Merwe and Merewe (xiii cent.); Merroe (xviii
Merrow is a village 2 miles east of Guildford. The
parish is bounded on the north-west by Worplesdon,
on the north-east by Send and Ripley, on the east by
West Clandon, on the south by Albury and St. Martha's,
on the west by Stoke. It measures about 1½ miles
from east to west, and 2 miles from north to south.
It contains 1,792 acres. The southern boundary of
the parish is on the ridge of the chalk down. It
extends northward over the Woolwich and Thanet
Beds to the London Clay. The village is just on
the lower border of the chalk.
Merrow Common is open roadside land, with many
trees upon it, in the northern part of the parish. The
Guildford and Cobham line of the London and SouthWestern Railway intersects it. Merrow Downs, to
the south, are a fine expanse of chalk down, partly
covered by trees and brushwood. Newlands Corner,
where the road from Albury passes up the down, is
famous for the view. St. Martha's, crowned by
the church, is to the right; the valley at the foot
of the chalk escarpment runs eastward with the spire
of Shere Church appearing among the trees. The
Leith Hill range is across the south-eastern horizon.
In front the rising ground of the sand, at a lower
level than the chalk, is backed by the woodlands of
the Weald, with the Sussex Downs beyond. Hindhead and Blackdown are to the south-west, Crooksbury Hill and the high ground near Farnham to the
Further north upon the downs the old Guildford
race-course can still be traced. The races used to take
place on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after
Whitsunday. William III gave a King's Plate of
100 guineas, which, having apparently lapsed under
Queen Anne, was renewed by King George I. The
races used to fill Guildford with a crowd of visitors,
but the growth of Epsom and establishment of Ascot,
near the same time, diminished this popularity. The
Plate, however, was given as a Queen's Plate in
Queen Victoria's reign. The grand stand was taken
down more than sixty years ago, and the last meeting
was held in 1870.
At a very early period Merrow was clearly an
inhabited place. Neolithic flints are not uncommon. There is one large round barrow, or
possibly two barrows, rifled, at Newlands Corner.
In the valley in the downs, called Walnut Tree
Bottom, are earthbanks and a barrow opened by
General Pitt-Rivers, in which a sepulchral urn was
found. Near here the remains of an extensive cemetery with Roman-British urns was found in 1895.
Unfortunately much of the find was lost or destroyed
before being notified. (fn. 1) The main road in the
county, east to west, ran along the downs, and the
road from Guildford to Epsom runs through Merrow
Of existing houses the inn near the church, 'The
Horse and Groom,' is much the most curious. The
newel staircase and the interior suggest a date as old
as the 15th century. There is some old panelling,
and the exterior bears the date 1615. A great part
of Clandon Park is in Merrow parish. Among
modern houses Levylsdene is the residence of Sir
C. H. Stuart Rich, bart.; Woodlands, of Mr. James
Cholmeley-Russel; Merrow House was the seat of
the late Miss Thrupp.
There is a Congregational chapel, built in 1876.
The National School was built in 1853 and enlarged
in 1886; the Infants' School in New Down Road
was built in 1884 and enlarged in 1896.
There is no mention of MERROW
(Merwe, xiii cent.) in Domesday Book;
probably it formed part of Stoke at that
date, since both were royal demesne. Henry II
granted part of his demesne land at Merrow to
William de St. John, (fn. 2) who granted it to Walter
son of Ingard for one knight's fee. Walter had two
daughters, of whom the elder married Roger Craft
and had half the land which at the time of the
Testa de Nevill was held by Roger the heir of Roger
Craft. (fn. 3) The other daughter and co-heiress died
young, and her land was granted to William de
Feogières, who afterwards forfeited it to Richard I. (fn. 4)
John granted it to William de Leycester, (fn. 5) whose
holding in Merrow was assessed early in the 13th
century at £4. (fn. 6)
Merrow was thus divided into three portions, in the
hands of the king, William de Leycester, and Roger
Craft respectively; the overlordship of the second had
apparently passed to the priory
of Boxgrove by successive
grants of the St. Johns. Roger
Craft granted his portion to
the Templars in 1241. (fn. 7) By
charter (c. 1250–60) Henry III
confirmed Boxgrove and the
Templars in possession, and
granted the royal third to
the Benedictire Priory of
nuns of Ivinghce in Buckinghamshire, with the advowson. (fn. 8) The grant was confirmed by Edward I. (fn. 9)
The Templare. Argent a cross gules and a chief sable.
The first grant of land in Merrow to the priory
of Boxgrove in Sussex was made apparently in the
time of Henry II, when William de St. John gave
half a virgate of land for the sustenance of fifteen
monks. (fn. 10) It should be noted that the family of
St. John was connected by ties of marriage with the
de Haia family who founded Boxgrove Priory. (fn. 11) In
the time of Richard I Simon de Seynluz granted
property in Merrow, which he had acquired of the
gift of William de St. John, to Boxgrove; (fn. 12) it
comprised four messuages, six tofts, one carucate
of land, 30 acres of pasture, 10 acres of wood, and
Cravenhurst in Merrow was held by Elgar de
Utterworth (in Cranleigh) in 1285, (fn. 13) and Lucia de
Say gave 17s. a year out of Cravenhurst in Merrow to
the Templars. (fn. 14) The fortunes
of Cravenhurst are otherwise
The Hospitallers. Gules a cross argent.
