one of his more important commissions can be seen in the Wellington group at Hyde Park Corner. Howard Martineau, the benefactor of Dorking Halls and donor of land in 1937 for playing fields, also lived in North Holmwood.

St. John's is closely linked to The Redlands, a Church of England Primary School in the parish, and takes great interest in the children there and the school's activities. The current vicar is Revd. Caroline Corry - and she shares with all the congregation the vision that St. John's should be a welcoming place of worship for anyone and everyone within the community.

[Surrey RH5 4JH , https://stjnh.org.uk/]


East Horsley — St Martin's

During the mid-to-late years of the 19th century, at about a quarter to ten every Sunday morning , the youngest boy in the choir of this church was told by the Rector to take up in a specially-built gazebo situated in the south west corner of the churchyard. This cold and lonely task was to keep a sharp lookout towards Horsley Towers, the nearby mansion owned by William, Earl of Lovelace, for the approach of the noble lord's party towards the church and when the boy saw it he had to race back to the church to alert the rector. Divine Service could now begin.

Lord Lovelace, previously Lord King, was ennobled in 1838 and n 1846 Horsley Towers became his principal seat. His wife Augusta Ada, who died in 1852, was a well-known writer, a mathematician and in fashionable society; she was a daughter of Lord Byron.

30 years before the Norman Conquest of England land was given by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Thored, a Dane, to form a separate parish from West Horsley. It is believed that the first church on this site had been built before the Conqueror landed; the tower seen today is the surviving part of that ancient church.

During the many centuries that followed several restorations and additions were made, however, the most fundamental changes and restoration work occurred in 1869 when the roof was re-covered in tiles and the chancel and some of the walls were rebuilt. On entering the church on the left side wall there is an illustrated family tree of the Lovelace Family who built many houses in Horsley during the family's time at The Towers. A member of the family lived there until 1919.

Set a pair of windows to the east of the entrance door an incomplete prominent brass dated 1504 which commemorates Thomas and Jone Sneelinge - their own figures are missing but the eight sons and five daughters are still visible.

The Chancel arch is 13th century, its moulded capitals original, but the jambs with attached half-columns were retooled in 1869 and the brasses replaced. Beside the arch but on the side opposite the pulpit, is a 14th century brass to Robert, brother of Thomas de Brentyngham, Bishop of Exeter 1370-1394 and also Lord Treasurer of England.

The north transept was built in 1981-82 and the window in the new east wall was moved from the east wall of the former north aisle chapel; the glass in the quarterfoil of the window depicts St. George and St. Martin with St. Christopher, it was given by Kathleen and Bertram Tizley Barber in gratitude for the safe return of their two sons from World War 2.

In the north aisle, the nave in the 11th and 12th centuries when the building was rectangular, the arcade with the central pillar and the aisle itself are 13th century but only two of the pillars at the west end are thought to date from this period. The windows in the aisle are 15th century and contain some pieces of ancient glass set in the clear glass.

The huge alabaster tomb with iron railings at the west end of the north aisle is the Cornwallis tomb. Thomas was Groom Porter to Queen Elizabeth I. He lived at Bishop's Manor from 1584-1626. Other memorials are to Henry Hildeyard, James Fox and William Currie, all who lived in the house which later became known as Horsley Towers and the Lovelace's principal seat. There is a hatchment, or memorial arms to William Currie situated near the door to the West Tower.

The ancient West Tower still retains much of its original wooden framework - massive oak posts and beams. This framework supports the floor above used for staging the four bells. The oldest of the bells is dated 1452 and was made in London, the other three were by Eldridge, the famous Chertsey family of bell founders and are dated 1703. The whole exterior of the tower and the third stage of it were renovated in the 18th century when an embattled parapet and a low pointed roof were added. Three sides of the middle section of the Tower have 12th century lancet windows, the north and south side windows are 18th century.

The main features of this ancient tower can best be seen from outside the church. The Saxon flintwork, which had been rendered with stucco in the 18th century was removed in 1933, once again revealing the ancient stones.

The West Doorway is in a simple English style of the late 12th century and probably replaced the original Saxon doorway. The arch was remade in the 19th century and the wooden door replaced in 1935. Above the doorway is an almost complete round-headed Saxon window.

[Surrey KT24 6RL , https://easthorsleychurch.org.uk/]


West Horsley — St Mary's

The remains of the Saxon church built here in 1030 are still detectable in the walls, and the Tower is very old and dates from 1120, its spire was added in 1370. Entrance to the church used to be through the West doorway and tower until 1190, then the Saxon doorway, its arched head is still visible from the nave, was replaced by a North entrance. This doorway was moved in 1849 but the original 1190 arch was retained. The oak door is a copy of the original.

Also in 1190 the arcade of pillars near the north entrance was built. The font bowl (1200 AD) has supporting pillars and a font cover which were replaced in 1849. The chancel (1210) is set off-centre to the nave in the cruciform building style known as "a weeping chancel", a design meant to convey the head of Christ to one side of the Cross. The original Chancel arch at was narrower and lower than the present one built in 1600.

In medieval times the whole of the interior of the church was covered with wall paintings. Part of a painting of St. Christopher survived the years; it was found in 1970 at the west end of the nave, near the tower door, beneath thick lime wash which had covered it since the Reformation when so many churches were sacrileged.

Further signs of the 1547 devastation of this church can be seen at the sides of the chancel arch where the sawn-off ends of the beam that supported a huge crucifix and the screen are visible. Only a few pieces of the medieval stained glass were saved from the destruction; the 12" roundel now set in the left hand window on the north side of the chancel, (this small piece of glass dated 1210 is probably one of the oldest in the county) and the glass in the centre lancet window(1220) in the chancel are two such pieces. The right-hand window of the three lancets on the north side of the chancel has modern glass.

About half a century after the Reformation, in 1618, the famous navigator and poet Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded, having suffered from the dark intrigues at the close of Elizabeth's reign. In her later years his widow came to live at her son's manor, West Horsley Place. Among her personal chattels was a red leather bag. Not too exceptional in itself, but the contents were. The embalmed head of her late husband is reputed to have been carried about by her in this bizarre bag. The head together with other younger members of the Raleigh family, who lived at the Manor for over 20 years, are said to be buried under the floor of St. Mary's church. In the C16 it was not uncommon for heads and bodies to be buried in different places, Sir Walter Raleigh's body, headless (?) is buried in St. Margaret's, Westminster.

Another old window can also be on the north side of the chancel; it is dated 1362-88 and depicts its benefactor, Sir James de Berners. Beneath this window is a recessed tomb thought to be of Ralph de Berners 1337. This life-sized effigy of a figure in the vestments used for the celebration of Mass suggests that Ralph was a priest but no records exist to give any information about his life or his relationship to Sir James. In about 1470 the south aisle of octagonal pillars and four centred arches was constructed. The chapel on the south side was built in 1470 as a chantry chapel. After the Reformation it became the family pew of the church patrons. Today it holds the organ, but the marble memorials to the Nicholas family cover the walls, one in particular has special interest, that to Sir John Nicholas (1669) which has an architectural frame with barley-sugar columns. It is said to be the work of the famous wood carver and sculptor, Grinling Gibbons. The other nearby memorial in the south aisle is to Sir John Nicholas (1704) and is described by Nikolaus Pevsner in The Buildings of England (1962) as one of the best English manifestations of the Rococo in the county. It is by Nicholas Read, a pupil of Roubiliac, the noted French sculptor who settled in London and became famous for his statues of great men like that of Newton, in Cambridge, Shakespeare, in the British Museum or Handel, in Westminster Abbey.

In the 19th century St. Mary's church had several alterations. In 1810 the Tudor brick flooring was replaced by York flag-stones in the nave, aisles and tower, a new pulpit, originally with three decks and new high box pews built in the nave, the latter were removed in 1887.

A big oblong church chest lies in the north-east corner of the Nave, near the lectern, it is bound with iron straps and is purported to be one of seven such chests distributed throughout the country and made by John de Leighton in 1220.

On leaving go to the left and walk round the church to the yew tree where the oldest grave lies. It is a table tomb from 1699. Also noteworthy are a number of barrel graves made of brick - a defence against "body snatching" in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

[Surrey , https://stmaryswesthorsley.co.uk/]


Itchingfield — St Nicolas

Tucked away just off a narrow lane, one mile from the well-known Christ's Hospital (the Bluecoat School), the church is set in the heart of leafy countryside. It was in 1125 that a clearance was made in the surrounding forest and the early church was built here; parts of this building still remain today. At that time Henry the First had been King of England for 25 years, he was to rule for another 10 years till 1135. It was but a few years after his death that the church at Itchingfield was enlarged and a chancel was added. By 1713 that chancel needed rebuilding.

With these changes and further enlargement and renovations in 1865 it is good that so much of the original church has survived, the West and the North walls are Norman, the small lancet window in the West wall has remained undisturbed in its original position since it was built in 1125. The larger Norman window in this wall was re-fixed in its original position in 1713. Two further Norman windows are now in the chancel, stained glass has been added to all of them.

The well-known Victorian architect, Sir Gilbert Scott (the Albert Memorial, St Pancras Station, were two of his designs) was appointed in 1865 to plan and oversee an enlargement. He added the south aisle with pillars in place of the old south wall and a new east wall.

Earlier in the Victorian period the old C12 door in the west wall, the original entrance to the church, was replaced, the old ironwork from the original door was re-worked and transferred to the new door. The west wall is the other Norman wall. The original tower built in the 15th century abutted this wall but now the tower stands slightly separated from the main building, some of its structure can be seen through the opening in the west door- four giant solid oak beams, each nearly 2ft. square supporting the shingled tower with diagonal between them for added support. The east window is Victorian (1866) and was built in memory of a former rector, the Reverend Thomas Scott.

The other well-preserved Norman feature of the church of St. Nicholas is its aumbrey, a cupboard or recess to hold communion vessels. This can be seen on the north side of the chancel, it has an unmoulded arch and plain slabs forming the tops of the capitals.

The old wall tablets and the memorial or tomb stones in the floor were removed during the addition of the south aisle in 1865, these were re-buried or reset in the churchyard. The churchyard is full of interesting tomb stones and some old yew trees which it is said gave their wood to be made into bows used in the Battle of Agincourt thus helping Henry V to his decisive victory in October 1415. True or not, the idea is appealing!

