A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Croherst and Crauhurste (xiii cent.); Croweherst (xv cent.).
Crowhurst is a small parish 2 miles east of Godstone station and 24 miles from London, with a village of scattered farms and houses. The stream called Gibbs Brook which forms part of the boundary between Crowhurst and Oxted was called the Gippes River, (fn. 1) and flows into the Eden, thence to the Medway. The parish is about 2¼ miles from east to west and 1¾ miles from north to south, and contains 2,112 acres of land and 7 acres of water. It is entirely on the Wealden Clay, and is one of the places on that formation which do not appear as parishes until the 13th century, and were probably scarcely inhabited at the time of the Domesday Survey. It was then no doubt part of Oxted, to which the manor was subordinate. The dedication of the church to St. George indicates a consecration not earlier than the third Crusade. Probably at an earlier date the parish was all forest. It is still well wooded, although there is some good corn land. No Inclosure Act has been passed. The parish is mainly agricultural, but there are brick and tile works. It was in the iron-producing district, but there is no record of iron-foundries or forges in Crowhurst. In the church, however, is a cast-iron grave slab.
The Redhill and Tonbridge branch of the South-Eastern railway crosses the northern part of the parish, but has no station within it. The road from Oxted to Limpsfield traverses it from north to south, but the parish is and always has been secluded and out of the way of traffic. The Gainsfords, who held the manor for so long, and lived at Crowhurst Place as their principal seat, were a leading family in Surrey in the 15th century. They represented the county four times, Blechingley three times, Guildford once, and Southwark once, in the Parliaments between 1430 and 1478, and they were nine times sheriff between 1460 and 1537.
The village consists of scattered farms and houses along the road from Oxted to Limpsfield, most of them being of brick or half-timber with tiled roofs, and of some antiquity. The church stands well above the level of the road, from which it is approached from the south by a small flight of steps cut in the bank. In the churchyard is a hollow yew tree measuring about 33 ft. in diameter about 3 ft. from the ground. Early in the 19th century a bench was fixed inside the tree, giving sitting room for about a dozen persons. An iron cannon ball found in the middle of the tree is still preserved there.
Opposite the church stands the Mansion House, formerly the seat of the Angell family, but now a farm-house. It is a 16th-century L shaped house, originally of half-timber and brick, but much of it has been rebuilt in brick. The hall occupies the south-west corner of the house and has in its east wall a large open fireplace. It was originally entered directly by a door from the outside, but now by a passage leading from the entrance porch. On the north side of the passage is a small parlour, to the east of which is an inclosed staircase leading up to the bedrooms. The doors at either end of the passage are of the 16th century, and they are practically the only original detail left on this floor. The west or principal front was entirely rebuilt in the 17th century and is of brick. It has a central porch, above which is a small projecting bay carried up in a pointed gable, while lighting the rooms on the north of this front is another bay carried up in a similar manner and stopping on the main wall, which is also at this end finished in a pointed gable. The windows on the south were inserted in the 18th century when the older windows were apparently blocked up. The entrance to the porch is semicircular, the arch springing from moulded abaci and having a projecting keystone, while running round the bottom of the porch is a moulded base. The front entrance doorway is of oak; it is four-centred with sunk triangular panels in the spandrels. The south front has been entirely hung with tiles; the upper part of the north front as far as the end of the kitchen is treated in a similar manner, while the east end of the building with an old malt-house adjoining is of half-timber construction with brick nogging, though this has been much restored and the south wall rebuilt in modern brickwork. The chimneys are all of brick and the roofs are tiled.
Among the older farm-houses in the parish are Chellows Park Farm, Stocks, Pike's Farm, and Moat House on the borders of the parish, which all have remains of moated defences.
The schools (National) were built in 1862.
