History of Leatherhead Parish Church, St.Mary & St.Nicholas
1750 to the present day
This website is maintained by the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church
Unless stated the images shown are from sources other than Leatherhead Parish Church
This page last updated 27 Nov 2007
1761 A three decker pulpit and congregation box pews installed; galleries erected in Aisles and the Tower.
1763 Chandelier bought by subscription. Originally it had two tiers of four branches, later modified to five each.
1775 Tower in poor condition; covered in stucco.
1792 Vestry puts money aside for the purchase of a base viol 'for the use of the said parish choire'
1795 West Door widened to allow the Parish Fire Engine to be kept in the Tower.
1804-1834 Window in what is now the Chapel of Remembrance and Hope is created from fragments of mediaeval glass collected by the then Vicar James Dallaway. He was the author of an historical account of the parish illustrated by his wife Harriet's etchings and views in Views in the Vicarage of Letherhead (1821).
click on The Dallaway Glass
click for larger image of window in
the Chapel of Remembrance
1806 Accidental death of Miss Harriot Mary Cholmondeley, whilst accompanying the Princess of Wales (later Queen Caroline) when their carriage overturned in Leatherhead.
This is commemorated in a tablet on the wall of the South Aisle.
click on the image for a full screen readable version
1830 Barrel Organ purchased by subscription for £140 and installed in a gallery in the tower.
1841 Further subscription to pay for conversion of Barrel organ to finger playing
1843 Organ replaced with a larger instrument 'by Snetzler', noted for its purity and richness of tone. This originally came from Walkers the organ builders who in 1841 had removed it from Watford Parish Church.
Recent research indicates it was in fact not made by Snetzler, but was an English organ made by Thomas Parker. Like so many organs of the period, the keyboard was reputedly used by Handel but no evidence has been found for this. The Thomas Parker organ has been recreated in Leatherhead Parish Church.
'skunk tail' 2 manual keyboard
from 1843 organ, was believed to be ca 1750,
now identified as part of Thomas Parker organ
for Watford Parish Church 1766.
1848 Ann Gates died aged 101. There is an epitaph to her and her mother Ann Watson, who died aged 105 in 1811, near the NE corner of the Chancel.
'Ann Gates left three great-grandchildren and so saw in her immediate line at least six generations ... Reader hope not to live so long: not one in 100,000 attains her age .. she found her latter years full of labour and sorrow.'
1873 Restoration directed by Arthur Blomfield.
Box pews removed, floor levelled and heating installed.
North Transept extended to create a Clergy Vestry, with a loft for a rebuilt three-manual organ by Walker & Son, the organ position moving here from the Tower (causing choir/organ problems for the next 100 years).
the Nave, pre-1873
1880 Parish magazine first published and still going strong today.
from the front cover of the Parish Magazines, before 1897
1885 Lych Gate built in memory of Harriet Millett.
1889 All Saints Church built in Kingston Road to serve Leatherhead Common.
Choir stalls provided in the Parish Church.
All Saints Church then
1891 Further Blomfield restoration.
Removal of the additions of 1701-2.
Rood loft doorways and Chancel arch rebuilt.
Tower galleries removed including ringing chamber which was in front of the West window at the same level as present chiming gallery. The ringers transferred to the clock room, some 30 steps higher in the tower and directly beneath the bells.
Chancel marble and mosaic floor laid.
1894 Tower restored
1906 Excavations reveal the 8ft x 8ft foundations of a possible Anchorite's cell or ancient vestry.
1906 Two slips of 14th Century brass found during the excavations are set in the North wall of the Chancel
1926 Organ rebuilt by Kingsgate, Davidson & Co. Ltd. and modern pneumatic action installed.
1927 Lady Chapel dedicated in South Transept.
1962 Late Victorian stone pulpit replaced by present oak pulpit.
1967 Embroidery of Hassocks - story
1974 Book of Homilies presented by Alexander Akehurst, dating from 1683 is stolen.
1981 Tower Curtain embroidered by the women of the parish. It shows buildings and organisations in modern Leatherhead
1983 Pipe organ deemed too expensive to repair. Replaced by an Allen organ. Pipes left in place in case restoration might later be possible.
1986 900th Anniversary celebrations
1988/89 Major restoration, re-roofing of the Nave and Aisles, part of the Chancel and the Tower.
The floor is repaired, lighting replaced and the church redecorated at a cost of £80,000.
1989 27th July - an electrical fault in the floor of the North Transept causes a fire which destroys the Allen organ, a piano, some of the old organ pipes, altar frontals, a music collection and a memorial.
The church is smoke damaged and is completely redecorated.
1989 After expert inspection of the undamaged remains of the pipe organ many of the Walker organ pipes from 1873 were sold to the Norwegian Government for use in a new church.
The remaining parts of the historic Watford instrument were preserved for possible future restoration.
