A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Leodride (x cent.); Leret (xi cent.); Lereda, Lerred (xii cent.); Ledred and Leddered (xiii cent.); Ledered alias Letherhed (xv cent.); Lethered and Letherhed (xvii and xviii cents.); Leatherhead (xix cent.).
Letherhead is a small town or large village 4 miles south-west of Epsom and 5 miles north of Dorking. The parish measures 4 miles from north-west to south-east, from 2 to 1½ miles across, and contains 3,481 acres. It lies across the Mole valley, and is traversed by the river in its southern part. The south-eastern part is on the chalk downs; the village is at the foot of the Chalk and partly on the Thanet and Woolwich Beds, and the parish extends northwards on to the London Clay. The immediate valley of the river is alluvium. The clay rises at the northern extremity of the parish into an open common, with some wood on it, called Letherhead Common. The open grass-land on the downs has been partly inclosed, but there is still some on Letherhead Downs. The yew grows thickly on the chalk downs about Cherkley Court.
The village consisted originally of one long street, with a cross-street running down to the bridge over the Mole, but building has recently been extended in several directions, especially to the north and east. It is governed by an Urban District Council, under the Act of 1894, and is supplied with gas by a company started in 1850 and incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1901, and with water by a company formed in 1883, the wells of which are in Fetcham. There are a brewery and brick and tile works; the parish is otherwise agricultural. The main road from London to Horsham, through Epsom and Dorking, traverses the main street. The London and South Western Railway line from Wimbledon and Worcester Park had a terminus in Letherhead, opened in 1859. It had been intended to take this line on to Dorking, but it was never done by the original company. In 1867 the through-route by Epsom, Dorking, and Horsham to Portsmouth was completed by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company using part of the South Western line, but with a separate station at Letherhead. This route had been originally surveyed for the first line to Brighton, which was to have gone through Shoreham Gap in the South Downs, but this plan was defeated chiefly through the exertions of Letherhead people and a Parliamentary counsel whose father lived at Thorncroft. (fn. 1) The South Western Railway line was continued to Guildford in 1887.
Neolithic flints have been found on Letherhead Downs, and British coins have also been found. (fn. 2) The Anglo-Saxon remains found at Fetcham (q.v.) lay close to Letherhead parish. Near Pachevesham, not far from the Mole, in a wood by the side of a small stream is a rectangular inclosure of a single bank and ditch measuring about 80 yds. by 75 yds. At the nearest point of the Mole to this work there is a ford, by the side of Randall's Park. Stone 'pot-boilers' are said to have been picked up in the square inclosure, (fn. 3) and the ordnance map records that Roman coins were found in the field south-west of it in 1859. Fragments of Roman tile are not at all uncommon in that and the adjoining field, and Pachevesham, now only a farm-house, gave its name to the Domesday manor, indicating that the chief settlement of the neighbourhood had been here by the road leading to the ford.
Part of the south-east of the parish is traversed by the Roman or British track across the downs, described under Mickleham, and near it on Letherhead Downs are two barrows, of which one to the west of the road is in good condition. The other has been opened. The ordnance map marks three tumuli east of the road, but this is the only one visible now.
Historically, Letherhead has claimed consideration as the old county town, but it is doubtful whether the County Court was ever held there continuously. In 1259 a complaint was made that the County Court was held at Guildford instead of at Letherhead, 'Comitatus qui semper solebat teneri apud Leddrede.' (fn. 4) But it may be remarked that the mediaeval semper is a loose term, and it is quite certain that in 1195 the king's justices had sat at Guildford, not Letherhead, and in 1202 Guildford Castle was the county gaol.
Letherhead was quite possibly the meeting-place of the Hundred Court of Copthorne. (fn. 5) It is also geographically near the centre of the county, and a convenient place for the meetings of influential people in Surrey, as in 1642 on the eve of the Civil Wars, (fn. 6) and in 1685 for a county election, though Evelyn seems rather to complain of the election being held at an obscure place. (fn. 7)
A character famous at least in literary history lived at Letherhead, Eleanor Rummyng, celebrated by Skelton, poet-laureate to Henry VIII, in the poem called The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummynge. Her traditionary inn is now called 'The Running Horse,' and is near the bridge. Part of the fabric is as old as the 16th century, and there is no reason to doubt that the brewster was a real woman. The name Rumming occurs in the Lay Subsidy assessments in the neighbourhood, and is in the parish registers as late as 1669. A John Skelton was assessed in Kingston in 1524–5, but the poet was in orders, so this is probably not the same man.