There is no mention of Crowhurst in the Domesday Survey, and it was probably then included in the manor of Oxted, of which manor CROWHURST was held. Land and rent in Crowhurst were held in the 13th century by John de Titsey and afterwards by Thomas de Titsey, (fn. 2) but the first family who can be certainly proved to have held the manor after it became separated from Oxted is that of Stangrave. In 1278–9 Robert son of John de Stangrave, jun., granted a messuage and about 70 acres of land in Crowhurst and 10 acres in Lingfield to Luke de Oxted (Hexsted); Luke quitclaimed to Robert and his heirs 3 acres of this tenement lying in the southern part of the field called Waveresham. (fn. 3) Robert de Stangrave held the advowson of the church (q.v.) towards the end of this century, and in 1303 received a grant of free warren in his demesne lands of Crowhurst. (fn. 4) In 1338 Robert de Stangrave and Joan his wife conveyed the manor of Crowhurst to John Gainsford and Margaret his wife. (fn. 5) Later in the same year Robert also granted them a messuage, a carucate of land and 10 marks rent in Crowhurst. (fn. 6) John Gainsford received licence for the celebration of divine service in the oratory of his manor of Crowhurst shortly after. (fn. 7) This family continued to hold Crowhurst for nearly four centuries. John Gainsford and Margery held as late as 1348, (fn. 8) and were succeeded by their son John, whose wife seems to have been named Christine, as Sir John Gainsford, described as the son of John and Christine, afterwards held Crowhurst and was alive as late as 1418. (fn. 9) His son, later called John Gainsford, sen., died in 1450, and was succeeded by his son John, who married twice. He was knight of the shire in 1452 and died in 1460. (fn. 10) The heads of the two succeeding generations were both knighted. Sir John Gainsford, grandson of the above John, was twice Sheriff of Surrey and died in 1540, having married six times. (fn. 11) His heir was Thomas, his son by his fourth wife, Joan Poliver. (fn. 12) Thomas had two children, a son John, who was an idiot from birth, and who died in 1559, (fn. 13) and a daughter Anne, who married William Forster. (fn. 14) Apparently some settlement was made at the death of John. Anne Forster and her children never held the main manor here, which seems to have passed to her father's half-brother Erasmus, son of Sir John Gainsford by Grace Warham his sixth wife. (fn. 15) In 1669 the manor was held by Erasmus Gainsford, grandson of the last Erasmus, and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Richard Dayne. (fn. 16) They settled it in that year on their son John on his marriage with Ann Gape. (fn. 17) The issue by this marriage was a daughter Elizabeth, who afterwards married Henry Christmas. (fn. 18) John Gainsford married a second wife, by whom he had two sons, who died without issue, having both held Crowhurst successively for a short period, and a daughter Mirabella. (fn. 19) At the death of the sons a dispute arose between the daughters of the first and second wife as to the terms of the settlement in 1669. (fn. 20) Sir Cresswell Levinz, who had sat as a justice of Common Pleas from 1681 to 1686, gave a decision in favour of the first wife's daughter in October 1699. (fn. 21) In 1701 Henry and Elizabeth Christmas and Mirabella Hill, widow, levied a fine apparently for the purpose of quitclaiming Mirabella's right in the manor (fn. 22); a recovery was suffered in the same year, Henry and Elizabeth Christmas being called to warranty. (fn. 23) Henry Christmas by will, dated 8 October 1705, devised his lands in Crowhurst to his father in trust for sale for the payment of a mortgage due upon them. (fn. 24) The estates, however, remained in the family for some time longer. Henry Christmas died in 1706, leaving two children, Gainsford, who married Elizabeth Weston, and Mary, afterwards wife of Thomas Bates. (fn. 25) Gainsford Christmas made a settlement on his wife, believing, apparently, that the entail descended to him by his father's will; he died without issue in 1716, his sister being his heir. (fn. 26) According to Manning this settlement and will were the cause of various suits in Chancery, but finally Mary Bates remained in possession until 1720, when she with Elizabeth, widow of Gainsford Christmas and since married to Richard Skryne, entered into an agreement to sell the manor to Edward Gibbon, grandfather of the historian, one of the directors of the South Sea Company. Before the transaction was complete, however, the South Sea Bubble burst, and by Act of Parliament the estates of the directors were vested in trustees to be sold for the benefit of creditors. A claim was entered on behalf of Mary Bates for the remainder of the purchase-money and was allowed. In 1723 Thomas and Mary Bates with Richard and Elizabeth Skryne conveyed the manor to Sir John Eyles and the other trustees, who sold in the following year to the Duchess of Marlborough; she made it part of the endowment for a house built by her at St. Albans for the widows of officers and known as the Marlborough Almshouses. (fn. 27) All manorial rights seem to have now lapsed.