More factual and in excellent preservation is the tiny house set in the churchyard, so tiny that it is difficult to imagine that it could have a bedroom reached by a winding staircase within its half-timbered walls. It is a little gem of a building, known as "The Priest's House", no doubt because it was built to provide overnight accommodation for a travelling priest who came to say Mass once a week at several local churches. The oldest parts of the building are from the 15th century with in about 1600, when it is known the building became an almhouse, inhabited by one of the poor of the village. It remained in use for this purpose until 1854 when Horsham opened its Workhouse where presumably the poor folk of the village were sent if they were not too aged or infirm to work for their keep. This little "doll's house" of a building is a such an unusual feature in a country churchyard that for the many who may not visit Itchingfield the photograph below may give an idea of its uniqueness.

A wonderful tribute to an outstanding 17th/18th century woman who might easily have been an ideal subject for another outstanding woman who started writing stories about the domestic scene nearly two decades later - Fanny Burney - a forerunner of Jane Austen, whom she influenced. Fanny was married to a French émigré General Alexandre D'Arblay in Mickelham Church on 21st July 1793. The pulpit (c. 1600) with its panels and carved figures is a good example of Flemish carving. It was brought from Belgium in 1840.

The carved figures either side of the altar are from Bohemia and the present reredos dates from 1938.

Old Testament prophets are featured in the stained glass of the four round windows in the chancel. The glass was installed in 1871.

Three of the four hatchments (diamond-shaped boards bearing the armorial bearings of a deceased person) on the north wall are Victorian, the fourth is 1785 of Mary Jenkinson of Juniper Hall. As you leave don't miss a special feature of the churchyard, a few carefully preserved graveboards (wooden tomb markers consisting of a plank between two posts) dated variously 1813, 1875. These graveboards are some of the very few in Surrey to have been preserved.

[Surrey RH13 0NX , https://www.stnicolasitchingfield.org.uk/]


Leatherhead — St. Mary & St. Nicolas

The re-roofing in 1988/9 gives this ancient church a much younger look but the tower gives away its age; completed in 1480 it was the last part of the old church to be built. Its pronounced off-centre, off-axis is very obvious from the inside. There is a small Tudor tower and on the nearby walls are names and dates carved in the stone. In the C17 and CIS the area below the tower was used as a schoolroom and the graffiti is by pupils of those days.

The font (C15) is now positioned on the line of the original west wall which was demolished when the tower was built. The first church on this site was before 1066 and may have been founded by Edward the Confessor who owned the manor of Thornycroft and another manor in Leatherhead. This early church proved too small by about 1200 AD and in order to enlarge it arches were cut through the main walls of the nave creating north and south aisles and side altars. Originally the north aisle only extended as far as the west side of the porch, then when the tower was built it was completed to full length.

The creation of these aisles in the 13th century produced the splendid columns that we see today. They are thought to be carved in imitation of those in Canterbury Cathedral, built only 30 years earlier. The carving of the column in the north aisle is a good example of "stiffleaf", a style often carved as a mason's thanksgiving. On either side of the chancel arch is a carved shell, symbol of the pilgrimage to St. James' shrine at Santiago de Compestella.

The transepts date from 1320-30, they replaced the old chapels which had built at different times, hence they are not aligned. In the 11th century the church was given to Colchester Abbey and in 1286 the King, Edward I, reclaimed the advowson, the right to appoint the rector. But in 1342 the church its unusual double-saint dedication when Edward III gave the advowson to the Priory of St. Mary & St Nicolas at Leeds, Kent. The gift was made to make up for the immense losses suffered by the priory when his father, Edward II, besieged Leeds castle and caused severe damage to the Priory. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries the church again changed hands this time to Rochester Cathedral. Much later it returned to the Monarch. The church windows hold hardly any old stained glass, most of it was removed in the early part of the 18th century but a collection of medieval stained glass by Dallaway, vicar 1804-34, has been grouped to form the glass in the south transept windows.

Among the devastation which occurred in the mid 1500's was an order that all altars be destroyed, somehow St. Mary & St Nicolas' 14th century Sussex marble altar covering slab, or mensa, survived. It can be seen at the east end behind the altar. The five consecration crosses carved into the marble signify the wounds of Christ.

This ancient church has seen many major changes; in 1701-2 it is recorded as being "modernised", probably meaning the removal of any traces of "papist imagery and superstition". Most of the additions made in this modernisation were removed in the Victorian restorations, the first in 1839, then in 1873 when the church was re-roofed, the box pews from 1701 were replaced with the pews you see today, the York stones of the 1701 work were pulled up and a wooden floor with heating pipes below was installed. The third Victorian renovation was in 1891 when more re-roofing was needed. Also at that time a choir vestry was added and the galleries were removed from the aisles and the tower thus opening up the tower to the rest of the church.

One final restoration remains to be recorded that of 1988/89. It was a major renovation, with another re-roofing necessary and much internal work, including electrical work. Sadly a few months after it was all completed and the church looking splendidly smart, a fire caused by an electrical short circuit under the floorboards took hold. Fortunately the building survived but many of the church furnishings and fittings were destroyed including the organ and all the altar hangings.

One item of antiquity which survived thos 20th century fire was a medieval metal helmet antiquity now placed on the pillar at the south side of the chancel at the corner of the south transept. The helmet was carried in the funeral cortege of Robert Gardiner of Thornycroft Manor who was Chief Sergeant of the Royal Cellar for Queen Elizabeth I and died aged 73 on 10th November 1571. A poem to his memory written by the Queen's poet is also on display below the helmet. Other courtiers from later reigns are also buried in the Chancel.

[Surrey KT22 8ND , http://leatherheadparish.com/]


Merrow — St. John the Evangelist

No one seems sure about the origin of the place name Merrow one of the most promising is that it was "mear-reaw" an old word for a boundary row or ridge, perhaps across the North Downs. The first church here is thought to date from the 12th century. Like most early country churches it probably comprised a chancel and a nave. In C13 a south aisle and chapel were added. This was probably a chantry chapel where the priest sang mass every day for the soul of the departed benefactor or holy person. Parts of the wall of this chapel, now called the Onslow Chapel, (see later) and the old arcade in the south aisle still exist.

Almost everything else of the old church, which had fallen into a ruinous state by late 1830s, was destroyed in the building of the new church which was completed in 1843. The architect was RC Hussey; he designed no other churches in Surrey.

The rebuild was paid for by a lady resident of the parish who requested anonymity and to this day her name is not known. A brass plaque at the west end of the nave records this generosity. However, you need a good knowledge of Latin to read it.

As you enter by the church porch don't miss a 14th century carved bargeboard in its decorated English style. The doorway is a Norman arch (c.1150) from the old church; it has a well preserved chevron and tooth pattern carving.

Moving along the north aisle to the end you come into the other chapel - the Memorial Chapel, built by Lord Daryngton in memory of his son Ronald Pease who was killed in France in 1916. The son's batttlefield wooden cross is on the north wall. The father was a Liberal MP who was President of the Church Army and lived in Merrow until 1925. This attractive chapel designed and erected by the Wareham Guild has a reredos of carved figures representing the patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. In the Nave is a modern font with Victorian carved wooden canopy with a somewhat unusual feature of lockable doors to protect the holy water from theft.

At the east end of the Nave the carving on the lectern is 16th/17th century, it was a gift to the church in 1886.

The pulpit too was a gift, in 1910 in memory of a Miss Thrupp who lived in Merrow House from the mid 1800s. Until her death in 1908 she was closely interested in Merrow Church and the church school and all of its pupils.

The East window is modern (1881) typically Victorian in style. The windows on the north wall of the chancel depict two events in the life of the church's patron saint, St. John the Evangelist. The south aisle has an arcade with round champfered arches and plain capitals believed to date from c1200, probably from the old church but re-set on new piers. The Onslow chapel at the east end of the south aisle was originally a chantry chapel which was converted into a burial vault for the Onslow family during the 17th century. In 1871 the 4th Earl of Onslow and his mother agreed to return the chapel to the church. The remains of their ancestors were re-interred in a new vault built in the churchyard. This fact is recorded on a brass plaque the wall of the chapel. The Onslow family has a long association with church; a member of the family has been the patron since 1673 in a continuous line up to the present day.

The lancet windows in the chapel portray six holy women, The Virgin Mary, St. Mary of Bethany, St. Martha, St. Anne, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Elizabeth. Other plaques in the church are of interest for their unusualness. One is to the memory of a Major General of the Bengal Staff Lancers who died in 1893. The soldier was a Henry Waterfield and was a local resident for a short time. The second plaque records a happening in Ireland in 1889 when a 24 year old Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers unexpectedly died, not on the battlefield but as a result of a shooting incident at Lough. The plaque was erected by his brother officers as a tribute to their lost comrade.

The spire, renewed in 2004, rises 40 feet above the tower and has been clad in Canadian shingles. The bells were recast from the original C17 bells for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee St. John's at Merrow is brightly white everywhere, this lightness adds to the attractiveness of this Victorian parish church.

[Surrey GU4 7DA , https://www.saintjohns.org.uk/]


Mickleham — St Michael's

Between 959-975 a small Saxon church was built on the site of the present building and parts of it were incorporated in the Norman church built in 1180 which largely exists to this day. The chancel is slightly out of alignment with the nave - a common feature in ancient churches known as a weeping chancel - an attempt in cruciform building to suggest the head of Christ as he hung on the Cross.

Like many ancient churches St. Michaels' suffered at the hands of the Victorians in their quest for "improvement" and ornamentation.

In 1823 architect, PF Robinson, produced a monograph entitled "An Attempt to Ascertain the age of Mickleham Church". This was fully illustrated with drawings, plans and comparisons with exactly similar architecture to be found in other churches in England and Normandy. Robinson specifically noted the capitals and arches as being virtually identical as those of an old convent church dated from 959 AD and also very like those at Oxford Cathedral (formerly an Augustine priory built in the 12th century).

A fine, but simple, double chevron and dog-toothed arch can still be seen at the entrance to the chancel (extended in 1872). This design is identical to that in the manorial church of William the Conqueror in Caen, Normandy. Significantly, in the 11th century, one of The Conqueror's nephews was granted some manorial estates in Surrey which included Mickleham.