Letherhead Bridge is carried on fourteen arches, with stone piers and brick parapets, over a wide part of the Mole, where formerly there was a ford. According to a common practice, the bridge used to be closed by a bar except in flood time, when the ford was dangerous. In 1362 a licence was granted to collect money for the repair of a bridge here. (fn. 8) An unknown benefactor left land in Fetcham for its repair, but in 1782 an Act was passed (fn. 9) making it a county bridge, providing for its widening, and for the sale of the land given for its maintenance. As it is said to have been let at the time for 18s. a year, (fn. 10) the parishes of Letherhead and Fetcham, in which the bridge lies, must have really kept it up.
Letherhead had a large common on the downs, common fields on the slope of the chalk, a common meadow by the river, a common called Letherhead Common, which still exists, and is mentioned above, and a common on the manor of Thorncroft. Under an Act of 1859 the common fields were inclosed: the date of the award was 20 November 1862; and the commons were inclosed by an award of 4 May 1865. (fn. 11) The common fields were among the last extensive common fields in the county.
There are a large number of gentlemen's houses in the parish besides those belonging to the old manors. Gravel Hill is the seat of Admiral Booth; Cherkley Court was that of the late Mr. A. Dixon; The Priory is that of Mr. A. H. Tritton, J.P.; Pachesham Park, of Mr. F. C. Ramsey; Wrydelands, of Mr. S. Le Blanc Smith; Givons, formerly Gibbon's Grove, of Mr. H. P. Sturgis. Letherhead Court, at the western extremity of the parish, is a large ladies'-school, kept by Miss Tullis.
St. John's School, Letherhead, was established first in St. John's Wood in 1852, and after being held at Clapton from 1858 to 1872, was moved to Letherhead. It provides a gratuitous education to a certain number of sons of clergy of the Church of England, receives clergymen's sons beyond the number of foundationers on low terms, and admits other boys also. The foundation depends upon voluntary support. It is carried on as a first-class public school. The head master is the Rev. E. A. Downes, University College, Oxford. The buildings, begun in 1872, and added to in 1890 and 1894, are in 16thcentury style in brick with stone dressing. There is a handsome chapel.
The School for the Blind, Highlands Road, was founded in St. George's Fields, 1799, incorporated by royal charter in 1826, and removed to Letherhead in 1902. The first stone of the new buildings was laid by H.R.H. the Princess Christian.
The Literary and Scientific Institute was given by the late Mr. Abraham Dixon, of Cherkley Court, in 1892.
All Saints' chapel of ease, on the Kingston Road, was built in 1889 by the late Sir Arthur Blomfield.
There is a Wesleyan chapel and hall, a Baptist chapel, and a Congregational chapel, which was built in 1844, but represents an older congregation.
The Victoria Memorial Cottage Hospital was built in 1903.
Mr. John Lucas, by will, endowed a school with £500 in 1797. The Highlands Road School (National) was built by subscription in 1837–8. It is now used as the boys' school. The girls' school in Poplar Road was built in 1883. Fairfield Road (infants) is on a site given to the vicar and churchwardens by Mr. John Henderson of Randalls Park; and All Saints', Kingston Road (infants), was built when the chapel of ease was built. The schools were regulated under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners in 1873.
The earliest mention of Letherhead occurs in the will of King Alfred, who bequeathed land at 'Leodrian' to his son Edward, (fn. 12) but it is uncertain with which part of the Letherhead land mentioned in Domesday this is connected.
