Parishes: Betchworth

Pages 166-173

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Becesworde (xi cent.), Beceswrde (xii cent.), Bechesworth (xiii cent.).

Betchworth is a parish midway between Dorking and Reigate, about 3 miles from each, 26 miles from London. It is bounded on the north by Mickleham, Headley, and Walton on the Hill, on the east by Buckland and Reigate, on the south by Leigh, on the west by Dorking. It measures 4 miles from north to south, and 2 miles from east to west, and contains 3,713 acres of land and 30 of water. It is traversed by the River Mole, which runs in a circuitous course from south-east to northwest; and the Gadbrook, a tributary of the Mole, forms part of the southern boundary. It is, characteristically of all the parishes on the southern escarpment of the chalk, placed on the three soils, the northern part being on the summit and slope of the chalk downs, the central part with the old village and church being on the sands, and the southern part on the Wealden Clay. The chalk furnishes the chief industry. Chalkpits and limeworks have existed for time out of mind, and the very extensive works of the Dorking Grey Stone and Lime Company are in the parish, where lime is burnt and cement manufactured on a large scale. There are also brickyards in the parish, which is, however, mostly agricultural and residential. Gadbrook Common is to the south of the parish, and there is open down-land to the north, interspersed with plantations, Betchworth Clump, a group of beeches, standing up conspicuously on the crest of the chalk hill. The Duke's Grove is a fir plantation below Brockham Warren, planted by a Duke of Norfolk. The road from Dorking to Reigate passes through the parish. A line of yew trees on the side of the chalk has been taken to mark an ancient way leading from the ford of the Mole along the downs, but if such existed the continuity has been interrupted by the chalkpits and limeworks. A lane coming from the south, and leading to a formerly existing wooden bridge over the Mole in Wonham Park, is called Pray Lane.

The Redhill and Reigate branch of the South Eastern Railway cuts the parish from east to west, and there is a station at Betchworth, opened in 1849.

There seem to be no records of prehistoric remains in Betchworth. A palimpsest brass, with the arms of the Fitz Adrians, under-tenants of Brockham, on the reverse, was found in the church, and is now in the British Museum. Historically the manors have been transferred from one hundred to another. In Domesday part of Betchworth was held with Thorncroft and counted with that manor in Copthorne. This is probably West Betchworth, now in Dorking parish and Wotton Hundred. Another manor, East Betchworth, with a church, was counted in Wotton Hundred. The transference of East Betchworth to Reigate before 1279 (fn. 1) may be connected with its acquisition by the de Warennes, lords of Reigate. The tenants did villein service in Reigate, mowing a meadow called Friday's Mead.

The parish of Betchworth has become a favourite residential neighbourhood. Broome Park, south of the railway, is the property of Lady Louisa Fielding. The park comprises about 80 acres. It was formerly the residence of Sir Benjamin Brodie, the eminent doctor. The second baronet removed to Brockham Warren, formerly the seat of Mr. Mackley Brown. Broome Park was sold to General the Hon. Sir Percy R. B. Fielding after 1891. On the site was an old house, now absorbed in or superseded by later buildings. There was also a small house on another site called the Temple, now pulled down. A mantelpiece in the house is said to have been brought from it, and has the crest of Briscoe, a greyhound seizing a hare, upon it. The Old House, an 18th-century house on the east of the village street, is the seat of the Rev. Walter Earle. Captain Morris, of the Life Guards, well known in the latter part of the 18th and earlier 19th century as a writer of convivial songs, lived in Betchworth.

The inclosure award for Betchworth Common fields and waste is dated 30 April 1815, pursuant to the Act 52 Geo. III, cap. 60. The fields which lie north of the church and west of the village are still in fact open fields.

The inclosure award of Shellwood Manor (fn. 2) included waste in Betchworth parish, that is about Gadbrook Common. A conveyance of Wonham Manor, 1689, naming the Upper and Lower Great Field of 25 acres, and the Great South Field, 11 acres, seems to show open fields also in that manor, but when they were inclosed is unknown.

There was a parish school which was enlarged in 1850, (fn. 3) but existed before that date, supported partly by endowments from a Mr. Reynolds and the Duke of Norfolk. The present provided school was built in 1871 and enlarged in 1885.

Brockham Green is a district formed from Betchworth, and made into an ecclesiastical parish in 1848. The village, clustered round the green, about 1½ miles west of Betchworth village, is picturesque and flourishing. The church, built on land given by Mr. Hope of Deepdene, is of 13th-century style, of stone, with a central tower and spire.

Brockham Warren is the residence of Sir Benjamin Brodie, bart.; Brockham Park of Mr. Robert Gordon, J.P.; Brockham Court of Mrs. Davidson; Brockham House of Mr. Henry Foley. Brockham Court was built by a former Duke of Norfolk on the site of the old manor-house, (fn. 4) having been separated from the manor. Brockham Bridge over the Mole is repaired by the county to the value of two-thirds, and the remaining third by the district council, Brockham being a contributory area. Brockham Home and Industrial School was established in 1859 by Mrs. Way of Wonham Manor, Betchworth, for orphan girls from eleven to sixteen, who are trained for domestic service and afforded a home later when out of place. An Infants' Home was added by Miss Way in 1872. The two are under the management of the same committee of ladies.

There is a Particular Baptist Chapel in Brockham.

A school was built in 1830, and rebuilt in 1840. (fn. 5) After the passing of the Education Act of 1870 a School Board was formed for Betchworth, and the present provided school at Brockham was built in 1879 and enlarged in 1901.


