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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
SS. Peter & Paul Parish Church, 1912

The view of the parish church is from Station Road, at the junction of Borough Road and Church Street. The wall closest to us is a boundary of The Old Vicarage. Church Street is one way these days, and now paved with concrete setts, but it must have been very difficult for parishioners to run the gauntlet of the two-way traffic and access the church some years ago.

The west porch was a new addition to the building as it was added the previous year, replacing a mediaeval porch[1].

In 1867 it was recorded that the "tower contained a capital peel of eight bells, the largest weighing 25 cwt. ; they were cast in 1741 from five which were previously there"[2]. The church now has ten bells, including two Sanctus bells[3].

Around the time this picture was taken there were a few tales about the church that were published in the press that seem amusing to the modern reader. In 1912, for example, a Hull newspaper commented that the miners, who were on strike in various parts of the country, had a rival for the public's attention as the bell ringers of Godalming Parish Church were also out on strike[4].

A couple of months later, when presumably the bell ringers were back on duty, there was an incident involving the Mayor. Seemingly the Parish Church had a front pew that was specially available for the Mayor and members of the Corporation but it was not often used. However, the then Mayor - Mr. E. Bridger - decided to attend morning service with his daughter but did not forewarn the hapless churchwardens. Unfortunately when they arrived Mr. Bridger and his daughter found that other worshippers had been shown to the seat at the front so the pair were seated at the back of the nave. They sat there for a moment or two but the Mayor clearly felt he had been placed in an undignified position so he stood up and left the church![5]

In the summer of 1914 the parish church was closed as a precaution against suffragettes, apart from when the church services were taking place. A notice signed by Rev. G. C. Fanshawe (vicar) and his churchwardens (Messrs. C. C. Harvey and W. Enkintap) was posted on the church door[6]:

"Acting on advice, it has been decided to close the church for the present except during hours of Divine service. Visitors desiring to see the church can do so between the hours of eleven and twelve in the morning and three and four in the afternoon by applying for the key of Mr. Edward Smith, 6, Deanery-place (opposite)".[6]

In 1834, eighty years before the church doors were closed to protect the church from women asking to be able to vote in elections, a couple were married at the church and the entire event, from wedding clothes, to ministers fees and a dinner for the guests, was paid for in farthings. It transpired that the groom had been saving up since boyhood when he decided he would try to see "if he could not save a sufficient number of farthings to get him a wife!"[7]

Miss Jury's photograph provides us with a glimpse of the Old Vicarage (behind the lamp post).
Alan Bott describes it as an early to mid 18th century building with earlier origins.
Alterations were made in the 19th century with additions from the late 19th century to the
early 20th century[8]. Further work has been undertaken in the last few years.
This lovely building has a Grade II listing status today.
The car's numberplate shows it was FY853 and would have been registered in Southport
some time between 1905 and 1930. The image was undoubtedly taken well before the
card's postal date, probably between 1914 and 1920.

1. "Parish Church, Godalming". Valentine's Series, No.72462. British Manufacture. Not posted but first registered in 1912.
2. "Church and Vicarage, Godalming". Published by A. Jury, 71, High Street, Godalming. Posted on 24 Jul 1938 in Farnham. Message is a personal one and not relevant to image.
Postcards 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", 1924.

[2] "Post Office Directory of Surrey", 1867.

[3] "A Guide to the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul" (1978) Bott, Alan M.A., F.S.A. © Alan Bott and Parochial Church Council of St. Peter and Paul. Edited and designed by David Coombs.

[4] "Hull Daily Mail", 19 March 1912.

[5] "Dundee Evening Telegraph", 29 May 1912.

[6] "Surrey Advertiser", 8 June 1914.

[7] "The Bury & Norwich Post, & East Anglian: or, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridge, and Ely Intelligencer", 16 April, 1834 (British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900). A farthing was a quarter of an old penny piece.

[8] Bott, Alan (1987) "A Guide to the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul" ...

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