Category Archives: History

175th birthday service at St John’s

A bishop, a mayor, an archdeacon and clergy and church members old and new joined the celebratory service for the 175th birthday of St John’s on Sunday, November 24.

St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and the service on Sunday – which was led by the Bishop of Guildford and attended by the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans – marked the climax of several months of birthday celebrations which have included a flower festival, an arts and crafts festival, talks, concerts, a lot of reminiscing and, of course, cake.

St John’s was also delighted to welcome the Archdeacon of Surrey – the Venerable Paul Davies – as deacon, and former St John’s clergy the Rev’ds Paul Smith and Jennifer Paterson. Paul Smith led the intercessions while Jennifer read the New Testament lesson – Acts 2:37-47 which shows the church in action 2,000 years ago, sharing the same gospel of Jesus Christ that is shared today.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, preached at the service about the many changes that had gone on in the past 175 years, including the fact that traffic on Castle Street could sometimes be slower now than it was when local resident and inventor John Henry Knight was the first man fined for speeding in a car – in 1895, travelling at nine miles per hour. The Bishop also spoke about the future and the sense he had of God’s plans for the church in Hale.

There are plans underway to use St John’s not just for services but as a hub, responding to needs in the community. Rev’d Lesley Crawley is working on a long-term project to develop the church and has been talking to local residents, groups, charities, schools, businesses and other organisations, to discover what is most needed in the area. She said: “Our 175th birthday has been a wonderful reason to celebrate this beautiful church and we have loved welcoming friends old and new to St John’s. It has also been an opportunity to focus our minds on the future and what we believe God is calling us to do here in Hale. I am very excited as I look forward to seeing the church grow and develop. Here’s to the next 175 years!”

Afterwards there were snacks and Prosecco and the Bishop and Lesley Crawley cut the birthday cake made by parishioner and member of the choir June Jasper.

There is a communion service at St John’s every Sunday at 9.30am, and on the first and third Sunday there is also a ‘Taizé service at 6pm, using liturgy featuring prayer chants and silence and based on the Taizé monastic community in France.

This Christmas there will also be a carol service on Sunday, December 15 at 4pm; a ‘Longest Night’ service – for people who find Christmas difficult – on Wednesday, December 18, at 7.30pm; a Crib Service on December 24 at 3pm; Midnight Mass on December 24 at 11pm; and a Christmas Day service at 9.30am. St John’s will also be the meeting point for the Christmas event, ‘a Journey to Bethlehem’, on Friday, December 20, when two groups will walk to the church from Badshot Lea and from Upper Hale and arrive for a short service attended by the Mayor.

Farnham Workhouse Burials

Thanks to Marion Bridger’s research we know that the following people who died in Farnham Workhouse were buried in St John’s Church, Hale:

Name Age Burial Date
John Stevens 17/06/1845
William John Flourday 05/09/1845
Unknown Man 09/10/1845
William Trimmings 75 years 05/01/1846