At the time of the Domesday Survey, Becesworde, which is probably EAST BETCHWORTH, was stated to be in the hundred of Wotton; (fn. 6) 'Richard de Tonbridge, lord of Clare, himself held 'Becesworde' in demesne. (fn. 7) It was assessed for 2 hides and valued at £8. In King Edward's time it had been held by Cola, when it was assessed at 6 hides and worth £9. (fn. 8) It subsequently passed to the de Warennes, probably before 1199, as Earl Hamelin de Warenne and his wife held the church in East Betchworth (q.v.) before that date. It is possible that the manor had passed from Richard de Tonbridge to William de Warenne when the latter was created first Earl of Surrey by William II in 1088. It is afterwards described as being, with the castle and town of Reigate and manor of Dorking, 'parcel of the county of Surrey,' (fn. 9) and Dorking at least (q.v.) probably formed part of the original endowment made at the creation of the earldom of Surrey. (fn. 10) Betchworth was held with Reigate by succeeding Earls of Warenne and Surrey. (fn. 11) The surrender of those manors to the king in 1316 by John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, their re-grant to the earl with remainder to his illegitimate sons, and their final inheritance by Richard Earl of Arundel, nephew and legitimate heir of John de Warenne, is fully dealt with under Reigate (q.v.). John de Warenne died in 1347, (fn. 12) but it was not until the death in 1361 of his widow, the Dowager Countess of Surrey, that the Earl of Arundel succeeded to his uncle's earldom. (fn. 13)

A settlement on the sons of Richard was made in 1366, (fn. 14) and on his death his eldest son Richard succeeded to the manor and was seised of it at the time of his disgrace and death in 1397, when his estates became forfeit to the Crown. (fn. 15) His eldest son Thomas, to whom his father's title and estates were restored in 1400, (fn. 16) died without issue in 1415, and his lands were divided among his three sisters and co-heirs, Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk, then wife of Sir Gerrard Osflete or Ufflete, kt., Joan de Beauchamp, Lady Abergavenny, and Margaret wife of Sir Roland Leynthale, kt. (fn. 17) The manor of East Betchworth appears to have been assigned to his second sister, Joan wife of William Lord Abergavenny. She died in 1434, and was succeeded by her son Richard, whose daughter and heir Elizabeth married Edward Nevill, son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland. (fn. 18) Nevill received the lands of his wife's inheritance, and afterwards took the title of Lord Abergavenny. (fn. 19) He died seised of the manor of East Betchworth in 1466, leaving his son George as heir. (fn. 20) The manor remained in possession of this family throughout the next century. In the reign of Henry VIII, when a muster was made of able men who, with weapons and harness, were meet to serve the king, it was stated that Betchworth with Brockham could contribute thirtyseven men. (fn. 21) In 1629 Henry, ninth Lord Abergavenny, (fn. 22) conveyed the manor for £1,080 to Sir Ralph Freeman, (fn. 23) Master of Requests. Freeman also held other offices under the Crown, being in 1629 Auditor of the Imprests and afterwards Master-Worker of the Mint. (fn. 24) He married Catherine Bret. (fn. 25) Of his two sons, George died in 1678, and Ralph held the manor in 1684. (fn. 26) The latter's sons Francis and George held courts in 1707 and 1715 respectively, but died without issue. Elizabeth daughter and eventually sole heir to Ralph Freeman carried the manor to the family of Bouverie by her marriage with Christopher, younger son of Sir Edward Des Bouverie. (fn. 27) Christopher Bouverie, afterwards knighted by Queen Anne, died in 1732–3; his eldest son Freeman died unmarried in 1734, when his second son John inherited the property. (fn. 28) John died in 1750 while 'on his travels in Turkey.' (fn. 29) His sisters, Anne wife of John Hervey and Elizabeth Bouverie, (fn. 30) held the manor in 1752, (fn. 31) when according to Manning the manor was limited to the Herveys. Christopher, last surviving son of John Hervey and Anne, died without issue in 1786, (fn. 32) having devised the manor to his aunt, Elizabeth Bouverie, who in turn devised the manor and mansion-house at Betchworth to a distant cousin, the Hon. William Henry Bouverie, (fn. 33) who belonged to the elder branch of this family, and whose son Charles succeeded to the manor in 1806. (fn. 34) It was still in the latter's possession in 1816, (fn. 35) but was sold in the following year, according to Brayley, to the Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn, (fn. 36) in whose family it has since remained, Major Henry Goulburn, grandson of the above-mentioned Henry, being present lord of the manor. (fn. 37)

Nevill, Lord Abergavenny. Gules a saltire argent with a rose gules thereon.

Freeman. Azure three lozenges argent.

Bouverie. Party fessewise or and argent an eagle sable with two heads and on his breast a scutcheon gules with a bend vair.

John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, seems to have had free warren in his demesne lands at Betchworth, (fn. 38) as three times during the early 14th century he made complaint of the trespasses committed in his free warren there. (fn. 39) The Domesday Survey records the existence of a mill at Betchworth which was valued at 10s. (fn. 40) In 1287–8 William de Aguillon granted to Ralph de Hengham and his heirs a mill which was to be held for the annual rent of one rose. (fn. 41) No further trace of this mill is apparent; it is possible that it was situated on the land called Aglonds (vide Aglonds More), of which mention occurs in the 15th century, and to which de Aguillon possibly gave his name.