The Bishop of Bayeux was overlord of the manor of PACHESHAM, later called MAGNA PACHEVESHAM, in Letherhead, at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 13) Hugh held Pachevesham under the bishop. His holding was that which had belonged to Ælmer under the Confessor. (fn. 14) A certain Baingiard also held part of Pachevesham, that which Ælmer had held of King Harold. Both owned moieties of mills. (fn. 15) Subsequently (probably when Odo's lands were forfeited to William II) Pachevesham came into the king's hands. In 1203 King John granted 60 solidates and 2 denariates of land in Letherhead to Brian de Therfield for rent of a sparrowhawk. (fn. 16) In the reign of Henry III the royal estate seems to have been held for three serjeanties. William Frankelen then held certain land by finding a hall for the county court, then held in Letherhead. Walter le Hore held land by finding a prison for prisoners taken at the sheriff's tourn, and William de Oxencroft (fn. 17) held his land by finding a pound for cattle taken for the king's debt. (fn. 18) The whole of the land held by the serjeanties and the sparrowhawk passed to Walter de Thorp. (fn. 19) He subinfeudated to Eustace de Hacche, who held the manor in 1292–3, (fn. 20) when he was accused before the justices itinerant of seizing upon horses and carts that did not belong to him in Kingston marketplace, for carrying timber to his 'manor of Pachevesham.' (fn. 21) He made a warren in Pachevesham. (fn. 22) He also appears to have acquired a rent (fn. 23) of 10s. which King Richard granted to William d'Eyo, (fn. 24) afterwards held by Eustace d'Eyo (fn. 25) and Matthew Besill. (fn. 26)
The next lord of Pachevesham of whom there seems to be any record was the favourite of Edward II —Piers Gaveston. To him free warren in his lands in Pachevesham was granted by Edward in the year he came to the throne. On Gaveston's marriage with Margaret sister of the Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 27) two years later, the king confirmed Gaveston's grant of Pachevesham to Robert Darcy and Joan his wife. (fn. 28) Charters of Edward III gave to Darcy free warren, (fn. 29) view of frankpledge, (fn. 30) a weekly market on Fridays, and a yearly fair upon the festival of St. Peter ad Vincula at Letherhead. (fn. 31) Dying in 1343, Robert Darcy left a daughter Margaret, (fn. 32) who married Sir John Argentine or Argentham, (fn. 33) who held the manor in 1347. (fn. 34) He died in 1382–3, (fn. 35) leaving three coheirs, two grandchildren, and his daughter Maud, the wife of Sir Ivo Fitz Warin, kt., who held the manor in his wife's right until his death in 1414. (fn. 36) They left a daughter Eleanor, who had married John Chideok. (fn. 37) She presumably alienated the manor, since William Massey (fn. 38) seems to have been lord of Pachevesham in 1420, and Eleanor Chideok did not die till 1433. (fn. 39)
Possibly William Massey left co-heirs, for it seems that John Bacon and Reginald Rakett owned, in right of their wives, Dorothy and Joan, three parts of the manor of Magna Pachevesham in 1538, which they conveyed by fine to Thomas Stydolf, who left it in 1545 to his son John. (fn. 40) There exists an account of the boundaries of part of the manor at this time. (fn. 41) The lane called 'Bygnallane,' the regia via from Great Bockham to Kingston, appears to have formed a boundary. This is the road that runs from Bookham, over Hawks Hill, through Letherhead, and on to Kingston. Probably the Letherhead part of the road was 'Bygnallane.' Following the same boundaries that divided the parishes of Letherhead and Stoke d'Abernon, the manor stretched to places named 'Page Grene,' 'Charlewood Corner,' 'Hornshyll,' and 'Ravennest,' and so to where the ditch divided Pachevesham Common from the common of Chessington. It crossed the old highway from Dorking to Kingston, reaching Ashtead Common and 'Asshested Crosse,' and so on to the ditch which severed Pachevesham Common from that of Thorncroft, another Letherhead manor. Thence it stretched to a bridge named 'Woodbrydge,' and so by copses to 'Bygnallane' again. By this it seems that the manor comprised all the northern part of Letherhead parish, but did not extend south of the village.
Stydolf having three parts of the manor, there remained a fourth part, which was acquired by John Agmondesham from the heirs of Joan wife of Sir Robert Fynes, probably one of the co-heirs of Massey. (fn. 42) His son John Agmondesham, who died in 1519, was described as holding the fourth of the manor which had descended to him from his father. (fn. 43)
The heir of the younger John Agmondesham was his son Edward, a child of seven years, (fn. 44) who, later, died childless, so that his sisters became his co-heirs, one of whom, Jane, who had married Thomas Sandes, died in 1557 (fn. 45) possessed of a third of the fourth part of the manor, which descended to her son Robert. (fn. 46) Another of the coheirs was probably Mary wife of William Husee, who alienated in 1570 another third of the fourth part of the manor to Sir John Godwyn; (fn. 47) he, in 1572, alienated it to Robert Sandes, who thus became possessed of two thirds of the fourth. (fn. 48)
The remaining third of the fourth part had become the property of the Herberts, for in 1561 William and Matthew Herbert alienated it to John Stydolf, (fn. 49) who thus held the three parts (which had descended to him from his father), and a third of the remaining fourth part of the manor. His son Thomas Stydolf acquiring from Robert Sandes in 1586 the remaining two thirds of the fourth part, (fn. 50) the whole manor became the property of the Stydolfs. The descent of Pachevesham Magna then is identical with that of Mickleham and Norbury, the neighbouring manors of the Stydolf family. (fn. 51) In the reign of Anne it was the property of Sir Richard Stydolf's grandson, James Tryon, who devised the manor to his nephew Charles Tryon.