The house called CROWHURST PLACE was apparently acquired by the Gainsfords in 1418 when it was conveyed to them by John atte Hall and Joan, (fn. 28) and afterwards descended with the manor in the Gainsford family. Aubrey describes Crowhurst Place as a house 'built of timber after the old fashion and moated about. The hall is open to the top and the several windows have been full of escutcheons.' (fn. 29) It was put up for sale with the manor in the 18th century, and was, according to Manning, included in the property sold to the Duchess of Marlborough in 1723. (fn. 30)
John Gainsford, who died in 1450, had a younger son William, member for Surrey in the year of his father's death, from whom descended the Gainsfords of Cowden in Kent. The Rev. George Gainsford of Hitchin, a descendant of this family, bought Crowhurst Place about 1905. He died in 1910, and his son the Rev. G. B. Gainsford is the present owner. (fn. 31)
The house is situated on a secluded site almost at the summit of a gradual slope about a mile to the south of Crowhurst Church. It faces the east and is entirely surrounded by a moat.
The original house was erected circa 1450, and, despite many 17th-century alterations and recent use as a farm-house, much of the structure is well preserved. It is now well cared for by its present occupier, Mr. George Crawley, who has judiciously restored it, removed many modern accretions and added the heating chamber. It is built of half-timber and brick with roofs of tiles and stone slates.
The main building is two stories high and is rectangular in plan with a lower wing on the north extending on the north as far as the moat and westwards some 30 ft. in front of the main block. The original house was entirely of brick and half-timber and consisted of a hall the full width and height of the building with a withdrawing room and staircase to the bedrooms over, on the south, while at the other end of the hall were the screens with the buttery and pantries, another staircase and a passage through to the kitchen wing on the north.
The first alteration, early in the 17th century, included the destruction of the old and the building of the present kitchen and certain internal alterations to obtain more space. The date 1639 on a stone lying in the front of the house is probably that of the enlargement. Much later in the century the whole external character of the mediaeval building was destroyed, when the south, east and west walls of the lower part of the house, and in some parts on the first floor as well, were entirely rebuilt in brick with a stone plinth in places, and in most cases new windows were inserted. The nondescript 'jobbing' character of the work in the north wing makes the date uncertain, but in the main it is probably 17th-century work. The partitions to the buttery and pantries on the north side of the hall were no doubt demolished in the 17th century to form the room now used as a study, but the old staircase to the bedrooms in this end of the house was not pulled down until comparatively recent years, while the present staircase was built two years ago.
The main entrance is through the modern porch into the passage, which contains an original window and from which the hall opens on the south.
The hall measures about 25 ft. by 23 ft. 8 in., and is now as originally the full height of the house, but until recently it was divided into three floors. At the north end of the east wall is a large open fireplace (evidently added in the 17th century), and on the west are two 17th-century oak-mullioned windows, one above the other. Built into the north and south walls at the first floor level are heavily-moulded beams, above which is the original half-timber walling, with the oak uprights nearly the same width as the panels, which are plastered. In the south end of the east wall are two original door frames. There was no dais at the south end of the hall, but boxed out from the south wall there still remains an original oak seat with a panelled front and solid top. Along the south wall above the seat is some 16th-century oak panelling, but this is not carried right up to the moulded beam at the first floor level, the intervening space being covered with plain oak boarding. In the upper part of the east end of the wall a small modern oriel window looks into the hall from the bedroom above the withdrawing room. The hall roof is a rare example of mediaeval joinery, and is perhaps the finest of its kind in the county. The roof is divided into two bays by a central truss, and one built into each of the end walls, consisting of a moulded tie-beam supported by curved braces, above which are small uprights tenoned into the beam at the foot, and at the head into moulded timbers running up to the ridge, at the centre of the roof slope. There are three moulded purlins in each slope, and the wall-plates are also moulded, but the ridge is plain. The lowest space between the purlins is coved, the next is flat, and the two uppermost are coved. All are oak panelled between hollow-chamfered styles. In the second division are curved wind braces. To the north of the centre truss are traces of a louvre opening, now boarded over.
