Parishes: Capel

Pages 134-141

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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The parish of Capel is bounded on the north by Dorking, of which it was formerly a part, on the east by Leigh and Newdigate, on the south by the county of Sussex, on the west by Wotton and Ockley. A part of Capel lying across the north of Ockley separates that parish from Dorking. The body of Capel parish is 4 miles from north to south and 1½ miles east to west, but this projecting tongue makes the breadth at the north end 3 miles. It contains 5,680 acres of land and 15 of water. The soil of the greater part is Wealden Clay, but the north-west part abuts upon the high Green Sands of Leith Hill and Coldharbour Common, rising to 900ft. above the sea. In this part of the parish there was a landslip in the reign of Elizabeth, recorded by Camden and Aubrey, when the sand slipped upon the underlying clay and made a precipitous scar in the side of the hill, even now visible for many miles from the southward. The place was called Constable's Mosses; Constable resided at a farm still called Mosses. The road running under or across this landslip from Coldharbour to Leith Hill—since 1896 a public road, before that date private (though a public footpath existed and a public bridle-track crossed it)— is called Cockshott's Road, from a farm at the end of it; and may fairly claim to be among the most picturesque roads in the south of England. The road slipped again badly about 1866. Capel parish is traversed by the main road from Dorking to Horsham, made in 1755, and the northern part by the old road from London to Arundel through Coldharbour, diverted since 1896 in its course from Coldharbour Common towards Ockley as a part of the transactions for opening Cockshott's Road. The London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway line to Portsmouth passes through the parish, in which lies Holmwood Station, opened in 1867. The parish is agricultural except for small brick and tile works. There are open commons at Beare Green, Misbrook's Green, Clark's Green, and Coldharbour Common or Mosses' Hill, so called from the farm mentioned above. Many small pieces of waste were brought into cultivation early in the 19th century.

There is one conspicuous work of antiquity in the parish now. On the hill called Anstiebury, formerly Hanstiebury, above Coldharbour, 800 ft. above the sea—taken from Dorking and added to Capel by the Local Government Act of 1894—is a fine prehistoric fortification. A nearly circular top of a hill has been surrounded by banks and ditches, triple upon the most exposed sides, but probably never more than single and now completely obliterated for a short space on the south, where the slope is nearly perpendicular, and where some old digging for sandstone seems to have gone on. The space inside the inner bank is about 11 acres, the shape an ellipse, roughly speaking. The hill is thickly planted. Mr. Walters, of Bury Hill, Dorking, owned it and began the planting which makes the shape of the works harder to see, in summer time especially. There is a damp spot inside where a water supply might have been found, and a good water supply in a shallow well in a cottage garden close outside it. The entrance to the north-east, where a grass road comes through the banks, is not the original entrance, but was made when part of the interior was cultivated, after Mr. Walters' time, for access by carts. The entrance was more probably on the north side, nearly opposite the gate which leads into the wood from Anstie Lane. A path here crosses the banks diagonally, flanked in its course by the innermost bank, here higher than elsewhere. Flint arrow-heads are said to have been found in or near the works, and also coins near it, but exact records are lacking.

The work is the largest of its kind in Surrey, next to the inclosure on St. George's Hill.

Anstie Farm, north-east of the hill on the high ground, (fn. 1) still held of the manor of Milton, is no doubt Hanstega, held of that manor in 1086, but it is in Dorking parish, not Capel. The land reached down to the Roman road eastward, and to the old road from Dorking westward. Either might be the 'highway' which probably named the place.

The Stone Street enters Capel close by Buckinghill Farm and leaves it close to Anstie Grange Farm. It has been traced for the entire length in the parish, and excavated by the writer. Two or three feet of the centre of the causeway were found intact in the ground, made of flints set in cement, as hard as a wall. It is unused now throughout, except for a very few yards near Beare, where it coincides with a private road. In the field opposite Beare its course is very visible. It goes up the hill in the copse called Round Woods in a slight cutting; it leaves the new house called Minnick Fold on the right and Minnick Wood Farm on the left. It was excavated in Perry Field, the field beyond, which was not cultivated until after 1824.

Capel was the old Waldeburgh or Waleburgh borough of Dorking; the borough or tithing in the Weald. It was a chapelry of Dorking till late 13th or early 14th century. (fn. 2)

The (National) school was built in 1826 and enlarged in 1872.

There is a Wesleyan chapel, and a Friends' meeting house.