Ethel Brockhouse 81 years 27/01/1846
Harriet Bartlett 1 day old 03/03/1846
William Lovelock 79 years 02/05/1846
James Ellins 80 years 09/06/1846
Charles Hack 20 days old 11/06/1846
William Dudley 52 years 18/09/1846
Mary Franklyn 40 years 21/09/1846
William Weedon 69 years 28/10/1846
William Smith 46 years 12/11/1846
William Fountain 102 years 26/12/1846
Rose Anne Moore 27 years 04/01/1847
Mary Bartlet 40 years 08/02/1847
James Praddy 71 years 15/04/1847
Elizabeth Allen 3 months old 20/04/1847
Herbert Herd 83 years 03/07/1847
Thomas Fewtrell 78 years 16/08/1847
James White 6 weeks old 27/12/1847
John Warner 77 years 17/01/1848
John Baptist Garrett 54 years 11/02/1848
Maria Jones 36 years 19/02/1848
Michael Page 62 years 11/04/1848
James Steer 4 days old 03/07/1848
Charles Middleton 30 years 13/09/1848
Christiana Brown 58 years 01/01/1849
Thomas Harrison 8 years 03/02/1849
Mary Ann Wish 1 year old 27/03/1849
William Morris 1 month old 04/04/1849
Jane Grover 5 years old 08/05/1849
Thomas Allen 69 years 14/05/1849
Martha Dolman 74 years 02/07/1849
William Grover 21 years 02/07/1849
John Williams 03/08/1849
Mathew Hawkins 26 years 29/08/1849
Stephen Mathews 68 years 10/09/1849
James Paris 18/09/1849
Sarah Reen 39 years 19/10/1849
William Dolman 54 years 23/02/1850
William Boxall 92 years 26/03/1850
John Paggott 66 years 02/04/1850
James Bridger 74 years 22/06/1850
Mary Donovan 11 months old 05/07/1850
William Toad 46 years 19/08/1850
Anthony Kincher 82 years 24/09/1850
Daniel Prince 60 years 23/10/1850
George Pullinger 69 years 25/11/1850
Elizabeth Harris 73 years 03/12/1850
Mary Drinkwater 77 years 17/07/1851
Eleanor Bide 92 years 23/07/1851
Joseph Robinson 45 years 05/08/1851
Phebe Lunn 79 years 25/10/1851
Richard Bridger 23 years 13/01/1852
James Ramsgate 45 years 05/02/1852
Catherine Alderten 91 years 20/02/1852
Elizabeth Boxall 76 years 02/03/1852
Sophia Withall 28/05/1852
James Stagg 40 years 11/08/1852
James Dowling 20 years 15/09/1852
John Williams 65 years 09/10/1852
Ann Edwards 86 years 26/10/1852
James Smith 83 years 24/02/1853
Charles Hoodgen 63 years 09/03/1853
George Taylor 47 years 30/03/1853
Thomas Nichols 67 years 18/05/1853
Michael Smith 36 years 24/05/1853
Jesse May 62 years 10/06/1853
Elizabeth Coles 80 years 02/01/1854
William Martyn 82 years 11/02/1854
James Younge 58 years 21/06/1854
Harriet Woodyer 24 years 07/08/1854
John Compton 62 years 08/08/1854
William Hilton 3 months old 17/08/1854
Sarah Woodyer 1 year 7 months old 09/10/1854
George Woodyer 3 months old 17/10/1854
James Ellis 1 week old 23/10/1854
David Barham 73 years 09/11/1854
William Bridger 2 years 7 months old 14/11/1854
Mary Ann Chambers 7 months old 18/11/1854
Mary Ann Ruffin 31 years 09/12/1854
Eliza Skilling 26 years 15/12/1854
Mary Ewens 3 years 6 months old 30/12/1854
Sarah Deadman 86 years 27/01/1855
Emily Barfield 1 year old 02/02/1855
George Newman 81 years 24/02/1855
Thomas Bird 41 years 03/03/1855
James Hickery 86 years 05/03/1855
Maria Nash 2 years old 06/03/1855
George Moth 56 years 02/04/1855
Harriet Boxall 2 years old 11/04/1855
William Palmer 4 years old 11/04/1855
William Warner 81 years 14/04/1855
Thomas Stevens 1 year old 14/04/1855
Eliza Nash 4 years old 21/04/1855
Fanny Moorey 4 years old 26/04/1855
Richard Maunders 89 years 21/06/1855
James Samuel Slaughter 41 years 05/07/1855
Jane Herbert 07/08/1855
Georgiana Peters 2 years old 08/09/1855
Richard Newnham 14 years 02/10/1855
Catherine Dean 24 years 09/10/1855