According to Manning and Bray, Mr. Tryon sold the estate to Anthony Chapman in 1766, who sold it in 1773 to Benjamin Bond Hopkins. Of him Henry Boulton of Thorncroft bought it in 1781. (fn. 52) Mr. Robert Ladbroke bought it from Mr. Henry Crab Boulton's trustees after 1828, according to Brayley; (fn. 53) but Mr. Richard Boulton, his son, was lord in 1833. (fn. 54) Mr. Felix Ladbroke, son of Robert, sold the manor in 1857 to Mr. Robert Henderson; his son, Mr. John Henderson, is the present lord of the manor, which is now amalgamated with Parva Pachevesham.
PARVA PACHEVESHAM or RANDALLS
PARVA PACHEVESHAM or RANDALLS.— The origin of the estate called Randalls seems to be found in the hide and virgate which Randulf held of Bishop Odo in 1086. (fn. 55) The name of Randulf still remained in connexion with Letherhead in the reign of Edward III. John Randulf seems to have possessed a several fishery and land in Letherhead. (fn. 56) William Randulf later in the same reign owned two mills and lands in Letherhead and Fetcham, (fn. 57) and in the reign of Henry V Nicholas Randolf, who in Fuller's Worthies is described as J.P., was holding land there. (fn. 58) The holding of the Randulfs is never described as a manor, although they must have been persons of some importance, as John Randulf 'of Packlesham' had licence for an oratory in his mansion at Letherhead. (fn. 59) Their lands became amalgamated with another estate called Parva Pachevesham, being represented by the messuage and property within the manor known as Randalls. Parva Pachevesham was evidently formed from a manor of Letherhead which was held with Fetcham (q.v.) by the d'Abernons. John d'Abernon, in 1331, claimed that he and his ancestors had enjoyed from time immemorial the right to a pillory in Letherhead, which pillory Robert Darcy (lord of Magna Pachevesham) had broken down. (fn. 60) Robert Darcy declared that the pillory had been set up in his ground. (fn. 61) Sir Edmund Bray, heir of the d'Abernons, held this manor in 1538, (fn. 62) and it descended to Frances Lyfield, sister of John, Lord Bray. (fn. 63) After this it became amalgamated with Fetcham. (fn. 64) Of this manor John Agmondesham held lands at his death in 1509 (fn. 65) which in the inquisition on Jane Sandes, one of the co-heirs of John Agmondesham, are called Patesham, or Pachevesham Parva. (fn. 66) Jane Sandes's third part descended to her son Robert. (fn. 67) Another third was owned by William or Matthew Herbert, who sold it in 1561 to John Stydolf (fn. 68) of Magna Pachevesham. By William Husee, who was evidently the husband of another of the co-heirs, the remaining third was granted to Sir John Godwyn, who alienated it in 1571 to Robert Sandes. (fn. 69) John Stydolf's third descended to his son Thomas. (fn. 70) According to Manning and Bray he alienated it to Robert Sandes, but according to the inquisition taken at his death he died in possession of it. (fn. 71) However, alienated it evidently was at some time, for John son of Robert Sandes held the whole manor, which included the capital messuage called Randalls in Letherhead. (fn. 72) The manor descended to his son and grandson, Thomas and John Sandes, (fn. 73) the latter of whom, with his wife Elizabeth, conveyed the manor of Parva Pachevesham or Randalls by fine in 1700 to Arthur Moore, (fn. 74) whose widow Theophila and son William sold to the Hon. Thomas Pagett in 1736. (fn. 75) By Caroline daughter of Thomas Pagett and her husband Sir Nicholas Bayly in 1753 Parva Pachevesham was sold to George Lord Carpenter, Earl of Tyrconnel, (fn. 76) whose son conveyed to Lewis Montolieu in 1788. (fn. 77) He sold it in 1792 to Henry Casmajor, who conveyed the mansion house in 1795 to Thomas Kingscote, from whom it passed by sale in 1802 to Sir John Coghill. (fn. 78) In 1812 Sir John sold to Nathaniel Bland, who in 1829 pulled down the old house, which was a timbered one close to the river, and built the present house called Randalls Park on a new site. Rather before this the road leading to the ford across the Mole and to Fetcham had been diverted to the westward, but still crosses the river at the old ford. (fn. 79) The manor was bought in 1856 from Bland's trustees by Mr. Robert Henderson, whose son, Mr. John Henderson, is now lord of the manor.