The Society of Friends was early established, and is still well represented in Capel. The Bax family, who lived at Pleystowe and Kitlands at opposite ends of the parish, were among Fox's earliest converts, and are often mentioned in his Journal. The Steeres and Constables were other families of Friends. At Pleystowe a meeting was held which was as old as any in the county; a burying-ground was made on Richard Bax's ground there in 1672. The meeting house in Capel was built in 1725. (fn. 3)

There are a number of important old houses in and around the parish. One of these is still called Temple Elfande, or Elfold. The name belonged to a manor of the Templars transferred to the Hospitallers which had no preceptory attached. (fn. 4) The name Tournament Field, and other such names occurring in the 18th-century leases, are most likely an invention of the Cowpers in the 17th century. For tournaments, always forbidden by law, would not have been habitually held at a small preceptory, had there been one here, of which there is no evidence. The present house is in substance of mid-16th-century date, and was built by Sir Richard Cowper. It is built of narrow red bricks and half-timber work, chiefly covered with tile-hanging, and with stone slabs on the roofs, and was evidently much larger at one time, as, besides an entire wing, now long since pulled down, foundations of out-buildings and of garden and courtyard walls are met with in digging. A curious feature outside is a cross-shaped loophole over the front entrance. Some excellent and rare encaustic tiles, 55/8 in. square, have been dug up lately on the site, the patterns of which help to give the date of the house as not long after 1541. The character of the older chalk fireplaces inside confirms this date. There are also the usual farm-house fireplace, with a great beam over the opening, of great width and depth, several large carved oak brackets supporting the beam-ends of the upper stories, the pilasters of a stone doorway, and many original doors of good design, besides panelling of several dates. The loftiness of some of the rooms on the first floor is noteworthy, as are the coved or cradled plaster ceilings of the upper passages. It had for long sunk to the position of a mere farm-house before passing into the hands of the present tenant, Captain Harrison, R.N.

Aldhurst Farm, rather nearer to the village, is another ancient house, although of less consideration. It has evidently been extended and partially rebuilt more than once, but the nucleus is still that of an early 16th-century timber house, with very low ceilings and stone-slab roof. Inside, an old staircase and some good doors are to be seen. In the wooded bottom to the south-west several fine footprints of the iguanodon were found in grubbing up trees some years ago, and are now preserved here.

Taylor's is a picturesque house still retaining as a nucleus the timber open-roofed hall of mid-14th-century date, and also an oak screen of roughly gouged-out timbers and moulded beams of the same exceptionally early date. There are good panelled rooms of later date, and the 15th, 16th, and 17th-century additions all present interesting features. Externally most of the timber construction is masked by modern tile hanging.

Greenes is another ancient house, once much larger, and still showing a timber hall about 18 ft. wide internally, divided up at a later date into floors, but still boasting some fine massive oak trusses and story-posts, with moulded arched braces and king-posts over. A smaller hall, about 15 ft. wide, detached from the other, and now used as a stable, appears to be but a fragment of a range of timber buildings. It also has a series of huge roof-trusses of king-post construction and arched braces of four-centred shape. These two halls appear to be of late 14th-century and early 15th-century date respectively.

Osbrooks, formerly Holbrooks and Upbrooks, after passing through the farm-house stage, has of late years been carefully restored, and now presents a most interesting example of the country gentleman's house of the end of the 16th or an early part of the 17th century. It is mostly of timber framing, filled in with herring-bone brickwork. Its tiled roofs and good groups of chimneys, the many gables with their barge-boards, the mullioned windows, and the porch with open balustrades to the sides, combine to produce, with the wooded glen and winding stream in the rear, a most picturesque whole.

Bonet's or Bonnet's Farm is another ancient house of quite exceptional beauty and interest, although shorn of its ancient proportions. The present front has been modernized, but in the rear are two fine gables, projecting with brackets over the ground and first floors. These show timber framing, with an oriel window, stone-slab roofs, leaded glazing, and two exceptionally good brick chimneys.

Other old farm-houses and cottages in the parish, such as Pleystowe and Ridge, are well worthy of examination for the features of antiquity to be found in them; and in Capel village a picturesque piece of half-timber work, with a good chimney and roof, may be noted among others. There are now two old inns—the Crown Inn, originally a farm-house, adjoining the churchyard on the south, and the 'King's Head.' The former has half-timber gables, with pendants at the apex of the barge-boards, on one of which is carved 'W S. 1687.'