The manor-house of East Betchworth was built by Sir Ralph Freeman in the reign of Charles I. It was called Betchworth Place, and therefore probably superseded an older manor-house on another site. It is a fine 17th-century mansion of red brick, and contains some antiquities brought from Italy by Mr. John Hervey in the 18th century.

In 1409 a conveyance was made by Stephen Hervey and his wife Agnes to William Asshurst, junior, of a messuage, 20 acres of land, and 20d. rent in East Betchworth. (fn. 42) This probably represents the reputed manor of LE MORE, of which John son of William Asshurst died seised, together with land called Aglonds, in 1507, his father having held the lands before him. (fn. 43) In 1499 Le More, afterwards known as Aglonds More, or More Place, had been settled on Agnes wife of John Asshurst, the reversion being to his brother and heir William. (fn. 44) Agnes apparently married John Skinner, senior, as her second husband, as in 1512 the manor was stated to belong to John Skinner and Agnes for the life of Agnes, (fn. 45) and seems to have been conveyed from the trustees of Agnes's marriage settlement to Sir Henry Wyatt and Sir John Leigh and John Skinner for 200 marks of silver. (fn. 46) The next record of Aglonds More shows that in 1547 John Woodman of Colley died seised of the manor, which he held of the Earl of Arundel as of the manor of Colley. (fn. 47) He left as heir his son Richard, who married Julia Huntley of Woodmansterne, (fn. 48) and was in turn succeeded by his son and grandson, both called William. (fn. 49) The grandson married Winifred Balam, and was succeeded by his second son Richard. (fn. 50) In 1650 a warrant was issued for the Council of State and Admiralty Committee to apprehend Richard Woodman, described as of More Place in the parish of Betchworth, on the grounds that he and John White, a weaver, had harboured a stranger from Germany, supposed to be a Papist, who was also to be arrested and brought with the other two before the Council. Search was to be made for arms and ammunition, and all books and papers were to be seized. (fn. 51) In 1706–7 Richard Woodman, probably the son of the man referred to above, was holding the manor, (fn. 52) and in 1739 a conveyance was made to the trustees of John Bouverie, then a minor, (fn. 53) who also held the manor of East Betchworth (q.v.). Bouverie's sister Elizabeth held both manors in 1752, (fn. 54) after her brother's death, and Aglonds More has since that time descended with the manor of East Betchworth, (fn. 55) Major Goulburn being now lord of the manor. More Place has been occupied for fifty years by Mr. J. R. Corbett, well known as a breeder of Jersey cattle.

The house was one of the old timber-framed houses with very massive oak beams, probably dating from the time of Henry VI. On the north side was a lofty hall, broken up as far back as the 17th century into rooms. The tie-beams of the hall roof are still visible in the attics. At the same date probably the house had a southern side built on to it. The timbers in the ceilings of this are Spanish chestnut. There is a good Jacobean mantelpiece. The octagonal turret to the south was added more recently.

At the beginning of the 13th century BROCKHAM was in the possession of the de Warenne family, as between the years 1219 and 1225 William de Warenne enfeoffed Thomas son of Ralph Niger of the land of Brockham, to be held for the rent of 60s. sterling, together with a virgate of land in East Betchworth, lately in the tenure of Adam son of John le Brabazun, for which a rent of 40d. or a pair of gloves furred with grey was to be given yearly. (fn. 56) The manor was held of the heirs of the Earl of Warenne and Surrey as late as 1609 for the same annual payment of 60s. (fn. 57) It passed from Thomas Niger to Giles Niger or le Neyr. (fn. 58) Apparently Thomas Niger left a widow, Agnes, who married John son of Adrian, as in 1242–3 John Adrian and Agnes his wife were holding a third of the manor as Agnes's dower. (fn. 59) At the same date William de Fakeham, who had evidently been enfeoffed by Giles le Neyr, granted the other two-thirds to John Adrian, a right of dower being however reserved to Julia wife of Giles le Neyr. (fn. 60) Three years afterwards Giles le Neyr quitclaimed all right in the manor to Adrian. (fn. 61) Confirmation of this transfer was made to Adrian and his heirs by John son of William de Warenne in 1254. (fn. 62) John grandson of John Adrian seems to have married Margaret daughter of Henry Frowyk, (fn. 63) and in 1348 a settlement was made by which the manor, failing other heirs, was to revert to Henry Frowyk and his heirs. (fn. 64) John Adrian held the manor until after 1356, in which year he received licence from the bishop to celebrate mass in his house at Brockham. (fn. 65) He apparently died without issue, as by 1377 the manor had come into the possession of Henry de Frowyk, who shortly before his death in 1378 made a settlement by which the reversion was granted to Henry son of Thomas de Frowyk in fee. (fn. 66) This second Henry was evidently the grandson of the first, whose son Thomas predeceased his father. (fn. 67) Henry the grandson died in 1386, leaving two sons, the elder of whom, Thomas, continued the senior branch of the family, holding Oldford in Middlesex, land in Hertfordshire, and then or later South Mimms, while from the younger descended the Frowyks of Gunnersbury. (fn. 68) The manor of Brockham remained in the elder branch of the family, as the will of the elder son Thomas, proved in 1448, states that the manors of Oldford and Brockham were to remain in the hands of feoffees for a year, his debts being paid from the issues therefrom, after which Brockham was to remain to his wife Elizabeth for her life, reverting to his son Henry and his issue. (fn. 69) Henry was succeeded by his son Thomas, and the latter by his son Henry, who married Ann Knolles and died in 1527, leaving as sole heir his daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Coningsby, who was holding it with her husband in 1530. (fn. 70) In 1547 Elizabeth settled an annuity of £27 on Mary, widow of her brother Thomas, who had predeceased his father. (fn. 71) Elizabeth Coningsby married William Dodd as her second husband, but at her death she was succeeded in the lordship of Brockham by Henry Coningsby, her son by her first husband, who was knighted in 1585. (fn. 72) Sir Henry died in 1590 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ralph, (fn. 73) who held until 1606, (fn. 74) in which year he joined with his brothers Philip and Henry in conveying the manor to Thomas Wight, (fn. 75) who died seised of it in 1609. (fn. 76) His son, Gabriel Wight, succeeded him, (fn. 77) and the manor remained in this family, passing from father to son, until the end of the 18th century. (fn. 78) In 1793 Henry Wight, the last surviving son of William Wight, died without issue. (fn. 79) He devised his Surrey estate to his sister, Lady Elizabeth Harington, for her life. After her death one-half was to remain successively to Elizabeth White, a kinswoman, and to John Wight of Brabœuf (Artington), q.v., for their lives, remainder to right heirs of testator. The other half was devised to William Martin and his heirs or, failing them, was to descend with the first half. The whereabouts of Martin being unknown, advertisement for him was to be made in the London Gazette. (fn. 80) This was done (fn. 81) after the death, in 1794, of Elizabeth Harington, who had married the Rev. John Chaundler as her second husband (fn. 82) and had held Brockham after her brother's death. (fn. 83) John Wight inherited a moiety in 1794, and, according to Manning, the other moiety was claimed shortly afterwards by the two daughters of William Martin, Elizabeth and Sarah wife of William Hibbet, and they, with John Wight, held the manor in 1808. (fn. 84) Elizabeth appears to have given up her share soon after, as in 1809 William Hibbet and Sarah were in full possession of a moiety of the manor, the other moiety being still held by John Wight. (fn. 85) The entire manor afterwards became the property by purchase of Henry T. Hope of Deepdene, who held it in 1844. (fn. 86) In 1878, after his decease, it was in the hands of his trustees, (fn. 87) and is now held by his grandson Lord Henry Francis Pelham-Clinton-Hope.