THORNCROFT, a manor in Letherhead, formed part of the lands of Richard de Tonbridge, lord of Clare. (fn. 80) Of the honour of Clare the manor was continuously held. (fn. 81) Jordan son of Amfred held half a virgate in Letherhead in the reign of Henry III. (fn. 82) This half-virgate William le Moine in 1226 claimed against Henry son of Jordan, (fn. 83) and in 1228 William Monk or le Moine quitclaimed his right in a virgate of land in Letherhead to John de Chereburg or Cheleburg, (fn. 84) who according to the Testa de Nevill held half a knight's fee there of the honour of Clare. He alienated all his Letherhead property to Sir Philip Basset and the Lady Ela his wife, Countess of Warwick. (fn. 85) The countess and Sir Philip in 1267 granted two carucates of land in Letherhead to Walter de Merton for the support of the house of his scholars at Oxford. (fn. 86) Merton College, Oxford, still holds the manor. (fn. 87) Sir Thomas Bludder (vide Reigate) lived there, also Mr. Henry Crab Boulton (vide Headley), who rebuilt the house in 1772. It was occupied in the 19th century by Colonel Drinkwater Bethune, author of The Siege of Gibraltar.
MYNCHIN.—In 1195 Ailric of Leddrede claimed and obtained half a hide of land in Letherhead against his brother Baldwin. (fn. 88) Baldwin's son, however, seems to have owned it later, if this was the same half-hide that William the son of Baldwin granted to Ralph de Bradele in 1248. (fn. 89) Whether or not this was the land which was shortly afterwards in the possession of the Apperdele family cannot be ascertained. The Apperdeles held land in Letherhead at the end of the reign of Henry III when Henry de Apperdele claimed against William de Apperdele and Maud his wife various parcels of land in Letherhead which he declared he had given to them when he was 'non compos mentis, et extra se et extra mentem suam.' He also thought that the Prior of Holy Cross, Reigate, ought not to retain the 26 acres in Letherhead which Alexander, Henry's son, had given him, because he (Henry) had given them to Alexander when he was mentally unbalanced, and that gifts made at such a time were quite invalid. The other parties, however, said that Henry had not been out of his mind at the time, and had himself afterwards ratified his son's grant to the prior, and five years after his grant to William had further assured the same to him. The jury not inclining to the excuse of mental aberration sent Henry to prison. (fn. 90)
Roger de Apperdele in the 14th century founded a chantry in Letherhead Church, (fn. 91) and in 1365 granted a messuage, 30 acres of land, 8 acres of meadow, and 13s. 4d. rent in Letherhead to the Prior and convent of Kilburn. (fn. 92) Roger de Apperdele held some of his land of Sir John Argentine as of his manor of Pachevesham and some of Merton Priory. (fn. 93) Part of the land given to the prioress seems to have been rather poor ground: some of the pasture was too stony to be sown, and some lay in so dry a place that it could only be mown in a wet season. (fn. 94) This lay in the north of the parish bordering on Letherhead Common, which is poor land; other Apperdele land was between the river and the Dorking road, now called Aprils. (fn. 95) The property remained with Kilburn until its dissolution, when it was granted under the name of the manor (fn. 96) of Minchen to Thomas Stydolf, and then followed the descent of Pachevesham (fn. 97) and the other Stydolf property.
The priory of Merton had an estate in Letherhead which in the 16th century is called the manor of PAKENHAM. In 1535 the possessions of the monastery in Pachevesham were valued at 20s. (fn. 98) In 1579 'the lordship and manor of Pakenham in Letherhead, late part of the possessions of the monastery of Merton,' was granted to Edmund Downing and John Walker and their heirs. (fn. 99) There seems to be no further trace of this manor.
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of a chancel 48 ft. by 16 ft., north transept 30 ft. 5 in. by 16 ft. 4 in., south transept 17ft. 8 in. by 13 ft. 2 in., nave 54 ft. 2 in. long on its north side by 23 ft. 9 in., north aisle 9 ft. 5 in. wide, north porch, south aisle 10 ft. 7 in. wide, and a west tower 17 ft. 9 in. wide by 12 ft. 10 in. deep; all these measurements are internal.