The parlour or withdrawing room measures nearly 29 ft. by 16 ft. 6 in., and has on the east and west three-light casement windows, and in its south wall a three-centred stone fireplace of late 16th-century date carved with an arabesque enrichment, while on the north wall is some 17th-century panelling. The ceiling of this room is original, and is divided into six panels by heavily-moulded beams, one running centrally across the room east and west, into which are mitred two cross beams of the same section and moulded beams in the north and south walls. All the joists of the floor over are moulded. They are laid close together, and in the four easternmost panels run north and south across the room, but in the two western panels in the opposite direction. The floor boards are laid longitudinally between the joists, which are grooved to receive them and show through in the ceiling. There still remain on this ceiling considerable traces of the original colour decoration, a lozenge pattern, mostly green and red, unfortunately much defaced by whitewash, which has now been removed.
The kitchen, originally the whole height of the house and divided into two bays by large oak posts in the north and south walls supporting a truss, was recently divided into two stages, the upper containing bedrooms. It is lighted from the north by a six-light 17th-century window, to the west of which is a doorway opening on to a rough timber bridge crossing the moat, while in the east wall is a large open stone fireplace. The door in the north wall is original, as is also the door in the west wall opening into a small sitting-room. In the low extension on the west side of the kitchen are store rooms.
The bedroom in the south-west corner is the most complete of the original rooms in the house, having retained all its 15th-century panelling and fittings with the exception of the two west windows. The framing timbers of the walls form the rails and styles of the panelling. This is divided horizontally into two by a heavily-moulded rail 8½ in. deep, while the uprights, which are tenoned at the foot into an unmoulded sill and at the head into the soffit of the cornice, average about 5½ in. wide, have hollow-chamfered edges, and are placed close together with wood panels of about the same width between them. The ceiling is divided into eight panels by deep heavily-moulded beams, which mitre with a cornice of the same section running right round the room. The ceiling joists have hollow-chamfered edges, and run north and south across the room. In the north wall is a stone fireplace with a continuously moulded four-centred head and jambs stopping upon chamfered plinths.
In some of the windows are several fragments of old heraldic glass. In the south light of the bottom window lighting the hall is a 15th-century shield: Gules a fesse ermine between three martlets or, with the difference of a ring on the fesse, for Covert impaling Gainsford and de la Poyle. In the fourth light from the south is a German achievement, apparently of 16th-century date; the shield is Argent a cross checky argent and sable. In the fifth light is a small piece of early glass, Argent a lion gules; while in the end light is a shield of Gainsford and de la Poyle impaling Gules a cheveron between three martlets argent, for Wakehurst. The glazing in the window lighting the staircase at the south-west corner of the hall is of 17th-century date, and contains the Prince of Wales's feathers with the motto on the scroll at the bottom 'HIC DIEN' (sic) on a field of yellow lozenges, each one painted with the Gainsford badge, a grapnel with double flukes.
In the study window are also some fragments of old glass, including Gainsford and de la Poyle quarterly, and a shield Party sinister bendwise ermine and ermines a lion or.
Spanning the moat in front of the house is a small stone bridge of two arches. To the south-west and west of the house are two old barns that appear to have been erected at the same time as the house itself. They are both of half-timber and brick construction, with tile and stone slate roofs. The barn at the south-west is divided horizontally into two. The open roofs to both structures are well worthy of notice.