Broomells is now a new house. The name, as Brome, occurs in a charter of the 13th century. (fn. 5) It is not to be confounded with Broome Hall, the seat of Sir A. Hargreaves Brown, bart. The latter large house, in a commanding situation under Leith Hill, was mainly built by Mr. Andrew Spottiswoode, the king's printer, circa 1830. It was afterwards the seat of Mr. Labouchere, and then of Mr. Pennington, M.P. for Stockport. Sir A. Hargreaves Brown made extensive additions to it. It used to be called Lower House, but it is mentioned by Aubrey as Broomhall.

Kitlands, the property of Mr. A. R. Heath, is on the site of a farm which is mentioned in the Court Rolls in 1437. The house was reconstructed by degrees by Mr. Serjeant Heath, who bought it in 1824, and by Mr. D. D. Heath, his son, uncle to the present owner. But part of the interior is the old timber building of circa 1500. The place was held by the Bax family from 1622 to 1824, a very unusually long tenure of the same farm by a yeoman family, notwithstanding many vague statements of other immemorial holdings.

Arnolds, formerly called Arnold's Beare, was rebuilt by Mr. Bayley in 1885. Mrs. Bayley, his widow, has recently sold it. The Arnolds were also landholders in Betchworth. Beare, now called Bearehurst, the seat of Mr. Longman, and Beare Green, near Holmwood Station, show that the name Beare, which occurs in the Court Rolls of the 14th century, was widely spread. A Walter de la Bere had land in Ewekene (Capel) in 1263. (fn. 6)

Lyne House, the seat of Mr. Evelyn Broadwood, is a property bought by Mr. James Tschudi Broadwood circa 1792.

On the border, within a few yards of Sussex, is Shiremark Mill, built in 1774 out of the materials of the old Manor Mill at Mill House on Clark's Farm. (fn. 7)

Coldharbour is an ecclesiastical district formed in 1850. The church and the principal cluster of cottages stand in Capel parish. The body of the village is still called The Harbour, but Crocker's Farm and the cottages opposite used to be called Little Anstie, as opposed to Anstie Farm (vide supra).

The church is higher above the sea than any other in Surrey—over 800 ft.—and the sea is visible from the churchyard, through Shoreham Gap. The old road from London to Arundel ran through Coldharbour. The original line below the church was in the ravine at the lower side of the common, quite impassable for wheels. In the old title deeds it is referred to as the King's High Way. The village is as picturesque as any in England. On a stone in a cottage wall, in Rowmount, are the initials 'J. C. (John Constable) 1562.' The stone has been placed in a later wall. Constable's Farm was the house on the road a few yards higher up the hill, which may very well date from before that time.

The endowed school was founded by Mr. Robert Barclay of Bury Hill before 1819, with £50 a year from Government stock. It was further supported by subscriptions, and enlarged in 1846, 1851, 1860, and 1888. It was a free school from the beginning, but the endowment used to provide not only pay for the teacher, but a gown and bonnet for the girls, and smock-frock and boots for the boys annually. The infant school was built by Mr. John Labouchere in 1851. It was endowed by his family after his death in 1862. It is now brought under one management with the endowed school.


CAPEL was, and is, for the most part, in the manor of Dorking, though it also extends into Milton Manor. Parochially it was all included in Dorking.

From a suit in 1279 it appears that in the reign of Henry III John de Elefold had granted lands in Capel to the Master of the Templars in England, and his son Thomas in that year withdrew from an attempt to recover them. (fn. 8) In 1308, when the Templars' lands were seized, Temple Elfold was among them. (fn. 9) The land was known later as the manor of TEMPLE ELFANDE. With the rest of the Templars' lands it passed to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, in accordance with a suggestion made by Pope John XXII. (fn. 10) The Chartulary of St. John of Jerusalem (fn. 11) describes it in 1308 as held of the Earl of Warenne, but no service was done and no ecclesiastical benefice was supported by it. There was a house, and the total value was £4 11s. 2d. a year. It remained with the Knights of St. John till the dissolution of the order, 1539, when it appears as Temple Elphaud, in Surrey. (fn. 12)

Knights of St. John. Gules a cross argent.

After the Dissolution it was granted to John Williams and Antony Stringer, who conveyed almost immediately to William Cowper (fn. 13) of London, who also held land at Horley and in Charlwood, Surrey.