John Bigwood 68 years 10/10/1855
Rebecca Clarke 26 years 20/10/1855
Henry Mansell 53 years 09/11/1855
Rebecca Johnson 42 years 16/11/1855
Mary Baker 80 years 24/03/1856
Catherine Pithers 60 years 28/03/1856
Elyah Granham 66 years 02/05/1856
James Elsleys 76 years 13/05/1856
George Green 71 years 15/05/1856
John Copus 63 years 16/05/1856
Eliza Savage 4 years old 26/05/1856
Emma Rapson 10 years old 11/06/1856
James Vicars 51 years 13/09/1856
James Brown 40 years 13/09/1856
Maria Higgins 22 years 15/10/1856
Sarah Mayhew 01/11/1856
Frank Lawrence 19 years 12/12/1856
Eliza Judge 3 years old 29/12/1856
John Aharan 28 years 29/12/1856
John Martin 63 years 05/01/1857
Levi Judge 4 years old 12/01/1857
Thomas Edward Mason 8 years old 12/01/1857
Edward King 48 years 02/02/1857
Lucy Edwards 18 years 13/02/1857
William Hickman 64 years 14/02/1857
Anne Gadd 68 years 21/03/1857
Martha Morris 92 years 06/04/1857
John Franklin 50 years 19/05/1857
Thomas Hill 59 years 26/05/1857
Ann Lamport 67 years 20/06/1857
Thomas Coles 24 years 01/07/1857
Elizabeth Newman 18 years 16/09/1857
Richard Davis 10 weeks old 24/09/1857
Emma Foot 19 years 02/10/1857
William Everett 1 year old 02/10/1857
Mary Ann Amison 19 years old 20/10/1857
Eliza Lovegrove 19 years 03/11/1857
Richard Heyes 29 years 03/11/1857
Emma Masters 18 years 01/12/1857
William Martin 5 days old 05/12/1857
Frank Dennis 55 years old 05/12/1857
William Gardener 57 years 18/01/1858
Jane Steer 36 years 26/01/1858
Charlotte Michener 20 years 26/01/1858
George Champion 24 years 02/02/1858
Rose Ann Morris 4 days old 06/03/1858
Susanna Thompson 32 years 12/03/1858
Mary Newman 67 years 27/03/1858
Eliza Downs 19 years 29/04/1858
Mary Duke 20/05/1858
Michael Butler 13 years 07/06/1858
John Thompson 19 years 14/06/1858
John Mathews 75 years 29/07/1858
Henry Martin 60 years 15/09/1858
Caroline Attfield 23 years 08/10/1858
Patrick Foran 33 years 13/10/1858
Arthur Knowles 87 years 20/10/1858
Ann Fuller 10 years old 10/11/1858
Mary Ann Edwards 1 year 10 months old 24/11/1858
Mary Ann Penfold 12 years old 23/02/1859
~~~~~~ Cooper 48 years 24/02/1859
Margaret Wareham 18 years 06/04/1859
John Keene 64 years 18/04/1859
George Knight 65 years 06/05/1859
Robert Thorn 64 years 19/05/1859
Sarah Eaton 23 years 20/05/1859
James Brown 37 years 11/06/1859
Susan Avis 20 years 07/07/1859
William Bedford 47 years 24/08/1859
George Gunner 28 years 17/12/1859
Richard Passey 50 years 24/12/1859
John Elliot 34 years 26/01/1860
Frederick Fitzroy Herbert Meakin 5 months old 04/02/1860
Jane Thompson 20 years 14/02/1860
Alexander Faulkner 3 months old 01/03/1860
Michael Egan 40 years 09/03/1860
Henry Grubb 55 years 30/03/1860
Jesse Risbridger 60 years 18/04/1860
Robert Walters 5 years old 16/05/1860
James Lamport 64 years 24/05/1860
Mary Worden 18 years 26/05/1860
George Kemp 60 years 29/05/1860
Joseph Craig 64 years 06/07/1860
Ann Jackson 22 years 14/08/1860
William Faithful 40 years 04/10/1860
Eliza Scarlett 20 years 11/10/1860
James Hack 75 years 29/10/1860
John Pharo 3 months old 30/11/1860
Ellen Clarke 22 years 03/12/1860
Jane Bonn 23 years 08/12/1860
Thomas Brown 63 years 23/02/1861
Sarah Muckle 24 years 26/02/1861
Elizabeth Riley 63 years 06/04/1861
Emma Jones 24 years 15/04/1861
Jane Gray 24 years 16/04/1861
Elizabeth Ledley 24 years 29/06/1861
William French 20 05/07/1861
Emma Gallagher 15/08/1861
James Binfield 70 years 29/08/1861
Elizabeth Bandell 25 years 09/09/1861
Charlotte Seyman 21/09/1861