Mention of a mill in Crowhurst occurs in 1241, when Stephen the miller held it of William de Adburton for a rent of 11s. annually. (fn. 32) In 1406 William atte Hurst granted the mill called 'Crowherstmelle,' which he had obtained from the family of Marchant, to John Gainsford. (fn. 33)
In 1347 John de Horne granted to John Gainsford and Margaret his wife the rents and services of John at Grove for the tenements which the latter held of John de Horne in Crowhurst. (fn. 34) Joan daughter and heir of John at Grove married John de Tonbrige, and in 1375 they conveyed the lands called ATGROVE to John de Cobham of Devon, (fn. 35) from whom they passed to William de Staffhurst. (fn. 36) Joan, a daughter and heir of the latter, with John atte Halle her husband, conveyed the tenement in 1420 to John Bierden and Elizabeth heir of John de Cobham of Hever. (fn. 37) The land passed from the Bierdens to Sir Thomas Leukenor and John Schelle, who conveyed it in 1434 to John Gainsford, when it was apparently merged in the manor of Crowhurst. (fn. 38)
The earliest mention of the manor of CHELLOWS (Chelewes, xiv cent.; Chelhous, xvii cent.) occurs in 1359, when an inquisition on the lands of Adam de Puttenden showed that he held land of John Gainsford with suit at his court of Chellows. (fn. 41) From this time until the 16th century the manor was held by the Gainsford family, (fn. 42) who were tenants under the lords of Oxted. On the division of the Crowhurst lands at the death of John, son and heir of Thomas Gainsford, in 1559, Chellows became the property of Anne sister of John, and afterwards wife of William Forster. They held as late as 1585, (fn. 43) and after their death William their son, who was knighted in 1603, held the manor. (fn. 44) The latter with his wife Margaret conveyed the manor in 1612 to John Hatcher, (fn. 45) from whom it passed in the following year to John Courthope. (fn. 46) This family held until 1711, (fn. 47) when John Courthope and Anne his wife conveyed to Henry Shove. (fn. 48) Shove died in 1738, having devised Chellows to his nephew Thomas Saunders. (fn. 49) The latter held a court in that year. (fn. 50) He conveyed in 1770 to Robert Burrow, (fn. 51) whose trustees sold in 1794 to Sir Thomas Turton. Sir Thomas made an exchange of the manor with John Nicholls in 1797, receiving in return part of the rectory. (fn. 52) It was afterwards held by James Donovan, who died in 1831 and was succeeded by his son, (fn. 53) and as late as 1865 Chellows was still held by this family. (fn. 54)
The manor-house is now a farm-house called Chellows Park Farm.
A rental of Crowhurst Manor made in 1431, and given in the cartulary of the Gainsford family, records that William de Innyngfeld held a messuage and 13 acres of this manor, the land being 'next the manor of RUGGE.' (fn. 55) It seems probable that this is the estate which was held in the 14th century by the family of Rugge. In 1316 Roger son of Gilbert de Rugge gave John de Neuman and Beatrice his wife a messuage with all buildings in Crowhurst, a wood called Ruggegros and other lands there, and the reversion of many parcels of land demised by him to various persons for life. (fn. 56) In 1331 John de Neuman granted all his lands in Crowhurst to John Gainsford, to whom John son of Robert de Rugge quitclaimed his right. (fn. 57) There is no other record of the 'manor' of Rugge, and it is probable that these lands when in possession of the Gainsfords became part of the main manor. An episode concerning the family of Rugge occurred in 1345, when John Gainsford and John de Hadresham were commissioned to make inquiries touching information to the effect 'that John son of Elias de Rugge of Crowhurst has carried away treasure of gold and silver in no small quantity, lately found under the ground at Crowhurst, which pertains to the king by law and custom of the realm.' (fn. 58)
An 18th-century rental of the manor of Chellows shows that there was at that time an extent of land called Infields, lying mostly in Crowhurst, but also partly in Tandridge and Lingfield, and consisting of smaller parcels called the Mote, Newlands and Maynmead. (fn. 59) The part called Newlands in Tandridge (q.v.) seems undoubtedly to have been that held by Nicholas de Malmeyns, and afterwards by the Gainsfords, and to have been the most important portion, as it was held as a manor. Possibly the whole land called Infields had formerly belonged to the family of Innyngfield, which seems to have had considerable property here in the 12th and 13th centuries; but the various parcels were afterwards under different owners, and the manorial rights, if there were any such, seem to have become appropriated to the parcel called Newlands. (fn. 60)
The church of ST. GEORGE consists of a chancel 21 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft., a nave 33 ft. 8 in. by 18 ft. 1 in., a south aisle 17 ft. 5 in. by 9 ft., a south porch 9 ft. by 7 ft. and a small timber spire over the west end of the nave. It is built of rubble with ashlar dressings.