The Cowper, or (more usually) Cooper, family continued to hold for nearly two centuries. In March 1590–1 John Cowper, serjeant-at-law, the son of William Cowper, died, seised of a capital messuage in Capel called Temple Elephant. (fn. 14) In the next year John's brother Richard, who had the reversion of the estate after the death of John's widow Julian, who survived Richard, (fn. 15) also died, leaving Richard his son and heir, who was then aged eighteen. (fn. 16) The younger Richard, afterwards knighted, (fn. 17) married, first, Elizabeth Young, to whose father Richard the elder had mortgaged Temple Elfold, and secondly, Elizabeth daughter of Sir Thomas Gresham. He died seised in 1625. (fn. 18)

Cowper of Temple Elfande. Argent a bend engrailed between two lions sable with three roundels argent on the bend.

His son Richard Cowper or Cooper settled Temple Elfold on Barbara Miller his wife, on his marriage in 1646. She died without issue the same year, and Richard resettled the estate on his second wife Sarah Knightley, in 1647. His son and heir by her, John, settled it on his marriage with Elizabeth Lewin in 1671. (fn. 19) Their son John sold it to Ezra Gill of Eashing in 1728. (fn. 20) Ezra Gill settled the manor, manor-house, and park of 144 acres, on 16 April 1729, in anticipation of his marriage with Mary Woods, (fn. 21) who died 1767, when the estate passed to her son William Gill. He died in 1815, and was succeeded by his brother Henry Streeter Gill, who died in 1818. (fn. 22) His daughter married J. H. Frankland, who assumed the name of Gill. They sold Temple Elfold in 1833 to Mr. James Tschudi Broadwood of Lyne Capel, whose great-grandson is the present owner.

Broadwood of Capel. Ermine two pales vairy or and gules and a chief vert with a ring between two fir trees torn up by the roots or therein.

The reputed manor of HENFOLD in Capel appears first in the reign of Henry VIII. In 1511 and 1512 the manor of Aglondes More and Henfold, in East Betchworth, Buckland, and Capel, was conveyed by Robert Gaynsford to Sir Henry Wyatt. (fn. 23) This was Sir Henry Wyatt, father to Sir Thomas Wyatt the poet, who in 1540 conveyed it to Robert Young. (fn. 24) Robert died seised of it in 1548, leaving his grandson John, then nine years old, to succeed him. (fn. 25) John died in 1629, leaving a son and heir William, (fn. 26) who succeeded him. Henfold, however, was probably not a real manor. In 1776 in a court roll of the manor of West Betchworth, and again in 1823, Henfold is mentioned as in the manor, being broken up into several holdings. The name Aglondes More has disappeared. The house called Henfold, in Capel, is the seat of Mrs. Farnell Watson, and is in the manor of West Betchworth. (fn. 27)


The church of St. John the Baptist (until the early part of the 16th century dedicated in honour of St. Lawrence) stands on the west of the main road that runs north and south through the village, and opposite to the road that forks off to the east in the direction of Temple Elfold. It is on somewhat elevated ground, although the surrounding country is flat, and commands pretty and extensive views of wooded and pastoral scenery. The churchyard, bounded on the east and south by a stone wall, is entered through a modern lych-gate, and also by a stone stile, ancient at least in idea. A great slab near it bears the ripple-marks which are often met with in this locality. The path to the south door is of stone flags. There is a fine old yew, and also a number of cypresses, and among the gravestones are many of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Until its enlargement in 1865 the church presented a very good example of the hamlet-chapel of the late 12th or early 13th century. (fn. 28) Even now, in spite of a new aisle, vestries, and organ-chamber on the north side, and other modern alterations, its ancient proportions and character can be made out without much difficulty. It consisted originally of a nave, 42 ft. 3 in. long by 22 ft. 9 in. broad, with a western porch, and a chancel 25 ft. long by 15 ft. 9 in. in width, with roofs of comparatively low pitch on account of the exceptional breadth of the nave, and a timber-framed bell-turret at the west end, terminating in a short oakshingled spire. The roofs were covered with Horsham slabs, and the walls were built of local hard sandstone rubble, plastered, with dressings of hard chalk and fire-stone from the neighbouring hills. Cracklow's view of 1824 shows the church in this state, with the three lancet windows in the south wall of the chancel and the curious diagonal buttresses at the angles of the nave. The chancel had a wooden-framed east window under a circular head; there was no porch to the south door (which was the same as the present), the spire of the bell-turret was not so tapering as now, and a curious late vestry is shown attached to the south side of the west porch. As to the nave windows, what appears to be the base of an original lancet is shown to the west of the old south door, and above it a wooden three-light opening, evidently made to light the western gallery, while to the east of the doorway is another three-light window, with a square hood moulding, which looks like a 16th-century insertion.

