Category Archives: Kitty Milroy

Jubilee celebrations!

North Farnham is all set to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a long weekend of events between June 2nd and 5th, arranged by the parish, North Farnham Voice – a group of residents dedicated to caring for the area – and the Hale Community Centre.

The events are:

Thursday, June 2

St George’s Church – Afternoon Tea
2.45-5.30pm with exhibition of Coronation and Queen Elizabeth memorabilia and entertainment.
Please book your free ticket in advance by contacting Maxine.everitt@badshotleaandhale.org or phone 01252 318135

Friday, June 3

St Mark’s Church – Barn Dance
6pm -10pm Enjoy a FREE evening of dancing to music by Cajun Boogaloo Trio. Bring your own refreshments. Tea and coffee available for donations to the Kitty Milroy mural fund. Further info admin@badshotleaandhale.org or 07842 761919

Saturday, June 4

Upper Hale – Family Fun Day

Sandy Hill Field
10am -12 noon FREE activities with Bouncy Castle, Games, Fire Engine, Music, Treasure Hunt, Tug-o-war and Ramble

St Mark’s Church
12.30pm – 2pm FREE JUBILEE LUNCH
with live music and a display of photos of people and  past events from Hale History Project.  Plus, a chance to see and hear more from the experts about the recently restored Kitty Milroy murals.

Hale Recreation Ground
2pm – 4pm Bring your own PICNIC IN THE PARK and enjoy more live singing and music and dancing displays by local groups. (Toilet facilities open in the Institute and Scout Hut)
The Church on the Green will be selling teas and coffee and will be holding an exhibition of Jubilee memorabilia.

Sunday, June 5

10am St George’s Church Outdoor Songs of Praise.
11am  Badshot Lea Primary School fete.
12 noon St John’s Church, Hale, Service of Thanksgiving with the Bishop of Dorking and the Scouts.
1pm  St John’s Church churchyard BIG LUNCH with BBQ* and music.  Bring your own picnic.

SAVE THE DATES – Everyone is welcome!

If you’d like to get involved with the preparations, help at these events or have a group activity you’d like to promote please contact elaine.fell@me.com

*cover charge applies

St Mark’s is shortlisted for a Surrey Heritage Award

We are thrilled to announce that St Mark’s has been shortlisted in the 2022 Surrey Heritage Awards.

St Mark’s, which was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in December 2021, was entered for the awards following the restoration of the ‘Kitty Milroy murals’, painted by local artist Eleanor Catherine  Wallace Milroy, known as Kitty, between 1911 and 1920.

The Surrey Heritage Awards were established by the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust to recognise ‘Best Practice’ in historic building conservation in Surrey, and the murals have played an important part in the conservation of St Mark’s, a Victorian church built by local people in the 1880s and still a vibrant part of community life. The murals are now recognised as being of both local and national importance, particularly as examples of the development of mural art and the recognition of women’s painting in the 20th century.

Making the announcement, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust described St Mark’s as: “A late-Victorian church … noted for its stunning wall murals painted by local artist Kitty Milroy, a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art. These murals had deteriorated and faded after a century’s accumulation of dirt, so the local community rallied round to raise the funds for a major project to clean, repair and restore the murals to their former glory.”

Andy Smith, Director of Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, added: “The restoration of Kitty Milroy’s amazing murals at St Mark’s has been one of the most interesting projects the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust has been involved with in recent years, and I was delighted to hear that the project had been shortlisted for the Surrey Heritage Awards 2022. It was also wonderful to learn just a few weeks ago that the church had been given Grade II listed status. Hopefully this will generate greater interest in Kitty Milroy’s work, and in early-twentieth-century artwork of this kind.

“We are fortunate here in Surrey to have a number of churches with beautiful and intriguing wall paintings, including rare survivals from the medieval period, but the Milroy murals, dating from the period just before the First World War, are especially striking and thought-provoking. St Mark’s Church is very fortunate to have these extraordinary paintings and I hope more people will visit the church to view them.”