Further "improvements" took place in 1871-2 when the Norman arches lining the nave were replaced with modern ones in an act described as "a tragic restoration". During one of the restorations an old plaster coating was uncovered at the west end of the church. The plaster revealed a red-coloured date of 1080.

The font is also a fine Norman relic, its basin made from a single stone.

The side chapel (now known as the Norbury chapel) has fine chequered flint and stone walls dating from 1300 and an ornamented stone tomb of Wyllyam Wyddowsoun, citizen and mercer of London who died 17th September "in the 5th year of King Harry the 8th" (1514). A brass to William Widdowson is above the tomb. The chapel passed to the Stydolf family in the 17th century and later the Locks of Norbury occupied it as their family pew. The oak panelling is thought to have been saved from St. Paul's School, London at the time of the Great Fire of 1666.

The memorial glass in the east window of the chapel has 20thC connections with two Canadian citizens. William Aitkin, the 1st Lord Beaverbrook, newspaper magnate and WW2 cabinet minister who died on 9th June 1964, age 85 and of Richard Bedford, the Viscount Bennett, a statesman who was Prime Minister of Canada from 1930 to 1935. He retired to England in 1939 and died on 20th June 1947 age 76. Of a very different age is the memorial to Mrs Phillipa Watson whose wall table erected by her children records her as… wife of William Watson, a London merchant, whose early death left her a young and mournful widow charged with the care of 10 helpless infants of whom six sons and three daughters survived to comfort the life and lament the death of their excellent and amiable parent, who after having secured and improved their property by her application and address, and formed their minds by her instructions and example, retired from the hurry of active life to end her days in piety and peace. She died in calm Christian serenity on 7th December 1749 at 74 years."

[Surrey RH5 6EB , https://www.micklehamchurch.org.uk/welcome.htm]


Newdigate — St Peter's

There was a church here in the late 12th. century, it was founded by the Warennes, Earls of Surrey, whose seat is Newdigate Place (now Home Farm).

The earliest dateable features of the present church are the triplet of lancets, in the east window of the chancel and the two single windows to north and south of it, all are from c.1200.

The 60 ft. tower, St.Peter's most distinctive feature, is late 14th or early 15th century. It is of particular interest to historians of vernacular architecture. Only one other Surrey church (Burstow) has a similar plan and is wholly built of timber. Basically it has three square storeys surmounted by an octagonal spire, the main weight being carried by four huge oak timbers standing on a massive slab of wood.

The bells in the tower were increased from five to six in 1805 and for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 a large clock was installed adding to the tower's weight. Despite these additions and the general wear and tear the basic plan of the tower has remained unaltered for 600 years. The exterior oak shingles were replaced in 1985, and much to Newdigate's pride, were cut by local craftsmen, using local timber and paid for by local people.

Entry via the south door leads into the south aisle and reveals a massive circular pillar - a clear reminder of the medieval structure of the church. This pillar, with its later addition of an octagonal capital, has a flattened surface in one part of it, perhaps to hold the Holy water stoup or basin (mentioned in the 1547-53 inventories). The deep holes in the surface indicate where the chained Bible was attached and a collection of incised crosses perhaps pilgrim's marks. To the right is the Cudworth chapel with two light window and piscina dating from 14th-15th century.

St.Peter's, like so many livings in Tudor times, was affected by the transfer of the patronage to the Crown and by the injunctions in 1547 condemning pictures and most lights in churches. In 1550 all stone altars were destroyed by decree and replaced by wooden communion tables.

Fortunately the old oak chest, hollowed out of a log, was not destroyed during Tudor times. Although chests of this type have been dated to the 13th century when the art of joinery was being developed, it is thought that this chest is probably later and may have been of the same period as the tower - perhaps made from the surplus wood at the time of the tower's construction in late 14th or early 15th century. It now occupies a traditional medieval position in the north of the chancel and holds the records of the 800th anniversary.

There are several memorials of interest. The reconstruction in 1876-77 was carried out by architect TEC Streatfield, a memorial window to him can be seen in the tower and on the south wall of the chancel there is a brass plate commemorating Joane, first wife of the Rev. George Steere, the rector during the period of the Civil War who founded and endowed the village school, which still flourishes today. Another memorial is in the west window of the north aisle, it shows Jesus in the carpenter's shop - an apt reminder of a major benefactor of the church, Mrs Ellen Jansen, who, together with school master, Henry Hackwood, started the wood-carving classes for local youths. Among works resulting are the wood carvings of angels on the choir stalls, the poppy heads on the front pews and the symbolic designs on the bench ends. These carvings were dedicated to Henry Hackwood, the school teacher who shared the teaching of the youths with Mrs Jansen.

Of the many gravestones which formerly were situated in the nave that of William de Newdigate who died in 1377 is the oldest. This is now under the tower on the south side. The Coat of Arms of Newdigate, three lion's paws, are evident on the gravestone. However, the observant visitor studying the oldest glass in the church (north east window of the north aisle) will see the Arms again but back-to-front! During 1877 restorations the window glass was reset wrong way round.

The present altar was made from a single piece of 4" thick oak by local craftsman, David Cramp, who also constructed the lych gates. A candlestick and cross were added in 1975 to commemorate 800 years of worship in St.Peter's. As part of these special celebrations a specially bound lectern edition of the New English Bible was commissioned (in a special Bible box), it contains the signatures of most residents of Newdigate in that year. Also 120 kneelers were made by a team of parishioners, they were based on eight different designs; the signatures of all the embroiderers were inscribed in the lectern bible. With a pair of binoculars directed at the roof of the nave you can see all the names of the sixty people who redecorated the church interior in 1977.

The Church is open every weekday morning.

[Surrey RH5 5DL , http://stpetersnewdigate.org.uk/]


Okewood — St. John the Baptist

Built about 1220, originally it was a chapel of ease to Wotton church and for inhabitants of outborders of the parishes of Wotton, Ockley, Abinger, Rudgwick, Warnham and Ewhurst. The founder is unknown but the earliest records show that Sir Walter de Fancourt presented a priest in 1290 - a private advowson.

Legend has it that an endowment of £200, a very large sum in 1431, by Edward de la Hale was a thanksgiving for the miracle that saved his son's life. The story goes that he and his son were out hunting in the neighbourhood of the chapel when his son fell from his horse in the path of a crazed and wounded wild boar. The boar rushed at him. Nothing it appeared could save him from being gored to death, suddenly an arrow flashed through the air, piercing the boar and killing it outright. The father fell to his knees and vowed to devote to God a portion of his wealth. The nearby chapel being in need of repair offered a worthy object for fulfilment of de la Hale's vow. A brass plate in excellent condition, situated beneath the present floor of the present church, records his death in September 1431.

In 1547 an Act of Parliament dissolving colleges, chantries and free chapels dealt Okewood a mortal blow; through a misapprehension it was thought that the Chapel was a chantry chapel (one used for saying masses for the repose of a soul); without any enquiry being made as to the actual use, the whole property and its lands were seized by the Crown and sold privately. No services were held, nor a priest appointed with the result that all who had been attending Okewood had to travel much further to worship.

After five years of a closed church and no priest a group of local yeomen successfully petitioned the Court of Augmentation and on May 28th 1553 an order was granted for the chapel, churchyard and house and garden adjacent it to be restored and a priest appointed.

Unfortunately the decree was not confirmed before the then monarch Edward VI died. Nothing happened in Queen Mary's short reign and it was not until 1560, when Elizabeth was on the throne, that a further approach to the Crown by one of the original group of local yeomen succeeded in obtaining the restoration of the chapel, churchyard and house. The valuable lands were not returned. In 1853, after many years of funding difficulties and a reliance on gifts from wealthy locals to make ends meet, the chapel entered a new and less hazardous period of existence - Okewood was formed into a consolidated chapelry from parts of the parishes of Wotton, Abinger and Ockley. To all extents and purposes Okewood chapel became a parish church. The patronage was vested in William John Evelyn. The 1220 building remained virtually unchanged until the middle of the 15th century when Edward de la Hale's endowment enabled restoration and alterations.

During the period following the chapel's confiscation in 1547 and for many years later the structure suffered from lack of funds to maintain it with the result that it became seriously dilapidated. In the early 18th century the Evelyn family met the costs of urgent repair work and again in 1735.

Later, more money came from the late rector of Abinger, Rev. Robert Offley and the Evelyn family and this helped with further repairs to the structure and towards costs of the living.

Two 13th century wall paintings were discovered on the south wall and the two lancet windows on this side hold fragments of 13th-15thC glass. However, by 1879 it became clear that drastic rebuilding was necessary; the old part of the church was thoroughly restored and refurnished. A short spire was erected in place of the turret, buttresses erected nearly 200 years earlier were removed - they were dragging the walls more than supporting them; the north wall was pulled down and rebuilt, the porch widened and a vestry built. Much refurnishing took place with a new pulpit and altar. All this new work, under the direction of Basil Champneys, kept the character of the old building, for example the roof of the new aisle was constructed of Horsham slabs, the same material as original roof. The whole cost of the work, £ 2,000 was met by Mr. W .J. Evelyn.

On Sunday 20th January 1880 the formal reopening by the Bishop of Winchester took place. Subsequently, an organ was installed in 1910, the Rood Screen in 1932 in memory of the vicar from 1924-28, the Rev. Leonard Wooley. The latest restoration took place in 1997 when there was a complete renewal of the floor, under-floor heating, a sound-proof creche/lobby, the formation of a kitchen, repositioning the organ, installing new lighting and a sound enhancement system. To find the church, turn right off Stane Street(going south) at the end of Ockley (Catlip Lane) and follow for one and a half miles.

[Surrey RH5 5QT , https://www.friendsofokewoodchurch.org/history]


Okley — St Margaret's

19 years after The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth, the rector of this C 13th church lead 25 families from his parish and nearby parts to a life in America. The Rev. Henry Whitfield, rector from 1618 until his departure for America in 1639, bought land from the Menunketuck Indians and built the first stone house in the New England at a place he named Guilford (no "d"); this building, on the south coast of Connecticut, looks over Long Island Sound, about 70miles from New York City. It is now The Henry Whitfield State Museum having been carefully restored and decorated with seventeenth century furnishings. A wall board presented to the church in 1977 by John B. Threlfall, a descendant of the Rev. Henry Whitfield, hangs on the south wall and lists the names of the heads of the 25 families.

The first known reference to St. Margaret's church is 1291. The oldest parts of the present church are the South wall, built from local sandstone, and the nave which still retains its original oak moulded tie beams and plates which date from the early 13th century.

Two windows to the east of the porch are medieval, the square-headed one near the altar and next to it a window with fragments of glass dated about 1320. The picturesque porch was added around the C 16th; the tower despite its Norman appearance was not built until 1700 and about the same time the peal of six bells were hung. An overhaul in 1981 has ensured that they still ring true and "a happy noise to hear". They are the oldest complete peal in Surrey, cast by Robert Phelps at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.

When the church underwent a major restoration and enlargement in 1872, the old box pews were removed, a gallery at the west end was added, the north aisle created, the chancel extended and a vestry and organ chamber built.

Further restoration work in 1995 uncovered an unpainted royal Coat-of-Arms (George III); now painted in correct heraldic colours it hangs over the entrance to the vestry. No one knows why the coat-of-arms was in the church or why it was never painted. Here's another mystery! Whose heads are the king and the queen, facing south and north respectively, which can be seen on the two central pillars dating from 1872/3? Maybe they are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who died 1861! But why a king's crown on a Prince? Who are they and why are they there? No one seems to know.

The marble and mosaic in the chancel and sanctuary were added as a memorial to John Lee-Steere, only son of the squire, who at the age of 19, was killed in action near Ypres in November 1914 while serving in the Grenadier Guards; Charles Lee-Steere, an RAF fighter-pilot was killed in action over Belgium in May 1940.

A wall board, erected in 1977, records the names of all the rectors of St. Margaret's from 1308 when Richard De Carisbrook was appointed. John Cook who became rector in 1817 died while still in office after 47 years service at 83 years of age! There is a memorial tablet inside the church to him and to Thomas Woodroofe, rector from 1784, the year he built a new rectory, now Stane House. The registers date from 1539 and a silver chalice and paten bear London hallmarks of 1607. There is also a silver paten dated 1716.

By 1872 the centre of village population had moved to the south along Stane Street and the rector at that time, Francis Du Sautoy, built a new church (St. John's) for the convenience of parishioners at the south end of the Green. He built it on his own land and out of his own pocket.

The consecration of St. John's was performed by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester who eight months later died in a riding accident at Abinger Roughs. (The incident recorded by the stone cross which stands there today). Now St John's is no more. It was made redundant in 1983 and converted into two houses. By the gate of the old church of St. Margaret's is an unusual brick version of a mounting block. Its size too is unusual, a base of approx 6ft. x 3ft. with four steps leading to a large platform. Each step has a flagstone tread. Facilitating the act of mounting your horse must have been much appreciated by the older gentry who rode to church. Further flagstones at the churchyard gate are all that remains of a footpath that ran westwards to what is now the A29 road. Notice also the very old (200 years plus) ornamental bricks which flank the flagstone path.

The village name of Ockley is of Saxon origin - "Occa's lea", or Occa's clearing in the wood. In the Domesday Book it is "Hoclei".

[Surrey RH5 5SY]


Peaslake — St. Mark's

The church at Peaslake was built in 1889 as a daughter church of St. James', Shere. For about 20 years before the church was built Sunday afternoon services were held in the School Room at the foot of Ridge Hill in the centre of the village, but in 1888 the Misses Spottiswoode (of Drydown, Hook Lane, Shere) persuaded the lord of the manor of Shere and the Hon. George Cubitt (later Lord Ashcombe) that a new church should be built.

The original idea of a wooden building was felt inadequate and Mr Cubitt offered £1,000 towards the cost of a stone-built church. The site - at the foot of Ridge Hill again. Other donors rallied to the cause including the Misses Spottiswoode and the final cost of £1,800 was met. The architect chosen was Ewan Christian (1814-95) and the builder Goddard & Son; the foundation stone laid by the Spottiswoodes in September 1888. The consecration, by the Bishop of Winchester, took place on St. Mark's Day, 25th April 1889. The church was tilled well beyond its seating capacity of 200. The Association for Free Seating in Churches' donation ensured "free" seats for all but a hundred who had to stand.

Much of the early wood-carving in St. Mark's was done by a class of wood-carvers led by Gertrude Edlmann. The choir-stall panels were carved at a later date by Doris Downing and the cupboards by Denis Sherlock. The colourful kneelers featuring motifs of St Mark's Lion and a wide range of village interests and glimpses of Peaslake's history were created for the 100th anniversary in 1989.

As with so many churches the stained-glass windows were gifts from many local residents in memory of their loved ones. However, the most recent north wall window, installed in the Spring of 2000, marked the Millennium; it was designed by local artist Rhiannon Morgan and the cost was met from many private donations. A Millennium Year Pageant staged to a packed church in May 2000 has encouraged a group of writers, social historians and artists to produce a complete history of the village. The publication is due for launch in late 2003.

St. Mark's is usually open on weekdays. The Key holder is Mrs Plaw at Old School Cottage, Peaslake.

[Surrey GU5 9RR ]


Pixham — St. Mary The Virgin

Pixham is east of Dorking at the foot of Box Hill, sandwiched between the A24 and the A25. The church is not very obvious despite its position right on Pixham Lane, a short distance from the railway bridge. There is no spire, no tower or any overtly religious features that suggest that the building with its double gables and tall chimneys is a church. In fact it was designed so that it could be used for worship and for secular purposes.

A place to worship in Pixham all started in 1868 when a Miss Mary Mayo stood guarantee for a rent of a piece of land and a detached house in which evening services were held. Later in 1883 a corrugated iron building was constructed and evening services transferred to it from the house. In 1890 an altar and a small sanctuary were added. A dedication service by the vicar of St.Martins,Dorking was held in that year but no name was given to the church.

The ugly corrugated iron church was very hot in summer and bitterly cold in winter and Miss Mayo again came to the rescue. In 1903 a permanent "church room" was "allowed" and that resourceful lady commissioned none other than Edwin Lutyens, then a promising young architect, to design the building. The present building was born and dedicated on 10th December 1903. Lutyen's design was for a church room, a building that could be used not only for worship but also for secular meetings. He created one large room 25ft x 57ft, with a raised platform at the east end; beyond this a small room as a sanctuary, divided except during services by a curtain. To the north, a further room 16ft square with connecting lobbies completed the design. The west end was skilfully designed by Lutyens to indicate the religious aspect of the building; the semicircular tympanum of brick and stone.

The church still did not bear a saint's name until 22nd April 1990 when the Bishop of Guildford bestowed the saintly name of "St. Mary the Virgin" on Pixham church during its centenary year celebrations - some 57 years after its founder, Mary Mayo, died aged 98 years and 10 months.

Services every Sunday and other events are held at Pixham Church. It is not open weekdays, except by prior arrangement. (tel: 01306 882065); St Mary's is the daughter church of St.Martin's, Dorking.

[Surrey RH4 1PT http://www.pixhamresidents.org/Home/st-marys-church]


Reigate — St Mary Magdalene

Reigate's parish church is situated SE of the town. John Aubrey described it in his C17 book Natural History & Antiquities of the County of Surrey as "set on an eminence, built of freestone". The tower was re-faced in Bath stone in the 19th century. The original Horsham roof slates were in good enough condition for some of them to be used again in the 1983 re-roofing.

The Domesday Book does not record a church here, first mention of it was in a C12 document under the name of Crechesfeld, and it was then run by St Overy Augustinian Priory of Southwark. As was common in the early days, St. Mary's had an aisleless nave, but by the end of the 12th century north and south aisles had been added with the present arches replacing the original walls. Less than two centuries later the chancel was extended. About a hundred years after this work the tower (then central) collapsed and a new one was built at the west end. At much the same time the chancel and the nave were extended into the space left by the repositioning of the tower.

In 1513 a vestry was added to the north east corner.

Although many statues and decorations were removed at the time of the Reformation, the stained glass was left untouched until a century later in 1661 when a madman, Thomas Glynn, a glazier by trade, "forcibly and unlawfully smashed and tore out the windows...". He was fined 12 pence. Lawlessness lives on because as recently as September 2005 an unknown group of mindless vandals threw bricks at two windows in the south west comer destroying several sections of old stained glass.

In the chapel (C14) a thirteenth window can be seen in the west of the north aisle. There is also a collection of Jacobean monuments around the church which are of interest. The oldest of these is in the north aisle dedicated to Anthony Glymyn and his wife who died in the mid 16th century. In the north transept the most impressive monument is to Richard Ladbroke, a zealous member of the church and a wealthy distiller. Pevsner & Naim's The Buildings of England describe the statues as "Very high quality, especially the humane, unaffected face of Ladbroke...". The sculptor was the little known Joseph Rose. Under the chancel lies the vault of the famous Howard family, included among those buried there is Lord Howard, the commander-in-chief of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada. He died in 1624 and was buried at midnight.

In the chancel at the end of the north end of the east wall is a C17 monument to Thomas Bludder of Flanchford (and his wife) who died in 1618, he was responsible for the supply of food for the navy. To his right is a double monument to Richard Elyott, knight, died 1608 and his son Richard. One of his daughters has a memorial in the south of the chancel.

While in the north transept have a look at the medieval tiles on display alongside the organ. They are from the original floor and discovered in 1982.

The first public library to be established in Britain was here at St. Mary's. It was founded by the Rev. Andrew Cranston (Vicar 1697-1708). Originally for use of the clergy and parishioners, the library was expanded as others donated volumes including some by John Evelyn, the diarist, and by John Flamsteed, first Astronomer-Royal in 1675 and who later took Holy Orders and became Rector at Burstow, Surrey. The library stills exists in a small chamber above the vicar's vestry in the north east corner of the church and is preserved in as near as possible in its original C18 form, being run by a trust aided by the British Library and by Surrey County Library. An up-to-date catalogue has been prepared and this is available on micro-fiche in national libraries.

In 1845 Henry Woodyear, the well-known Surrey architect was employed to replace the east windows and in 1874 another well-known architect Sir George Gilbert Scott (he designed the Albert Memorial and numerous important buildings in Gothic Revival style) was ask to oversee the rebuilding of the nave and the tower and the removal of the north gallery.

A notable feature is the variety of carvings on the capitals on the columns that form the noble arcade in the nave, every one is different. The unaligned position of the columns (circa 1200) is probably because the aisles were rebuilt around the Norman nave which was not demolished until they were built. Their good condition is due to a stone by stone rebuild of the originals in the 19th century.

[Surrey RH2 7RN http://www.stmaryreigate.org/]


Rudgwick — Holy Trinity

The church tower is not easily spotted on the road from Ewhurst, it lies on high ground tucked behind the flower-decked "Kings Arms". Fortunately this location does not disturb its peaceful charm. Part of the boundary between Surrey and Sussex runs along the edge of the churchyard.

Alard, the Fleming, who died in 1263, held the advowson of the church and building; the West Tower was probably erected during his lifetime. Further evidence of the antiquity of the church is shown in records of payment of taxes to Pope Nicholas VI in 1291.

The tower is the oldest part of the church and has a 14th century window above the door and two lancets on the north and south sides. A new belfry floor, known as the June Kirkpatrick room, was added in celebration of the 2nd millennium on 3rd September 2001. An interesting arcade of three C14th arches separate the nave from the north aisle.The nave and chancel all date from 1500's, all necessary restorations have faithfully used old materials.

On each side of the chancel arch there are restored panels of the Ten Commandments, The Creed and The Lord's Prayer. Fronted with four columns of beautifully carved angels, the altar table dates from the 17th century, it is of Belgian origin. In the Belfry are six bells, including three inscribed 1770, two recast bells dated 1867 and the latest one was added in 1930. There are 170 kneelers, all different. They depict local occasions, places and memories of loved ones. Among them is one commemorating a sailor who lost his life aboard HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War and another with a picture of Concorde. Various wall tablets record, and stained glass windows commemorate, some of Holy Trinity's many distinguished parishioners. The choir stalls are dedicated to members of the Secretan family including an only son, a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Sussex Regiment, who died of wounds in Belgium, May 1940. On the wall by the pulpit another soldier, this time 1st World War, is remembered - Capt. William Renton of the King's Dragoon Guards. killed in action June 1915 at Chateau Hooge.

As you leave don't miss the very unusual late C12th square font: it is of Sussex marble and has a double-stepped platform.

[Surrey RH12 3EB http://www.rudgwickchurch.org.uk/]


Rusper — St Mary Magdalen

The church with its 15th C West tower with flagstaff and St. George's red cross fluttering70ftabove ground is the centre-piece of Rusper. Founded in the early 13th century, but the first record of St. Marys' existence was 1287, when a rector was appointed.

The building probably dates from this period because a drawing of the church prior to the extensive rebuild of 1854-55,clearly shows its very old features. The Victorian rebuild was paid for by the fours sons of James Broadwood of Lyne House, Capel, in memory of their father who died in 1851. Henry Woodyear, the well-known architect followed closely the original design; the roof was raised with clerestory windows added ; a south aisle was built and the tower slightly altered and raised 10 feet.

Few visitors can fail to be impressed with the Tower; it is a fine example of the late 15th century perpendicular tower with its heavy buttresses and battlements. On its south wall is a doorway which leads to a circular staircase within the tower where a plaque records the re-interment of the remains of a prioress and four nuns of Rusper's Benedictine convent (founded 13th C) accidentally exhumed in 1840. A beautiful enamelled chalice of Byzantine workmanship and a rosary of semi-precious stones were found by the remains.These holy relics now reside in the British Museum. There are eight bells that ring from the tower's bell chamber, six bear inscriptions showing they were cast by William Eldridge in 1669, the other two were hung to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Bell ringing has long been a feature of Rusper's church life; a board in the bell chamber records a peal of Bob Major (5056 changes) rung in 3 hours 5 minutes on 21st December 1919. On the south wall of the tower other records of change-ringing are recorded.

The floor of the tower reveals a number of 17th century memorial stones and brass inscription plates; the walls display memorials to Broadwood family members ,including a fine alabaster work by Thomas Clapperton to Lucy Broadwood (1858-1929).

Lucy, a pioneer in folk-lore research, recorded and preserved Sussex folk songs, plays and dances; today she is still commemorated when The Broadwood Men perform in villages around Horsham and when they act the Rusper Mummery Play each Boxing Day.

The Nave has two fine 18th century brass candelabrum which were given in 1770. Over the tower arch is a carved Royal Arms of George I recalling the compulsory requirement, dating from Charles H, to display the Arms as an acknowledgement that the sovereign was temporal head of the Church.

Two interesting and very old brasses, which prior to 1854 were in the floor of the nave, can be seen on the north wall of the chancel. The oldest dates from around 1380 and records, in Norman French, that John de Kyggesfolde (Kingsfold) and his wife Agnes lie here. This is one of the earliest examples of an inscription in Norman French rather than in Latin. Records show that John Kingsfold bought a house and land in Rusper in 1326. The dress depicted in the brass is typical of that worn by an ordinary yeoman at the end of the 14th century. The second brass which dates from 1532 is to Thomas Challoner and his wife Margaret. The boy below the couple is presumably their son. Challoner may have been a make of "challons". Challons were woollen quilts originating from Challons-sur-Marne, in the Champagne area of France. Chaucer referred to the material, calling it "chalouns" and Swift called it " shallops".

The stained glass in the East window is one of the most modem additions to the church, introduced in 1955 as a thank offering for the centenary of the church rebuilding. The designer was Gerald Smith. The theme is the ascended Christ in Glory. Panes of local country scenes throughout the seasons and illustrations of the old and new churches complete the window.

The tablets flanking the East window undoubtedly date from the time of the church's restoration, replacing the original Jacobean screen -unfortunately a major loss during the rebuilding work.

Near the main door to the church can be seen an old oak ironbound 13th century chest with linenfold panelling at one end of it. This type of chest was used before the Reformation to collect "Peter's Pence", the money demanded from all English churches to be sent to the Pope.

To the left of the South door you see a window in a wooden frame which was originally in St.Luke's, Southampton in memory of The Rev.James Trevaskis, vicar at that church. After its redundancy, it was moved to Rusper (his son was rector 1932-48) by the family in 1996.

[Surrey RH12 4PX http://rusperchurch.org.uk/]


Shalford — St. Mary the Virgin

There has been a church on this site for over 800 years, the present one is the fourth. The first one built by a Saxon landowner in the 10th century; the second in the late C12 and early C13, it lasted until 1788 when it was demolished to make way for a contemporary design chosen by the lay rector and largest landowner Robert Austen. Most of the stone for its construction came from Austen's own land near Hascombe. The church had a cupola instead of a spire and an apsidal (semi-circular) chancel. As the population grew it proved too small and by 1846 , a mere 58 years after being built, it was replaced by the present church in the early English style designed by Benjamin Ferrey, architect of Coldharbour, Brockham and others in Surrey.

There is a tranquil atmosphere about St. Mary's despite its setting alongside a busy road a short distance from Guildford. It is a church that makes up for its lack of old architecture with a large number of interesting memorials of varying types.

The stained glass is all Victorian except six small roundels of CIS English glass, two good examples of old Flemish glass which are set in the east window of the Lady Chapel. Memorials, especially to various members of the Austen family, abound in the chancel; a coloured brass in the floor of the chancel records the life of Lt. Col. Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen 1834-1923, an explorer, surveyor and scientist who received the Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal for his exploration in the NW Himalayas particularly his discovery of mountain K2 (also called Godwin-Austen) at 780 feet lower than Everest.

A marble memorial in the chancel is to Robert Austen (the lay rector who build church No 3. and died in 1759) and to his son Robert who died in 1797. An earlier member of the Austen family is remembered with a brass wall plaque, he was Capt. John Austen who fought for the parliamentary cause in the Civil War and died in 1660.

Two contrasting memorials to two young naval lieutenants who were killed in action in a sea battle off the Chilean Coast in November 1914 are present in the church. To Lt. Maurice Bagot of HMS Good Hope, an armed cruiser, sunk by German fire power, his family donated the oak pulpit and to the other Shalford naval man Lieutenant Douglas Tudor, the stone plaque on the north wall tells of his loss of life aboard HMS Monmouth , another armed cruiser badly damaged and lost in the same Battle of Coronel, the first defeat of British sea power for over a century.

At the west end of the north wall is a large stone tablet which lists the dues and Church Returns. The details of an award by the Bishop of Winchester to the Rector of Shalford in 1434 are very strange to us in the 21st century; the award reads: "To the Vicar of Shalford, by award of Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, in 1434, the Rectory of Shalford is ever charged with the supply yearly at Michaelmas to the Vicar of 1 Quarter of Wheat, 2 Quarters of Rye, 4 quarters of Oats, 1 Load of Hay and 2 Loads of Straw, to which charges George Austen Esq. added in 1620, 1 Load of Hay and the right to depasture a nag in the rectory meadows from St. Peters Day to 1st November in each year".

Since the old measure of 1 Quarter is equal to approx. 12 kgs and a Load to 914 kgs it would seem that both the nag and the Vicar had a healthy yearly supply of grain! Another much smaller tablet also at the west end but at the opposite side commemorates the life of Bertram Heweth (1874-1933). Heweth was an important civil engineer who was in charge and carried out the construction of the City & South London Tube Extension, the Hudson River Tunnels in New York and the Kingsway Mersey Tunnel in Liverpool. A regular mole one might say! In the transept Col. Frederick Shewell of the 8th Hussars is remembered by a memorial. Col. Shewell led his men in the Charge of the Light Brigade with his open Bible propped against his saddle. He survived the battle.

Also at the west end is displayed a 1715 Deed by Dr. Hugh Shortrudge, Rector of Fetcham, a staunch supporter of King and Church, which required that two sermons were preached on Good Friday and 30th January each year in the parish churches of Great Bookhan Leatherhead, Effingham and Shalford to remember the Anglican matyr, King Charles I, in return "for so doing a payment for charities and any residue for the vicars of Great Bookham, Leatherhead, Effingham and Shalford". This old of custom known as "The Shortrudge Sermons" survived for many years and a Shortrudge sermon is still preached on the last Sunday of January at Bookham.

[Surrey GU4 8AE https://stmarysshalford.com/]


Shamley Green — Christ Church

In 1861, Queen Victoria and the nation mourned the death of Consort Prince Albert, that same year Land on which Christ Church was eventually built was purchased by Wonersh parish as their new graveyard. Two years later more land was obtained on the same site and a Chapel of Ease was built here in1864.The architect, C.H.Howell, who a year earlier had designed County Hall at Kingston-upon-Thames. This new small chapel eventually became the parish church of Shamley Green in 1881.

In the next 20 years various improvements were made, the principal one in 1897 was the westward extension of the nave, built to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

The east window depicting the birth, death and resurrection of Christ was part of the original building (1862) but the striking picture behind the altar was not in place until the new chancel was built in 1892; it shows the Lamb of God with angels swinging censers, a sign of worship, below the conception and birth of Christ is depicted. At each side are panels portraying the Apostles, Matthias replacing Judas. The centre panel shows Christ with John and Peter.

The chancel's "angel" windows illustrate Hope, Love, Faith and Fortitude. Other angel windows in the sanctuary were installed in memory of Ann Rose Hemming. During the 20th century three major structural changes in the church took place; at the opening of the century a church room was added, in 1921 further additions were made to church room and in 1950 part of the south aisle was enclosed to make a vestry and Lady Chapel.

In the Lady Chapel, on the south side, there is a fine carving of the Madonna and Child by Douglas Stephens. The windows in the chapel show the St Anne, mother of Lady Mary, Mary with the Virgin Child and the Archangels Michael and Raphael.

On the north wall of the nave are some less usual subjects for stain glass art, nearest to the pulpit, Justice with sword, Mercy with crowstaff (1910), and the next window erected in 1936 shows Purity and Peace with olive sprigs and white doves adorning the scene. The last window on the north wall features Christ as the Sower.

Just above the font (C 19) at the west end the stained glass in the window portrays Moses with Elijah and Nehemiah with Amos. The former an administrator and leader who helped organise the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and Amos a political leader with a passion for social justice and the earliest prophet to have a book named after him in the Bible.

The 21st century had hardly started before a further addition to the church was built - a new octagonal building containing several rooms was built in commemoration of the Queens Golden Jubilee. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Guildford in 2002.

In the churchyard is the tomb of Ernest H.Shepard, the famous artist and cartoonist who died in 1976 and who reached the great age of 97. Shepard became famous for his illustrations for children's books especially AA Milne's Winnie The Pooh (1926) and other Milne books and also Kenneth Grahame's Wind in The Willows (1931). For many years he drew for Punch, the satirical humorous weekly magazine. One of Shepard's drawings can be seen in St Martha-on-the Hill Church, above Chilworth, a church that he also attended. Another drawing by him from "When We Were Very Young' by AA Milne is shown below.

[Surrey GU5 0UD http://www.shamleygreen.org/]


Slinfold — St Peter's

Slinfold still looks a real English village with its cottages and the parish church of set serenely in its centre. This charming village is under a mile from Stane Street, the famous Roman road. It was the second station, or resting place, for Roman travellers on their way between Chichester and London; the third being Dorking and the last Merton on the outskirts of the capital.

The first church in Slinfold was built in 1230, it comprised a nave and north aisle and a small chapel and a massive shingled tower. That church was rebuilt in the 15th century with new walls. In 1859, the Parochial Church Council, faced with repair costs to the old church exceeding those for building a new church chose destruction of the old. Victorians did not appear to treasure ancient buildings as this generation does and as a result very few items of the C15th church were incorporated into the new one. However, the rector at that time, the Rev. Vincent, did record in sketches and water colours many views inside and outside of the old church. These pictures now hang in the vestry of the present church. A 1537 memorial to Richard Bradbrydge which came from the old church does survive. He founded the nearby village of Broadbridge Heath, which took his name.

The new church cost £3,700 and was completed in 1861. Various gifts of bells, stained glass, a carved oak pulpit, an organ and a reredos (removed in 1961) helped to equip the new building. The new church had a stone spire but by 1969 this had become unstable after years of repairs and it was replaced by the present tower.

In the porch the list of rectors confirms St.Peter's early history, the first recorded name is in 1400; much later - 1711 - the name of Thomas Manningham appears. He was a well-known botanist as well as a priest and was responsible for stocking the rectory garden with many very rare plants. Years after his departure visitors, interested in botany, would call just to see one or two of the garden's rarities.

The huge and varied collection of kneelers in the church started in 1977 when the rector's wife formed a group of needleworkers with the purpose of replacing the old worn ones. There are now 170 of them, all different designs; they feature seasons of the year, Sussex landmarks, commemoration of a special occasion, a beauty spot or just a pleasant design. The lamb or sheep on the end of the kneelers, are symbols of Slinfold.

Stephen Langton, the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207 and the first signatory on the Magna Carta, was born "in his own manor of Slynford" in 1150 and was buried in 1228 at St.Martha's on the Hill, Guildford. Langton spent the first seven years of his archbishopric in Pontigny, France, his appointment being resisted by King John. It was altogether a stormy period in Langton's life being suspended by The Pope from his functions in 1215 but reinstated 1218.

Sometime after Stephen Langton "The Legend of the Slinfold Bell" was born. The most plausible version of this story tells of a bell, destined for St. Peter's Church, Slinfold, which fell off a wagon into a bog by the roadside, about a mile from the church. The legend goes that while attempting to salvage the bell from the bog a witch appeared on the scene offering to use her powers to retrieve the bell with her team of white oxen. A rope or chain was fixed to the oxen and to the visible part of the bell and the witch warned the crowd, which by now had gathered to watch the recovery, that if anyone spoke during the operation the bell would be lost forever. The oxen heaved and as the bell rose to the surface someone in the crowd shouted "Hurrah" and the bell slipped back into the bog for ever! But that was not quite the last of the legend for in 1971 a dowser with his metal rods who had heard the story, and a member of the Treasure Hunters Association tried to locate the bell. The dowser claimed success and went as far as giving the dimensions of the sunken bell which he said he could detect below the surface of the bog. However, the metal detector of the treasure hunter did not record any sign of metal in the same spot. After much talk of future recovery by the dowser and the making a film of it nothing more was heard except some very well orchestrated publicity which appeared in newspapers and on the radio!

Slinfold is a name with a Saxon derivation Slynd meaning the side of a hill or slope and Folde, land cultivated in an enclosure, usually after removal of timber and underwood. Among its many visitors it is said that King Edward 11 came here on his return from Battle Abbey on 3rd September 1324.

Among its well known families are the Cowpers, Blounts, Bradbridges, Husseys and Churchers. There is a memorial tablet to Katherine Blount 1617 in the church.

[Surrey RH13 0RR http://www.stpeterslinfold.co.uk/]


Walton-on-the-Hill — St Peter's

On entering the church of St. Peter the Apostle, to give it its full dedication, look for the font on your immediate right; it is no ordinary font! Considered by those who know about such artefacts as the oldest of the 29 lead fonts still in existence in this country, it is authentically dated as AD 1150-1160. It is remarkable piece of leadwork with small, delicately moulded figures in high relief which make a frieze around the bowl.

The eight figures are set in a frame of semi-circular arches and good condition considering its age. The style of the design experts think was derived from manuscripts like the Bury Bible, circa 1148. There is some debate about the frieze. Experts agree that at one time the frieze had 12 figures and it has been shortened to 8, but the debate seems to be whether the original leadwork depicted the Twelve Apostles, of which only eight are now seen, or if the figures portrayed are the four Doctors of the Church, (at that time) Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory the Great and Augustine of Hippo, originally repeated three times around the frieze but now only twice.

This font is thought to have started its life at Walton Manor, a house with a great hall and its own chapel, and came to its present home after the Reformation. The old manor house no longer exists but the present building is on the site of the original manor. In the grounds is a Mound or Tumulus which could have been a Saxon motte, later perhaps used as a manorial court meeting place. The original C15 chancel of St. Peters was rebuilt in the C15, its large arch with attached half shafts is quite distinctive. The continuous moulding around the arch is echoed on the arch over the triple sedilia which is set in the south wall to the right of the altar. Also there is an attractive ogee-arched piscina, possible English Late Gothic work . The nave and the base of the tower were built in 1818 and the north aisle added in 1870. The all-flint tower was completed by 1895. A chart on the west wall at the rear of the Nave shows the Vicars and Lords of the Manor of back to 1270 with Richard de Tonbridge at the time of ne Conquest. He lived at Walton Manor.

A window in the south-east of the nave contains fragments of some beautiful etched and painted glass. A late C15 piece shows the figure of St. Augustine in white and gold , other fragments are C17 Flemish and Dutch glass which make a colourful and interesting window.

Nearby is a modern piece of stained glass by Christopher Wall with vibrant colours. Further along the south wall is a window with a poem which reads:

A man that looks on glass
On it may stay his eye
Or if he pleaseth thro' it pass
And then the heav'n espy.

The Lady Chapel altar on the north side was given by HE Crawley in memory of members of his family, the picture over the altar is a fine copy of the Madonna by Murillo, the original of which hangs in the Prado, Madrid.

The latest treasure to adorn this parish church is The Millennium window on the north wall at the far west end. The window was designed by Jonathan Leckie and shows four well-known local views. It was given to the church by the residents and friends of the village of Walton-on-the-Hill as a lasting reminder of the 21st century.

Early in 2005 a survey of the bell tower revealed major problems and serious damage to the structure. Urgent repairs were nccessary and a Bell Tower Appeal was launched. The church tower was shrouded in scaffolding throughout last year but the work is now virtually completed.

The old bells were secured during the repairs, the oldest dates from 1591 and another from 1681.

A small almost incidental feature is the ironwork surrounding the lights in the nave; one design shows keys and another swords. This appears to be an interpretation of the Guildford Diocese Arms and the fittings may have been made when the Guildford Diocese was formed out of Winchester in 1927.

[Surrey KT20 7SD http://www.stpeterswoth.org/]


Westcott — Holy Trinity

A growing, population in the mid 19th century and the establishment of a non-conformist chapel prompted the building of a church in the village of Westcott as an alternative to worship in Dorking or Wotton. The Evelyn family gave a piece of land on Westcott Heath and Sir George Gilbert Scott prepared the design and specification.

The cost of the building the church was raised by public subscription and the patronage of the living was vested in Mr. Barclay of Bury Hill, who was the principal benefactor.

Sir Gilbert chose a 14th century Gothic or Decorative style, mainly in dressed flint with a shingled spire. Consecration by the Bishop of Winchester was in June 1852; 150 years ago this year.

Originally built to seat 250 it was soon increased to 400 by the addition of a south aisle in 1855. A vestry was added later in the south-east corner, this was further extended with an upper room to it in 1985. On the north side of the nave is the organ, installed in 1872,and now refurbished for the 150th anniversary. Entering the chancel, the unusual arched rerodos of marble with a central section of mosaic work makes a striking feature. It was erected in 1882. The mosaic features Christ and several figures set against a gold background.

The east window is a beautiful example of the work of James Powell & Son (Whitefriars). It depicts the Ascension and was donated by Miss Barclay of Rokefield in 1893.

he window on the north side of the sanctuary showing scenes of the life of St.Timothy is a memorial to Frederick Salzmann, Vicar of Westcott 1910-1944, and that on the south side commemorates Charles Maine who died in 1888 aged 88.

The side chapel originally faced north but in 1936 the north-facing pews were removed and the Lady chapel created. The colourful dossal and altar facings were embroidered in 1995. On the south wall of the chapel hangs a photographic reproduction of the work of 17th C Italian master, Giovanni Sassoferrato. The original ainting of Madonna and Child, a gift from the Barclay family, can be seen in The Treasury at Guildford Cathedral. Another Madonna by Sassoferrato hangs along what is regarded as one of the great and unspoilt art collections in Britain's country houses, in Wilton House, Wiltshire.

The windows on the north side of the nave are of interest. The one beside the pulpit depicts St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music - the music lover was Mary Ellen Druce of Rokefield, who died in 1930. The window to her memory was erected by her singing class, her husband and her friends. The other window of interest is in the middle of the north wall and commemorates Emily Mary, Marchioness of Hertford who died in June 1902.

A common commemoration or Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee of 1877 was the installation a clock in a prominent village location. Holy Trinity was the chosen place in Westcott. The lych gate was erected three years later.

Two war memorials line the wall of the south aisle; the more colourful, with 20 different badges representing the regiments of those who were killed in action, relates to the 1914-18 World War; the second, in carved wood, more sombrely records the 40 servicemen and women who were killed in the 1939-45 War as well as 10 civilians who died as a result of enemy action.

An attractive carved relief of a "Happy Warrior", from the studio of G F Watts, in memory of a young army officer killed on the Somme in 1916 adorns the north wall of the chancel. In a simpler way. a young Pilot Officer RAF, who was killed in action in 1943 is reorded on a memorial plaque on the north wall.

Two standards of the Royal British Legion are laid up in the church providing a reminder that until 1986 Westcott had its own branch of the Legion, now incorporated in the Dorking branch. Various extensions have occurred to the churchyard and a Garden of Remembrance was established in 1988. The names of those whose ashes are interred there are recorded in a Remembrance Book kept in the Lady chapel.

Westcott has remained a "single" parish over its 150 years. It held an extensive programme of events to celebrate its anniversary in 2003; a Flower Festival 0n 18th md 19th May, concerts in the church on the 18th and25th' organ recitals and special services and a talk about Gilbert Scott, the architect of Holy Trinity and the early history of the church as revealed in the record books. The anniversary concluded with a Celebration Eucharist on the last Sunday of May conducted by the Bishop of Dorking.

Holy Trinity is open daily during daylight hours. Website

[Surrey RH4 3NN http://thechurchinwestcott.org.uk/]


Warnham — St. Margaret's

Although not mentioned in Domesday Book, it is known that the benefice of Warnham church was given by William de Braose to Rusper Nunnery before 1204. There were further references to it at Pope Nicholas' valuation in 1291.

Wills, as early as 1505, describe the church as being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but when the dedication changed to St Margaret is not known. The patronage of the Rusper Nunnery lasted until 1537 when it was vested in the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury who retained it until 1866 when C. T. Lucas of Warnham Court acquired the advowson which is still with the family.

Parish records can be traced back to 1558 and are like so many old church records are now deposited with the Diocesan Record Office at Chichester.

This large church today is a mixture of architectural styles, the earliest from the 14th century, comprising part of the north wall, the Caryll chapel, part of the chancel walls and part of the north and south arcades. The tower, unusually situated at one side of the building, and south chapel were added in the early part of the 16th century.

In 1847 a great deal of work took place including an increase in the length of the nave, which meant a rebuild of the west front. A singing gallery over the chancel arch and a gallery pew over the north aisle were removed and a new western gallery erected at the same time. Further work in 1885/6 involved building the west porch and extending the chancel eastwards. Also at that time much window tracery was renewed.

Warnham church has a large number of memorials. It has had associations with the Caryll family and later with the Shelley family. Percy Shelley, the poet, was born at Field Place, Warnham in August 1792 and was baptised in St Margaret's on 7th September 1792. Copies of the baptismal sheet recording the event are on display in a glass case on the south side of the nave. There are memorials to earlier members of the Shelley family in the Caryll chapel.

More unusually on display in the glass case in the south aisle are a tuning fork and glasses of the choirmaster of Victorian times and some coins found during the excavation work in 1885/6.

The Lucas family of Warnham Court have been great benefactors to the church and even today a member of that family is a churchwarden of St. Margaret's church.

The North aisle has a C14th arcade of four bays, however, the westernmost column is a 19th century structure, but the moulded octagonal capital appears to be of a much earlier period. Most of the masonry on this side is 14th century; the windows are replacements, but in the original style. The Caryll chapel, at the end of the North aisle, was restored in 1925 and refurnished in memory of the Rev. Richard Bowcott, Vicar from 1882-1921. The north wall bears a memorial to Sir John Caryll (died July 1613) and his wife. Among the kneeling figures are four sons and five daughters of the Caryll's all in dress of the late Elizabethan period.

The chancel is almost entirely a Victorian rebuild and contains no ancient features. There are however, several wall memorial tablets to members of the Lucas family. The plaque recording the restoration of the church and the building of the chancel can be seen below the memorial of coloured marble to Charles Thomas Lucas (1820-95) on the south wall.

Moving towards the tower from the nave you enter it by an early 16th century arch over which hangs a painted Royal Arms erected by parishioners in 1811 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the accession of King George IV. The north west pier, facing the nave, holds war and military memorials.

The chapel of Our Lady of Pity and The Trinity, also known as the Field Place Chapel was partially built from money left in 1524 by Richard Mitchell of Field Place. It is now used as a vestry and organ chamber. On its north wall is a list of vicars from 1247 to 1961. Earlier records relating to Warnham are on a painted board over the C16th arch leading to the south aisle. The board is awkwardly sited to be easily read but it is known to deal with the history of Warnham and Rusper. Below the board hangs a cutlass in a scabbard. Little is known of its origin and why it was hung in the church. The Purbeck marble square-bowl font is 12th century The base is modern and one side has been extensively repaired.

The eight bells have special significance for the bellringers who have held many county records for various changes - strange names like Kent Treble Bob Major and Canterbury Pleasure Major!

[Surrey RH12 3QW http://www.warnhamchurch.co.uk/]


Wonersh — St John the Baptist

Just outside Wonersh village, on the road to Bramley is this old church - a good-sized car park makes for easy visiting.

St. John the Baptist church is C11th. and is mentioned in Domesday Book. It was probably built by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror. Although little remains of the original building, the core is still Norman, specifically the north wall of the nave. The first building, a chapel, according to records of 1224, was dependent on the parish of Shalford; John of Hereford, one of the King Henry III's chaplains had been granted the advowson. Later records (1295) show the chapel listed as a parish church .

In the early C13th. the tower was added and the chancel rebuilt on a larger scale. The lower stages of that tower still remain as do the western part of the chancel walls, although pierced by later arches. As you enter the church you can hardly miss a Royal Achievement of Arms from the Hanoverian period 1714-1801 and four diamond-shaped hatchments of the Norton Family, high on both walls of the nave. Fletcher Norton was the first Baron Grantley, but curiously his hatchment is not among the four. The possibility is that a fire in the church may have destroyed it.

There is no hatchment for the third Baron who was buried in the churchyard in 1875. The supposed reason for this is that his son Thomas Brinley emigrated to Capri 23 years before his father's death, married there and took no part in the funeral arrangements. The son only returned to England in a coffin, for his own burial at Wonersh two years later in 1877.

A magnificent old Flemish chandelier hangs in the centre of the chancel, and the altar candlesticks in the north chapel are Georgian work: the rest of the ornaments are modern, like the stained glass with one small, but beautiful, exception - the window by the pulpit - a panel of 16th century Austrian glass of rich colour.

The chancel arch despite its mutilated state is C13th. work but a chapel of similar age, originally in the south east corner has been lost. Many of the oak timbers used in the C15th. roof were worked into the present roof over the nave by the builders in the 1700's, but Unfortunately the architect for the church and those same builders were responsible for the destruction of the greater part of the ancient church.

Opening from the north side of the chancel is the sacristy or crypt, the most interesting feature of the church; its floor paved in C14th tiles which have been laid with different clays burnt into them. The chapel on the north side of the chancel is the latest part of the medieval church. Two arches of fifteenth century style open to the chancel; the windows and doors are modern but copied from an old painting of the early church and the C18th. altar has been placed on the C14th. tiles. This chapel was further improved by raising the floor to that of the chancel in 1988-9. At the west end of the chapel is the font, the bowl and stem are Norman; nearby is a large sixteenth century tomb in Sussex marble but no inscription or effigy exists. You can see the oldest of the four floor brasses, dated 1467 for Thomas Elyot and his wife Alicia, on the south side of the chancel. Elyot was a filacer for Surrey and Sussex in the Court of the Kings Bench. He was a JP and a filacer's duty was to file writs.

Henry Elyot, his son, and his wife Johanna and their twentythree children, twelve sons and eleven daughters are commemorated in a floor brass, dated 1503, which can be seen on the north side of the chancel. With a family of that size, no wonder they moved to a large house in Busbridge leaving his father's old house, opposite the church, soon after he had inherited it in 1467. After the major destructions and changes in the church that took place during the period 1793-9, the question of more major changes and a threat of total demolition of the church was raised a hundred years later, at the opening of the 20th. century. This time however, further destruction was averted and a plan of careful restoration was submitted by Sir Charles Nicholson. He and the vicar, the Rev. A L Brown, ensured that this plan was pursued and all ideas of demolition dropped. Sir Charles remained architect to the church until his death in 1948.