With regard to the north and west sides of the building, not shown in Cracklow's view, it is not difficult to reconstruct the plan on paper with the aid of the features still remaining in the actual church. The massive west wall, no less than 4 ft. thick, remains much as it was erected about 1190. The other walls of the nave are 3 ft. in thickness, and those of the chancel 2 ft. 9 in., both dimensions being exceptional for a comparatively small aisleless building. Originally the church had no buttresses, and it seems probable that it was lighted by three lancet windows on the north side of the nave and two on its southern side, of which now no trace remains, the present windows being all modern. The west and south doorways are original features, and most interesting. We cannot now say if there was the usual north doorway in the nave, as the aisle of 1865 has made a clean sweep of any such ancient features, but it seems improbable that there would be three doors in such a comparatively small building. The two that remain are interesting, the western being slightly the narrower— 3 ft. 6 in. wide, while the southern measures 3 ft. 10½ in. The height of the internal opening of the western, which has a semicircular head, is altogether exceptional, nearly 12 ft. The external arch is set much lower, leaving that peculiar tympanum between the two heads so often met with, and the reason for which is one of the minor problems of ecclesiology. Sometimes, as at Trotton Church, Sussex, a consecration cross has been found painted in this blank space. These doorways also have the additional peculiarity that the two apex stones of the external arches are left as projecting blocks on the inside, as though meant to be carved. This is found also in the south doorway of Wanborough Chapel, in the west of the county. (fn. 29) Both the west and south doorways are in hard clunch, or fire-stone, somewhat sharply pointed, and of one order. They have hoodmouldings, without stops or return ends at the springings, of three sides of an octagon in section, the inner side being embellished with a continuous border of dog-tooth ornament. The original tooling, where left, shows somewhat coarse vertical and diagonal lines, done with the broad chisel and axe. The effect of these severely simple but well-proportioned doorways is enhanced by their retaining their original wrought-iron strap-hinges, both lower and upper hinges having two small ornamental straps with curled ends on either side of them. The hinge-straps themselves terminate in similar scrolls. The latch and drop-ring handle of the western door appears to be old also, and are perhaps original. Although the boarding on which this ironwork is mounted is modern, the plain ledges across the backs appear to be old. There are three steps down into the church at the west end and two at the south door; the latter is set to the east of the centre of the nave, instead of to the west.

The original chancel arch has disappeared, and its place has been taken by a wider one of early 14th-century design in fire-stone, which appears to be modern. We may surmise that the ancient arch had square jambs, and resembled in design the two doorways. The present tracery window in the east wall is also entirely modern, and replaces the wood-framed opening of the churchwarden era, shown in Cracklow's view, which latter, in all probability, displaced two lancet openings of the same character as those in the side walls. There were probably three of these in either wall, but those on the north side have been destroyed in making the organ chamber and vestries. The three lancets in the south wall of the chancel are the only original windows left in the church. They are very interesting examples of their period (c. 1190), and have happily passed unscathed through the ordeal of restoration. Like the rest of the original ashlaring, their dressings are worked in clunch and firestone. They have sharply-pointed heads to the external openings, the curves being so slight as almost to present the appearance of straight lines, (fn. 30) and are rebated both inside and out, which implies that the glazing was originally placed against the outer rebate (instead of, as now, in a groove), and that the inner rebate was occupied by a shutter. It is not often that this double rebate is found. The internal heads are splayed equally with the jambs and are almost semicircular in outline, the point of the arch being so slight as to be unnoticeable.

Beneath the easternmost lancet is a pretty little piscina of the same period. It has a segmental head beneath a blind trefoil arch of horse-shoe outline, The drain has a small circular dishing. The aumbry, of similar form, in the opposite wall is modern. In about 1300 diagonal buttresses with gabled cappingstones were added to the angles of the nave. To the same period belongs the western porch, so far as its walls are concerned. The doorway, with its pointed segmental head, and the square loophole in the northern wall, are of this date, but the remarkable roof is a survival of the original timber porch, the walls being built anew, probably because of the exposed situation. Each separate rafter is shaped as a bold horseshoe trefoil, as though built for a barge board. There is something very suggestive of Saracenic art in the whole look of this roof.

