St Peter's Gallery. Image: Phillip Arnold

St Peter’s Gallery. Image: Phillip Arnold

The gallery was presented to the church by Sir Edward Zouch in 1622. It was around this time that Sir Edward abandoned the Palace and built himself a house at Hoe Bridge using, it is said, materials from the abandoned Palace. It would be tempting to suppose that the gallery too was taken from this source.

The structure stretches across the nave and south aisle. The older portion is in the nave. That part which is in the south aisle is obviously of a latter date. The dimensions of the older portion are such that the original gallery would have fitted in either the Kings Hall or the Great Hall of the Palace. Only dendrochronology could show whether any credence should be given to the hypothesis. If investigation revealed that the timber of which the gallery is made came from a tree felled in the early 16th century or before, this would make the hypothesis possible. An early 17th century date would mean that the gallery was probably built specifically for presentation to the church. Unfortunately, the timber used was fast dried and, therefore, unsuitable for dendrochronology.

For more information about Old Woking and St Peter’s Church visit www.oldwoking.org.

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