Wonersh Church History

Over 1000 years of History in bite-sized sections

  Exodus 35:35
He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers,embroiderers in blue, purple
and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

This account of the history of our church acknowledges and has drawn heavily upon information provided in the following:-
  Wonersh History Society
Parishes: Wonersh - British History Online
Victoria County History 1911.
  History of the Church by Revd A L Brown.
  The History of Antiquities of Surrey, Manning & Bray Vol II pages 108-116, circa 1811 (Manning visited Wonersh Church just before the alterations of 1793/4.)
  History of England (1708), John Aubrey visited Wonersh circa 1690.
History of the Church of England and CofE in Wikipedia
  A History of the County of Surrey by Thomas Allen 1831
  Useful site on Church Architecture
Suffolk Churches - Glossary of terms
Very many letters and documents are summarised and published online in the Surrey History Centre Archives, in particular collections 892 ,G24, G60, G1275 and WON Part 1  & WON Part 2. Document may be found by paging down manually in a relevant collection or else from the ADVANCED SEARCH page.


The church of St John the Baptist, Wonersh, probably originally Saxon, was re-built shortly after the Norman conquest in the eleventh century with additions made until the fifteenth century. Major rebuilding took place in 1793 and restoration in 1901; however the core is still the Norman church. The churchyard was closed for burials in 1861, and the same year a new churchyard opened at Shamley Green,  which continued as the churchyard for Wonersh until 1900 when a new cemetery was opened near Blackheath. 


For most of our history the Parish has been in the See of the ancient Diocese of Winchester in the Deanery of Stoke. The ancient Parish boundary was reduced in 1881 when Shamley Green became an ecclesiastical parish in its own right. The year 1893 saw the opening of St Martin’s Blackheath within the parish of Wonersh, forming into the separate parish of Blackheath and Chilworth in 1937;  Blackheath was rejoined with the Parish of Wonersh in 1998. From 1927 the Parish of Wonersh became part of the newly formed Diocese of Guildford

Church plan 1901

Over the years vicars have been presented under the legal church framework of advowson, with patronage resting today with Selwyn College, Cambridge. Similarly our Lay-Rectors and local Lords of the Manor have affected our church. 

More information about the church history is detailed in the following time periods:

The First 500 Years - Pre Conquest (Saxon) to 1536

The Reformation Years - 1536 to 1755

The Grantley Years - 1756 to 1900

Modern Times - The 20th Century