The plan of the nave, apart from the interruption caused by the irregular setting of the tower, is doubtless of the 12th century, as the early 13th-century arches of the arcades are clearly pierced in an older wall, which was leaning outwards, especially on the south side, at the time. To counteract this lean the inner order of the south arcade is built as nearly vertically as the conditions allow, while the outer order has of necessity to follow the line of the wall above, giving a curious twisted effect to the arches. That this is not a late alteration is shown by the fact that it occurs in the western arch of the arcade, which is partly buried in the west tower, an addition of c. 1500; it is of course possible that it may have been done between the 13th and the 16th century, but it is perhaps more likely to be an original expedient. The north arcade is of somewhat earlier character than the south, dating from the opening years of the 13th century, and was originally of three bays only. It does not, however, seem likely that the nave was any shorter at the time of its building than when the south arcade was set up. In the first half of the 14th century the church was considerably enlarged on the east, the old chancel giving place to a larger one flanked by transepts on the north-west and south-west, and with a north-east vestry, its axis being deflected northward from that of the nave. It is to be noted that the east wall of the nave is not at right angles to the north and south arcades, but this may be due to an irregularity in the original setting out. The transepts also are not of equal width with each other, and while the north transept is set at right angles with the chancel, the south transept follows rather the lines of the nave. There is also a break in the chancel wall near its junction with this transept, and while it is clear that the chancel and north transept are of one build, it is quite possible that the plan of the south transept is of earlier date. There may, indeed, have been a church here in the 12th century of the same kind of plan as Charlwood, with a tower between nave and chancel, and the thickness of the existing east wall of the nave points in this direction. The south transept may have been added to this tower before the 14th-century alterations, and preserved its plan, though apparently rebuilt with the rest of the eastern parts of the church. Manning and Bray record that when Leeds Priory obtained the advowson of the church in 1346 they rebuilt the tower, transepts, and chancel; the chancel looks some twenty years earlier than this date, but 'restorations' may account for this. The existing tower is of much later date.
The aisles of the nave seem to have been widened in the 15th century, being made equal in width to the transepts, and the west tower belongs to the end of this century or the early years of the next. Its oblong plan and the violent angle at which it is set to the nave are evidently due to the necessity of preserving space for a procession path round the churchyard, the boundary of which comes close to the west end of the church, and the builders did not hesitate to cut into the west bay of the south arcade in order to effect their purpose; the west respond of the arcade is to be seen on the west side of the south-east buttress of the tower, in which it is partly buried.
A general repair was carried out in 1701–2, and in later times a great deal of restoration work to the windows and external stonework, so that the only windows retaining their original external stone are one of the 15th century in the north aisle, and a later one in the porch. The tower was plastered over in 1766, but has been stripped and the flintwork pointed; the north transept has been lengthened to take an organ, and other work has been done to the roofs, &c.
The east window of the chancel is a modern one of three cinquefoiled lights under a pointed head with net tracery. In the north wall are two windows with modern tracery of two cinquefoiled lights, and 14th-century jambs and rear arches; in the south wall are two similar windows, the western of which is entirely modern, while the other has old jambs. At the north-east of the chancel there has been a contemporary vestry, 8 ft. square, the blocked doorway of which remains. It seems to have been of two stories, and a shallow cupboard recess remains in the outer face of the chancel wall at some height from the ground. A wide arched recess on the inner face of the wall, now much modernized, has served as a cupboard and probably as an Easter sepulchre. Two pieces of dog-tooth ornament are built into the wall above the site of the destroyed vestry. In the south wall of the chancel are a modern trefoiled piscina and three sedilia with marble shafts.
A scroll-moulded string-course runs round the chancel below the windows, much repaired, but some of the original work remains. In the north-west corner is cut a double squint from the transept at a very acute angle; it has two openings separated by a mullion towards the chancel, and the eastern opening commands the site of the high altar, while the other gives a view of the sedilia. There are no arches across the openings to the transepts, but they were doubtless inclosed by screens in former times. The north transept has an inserted 15th-century east window of three lights under a traceried head, the tracery and outer stonework being modern, while the inner jambs and hollow-chamfered rear arch are old; between it and the squint is a small square recess with chamfered edges, and north and south of the window, but below the level of its sill, are plain chamfered image-brackets. The modern extension of the transept is used as a vestry.
The south transept has a modern east window of three lights resembling that of the chancel, and a south window of four lights with a four-centred head and moulded label, also modern; and there are 14th-century arches opening to the aisles from both transepts, each of two wave-moulded orders. The chancel arch is of 13th-century date, with two moulded orders and a string at the springing, the chamfers of the western jambs being stopped below the string with a pretty shell ornament; the wall is very thick and probably older than the arch, but the ashlar courses on its west face run through from the arch to the respond of the south arcade of the nave at the level of its capital; the broken courses below are probably due to the former existence here of a recess behind the south nave altar. To the north of the chancel arch the facing ranges neither with the jambs of the arch nor with those of the north arcade, but appears to be of later date than the latter, against which it ends with a straight joint. Above the springing level of the chancel are shallow arched recesses to the north and south, now apparently quite modern, but perhaps representing entrances to the rood-loft. They now contain painted figures of our Lady and the Angel of the Annunciation.
The north arcade of the nave has four bays, the western bay being modern, cut through a wall which was previously blank. The other three bays are early 13th-century work, the east and west responds being semi-octagonal with moulded bases and capitals, while the first pillar is round with a moulded base, and a capital enriched with a line of beautiful trefoil foliage; the second pillar is octagonal and has a moulded capital without carving. All the bases are modern, but the rest of the arcade is old, the arches being two-centred, with a chamfered inner order, and an outer order with an undercut keeled roll towards the nave, and a chamfer towards the aisle, hollow in the eastern bay. The levels of the bases rise from west to east in this and the south arcade, following the rise of the ground, as commonly happens in old churches, the necessity of a level floor being a tenet of the modern 'restorer' only.