1990 Formation of a Garden of Remembrance for the burial of ashes in the churchyard. Ashes were previously buried in an area close to the main pedestrian entrance to the churchyard near the junction with Highlands Road.
1994 23 monuments in the churchyard, including a collection of Portland chest tombs and brick barrel graves are given a Grade II listing.
1997 The 15th Century Font is restored and moved from North Aisle to the Tower.
A children's area is provided in the Tower.
A new Bookstall & Leaflet Table is placed in the North Aisle and some pews transferred to the North Aisle
The Lady Chapel Communion Rail is straightened, new pew fronts installed
A Chapel of Remembrance and Hope is created between the North door and the Tower.
The name boards from the Town's original Clock Tower WWI War Memorial are displayed behind the altar.
Chapel of Remembrance and Hope,
also showing the 1763 Chandelier.
1998 May 17 - Rev Juliette Hulme's first Sunday in the parish as Assistant Priest, the start of the appointment of women to the parish.
She left the parish in 2001 to begin training as one of the first women chaplains in the British Army and served with a Regiment in Germany.
1999 Youth Worker appointed serving Churches Together in Leatherhead.
2000 Millennium celebrations. Millennium Yew planted and Millennium cope dedicated
Formation of new clergy vestry making use of the space where the pipe organ was situated. This work was enabled by bequests from former churchwarden Anthony Hill and Mrs Kathleen White.
Planting of Millennium Yew by Chairman of MVDC in
Church Gardens in front of the Parish Church.
The Vicar is wearing the Millennium Cope
see Millennium page
2001 Following Her Majesty The Queen's assent, the pastoral scheme affecting the benefices of Mickleham and Leatherhead was confirmed by the Privy Council on 14th November, and the United Benefice of Leatherhead and Mickleham came into effect on 1st December 2001 with the Rev David Eaton as the first Rector.
Formation of additional section to the Garden of Remembrance for the burial of ashes.
St Michael's Mickleham
March 2006 Over the last five years the Church Recorders team (headed-up by parishioner Beverley Mehta) of the Leatherhead Branch of NADFAS - National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies - has made a comprehensive record of the Parish Church. It is a recording of every aspect of the building and its contents, with historical notes and photographs. It brings into one document all there is to know about our Medieval Church and its furnishings and possessions. The Church copy of this achievement was presented to the Church at the Family Communion Service at 10.30 on 19th March. This was followed by an informal reception in the Parish Church Hall.
2006 Work begins on the restoration of the Thomas Parker organ found in the remains of the fire-damaged pipe organ at Leatherhead Parish Church.
2007 October The organ was installed in the North Transept.
24 November: The Inaugural Concert took place, at which James O'Donnell, the Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey played.
The History of the Hassocks - from the January 2003 Parish magazine
In 1967 Mrs Jean Ball, the wife of the Vicar of Leatherhead, invited a number of people to join a working party to sew hassocks for the church. The meetings were held once a month at the Vicarage (now 80 Church Street). Over the years many people were involved among whom were Dot Akehurst, Doris Armstrong, Jean Ball, Peggy Bartholomew, Majorie Berry, Molly Blackburn, Joan Bumett, Joan Corteen, Rosalind Corteen, Grace Fayres, Alice Gready, Dorothy Hopkins, Kitty Loveridge, Evelyn Neate, Kathleen Purcell, Marguerite Rodier, Hersey Smith, Ivy Turtle, Mabel Turtle and Kathleen White.
In the beginning Mrs Ball asked Mrs Coull (an expert from outside Leatherhead) to come and give instruction to the group. Everyone was asked to work a small piece of canvas to show their proficiency! Canvas and wools were provided through Mrs Coull on very advantageous terms; and there were originally five designs from which to choose. For the hassocks in the nave the background colour was blue, and for the hassocks in the choir stalls terracotta pink to tone with the floor tiles in the chancel. After a time Mrs Fayres, who had lived in Leatherhead for many years and was a most accomplished needlewoman, undertook to oversee the work being done.
Some of the hassocks had embroidered sides, but in the end it was decided to embroider the tops and have the hassocks made up with matching material. The hassocks were made up professionally by two or three different firms. In all 263 hassocks were made up for the nave. As well as hassocks for the nave and choir stalls, two blue, white and gold kneelers were made for weddings, a long thin kneeler for the communion rail at the High Altar, and two long thin kneelers for the communion rail in the Lady Chapel. Further hassocks were embroidered for use in the chancel and the sanctuary.
The sewing parties continued for several years. In the early 1990's Mary Taylor supervised the sewing on of rings to the hassocks so that they could be hung up and so make the cleaning of the church much easier. Doris Armstrong, one of the original embroiderers, who now lives in a Nursing Home in Sussex, said in a recent conversation "The sewing parties were such fun and many of us got to know people we would probably not have known otherwise".
Kathleen Purcell and Hersey Smith,