Henry Askew 24 years 28/10/1861
William Clarke 34 years 02/11/1861
Stephen Best 22 years 19/11/1861
Ellen Aslett 22 years 04/12/1861
William Trimlade 2 years only 20/12/1861
Peter O’Hare 31 years 03/01/1862
Henry Williams 36 years 22/01/1862
William Howell 11 months only 30/01/1862
Catherine Mc’Dermott 10/02/1862
George Lyons 48 years 05/03/1862
Jane Martin 21 years 06/03/1862
Richard Crawford 80 years 22/03/1862
George Trussler 21 years 01/04/1862
John Barrett 61 years 02/04/1862
Richard Ashett 50 years 10/07/1862
Mary Full 24 years 25/07/1862
Sarah Maria Collins 20 years 04/08/1862
Sarah Evans 20 years 11/11/1862
Edward Palmer 42 years 25/11/1862
Ann Balchin 63 years 01/12/1862
Maria Cutler 21 years 04/12/1862
Sophia Hathan 65 years 13/12/1862
Eli Beacher 49 years 17/12/1862
Eliza Serace 20 years 09/01/1863
William Coxhead 57 years 02/02/1863
Robert Kelmaster 09/02/1863
Mary MacDonald 22 years 28/02/1863
Joseph Saunders 86 years 13/03/1863
Martha Alkins 71 years 21/03/1863
Clara Golden 29 years 27/04/1863
Emma Townsend 20 years 02/05/1863
James Bason 52 years 17/06/1863
Mary Ann Robinson 23 years 27/06/1863
John Ryan 22 years 23/07/1863
Josiah Gowland 50 years 29/07/1863
Peter Hughes 84 years 25/08/1863
Jane Everett 26 years 19/09/1863
Henry Blackall 34 years 23/09/1863
Eliza Osborne 23 years 29/09/1863
Mary Ann Phillimole 62 years 09/10/1863
Frederick William Sargent 5 years only 16/11/1863
Elizabeth Baigent 18 months old 20/01/1864
John McKenzie 3 years old 04/02/1864
Alfred Mould 34 years 15/02/1864
Eliza Eady 22 years 20/02/1864
William Savage 4 years old 24/02/1864
Robert Mausey 2 years only 14/04/1864
Emma Weeks 20 years 03/06/1864
Emily Simmons 1 year 4 months only 15/06/1864
Ellen Ellis 20 years 13/07/1864
John Lewis 62 years 20/07/1864
Mary Ann Clerk 23 years 02/08/1864
Elizabeth Boundey 20 years 03/08/1864
Mark Vickars 52 years 15/08/1864
Richard Summers 42 years 02/09/1864
Tom Brown 18 years 08/10/1864
Mary Anne Hearne 33 years 29/10/1864
Lydia Williamson 28 years 30/11/1864
Benjamin Andrews 84 years 07/12/1864
Benjamin Lucas 63 years 08/12/1864
Thomas Cook 40 years 09/12/1864
Henry Weeden 70 years 23/12/1864
Emma Heath 26 years 19/01/1865
Lazarus Roberts 76 years 13/03/1865
Emma Noel 38 years 22/03/1865
Mary Ann Rogers 39 years 01/04/1865
Frederick William Clear 21 months only 01/04/1865
Mary Tapley 84 years 06/04/1865
Mary Ann Sargent 38 years 08/04/1865
William Stock 3 years only 03/06/1865
Henrietta Granett 24 years 09/08/1865
Mary Ann Beal 23 years 05/09/1865
Henry Johnson 29 years 17/10/1865
William Knight 75 years 16/11/1865
William Oates 5 years only 16/11/1865
Catherine Green 32 years 18/12/1865
Louisa Norgrove 70 years 29/12/1865
Rachel Cooper 40 years 16/01/1866
Aaron Mallett 19 years 17/01/1866
Martha Curtis 42 years 01/02/1866
Thomas Anderson 65 years 09/02/1866
Mary Brown 74 years 13/02/1866
Eliza Pownex 30 years 20/02/1866
Elizabeth Cumber 30 years 21/02/1866
George Hays 43 years 01/03/1866
Ann Lee 19 years 12/03/1866
Ellen Hill 24 years 19/03/1866
Henry Sandle 12 years only 26/03/1866
Ann Elizabeth Punter 43 years 13/04/1866
John Wheatley 33 years 25/05/1866
Richard Smith 58 years 02/06/1866
Joseph Cook 57 years 09/06/1866
Ann Browning 45 years 11/09/1866
George Jewers 47 years 30/11/1866
William Gummell 68 years 23/01/1867
Alice Harriett Sargent 41 years 22/03/1867
William Henry Gough 5 months only 02/09/1867
David Barnes 17 years 06/01/1868
Charles Draper 79 years 09/01/1868