Of the original font, the Sussex marble base alone remains, being built in against the nave wall, west of the south porch. It shows the common arrangement of four angle shafts and a central drum, through which the drain was pierced, the latter making a large hole in the base. Doubtless the bowl was of square form, with perhaps a shallow arcade cut round the sides, according to the common type, of which so many examples remain in the home counties. (fn. 31) The modern font is made of serpentine, with some little carving and gilding.

The roofs of the chancel and nave are both ancient, and possibly coeval with the original building. They are of trussed collar construction, with massive tie-beams and wall plates, the latter being of enormous scantling, and worked with double hollows in the chancel, exactly the same as at West Clandon chancel. The posts and beams of the timber bellturret, and its carved braces, appear to have been partially renewed. The copings to the gables are modern.

In pre-Reformation wills an altar of our Lady and an image of the same are specified. This altar was probably on the south of the chancel arch on the nave side. An image of St. Lawrence (and probably an altar) stood in the chancel.

To the south wall of the chancel are affixed two monuments of some interest, the eastern being that of John Cowper and his wife, date 1590. It is composed of alabaster, with panels of black marble, on which is cut the inscription, the whole retaining the original colouring in a very perfect state. At the apex, within a circular disc, is a shield of Cowper impaling argent a fesse between three trefoils sable, which are the arms of Blackdenn. This shield is festooned with twisted red ribbons, and stands within a broken pediment, beneath which and an entablature bordered by black marble columns is a circular arch. Within this are the kneeling figures of John Cowper and his wife, facing each other at a fald-stool of graceful design, on which are prayerbooks. The husband is represented in the scarlet robe of a serjeant-at-law, with a coif and a cloak over his shoulder. The wife's figure, kneeling on a cushion, in the ruff, stomacher, and fardingale of the period, is uncoloured— probably an indication that the monument was put up during her widowhood, and that thus the effigy was not completed as to colouring by her descendants. The inscription in the two panels reads:—

Below the inscription panels is an apron of scrollwork in alabaster.

The other monument, to the westward, is also finely designed, according to its period, and is in Sicilian marble, with Corinthian columns and pediment, having at top a cartouche, bearing the family arms, and over it the crest of a black lion holding a silver tilting-spear. The inscription is as follows:—
"Underneath lyeth the body of ROBT COWPER late of London, Gent. a younger son of RICHARD COWPER late of Temple Elfont, Esqr (by sarah Eldest daughter of wm knightley late of Kingston Esqr.) who was son & Heir of SR RICHARD COWPER Knt, by dame ELIZ. 2d Daughter of SR THOMAS GRESHAM KNT He Dyed Ye 23d of may 1720, In the 65th year of his Age. To whose Memory this Monumt was Erected by his 3 Neices, the Daughters & Coheirs of RICHARD COWPER late of London Gent. Vizt Sarah the Eldest Daughter Wife of John Vincent of Hampstead in the County of Middx Brewer, Mary ye 2d Daughter, wife of Henry Ashton of Hackney in ye same County of Midd. Gent. and Hannah the youngest Daughter wife of RICHARD DAWSON of Lambeth in the County of Surry Glass maker."

In addition to these monuments, Manning and Bray give the following:—

'On a brass plate in capitals':—


'On a brass plate, on a gravestone, in capitals':—


'On a black marble grave-stone in the chancel in capitals, is this inscription':—


'On the floor':—


There are no remains of ancient wall paintings or glass, but in the nave, chancel, and north aisle are many modern stained glass windows, by Clayton & Bell and other firms, some very good (as in the aisle and the side windows of the chancel), others of poor quality. The seating, pulpit, reredos, and other fittings are all also modern, but in the vestry are preserved a number of carved pew doors, of 17th-century date, worked up into a cupboard; also a wrought iron hour-glass stand.

The registers date from 1653.

Among the plate is a two-handled cup, of date about 1655, evidently a porringer, and very similar in design and size to one in use as a communion cup at Winterborne Whitchurch, Dorset, which is dated 1653. There is some repoussé ornamentation in circles on the bowl, with traces of gilding, and the handles are S-shaped. Beneath the foot is engraved a Tudor rose within a beaded circle. The bowl has at some time been soldered to the foot, which was probably higher originally. There are patens of 1781 and 1786, some modern pieces; and a pewter plate bearing (1) the name RICHARD KING, and devices of two bears or badgers flanked by fluted columns; (2) a crowned rose, with a word beginning 'GRA . .'; and (3), S OVER EE.

Of the six bells two are 19th century, two are by Thomas Mears, and dated 1797, and no. 4 and 5 bear the following inscriptions respectively:—

'OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD R.E. 1605,' and 'OMNIA HABENT FINEM R.E. 1593,' the initials in both cases being those of Richard Eldridge, a well-known Surrey founder.