The south arcade is of four bays; the responds are semi-octagonal, the middle pillar octagonal, and the other two circular; all have moulded bases and capitals, the former renewed in modern times; the arches are pointed and of a slightly more elaborate section than those of the other side, the edge roll of the outer order having a side fillet and an additional small roll or bead. The west respond and part of the arch are partly buried in the stonework of the tower which cuts into it, and are somewhat distorted, perhaps by a settlement of the newer work. The curious treatment of the inner order of the arches has been already remarked upon. Of the three north windows in the north aisle only the middle one is old, of 15th-century date, with two cinquefoiled lights, and the north doorway is modern or modernized, with mouldings of 15th-century style.
The north porch appears to be of the late 15th or 16th century, and has a pointed archway and a plain square-headed west window; the lower part of the porch is of brick, the rest of flint and stone. In the south aisle only the doorway is old, of simple 15th-century style, and there is a modern vestry at the west end of the aisle.
The tower is of three stages, the western angles are strengthened by pairs of deep buttresses, and the stair rises on the north-east corner; at the south-east a buttress cuts into the south arcade, and the tower arch has a low four-centred head with jambs of two orders, and moulded with a series of rolls and hollows of very dry detail. In the wall south of the arch is a large recess 14 in. deep with a four-centred arch, and a seat or ledge about 3 ft. above the floor. The stair is entered through a four-centred doorway within the tower, opening to a rib-vaulted passage leading to the stair foot.
The west doorway is a modern one with a four-centred arch in a square head, and over it outside is an inscription in memory of Edward Rickards, 1893. The window above is of four lights divided by a transom, the lights below the transom and also in the head are cinquefoiled; the arch is four-centred and filled with perpendicular tracery; it is all now of modern stone except the rear arch and jambs. In the north wall inside, higher up, is a wide recess with a rough four-centred arch, entered from the stair, and showing marks of use as a ringing-gallery. In the second stage is a modern west window of two trefoiled lights under a square head; the bell chamber is lighted by windows of three plain lights with four-centred heads; the parapet is embattled and the roof pyramidal; the stair turret stands up above the parapet and has a pointed roof.
The chancel has a modern open-timbered cradle roof covered with tiles; at the crossing the roof is of collar-beam type. The transepts have panelled ceilings; the north transept is covered with Horsham stone slabs and tiles, the southern with tiles only. The nave has a modern collar-beam roof with trusses, the king-posts of which have capitals and bases; in it, on the north side, are two gabled dormer windows, each of three lights, and one on the south side. The aisles have lean-to roofs, that on the north covered with stone slabs, and in the south aisle is a four-light dormer window with a transom.
The altar-table is modern, and behind it is a modern reredos of stone. An old altar-slab is preserved in the church. The pulpit is a modern one of stone and marble, and the font appears to be of 15th-century date; it is octagonal with a panelled bowl moulded on its upper and lower edges; the stem is plain and the base moulded. Under the tower is an old chest covered with leather, and bearing in nail-heads the date 1663. Preserved in cases are a Book of Homilies of 1683 and a Book of Common Prayer of 1669; both had been removed from the church, and were restored in 1885.
At the west end of the north aisle, against the wall, is a stone slab, on which is the brass figure of a man in civil dress, c. 1470, and the indent of the figure of his wife; below are the small figures of their three sons and three daughters, and near the top of the slab is a small circular indent. A modern inscription in brass is attached to the stone: 'Hic jacet Matild Hamildun … ux Thomae at Hull que obiit … die mens Octob Anno Dni mccccx cujus anime propicictur (sic) Deus Amen.' Incised at the foot of the slab is a record of its removal from the middle aisle in 1873.
Two pieces of the inscription of a brass, c. 1340, were found lately in excavations on the site of the vestry; they read: '[Mar]garete … nre seig[neur].'