William Stubble 9 months only 28/02/1868
Thomas Green 2 years only 28/02/1868
James Stovold 54 years 13/03/1868
Charles Cranham 7 months only 04/04/1868
Charles Mearing 36 years 21/07/1868
Henry Eden 2 days only 16/09/1868
James Painter 18 years 16/11/1868
Richard Williams 2 weeks only 26/12/1868
George Kenton 70 years 20/01/1869
Sarah Ellen Gains 9 weeks only 05/02/1869
Elisha Everdell 10 months only 13/02/1869
David Spearman 46 years 17/02/1869
Albert C Everdell 2 years 2 months only 21/05/1869
Charles Grinham 2 years 03/09/1869
Jane Pettett 24 years 06/01/1870
Rebecca Simms 51 years 27/09/1870
Frederick Hart 49 years 28/12/1871
Sarah Harriet King 4 months only 12/01/1872

New light on an old mystery

We have come a little closer to solving the mystery of the old wooden altar at St Mark’s. The altar is Tudor in style and has an inscription “GIVEN BI HENRIE LVNNE 1608”, but St Mark’s was built in 1883, 275 years later.

Bob Skinner, a great friend of the church and a leader of Weybourne Community Church, has been on the case and found this cutting in the Surrey Advertiser from December 4, 1880. It’s still three years before the church was built, but read on:

Cutting about Lunn altar

It reads:

‘PRESENTATION TO THE PARISH CHURCH. – The Parish Magazine for December, just published, says:- “A working party of ladies in Farnham have presented a new altar to the Parish Church. This, with a new altar cloth, was placed in the church on St Andrew’s Day, Nov. 20th. The old altar and altar cloth have been accepted by the Vicar of Hale for the use of a church which it is intended to begin next year at Hale Common.”

So, the altar was in St Andrew’s Church – the Parish Church in question – until November 1880. St Mark’s was built over the next three years on land given by Bishop Sumner, the Bishop of Winchester (the area was in the Diocese of Winchester at the time) and flint from the common was used to build the walls.

We still don’t know the full history of the altar but it is possible that Henry Lunne, who has been recorded as living in Farnham in the second half of the 16th century, gave it to St Andrew’s as the church was well established then. In fact, parts of St Andrew’s date from the 12th century.

If anyone does know any more however, let us know. Leave us a comment here or email

Music through the years (and a cream tea!)


Music, cream teas and happy memories come together at St John’s this weekend in Singing and Reminiscing from 3-5pm on Saturday, August 3.

As part of the St John’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we are holding an informal afternoon of community singing, with songs from each of the decades of the past 175 years, from My Grandfather’s Clock from 1844 to John Rutter’s 2017 composition A Flower Remembered, plus a new number, composed this year, Song for St. John’s by Margaret Emberson. Cream teas will be served and there will be plenty of opportunity to reminisce.

The afternoon will be led by Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson and the combined choirs of St John’s and St George’s. Wendy Edwards explains the thinking behind the afternoon: “There must have been billions of musical notes which have resounded through St John’s Church over the last 175 years. Most of these will have been in the form of hymns, anthems, solos, organ pieces, sung mass settings and concerts, formal and informal. We want to celebrate the musical spirit of St John’s.