The murals were restored in 2021 by wall painting conservationists Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede who described them as “stunning” and called Kitty a “major, but unrecognised, artist”.

Lesley Crawley said: “We are utterly delighted that St Mark’s has been shortlisted for an award. It is testament to the love and care that has been poured into the church over many years – from when it was built by the villagers in the 1880s; through the installation of the Edwardian organ, affectionately known as Emily; and the painting of the beautiful Kitty Milroy murals in the early 20th century; and right through to the present day with the restoration of those murals.

“There is not just local history here but a real sense of a warm community building, cherished and used by the village where it has stood for almost 140 years, and where people can come to seek God and find welcome.”

A team of judges will visit St Mark’s on March 3 and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on March 30 at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge.

St Mark’s is open on Sundays at 11am and Wednesdays at 12pm for services. It is also open on the third Saturday of the month for a craft market, 10am-2pm. The next one is February 19.

There are six buildings on the shortlist. In addition to St Mark’s, the buildings are: The Old Well Cottage, Peaslake; Mansion House Farm, Crowhurst; Naggs Stable, Loseley Park, Guildford; Colquhoun Chapel, Brookwood; and The Horton, Epsom.

Pictured top is the chancel at St Mark’s with the Kitty Milroy murals.

St Mark’s from the community orchard.

Your February magazine is here

The latest parish magazine is out now and inside you will find news, events, ideas, reflections, advertisements, pictures, contacts and more, to give you a snapshot of what is going on across our parish.

There’s lots of good news at the moment and lots to look forward to this year. Read on and find out more… And don’t forget to enter our poetry competition – write a Poem for Farnham and you could win £25!

You can download the magazine here:

Come to the craft market!

Come to our craft market on Saturday, February 19, 10am-2pm at St Mark’s, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT, and buy lovely gifts and treats while supporting local businesses and individual crafters. There will be glass, sweets, hand and face creams, knitting, soaps, cards, pottery, candles and many other gifts, made by skilled local craftspeople. Along side this there will be live music and refreshments, plus a chance to see the Kitty Milroy murals.

And if you are a crafter, why not have a stall? Contact craft@badshotleaandhale.org or 07842761919.

New Year, New Craft Market

Come to the craft market at St Mark’s this Saturday

Join us this Saturday, January 15, at St Mark’s between 10am and 2pm, for the first of this year’s monthly craft markets.

There will be pottery, soaps, glass, cards, jewellery, textiles and all manner of gifts for sale, made by local craftspeople. Browse and buy while you listen to live music, then take a look at the Kitty Milroy murals which featured on BBC TV last month. Then stop off for a hot drink, a savoury roll, cakes and biscuits.

Come and support small businesses as you shop and eat.

St Mark’s and the Kitty Milroy murals in the headlines

Today (Wednesday, December 15) we welcomed BBC South to St Mark’s in Upper Hale to film the Kitty Milroy murals and celebrate the fact that the building is now listed.

Reporter Sean Killick spoke to Lesley Crawley, rector of the parish, Deborah Mays, head of listings for Historic England, and Nick Seversway, a picture restorer who has co-ordinated the work which has resulted in the murals being restored.

Watch here – go to 20 mins in:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0012l3k/south-today-evening-news-15122021

St Mark’s is a listed building

We are delighted to announce that St Mark’s is now a Grade II listed building.

Historic England this week named St Mark’s as one of the “most captivating places across the South East” and praised its “stunning” murals, painted by Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920.

The murals were restored earlier this year by wall painting conservationists Rickerby and Shekede and new lighting has been installed to show them off to their best advantage.

Kitty was an intermittent student at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. The Slade was noted for turning out a number of talented young muralists and Mary Sargant Florence, a major woman artist and muralist, led a fresco and tempera painting course there. There are records of Kitty exhibiting paintings both locally and in London, and drawings of the St Mark’s frescos were exhibited in the 1923 Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Her only other known fresco scheme was in the chancel of the chapel at St Elphin’s School in Matlock, Derbyshire, which she painted between 1921 and 1931. These frescos were lost when the chapel was enlarged in the early 1940s.

The side walls and east end of the chancel at St Mark’s are covered in colourful paintings of religious scenes, including the Annunciation. Milroy’s imagery appears to draw on works by Botticelli such as Primavera and Birth of Venus. Her depiction of The Song of Creation blends personifications of elements of the natural world with imagery taken directly from her surroundings, from local landscapes and flora to the faces of fellow congregation members. The figure of ‘Water’ is believed to have been modelled on the Milroy family gardener, Edwin Thomas Warner.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston explained that listing St Mark’s and other historic sites is a way of protecting “our valuable heritage for future generations to learn from and ensure they are on the map for local people and visitors to be proud of and enjoy.”

Lesley Crawley, rector of the parish, added: “We are thrilled that St Mark’s has received this accolade. The murals are a real gem and we are really thankful that Kitty Milroy’s art and skill are being recognised. She was a truly gifted artist and the murals are stunning examples of her work and a testament to her faith as they depict joyful psalms and biblical scenes as well as the Benedicite, also known as the Song of Creation. The murals are also significant from the perspective of local history as the people who modelled for her were local villagers and we are gradually discovering who they were.

“We welcome people to come and see these beautiful works of art and the church which was built in the 1880s to serve the village of Upper Hale and is still serving the local community today.”


101 years on – a birthday party to remember

A birthday party and a long-awaited celebration took part at St Mark’s Church on Sunday, 7th November – 101 years late!

Nick Seversway, a picture restorer who has led the work to bring about the restoration of the murals, writes:

“In 1920 Kitty Milroy completed her nine-year task of beautifying the walls of the chancel with her mural scheme depicting the Annunciation, The Benedicite and the joys of music (Psalm 150). The completion of her work seems to have passed without much fanfare at the time and Kitty Milroy’s achievement went largely unnoticed by the wider world. With the murals now conserved by Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede and new lighting fitted thanks to the generosity of Farnham Public Art Trust (FPAT) they now look resplendent.

“Kitty was born on 8th November, 1885 and died on the 8th November 1966. St Mark’s now plans to hold a celebration service and evening event each year on the Sunday closest to this date in the forthcoming years.

“So, on this inaugural, day the Bishop of Dorking, Rt Rev’d Jo Bailey Wells, with assistance from Rev’d Lesley Crawley, led the celebrations with a morning service in the presence of the conservators and many who had been a part of the fundraising effort and those taking it forward.

“There was a rendition of Psalm 136 building to a stirring crescendo – the refrain being part of the wall design. The service weaved together the themes depicted in the murals with musical interludes provided by a group of musicians known as ‘The Mural Medlars’. 

“The Bishop gave a poignant sermon on the topic of restoration, saying: ‘Creation is a glorious feat for sure….’ but ‘The work of those in restoration is less glorious on the face of it because they spend their time in the dust, picking up broken things and mending them. On the face of it, many would see it as less creative, though I’d disagree vehemently – their work is utterly creative , re-creative, improvising from what has gone before. And through that painstaking work of mending broken thigs, they make possible a future that may be even bigger than the past’.

“The Bishop’s  words struck a real chord with me, a picture restorer, and with the conservators themselves who were visibly moved.  The Bishop went on to conclude: ‘Jesus Christ is all about mending broken things, and this includes you and me’.

“The Birthday and anniversary of Kitty Milroy was celebrated fully under the artwork she had created.  Somehow you feel she would have been rather pleased.”

Pictured below: scenes from the murals.

Pictured top from left: Frances Whewell, Lisa Shekede, Bob Shatwell, Jo Bailey Wells, Nick Seversway and Stephen Rickerby.

Kitty in later years