Adrian. Argent two bars wavy gules and a chief checky or and azure.

Frowyk. Azure a cheveron between three leopards' heads or.

Hope of Deepdene. Azure a cheveron or between three bezants.

In 1199 William de Wonham received a grant from Walter de Lingfield of half a virgate of land, afterwards included in the manor of WONHAM in Betchworth, to hold for the annual rent of 4s. (fn. 88) The name of Wonham also occurs as that of witness to a deed early in the 13th century. (fn. 89) It is probable that this family therefore held land in Betchworth for several centuries. Manning states that a William Wonham held manorial courts in 1533 and in 1552. (fn. 90) In 1622 a William Wonham died seised of the 'manor, capital messuage and farm of Wonham,' and was succeeded by his grandson, (fn. 91) who held the manor until 1646, in which year he conveyed it to Andrew Cade. (fn. 92) The deed of conveyance records the name of the manor as 'Wonham alias the borough of Wonham,' by which title it is afterwards known. In 1678 the manor was held by Andrew Cade and Mary his wife. (fn. 93) He was, according to Manning, the cousin and heir of the first Andrew. The second Andrew Cade seems to have left a daughter and heir Anne, who married Henry Royall, as the latter, with his wife, quitclaimed the manor in 1687 from themselves and the heirs of Anne to John Coldham, (fn. 94) who was presumably a trustee. (fn. 95)

It would seem that Henry Royall and Anne left three daughters and co-heirs, of whom Ann wife of Darby Daniell and Rebecca wife of Daniel Cox conveyed their shares to Richard Hutchinson in 1690 and 1694 (fn. 96) in trust. Richard Broomhall, second husband of Rebecca Cox, held a court in 1696.

In 1711 Richard Hutchinson joined with Rebecca Broomhall, widow of Daniel Cox, and Frances Evelyn, the third heiress, widow, in a sale to William Arnold. (fn. 97) The manor passed soon after to John Taylor, who held his first court in 1721, from whom it descended to his son, also called John. (fn. 98) In 1751 it was conveyed by the latter's widow Dorothy, then wife of John Rapley, to John Luxford, the sale including 'the capital messuage or tenement wherein Rebecca Broomhall formerly dwelt' and appurtenances, including the names of the Hop Ground Moors and Pight Lake. (fn. 99) Luxford by will (proved 13 June 1775) devised his houses and lands in East Betchworth and elsewhere to his sister Jane and her husband Abraham Langham, in trust for his nieces and heirs Elizabeth Langham and Ann, Mary, Harriet, and Elizabeth Luxford, with remainder to his nephew James Luxford. (fn. 100) In 1788 all these parties conveyed to the Hon. Charles Marsham. (fn. 101) Brayley states that Mr. Marsham, afterwards Earl of Romney, sold the estate in 1793 to John Stables, who lived at More Place, and from whom it was purchased in 1804 by J. H. Upton, Viscount Templetown. (fn. 102)

In 1840 Wonham Manor was bought by Mr. Albert Way, F.S.A., who married Emmeline daughter of Lord Stanley of Alderley. Their only daughter, Alithea, married her cousin Mr. Albert Way, who died in 1884, leaving a son of the same name. The Hon. Mrs. Way, who survived till 1906, was lady of the manor. It is still (1910) in the hands of her trustees for sale. (fn. 103) The manor-house is old, but much modernized.

