Dorking: St Martin’s

St Martins church. Photograph: Kathy Atherton

St Martins church
Photograph: Kathy Atherton

There is a church in the Manor of Dorking mentioned in the Domesday Book. The medieval church of St Martin was probably built to replace it in the twelfth century when Manor and church were under the control of the de Warenne family, to whom the manor had been given by William II. In the fourteenth century the church was conveyed to the Priory of the Holy Cross in Reigate.

The church was extended in the fourteenth century and in the seventeenth century it was also used as a school house.

Between 1835 and 1837 the nave was rebuilt with iron pillars, leaving the chancel unused at a lower level. This church was known as the Intermediate church.

Between 1866 and 1868 the chancel was rebuilt. (It is now known as the Forman chancel.) As this clashed with the iron nave the nave and aisles were also rebuilt between 1872 and 1874. Between 1873 and 1877 the new tower, 210ft spire and bells were added. The Lady Chapel extension was completed in 1912. In the heart of the town, St Martins dominates its surroundings.

With expansion of the town, St Pauls church was built in 1857 to the design of Benjamin Ferrey who also designed the vicarage.

St Josephs Roman Catholic church in Falkland Grove was built in 1895 to the design of Frederick Arthur Walters. The site was donated by the Roman Catholic Duke of Norfolk who also made a contribution to the cost of building.

8 thoughts on “Dorking: St Martin’s”

  1. Mark Biggs says:

    I am tracing my family history (BIGGS). My relatives were buried in St.Martin’s? around 1765. They were non-conformist, West Street Independent. Does any one have information of any of the above

    Kind Regards

    1. Elizabeth Molyneux-Dickinson says:

      Hi Mark
      I have just noticed your mention in Surrey History website. Yes I have an Elizabeth (Eliza) Baptised at St Martins Church in 1732 married a Joseph Molyneux ..
      Perhaps you are not around as this is quite some time.
      Regards Elizabeth

  2. Peter says:

    I have a question: How would you describe the architectural style of St. Martins?

  3. Surrey Heritage says:

    St Martin’s, or at least the 1868-73 construction, is the work of Henry Woodyer, who was a Gothic revival architect. Pevsner, in Buildings of England (Surrey), states that this is Woodyer’s most important church – a high acolade as Pevsner is usually very scathing about Surrey buildings – he says it has “splendid proportions and oddly underplayed detail”.

    I would recommend the book “Henry Woodyer, Gentleman Architect” which is available in many Surrey Libraries.

  4. ludovic says:

    Hi, I am working on a small skeletal collection kept at Bournemouth university, there is very little in the way of information about where the material came from, however the site name given is Dorking Cemetery. Do you know of any excavations that were undertaken at your cemetry?

  5. Tony Alloway says:

    My family have been buried in St Martins throughout the 17th 18th 19th and 20th centuries
    Is there any way that I can find more details

    1. Claire Ede says:

      The Church office used to keep a record of the burials at the church. My grandparents’ ashes are there and 2 burials and I keep meaning to go to St Martin’s Church office to ascertain the location. Many headstones are so worn and can’t be read now.

  6. Charlene Jandik says:

    Hi, my 11th great-grandfather Roger Bassett born 17 MAY 1589 in Dorking, was buried sometime before Oct 1628 at St. Martins. Any info on the graves at the church? Also, my DNA is on 23&me if any analysis of the bones are DNA tested.

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