History of Christ Church Brockham

In 1845, Henry Goulburn, Barrister and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, died aged 30. He had long desired to erect a church on Brockham Green and his friends decided to complete his plan in his memory.

The site was given by Henry Thomas Hope, of Deepdene, who had purchased the manor of Brockham from the Duke of Norfolk in 1838, and the architect was Benjamin Ferry, a pupil of Pugin.The question of using brick or flint or local stone was resolved when Sir Benjamin Brodie of Broome Park, Betchworth, Surgeon to Queen Victoria, offered local stone from his estate. Christ Church was consecrated by the Bishop of  Winchester in 1847 as a daughter of St. Michael's Betchworth, the incumbent receiving a stipend of about £70.

Original Church Plans

Original drawings for church - view from Middle Street - note door is on South side of church - it was subsequently decided to construct the door on the North side so that the congregation could look across the Green to the North Downs when leaving the church!

  

Unfortunately the perishable nature of the building stone soon became apparent and by 1883 major repairs were needed and has been an ongoing problem.

The interior is simple in design but of special note is the beautiful reredos depicting the last supper. It is of English Oak, carved in Munich and dedicated in 1886 in memory of the then Vicar's daughter who died four months after marriage.

The memorial windows, dedicated to benefactors, have gradually replaced the original plain glass, the most recent dated 1938 and 1939. The stone and carved oak pulpit (costing £34. 2s.0d) was dedicated in August 1889.

In 1877, the parish became part of the diocese of Rochester and in 1905 it was then transferred to the newly formed diocese of Southwark.

Church 1855

Church in 1855

 

Consecration of the Church

The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester in 1847. At that time, Christ Church was a daughter church of St. Michael's, Betchworth. By 1868, the Parish had become a separate district for ecclesiastical purposes and the incumbent was, by then, a Vicar.

 

Church Clock

Johnson Batchelar (1800-1890), was from a family of builders and lived near the Church. He relates a story about the church clock.

"After the church was built, Mr George Tickner and I were talking near the church. Henry Thomas Hope came along and told us that he had a three-quarter clock that he would give to the church if we thought the inhabitants would accept of it and he would give £20 towards cleaning and putting it up. Of course we said how pleased and thankful we should all be of such a useful gift. James Freshfield Esq of Mythnhurst, Leigh thought the bell much too small for the church and he very kindly took away the old bell and gave us a much larger one."

The clock had orginally belonged to Betchworth Castle which Henry Thomas Hope bought and dismantled in 1834. According to Gillett & Johnson who repaired the clock in 1900, the movement was then about 100 years old. It had a history of trouble and in 1848 £94 had to be collected for repairs and a new bell. The service bell in use today was the hour bell of the first clock and it was retained as a singing bell when the carillon was installed in 1936. The present electric clock was provided by public subscription in 1936 and its dials were re-gilded in celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee.

 

 

Reverend Alan Benjamin Cheales

The Reverend Alan Benjamin Cheales is one of Brockham's most renowned personalities. He was read in on 8th May 1859 and stayed until 1892. He was actively involved in all Village life, as was his family.

In Nov 1868, the Parish of Christ Church Brockham became a separate District for Ecclesiastical purposes and the incumbent, Rev A B Cheales, a Vicar.

 

Church Organ

In 1874, The organ had not been functioning well due to its very dirty state and accumulated dust was interfering with the proper speech of the pipes.

In January 1875 Messrs Walker undertook the complete rebuilding of the organ for £160 and the work took three months. Three years later the organ was in trouble due to damp.

As the increasing population of the Parish required that the space occupied by the organ and vestry should be given back to the sittings of the Church, a new organ chamber and vestry were built by Batchelar of Betchworth. Hot Air Apparatus was also installed at a total cost of £250.

The Parishes of Betchworth and Brockham became part of the Diocese of Rochester in 1877.

 

Restoration

By 1883, the church needed massive restoration, particularly because of the defective condition of the exterior stone, and much of the decayed quoin stones were replaced with Bath stone. Repairs to the tower and buttresses cost £400 and the restoration of the rest of the stone £600.

When the work had been completed the triangular white marble memorial to Henry Goulburn was inserted into the front of the north porch by his younger brother, Col Edward Goulburn.

 

Church Bells

In 1936, the octave of bells, tuned in the key of B, was provided following the bequest by Sidney Michael Poland, who died in April of that year. The largest weighs 7 cwt and the total weight is 28 cwt. The bells are fixed stationary and are operated by means of a hand clavier or keyboard, the keys of which are connected to clappers inside the bells.