A water-mill called Wonham's is mentioned at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1328 Edward III granted a confirmation in mortmain to the priory of Reigate of divers grants, including that of the 'water-mill at Wonham with pond, watercourses, &c., in East Betchworth, formerly in the tenure of William de London and Roger de London, and of 26s. 8d. yearly rent there granted them by Roger son of Roger de London of Reygate.' (fn. 104) At the surrender of Reigate Priory Wonham's water-mill and lands there, which had been demised to farm to William Hevyr, were valued at 53s. 4d. (fn. 105) The water-mill does not appear to have passed to the owner of the manor of Wonham at once, (fn. 106) but was included among the appurtenances by 1678 (fn. 107) and has since passed with the manor.


The church of ST. MICHAEL is set among charming surroundings, the large and pretty churchyard being bordered on the south and west by lofty elms and other trees. It is approached from the north by a village street of picturesque old cottages, some of which are half-timbered. There are a good many ancient head-stones among the monuments, and besides other notabilities lies buried here Captain Morris, who died in 1838, aged 93, famous in his day as a song-writer, and particularly as the author of the well-known lines in which 'the sweet shady side of Pall Mall' is preferred to all the charms of the country-side, including the oaks, beeches, and chestnuts of Betchworth. There is a modern lych-gate on the north. The church is built of chalk rubble, quarried from the neighbouring hills, with dressings of clunch and firestone, which have stood very well on the north side, but have weathered badly, especially in the modern work, on the south and west. Bath stone has been used for most of the modern dressings. The roofs are still covered entirely with the ancient Horsham stone slabs.

As now standing the building consists of nave, 60 ft. 3 in. by 21ft. 9 in., with north and south aisles, 7 ft. 8 in. and 8 ft. 8 in. wide respectively, and south and west porches, a chancel 33 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 6 in., with a large south chapel co-terminous, 13 ft. 4 in. at its widest, a tower between the chapel and the south aisle of the nave about 14 ft. 6 in. square, and modern vestry and transept on the north of nave and chancel. This plan, in which there are many puzzling irregularities, was brought to its present form in the restoration of about 1850, prior to which the tower was central between the nave and chancel. It was then removed bodily to its present position, much to the bewilderment of students of archaeology, who without knowledge of what was done must find the plan a very difficult one to decipher.

From the fact that a church is mentioned in Domesday and that a capital or base of a pre-Conquest shaft is to be seen built into a modern window, (fn. 108) it is practically certain that there was a Saxon church, and that of stone. It probably had a fairly large nave and a short, narrow chancel, which, as in the case of Godalming, was, after the Conquest, transformed into a low tower, with a new chancel built out to the eastward. One of the arches of this tower, with two square orders and cushion capitals having chamfered abaci, was rebuilt when the tower was shifted, and now opens from the tower into the south aisle of the nave. Its character suggests the date of c. 1080. Early in the 13th century the church was greatly enlarged. The nave received first a south aisle of c. 1200, and perhaps slightly later one on the north side. A clearstory was added on both sides, with irregular circular windows, (fn. 109) the chancel was rebuilt or extended eastwards, an aisle or Lady chapel being added on the south, all within the first quarter of the 13th century, to which date the three lancet windows in the north wall of the chancel and the arches opening to the south chapel belong. They are pointed, of two orders, the outer square-edged, and the inner chamfered, on octagonal and circular capitals and heavy round columns with shallow octagonal responds. The present chancel arch is of this date, but would appear to have been rebuilt higher and wider at the restoration of 1850; the arches immediately adjoining it in the nave were made at this latter date, to give access to the transept and the rebuilt tower. Piers and arches are of three recessed chamfered orders, the moulded imposts, of a characteristic section, which take the place of capitals, being returned round the chamfers, as at Wotton and elsewhere. The chancel has a slight inclination in the axis of its plan towards the north, and its walls diverge as they go eastward to the extent of 1 ft. The present east window of geometrical tracery is modern, and replaces one of 15th-century date shown in Cracklow's view; and similarly the east window of the Lady chapel, also of 15th-century date, was in 1850 exchanged for one with net tracery. This change, though ill-judged, may have been in the nature of a restoration, as one at least of the three windows in the south wall of the chapel retains ancient tracery of this character (c. 1320). Its companions, right and left, do not appear in Cracklow's view, but may have been blocked up at that date, 1824.

The nave arcades are of about 1200, with circular and octagonal piers and responds, having moulded capitals and bases of varying sections, supporting pointed arches of two orders with narrow chamfers. The aisles are narrow in proportion to the wide nave, and were perhaps even narrower originally, as all the windows in their walls are of later date. Probably they were at first mere passages, 6 ft. or so in width, and were widened to the extent of about 2 ft. (as a break in the west wall of the south aisle seems to indicate) early in the 14th century, when the Lady chapel windows were inserted. The newer windows, which no doubt replaced early lancets, were not all made at the same time: those in the south wall of the south aisle are two-light trefoil-headed openings, with a cusped vesica-shaped quatrefoil over, under a plain hood-moulding (c. 1320); while the single-light windows in the west wall of both aisles, and two similar openings in the north wall of the north aisle, having cusped ogee heads, are slightly later, c. 1330, and a remarkably beautiful two-light window in the eastern part of the same wall, having net tracery and a scroll section hood moulding, is of the same date. Another two-light opening to the westward between the two single-light windows, also an admirable example of its period, dates from about 1390. It has cinquefoiled heads under a pointed segmental arch, and the terminals of the hood-moulding are carved into heads, which appear to represent cowled canons—perhaps in reference to the connexion of the church with the priory of St. Mary Overy, Southwark.