“We will sing one song for each decade of the last 175 years. These have been carefully selected to be well known and to provide a flavour of that decade. We have traditional and popular songs, a hymn and songs from shows which we hope everyone will enjoy singing with us. The words will be provided.”

Everyone is welcome to this afternoon of music and memories. To help with catering, it would be useful to know how many are coming. Anyone who is planning to come is asked to contact Wendy Edwards at or ring the parish office on 07842 761919. However, if you make a last-minute decision to drop in, there will always be room.

Consecration of St John’s, Hale

In this 175th anniversary year many new and interesting documents telling the story of St John’s have been found. Below is a press cutting, thanks to Bob Skinner, telling of the consecration of St John’s on 8th November, 1844:

18441116 Hampshire Advertiser p. 4 Consecration of St Johns Church 8 Nov 1844.

In addition, our church architect has found some plans. Below is the original plan of the church and then the plan of the extended church in 1897 (you can read the appeal for fundraising for the extension here):

1842 to 44 Original Plan1861 Extension Plan

There was a dedication service at St John’s, after the extension and thanks again to Bob Skinner, the cutting is here (it is difficult to read so I have also typed out the words):

Surrey Advertiser 24 February 1897 p7

The chancel of the parish church of St. John, which has been enlarged and improved as a jubilee thankoffering was re-opened by the Bishop of Winchester at a special service on Saturday afternoon. The work was commenced in November 1894, and completed at the end of last month. The chancel has been extended towards the nave, and an iron screen on a low kerb wall has been placed at the entrance. Permanent choir seats and clergy desks have been provided in oak in the increased space, and the pulpit and lectern have been removed to the nave. The renovation in the chancel also consists of a mosaic reredos. The new transept has been erected over the tomb of Bishop Sumner, who was interred with his wife on the south side of the chancel in 1874. The organ has been placed in the transept, the opening to which on the east side is near the altar rails. The super-altar was on Saturday adorned with vases of white flowers. A very large congregation had assembled for the dedication. The service was opened with the singing by the choir of the 84th Psalm as the Bishop and clergy entered the church from the vestry and proceeded to the chancel.  His lordship was attended by the Rector of Farnham (the Rev. C. H. Simpkinson), and the Rev. C. E. Hoyle (chaplains), and the following clergy: Revs W. H. Moody, R. D. (Frensham), G. E. Hitchcock (Hale), G. J. C. Sumner (rector of Seale), R. J. S. Gill (vicar of Aldershot), J. De Verd Leigh (incumbent Holy Trinity, Aldershot), J. D. Henderson and E. D. Finch-Smith (Farnham), J. W. Pickance, A. E. Algar, and G. Bentham (Aldershot), and South Phillips (Hale). Coral evensong was conducted by the Vicar of the parish and the Rev. A. South Phillips, Tallis’ music being used for the responses. The special Psalms were the 24th and 150th. The Rev. C. H. Simpkinson read the first lesson and the Rural Dean the second. Following the singing of the anthem, “Break forth into joy,” by Nimper, the Bishop said the special prayers of dedication. His lordship preached from the text St. John c.10. v. 22. He said it was not merely an accident when they used the word dedication in association with the fact of their service that day. There was a close association with the ceremony which took place where our Lord was as described in the text and with that in which they were then engaged. They were that day not merely commemorating the building of a large place, but were taking part in a service to show that it should be beautified and made appropriate for divine worship and best fitted for the great end for which it was set up. They were that day offering afresh to God a church more worthy for the ministers and those who worshipped. A church like that in a parish which was likely to become populous must bring the solemn thought that in ages ahead men, women and little children would come there and would remember that others had obtained help in their daily life in the years before. He trusted that he and they might be making a difference for those who were yet unborn and who in the ages far ahead would come to worship within those walls. The offertory, and also that on Sunday, were in aid of the building fund. Mr E Caesar, who presided at the organ, played a march by Theo Bonheur at the close of the service.

The painter of the beautiful picture above of St John’s when it was first built is not known.

