The History of Godalming Parish Church before 1878

Going back in time  

for enlargements, click images

In 1859 the east window tracery was changed from the Perpendicular Style to the Decorated Style

Prior to that there had been a major reconstruction in 1840 in order to increase the seating capacity:

-The nave was extended west and the west door moved to the east wall of the Lady Chapel

- a new main entrance was made in the south wall

-The ceiling panelling of the nave was changed to its present shape

- the aisles were raised, the north aisle given a ridge roof and the aisles were given Perpendicular windows in their outer walls

- The north chapel was widened and remodelled as a vestry; its lean-to roof was changed to a ridge and it was given an east window similar to that in the south aisle and a square-headed window in the north wall

- The belfry floor was put in and galleries were put into the transepts.

- the exterior was covered in stucco

The church was much altered in 1839/40. "Scaffolding reached to the top of the spire for its repair and placing on again the Weather Cock which had been blown down many years before. On the top of the scaffolding a workman by name of Furlonger daringly stood on his head in order to show his bravado."

Source: Charles Softley



From the north between 1865 and 1879, showing the stucco on the exterior
Image: Godalming Museum, ref 2530

The old west door, now in the Lady Chapel


image: Godalming Museum, ref: B000.63.2.35

From the north-east, between 1840 and 1859
image: Godalming Museum, ref B995.25

From the north, 1840s
Engraving: Brayley

In the 17th and 18th centuries, wooden galleries were added in the west end and in the side aisles. The side walls of the north and south aisles were raised to accommodate these.

Two dormer windows were added in the north aisle and two round headed windows set in the upper part of the south wall of the south aisle. These provided light for those in the galleries

Also, two small square windows were inserted either side of the west door to provide light that had been cut off by the new galleries.



From the north before 1840
image: Godalming Museum, ref 0416

From the north-east before 1840
image: Godalming Museum, Woods Own Volume 0000B top

From the south-west before 1840
image: Godalming Museum, Woods Own Volume 0000B bottom

From the north-east, published 1816
image by Stedman: Godalming Museum, ref 467

The east windows of the chancel and lady Chapel in about 1800
Painting: Godalming Museum, ref: B999.45

From the west in 1799
Engraving: Godalming Museum, ref 0405

image: Godalming Museum, ref: B000.14.6.13

In the 15th & 16th centuries, the transepts were given perpendicular windows.

During the same period, the nave was extended westwards and the roof panelling with bosses was added


In the early 14th century, the chancel was extended eastwards. The roof was raised and remodelled with crown posts The diagonal buttresses on the corners date from this time.

The tower was raised again and a parapet introduced. The spire was narrowed and heightened, and clad in lead


In about the middle of the 12th century, the north an south walls of the base of the tower were pierced and the north and south transepts were added. The present pointed arches are possibly a later reworking of original Norman arches.

The south transept appears to have been a side chapel


In the late 11th century, a low tower was built over the old chancel, the old east wall was pierced and a new chancel built to the east of the tower.


The earliest parts of the present building date from the late 10th/early 11th centuries. As far as can be detected, it was approximately 15.5 metres long, with a 8m high nave. The chancel was set at a slight angle northwards, an allusion to the head of Christ on the Cross



Godalming Parish Church

- Main page

- Chancel

- Lady Chapel

- Nave

- North Aisle and Transept

- South Aisle and Transept

- The Octagon

- Outside

- The history of the church from 1878



Return to Places of Interest