 

Lych Gate

At the same time, £250 of the bequest was spent on the lych gate, as willed by Mr Poland. Designed by Frederick Hagyard, a local architect and was constructed in 1936/7, it contains four tons of English oak and rests on a base of Cotswold stone. Among the village craftsmen who worked on it were the names Harry Risbridger, William Monnery, Edward Jordan and George Cornwell.  Built into the structure are Coins of the Realm for that year.

 

Church Furnishings

Among old furnishings, "a beautiful and costly Communion Table, a velvet altar cloth worked by herself and Communion linen" were given by Miss Goulburn in 1860. On Christmas Day 1875, the five daughters of Sir Benjamin Brodie of Brockham Warren, presented kneeling cushions, worked by themselves, for use at the Communion Table rail. The stone and delicately carved oak pulpit, costing £34 2s, was dedicated at a special service on August 23rd 1889 and the same year a brass and oak Communion rail was fitted (£14 3s). Mr Kempe gave the stone cross above the porch in 1890. The brass lectern is dated 1893 in memory of Henry Bowman.

 

Church Windows

Since 1860 most of the plain glass has gradually been replaced by colourful memorial windows. Opposite the north entrance St. George and St. Michael appear in a window to the memory of Leopold Seymour of Brockham Park (1904). Two other windows on either side of the nave show Hope, Fortitude, Faith and Charity and they are memorials to the parents of Mrs Seymour (1890). Leopold Seymour's parents are commemorated in the two windows at the end of the north transept (1883). Opposite is the memorial of another resident of Brockham Park, Frances Gordon (1905). In the west walls of the transepts are the windows of George Drayson (1873), Mary Lang (1879), Ann Thomas (1886) and Edith Poland (1924).

The most recent windows, over the altar (1938) and in the north wall of the nave (1939), were provided through the bequest of Sidney Poland.

The east window was specially designed for Christ Church showing events in the life of Our Lord and incorporating the figure of St. Michael, representing the Mother Church of Betchworth. St. Francis and St. Christopher were chosen for the nave window, as being most suitable for the children's corner which was at that end of the church. Constant Gardener of Beare Green, the talented artist who designed and made these lovely windows, died in the 1939-45 War.

 

Diocese of Southwark

In 1905 Brockham became part of the newly formed Diocese of Southwark. After the war, when the village was included in the Urban District of Dorking, an attempt was made to have the parish transferred to Guildford Diocese to make it easier for Christ Church to join in the corporate church life of Dorking. However, Southwark was not willing to lose one of its few country parishes.

 

Electric Light

The nineteen thirties saw great improvements inside the church. In 1931, not only had H. R. Kempe been churchwarden for forty-two years, Lay Reader for sixteen years and chairman of the Parish Council for thirty-five years, hut he was about to celebrate his golden wedding.' To mark the occasion the oak choir stalls were provided by public subscription and fit ted in his honour. At the same time the priest's stall was presented in memory of the Revd. A. E. Cooke, Vicar of Brockham 1921-1929. The installation of electric light in 1934 commemorated the twenty-eight strenuous years spent as G.P. by the much loved Dr John Mills Thorne.

The Church comprises a sanctuary and chancel with a nave to the west. To the north and south are transepts with a choir vestry leading from the south transept and priest's vestry on the north. There is a tower located between the chancel and nave.

 

Benjamin Ferrey

Born in Hampshire, Ferrey was a pupil and biographer of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Pugin was Great Britain's foremost architect and designer of the nineteenth century, a man with extraordinary talent, verve and perspicacity. A man who believed in himself, and harboured a passion for Gothic and the Roman Catholic Church.

After a period on the Continent, under William Wilkins, Ferrey set up his own architectural practice in London in 1834. This practice grew to prodigious size, and Ferrey became an important establishment figure, for example being Hon. Secretary of Architects' Committee for the Houses of Parliament. He was Diocesian Architect for Bath and Wells, carrying out much restoration work on the Cathedral at Wells. He also designed and laid out parts of the town of Bournemouth. Ferrey's pupils included his son, Benjamin Ferrey Jr, and the late Victorian architect John Norton.

In London, his work includes several churches, including All Saints Blackheath, and the more centrally located St Stephen's, Rochester Row(1845-7) in Westminster.

He also designed Surrey churches at Shalford 1846, Kingswood 1848 and Esher 1853).

BROCKHAM Weather

Fri 19

6.5°C
4.5°C

Sat 20

15.6°C
3°C

Sun 21

16.8°C
4°C