Though small it is one of the most interesting churches in the district, having escaped practically untouched from the ravages of the 19th-century restorers. Although the earliest detail in the building dates from the latter part of the 12th century, the nave belongs to a church of much earlier date and probably formed the body of a small church consisting of a nave having an eastern apsidal termination erected either late in the 11th or early in the following century. The first enlargement appears to have been made about 1190, when the south aisle was added, and following on this addition, at the beginning of the 13th century the chancel was built. The church was thus left until early in the 15th century, the building then being thoroughly restored, the east end of the chancel rebuilt, and many new windows inserted.
From the following entry in the church registers, 'On ye twentyth one and two and twentyth daies of January 1652, part of ye Body of Crowhurst Church, which had been in heaps a long time, was made plain and repaired,' the church appears to have been partially rebuilt in the 17th century, but the shortness of time in which the work was effected shows that it was not of a very considerable character and probably only included the rebuilding of the south wall of the aisle, which is much thinner than any of the other walls of the church and buttressed by massive brick buttresses. A wall was built at the same time across the west end of the south aisle, making the aisle smaller and forming a south porch.
In recent years the building has been twice restored, in 1852 and again in 1886, but at both these dates the work done was only in the nature of general repairs.
The chancel has diagonal buttresses of two stages at the angles of the east wall. The east window is pointed and of three cinquefoiled lights under a vertical traceried head. In the north wall are two windows; the easternmost, of late 16th-century date, is of three three-centred lights under a square head and has a moulded wooden plate enriched with small battlements cut in the solid along its topmost member, fixed to the wall under the sill on the inside, but the window in the west end of the wall is a small lancet, the inner jambs of which have been completely restored, but the outer jambs and rear arch are original though scraped. There are also two windows in the south wall. The eastern one is of four four-centred cinquefoiled lights under a square head. It is of mid-15th-century date, but the other window in the south wall is a small lancet, the inner jambs of which have been entirely restored. Under the former is an elaborate late 15th-century tomb of John Gainsford. Above the tomb, springing from jambs of the same section, is a moulded semi-elliptical cinquefoiled arched recess, within a square head surmounted by an embattled cornice. The east spandrel contains a large leaf with the head and wing of a small angel below, and the west spandrel has a strange sea monster, below which is a monkey with a long tail. The mouldings of the main arch are continued down the jambs. The four spandrels formed between the arch and the foils, which are cusped, are carved with grotesque heads and monsters. The mouldings of the jambs and main arch are carved with various devices including double and single grapnels (the Gainsford badge), acorns, leaves, &c.
To the west of this is another tomb, which apparently was never used, standing in a recess. The lower part is divided into three square panels, each filled with a quatrefoil containing a lozenge, upon which is a Purbeck marble slab. Above is a four-centred arch having a panelled soffit with a square head surmounted by a moulded cornice. In the spandrels are quatrefoils filled with carved leaves.
There is no chancel arch, the small piece of walling between the roofs of the chancel and nave being carried on one of the roof trusses.
The nave is lighted from the north by three windows and from the west by one. The centre window on the north, of two cinquefoiled ogee lights, is of the 14th century and contains some old glass with the arms of Gainsford; the others are modern. There are no windows in the south wall, the east end being occupied by a large pointed arch opening into the south aisle, while in the west end is the entrance doorway. The arch opening into the aisle is of one unmoulded order, having chamfered angles, and springs from chamfered and quirked abaci, which are cut off on either side flush with the wall face; the responds have stopped chamfers.
The south doorway is pointed and of one square order and set in the western bay of the earlier semicircular rear arch, within which, above the apex of the doorway, is an uncarved tympanum. The three-light pointed window in the west wall is of the same date and similar in design to the east window of the chancel, but has its tracery flush with the outer face of the wall and a continuously moulded rear arch.
The south aisle and porch, which are under one roof and have their south wall continuous, are built of coursed rubble, but have abutting on the south four massive brick buttresses, the two eastern ones of which have stone copings and are of 17th-century date, but the two western ones are later.
