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St. John's Church, Busbridge, Godalming, Surrey, 1910

On 30th June 1865 the parish of St. John the Baptist, Busbridge was formed from the southern part of the parish of Godalming[1] and the foundation stone for the new church was laid a few weeks later on 24th July[2]. The Bishop of Winchester then licensed the Rev. William Tringham, M.A., of St. John's College, Oxford, to the incumbency. Rev. Tringham had been nominated by Mr. J. C. Ramsden of Busbridge Hall[3].

The architect was Mr. Gilbert Scott, R.A. who was to design St. Mary's Shackleford the following year. The work was contracted to Messrs. Moon and Son of Godalming[4]. In 1861 James Moon and his son Henry, with their families, were living on the High Street. They were clearly a large firm as in 1871 Henry employed 35 men and 4 boys[5].

The church is built in the Early English (Gothic) style and was to seat 220 people. The exterior walls are built of Bargate stone that had been quarried nearby and the interior walls lined with chalk slabs that had been obtained and prepared at Puttenham. The floor was paved with Minton tiles. Scott also designed the pulpit. James Ramsden and his wife Emma (formerly Gosling) had spent about £4,000 in total to meet the cost. The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 8 Mar 1867[4].

Unfortunately, about a week before the consecration somebody walked round the church, breaking each window within his reach with a stick. Considerable force was used as some of the lead and iron work was bent. Handbills were issued immediately the vandalism was discovered; £5 was offered to discover the offenders but a week later it was still not known who had caused so much damage[6].

One final act by a member of the Gosling family in relation to the church was in 1899. Following the death of Ellis Duncombe Gosling in 1897 his sister, Lady Galway, placed an east window in the church in memory of her brother, "Mr. Ellis D. Gosling, late M.F.H., Chiddingfold Hunt"[7].

In September 1892 Rev. Tringham moved to Long Cross Chertsey and was replaced by Rev. Frederick Mills Garrett, who was appointed in 1893. Early twentieth century incumbents included Rev. A. G. Robinson, who had been the Rector of Busbridge for seven years before becoming the Vicar of Ryde (Isle of Wight). He was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Meredith Larner, M.A. who was appointed in 1905 and was still the Rector in 1924.[8]

Inside St. John's is a wrought iron screen that is suspended from the chancel arch; it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of the district's famous sons. He designed the war memorial in the churchyard that was erected after World War One and overlooks the junction of Brighton Road and Hambledon Lane. He also designed the Jekyll family gravestones that are near the chancel end of the graveyard[9].

From 1 January 2024 St. John's Church became part of a small group of Godalming churches who have linked to share resources. This group is known as Godalming Minster. The other churches in the group are SS. Peter and Paul and St. Mark's.

"Busbridge Church, Godalming". Published by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.62246 in 1910. Not posted, though a message on the reverse was birthday greetings.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Kelly's Directory of Surrey", 1891.

[2] "Surrey Advertiser", 27 July 1867. The newspaper reported that the foundation stone had been laid by the late Ellis Gosling's son and heir. Ellis Duncombe Gosling was four years old at the time.

[3] "Surrey Advertiser", 9 Sept 1865. J. C. Ramsden was Ellis D. Gosling's step-father.

[4] "Surrey Advertiser", 9 Mar 1867. St. John's Busbridge.

[5] 1861 and 1871 census returns for England and Wales, TNA.

[6] "Surrey Advertiser", 2 Mar 1867. Malicious Damage.

[7] "Surrey Mirror", 27 October 1899. County Jottings.

[8] Various ecclesiastical appointments lists.

[9] "Lutyens in Waverley", Waverley Borough Council. No date, but ca. 1984.

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