Sunday 11 September was one of the Heritage Open Days when buildings which are not always open to the public are open (that doesn't read very well does it?). Anyway I dropped Sue off at rehersal in Merstham and then headed onto the North Downs to visit one of Simon Jenkins' 1000 - St Peter and St Paul Church, Chaldon. Unfortunatly I chose to visit when it was closed as they are building an extension. The present church was started in the late 10th or early 11th century, and consisted originally of a rectangular nave, 27 feet long and just over 17 feet wide with high walls. The west wall is of traditional flint construction and is almost certainly original. The south aisle extends into St. Kateryn's Chapel, built in the 14th century, and is now the Lady Chapel .The shingled broach spire was added in 1842, and the vestry was built at the same time. On the wall at the back of the church is the main 'tourist attraction' - a large and unusual medieval mural depicting Judgement and the Ladder of Salvation, uncovered in Victorian times when the church was being redecorated.I didn't get to see it! http://www.surreycommunity.info/chaldonpc/st-peter-and-st-paul-church/
I then travelled the short distance to Chipstead and parked outside St Mary the Virgin Church. The church was built in 1866 as part of the Victorian expansion of the town. The spire added in 1883 and further extensions in 1916. It too was closed.
St Mary the Virgin was sited opposite the old Norman church of St Lawrence. This was open but there was a function going on inside - It was not my day!. The is generally believed to date from AD 1095 - although this is partly guesswork based on the Norman window.
Stocks in the graveyard.
The east end of the church.
Finally having turned back to Merstham I came across a church that was open with a helpful guide: St Margaret's Church, Chipstead. The present church probably dates from 1185. From the reign of King John to the 15th century, the church was significantly enlarged.
Early English vaulting above the crossing.
Stone benches which can be found on both north and south sides of the chancel. They extend from the screen to the steps up to the alter rails and have carved arm rests.
One of the main features of the church are the series of lancet windows with triangular heads consisting of two slabs of stone. The openings are narrow - less than four inches.
The font is one of the few (according to the guide) fonts of the Decorated Period - 1307-1377 - in Surrey. It is a shallow octagon with panels of carved tracery. The base and steps are more modern - 1827.
The west end of the church was re-built during restoration work in 1883.
The north wall was alos replaced in this restoration but the old north doorway was preserved and built into the new wall. This shows early use of 'Dog tooth ' moulding and a pear shaped moulding percular to this period circa 1175.