CHRIST CHURCH, COLDHARBOUR, was built in 1848 at the expense of Mr. Labouchere, of Broome Hall. The Duke of Norfolk gave the ground in the waste of the manor. It has a plain nave and chancel in 13th-century style, with rather a fine pointed arch between them. The church is of local stone, with chalk dressings. There is a stone bell-turret on the west end. It was refitted, and an organ chamber added in 1904 by Sir A. Hargreaves Brown in memory of his mother. The heads on the corbels at the spring of the arch over the east window outside are portraits of Mr. John Labouchere the founder and of Mrs. Labouchere.


Capel was originally a chapelry of Dorking. The chapel, which gives its name to the parish, seems first mentioned in a confirmation by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester 1129–71, of the grants of churches, &c., given to the Priory of Lewes by the Earls of Warenne. He confirms to them 'Ecclesiam de Dorking cum Capella de la Wachna.' The charter is witnessed by Robert, Archdeacon of Surrey, who witnessed the charter of Henry to Waverley in 1130. (fn. 32) This seems to be Capel; for in 1361 Adam atte Plesshette granted land which had been held by Edith Pipestre of the grant of Maurice de Ewekne lying in the parish 'Capelle de Ewekene,' along with land in Ockley at Henhurst which is on the border of Capel. (fn. 33) In Pope Nicholas's taxation of 1291 'Dorking cum Capella' is the style of Dorking parish; so that it would appear that Capel became first called a separate parish between 1291 and 1361. This was possibly about 1334–7, when the church of Dorking with Capel was transferred from Lewes Priory to Reigate Priory, just founded by the last Earl of Warenne and Surrey. (fn. 34) The tithes of Capel were let immediately afterwards; (fn. 35) and the whole revenue was entirely at the disposal of the priory, and was granted to Lord William Howard with Reigate Priory at the Dissolution. The lay impropriator henceforth paid what he chose to the curate-in-charge of Capel. This state of things existed until 1868, when an endowment was raised by neighbouring landowners.

Charles Lord Howard of Effingham, son of Lord William Howard, leased the rectory, as it was called, and possibly the advowson also, to John Cowper, 28 May 1587. Julian Cowper, John's widow, conveyed to Richard Cowper, John's nephew and eventual heir, in 1603. (fn. 36) The Cowpers of Temple Elfold in Capel conveyed the lease to other persons for terms of years only, and in 1644 Mr. Richard Cowper had the advowson, and engaged in a lively controversy with the Committee of Plundered Ministers, declining to pay anybody else than the Rev. John Allen, whom they had removed. (fn. 37) He carried his point, and though the committee kept the man of their choice, they had to pay him out of the estates of the Chapter of Winchester. (fn. 38) But for an interval, while the controversy was proceeding, Capel baptisms and burials were performed at Newdigate, there being no parson in Capel. In 1660 the Cowper leases expired, and the rectory of Capel was, with others, confirmed to the Earl of Peterborough, as heir of Lord William Howard. (fn. 39) His daughter Mary sold in 1677 to Sir John Parsons. The widow of his son Humphrey settled it on her daughter Anne, wife of Sir John Hynde Cotton. In 1766 they sold to John Rogers for £5,700, subject to the payment of £20 a year to the curate. He died 1778, leaving it to his wife, who married secondly William Chivers, to whom it was conveyed. William Chivers died 1805, when it descended to his nephew Noah Chivers, who conveyed in 1812 to the Duke of Norfolk. His heir sold in 1844 to Charles Webb, who died 1869, leaving his property in trust; and the advowson and rectory are now in the hands of his trustees. (fn. 40)

Coldharbour is an ecclesiastical district formed in 1850 under 7 & 8 Vict. cap. 94, from portions of the parishes of Capel, Dorking, Wotton, and Ockley.

The living is in the gift of the trustees of Mr. John Labouchere.


Smith's Charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes.

Capel Cottage Hospital was built by the widow of the Rev. John Broadwood in 1864. It is maintained chiefly by public subscription.

In 1871 Mr. Charles Webb of Clapham was commemorated by his family in the building of almshouses for six aged couples.