The large east window and some of later date in the south west corner of the nave are by Archibald Nicholson, brother of architect - the robed bishop in one of these other windows is Bishop Suffragan of Guildford, John Randolph. The east window was commissioned 1915 by Lady Ria Ponsonby and her sister, in memory of their parents Colonel and Mrs E. Hegan Kennard of Great Tangley Manor. There are eight bells. Six old ones, three from 1552, three from 1727, all recast in 1958, and one from 1804 and two from 1958.

[SurreyGU5 0PG http://www.wonershchurch.org.uk/]


Wotton — St John the Evangelist

Although situated on a knoll rising from the valley at the foot of the North Downs, St. John's church was barely noticeable from the main road for many decades; it was screened from view by a number of magnificent elms. Around 1980 all that changed when all but two of the trees were felled, now this picturesque ancient church stands out for all to see. Its attraction to visitors can lead to disappointment when they discover that its doors are only open on Sundays in spring and summer, however key holders are usually nearby to help interested strangers. Twenty five years ago excavation around the church revealed traces of a pair of walls which date back to 1050. That building was destroyed by fire but immediately following the loss a small church with rubble walls was built on the site.

Previously thought to be Norman, St. John's since that excavation can claim Saxon origin and is now seen as one of the oldest churches in south-east England.

In the 11th century the tower was increased in height, the nave re-floored and a new extension added to the east end. Further changes in the building occurred in the 13th century when a lady chapel (The Evelyn chapel in later years) was added and the old chancel adapted to form the nave. The arch through to the oldest part of the building was blocked up and a single arched window inserted. The old nave was demolished and the walls levelled to the ground.

Not only the building makes a claim to antiquity, but the two 14th century bells, one is 30" across, are thought to be among the oldest surviving in Surrey, only Chaldon and Bisley have older bells. If John Evelyn, the celebrated 17thC philosopher and diarist were to enter St. John's today he would see a church very similar to the one he and his forbears knew so well.

St. John's association with the Evelyn family started in the late 16th century when George Evelyn became its Patron. The most well-known descendant, John, the diarist, horticulturist and friend of Kings James II and Charles II, was born at Wotton House in October 1620. It is believed he was baptised in a font (no longer in use) which is still to be seen in the Church today. He was taught to read at 4 years of age by the village schoolmaster in a small room over the porch of the church.

Evelyn's famous Diary includes many references to St. John's; on the 2nd January 1641 he attended his father's funeral there; during the Great Plague of London his family came to live in Wotton House with his elder brother and regularly attended the church. In 1694 he left his Deptford estate and came to live at Wotton House. He died there at 86 years of age in February 1706. His brother died in 1699. Since that generation of the Evelyn family the present chancel arch and walls were formed and a new east window replaced the old three lancet one. In 1856-8 a vestry was added as well as a door and two large windows in the south wall of the nave. The porch was rebuilt during the same period.

In the 20th century restoration work, as a memorial to those who died in World War II, was carried out. The tower and nave roof were restored in 1957/8 and a new reredos installed over the altar. The ancient oak screen beneath the Evelyn Chapel arch has an engraving "Ano Dmi 1632 MA5 G-H" probably signifying May 5 and George Higham, the rector at that time.

Some of the Elizabethan and Jacobean monuments in the chapel are worthy of study; these include that of George Evelyn (1603), John's grandfather and the first owner of the Wotton estates; he was married twice and had 25 children. The monument shows him with his two wives kneeling either side and the family below.

John Evelyn's father, Richard, has a monument featuring him with his wife and family of three sons and two daughters. Both these monuments are rare survivors of the desecration by Cromwell's forces. The two coffin-shaped floor monuments are of John Evelyn's wife Mary who survived her husband by just over two years and of the Diarist himself whose epitaph includes: There is one further Evelyn monument - John's sister Elizabeth who died in 1634 - and some floor slabs of other family members. The church plate too, bears the stamp of the Evelyns, among the 17th and 18th century pieces is a silver platen, the earliest of all the plate, it bears the Crest Arms of John Evelyn and is dated 1685.

Visitors to the church often fail to notice the south doorway, it is worth special attention, it features on the inner ring of stones eight small, delicate carvings. It has been suggested that the heads are of a Queen Lobelia, King John, the Rector of Wotton, a pilgrim, the Patron, a Papal Legate, Pope Innocent III and Archbishop Stephen Langton.

[Surrey RH5 6QQ https://www.wottonchurch.org/]


Surrey — St Martha on the Hill

If you could stand on top of the tallest spire in England (Salisbury Cathedral) this old church would still be perched over 160 feet above you. Set above Chilworth on a ridge of the Hogsback and the North Downs, St Martha's has a view over eight English counties. lt's a fair climb if you walk the steep side, from the car park in White Lane, Albury, but on the other side of the hill there is an access road for cars to bring you near.

Despite its remote location St. Martha's is open all the year on Saturdays between 2pm and 4pm (and later in summer) and Sundays from 10.30am -3.30pm. From April to September it is also open on Wednesdays from 2pm-5pm. It is well worth a visit to sit "on top of the world" in one of the thoughtfully provided benches after a church visit.

A Christian church been in this place for over a thousand years and before that Druids Circles from the Bronze Age on the southern side of the hill are evidence of pre- Christian worship here. Remains of the first Saxon church have long been lost but the foundations and some parts of walls and arches of the Norman church built in 1087 remain.

The Norman church suffered badly over the thousand years; various walls crumbled, and in the 17th century the west tower fell due it is thought to an explosion at the nearby gunpowder factory at Chilworth. The final straw was the collapse of the chancel roof in 1846.

The choice was between clearing up the remains or rebuilding. Fortunately the Lord of the Manor, Lord Lovaine decided on a rebuild. Work started in 1848, the architect was Henry Woodyear, who had just built his first Surrey church at Ash in 1847. Woodyear went on to become the most prolific church builder in the county. His design for the rebuilding job at St. Martha's was an impressive Norman style. He used as much as possible of the old church and used old materials to give the right effect. The walls are of dark carstone, a mixture of coarse sand and ironstone. The old Norman arch from the old tower is now situated over the west door.

Surprisingly the church can seat 110 people and is of a cruciform shape. At the crossing in the north transept people chapel are a fine collection of giant colour photographers by local people of the church and the surrounding area. This was part of St. Martha's Millennium project. Another project for the year 2000 can be seen on the north wall of the nave. It is in an unusual medium - blackthread - produced by the ladies of Tillingbourne WI and features pictures of the seven local churches below the hill.

If you look carefully on the southern side of the crossing on the pillar there, you will see a tablet in memory of a regular parishioner, just below the tablet is an original drawing by him. It is in memory of EH Shepard the and cartoonist who made his name illustrating children's books, most notably AA Milne's "Winnie the Poor" and Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows". Among some other interesting features of the church are the altar rail, designed by Edward Maufe (later Sir), the architect who won the design competition to build Guildford Cathedral in the mid 1930s, the 12th century font brought from Hambledon - the carving however, is mid-19th century, and the old Norman arch which was part of the old west tower - it now frames the west door. The oldest masonry visible dates from 1190 and that can be seen at the transepts and the crossing under the tower.

From about 1087 St. Martha's had its own rector but shortly after 1200 AD the parish came under the administration of the Augustian Canons of Newark Abbey, near Send. Various members of that community were in turn appointed to care for St. Martha's. Later the advowson was granted to the Priory of St. Thomas the Martyr at Aldebury (Newark at Ripley). Although granted to Newark, the dedication to St. Martha remained until 1463 when it became St. Martha the Virgin and all the Holy Martyrs. This old, official title had a connection with a martyrdom which took place here in about 600 AD, but who or why is unknown. The ancient road by the church, the Ridgeway, which runs along the ridge of the Hogsback and the Downs may be the oldest road in Britain, as most roads in ancient pre-Roman days stuck to ridges and heights to avoid the woods and swamps, and dangers that lurked in the valleys.

A major fund-raising campaign was held in recent years to amass sufficient money to save St. Martha's from closure and subsequent ruin. Hopefully it was successful and services will continue. A special service for the church's patron saint, St Martha of Bethany, sister of Mary and Lazurus, is held in the church each July, let us hope that future generations can come to worship and to visit here and enjoy its unique position in the Surrey Hills, 573 ft. above sea level.

[Surrey GU4 8PY https://www.parishofchilworth.org.uk/]


Introduction & Acknowledgements

The descriptions of local churches (within 9 miles of Leith Hill) here come from a pair of booklets written by Eric Burleton whilst editor of the Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News, and from articles in that publication. There follows his introduction from one of those booklets.

This booklet is one of a pair; both feature a series of articles on the brief history of local churches that appeared in Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News from October 2001 to September 2006. The other booklet like this one features 25 churches; this one covers those churches within a 6 miles radius of Leith Hill, Surrey's highest point, whereas its companion booklet cover those situated more than 6 miles (up to a 9 mile radius) of the same point. National Grid References are given for all churches.

I am indebted to numerous kind people who helped me when I visited their churches, and to those unknown authors of numerous church guides; without such help the work of searching for information would have been an enormous task and quite beyond my capability. Local literature, published books and other material on Surrey have proved invaluable cross-references in compiling these brief histories; I also acknowledge with gratitude the additional help from the following books: The Buildings of England - Surrey. Nairn & Pevsner (Penguin Books 1962; "A Picture of Surrey" (Robert Hale Ltd 1980); "Surrey Villages" Derek Pitt & Michael Shaw (Robert Hale Ltd 1971).

The line drawings of the churches are my own based on the photographs I took on my visits. These booklets could not have been printed and published without a sponsor; Abinger PCC and I wish to record our sincere thanks to Mr. Brian King, a resident of the parish, for his most generous support which has made it possible to put this booklet in your hands. Visiting churches is worth while, you will find peace and beauty amidst the whirl of life today.

Most churches are open on days other than Sundays, but should you find one closed the notice board usually gives the address of a nearby key holder. I am sure your visits will be as rewarding and interesting as mine were and that you will be encouraged to buy the other booklet (same price); in that one are: Alfold, Bromley, Gt. Bookhatn, Little Bookham, Buckland, Chilworth (St.Martha's), East Clandon, West Clandon, Dunsfold, Effingham, Fetcham, Hascombe, East Horsley, West Horsley, Itchingfield, Leatherhead, Merrow, Mickleham, Reigate, Rudgwiek, Shalford, Slinfold, Walton-on-the Hill, Warnham, and Wonersh.

ERIC BURLETON Editor, Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News. [2007]