In the east wall of the south aisle is a segmental-headed window of two cinquefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil above, like that in the north wall of the nave, but set in the jambs of a late 12th-century window, having small angle shafts and a semicircular rear arch. The northern capital is plain, but that of the other shaft has crude stiff-leaf foliage. In the south wall of the aisle is a small re-set trefoiled opening with widely splayed jambs.
In the south side of the east respond of the arch is a mediaeval iron staple, probably a lamp-bracket.
The opening into the porch is pointed and of one continuous unmoulded order.
Across the west end of the nave are two oak frames—one against the west wall and the other about 9 ft. out—carrying the spire. The eastern frame is composed of four posts with a cross-beam and carved braces, some of which are modern, as is also the tracery in the spandrels. The western is similar, but the modern braces are straight instead of curved. The spire is square at the roof level but octagonal above. The frame is old, but the weather-boarding, lights and shingles are modern.
The roofs are eaved and are all original. Those of the chancel and nave are of the trussed rafter type and are tiled, but the aisle and porch have a lean-to roof covered with stone slates, although in a continuous slope with the roof of the nave.
The pulpit is modern, but contains some old timbers.
The font is of 13th-century date. The bowl, which is cut out of one stone, is broached from square to octagonal, the apex of each broach reaching to the top of the octagon. It has a central circular stem and smaller detached angle shafts without capitals or bases on a square base.
In the east window are some fragments of old glass, those in three of the tracery lights having cherubim and those in the main lights various mutilated Gainsford shields and quarterings. The tracery lights are of the late 15th and the heraldic glass of the 16th century.
Against the north wall of the chancel is a stone altar tomb with panelled sides containing shields in quatrefoils. On the Purbeck marble top slab is a brass to John Gainsford the elder, who died 19 July 1450. The figure above the inscription is in armour, the head on a helm and the feet on a lion. Above this again is a quartered shield of Gainsford and de la Poyle.
In the Purbeck slab on the tomb against the south wall of the chancel is the brass figure of a man in 15th-century plate armour with his feet resting on the back of a dog. Below the figure is the following black letter inscription: 'Hic jacet Johannès Gaynesford Armiger Et Anna uxor eius filia | Richardi Wakeherst qui quidem Johannes obiit in festo Translacionis | Sancti Thome martiris anno domini MoCCCCoLX quorum animabus propicietur Deus.' In the top sinister corner of the slab is a shield like the one on the altar tomb on the south side of the chancel. The lower part of the tomb is panelled and contains shields of Wakehurst, Gainsford, and Gainsford quartering de la Poyle.
In the chancel floor is a singular slab of cast-iron with a raised inscription to Anne Forster, great-great-granddaughter of the above John Gainsford, as follows:—
HER : LIETH : ANE : EORST
R : DAVGHTER : AND :
HEYR : TO : THOMAS :
GAYNSEORD : ESQUIER
DECEASED : XVIII : OE :
IANVARI : 1591 : LEAVYNG
BEHIND : HER : II : SONES :
AND : V : DAUGHTERS
To the east of the inscription is a shrouded figure between four shields, those at the head containing figures of two boys, and of two girls respectively, while of those at the feet the dexter has the arms of Gainsford, and the sinister, quarterly 1 and 4, a lion rampant (Forster), 2 a fesse between two cheverons, 3 Gainsford. The husband of this Anne obtained by the marriage lands at Crowhurst. (fn. 61)
In the nave is a brass to Richard Cholmeley, butler to James I and Charles I, who died 13 August 1634. The arms are engraved above the inscription, and the brass was laid down by John brother of Richard Cholmeley. (fn. 62)
There is in the floor of the chancel a slab to John Angell, who died in 1670. In a Latin inscription he is stated to have been 'Provisor Publicus (quod vulgo Caterer audit) et itidem Windsorii Castri supremus Janitor.'
In the floor of the south aisle is a brass inscribed in black letters to Anne wife of John Gainsford of Crowhurst and daughter of Thomas Fiennes. On the north wall of the chancel is an elaborate black and white marble tablet with a Latin inscription to Thomasin wife of Richard Marryott of the parish of St. Clement Danes; she was daughter of John Angell and died 1675; also to her daughter Elizabeth, who died aged twelve in the same year.