Christopher Herbert to deliver lecture

Christopher Herbert, a celebrated speaker and authority on church art and architecture, will give a talk at St John’s Church, Hale, on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England this Wednesday (June 5th, at 7.30pm), as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of St John’s.

Bishop Christopher Herbert is the former vicar of The Bourne, Canon of Guildford Cathedral and Bishop of St Albans, and visiting Professor in Christian Ethics at the University of Surrey. He is a sought-after lecturer across the UK and in Europe and has been a guest lecturer at The National Gallery; the Courtauld Institute; King’s College, London; the University of Leicester; Westminster Abbey and at The Arts Society (NADFAS) groups in the UK and mainland Europe. He has also lectured for Swan Hellenic on their Rhone cruises.

The talk will look at the way Victorian England responded to massive changes in society and the world with assertive confidence but also with nostalgia. In architecture and painting, these two conflicting forces gave rise to some fascinating and provocative work both in the Church and in society.

Christopher Herbert retired to Farnham where he had been vicar of The Bourne between 1981 and 1990. In addition, he was Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Guildford and was made a Canon of Guildford Cathedral, before becoming Archdeacon of Dorking in 1990. He became Bishop of St Albans in 1995.
He is a prolific author and much of his writing is based on the themes of prayer and spirituality, for both children and adults. Among his best-known books are Ways into Prayer and Pocket Prayers. In 2002 he completed a major piece of research into ‘The Image of the Resurrection of Jesus in 15th Century Northern European Art’, for which he was awarded an MPhil by the University of Leicester. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2008, for his ground-breaking research on ‘The Origins of the Easter Sepulchre in Pre-Reformation England’.

Admission to the talk on Wednesday is free but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information on Christopher Herbert, visit

Happy 175th birthday – church says it with flowers

The 175th anniversary celebrations at St John’s Church, Hale, kick off on May 18 and 19 with a flower festival.

Local organisations, artists, schools, churches, charities and other faith groups are all planning their entries to the festival that weekend. Among those preparing displays are the three churches which make up the parish; the Hale Gardening Club; the local Mothers’ Union; the Opportunities Project; the Hale Women’s Institute; the Darby and Joan Club, Farnham Baha’is, Petal & Stem florists, Crown Chain nursery and Rainbow Church (welcoming all who are LGBTI+).

There will be art and craft too and All Hallows School art club are presenting a collage, Badshot Lea Infant School will be displaying floral photography, and there will be contributions from local artists Susie Lidstone, Judith Needham, Penny Fleet and former Surrey Artist of the year Denise Jaques who will bring garden mosaics. Local milliners Mind your Bonce will be providing an elegant touch with hats and flowers.

Among the charities taking part will be Farnham Assist and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care who will be bringing samples of planting done in the hospice’s Social and Therapeutic Horticulture sessions. Amnesty International will be bringing a display reminding visitors of the plight of political prisoners across the world.

Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and since then has been a much-loved focal point in the village of Hale. We would like everyone to celebrate with us this year, so we are holding a series of events to which all are welcome. One of the first of these is the flower festival in May where, for two days, the church will be overflowing with colourful floral displays and art, and there will be live music and refreshments, including Pimm’s.

“St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future. We know that our church could be used to serve the community better and we want to know what people would like from us as we look forward to the next stage and discover what God has in store for us all. We have therefore launched a survey for residents and local organisations to complete. You can find it on our website ( or in the church.”

The survey is also available at

The flower festival will take place from 10am-4pm on Saturday, May 18, and from noon-4pm on Sunday, May 19. Entry is £1 and everyone is welcome!


Pictured above: Spring crocuses by Susie Lidstone

Car inventor’s grave restored at St John’s

One of the most famous graves in the churchyard at St John’s – that belonging to the motor vehicle inventor John Henry Knight – has been restored.

The grave dates from 1917 and had fallen into disrepair so we sought and received the go-ahead from John Knight’s descendants to repair the monument.

