History of St Bart's

As the Church of England Parish Church of Horley, St Bartholomew's Church has a steep history dating back more than 800 years. We have many visitors drawn to the church building purely for historic interest. People have come especially to see the memorials to past warden Henry Webber and the unique collection of medieval graffiti on the walls.

Our church building

A church has been on the Church Road site since the middle of the 12th century, although the present building is mainly of 14th century origin.

The church was heavily restored in the early 1880s, with the south aisle added in the early 1900s, as shown in this picture taken from the south-west of the church. Its most notable external feature is its narrow wood-shingled bell turret and spire.

More recently, in 1991, the upper rooms were added next to the bell tower. The church uses these for Sunday children's groups, prayer time and for meetings.

The church is closely associated with the Salaman family, who are said to have erected the north aisle as their burial place in around 1315.  At the east end of the north aisle lies a fine life-size Reigate stone effigy of a knight of this family (see right).  



The Organ

The Bart's organ was built by Bishop and Son of London some time in the late 1800s. Originally a single keyboard instrument, it was located in gallery at the back of the North Aisle. When the South Aisle was built in 1900, it was enlarged and now it has two keyboards.

More recently, repairs have been carried out to the organ. Our very grateful thanks to the Community Foundation for Surrey whose generous grant enabled us to replace the organ blower which was damaged in the flooding in 2017.

The blower has also been relocated to prevent this from happening again in the future. Without the charity’s generosity, it would not have been possible for us to use the organ for our 8am Sunday morning service and events such as concerts.

Henry Webber 

Horley stalwart Henry Webber (1849-1916) was a church warden at St Bart's Church. He was a founding member of what is now Horley Town Council and Surrey County Council. At aged 67, he is thought to be the oldest man to die on The Somme in the First World War. He was determined to join his sons on the Front Line inspite of his age.

As you come into the church there are some wooden rood screens on the right, which were erected in his memory. They were once positioned between the nave and altar area. In 2016 Horley Town Council installed a permanent memorial to him in Horley Memorial Gardens. He went beyond the call of duty for his town, county, country and his church.

Medieval Graffiti

The church contains one of the largest collections of graffiti in Surrey. The usual symbols are well represented (such as circles and crosses); some of the most interesting examples are to be found on the piers in the nave, including a shield-shaped face with headgear, two crowns and at least three other figures and faces. A fine text inscription reads  'hic iacet [ot?] [orthome?] Saloman' which means 'Here lies Saloman', a neat alignment with the history of the church as a place of burial for the Salaman family.


The door jambs and window frames in the north porch (left) are densely covered with graffiti, with many initials and dates from the late 17th century.  The east jamb of the door bears an unusual, deep graffito that appears to be an unfinished carving of a traceried window.





Further information

This information here has been compiled with material from the following organisations.

Horley History Society http://www.horleyhistory.org.uk/

Exploring Surrey's Past http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/collections/getrecord/SHCOL_P30

Medieval Graffiti Society http://www.medievalgraffitisurrey.org/st-bartholomew-horley.html

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