After the dissolution of the
Templars, their lands passed
to the Hospitallers. All three
manors in Merrow were thus
ecclesiastical property, and after
the Dissolution they all seem
to have been acquired by the
Westons of Sutton. Henry
VIII granted a lease of the
Hospitallers' Manor (TEMPLE
COURT) for sixty years to Sir Richard Weston. (fn. 15)
Queen Mary restored the Hospitallers, and resumed
this manor, which she granted to Sir Thomas
Tresham, the prior, and the order in 1557. (fn. 16) The
order was again dissolved on the accession of Elizabeth,
and the manor was re-granted to Sir Henry Weston
of Sutton in 1559. (fn. 17) In 1564 he was granted the
Boxgrove manor, (fn. 18) and in 1582 he presented to the
living. The rectory manor, which had been in the
hands of the nuns of Ivinghoe, had therefore come to
him probably by purchase from Sir John Daunce (fn. 19)
(or Dauncey), for the latter presented to the rectory
in 1561 and 1562. (fn. 20) It does not seem quite certain
however whether the land (fn. 21) in Merrow belonging to
the priory had not already been amalgamated with
the rest of the property. At any rate Sir Henry
Weston died in 1593 seised of Merrow, Temple
Court, and Boxgrove. (fn. 22) Sir Richard Weston, his
grandson, the famous agriculturist and canalizer of
the Wey, recusant and delinquent in the Civil War,
sold Temple House, but not the manor, to Sir
Richard Onslow in 1642. His son John sold the
Boxgrove part to George Duncombe of Weston in
Albury (q.v.). It passed through his family to the
Steeres and to the Chatfields, finally rejoining the rest
in the hands of Lord Onslow. (fn. 23)
The church of ST. JOHN THE
EVANGELIST consists of a chancel
18 ft. 5 in. by 16 ft., with north and south
chapels each 19 ft. 5 in. by 14 ft., a nave 40 ft. 3 in.
by 19 ft. 10 in., with north and south aisles 13 ft. 2 in.
wide, and a west tower 11 ft. 5 in. square. There is
also a north porch.
The church is almost entirely modern, having been
rebuilt in 1842 with the exception of the south arcade
and the south chapel. There are, however, a few
remains of a 12th-century building, which have been
re-used. Probably the church of this date consisted
merely of a chancel and nave, to which were added
at the beginning of the 13th century a south aisle and
chapel; the arcade of this aisle still stands, and apparently
part of the walls of the chapel. Owing to the rebuilding
nothing of the later history of the church can be traced.
In Cracklow's time it consisted of chancel with south
chapel, nave with south aisle, and west tower and spire.
He notes a repair in 1665. In 1881 the north aisle
was added and further restoration was done.
The modern parts of the building are chiefly in
14th-century style with traceried windows, but those in
the south and east walls of the south aisle are of 13th-century design.
Beneath the east window of the north chapel are
built in two short 12th-century shafts with ornamental
scalloped capitals, one having a scalloped base and the
other a moulded one. At present they form the sides
of a recess, which contains a wooden cupboard.
The only other 12th-century work is the semicircular arch of the north doorway, which has an edge
roll and zigzag ornament on both sides of the order.
The chamfered label is also old. The modern jambs
have shafts with moulded bases and scalloped capitals.
The south arcade of the nave is of three bays with
circular columns having moulded bases and capitals, and
the arches are semicircular with two chamfered orders
and grooved and chamfered labels on each side.
The arch at the east end of the south aisle is apparently contemporary with the south arcade, and is twocentred and of two splayed orders with a chamfered
label on the west face. The jambs are of the same
section as the arch, but are either recut or modern;
on the east side of the arch are traces of painting.
The inner jambs of the lancet windows in the south
chapel are apparently old, and below the sill of the
south-east lancet is a piscina or aumbry, but only the
upper part shows above the pews.
The walls throughout are of flint with stone dressings, and the roofs, which are of modern open timber
construction, are covered with tiles.
The tower has an octagonal shingled spire.
The north porch is roofed with Horsham slabs and
has a fine 15th-century barge-board enriched with a
series of trefoils. There are six bells; the first
was cast by Bryan Eldridge in 1650, the second by
Richard Eldridge, and the third, which is badly
cracked, is inscribed ' Johannes est nomen eius.'
The three others were added in 1897 as a Jubilee
The oldest piece of plate is a paten dated 1683 and
having the initials of the maker, R.P., but there is no
hall-mark. Besides this there are a cup, paten, and
flagon of 1842 and an elaborate altar cross set with
amethysts, given in 1886 in memory of Viscount
Cranley and Katherine his wife, by their children.
There are three books of registers, the first being
dated 1536, but there are no entries earlier than 1544,
at which date the baptisms and burials begin, the
former continuing fairly regularly until 1643 and the
latter to 1645, and following this are marriages from
1541 to 1636. The latter half of the book contains
very irregular entries of baptisms, marriages, and burials
from 1643 to 1731. The second book contains marriages from 1754 to 1812, and the third has baptisms
from 1754 and burials from 1753, both to 1812.
The first mention of Merrow
Church seems to be in 1208, when it
was said to be in the gift of the king. (fn. 24)
In 1233 Henry III granted it to the Prioress and nuns
of St. Margaret Ivinghoe, (fn. 25) who retained it (fn. 26) until the
Dissolution. It was granted with the other Ivinghoe
lands to Sir John Daunce (see above), Sir Henry
Knevitt presented in 1574 and 1577, but by 1582 it
was in the possession of Sir Henry Weston. (fn. 27) In
1642 Sir Richard Weston conveyed it to Richard
Onslow, (fn. 28) in whose family it has since remained.
Smith's Charity is distributed as in
other Surrey parishes. A donor, unknown, gave £30, the interest to go
to the poor.
In 1776 Lord Onslow made an agreement with the
parish by which he inclosed 19 acres of Merrow
Common in Clandon Park, and gave the parish a
house for a poor-house. In 1786 two families lived
here rent free, and a third paid a small rent which
was given to the poor-rate. (fn. 29)