Mr. Thomas Summers, of Horsham, left £100 in 1807, which was invested in 3 per cent. consols. The income provides bread for the poor (see Droking also). The vicar and churchwardens of Capel, who were trustees of Smith's and Summers' Charity, obtained leave from the Charity Commissioners to devote the funds to a more useful purpose, the bread having been distributed among a large number of people quite well able to provide for themselves, or given to the poor in such quantities that they could not consume it while it was good. All the bakers in the parish had to be employed, and the baker in Coldharbour (q.v.) sent bread three miles and a half to Capel, which was given to the Coldharbour people who had walked the same distance to receive it, and who carried it back to a hundred yards from where it was baked. The Parish Council, however, on becoming manager of parochial charities restored the bread dole.


  • 1. Manning and Bray, Surr. i, 570, curiously misdescribed Anstie Farm as 'at the foot of the hill southward,' confusing it with Kitlands.
  • 2. See the account of the advowson.
  • 3. Books lately in custody of Mr. Marsh of Dorking.
  • 4. See Lewes MS. 200, fol. 6b.
  • 5. a Brayley, Hist. Surr. v, 73.
  • 6. Assize R. 47 Hen. III, Surr. R. 13.
  • 7. Deeds in possession of late Rev. T. R. O'Fflahertie of Capel.
  • 8. Assize R. no. 879, m. 14.
  • 9. Dugdale, Mon. vi (2), 833.
  • 10. J. Delaville le Roulx, Doc. concernant les Templiers, p. 50, no. xxxviii.
  • 11. Cotton MS. Nero, E. vi, fol. 141.
  • 12. Exch. Mins. Accts. 31 & 32 Hen. VIII, no. 114, Midd.
  • 13. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xviii (1), g. 346 (3), and g. 226 (79.)
  • 14. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxviii, 64.
  • 15. Deed of 1601 in possession of the late Rev. T. R. O'Fflahertie of Capel. Richard the elder had mortgaged his reversion and Richard the younger reclaimed it.
  • 16. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxxiii, 104.
  • 17. The name 'Lady Cooper,' no doubt Elizabeth Gresham, is scratched with a diamond upon an existing window at Temple Elfold.
  • 18. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxix, 30.
  • 19. Deeds copied by the late Rev. T. R. O'Fflahertie of Capel.
  • 20. Deeds quoted by Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 597.
  • 21. Deed communicated by Mr. Percy Woods, C.B.
  • 22. V.C.H. Surr. ii, 611; Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 55 Geo. III.
  • 23. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 3 Hen. VIII; East. 4 & 5 Hen. VIII.
  • 24. Ibid. Trin. 32 Hen. VIII.
  • 25. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxxvii, 64.
  • 26. Ibid. cccclxxv, 97.
  • 27. Rolls copied by the Rev. T. R. O'Fflahertie of Capel.
  • 28. The chapel mentioned in the confirmation of Henry of Blois (see advowson) must have been a timber building, erected perhaps earlier in the 12th century, and probably it would be much smaller than the stone chapel that succeeded it.
  • 29. Possibly the projecting stones were left to prevent the door being lifted bodily off its hinges.
  • 30. In this they recall the lancets of the chancel at Chipstead, where the internal heads are gabled or triangular in form.
  • 31. As at Beddington, Great Bookham, West Clandon, Frensham, Merstham, Mickleham, Seale, and Worplesdon in Surrey; and many others in Kent, Sussex, Middlesex, &c.
  • 32. Exch. T.R. B 5/5; fol. 49. The volume is also lettered Cartae Antiquae de Prioratu de Lewes.
  • 33. Charter in possession of the late Rev. T. R. O'Fflahertie, Vicar of Capel. Compare Manning and Bray, Surr. iii, App. cxxx; 'land in the parishes of Dorking and Ewekenes' in a charter of 1481. 'Ewekenes,' now usually spelt Eutons, is a farm in Capel; there are remains of a moat near it.
  • 34. Winton Epis. Reg. Orlton, i, fol. 57 d. But in 1508 it was still called a chapel of Dorking.
  • 35. Winton Epis.Reg.Edendon,ii,fol.41–2.
  • 36. Deed at Loseley reciting the former lease to John Cowper.
  • 37. Add. MS. (B.M.), 15669, fol. 11.
  • 38. Bodl. MSS. 323, p. 271; 325, p. 223; 327, p. 508.
  • 39. Pat. 12 Chas. II, pt. xviii, no. 16. Pro concessione Johanni Vicecomiti Mordaunt, in trust for his elder brother the earl's daughter Mary. (See above.)
  • 40. Abstract of title to rectory and glebe of Capel. Sold in 1910 to Mr. Crisp of Godalming.