John Henry Knight, who was born in 1847 and lived in Weybourne House, Weybourne Road, invented one of Britain’s earliest petrol-powered motor vehicles. In October 1895 he also went down in history as one of the first recipients of a motoring fine when he and his assistant James Pullinger were found guilty at ‘Farnham Petty Sessions’ in Farnham Town Hall of using a locomotive without a licence and of not having a red flag carried in front. James Pullinger had been stopped while driving the vehicle in Castle Street, Farnham, earlier in the month. The car can now be seen in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

John Knight pleaded not guilty on the grounds that the vehicle was too light to come under the Traction Act, but he and Pullinger were both found guilty and received a fine and costs. After that, he ran the vehicle on a private road but even then was nearly caught by a policeman hiding in a hedge. John Knight stated afterwards in his Recollections that this was “probably the first police trap on record”.

John Knight was responsible for several other inventions, including a steam-powered hop-digger, a brick-laying machine, a grenade-thrower, a radiator and a ‘dish lever’ for tilting plates when carving meat. Appropriately, given his motoring brush with the law, he also invented wooden vehicle tyres and a speedometer.

John Knight had also built a steam carriage as far back as 1868 and drove it on the roads around Farnham. According to contemporary writer William Fletcher this could carry three people at up to eight miles an hour and “easily mounted the hills in the neighbourhood of Farnham”, though John Knight himself admitted that “breakdowns were frequent”.

Lesley Crawley commented: “John Henry Knight seems to have been a colourful and clever man who was always using his ingenuity to create something new and solve problems of the day. Everyone in the parish has the right to be buried in our churchyard and everyone is equally special and equally loved by God. I find it humbling to think of all the people who have been associated with the church over the past 175 years and who will be in the future. The church is for everyone from the most eccentric inventors to the quietest passers-by.”

The grave.

Weybourne House 1Weybourne House where John Henry Knight lived as a child.

Pictured top: John Henry Knight (standing) with his vehicle in 1895. Picture courtesy of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

…there is not one gentleman resident in [Hale]

This is a wonderful document from perhaps the late 1860s, thanks to Bob Skinner from the History of Hale:

History of St John's

This is what it says:

Enlargement of The Church of St John the Evangelist, at Hale, In the County of Surrey

The Church of St John the Evangelist, at Hale, midway between Aldershot in Hants, and Farnham in Surrey, was erected in the year 1844, by public subscription.

The late Queen Dowager, who was the first contributor, gave the sum of £25 towards the commencement of the undertaking.

A few years after the opening of the Church, Aldershot, from being an obscure hamlet, became a large Garrison town. The effect of this upon the adjoining Parish of Hale, was such, as almost immediately to double the population.

At the census of 1861, it was found to have risen from a few hundreds, to nearly 3,000 people; the population is now little less than 4,000, and is still rapidly increasing.

With so large a Parish, there is only Church Accommodation for 175 persons; —and besides the regular Parishioners, many Officers and their families are in the habit of attending from Aldershot, and they would do so in greater numbers, could room be found for them. It is therefore proposed to meet the urgent demand for further accommodation, by an addition, of 400 Sittings to the Church, this being the largest increase of which the building is capable.

Plans have been drawn out by Benjn. Ferrey, F.S.A. Esq., of Charing Cross, the Architect of the original structure, for the Erection of a North Transept, the Enlargement of the South Aisle, and an Extension of the present very contracted Chancel.

To carry out those alterations fully, a sum of £1300 will be required, for which an appeal is now made to the christian liberality of churchmen. The Parishioners of Hale, are among the very poorest, in the Diocese of Winchester, and there is not one gentleman resident in the place. The present Incumbent has no private means, and his clerical income is insufficient to meet the demands of so poor and so rapidly increasing population.

The Archdeacon of Surrey, who is the Patron of the Living, will afford any information on the subject.

Subscriptions will be thankfully received by the Incumbent, the Rev. George E. Fox, Hale Parsonage, Farnham, or they may be paid in to Messrs. James Knight and Son, Bankers, Farnham, to the credit of the “Fund for the Enlargement of Hale Church.”

A list of Subscribers will be issued, when the whole sum is raised.

(George Fox was the incumbent from 1868-1875)