The western porch is modern, and contains nothing worthy of remark: that on the south side is also modern, replacing one of brick. Most of the features of the tower, externally and internally, date only from its rebuilding, in a new position, in 1850; but, owing to the poor quality of the stone used, the tower has already assumed a deceptive appearance of antiquity. Its belfry lights in Cracklow's view are apparently of 15th-century date, while the present are of early 13th-century design.

The roofs appear to be modern throughout, but the timber ceiling over the tower, with heavilymoulded beams, is of 15th-century date, and appears to have been shifted with the tower. In the chancel are the remains of a piscina: there must have been three or four more in pre-Reformation times. A holy-water stoup of 14th-century character is to be seen near the south doorway. The pulpit of marbles and glass mosaic, needless to say, is new, so also are the font, the chancel stalls, the lectern and stone reredos sculptured with the Last Supper. Into the modern seating of the nave are worked some panels carved with the linen-fold pattern, of early 16th-century date. In the vestry is preserved a remarkable chest, hewn out of an oak trunk of great size, roughly squared, and bound round with seven massive iron straps. It bears a general resemblance to the similarly fashioned chests at Newdigate and Burstow in this part of Surrey; and while there is no reason why they should not be of very early date, yet they may equally be quite late.

There are no old wall-paintings or glass, but nearly all the windows are filled with modern stained glass of varying merit. The chancel has recently been panelled in oak.

On the north wall of the chancel has been placed the brass, originally in the floor, to Thomas Wardysworth, vicar, dated 1533. In style it closely resembles the palimpsest fragment of a priest's brass at Cobham, Surrey. (fn. 110) The figure is in Mass vestments, and holds a chalice, in which is the Host, inscribed in Roman letters IHC. The inscription, which is in black letter, reads—
In the part of the Lady chapel now used as a vestry are three small brass plates, also mural, one of which bears the inscription—

The others are to the memory of Mrs. Bridgett Browne, 1627, and to Peter Gade, 1679. In the other part of the chapel (south wall) is a monument to Gabriel Wight, of Brockham, 1621; another to Stephen Harvey, 1618; and in the nave is a tablet to Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, bart., the famous surgeon, 1862.

The six bells were recast in 1876, before which date there seem to have been five, one bearing the inscription, sit nomen domini benedictum; another ROBERTUS MOT ME FECIT 1590; and the others of 1667, 1721, and 1750.

Among the plate is a cup of 1639 and another of about the same date with an inscription round the upper part: 'This belongeth to the Parish of St. Bridgett,' i.e. St. Bride, in the City of London. There are two silver flagons of 1639 and patens of 1715 and 1776, besides a few pieces of modern plate, given by the same donor who presented the cup formerly belonging to St. Bride's, Fleet Street.

The registers date from 1558, with certain gaps and damaged portions. They contain an explanatory note to the effect that about this time (in the early 18th century) the register was damaged owing to the vicar's greyhound bitch rearing a litter in the parish chest.


The Domesday Survey records the existence of a church at Betchworth (which must be East Betchworth), held at that time by Richard de Tonbridge, lord of Clare. (fn. 111) It afterwards passed to the family of de Warenne. Earl Hamelin and his wife Isabella, daughter and heir of the third Earl de Warenne, gave the church of East Betchworth to the priory of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, before 1199; (fn. 112) confirmation of this and divers other grants to the priory was made during the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 113)

Priory of St. Mary Overy. Argent a cross indented gules with a lozenge gules in the quarter.

A vicarage was ordained before 1377, as in that year an inquiry concerning the vicar of Betchworth was held by an official of the Bishop of Winchester. The inquiry was directed at the instance of the parishioners themselves, who alleged that the vicar did not proceed in orders, wasted the goods of the vicarage, suffered the house of residence to go to ruin, kept a mistress, revealed the secrets of the confessional, and left the church unserved. (fn. 114) The vicar seems to have resigned in consequence, as in the June following the inquiry, which was held in February, William Spencer was instituted vicar, owing to the resignation of John de Westone. (fn. 115)

The convent of St. Mary Overy retained possession of the advowson until the Dissolution. (fn. 116)

In 1545 Henry VIII made a grant in fee to Thomas Burnell and William his son of the rectory, late in the tenure of Sir Nicholas Carew, knight, deceased, and of the advowson, to be held of the king by the service of one fortieth part of a knight's fee, and for the yearly rent of 19s. (fn. 117) The king in the following year granted this yearly rent to Roland Hill and his heirs. (fn. 118) Both these grants, however, appear to have been annulled, or else surrender was made to the Crown, as Edward VI, in the first year of his reign, granted both rectory and church to William Franklin, Dean of the King's Free Chapel of St. George the Martyr in Windsor Castle, and the chapter of the same and their successors. (fn. 119) The presentation to the church has remained with the Dean and Chapter of Windsor until the present day. (fn. 120)

Dean and Canons of St. George,Windsor. Argent a cross gules.

