St Lawrence History
The ancient Church in Chobham dates from 1080 and is dedicated to St Lawrence who was martyred for his faith in Rome in 257. Here for more that 900 years Christians have worshipped.
St Lawrence's stands in the village centre. Around it is the old churchyard. Until 1215 the dead were taken for burial to Chertsey. Petition was then made to Pope Honorious for permission to bury the dead in a graveyard surrounding the church. This was granted subject to our giving Chertsey Abbey 10 lbs of beedwax a year, and so the Bee Farm was established on Chobham Common.
The Church is entered through an outer wooden porch, believed to have come from Chertsey Abbey after its suppression by Henry VIII in 1538
This was built c.1400 and is 52ft high. The spire with its unusual herringbone leading was restored in 1955 and a weathervane made in the local forge was added. The four-faced clock was given in 1900 by the Vicar of that time.
There is a peal of eight bells - the oldest cast by William Culverden of London in 1520. The tenor bell weighs 10cwt. Until 1892, when an upper floor was inserted, the bells were rung from the ground.
The chest dates from c.1250. All local documents were kept here, and three locks ensured that no one could remove papers without the knowledge of the other key holders.
The List of Vicars
Originally the Church was administered and supplied with priests from Chertsey Abbey. The Church has had its own Vicars since 1324. The first named as William Dagelynggesworth. In 1800 the Rev'd Richard Cecil arrived to find the parish "sunk in the depths of ignorance and immorality".
War Memorial Screen
Nearly every house in the village subscribed to the cost of the screen which commemorates those killed in the two World Wars. It was installed in 1950. Note the three signs of St Lawrence on the red shields and the Guildford Diocesan Arms over the doorway.
The octagonal wooden font dates from the 16th century. There are only three wooden fonts of this age in the country. The cover is of a later date - but is mentioned in an inventory of AD 1712. The small piece of green marble at the base of the font comes from St Columba's Bay, Iona.
Choir and Organ
The Choir stalls and organ were moved to their present position in 1954 when the organ was modernised. The choir stalls are a memorial to the Jerram family, three of whom were Vicars 1810 - 1880.
The Nave and North Aisle
Little of the wooden roof except the great beams is original. In 1886 the Norman wall was removed and the North aisle added to provide more seeting. The altar at the East end, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, was installed in 1957.
Oak pews were given as thank offerings or memorials. The carved plaques record work and hobbies. The one illustrated is in memory of a 16 year old farm boy who became a drummer boy and was killed on his first day in France in the First World War.
South Aisle and Lady Chapel
The original wall on the south side was pierced in about 1100 and the pure chalk pillars and arches inserted. (The two niches over the arches are the original Norman windows of 1080). The Lady Chapel was built at about this time and the "elbow beams" in the roof are unique. The Chapel was restored to its original use in 1951.
The Norman Church probably finished at the present chancel step and the chancel itself has been built more that once, the last time in 1898.
The fine, brass chandelier was given by the Churchwardens in 1737.
The stained glass windows in the Lady Chapel and the North aisle were given as memorials at the beginning of this century. The main East window was given in 1961. It depicts Christ ascended.
The oak pulpit was carved by an amateur class of Chobham teenage boys in a shed behind the baker's shop opposite the church in 1893.
The fine brass lectern was given as a memorial in 1928.