The Church of St Andrew


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Upper Church Lane, Farnham


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Statutory Address:
Upper Church Lane, Farnham

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Waverley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


St Andrew's, Farnham, is a parish church of C12 origin, with multiple subsequent phases of extension, alteration and restoration. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the early-C21 free-standing pavilions in the west end of the church are not of special interest.

Reasons for Designation

St Andrew's Church, Farnham, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: as a medieval parish church which retains a substantial quantity of C12-C16 fabric; * Architectural interest: as a church which possesses a number of fine features of varying dates, including a handsome west tower; three crown post roofs; richly carved parclose screens and altar rail; a number of distinctive wall monuments and hatchments; and evidence of the building's early cruciform plan.


The evolution of St Andrew's is complex and is discussed in several sources, including the booklet 'The Story of St Andrew's Parish Church at Farnham in Surrey', written by Gilbert Jackman in 1988 and updated in 2006 by Susie Alcock. For this reason, no detailed account of the building's chronology is presumed to be given here; rather a very broad overview is offered.

St Andrew's dates from the C12, replacing a Saxon church on the same site. Evidence of this earlier church was found during excavation works in the present building in the early C21. Earlier, mid C20, excavations, confirmed the C12 church to have had a crossing and north and south transepts – an arrangement which still remains. The chancel was originally vaulted (the west vaulting shafts remaining) however this ceiling had been replaced by the end of the C14. It is suggested that the chapels to north and south of the chancel were added only shortly after the church's construction, towards the end of the C12. The C14 saw an extension to the chancel (and removal of the vaulting), forming what is now the sanctuary, also known as St James' Chapel; and the addition of the south aisle. The church's nave was rebuilt in the C15, and the north aisle was added. The west tower was added in the C16, and brought up to its current height in the C19. The church underwent several phases of alteration and restoration in the mid C19, including the raising of the chancel arch, the extension of the transepts, and heavy restoration of the windows. There was a second big programme of works in the mid C20 under David Nye, and again in the late C20/early C21, when as well as repair and conservation work, the church was reordered; improved disabled access was provided; free-standing pavilions were installed in the west end to create a kitchen and community facilities; and a new stone floor was laid in the nave, replacing the Victorian timber one.


St Andrew's, Farnham, is a parish church of C12 origin, with multiple subsequent phases of extension, alteration and restoration.

MATERIALS: the church is of uncoursed limestone rubble, with the tower of coursed rubble and the tower's polygonal corner buttresses in dressed coursed stone. The roofs are covered in clay tiles.

PLAN: the church is orientated east-west and formed of three parallel ranges. The central range comprises a five-bay nave, a crossing, a two-bay chancel and a single-bay sanctuary. Running continuously alongside, the north and south ranges (from west to east) comprise an aisle, a transept and a chapel. To the west of the nave is a four-stage tower with a shallow ringing chamber. The transepts both have C19 extensions which serve as vestries.

The roofs are all pitched, running east-west, with gable ends; the transept roofs run north-south.

EXTERIOR: the sanctuary has angle buttresses and a plinth, whereas the flanking chapels, set back by a bay, have diagonal buttresses and no plinth. The East window has five lights and cusped Perpendicular tracery. The south chapel has an off-set three-light cusped Perpendicular window to the east, and the north chapel has a triple-lancet with continuous drip-mould and a blind quatrefoil above. To the north and south both chapels have three-light cusped Perpendicular windows; to the north the western window has been lost behind a C19 addition to the vestry, and the eastern window is less heavily restored than the others, seeming to retain some original stonework. The transepts are Perpendicular, with three-light windows and quatrefoils above.

The aisle windows are irregularly spaced and have cusped reticulated tracery. A south door, having been previously blocked, has been restored. The north door is surrounded by a heavy C19 timber porch. The south aisle has angle buttresses, whereas the north aisle has a diagonal buttress. Both aisles had small windows high in their west gable end, presumed to have lit the galleries installed inside in the C18; that to the south aisle has been blocked but evidence remains internally, whereas that in the north aisle survives, taking the form of a pair of lancets in a square frame. The aisles are constructed in random rubble, but small areas of coursed stone suggest the focus of later repairs. The stonework in the north aisle shows evidence of a blocked archway into what is understood to have been a C15 Lady Chapel, demolished in the C18.

The west tower has a large four-light Perpendicular window over the west door, the latter having a four-centred arch with square hood and carved spandrels. The bell chamber has paired louvered lancets with Perpendicular tracery to each face, and the tower is topped with battlements and corner pinnacles.

INTERIOR: the interior of the church is painted white and has a stone floor.

The nave has a hammer-beam roof with the trusses supported on carved head corbels and the ceiling painted blue. The north and south arcades have pointed arches and octagonal columns with shallow capitals and ogival bases, and stand on square plinths. The north and south aisles both have crown post roofs.

The chancel arch is supported on drum columns with scalloped capitals and the chancel arcades have both moulded and scalloped capitals also on drum columns. The chancel and sanctuary ceiling is panelled and takes the form of a faceted barrel vault, painted blue and gold. The sanctuary has a black and white marble floor, and is enclosed by a heavily carved altar rail with ionic columns, of probable mid-C17 date. In the south wall is a triple sedilia, piscina and credence shelf with cusped ogival arches.

The north chapel, dedicated to St George, is separated from the north transept by a carved parclose screen of C14 character. The chapel has a three-bay crown post roof with a modillioned wall plate. The south chapel is the Lady Chapel, and this too is separated from the transept by a carved parclose screen, matching that to the north. The Lady Chapel has a flat timber panelled ceiling, painted black and gold. Several areas of earlier plaster are exposed, revealing painted-on ashlar joints and evidence of window alteration.

At the west end of the church, across the nave and two aisles, are three interconnected, freestanding painted timber pavilions. These were inserted in the early C21 to provide meeting rooms and a kitchen. The roof of these pavilions acts as a gallery for extra seating. The pavilions are not of special interest.

FIXTURES: (greater detail of these is given by Jackman and Alcock) The pews have been removed from the main body of the church, but C19 and C20 pews remain in the two chapels.

The font is located in the south transept and dates from the C15. It is octagonal, carved with sacred monograms and the symbols of the four Evangelists, standing on an octagonal columnar base. The cover is modern.

The pulpit is of oak and burr walnut and dates from the 1895, although is in an early C18 style. It is a memorial to Reverend Philip Hoste, Rector from 1875 to 1893.

The stained glass is C19 and C20, the East window being by Pugin and exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851 before being installed in the church.

The Lady Chapel contains a number of interesting wall monuments, including three C16 and C17 brasses and four C18 marble cartouches. There are many other wall monuments throughout the church, although not all in their original position. There is a particular collection in the west tower, including one to the journalist and campaigner for political reform, William Cobbett (d. 1835), and on the south-west buttress of the tower, to George Strut (d. 1927) with lettering carved by Eric Gill. The church also has eleven funeral hatchments dating from the mid C18 to the mid C19.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Jackman, G, Alcock, S, The Story of St Andrew's Parish Church at Farnham in Surrey, (2006)
Pevsner, N, Nairn, I, The Buildings of England: Surrey, (1962), 230-231


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 14 Jun 2004
Reference: IOE01/12466/07
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Washington. Source Historic England Archive
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