In 1 Robert Tourney was vicar, the rectory being demised to one Daniel Leare, the parishioners of Betchworth petitioned for the augmentation of the vicarage out of the impropriate parsonage; the vicarage, formerly worth £30, having been decreased to £10 by the augmentation of the parsonage. (fn. 121) On 10 May 1637, when the case was heard, the Dean and Chapter of Windsor offered an annual sum of £5 for the augmentation of the vicarage, a like offer being made by Leare, and it was therefore ordered that the said £10 should be duly assured to the vicar and his successors. (fn. 122)

The Parliamentary Report of 1658 says that the Poor Knights of Windsor were patrons. (fn. 123) This is either a confusion, or the patronage of the abolished chapter had been conveyed to them.


In 1715 Hugh Griffiths, vicar, rebuilt the vicarage. Smith's Charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes.

In 1660 Mr. Richard Arnold by will left the rent of land at Steyning in Sussex to provide clothing for ten poor people not given to drunkenness. This land has been sold.

In 1662 Mr. Andrew Cade left £100 by will to provide bread for the poor.

In 1662 Mr. Richard Arnold's daughter Mary gave 30s. a year charged on land at Medley Bottom in Betchworth to provide bread.

In 1706 Mr. Richard Hutton left the rent of a cottage to provide bread—distributed on Good Friday. In 1725 the return to Bishop Willis's visitation calls the cottage John Parkhurst's house.

In 1725 Mrs. Margaret Fenwicke of Betchworth Castle left £200 to buy lands, to provide for apprenticing children, and for marrying maidservants born in Betchworth and living seven years in the same employment, the surplus, if any, to go to the poor. A house and certain parcels of the Common Fields of Letherhead were bought for the purpose. The house was allowed to fall into ruins, and the land was sold at the inclosure of the Letherhead Fields.

In 1777 Mr. John Turner left money and a house in Nassau Street, Westminster, to relieve the poor not in receipt of parish relief, to provide clothing, and to put children to school. These benefactions are recorded in the church, and in spite of waste and neglect produce about £180 a year.

The vicar, Hugh Griffiths, who rebuilt the vicarage, reported to Bishop Willis in 1725 that Mr. Cade had left £20 as a stock to be employed in setting the poor to work, but that it was all spent in 1669. Also Mr. Arnold left £40 to buy 2 acres of land next the vicarage, the profits to go to the vicarage; but this had never yet been done, nor the money received. But this is perhaps the £40 which Mr. Griffiths records in the registers that he obtained from the parish to help in rebuilding the vicarage, done otherwise at his own expense. He records the rebuilding in the parish register, with the subscription Laus soli Deo— Not to ye Parish.


