The Wealden village of Newdigate lies midway between Dorking, Reigate and Horsham. From Saxon times much of the parish belonged to the Manor of East Betchworth but at the end of the 18th century it was described as the ‘loneliest place in Surrey’.

The name Newdigate is probably derived from ‘On Ewood Gate’, meaning on the road to Ewood, which is to the north of the parish. Ewood (Yew Wood) was described from early times as a ‘park’ and was used for deer hunting but later it became the centre for iron making which flourished until the beginning of the 17th century. As a result of this relative prosperity a number of timber framed houses were built, many of which can still be seen today.

A long period of economic decline followed. Lying on thick clay which made the tracks rutted in summer and muddy and virtually impassable in winter the area became very isolated.

St Peter's Church, Newdigate, 1905. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 1643

St Peter’s Church, Newdigate, 1905
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 1643

St Peter's Church, Newdigate, 2007. Photo: John Callcut

St Peter’s Church, Newdigate, 2007
Photo: John Callcut

When the railways came to Holmwood in the latter part of the 19th century, and the area became more accessible, a number of new estates were established and these brought employment and a certain amount of house building. The Church of St. Peter (click on the link to see the Historic Environment Record for the church), which earlier had been described as in a bad state of repair, was renovated in 1876 and enlarged to cater for the increased congregation.

Click here to see the catalogue of the St Peter, Newdigate, Parish Records and Newdigate, Civil Parish Records (1694-1975) held at the Surrey History Centre.

Because of the scattered nature of the houses, Newdigate has no village green and it was not until 1945 that a fund was raised to purchase the public recreation area known as the Brocus as a memorial to the fallen in both world wars. Nearby is the village hall, erected in 1901 by Mrs Farnell-Watson in memory of her husband and intended originally as a club and reading room for working men.

Today the village has a vibrant community consisting of the church, an infants school, two pubs, a village club and hall, a village store/post office and a full range of sporting and leisure activities.

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10 Responses to Newdigate

  1. cynthia willey says:

    I stayed there with the brownies in 1973 in the village hall. Was there a pub next door and if so what was the name of it?

  2. jenny nee batchelor says:

    I lived in parkgate from 1952 till 1963 spent many happy hours at batts farm then owned by the cutlers went to brownies in the village hall and guides at refolds. Went to the old village school and danced the maypole in the rectory gardens .

    • Jennie Hulbert nee Reid says:

      Hi there Jenny , I remember you at Batts Farm and think you were a friend of my cousin Susan . My father was Susan and Jason”s uncle so we shared the same Grandmother , who also lived at the farm . I lived at Brockham so we spent a lot of time there , such lovely memories . Kind regards, Jennie.

    • Jennie Hulbert says:

      Hi there Jenny Batchelor. I am reposting so that hopefully you see the reply i left for you . Kind Regards Jennie Hulbert (nee Reid.)

  3. TIna hellawell says:

    My grandfather was one of 14 children born to James and Kate Trow who lived in Newdigate

  4. Eve Hollis nee Cranmer says:

    I was a teenager in the 50’s and I worked for Miss Cornish at her kennels. I have lost touch with everyone there as the family moved away.

  5. Gillian Chopin says:

    I was Gillian Smith – my father was John Alexander Smith, Headmaster of the Primary School. I attended the school between 1955 and 1966.
    I am hoping that someone has some photos of the maypole dancing and crowning of the may queen from those years. I would love it if someone could e-mail them to me – please and thank you.
    I am now Gillian Chopin

    • Penny says:

      Hi Gillian, I think I have photos of May Queen for me and then Susan Murphy the following year. Nee Smaldon, remember you and your sister well.

  6. Ivor Williams says:

    I believe that former pop star, and EMI record producer Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith is buried here. Could someone confirm, I would love to pay my respects.

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