On the east respond of the south arcade is a curious
inscription on brass to Robert Gardner, chief serjeant
of the cellar to Queen Elizabeth, 1571:
'Here fryndly Robartt Gardnar lyes, well borne of ryghtt good race
Who sarvd in cowrtt wyth credytt styll, in worthi rowlm and place
Cheeff Sargantt of the Seller longe, whear he dyd duetty shoe
Wyth good regard to all degrees, as ffar as powre myghtt goeduetty shoe
He past hys youth in sutch good ffraem, he cam to aeged yearsduetty shoe
And thearby porchaest honest naem, as by reportt a peers
A ffrynd whear any cawse he ffownd, and corttes unto all
Of myrry moode and pleasantt spetch, howe ever happ dyd ffall
Ffowr chyldern for to ffornysh fforth, the table rownd he had
Wyth sober wyeff most matrenlyk, to mak a man ffull glad
Prepaerd to dye longe ear his day, whych argues greatt good mynd
And told us in the other world, whatt hoep he had to ffynd
We leave hyme whear he loektt to be, our lord receyve hys spreett
Wyth peace and rest in habram's brest, whear we att leynth may meett.
He departed owte of thys transetory worlde the xth daye of November anno dĈ 1571 being then of the age of lxxiii yeres.'
Over the inscription is a shield with the arms—Sable a cheveron between three hunting-horns argent on a pile argent a covered cup gules all within a border or charged with eight roundels sable. His helm, with the crest of a goat's head, is on a bracket above.
In the tower are ten bells, five of which are by T. Mears, 1816, and the other five by Warner & Sons, 1877.
The communion plate comprises a large cup of 1661, large flagon of 1704, three chalices of 1871, 1872, and 1891 respectively, three patens of 1832, 1890, and 1891, and a small paten without a mark or date; besides these are four pewter plates, two of which are dated 1711.
In the first book of the registers the baptisms begin regularly in 1656, but there are individual entries in the years 1626, 1647, and 1649; they continue to 1793; the marriages date from 1626 to 1753, and the burials 1626 to 1794; the book is of paper. The second book contains marriages from 1754 to 1792, the third continues them to 1812, and the fourth has baptisms and burials from 1794 to 1812.
ALL SAINTS' church is a medium-sized, modern building of flint and stone in the style of the 13th century, consisting of a chancel, nave, south chapel and aisle, vestry, and north porch. Over the chancel arch is a wooden bell-turret with one bell; the inside of the building is lined with red brick.
The church of Letherhead, at the time of the Domesday Survey, was appurtenant to the manor of Ewell, and, together with 40 acres of land, was held by Osbern de Ow. (fn. 100) It later became the property of the abbey of Colchester, to whom it was granted by Eustace de Broc. (fn. 101)
Brother Robert, Abbot of Colchester, granted the advowson in 1287 to the king (Edward I), (fn. 102) who presented before 1304. (fn. 103) The advowson remained with the Crown (fn. 104) until Edward III in 1341, at the request of his mother, Queen Isabel, and to recompense the priory of Leeds, Kent, for losses sustained when Edward II besieged the castle of Leeds in order to avenge an insult offered to the queen, granted the advowson to the Prior and convent of Leeds (fn. 105) with licence to appropriate the church, and the monastery continuously presented to the church until its dissolution. (fn. 106) Henry VIII then gave the rectory and church and advowson of the vicarage of Letherhead to the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, (fn. 107) who are the present patrons. (fn. 108)
Besides their advowson, the Prior and convent of Leeds owned land in Letherhead. Edward III granted them free warren, (fn. 109) which shows they had a considerable estate. The prior held, as glebe land, fields and crofts named Morescroft, Bunteynesland, and Necrofts in Letherhead. (fn. 110)
Smith's Charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes.
In 1608 John Skeet left £140 to buy land to provide bread for the poor.
In 1642 Charles, Earl of Nottingham, left £50 to the poor. It was not paid till 1679, when the parish added £20 and bought a house for an almshouse. In 1725 it was let for 15s. a year for the use of the poor. In 1807 it was sold, and a new house of industry built, which existed until the passing of the Poor Law of 1834.
In 1692 Edward Hudson left £3 a year to the trustees of Skeet's Charity to provide beef for the poor at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and £1 to the vicar and parish clerk for saying evening prayer on the eve of those festivals.
In 1777 Elizabeth Rolfe gave the interest of £400 to maintain a monument in the church and for distribution among ten poor families.
In 1786 William Denne left £250 for coals to the poor.
In 1797 John Lucas, the founder of the school, endowed a midwife with £100, and left £100 for bread, the latter sum being diverted to the school in 1815.
In 1812 Richard Toye left £1,200 for monthly grants to six poor and aged persons.
In 1842 Richard Emberton left £300, the interest to be laid out in beautifying the church.
In 1843 James Roberts left £89 10s. for the benefit of four poor widows with dependent families. (fn. 111)
Mr. John Sandes, after 1725, left a rent-charge of 50s. for bread.
In 1715 Dr. Shortrudge gave a benefaction to the vicars of Letherhead, Great Bookham, Effingham, and Shalford.
The total of the charities amounts to £300 a year.