  • 1. Assize R. 877, m. 56.
  • 2. 12 Jan. 1854. See Blue Bk. Incl. Awards.
  • 3. Return at Farnham.
  • 4. Local information from Mr. J. R. Corbett.
  • 5. Return at Farnham.
  • 6. Vide supra.
  • 7. V.C.H. Surr. i, 321.
  • 8. Ibid. i, 321 and note.
  • 9. Cal. Close, 1348–9, p. 316.
  • 10. V.C.H. Surr. i, 298, note 2.
  • 11. Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 561; Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 95; 1307–13, p. 531.
  • 12. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 58.
  • 13. G.E.C. Peerage, &c.; see under Surrey.
  • 14. Feet of F. Div. Co. 40 Edw. III, no. 17.
  • 15. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Ric. II, no. 137, m. 11e; Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 16. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 17. Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Hen. V, no. 54.
  • 18. G.E.C. Peerage.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Chan. Inq. p.m. 16 Edw. IV, no. 65.
  • 21. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 294.
  • 22. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccxcii, 132; cccxcix, 157.
  • 23. Close, 5 Chas. I, pt. xxvi, m. 12.
  • 24. Dict. Nat. Biog.; Harl. Soc. Publ. xv, 295.
  • 25. Ibid.; Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 1652.
  • 26. Harl. Soc. Publ. xv, 295; Feet of F. Surr. East. 36 Chas. II.
  • 27. Wotton, English Bar, iv, 150.
  • 28. Wotton, English Bar, iv, 150; Gent. Mig. 1733, p. 46; Lond. Mag. 1734, p. 666.
  • 29. Gent. Mag. 1750, p. 525.
  • 30. Wotton, English Bar, iv, 150.
  • 31. Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 26 Geo. II.
  • 32. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. i, 206.
  • 33. P.C.C. 635 Walpole (will of Eliz. Bouverie).
  • 34. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 206.
  • 35. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 57 Geo. III.
  • 36. E. W. Brayley, Topog. Hist of Surr. iv, 250.
  • 37. Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 38. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 95; 1307–13, p. 531; 1321–4, p. 448.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. V.C.H. Surr. i, 321.
  • 41. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 15 Edw. I.
  • 42. Ibid. East. 10 Hen. IV.
  • 43. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xx, 24.
  • 44. Ibid.
  • 45. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 3 Hen. VIII; East. 4 Hen. VIII.
  • 46. Feet of F. Surr. East. 4 Hen. VIII (See Asshurst in Mickleham).
  • 47. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxxvii, 75.
  • 48. Ibid.; Surr. Arch. Coll. vii, 330; Harl. Soc. Publ. xliii, 108.
  • 49. Harl. Soc. Publ. xliii, 108.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1650, p. 530. Thomas Woodman, of Betchworth, gentleman, was a suspected person in 1655; B.M. Add. MS. 34013.
  • 52. Recov. R. East. 5 Anne, rot. 159.
  • 53. Close, 13 Geo. II, pt. xix, no. 16. The deed states that the conveyance was from Anthony Wibard; he was probably a trustee for Woodman, as according to Manning the transfer in 1739 was from Woodman himself, and there is moreover no evidence of a sale from Woodman to Wibard between the years 1707 and 1739.
  • 54. Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 26 Geo. II.
  • 55. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209; Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 57 Geo. III.
  • 56. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209 (quoting from deed in private hands).
  • 57. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccix, 189.
  • 58. Feet of F. Surr. 27 Hen. III, no. 11.
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Ibid. 30 Hen. III, no. 32.
  • 62. Add. Chart. 24551, 24552.
  • 63. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209.
  • 64. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 22 Edw. III.
  • 65. Egerton MS. 2033, fol. 47; Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209.
  • 66. Ibid. quoting from private deeds.
  • 67. F. C. Cass, 'South Mimms,' Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc. 70; Harl. MS. 1546, fol. 57b.
  • 68. F. C.Cass. 'South Mimms,' Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc. 70; Harl. MS. 1546, fol. 57b; Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209; Chauncey, Hist. of Herts.
  • 69. Will of Thomas Frowyk, P.C.C. Bk. Rowse, 13.
  • 70. F. C. Cass, 'South Mimms,' Lond. and Midd. Arch. Soc. 70; Recov. R. Hil. 22 Hen. VIII; P.C.C. Porch, 18 (will of H. Frowyk, 1527). Manning says that by 1515 the manor of Brockham had passed to the younger branch of the family, that is, to the Frowyks of Gunnersbury, and that Elizabeth Coningsby was the heiress of this branch. This, however, from the relationships mentioned in the wills, etc. referred to above, would seem to be impossible.
  • 71. Feet of F. Surr. Hil. 1 Edw. VI; Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 209.
  • 72. Berry, Herts. Gen. 163; Harl. Soc. Publ. xxii, 45; Shaw, Knights of Engl. ii, 83.
  • 73. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxiii, 51.
  • 74. Feet of F. Surr. Hil. 39 Eliz.; Mich. 44 & 45 Eliz.
  • 75. Ibid. East. 4 Jas. I.
  • 76. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2.), cccix, 189
  • 77. Ibid.
  • 78. Visit of Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 81 Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 14 Chas. II; Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 211; Recov. R. East. 6 Geo. III; Baker, Hist. of Northants, ii, 23.
  • 79. Baker, loc. cit.
  • 80. P.C.C. Dodwell, 534.
  • 81. Lond. Gaz. 1795, 1796.
  • 82. See note 80.
  • 83. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 34 Geo. III.
  • 84. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 211.
  • 85. Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 49 Geo. III; Recov. R. Trin. 49 Geo. III, rot. 305, 17.
  • 86. E. W. Brayley, Hist. of Surr. iv, 251.
  • 87. E. W. Brayley, Hist. of Surr. iv, 251 (ed. E. Walford, 1878).
  • 88. Feet of F. Surr. file 1, no. 36, 10 Ric. I.
  • 89. Add. Chart. 24586.
  • 90. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. ii, 212.
  • 91. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccxciv, 48.
  • 92. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 22 Chas. I.
  • 93. Ibid. East. 30 Chas. II.
  • 94. Ibid. Hil. 2 & 3 Jas. II.
  • 95. Vide infra.
  • 96. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 2 Will. and Mary; Mich. 6 Will. and Mary.
  • 97. Ibid. 10 Anne.
  • 98. Close, 25 Geo. II, pt. iii, m. 20.
  • 99. Ibid.
  • 100. P.C.C. Alexander, 237.
  • 101. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 28 Geo. III.
  • 102. Brayley, Hist. of Surr. iv, 251.
  • 103. Local information.
  • 104. Cal. Pat. 1327–30, p. 326.
  • 105. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 63; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 519.
  • 106. Feet of F. Surr. Mich. 22 Chas. I.
  • 107. Ibid. East. 30 Chas. II.
  • 108. Illustrated in V.C.H. Surr. ii. It consists of a series of square-edged bands or fillets, one above another.
  • 109. Resembling the early 13th-century clearstory lights in the neighbouring churches of Merstham and Chipstead. Cf. also Rustington, Lancing, and Ifield, Sussex.
  • 110. Dated c. 1510 by Mr. Mill Stephenson, Surr. Arch. Coll. xv, 34, but perhaps twenty years later.
  • 111. V.C.H. Surr. i, 321.
  • 112. Ibid. note; Pat. 3 Edw. IV, pt. iii, m. 21.
  • 113. Cal. Pat. 1388–92, p. 111; 1461–7, p. 307.
  • 114. Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), ii, 266.
  • 115. Ibid. i, 86.
  • 116. Egerton MSS. 2031–4; Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), i, 86, 101, 132, 240; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 62.
  • 117. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), 620; Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. xx. From the terms of the grant it seems probable that Carew had a lease of the rectory only; he never held the advowson.
  • 118. Pat. 38 Hen. VIII, pt. ix, m. 39.
  • 119. Pat. 1 Edw. VI, pt. v, m. 27.
  • 120. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.), 1614–1835; Clergy Lists.
  • 121. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1634–5, p. 422; 1636–7, p. 241.
  • 122. Ibid. 1637, p. 95.
  • 123. Lambeth Registers, vol. 21, no. 5.