On the south wall of the chancel is a mural tablet to Justinian Angell, fifth son of John Angell. He married Elizabeth eldest daughter of John Scaldwell of Brixton Causeway, and died in 1680. Above the inscription are the arms of Angell, Or a fesse indented of three points azure with a bend gules over all impaling Scaldwell, Argent powdered with stars azure a cross formy fitchy azure. There are also two hatchments of members of the Gainsford family used as memorial tablets, with epitaphs.
There are three bells: the treble and second have no maker's mark or inscription. The tenor is by Thomas Mears, 1795.
The plate consists of a small silver chalice of 1638, inscribed on the foot 'Crowhurst Church in Surrey Anô 1638,' and having a cover paten of the same date, a large paten of 1722, a silver flagon of 1736 inscribed 'The gift of William Angell of the Middle Temple London and of Barfield Place in the County of Berks: Esqr, one of the Verderers of the Forest of Windsor, eldest Son of Johne Angell of Stockwell in the County of Surrey Esqr. Ano Dom: 1736,' and having a quartered shield (1) Angell, (2) A bend engrailed between six roses, (3) Ermine a bend with three roses thereon, (4) Scaldwell; and a pyx of 1903.
The registers previous to 1813 are in four volumes: (1) all entries 1567 to 1637; (2) the same 1637 to 1682, only fragmentary entries between 1645 and 1660; (3) the same 1683 to 1749; (4) baptisms 1745 to 1812, marriages and burials 1749 to 1812.
The church is mentioned for the first time in the Taxation of 1291, when it was taxed at 100s. (fn. 63) The advowson was held with the manor until the end of the 13th century, when Robert de Stangrave enfeoffed Henry de Guldeford and his heirs of it, together with 5 acres of land, (fn. 64) and he in 1299 granted it to the Prior and convent of Tandridge. (fn. 65) They appropriated the church in 1304, (fn. 66) but apparently did not ordain a vicarage. The priory continued to hold until the dissolution of the house. (fn. 67) In 1538 the king granted the churches of Tandridge and Crowhurst to John Rede, reserving £12, to be paid to two chaplains to serve the cures. (fn. 68) Rede, who died in 1545, (fn. 69) was succeeded by his son John, who in 1576 conveyed the rectory to Richard Bostock. (fn. 70) He sold in 1577 to Edward Johnson. In 1584 it was held by Anne Johnson, widow, who was a daughter of Thomas Allen. (fn. 71) It afterwards passed to Edward Atfield, who received licence to alienate to Francis Wallis in 1589. (fn. 72) How it passed from the latter to Sir William Forster, grandson on his mother's side of Thomas Gainsford of Crowhurst (q.v.), is not evident, but in 1618 Forster, with his son and daughter-in-law, conveyed to William Angell, who died in 1629 seised of the rectory and of an estate in Crowhurst. (fn. 73) The property continued to be held by this family. (fn. 74) In 1784 John Angell of Stockwell, great-great-grandson of William, devised all his property in Crowhurst and elsewhere to the male heir, if any such were living, of William Angell, the first purchaser of the property. (fn. 75) His will led to many lawsuits, including, according to Manning, eleven ejectment causes, two or three suits in Chancery and one or two in the Exchequer. (fn. 76) The estates in Crowhurst were, however, held against all claimants by the Rush family, who were near relatives, through females, of John Angell. (fn. 77) This family held the rectory until about 1862, when it passed to the Earl of Cottenham. (fn. 78) The living is now in the gift of the present Earl of Cottenham, being styled a vicarage under the terms of the Act of 1868. (fn. 79)
Alexander Holloway, who died before 1618 (see monument to his wife in Sanderstead Church), left 10s. a year for a charity sermon on Palm Sunday and 20s. to the poor. Nicholas Gainsford in 1705 left £2 a year to the poor. Mr. Thomas Sutton left 10s. a year to poor widows. The first was charged upon Holdfast in Edenbridge, the second on Gutlands in Crowhurst, the third on Longbridge in Lingfield. Gainsford's legacy seems to have been diverted to the Duchess of Marlborough's almshouses in St. Albans after she acquired the manor. Smith's charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes.