Horley village or Horley Street was a small place clustered around the church of St. Bartholomew, east of the Brighton Road. The section of this route between Crawley and Reigate was the first turnpike road in Surrey in the reign of William III. To the east of this small settlement was the extensive Horley Common, across which the London-Brighton railway was constructed. Horley Station opened in 1841 and from this new focus grew the present-day Horley.
At first the Church Road area was detached, but by the First World War the outward growth had left this historic nucleus on the edge of the built-up area. It has thus always been a cul-de-sac off the main roads. Across its end and behind the buildings flows the River Mole. Trees alongside its banks and the open meadows to the east provide an attractive setting especially for the church and its elegant, shingled spire.
There is an effigy of a knight in chain armour in Horley Church, in the arch between the north aisle and chancel. The effigy is dated c.1320 and is raised about 3 feet from the ground but does not seem to be in its original position.
Click here to see the catalogue of the St Bartholomew’s, Horley, Parish Records (1578-1952) held at the Surrey History Centre.
- Horley Local History Centre is based in Horley Library, visit their website by clicking here.